Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

The WomanStats Blog & Female Priests

The project I work for at BYU, WomanStats, has had a bit of a hiccup recently. After starting a blog using Wordpress, we found that the servers used to host the website (and, thus, blog) needed to be updated to support the new version Wordpress. This wouldn't have been a problem except for the fact that our CSR (Computer Support Rep) accidentally dumped our last recorded backup onto the server before reformatting it instead of backing up our most recent work; this all ended in us losing the last 6 months of our data as well as all of our previous blogposts.

Tragic as this was, we continue only slightly deterred and perhaps even more determined. However, I lost several blogposts that I had done on that blog and as such will now be posting my WomanStats discoveries here, as backup.

From time to time when coding, we discover things that make us smile instead of frown. Such was my experience when reading this article about female Hindu priests in Pune, India. Pune is already renowned as a progressive city in India; the article cites the fact that Pune led the way in encouraging and enabling girls to get an education, as well as allowing widow remarriage (which is typically frowned on by traditional Hindu culture). Another article notes that Pune had also been supportive of family planning as early as the late 1800s. Again, Pune leads the way in this "revolution" of culture. Vishwanath Gurjar, head of the priesthood division of an educational institution in the area, says that "women have an equal right to "moksha," the Hindu concept of the liberation of the soul from the continual cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. According to him, there is nothing in the scriptures to suggest that women are not equal to men." Although not expressly forbidden by Hinduism, women have typically not worked as pandits (priests) and the movement has met with some resistance.

The movement towards female pandits began, according to the article, with Shankarrao Thatte (owner of a major marriage hall in the city) starting a training school for women called the Shankar Seva Samiti. Both articles cite the prior "lackadaisical" approach of male priests toward their priestly duties, which included performing several rituals (or puja) in homes. Clients complained that male priests were late, rushed through the ceremonies, and were unwilling to explain the rituals or field questions during or after its performance. Women priests, on the other hand, while still working towards universal acceptance, have been growing in favor by those willing to hire them to perform these rituals. They are reportedly more punctual and willing to explain the meaning of the rituals and as such are often preferred to their male counterparts.

One area, however, where male priests still dominate are with regards to death rituals. This, too has recently become an area of greater debate. In the words of the BusinessLine article:
Gulabbai Tripathi was only 11 when she conducted her first funeral and death rites at the death of her father. She died in 2005, at the ripe old age of 86.

For 70-odd years, she was in charge of a crematorium in Allahabad, which she made her home. Marathi writer Mangala Athlekar even penned a book based on her life titled `Gargi'.

Says Athlekar, "When I got to know her, I realised that we — women in cities — only talk about women's liberation in our ivory towers. Gulabbai may not have known the jargon of women's rights, but she put this `liberation' into action.

"Just as, in Vedic times, Gargi boldly questioned the intellect of Yajnavalkya in a Brahmin gathering, Gulabbai questioned the Brahmin gurus of our era.

"Why can a woman not undertake last rites, she asked. She built her own ghat on the banks of the Ganga and served society for 70 years."

While the issue of women priests is likely still a rather controversial subject in terms of potential conflict if male priests were to feel challenged in their roles, there was one point in particular made by the eNews article that could be universally applicable. Gurjar, quoted earlier about male-female equality in the scriptures, also said that "[i]t is only the mindset of people that stops them from accepting women in certain roles." This, I believe, is true of many women's issues domestically and internationally. And so, we at WomanStats endeavor to spread awareness of women's issues as well as propose new possibilities in order to enable society and the mindset of the populous to change accordingly.

[photographs are from eNews and BusinessLine, respectively].

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Choose Civility - large and small scale

So, I've been at home now for a few days and I've noticed cars around the area touting "choose civility" bumper sticker, not unlike this:

Being a naturally curious person, I decided to do some looking into these rather unusual what ended up being magnets.

The movement is a result of research done by Dr. Forni. Essentially, he did research in '98 (probably for years before then, but it was published in '98) that showed that if a small number of people act "civilly" than there is a large positive impact on the surrounding community. Ding! Several communities (including Baltimore) had the idea to start "choose civility" movements. Cool. It's interesting to me that civility is a lost art to many people - so much so that our Dr. Forni himself has written two books, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct and (perhaps more appropriate for some of my friends/readers who are already extremely civil) The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude.

It is in light of this idea that I pass along what I considered to be connected words targeted at the British but spoken by Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rebroadcast tonight. It is a bit on the longish side for a blog post, but it's worth it. Here it is, taken from the Guardian's website:

"In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful.

"Upon the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, Son of Mary, the Word of God, the Messenger of mercy, I would like to congratulate the followers of Abrahamic faiths, especially the followers of Jesus Christ, and the people of Britain.

"The Almighty created the universe for human beings and human beings for Himself.

"He created every human being with the ability to reach the heights of perfection. He called on man to make every effort to live a good life in this world and to work to achieve his everlasting life.

"On this difficult and challenging journey of man from dust to the divine, He did not leave humanity to its own devices. He chose from those He created the most excellent as His Prophets to guide humanity.

"All Prophets called for the worship of God, for love and brotherhood, for the establishment of justice and for love in human society. Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the standard-bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings, of the fight against tyranny, discrimination and injustice.

"All the problems that have bedevilled humanity throughout the ages came about because humanity followed an evil path and disregarded the message of the Prophets.

"Now as human society faces a myriad of problems and a succession of complex crises, the root causes can be found in humanity's rejection of that message, in particular the indifference of some governments and powers towards the teachings of the divine Prophets, especially those of Jesus Christ.

"The crises in society, the family, morality, politics, security and the economy which have made life hard for humanity and continue to put great pressure on all nations have come about because the Prophets have been forgotten, the Almighty has been forgotten and some leaders are estranged from God.

"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.

"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.

"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political systems, as He did in His lifetime.

"The solution to today's problems is a return to the call of the divine Prophets. The solution to these crises is to follow the Prophets - they were sent by the Almighty for the good of humanity.

"Today, the general will of nations is calling for fundamental change. This is now taking place. Demands for change, demands for transformation, demands for a return to human values are fast becoming the foremost demands of the nations of the world.

"The response to these demands must be real and true. The prerequisite to this change is a change in goals, intentions and directions. If tyrannical goals are repackaged in an attractive and deceptive package and imposed on nations again, the people, awakened, will stand up against them.

"Fortunately, today, as crises and despair multiply, a wave of hope is gathering momentum. Hope for a brighter future and hope for the establishment of justice, hope for real peace, hope for finding virtuous and pious rulers who love the people and want to serve them – and this is what the Almighty has promised.

"We believe Jesus Christ will return, together with one of the children of the revered Messenger of Islam and will lead the world to love, brotherhood and justice.

"The responsibility of all followers of Christ and Abrahamic faiths is to prepare the way for the fulfilment of this divine promise and the arrival of that joyful, shining and wonderful age.

"I hope that the collective will of nations will unite in the not too distant future and with the grace of the Almighty Lord, that shining age will come to rule the earth.

"Once again, I congratulate one and all on the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. I pray for the New Year to be a year of happiness, prosperity, peace and brotherhood for humanity. I wish you every success and happiness."

I feel quite hopeful for the years ahead. Perhaps President Hinckley was on to something in his continual support of optimism despite his awareness of current issues (he read numerous newspapers front-to-back daily). I think so.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice!

As we returned home from today's Christmas service, my father asked us over lunch what was special about today. "Winter Solstice!" I exclaimed, at the same time as another who guessed "Ides of March!"

I get extremely excited for winter solstice every year for many reasons, not the least of which is my love for a dear pagan friend who celebrates it... dare I say?... religiously. Also, it marks the longest night or the shortest day of the year, which means that its passing means the passing of the darkest hour (quite literally) for those who suffer from SAD (whoever named Seasonal Affective Disorder had a sense of humor). Personally, I prefer long days and short nights. Anyhew, I think it's interesting that we celebrate Christmas more or less on top of winter solstice despite the fact that Christ was probably born in April, nearer to Easter. In fact, winter solstice became Christmas with the "civilizing" of Europe and they were around the same day until Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar (what? yes.) moving the solstice up to the 21st-ish. Poor pagans, we totally hijacked your holiday. And then commercialized it. Honestly, what is the deal with santa? Another topic for another post.

Just for kicks, I've done some not-so-extensive research on the original and Christian symbolism of Christmas, and come to some interesting information. Most people have at least heard that the Christmas tree has pagan origins (they were sometimes worshipped or, in the case of Evergreens, brought indoors as a reminder during winter months that life would again return in the spring), but how bout that yule log? Apparently yule has roots in a word meaning wheel and used to signify the sun - yule logs used to be burned to worship the sun goddess. My personal favorite is mistletoe, which was a mystical plant because it springs up seemingly out of nowhere in the branch-pits of trees; it was traditionally believed that they brought fertility, hence the kissing under the mistletoe business. Neato.

Anyway, call it whatever you like, I'm a fan of the celebrations that go on this time of year and how they foster a feeling of love, hope, renewal, and goodwill (as well as a chance to totally geek out on photo stuff with my dad). Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finals are over! Free at last!

Dear blog readers,

I know that you have been missing my quick wit, web-scavenging, and eloquent yet condensed commentary on life as we know it. Fear not! Winter break is here. And that means lots and lots of blogging, both here and over on my photo blog. Consider this your personal invitation to comment, refute, extol, whatever. Yes. Yours.

I'm flying home in a couple of hours so I need to get my life in line, but here's something many of you may or may not have come across. First of all, a blog. This blog is the only blog that can make me laugh out loud on a consistent basis. Nearly every blogpost is packed with squeak/snort/pantspee-ing humor. And they called it... Cake Wrecks.

I have to direct you to this particular post. Watch the film clip, and look carefully for the movement accompanying "and little arms." Repeat. Wear Depends.

And that, dear friends, loved ones, compatriots, patriots, anarchists, lovers, is all for today. But check back often for updates.



Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

White Winter Hymnal

I saw these guys in concert, and it was phenomenal. Who knew that clay people could move like that in real life?

White Winter Hymnal from Grandchildren on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Physics of Meaning

A few weeks ago, I went to Velour to see Somber Party and saw some east-coast natives as a positive externality. In fact, describing them as a positive externality is a gross understatement. I was absolutely blown away. Not generally one to rave about bands, I can't help myself in this case. The mournful, soulful pieces that Physics of Meaning played were the sort that makes you nostalgic for things you've never experienced. Lead vocals, string and a less-processed live sound blended together for an audio ecstasy with each carefully constructed neo-symphonic climax. If that's too vague for you, I apologize. I was left speechless that night and I haven't fully recovered.

Check them out on their website.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I just love killing those animals, mm-mm, take away life, that is so fun!

"I would really like to go hunting with you except if vice president Cheney would come." - guy posing as Sarkozy
"Oh, yes, I'd be... I'd be a careful shot." - Palin

For the prank call audio, go here. It's hilarious. And legit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

While we breathe, we hope.

Four years ago this day, I walked around BYU campus feeling utterly alone in my misery. The country had spoken and it had spoken in a manner I believed to be wholly incomprehensible. It requested four more years of the Bush administration. This would have been slightly more understandable if I hadn't sat through a "debate" in my American heritage class that featured comment after comment such as "let's face it, Kerry's just not cute enough to be president." And Bush looks like a monkey, I thought to myself. I didn't understand. I still don't.

After the Patriot Act, I didn't think things could get much worse for the nation in terms of the damage done by the Bush administration, but hey, they haven't ceased to amaze me. Regardless, I blog today about something more remarkable: the outcome of the most important presidential election of this generation.

A week ago I went running sporting a "Don't blame me, I voted for Nader" shirt, partially to get a rise out of campus when I jogged through during a class break. I couldn't help but wonder if I would want to wear it again today. A friend of mine remarked that election day was like Christmas: you go to bed and wonder if you're going to wake up to candy or coal.

Four years ago I went to bed when Kerry was projected to win, and woke up to a slap in the face. I approached this election with more caution, no sleep. Watching the results roll in with the BYU democrats club was exciting, to say the least. I am amazed at how successful the Obama campaign was at reducing apathy and inspiring college students. I'll never forget the moment that I saw "Obama projected to win presidential election" first display on the screen - the room erupted into cheers and tears. "No more Bush!" they chanted, and then "Yes we can!" and then "We did it!" and then simply "O-ba-ma!"

I rallied some politically aligned friends with my roommate last night after the acceptance speech and we went out for milkshakes to celebrate. "Happy Obama!" was our parting cry. This morning I felt like a living celebration. I had celebratory 10-grain cereal. My celebratory high-knee steps in aerobic dance were extra high; my fist pumps had meaning behind them beyond toned triceps. Although some Utahans were rallying friends to dress for mourning, I felt like God decided to weigh in by sending celebratory crystalline white confetti all over campus, and then bringing in the sun to further lighten the mood. I ate a celebratory bagel sandwich in my celebratory sweatpants before going home to have a celebratory shower. I feel like a new woman. "Have a great day," the cashier said. "Oh, I'll have a great next four years!" I replied with a grin.

The words of Obama's acceptance speech will forever echo in my mind. Try as I may, I can't do this event justice. We have a black president and, for the first time in my adult life, a president that I agree with my friend "is actually presidential." My feelings echo what was said:
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy... tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day."

This is perhaps the first time in my life that I have actually felt proud to be American. As I bit into a celebratory apple this morning, I found it was mealy and hoped that this moment's elation wouldn't follow suit and be flattened by a letdown in performance during the next four years. I appreciated Obama's comments about hard work and sacrifice for change that may take more than a few months, years, or even a term to come about. For the moment, at least, I believe the best. I, too, "have never felt more hopeful" and I, too, can finally echo a feeling that I lost four years ago:

While we breathe, we hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The WomanStats Blog & my first post

The project I work with is always coming up with ways to better disseminate information. Hence, the arrival of the WomanStats blog!

I just finished writing my first post there. It is about an article I sniffed out in the New York Times.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I support local businesses (which support large corporations)!

Once upon a time I worked in a hippie mart called Roots. At the time it was very much a small, local business and I worked for peanuts because I really believed in it. It, like many other similar businesses, has changed as it has become more and more popular, but a lot of the changes go on behind the scenes.

I could probably go on and on about different things that would make people who care about local business, sustainable farming, and friendly food (what? ok) want to throw their hands in the air, but I'll stick to today's curiosity. I was really pleased to see that the BYU bookstore recently started carrying Equal Exchange chocolate again. Although I personally prefer the taste and variety of Seeds of Change (which, as it turns out, is owned by M&M/Mars), Equal Exchange is a close second in taste. I was thinking to myself how sad/funny/unnerving it would be if this company, which is reportedly all about fair trade, cooperatives, etc. was owned by Kraft or some such. So I went looking for the ownership diagrams I'd seen at back at Roots. I think it's fascinating to see who owns what.

Hurrah for Equal Exchange! A worker-owned cooperative!

On that note, remember Odwalla? "At Odwalla, we blend the best ingredients from nature with the latest learning in nutrition to create products bursting with living flavor that nourish your body, mind and spirit. Our mission today is the same as it's been for more than 25 years: nourish People everywhere, respect our Planet, protect the Soil with sustainable practicies, and create products good for the Soul." Oh, really? So, let's see... Odwalla, according to the bottle, is owned by odwalla, but let's check our diagrams (I even called them just to double-check):

Owned by Coca-Cola! Boo, Odwalla! Now, contrary to Stuff White People Like, I actually have a reason for disliking Coca-Cola besides the fact that it is a huge corporation that is not Ikea. This would be the fact that there have been murders at factories where unions were being organized. Hairy? Yes.

I guess my point in blogging about this is twofold:
1. It is interesting. What would happen if one of the large conglomerate food companies collapsed? Mass hysteria? Don't think it could happen? Fanny and Freddie Mae? Anyone?
2. Maybe those of us who care who we support should do a little more research? Just an idea. It's more work but only barely and it's worth it.

Happy eating!


Monday, May 5, 2008

Yankee Scouser

I have a different blog for the summer - Goeth. Noweth. or whenever you get around to iteth.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

[insert name here]

Two notable things recently:

1. I've been typing enough on a French keyboard that being on an American one screws me up.

2. My sister and I discovered an incredibly cool used book store in Auvers sur Oise.

Once I figure out what it's called (the bookstore, not an inability to type correctly), I'll edit the title of the post. The store is owned by a man from Quebec and spans a previously abandoned/boarded up building on the train tracks and three old train cars. It had an impressive coverage of subjects and vintages. While perusing through the poetry section, I found a book that had an old (unused) postcard saying, roughly translated, while you are reading this words, please suck on a cherry. Perhaps that's some French saying, but it definitely raised my right (and then left, and then both) eyebrow. I got some gems - an old feminist text in French about birth control among others - and we gave the guy who owned it the gears.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Today was a beautiful day in Auvers sur Oise - sunny and warm with a gentle breeze. Speaking of breezes, I'm assuming that that's what was keeping me up last night (the shutters banging against the house) and not, as I suspected in my state of fight-or-flight heightened awareness, some French intruder. After church I came home, opened the floor-to-ceiling windows in my room, and fell asleep watching the leaves move framed between the wooden shutters outdoors. After dinner, I walked around town and took pictures. There are more, of course, but I picked a few of my favorites to post today. What I wished I could have taken a picture of was a wc... what is it with French people and hating public restrooms?

Friday, April 25, 2008


Several days and one horrendous delayed flight after I left my apartment, I stepped foot on mainland European ground. I felt the understandable urge to kiss both the solid earth and my sister - but not necessarily in that order. Aside from thinking I was going to die on the rocky-would-be-an-understatement flight, I was happy to spend time with N & her daughter, perhaps the most gorgeous child to wobble the earth on this side of the pond. Get ready for some extreme baby cuteness. And don't say I didn't warn you.

It should be illegal. Today we went on an adventure to Paris, ostensibly to find some shoes and return some baby food that came with bugs in it. Yikes. And my sister wanted to exchange it - brave woman. In the end, I didn't feel like buying shoes but I did go in this crazy fabric store with my sister - the mannequins are wee little things, and I found one that reminded me a bit of Lucille Ball. I had to engage in operation covert picture taking, so my apologies for the composition.

Maybe not Lucille Ball, but certainly... something. Wow. I can imagine that being in that store in the dark might possibly be one of the most frightening things I could fathom.

One of the things I love about Europe (since we all know that it's just a country anyway) is that the public transportation here is excellent. Sometimes the stops are a little ghetto,

and some of the lines are a little retro,

but some of them are just cool.

Et ca suffit pour moi.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Art is not a crime.

Today I helped (or aided and abetted, as the cops might claim) my friend Ash Mae set up some performance art. I love her ideas - they are centered around community and focus on involving "real," "normal" people and getting them to engage.


This show is called "Grow." It consists of several hundred old catalog cards that rest, cut up, tempting most students to steal stacks of them from the library. Two cards are sewn together with wildflower seeds inside. We taped blank cards to the wall and then stapled these filled cards to them - some even have drawings on them. The instructions are as follows:

I love it. It reminds me a little of the giveaway going on over at Petit Elefant. Anyway - I tore tape for hours as we cracked jokes and interacted 
with the passers-by. People met their neighbors for the first time after
living nearby for 7.5 months. 

They left notes.

Lots of people slowed down, stopped, or raced by. Someone even called the cops, who were nice enough after they had finished accusing us (understandably) of graffitti-ing this building whose wall we were borrowing. My favorite line was when one cop went off to return the phonecall to the concerned citizen that had called us in for supposedly tagging the wall. "Yes... as it turns out, they're just taping seeds to the wall. Yes. wildflower seeds."

We offered to let him take a packet, but he wasn't interested in taking anything but Ash Mae's personal details. Too bad for him.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Secretaries: Office espionage in action

When people ask me about the three jobs I have, they tend to sound a little disappointed to find out that I spend most of my time as a secretary. "Oh," they say, "that's... nice." Actually, it is nice. I am in school and working as a TA and an RA to exercise my mind. Being a secretary
is for making money, meeting people I wouldn't otherwise, and enjoying myself.

The office that I work in is no exception. There are professors with diverse backgrounds and opinions and a wide range of very interesting students that come in. One of my trained-monkey tasks as a secretary is handing back papers from a large, swinging cabinet that locks at night.
This allows me a great number of interactions with students. Many have distinct and inventive form for requesting a paper. Some examples are included below.

  • "Paper. P*** 110. TA: Ashley. Codename: Vladimir Putin." No greeting. No pause for breath.
  • "Uh... (looks around)... I uh ... need to like, pick up a paper? Or something? Where do I... do that?"
One of my favorites was yesterday - a delightful student with an interesting (but very American) lilt to his speech. "Good afternoon! I have been informed that it appears you have one of my papers! I would like to request it back." As if I had accidentally or even perhaps maliciously confiscated it from his professor. Sadly, his paper was not there and I had to console him with the tact of a doctor giving bad news. "I know... I'm sorry. You need it for your final draft, I understand.  I'm afraid... it's DOA. I mean MIA." "That's quite alright, no worries at all. Have a wonderful day!" Would that all students were as cheerful as he.

To most people, secretaries are an invisible part of the landscape. This means that we are party to all sorts of information we oughtn't know. For instance, CB has a full-tuition scholarship to BYU's law school. She said this loudly and directly in front of me to PS, and was shocked when I repeated it to her later. She was maybe a foot away from where I sit. A lot of it is stuff I really shouldn't know, and hence refuse to post on a website. It's interesting. I feel like an anthropologist who's gone native studying the military - I'm involved. i keep my ear to the wire.

Another highlight of the job is finding random artifacts of academic life. At times it's an orphaned paper. At times a cell phone, book, or charger of sorts. Today is was a green folder with slightly faded edges - used, but cared for. I cracked it open and found a business card tucked in some professional-looking slits in the pocket. The name read L*** ******, the college advisor. Realizing after a slow moment (I work at 8am... it takes a while to rev up the ol' braingine) that it didn't belong to her, I started rifling. It feels so natural but obviously voyeuristic to do... but I love it. I think you learn a lot about people by the things they keep around, especially in such a consumeristic society. Most of his things were fairly predictable - transcript, MAP, a list of things one needs for 
whatever government military force he's involved in. But there was one gem. 
A dungeons and dragons scorecard. I felt a little guilty after Elder Wirthlin's 
talk in conference on people feeling welcome and accepted. 

But I loved it. Here was this tough guy in the military who plays dungeons &
dragons in his free time. I love finding quirky things out about people - things 
they love but don't share with others. I tried to share my discovery with my
boss, but she instead said that she used to play (what?! awesome! two in one
morning!) and that it was personal - I shouldn't be looking at it because I
already found his name. She was right, of course.

I wanted to put something in the email about it - we found your folder and, by the way, why did you choose unarmed attack instead of invisibility?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The First

My sister told me once about a coworker she had. Good story, you're thinking. Well, just wait. Apparently, his parents hated him. What I mean by that is that he was one of those unfortunate people who had a ridiculous suffix on the end of his name. Having read of people (in the newspaper) named things like Lemonjello and Orangejello (said orangelo and lemonjelo), I would have thought that people could never run out of things to name children. Not so. As a result, sadly for him, he was never known by any Christian (Buddist, Muslim, Jewish, or other) name in the office. In a Michael Scott-esque maneuver, he remained The Third.

This began a long tradition for my sister and I of adding suffixes (and middle initials) to peoples' names who had none. My friends can attest. Andy became Andrew P. L*****, esq., III. The tradition continues. I'd say to be careful of that, but I give a mean nickname as well. And, to be honest, I think that muffin is far worse than The Third.