7 things at 11 o’clock (6.25)

1. Darrel Dow shares a “Pre-Courtship Questionnaire” he says was “received from a church in fundy circles.” It lists 423 questions.

Part of me thinks this must be some kind of parody, but then I don’t think someone writing a parody would have the obsessive determination to just go on and on and on and on and on with the joke like this. The sheer amount of work it took to create this much of whatever-this-is suggests it’s genuine. Genuinely what I can’t fully say.

2. Gene Robinson on how, again, sometimes the biggest news is that what used to be big news is no longer big news.

3. Here’s a Greenwald article on how Big Data is creating “a groundswell of social good.” That’s Ted Greenwald, not the other one. It’s an interesting look at Rayid Ghani’s ideas for how to harness big data for collaboration and hopey change-y goodness.

4. Richard Beck writes about memory and old-time gospel hymns, including “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

Here’s the greatest version of that song ever recorded, a duet between Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish. “It’s a hard world for little things.”

I’d bet the Coen brothers had that scene in mind when they decided to use Iris Dement’s terrific version of the song in True Grit.

5. “A place that’s far, so far away.” The song. The person who inspired it. (via) Rockville is in that radio deadzone between Philly and D.C., so I always wind up with this song stuck in my head when I’m driving that way on I-95.

6. Congratulations to New Civil Rights Movement founder David Badash and Caleb Eigsti.

7. “Well, I’m at home at about 12 – I’d say about 11:30, almost 12 o’clock at night. And I’m hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant, and we got a call from a dear friend of mine and producer named Jack Nitzsche. Jack Nitzsche called and said you know, Merry, are you busy? I said No, I’m in bed. he says, well, you know, There are some guys in town from England. And they need someone to come and sing a duet with them, but I can’t get anybody to do it. Could you come?”


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  • themunck

    I never claimed it wasn’t awesome. And yes, it probably would get tiring. Hence why not all her posts are downvoted.
    …Why do I suddenly feel like I’m trying to defend random downvoting?

  • dpolicar

    Yes, it’s easier to treat someone as a known quantity if they visibly and consistently identify themselves with a familiar category, and it’s easier to trust a known quantity than an unknown quantity, especially when I’m feeling unsafe.


    But that’s not the full picture, and I find your formulation unnecessarily all-or-nothing.

    Even if I’m not perfectly knowable or familiar, we have a range of choices for how much trust to extend me. And no matter how carefully I comply with the expectations of a familiar category, we still have a range of choices for how much trust to extend.

  • Alix

    Why do I suddenly feel like I’m trying to defend random downvoting?

    Sorry – I didn’t mean to imply that you were. I was just building off your comment, not disagreeing.

  • JustoneK

    apologies if it seemed that way. I really shouldn’t be commenting atm but I keep coming back.

  • Lori

    So pants then? :)

  • And speaking of Much Ado, this learned constable is

    too cunning to be understood — Act V, Sc 1

  • Are you sure it’s not code for “Are you sure you’re not one of those papists who follows tradition rather than reading the bible yourself and coming to your own conclusions which will just coincidentally coincide with ours in every detail?”

  • I have a friend who had two easy pregnancies and just can not comprehend that women who have difficult ones aren’t just making mountains out of molehills.

    And she still says this after she had serious complications that necessitated inducing labor a month early.

  • Also, if the girl you’re courting doesn’t like your answers, she doesn’t say “I’m not interested, but here’s the resumes of five other girls I think you’d be a better fit with.”

    And yeah. These questions aren’t that bad as some kind of pre-marriage inventory. They’re a lot more specific and intrusive than the internet quiz the catholics make you fill out, but they’re not out of line.

    For that.

    This, on the other hand, is an attempt to weed out people who don’t match the right tribal markers. And that’s creepy.

  • Eh, I’m sure it all works out to be the same thing as long as the kids don’t ask too many complicated questions.

  • Arresi

    I’m pretty much the exact opposite. My mom had to have everything out right then, and got really upset if
    anyone left in the middle of the argument, even though I (and the rest of the household) needed time away to cool down. I prefer the sort of arguments that involved citations,
    and generally I just completely shut down when dealing with anything that gets too
    personal/emotional/subjective, especially if it involves people talking past each other (if I try, I usually end up anxious, tense, nauseous, and/or near tears). It makes involvement in social justice and political issues more than a little problematic.

  • LeRoc

    I like the way question 123 follows 122 ;)

  • Amtep

    This one really stumped me:

    “208. On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate the worth of a woman?”

    I mean… awuh… guh… what?
    I can’t even figure out what they’re intending to ask. Can anyone give a sample answer?

  • Amtep

    By the way, Fred — “The sheer amount of work it took to create this much of whatever-this-is suggests it’s genuine” — take a look at http://www.lolcatbible.com :)

  • Lori

    The fundies I grew up with had plenty to say about the worth of a woman (much of it offensive and/or dumb), but nothing that could logically map onto a 1 to 10 scale. I thinking understanding that one would require input from someone who was part of this specific corner of the subculture. If we can find someone who thinks that one needs to have a position on public swimming (#152) maybe they can tell us.

  • ReverendRef

    “What is your attitude toward historically held positions?”

    I suppose mentioning the historically held positions of the Kama Sutra is probably not what they’re after.

    Talk about being snarky . . .

  • the shepard

    wow. you made it to at least #226. i got all bored and gave up around #12.

    i would have never dated or courted or whatever they call it. not that much different from reality, though, i guess.

  • the shepard

    good name for a band.

  • the shepard

    did brigadoon in summer stock one year. we all wore kilts for a month. they were incredibly comfortable and very cool, especially when worn in the traditional manner. we had to all learn to sit appropriately, though.

  • Fusina

    I hate them, mostly because of the fit issues, and the fibromyalgia “can’t stand anything snug around my waist” issue. I mostly wear dresses, but I did find some capri shorts that I wear under some of my shorter dresses–they are knit with an elastic waist and I get them a couple sizes too big so they are really baggy. I doubt I would wear them just with a shirt, they do not look that good what with the droopy drawers thing going on. But for under a knee length dress they are perfect, and I don’t have to worry about sitting down on the ground.

  • the shepard

    my youngest daughter was late. she decided it was time to be born the night before the scheduled induction.
    it has set aclife precedent with her.

  • the shepard

    well, i’d have to say it depends on the current market rates. personally, i think we’re in a bubble right now, woman-value wise, and i’d hold off on setting any kind of value until i’m sure it’s not about to go bust on us.

  • Alix

    The bubble on men, of course, burst ages ago.

  • Alix

    I skimmed the whole list, but I apparently missed all the really juicy ones.

  • Alix

    I need time away to cool down and get my thoughts in order too, but my mother would use that as an excuse to sweep everything under the rug and never talk about it again. (She’s gotten better about that, though. Now we go away, cool down, then reconvene to talk things out.)

    And my dad always used the “you’re angry and irrational/be nicer” thing as a way to dismiss and ignore whatever was making me angry, so. :/ Because to some people, how you say something (i.e. whether or not you’re kissing their ass sufficiently) is apparently far more important than the fact that you’re hurting. Tone policing is a power play.

    I don’t think either way’s better (talking it out RIGHT THEN or going to cool down) – whatever works is what matters. But what’s never cool is people being dismissive, belittling, or sweeping real issues under the rug.

  • Alix

    …I think that wins the thread.

  • LOL. Most women that I know identify me (correctly as it turns out, but that’s neither here nor there) as something other than straight based, not on my romantic history, but on my willingness to stand up for myself. Apparently a lot of women out there assume that only lesbians can be empowered. What a crock!

  • the shepard

    too bad you can’t buy us for what we’re worth and then sell us for what we think we’re worth.

  • Alix

    That’d solve the world’s financial problems. ;)

  • Arresi

    Mom was, like I said, the exact opposite. If I wasn’t emotional enough, I clearly didn’t care at all. (She’s a bit better about it now – I think she honestly didn’t believe I was affected until I had a panic attack, which was obvious enough for her to “get”.) I think the problem I have is that I’ve never really figured out how to be supportive of somebody with the opposite approach without sounding like a belittling jerk or feeling like I’ve been walked over.

  • Alix

    I hear you. It’s hard – emotions are so personal, and it’s hard to compromise between how you deal with something and how someone else does.

    If I wasn’t emotional enough, I clearly didn’t care at all.

    *wince* My dad used to do this thing, where he’d basically use that line until we did get visibly angry, and then suddenly we were “too emotional.” There was (is) no winning with that man.

    That sucks. I’m glad your mom’s getting better about it.

    I’ve never really figured out how to be supportive of somebody with the opposite approach without sounding like a belittling jerk or feeling like I’ve been walked over.

    I’ve never figured out how to handle people using the tone/you’re-so-irrational argument on me without blowing up and “proving” their point, so. :/

    Why couldn’t emotions just be easy? *sigh*

  • Amaryllis

    It reminds me of the old comic song about the Scotsman who insisted on wearing the kilt in all weathers and social situations. When asked, “Donald, where’s your troosers?” his only response was, “You’ll never get the breeks on a Highland man.”

    I guess he would have flunked question 226. Or passed it? It’s hard to tell.

  • VMink

    I’m pretty sure it’s code for ‘traditionally-held positions,’ which is to say, ‘traditional positions held by the wife and husband,’ which is to say, ‘traditional marriage roles’ which is to say ‘traditional complimentarianism,’ which is to say, “My attitude is one approximately 180-degrees to that. At least my pitch and yaw is. My roll is…pretty much anything, really, at that attitude. Next? … Oh, there is no next?”

  • MarkTemporis

    I agree, and also would quibble as to whom and where it was decided pants should be worn in pairs. Sometimes I might just want to go around with one pant.

  • I remember wondering if the R.E.M. song had anything to do with Rockville, MD, until I read a bandmember’s description of the town. It may not have been the “factory town” description, but whatever it was, it convinced me that the song was entirely unrelated to the Rockville I know.

  • MarkTemporis

    THIS is the proper pants design for men! Given the questionnaire author’s obvious love for patriarchy, I’m somewhat surprised this fashion never became popular among these types. Probably just because it was designed by a black man.

  • MarkTemporis

    Awww, that’s rotten. I do seem to notice your posts more than others so you do have more of a definite ‘voice’, which someone you may have offended might be able to spot.

    Seems like a lot of work, though; I had the idea of going back and upvoting all your comments just because and gave up rather quickly (sorry).

  • fibromyalgia “can’t stand anything snug around my waist”
    Heh. My fibro hits me differently–I wear jeans because they protect my skin from the pain of being pelted by the sand and gravel that get kicked up when I go out for a walk.

  • P J Evans

    Wouldn’t an oversized codpiece be easier to deal with? (A decorative one, that is.)

  • Randall

    I figure the answer should have something to do with the Maginot Line, personally.

    They shoulda run it farther north.

  • Fusina

    Boring fashion answer person here. Pants are plural and pairs because once upon a time you could wear just one pant. Pants were two pieces, one for each leg, they overlapped in the back and tied at the waist, and those codpieces you hear so much about were a separate piece tied onto the whole thing.

    I like fashion. It intrigues me. The stuff we wear now, the stuff we used to wear, and how, and why, etc… I don’t know why, it just is. I’m still pissed at my 12th grade English teacher who said I was too smart to choose the clothing styles subject for my Term Paper, (worth 25% of your grade, why don’t you write it on (longish list of subjects I wasn’t nearly as interested in)).

  • Randall

    They’re not all actually questions. Some of the “questions” are options for the question above them that for some reason have been numbered as if they were new.

  • Katie

    Point of order: This isn’t a list of questions that the couple is supposed to ask each other. This is what the prospective bride’s father is supposed to ask the prospective groom to make sure that someone unworthy isn’t allowed to court his daughter. This system seems to result in a lot of single women…..

  • Sue White

    Hell, this is a pre-courtship questionnaire! You have to know everything about them before you even get a first date.

    Then again, on sites like Okcupid you can answer potentially thousands of questions to see how you match up with someone.

    (“Public swimming”??)

  • Mr. Pewterschmidt, your daughter may be worth a million dollars to you, but to me, she’s worthless.

  • Victor

    What’s this YA say Ross?

    A worm is eaten by a fish and the fish is eaten by humans as brain food cells. Round and round we go until IT’s equalizing effect of death and decomposition of great men and beggars both end somewhere in time as dust and…….

    END YA SAY sinner vic?

    Go Figure people now! :)



  • “Cock of the walk” *smile*

  • BaseDeltaZero

    And I’ve seen a few anime characters with just one pant…

  • Jamoche


    “More than a dozen male employees working for the Roslagsbanan train services in the Swedish capital have been wearing skirts in order to keep cool.

    One of the drivers, Martin Åkersten, explained that temperatures can hit 95F (35C) in the train cab during the summer.

    Uniform regulations by the train company Arriva state that skirts or long trousers are acceptable. At a meeting last year, drivers were told that shorts were not allowed.

    They have given their blessing to the men wearing skirts however.”To say anything else would be discrimination,” Thomas Hedenius, the communications head, told the local Mitti newspaper, cited by the Local website.”

  • Jamoche

    Down near the bottom:

    “Thing’s I like:”

    Oh, that’s easy. People who understand that the greengrocer’s apo’strophe is a bad thing.