The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: November 17, 2018
We’re less than a week from Thanksgiving and soon we’ll be moving into the Advent season. Here in central Indiana we had our first ice and snow event this past week (see the picture above), which was relatively minor and its effects soon melted away. We’ve had the fireplace going to keep off the chill. Things just keep getting browner and grayer around here, but at least we have good things to look forward to. Next Saturday, we’ll probably be eating leftovers and soaking our feet after Black Friday shopping. I’m getting hungry already. So, let’s Brunch!
• • •
• • •
R.I.P. Stan Lee…
• • •
And now…a panda playing in the snow!
• • •
People the English language isn’t rich enough to describe…
Alex Rawlings has written an intriguing article at BBC called, “The 10 personality traits English cannot name.” Rawlings says: “My recent book, ‘From Amourette to Żal: Bizarre and Beautiful Words from Around Europe’, explores some of the words that other languages have, but that English doesn’t. The following 10 words, for example, describe character traits and behaviours that may be familiar to us all, but that the English language struggles to succinctly express.”
Here are a few examples from the article. Go there to learn more interesting words that are just beyond our ability to describe using the King’s English.
Sortable / Insortable [adjective] – French
There are certain people in your life, such as friends or relatives, who you would rather meet up with at home than in public. Maybe it’s just that every time you go out with them for a meal they end up causing some kind of scene like striking up conversation with the couple in the corner who just want to be left alone, arguing with the waiters, or asking you about your personal life in a very loud voice around others. The French language describes those people as insortable, which means ‘un-take-out-able’.
However, those people that you would like to be seen in public with and that don’t manage to humiliate you so badly, are the opposite of insortable. They are sortable, or ‘take-out-able’, because you want to parade around with them everywhere
Γρουσούζης (groosoozis) [noun] – Greek
It doesn’t matter what they do. For some reason, some people just seem to bring bad luck. They’re the kind of people whose toast always lands buttered side down. They’re the kind of people whose phones miraculously die, even though just a second ago it said they had 51% battery left. Whatever they touch seems to break instantly, and worst of all, there’s practically nothing they can do about it.
The Greek language doesn’t try in vain to rationalise this predicament any more than it should be. Instead, it simply places those who find themselves in it into a category of their own. A γρουσούζης (groosoozis) is not just someone who is a bit unlucky sometimes, but someone who is a magnet for misfortune.
Pantofolaio [noun] – Italian
Some people may enjoy leaping out of bed at the crack of dawn, putting on their running shoes and kicking off their day of spectacular productivity with a pre-work workout. For others, though, their day may never quite reach these heights of activity. Instead they might choose to roll out of bed at a more leisurely hour. And then, once they’re up and about, the only type of footwear they would ever choose to don would be a pair of comfortable slippers, which they’ll happily walk around their home in all day, before they take them off again to go back to bed.
Those people who are so lazy that they just spend all day lounging about in their slippers are known as pantofolaio, which essentially means a ‘slippers-person’.
• • •
Photos from the week…
• • •
They drank the Kool-Aid…
In November of 1978, I was a newbie pastor, having served my first church for a grand total of less than two months. I was a month away from being married. My understanding of the world was meager. One of the first awakening experiences of my emerging adult life was trying to fathom how nearly a thousand people following a religious leader could do the unimaginable.
On Sunday, November 19 that year we were at my future in-laws’ home listening to the radio as news reports were coming in from a far away jungle place called Guyana. A large number of bodies had been discovered in a settlement there. In addition, a congressman who had gone there to investigate reports about a cult there was reported killed. Over the next hours and days, a horrific picture emerged. We learned about the Rev. Jim Jones, who had led a large group of followers from California to Guyana, where they had established a settlement called Jonestown. On November 18, 1978, Jones convinced, and in some cases, forced more than 900 of those followers to drink Flavor-Aid laced with cyanide in a mass suicide he called a “revolutionary act.”
- In Indianapolis, Jim Jones was a Methodist and Disciples of Christ minister.
- He graduated from prestigious Butler University.
- He was the first director of the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission.
- He moved to California, and by 1973 almost 3,000 people were members of his congregation.
- In 1975, Jones was named one of the top 100 most outstanding clergymen in the nation by Religion in American Life magazine.
- In 1976, Jones received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Herald newspaper and was appointed chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority.
By 1977, however, a group called Concerned Relatives was becoming more active in raising alarms about Jones and his church, reports of mistreatment at Peoples’ Temple were spreading, and Jones moved to Guyana with about 1,000 followers. Just a year later more than 900 of those people were massacred by their leader, who himself died of a gunshot wound to the head.
By the end, in November 1978, Jones’ attitude towards his followers had changed. In the early stages of his ministry, when actually great things were often being accomplished, he thought of himself as the shepherd guarding his flock. More and more over the years, as his paranoia increased, as his drug use increased, he began to think of himself at war with almost everyone else in the outside world – the United States government, all kinds of secret forces. He believed – he talked himself into believing that at any moment he would be attacked, he would be brought down. And he passed this along to his followers.
At the end, he saw himself as a general. And his followers were his troops. And when Jones made the decision that there must be one last great gesture so that his name would live in history, his example would live in history, that would require the deaths of his followers.
• Jeff Guinn, The Road to Jonestown
• • •
I’m in the early stages of listening to Mark Knopfler’s ninth solo studio recording, Down The Road Wherever. So I don’t have much to report yet, other than what I’ve heard so far is classic Knopfler narrative magic.
Here’s one of the cuts: “Good on You Son”