Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Additional Benefits of Reading

“Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a dangerous enemy indeed.”
-Anne Rice, The Witching Hour

“The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”
-Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1964

“The connection between reading speed and comprehension; a film is made up of still images flashed in rapid succession to simulate movement. Slow down the film, and the movement and meaning slows and the film's impact is diminished. Viewers won't learn as much about the film as if it were shown at normal speed. With reading the same thing can happen. When a person reads word by word, like frame by frame, they are not reading on the level of ideas. You need to read on some level that's more conversational and allows things to coalesce into ideas themselves.”
-Doug Evans, Institute of Reading Development

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.”
- Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


When I was a child I had a lot of excess energy. I was very inquisitive. I wanted to learn about the world as fast as possible. However my (very loving) family into which I was adopted was nothing like me in that regard. Wonderful people, but with all the curiosity and imagination of complacent basset hounds. They loved me very much and gave me a great childhood; however I was so different from them that I almost think sometimes that they thought of me as more of a curiosity than a child. Something to be wheeled out at dinner parties to recite religious-based poetry verbatim at the age of six. “Oooh, he’s so smart…” Well, compared to them, I guess I was.

“Dearest Loving Jesus, please help me to be good,
And do the things and say the things that all good children should…”

(It’s burned indelibly into my memory. I wish I could forget that shit.)

Fortunately they did one thing right. Almost as if they realized that they had little to offer me in the way of satisfying the black hole of curiosity that burned within me, they did the one thing that they could have in that pre-Internet age to set me on a path whereby I could do so myself. They taught me how to read. More than that though, and an important distinction, they taught me how to *love* to read. It was a big thing with my mom that I should both be able to read, and should love to read, even though she herself did not. I have to give her a lot of credit for getting that one right.

I remember that it was in the fourth grade though, that I really got hooked on reading. Like a pathetic junkie, I mean.

After that I remember spending days with the Hardy Boys. My standard rate was five of them in eight hours. Not bad for a twelve-year-old.

Once when I was about thirteen I actually threatened my dad that if he didn’t buy me a certain book that I had been waiting to read which was “just out in stores” that I would have to steal it. Like as if it would be his fault, so he'd better buy me the damned book or start me on a life of crime or something. To his credit, I didn’t get the book, and did get spoken to very sternly about my self-centeredness. Good job there, dad.

And then in conjunction with all of this, the Wonders of Science Fiction were revealed unto me by a used car salesman that worked for my uncle’s AMC dealership, where I would frequently spend time as a child due to the fact that my dad was the General Manager. I am forever indebted to Bill the car salesman who gave me his discarded pulp mags, and later some appropriately silly novels of Alien Invasion and other standard fare SF of the day that caught my interest. When I discovered Larry Niven (a four-book set given to me by my aunt at Christmas) I was hooked for life. And of course on television there was Star Trek to further fuel my imagination and oddly enough I think even shape my future morality to some extent. That was when I managed to convince my parents to let me watch it instead of them watching Lawrence Welk. Ahh, back in the day of one TV per family...

(As an aside, I have to recommend Star Trek to anyone as an excellent thing to park your kids in front of regardless of how bad that sounds. It’s like imagination gasoline with a positive message.)

Sometimes I think that if I hadn't found reading, I'd have long ago gone insane, or at the very least clinically depressed. It was everything to me as a child.

I have come to believe that developing a true love of reading is much more important that we realize. If you do not like to read, you do not develop your visual imagination anywhere near to its potential. With your visual imagination, in tandem with your logical ability (which we all have been trained to think is the more important by far) we have essentially two huge tools with which to accurately judge what we perceive in this world, rather than only one.

Visual imagery adds dramatic depth to the level of our understanding of what we are judging with our logical abilities, and thus how we perceive reality.

With a well-developed reading ability, when you are examining a logical problem you can better understand what the logical words you are saying to yourself in your head actually mean in relation to the “world out there” due to the fact that there is also a very detailed illustration in your mind that you are automatically manipulating to match the word descriptions of various things which occur to you in relation to your train of thought. This ability is like being in possession of a futuristic 3-D viewer in your mind that can show anything you desire it to, automatically, no effort involved. You do not have to think “I wish to visualize this sequence of events that I am now thinking of in verbal form” when you are a practiced reader, because you automatically access visual imagery when you think of verbal information. When you think of a verbal series of events, you automatically have the accompanying visualization of it to 'look' at as you do so. You’ve learned to visualize what you read in a book; this is automatically transferred to what you “read” out loud to your self in word form when you think logically about anything whatsoever. It's not that non-avid-readers cannot do this; just that they cannot do it nearly as well. By becoming an avid reader you have installed a bridge in your mind between verbal thought flow and visual imagery, and have subsequently strengthened that bridge with every new book that you have read.

People who have no great reading skills do not develop them because they do not read stories and novels and adventures and mysteries, cannot 'get into' such stories, because they were never coaxed to go beyond the tipping point where one starts to visualize what one is reading, and so it is my belief that they also automatically have a real handicap in being able to visualize day-to-day problems well enough to solve them optimally.

Often times when I cannot "see eye-to-eye" with someone, I feel that the problem lies in their inability to visualize what I am talking about as well as I am visualizing what they're talking about. Sometimes it even seems to me that they aren't capable of adequately visualizing what they themselves are talking about.

(I must always consider the possibility that I am the one in error of course, but still, even after that...)

Visual imagination is also a key to empathy since you must be able to first truly imagine the travails of another person in order to develop empathy in the first place, and you can’t do so without being able to accurately visualize what their day-to-day life is like, their situations, their dilemmas. Words alone, or even words coupled with the increasingly-normal-now sub-par power to visualize, just aren’t enough to really do that. With a well-developed visual imagination one almost automatically puts one's self into the other's place and imagines seeing out of their eyes for a bit. And once one does that, one is automatically empathetic to their lives and can better relate to them as fellow humans.

So teach your children to read, and then go that one step further and teach them to love to read. It’s one of the biggest gifts that you can give to them. Oh, and it won't be easy. There are a lot more distractions out there now than in my day. Do it anyhow.



  1. Well said my friend.

    Language is very much a pattern in the fabric of our existence. To show your children or whomever that you should read fearlessly with understanding is a moral imperative.

    And its very godless of you to stress its positivity ;-)

  2. That's me. Sanctus Brian sine Deus.

    Self-consecrated and self-annointed. Because dammit, somebody has to do it.

  3. Some Zappa, from 1973:

    I am gross and perverted
    I'm obsessed 'n' deranged
    I have existed for years
    But very little had changed
    I'm the tool of the government
    And industry too
    For I am destined to rule
    And regulate you

    I may be vile and pernicious
    But you can't look away
    I make you think I'm delicious
    With the stuff that I say
    I'm the best you can get
    Have you guessed me yet?
    I'm the slime oozin' out
    From your tv set

    You will obey me while I lead you
    And eat the garbage that I feed you
    Until the day that we don't need you
    Dont go for help, no one will heed you
    Your mind is totally controlled
    It has been stuffed into my mold
    And you will do as you are told
    Until the rights to you are sold

    That's right, folks,
    Dont touch that dial...

    Well, I am the slime from your video
    Oozin' along on your livinroom floor

    I am the slime from your video
    Cant stop the slime, people, lookit me go

    etc. etc....

  4. Yeah Brian, I agrees wit ya....and I have weeks of schoolin' to back us up here.

  5. Read? That's not good for business.

    Grandiose metaphors that have vague correlations with rationality and culture, purveyed by me to a rapt audience, now that's good for business.

    Did you know that 'There once was a man from Nantucket,' is actually a metaphor about self-sufficiency?

    I made it up after the Reformation because Martin Luther cut my revenue by 30%. Let me tell you, back in the day that was a show stopper.

    It also reflects my personal philosophy, why love your neighbor when you can just love yourself?

  6. I like that. Why love your neighbor as you love yourself when you can just love yourself. It eliminates the middleman.


    Here's a shitload of reading on freewill.

    I did NOT know that Einstein, Darwin and Spinoza agreed with me.

  8. My business partner has a hard time with reading. He just can't read a book all the way through, so he listens to books on tape. Usually, he'll just skim a book or read any summary information he can. He just has a problem with gleaning information verbally. He's very good when it comes to visual information. He can diagram anything and he can make PowerPoint presentations that communicate far better than the bulleted lists most people use. Just something in his makeup I guess. Still, he's got a great mind.

    I like to apply my Mormon background when appropriate. There's a phrase that we use, not so much now, but seemed to be in vogue decades ago: "...yea, seek ye out of the best abooks words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith..."

    Granted, the context was developing a life of faith, but the phrase has also been used to justify study and learning from the best books in secular learning as well--at least that was the emphasis when I was growing up. With the increasingly fundamentalist bent of the LDS church, that interpretation is not as prevalent anymore, another sad loss in my mind.

    I wish someone could explain why some people see such a threat in secular learning vis a vis religious faith. In the earlier days of the LDS church, several of the church leaders came out of science backgrounds and were considered leading thinkers even in theological matters. There was much more of a balance between faith and learning. Now, it's tipping much more to faith only, with less emphasis on secular learning beyond what's necessary for one's avocation, certainly not encouraged when it comes to church history or doctrine. In fact, there's a backlash against anyone who publishes outside of the "accepted view."

    It's quite discouraging...

    Lloyd the Lurker

  9. I wish someone could explain why some people see such a threat in secular learning vis a vis religious faith.
    That's easy.

    Secular learning destroys most religious faith, unless the religious find a way to demonize it sufficiently so that the believers don't even consider it as credible.

    It's in the interest of their own survival. They'd bleed members if they let them educate themselves. So they had to find a way to keep them dumb. This is one of the many ways, actually.

    In my opinion this starts when a child is presented with conflicting 'facts' about God and their religion. God loves you more than anyone, and you need to love God more than anything else, OR ELSE He will torture your pathetic sinning soul for ever and ever and ever and ever, till the stars all die. That sort of thinking DESTROYS and NEUTERS a person's reality-testing ability, and 'clears the mechanism' for further programming by not only stopping the person from ever 'thinking' about their faith in a critical manner, but also literally TERRIFIES them into a state of abject submission where they will swallow anything their authority-figures tell them. Once the ridiculous has been made normal and the normal made ridiculous to the poor person, it's all over for their ability to ever evolve themselves in any way. They become fixed in their faith, and cannot be moved ever again.

    They become the robots they are.

  10. I absolutely agree with your sentiments! I caught the bug really early, and I cannot describe the countless hours of pure joy recreational reading brought me. SciFi, adventure, horror and fantasy at first (I remember being reprimanded by a teacher that I read the 'wrong stuff' instead of Dickens...yeesh!), later on expanding the repertoire to include psychology, history, cosmology, philosophy; and of late, poetry.

    I haven't been reading much in the way of novels the last few years. The eyes are going, plus spare hours seem fewer these days, I'm afraid. I also have this awful feeling in the back of my mind that I've become too self-important for such trivial things. If that's the case, what a sorry sack of shit I've become! And I have no excuses; I have tons of stuff on the laptop, and an e-reader where I can alter the font size to compensate for my encroaching blindness. Thanks for this great motivational piece, Brian. You ARE a saint!

  11. Hi Jim!

    Hey, nice to see you here. Always looking for intelligent life in this universe.

    No surprise that you were an avid reader. You can't have a blog like yours without having been one.

    I was imagining you a strapping young man... No? Your ideas are certainly young...

    Best to you... Hope you stop by often! (And I'll be stopping by your place too, have no fear...)

    For anybody else reading this, here's Jim's blog.

    Definitely worth a look.

  12. SciFi, adventure, horror and fantasy
    Me too. A lot of people call that trash, but there is nothing better to expand the imagination.

    I've read serious SF like the Foundation trilogy and Frederick Pohl, all the way down to Xanth by Piers Anthony, which is pure silliness. Original Dracula and Frankenstein all the way down to Anne Rice and Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

    Larry Niven remains one of my all-time favorites. Just about anything by him. I just re-read "The Forge of God" by Greg Bear... And now I'm in the middle of Poul Anderson's "Starfarers."

  13. Brian. You ARE a saint!
    That's what I keep trying to tell people!

    To me, "playing Halo" has a whole other connotation...

  14. Of course you're a saint. You've got your own decorative candle. Which is only 3 dollars for a small and 5 for a large. Sorry Brian, your job description precludes you from cashing in. But I appreciate the car payment help.

  15. Sadly Harry, you are wrong. My job description *demands* that I cash in to the maximum extent possible, and then donate all the money to the poor.

    I'm sure you're fine with that, being a holy man and all.

  16. Now the only thing I'm not sure of is whether I am numbered amongst the poor. I'll have to look into it.

  17. Five bucks for a large? Say, that IS reasonable!

  18. Brian just wait until the wee one gets to a point where you read out loud together as a family. I still have nightmares about reading all the Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket books aloud while keeping each character's unique voice separate and consistent through the entire series.

  19. I'm looking forward to that point, Pliny.

  20. And that brings up a good point. How does a parent instill a love of reading?

    Reading aloud and often, as you did Pliny, is just about the only way that I can see, at least at the start.

    They need to be caught by the idea of reading being entertainment and not a chore.

    And this needs to be done when they're very young. Before they get to video game age. Or else it's all over.

  21. If you teach a child to read and to love reading, do you also change their whole way of looking at the world? Of course you do.

    Now does that mean that you've affected their "free choice" in their lives? What decisions they will make? Hmmmmmm....

    (That one was for pboy...)

  22. So, St. Brian wants to take the candle money and give it to the poor. The reason they're poor is because they couldn't handle money to begin with!

    That's right, Harry knows what the poor need. They need lectures and condemnation.

    It's not 'Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.'

    It's 'Keep the skill of fishing from the man; and then teach him that he's very bad at it.' What he doesn't know will always hurt him.

    I'm very consistent. I teach the same message at every church, synagogue, mosque, Buddhist seminary, and public school. Pharisaical teachings go over big pretty much anywhere, as long as the reading is limited to any one worldview.

    And this is how Harry makes a living. To paraphrase Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the Pharisee."

  23. I'd bow before your superior knowledge Harry, but it's against the rules for a saint to bow to a pharisee. Sorry.

    "Oh Pissboy!!!"

  24. I can remember as a child, my mom would read to me all sorts of books, one of which is banned now. I refer to a book called "Little Black Sambo". Its interesting that its banned since Sambo is not black, but Indian. Anyway,

    As I got older, she gave me lots of books, and I enjoyed reading them. I would read books that were a little above my comprehension, but I still enjoyed imagining that I knew what the author was trying to say to me.

    Now I go through almost a hundred books a year, when I have time. Everything from encyclopedias, dictionaries, paperbacks, newspapers...etc. In every book, I imagine what is going on in the book, and if I really loved the book, I imagine that I was there, taking part in the plot, even having dreams about it.

    I dont have a single friend that reads for enjoyment. Even my girlfriend cant get past People, or US magizine.

  25. Hi Paul. Welcome to my humble home...

    Agreed about how few people seem to read for pleasure. I hear the excuses, my life is too busy now etc... but it misses the point that if you read for pleasure, then you find the time for it because its a *pleasure.* In fact when stressed it becomes *more* important to read as a stress-relief-valve. The ability to escape into a novel is something I fear few appreciate today. It's becoming obsolete to love to read. All a part of the 'dumbing down' of America.

    Having a parent read to you is critical I think in developing that love. And since I'm expecting a son very soon, this is something that I'm thinking a lot about.

  26. Until recently, I have been a voracious reader; so much so that even cereal boxes compelled my attention.

    Now, since last summer when I was diagnosed with glaucoma, I have a hard tome focusing on small print in novels. I may be forced to go buy some reading glasses.

    Word Ver. = "grannes"

    how appropriate...

  27. Ed,

    I empathize somewhat. I've had terrible eyesight since childhood. I never tire of hearing supposedly professional optometrists say, "Wow, you're eyesight is very poor."

    "Really? Naw, the blurry vision was simply a symptom of not hearing prima facie data spit back to me as revelation. Thanks doc, you're a genius, now I don't need glasses!"

  28. Brian,

    got your post on DD and promise to read the entire blog on reading and put my 2 cents in.

    as a homeschooler, it's been my experience that kids pick it up at different stages and it should not be pushed/rushed as that can actually turn a kid off in the long run.

    and, for what it's worth, memorizing sight words is a good tactic; however, phonemic awareness should be balanced in there with it.

    i don't necessarily see secular vs religious reading. reading is reading.

    the critical thinking skills and opinion making skills are a different facet to learning.

    a child, in my opinion, should be allowed to be exposed to beautiful works of authors along with hard/factual/scientific encyclopedic type of books as well.

    and - hey, a good cartoon here and there just to mix it up, eh?!

    Brian, btw- i AM your friend (re: dd's blog) and I would like to think that we have some mutual like/respect/trust between us on thisee here cyber-net ;0)

    will check back when i can. though, not on the computer very much these days. will make the extra effort for the daddy-to-be.

    love the name Connor!
    (ps---Comedy central's rockin' right now!!)

    hugs to all you guys here!


  29. SteB - stop by and see what people get to enjoy on the proper side of the continent... ;)

  30. When I carried each of our sons in utero, I used audio tapes of books on tape and played them when driving or lounging 'round the house.

    I also used those Baby Einstein videos for them to listen to and then of course, to see when they were months old.

    I think that helped to introduce reading as a fun for our boys. ie: really neat 3-D letters and numbers floating in the video in a a really cool, soothing way, backed up with classical (brain-revving, or awakening) music and a narrator enunciating each as it goes 'cross the screen.

    I do believe that the visuals serve as a huge part in learning along with tactile experiences months down the road and the music, with it's rhythms help with memory.

    So, those things I'd reccomend at the earliest of stages. Though, for infants, only @ 10 min at any time. Then increase to see 20 mins of video as the months go by. (Some of them are actually a good sleep aid to a baby, perhaps in a swing just about to shift into la-la land for a peaceful little nap....

  31. Okay, here's another neat way that I feel I've gotten our 3 sons to have interest in reading.

    We have encyclopedias 'round the home along with a set of "things I'd like to know" books from my hubby's childhood.

    We just showed them how to use the books and to see, for example, what sorts of info/pictures real life facts...about a certain topic looked up in it.

    I have world maps and books for boys, both fiction and non. They like the A-B-C Mysteries. They'll reaad the book and listen to the audio and they get in a mood where they just want to hang out on the floor listening and comparing it to the book, etc.

    Every so often I;ll find one of them flipping through something and I can see how he learned aobut the Nile runs south to north, etc.

    And-they do these things on their own time. And we'll do extra research on the internet and have conversations about things.

    I think this is really how boys work. With their curiosity awakened---they;ll read!

    they even love to read street signs, words on household items, words and price stickers at stores and it always sparks thinking and the desire to look up and read aobut it. Shoot, we had a bad thunderstorm and they're in the living room looking at our collection of books on weather, etc.

    we go into dr's offices and they go for the pamphlets to read!

    Reading is fun and reading is the key to a mind open to what the universe has to offer!! The possibilities are limitless!

    Are you listening, Brian, or- are you bored with my commentary??
    I'm sharing my heart here. And, you invited me here so here I am ;)

    Blessings, Peace & Joy to you,


  32. I'm here, MI, and I appreciate your stopping by. It sounds like you had a good handle on how to teach your kids to read. I plan on doing a lot of reading aloud to Connor...

    Stop by anytime, by the way...

    And Pliny, I shall check it out.

  33. I want to share a personal memory. MI, your 'reading to infants' made me think of it.

    I have several VERY early memories. A couple from when I was one and a half... But one I know is even earlier than that.

    And I'm not bullshitting here. This is real.

    I can remember when I could understand almost everything my parents said, and yet I could not talk yet. I remember my own frustration at not being able to answer them and at the fact that I knew what they were saying but couldn't tell them that. All I had was maybe a few words if any. But I could understand what people were saying, that much is clear.

  34. B - one thing we've done (extraordinarily geeky I know) with der kinder is to include a family read when said kinder experience some new experience or travail. It's helped them recognize the value of learning about a lot of things. Plus they are not allowed to see any movie based on a book before they have read the source. It's great to talk with them about it because they usually have imagined the characters differently than does Hollywood.

  35. I have an older sister and an older brother. My experience may not be typical, but I remember thinking to myself, "Self, if THEY can read, then I can, too!"

    That's how I learned how to ride a bike and confront my nervousness about jumping out of C-130's too.

  36. Ed I'm not yet convinced that wanting to jump out of c-130's (or any other plane not on fire for that matter is a good thing...

  37. Brian, I just read the entire post. Wow. Very nicely done. It touched my heart deeply. I like the way you weave in your life experiences throughout.

    Curious: ever met your biological parents?! (if too personal, my apologies; just ignore)

    Also, I totally know what you mean about remembering things from in utero. It took my own sons to help me realize that fact.

    I, too, remember the days of The Hardy Boys,etc. What a wonderful way to get absorbed into reading ;)

    My personal favorite, in 8th grade was "The Outsiders" (and follow ups That Was Then, This is now" and "Rumblefish".)
    It sparked me to write my own little short novel and I went on to edit my high school's newspaper and poetry magazine!

    I had wanted to be a journalist/lawyer but I let my parents talk me out of it.

    But, I've got to say, after finishing a Chemistry degree and doctorate in Pharmacy ---- well, my desire to sit and read for long periods ----- has diminished a bit.

    So, here I am homeschooling and going over book reports with my sons, since 2nd grade, and I think the spark is coming back ;0)

    ****** there's a website called

    homeschooling free stuff

    where you can get educational things such as cd roms (for the littlest of toddlers on up!) and little mini-expts/ crafts for your kids ----FREE (only pay s/h) and a few charge $1 and most come with mini-lesson plans as an FYI.

    And, you don't have to be an "official" homeschooler to get them. Just get stuff whilst it's still in stock ;0)


    btw: I am truly excited for you.

    PS. On all of my pregnancies, my ob had overshot the due date. (didn't listen to this experienced NFP'er)

    bottom line: any blood, even just a few spots---- get to the hospital; it could save your wife from a C-section.

    Remember, "the Mommy always knows best" ;)

    On my last preg. it was so bad I was put on morphine and other pain iv's and even though my doc wanted to wait a week, the Nurse Practitioner realized I was NOT dilating because I was RUPTURING---AND---that woman saved both my life and Timmy's life. She told my doc I had dilated and called for emerg C-sec. within the hour. Once they cut through the skin,etc, my doc had an "epiphany" and said, "we have to stop talking now, I need to focus; you're already "open".......

    Red flag: pain goes up to belly button and not 'round the abdomen to the back.

    Sorry if I got too graphic, there.

    It's a "woman" thing, I guess. I sure hope you post a pic of little Connor when he gets here!!

    My apologies for long post; education and kids are "my thing"!

    Have a great day, all!!!!!


  38. Oh, and at the risk of sounding "heathenous" *wink* wink*
    so is pleasing my wonderful husband (it's also "my thing") ;D

    gotta balance that looooong post with a little humor ;>)

    PS---PLINY---agreed! about reading the book before seeing the movie!

  39. In case anyone blew past my long post (understandably!!)

    *check out Homeschooling Free stuff website*

    anyone can "order" (just pay s/h..still a bargain in my book ;0)

  40. Happy 48th Birthday, Brian!

  41. Brian's not 48 years old. He's timeless ;-)

  42. I'm timeless as all Saints are, Oneblood. I was, am, and ever shall be. And I yam what I yam.

    MI, I appreciated your advice. Not too gross, no. It's all biological functions after all.

    And Pliny, I like the idea of 'doing a family read' about any travails or problems or events that happen. That sounds very productive and a way to show one's children that when you want to find out about something, read about it.

  43. Timeless, I just dunno for sure.

    But PRECIOUS....... oh, yeah ;)


  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. Priceless? Ptooey. I spit on that concept. Everyone has a price except me. I have several.

    St. Brian's price is the apple pie I gave him Tuesday; he stood in for the rabbi at a Reform bat-mitzvah.

    But frankly, a good apple pie goes a long way.

    The Reform family didn't care as long as there was some witty banter, and overly dramatic gestures accompanied by Yiddish.

    I couldn't do it because I had a previous engagement in Atlantic City. That place is like New Jerusalem for a Pharisee, there's true reverence for money there.

    June 14, 2009 12:46 AM

  46. Hope you had fun in Atlantic City. I was born there and live right next door.

  47. Apparently I misread a word and used it for shtick, this is why I'm so good at textual criticism.

    I'm going to charge Brian a rhubarb pie for admitting my mistake.

    Judge you!

  48. Hey Brian, I saw your recent post on Debunking Christianity. I post there from time to time as well. Hope to see you around! It'll be like the old days on Dinesh's blog!

  49. Brian, for what it's worth, I'm posting this to you in good faith. I went to Confession this evening.
    I'm thinking you'll understand. I'm praying that the fullness of this post to you be given you within your own heart.
    I am still working on many things in my spiritual life; including but certainly not limited to !! ;)
    anger and lack of patience and of hurting others in any way.
    I did mention your name to the priest (LOL! Imagine what he must have been thinking behind that screen when I said that I posted to someone who calls themself Godless Heathen Brian ;)
    (Don't worry, he's African with a very thick accent!!)
    Oh, man I forgot you changed your name. Ha, that would've been even funnier, eh?
    So, what I'm saying is, I apologize and I wish you nothing but the very best. And, I'm going to try in the future to not get upset at things you post.
    I thank you in advance, for being the man I believe you are, for forgiving me.
    You, and everyone else are precious. That thought must be before me constantly; I truly do wish to be a better Christian with each and every moment of my life.
    So, I'm humble enough to come to you and admit that I've fallen, BUT, unlike the old lady in the commercial; I CAN get back up!!
    Ha ha....barely....with my creaking knees and aching back ha ha!!!
    Peace to you.
    And, to super-cute Connor and to your precious and beautiful and saintly =D wife, Mary, as well!!
    And, now, with the Grace of God, I'm going to prepare for a new day...
    (the word verif. sounds filipino: milingko.... ;)

  50. Walter and Connor- you guys are so cute --

    Your picture is sooooo cute and I want to thank you for giving me a big smile and a warm chuckle.

    Smooches on both of your foreheads!

    Brian, I'm so glad that you're really enjoying being a daddy.