September 09, 2002

Tess' "100 things about 100 bloggers" project

"Numa gave to one of his four sons the name of Mamercus, which was the name of one of the sons of Pythagoras; whence, as they say, sprang that ancient patrician family of the �millii, for that the king gave him in sport the surname of �milius, for his engaging and graceful manner in speaking". [Plutarch's Life of Numa Pompilius (John Dryden's translation)].

To be sure, I'm totally unrelated to �that ancient patrician family of the �millii� (some � alleged � descendants of which, I understand, live to this day in Rome), my ethnic background being Jewish Eastern European. The root �mel� is related to both music, as in melody and melisma, and honey (�miel� in French and Spanish), as in mellifluous and hydromel.

Let that be the first item in my contribution to Tess� "100 things about 100 bloggers in 100 days" project (see this and this).

Here are the next 18; I shall have to squeeze harder to produce the other 81:

2. I love all non-human animals and generally relate well to them, particularly to dogs. I believe all animals are equal in that they seek to avoid pain and obtain pleasure and are generally fond of food, drink, shelter, comfort, warmth or coolth as necessary, safety, companionship, play. No, I don�t believe in giving dogs the right to vote, as some idiotic detractors of the animal rights movement have suggested (although dogs might have done better than the human American public did in 2000), but I do believe in giving dogs the right to a life free of any form of exploitation and so-called �bio-medical experiments.

3. I have most of the traits of Asperger�s syndrome (see this) but have been told by alleged �experts� that I don�t qualify as a full-fledged �Aspie�, to which I reply �If _I_ don�t I wonder who does�.

4. My favorite movie is �A man for all seasons�. I disagree with the principle that Sir Thomas More was upholding (the authority of the Bishop of Rome over the Church in England, and whether said Church would get to keep its assets); personally I don�t think it was worth dying and abandoning his family for, but I admire his integrity in refusing to consent to something he thought was wrong. Thomas More had boundaries: he would go out of his way to defer to the authority of his King on most matters, but there was a limit to what he was willing to consent to, and he preferred to die rather than violate that limit. He said �Enough!�, up to here you can go, but no further; there is a territory within which I am free to follow my conscience and you cannot touch me. As Mahatma Gandhi said �You can kill me. Then you�ll have my dead body. NOT MY OBEDIENCE!�.

5. I�ve only held two jobs in my entire life: 31 years at the UN and before that nine years teaching mathematics at a university in Argentina.

6. I HATE the patriarchal mindset, control, manipulation and the arbitrary exercise of authority. As a result I hate the oppression of the powerless by the mighty like the treatment of non-human animals by human society and all other forms of exploitation.

7. I have had some of my best ideas in conversation or correspondence with other students, thinkers and researchers, so I'm very fond of that kind of exchanges.

8. My ethnic background is Jewish but my religion isn�t. I describe myself as a Buddhist Witch.

9. The music I like best is baroque and classical. I also like many romantic works. The works written in the twentieth century that I like can be counted with the fingers of one hand. So-called popular music mostly gets on my nerves, though I can tolerate some styles in very small doses. I do, however, like folk music from many countries.

10. I am happily married.

11. I am strongly pro-choice and believe that the decision to terminate a pregnancy or bring it to term should be strictly the mother�s. I resent the term �pro-life� being used to designate the anti-choice position, especially since its proponents are also often supporters of war, guns, the death penalty, bombing of clinics, shooting of doctors and other right-wing anti-life items. What the anti-choice crowd is for are control, domination, tyranny, slavery and the perpetuation of the patriarchy.

12. I�ve never met a dog I didn�t like. Will Rogers is supposed to have said that he'd never met a man he didn�t like; I'd have _loved_ to have been able to introduce Will Rogers to some men I know...

13. I distrust religions the holy scriptures of which contain some form of the �kill them all� meme. Whether the �all� that are to be destroyed are witches, infidels, Amalekites, heretics, adulterers or anything else is immaterial. It is true that some followers of those religions are modern and moderate and don�t insist on the literal implementation of those injunctions, but they are still there on the books � which of course cannot be changed because they come from Above � and any shift to the right may bring them back into full currency, as has indeed been the case in several instances. �Kill them all� passages in holy books make me nervous, and I'm angered by attempts to whitewash them: �Well, yes, but it DOESN�T _REALLY_ _MEAN_ �kill them all�� What part of �kill them all� don�t you understand?? Some individuals are putting �kill them all� into practice even now, as we speak!!

14. My favorite activities, to which I devote my retirement, are reading, writing, resting, reflecting and roaming the web. I have finally found what I want to be when I grow up: a retired person...

15. I believe in non-violence and admire leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. But I realize that in some cases it is unavoidable to have to stop criminals like Adolf Hitler by violent means. Similarly, I am opposed in principle to the death penalty, but some crimes make me wish for the SLOW death penalty.

16. I believe heterosexuals are bisexuals who have lost the ability to relate sexually to beings of the same sex and homosexuals are bisexuals who have lost the ability to relate sexually to beings of the other sex. The healthiest sexuality is probably bisexual. In any case it is a matter of personal preference with no bearing on any other aspect of life. However, and though accurate statistics (an oxymoron?) are impossible to obtain (who is an artist? who is a homosexual) I believe there must be a correlation between creative artistic talent and homosexuality. I believe that were it not for the stigma attached to homosexuality in patriarchal societies there would be a lot more homosexuals. Personally I don�t have the ability to relate sexually to men, believe that if I were a woman I would be a lesbian and am surprised that more women aren't.

17. I have only set foot in three countries in my entire life: the USA, Argentina and Chile (unless one counts brief airport stops in Per�, Ecuador and Panam�, which one shouldn�t). This is a fairly low number, which I'm proud of... I don�t like to travel and believe in Blaise Pascal�s statement in his �Thoughts� that �all troubles come to human beings from not knowing how to stay quietly in their rooms�.

18. I was born in Argentina in 1940, came to the US in 1967 and worked at the UN in New York as a translator until 1998. I'm now happily retired and living in Sedalia, Missouri.

19. My politics is Democratic and left-wing.

(To be continued. Perhaps.)

Please send me your comments; I will post them in this blog or not as you wish.

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