04 December 2006

10 Reasons Not to Shop at Wal-Mart

Sam’s Club is a Wal-Mart division so please don’t shop there either. An excellent shopping alternative is Costco, where the employees are paid a living wage and prices are always low (the maximum markup is 14% over cost).

Much of this information was gleaned from the web; the rest is from a wonderful book entitled How Wal-Mart is Destroying America and What You Can Do About It, by Bill Quinn.

1. Wal-Mart has no respect for your city. Daily deposits in your local bank are instantly transferred to corporate headquarters in Arkansas. Thus every dollar you spend at Wal-Mart permanently leaves the area and can never be reinvested in your city.

2. Wal-Mart has no respect for its customers. Comparison shopping (writing down prices) will get you thrown out of the store. As many as 10% of items are over-priced due to scanner mistakes. Products are stacked so high that falling merchandise has injured more than 25,000 people since the first Wal-Mart opened in 1962.

3. Wal-Mart has no respect for its employees. Wal-Mart defines “full time” as 28 or more hours a week, and employees are kept below 28 hours a week so they won’t receive benefits. Only “full-time” employees with at least two years with the company are eligible for health insurance, and they must pay 35% of it themselves. Many Wal-Mart employees earn so little they are on food stamps or other public assistance.

4. Wal-Mart has no respect for its suppliers. Wal-Mart calls its suppliers collect. Suppliers are routinely underpaid and lose their contract if they complain. Merchandise is often returned to them without notice and packed so badly it can’t be resold.

5. Wal-Mart has no respect for women and minorities. Wal-Mart stores are not built in predominantly minority areas. White managers harass black workers and prevent them from being promoted. In one place Wal-Mart stopped selling shirts saying “Someday A Woman Will Be President” because it upset their idea of “family values.”

6. Wal-Mart has no respect for America’s small businesses. Despite being the largest retailer in the world and the biggest employer in 25 states, Wal-Mart exploits life insurance benefits and closure provisions of the federal tax code designed to help small businesses.

7. Wal-Mart profits from child labor and slave labor. Apparel sold at Wal-Mart is made in sweatshops around the world, like the one in Bangladesh where children earn 5¢ an hour, or the factory in Honduras where children work 75 hours a week for 31¢ an hour, or the prison factories in China where labor is free. Wal-Mart breaks US law when it illegally imports these products.

8. Wal-Mart kills jobs and devastates whole towns. On average, a hundred stores go out of business in the area surrounding a Wal-Mart. Many of the victims are unique mom-and-pop stores that give a small town its charm and character. For every two jobs created by a new Wal-Mart, three jobs are lost.

9. Wal-Mart can’t be trusted. The company deliberately and viciously builds new stores where they are not wanted and lies about its intentions while doing so. Wal-Mart was forced to change its slogan, “Always the Low Price, Always” to “Always Low Prices” when it was revealed prices were not the lowest. Sam’s Club used to be called “Sam’s Wholesale Club,” but the term “wholesale” was dropped after a lawsuit revealed prices were significantly higher than wholesale prices.

10. Wal-Mart is a ruthless predator that sucks the lifeblood out of whole geographic regions. For regular updates on Wal-Mart’s evil ways, visit http://walmartwatch.com. Please don’t shop at Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club, and tell your friends to do the same.

Copyright © by Gwen Foss, 2006, 2009. Permission is hereby granted to copy and circulate this list as much as possible.


09 November 2006

Words I Learned from Doctor Who.

List #137

This list was started in March of 1985. By that time I had been watching Doctor Who for eleven years, from when I was nine years old. Thank you, TVOntario, for being the first North American network to show Doctor Who, the greatest tv show ever made!

Without checking a very fat dictionary it was sometimes difficult to know whether a new word on Doctor Who was indeed a real word or one invented by the writers. Robert Holmes, in particular, invented new words which not only sounded like real words but could effortlessly be understood from context. These are so noted. I emphasize: these words I learned from the show; the show has always had lots of great words I might have learned, too, but even as a youngster I had a darn good vocabulary to start with.

Each word here is followed by the title of the Doctor Who serial I learned it from—assuming I can recall which one it was—and the name of the writer(s) credited with that script.

addled. crazy; scrambled. Masque of Mandragora. Louis Marks

adumbrate. ADD-um-brate. to present a slight representation of something. Trial of a Time Lord. Robert Holmes, Philip Martin, Pip & Jane Baker

anthropomorphic. an-throh-poh-MOR-fik. having the qualities of a human; for example, something that “walks and talks and thinks.” Robot. Terrance Dicks

apotheosis. ah-poth-ee-OH-sis. the elevation of a mortal to godhood. Armageddon Factor. Bob Baker & Dave Martin

archimandrite. ark-ee-MAN-drite. a leader in the Orthodox Eastern Church. (On DW, a high priest on Tara, a planet at a medieval-culture stage of development but with highly sophisticated android technology.) Androids of Tara. David Fisher

attrition. gradual diminution or wearing down. Genesis of the Daleks. Terry Nation

bafflegab. nonsense.

bouillabaisse. BWEE-ya-base. (French) a type of soup. City of Death. David Agnew (BBC house name: pseudonym for Graham Williams and Douglas Adams, based on a script by David Fisher)

brinkmanship. the political art of pushing a situation as close to war as possible, without actually going to war. Sontaran Experiment. Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Cailleach. CAL-ee-ack. a Druid deity. Stones of Blood. David Fisher

castellan. CAS-tell-an. an official in charge of castle security. (On DW, the head of security for the citadel of Gallifrey, the Doctor's home planet.) Deadly Assassin. Robert Holmes

chav. lower-class person with gaudy fashion sense. English slang. New Earth. Russell T Davies

circumspection. great care.

cloister. covered walkway, a common architectural feature of monasteries. (On DW, the “cloister bell” in the Tardis rings in a dire emergency.) Logopolis. Christopher H. Bidmead

collusion. conspiracy.

condine action. harsh punishment; execution. (Not a real word.) Ark in Space. Robert Holmes

creeping barrage. a technique of warfare. Genesis of the Daleks. Terry Nation

crinoid / crynoid. KRIN-oyd. an extinct form of early plant life, commonly found in fossils. (On DW, the Krynoid is a giant, hostile, meat-eating plant that can send its pods into space.) Seeds of Doom. Robert Banks Stewart

cutaneous. cue-TANE-ee-us. of the skin or outer crust. Seeds of Doom. Robert Banks Stewart

cyanogen. sy-AN-oh-jin. a deadly gas composed mainly of cyanide. Brain of Morbius. Robin Bland (pseudonym of Terrance Dicks)

dawn-timer. member of a low-tech or early-established offworld human colony. (Not a real word.) Ark in Space. Robert Holmes

efficacy. EFF-ik-a-see. being a good imitation. Invisible Enemy. Bob Baker & Dave Martin

elixir. ee-LICK-sir. a magical substance that imparts special powers, usually immortality, when one drinks it. Brain of Morbius. Robin Bland (pseudonym of Terrance Dicks)

enervated. drained of energy. from a piece of fan fiction by Cecile Mermelstein

epistopic. ep-ih-STOP-ik. either means germane or chronological. (Not a real word.) Trial of a Time Lord. Robert Holmes, Philip Martin, Pip & Jane Baker

eugenics. you-JEN-iks. selective breeding of humans by humans, usually proposed in order to create a superior breed or master race, and to be carried out by ethnic segregation, sterilization, or genocide of those deemed sub-human. Face of Evil. Chris Boucher

evoe / evohe. EV-oh-ay. invocation used in demonic worship or Bacchanalian revelry. Daemons. Guy Leopold (pseudonym of Barry Letts)

flapdoodle. nonsense. Face of Evil. Chris Boucher

furore. fyoo-ROAR-ay. furor; huge hubbub; public outcry. City of Death. David Agnew (BBC house name: script written by Graham Williams and Douglas Adams, based on a script by David Fisher)

gelignite. JELL-ig-nite. a type of explosive. Pyramids of Mars. Stephen Harris, based on a script by Louis Griefer, with much rewriting by Robert Holmes

gestalt. GESS-talt. a great mind composed of many individuals minds linked together. Image of the Fendahl. Chris Boucher

Goth. a barbaric tribe of central Europe. (On DW, the character name of a Time Lord who happens to be Chancellor of Gallifrey during the "gothic" era of the show.) Deadly Assassin. Robert Holmes

grass (n. and v.). snitch; two-timer. British slang. Remembrance of the Daleks. Ben Aaronovitch

hirsute. HEER-soot. hairy. Creature from the Pit. David Fisher

horse brass. a decorative metal disk displayed on the bridle or harness of one’s horse; now seen primarily as decorations on the walls of local pubs. Android Invasion. Terry Nation

hubris. HYOO-bris. false pride. Trial of a Time Lord. Robert Holmes

hypoid. (sounds like “high-point”). to study or to be an expert in a particular topic. (Not a real word.) Ark in Space. Robert Holmes

imago. IM-a-go. the adult form of an insect. Ark in Space. Robert Holmes

inimical. in-IM-ik-al. tending to cause a negative effect. Seeds of Doom. Robert Banks Stewart

kedgeree. KEJ-er-ee. a dish made of fish, boiled rice, and eggs. Ghost Light. Marc Platt

kraal. an African village built in a circle; origin of the word corral. (On DW, it is the name of a technologically advanced rhinoceros-looking race from the planet Oseidon.) Android Invasion. Terry Nation

lolly sticks. lollipop or ice lolly (Popsicle) sticks. Sontaran Experiment. Bob Baker & Dave Martin

mandragora. man-DRAG-oh-ra. mandrake; a plant whose root is prized for its magical healing properties. (On DW, it is the name of a hostile alien energy-being bent on taking over the Earth.) Masque of Mandragora. Louis Marks

magneto. mag-NEE-toh. a small motor having a magnet inside a rotating copper coil. Pyramids of Mars. Stephen Harris, based on a script by Louis Griefer, with much rewriting by Robert Holmes

mastaba. MASS-ta-ba. an ancient Egyptian underground burial chamber. Pyramids of Mars. Stephen Harris, based on a script by Louis Griefer, with much rewriting by Robert Holmes

naff. boring; lame; stupid. English slang. “Well naff” means very boring. Dragonfire. Ian Briggs

neutron star. an ancient star that has collapsed after spending all its fuel. Creature from the Pit. David Fisher

noetic. no-ET-ik. said of symptoms or characteristics only detectable during consciousness. Invisible Enemy. Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Om. the universe; the divine; the all; also a syllable chanted during meditation. Planet of the Spiders. Robert Sloman

Om mani padme hum. OHM mah-nee pahd-may hom. a mantra or prayer chanted during meditation. Planet of the Spiders. Robert Sloman

palare. pa-LAH-ray. carnival jargon. Alternate spellings include polari, parlaree, parlari, parlary, parlarey, parlyaree. Carnival of Monsters. Robert Holmes (The episode includes a brief conversation in palare but you will need the DVD extras to understand it.)

panopticon. pan-OP-tik-on. a type of circular prison in which guards can observe all prisoners at all times. (On DW, it is the name of the citadel of Gallifrey, the Doctor’s home planet.) Deadly Assassin. Robert Holmes

pedantic. peh-DAN-tik. being overbearing in teaching or describing something. Pyramids of Mars. Stephen Harris, based on a script by Louis Griefer, with much rewriting by Robert Holmes

Pharos. FAIR-os. an ancient Greek lighthouse. (On DW, the name of a UK radio telescope project.) Logopolis. Christopher H. Bidmead

physiognomy. fizz-ee-ON-oh-mee. physical appearance; external anatomy. Robot. Terrance Dicks

pike. an infantry weapon consisting of a metal blade at the end of a long wooden pole, used like a sword, not like a javelin. Masque of Mandragora. Louis Marks

poleax. POLE-aks. to render unconscious. Invisible Enemy. Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Popocatepetl. pop-a-cat-a-PET-ull. a famous volcano in Mexico. Brain of Morbius. Robin Bland (pseudonym of Terrance Dicks)

portreeve. PORT-reev. a city official; a port official. Castrovalva. Christopher H. Bidmead

priest hole. a secret room built into a mansion for hiding the local priest from the authorities. (From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly; wealthy Catholics built these hiding places into their homes for hiding their priests from the law.) Pyramids of Mars. Stephen Harris, based on a script by Louis Griefer, with much rewriting by Robert Holmes

punt. a long, narrow, small boat, driven by a pole, mainly used for river boating. Shada. Douglas Adams (The word is heard in a clip from Shada used in the Five Doctors.)

rani. RAH-nee. an East Indian princess. (On DW, it is the title of the villain of the episode; she is called the Rani in the same way that the Doctor and the Master have titles instead of names.) Mark of the Rani. Pip & Jane Baker

Roundheads. soldiers of Oliver Cromwell; English Revolution era. Time Monster. Robert Sloman

Saint Elmo’s fire. images of flashing lights sometimes seen around the masts of ships at sea. Invisible Enemy. Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Satsuma. sat-SOO-ma. a type of tangerine. Christmas Invasion. Russell T Davies

serendipity. sair-en-DIP-ih-tee. a happy accident; a useful discovery made by accident. Green Death. Robert Sloman

spanner. monkey wrench. Pirate Planet. Douglas Adams

a spanner in the works. a problem; something that gums up the works; literally “a wrench in the machine.” Pirate Planet. Robert Sloman

subsidence. sub-SY-dense. low area in the ground caused by a settling or sliding away of the underlying soil. Sontaran Experiment. Bob Baker & Dave Martin

symbiotic. sim-bee-OTT-ik. said of a relationship between a parasite and its host that is beneficial to both organisms. Ark in Space. Robert Holmes

symbiotic atavism. sim-bee-OTT-ik AT-ih-viz-um. a symbiotic relationship which results in long-dormant traits re-emerging. Ark in Space. Robert Holmes

tachyon. TACK-ee-on. a subatomic particle. Leisure Hive. David Fisher

twaddle. nonsense. Terror of the Zygons. Robert Banks Stewart

valeyard. VAL-ee-ard. a court official; a prosecutor. Trial of a Time Lord. Robert Holmes, Philip Martin, Pip & Jane Baker

a Victorian Gothic folly. a mansion built in the Victorian era (mid to late 1800s) in imitation of the Gothic era, but with far too much ornamentation. Pyramids of Mars. Stephen Harris, based on a script by Louis Griefer, with much rewriting by Robert Holmes

volatilized. voh-LAT-ill-eyezd. evaporated. Sun Makers. Robert Holmes

waffle. nonsense. Seeds of Doom. Robert Banks Stewart

whacked. exhausted. English slang.

Whovian. HOO-vee-an. fan of Doctor Who.

Xoanon. zoh-AN-on. an African deity; a small wooden statue of same. (On DW, it is the name of the local deity on a distant planet.) Face of Evil. Chris Boucher

03 November 2006

A Short List of Important Universalists.

I compiled this list a while back when someone asked for a few examples of Universalists in history. Being the obsessive-compulsive collector that I am, I was able to whip up a list in no time flat.

These noteworthy individuals are listed here in roughly chronological order. All are American (USian) unless otherwise noted.

Biogs have been extracted from A Who's Who of UUs : A Concise Biographical Compendium of Prominent and Famous Universalists and Unitarians, http://www.tomfolio.com/bookdetailssu.asp?b=444&m=518

Universalism was an historically heretical Christian belief, later a denomination, which held the doctrine that God is Love and that all will be saved. In 1850 it was the fifth largest denomination in the United States.

The radical foundation of Universalism led many adherents to formulate and adopt other radical and liberal beliefs such as equality for women and African Amercians, the evil of slavery and capital punishment, and other impressive movements of social reform. Since its peak in the 19th century, its primary beliefs have gradually moved into many mainstream Protestant denominations.

Origen of Alexandria (185-254) (OR-ih-jen), Egyptian. theologian, educator, author, scholar; compiled Hexapla and Octapla (first parallel-text bibles); created Origenism (belief that all people will attain heaven, not just a select few); first Christian universalist

Rev. Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609), Dutch. D.D., theologian, scholar; chair of theology University of Leiden 1595-1609; credited as first philosophical universalist since Origen; educated as Calvinist, came to doubt Calvinist doctrines of free will, predestination and grace 1591 and created Arminianism (belief that Christ died for all, not some)

Rev. James Relly (1722-78), Welsh. theologian, author; wrote Union: or a Treatise on the Consanguinity and Affinity between Christ and His Church 1759 (first important modern work on universal salvation, London; reprinted Boston, 1779); credited with converting John Murray; ordained Methodist, defrocked, became Universalist

Rev. John Murray (1741-1815), English-American. religious pioneer, reformer, hymn-writer; 'Father of American Universalism;' credited as first minister to preach Universalism in North America 1770 although others preceded him; appt by George Washington chaplain to Rhode Island Brigade 1775; founding minister Independent Church of Christ 1779 (credited as first avowedly Universalist church, Gloucester MA) and other Universalist congregations; raised Anglican, ordained Methodist, excommunicated, became Universalist—husband of Judith

Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820), author, poet, playwright, women's rights activist; wrote first American Universalist catechism 1782; wrote On the Equality of the Sexes 1790 (first modern essay on women's rights; predating Mary Wollstonecraft); wrote The Gleaner 1792-94 (essays, 3 vols); Universalist—wife of John

Rev. Caleb Rich (1750-1821), evangelist, organizer; founded first Universalist church in US 1773 (Warwick MA; see John Murray); founded congregations in Richmond NH and Jaffery NH 1780; credited with converting Hosea Ballou I and many others; excluded from Baptist church and became Universalist 1773, ordained by his own congregation 1780

Rev. Hosea Ballou I (1771-1852), author, theologian, anti-trinitarian; wrote Treatise on Atonement 1805 (first American book espousing Universalism, setting out complete Universalist theology, landmark for its era), founding editor 'Universalist Magazine' 1819-28, 'Universalist Expositor' 1830-44 and many other periodicals; credited as greatest theologian of Universalism; raised Baptist, ordained Universalist

Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), M.D., physician, statesman, medical pioneer, signer of Declaration of Independence; professor of medicine and chemistry University of PA 1769-1813; founded PA Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery 1774 (first US anti-slavery society); persuaded Thomas Paine to write Common Sense and chose title 1776; wrote Medical Inquiries and Observations 1789-93 (landmark work, 4 vols); drafted Universalist resolution against slavery 1790 (first statement by any US denomination against slavery); helped establish first African church in Philadelphia 1791-93; treasurer US mint 1797-1813; wrote Diseases of the Mind 1812 (first US book on psychiatry); raised Presbyterian, held seats in many churches including Armenian (Methodist) 1780, Episcopal 1788, and Universalist 1790

Rev. Thomas Whittemore (1800-61), editor, historian, financier; founding editor 'Trumpet and Universalist Magazine' 1828-61 (major denominational weekly); legislator MA 1831-36; wrote Plain Guide to Universalism 1838, Life of Rev. Hosea Ballou 1854-55 (4 vols) and other books; helped found Universalist Historical Society 1834

Rev. Charles Spear (1801-63), prison and criminal justice reformer; wrote Essays on the Punishment of Death 1844; helped found Socioety for the Abolition of Capital Punishment 1844; publisher 'Prisoner's Friend' 1846-61 (first prison periodical, devoted to criminal justice, philosophy, and other subjects); Universalist

Rev. Adin Ballou (1803-90), peace activist, reformer; editor 'Independent Messenger' 1831-39; wrote Non-Resistance in Relation to Human Government 1839 and Christian Non-Resistance 1846 (both early works advocating nonviolence, basis of Henry David Thoreau's famous essay which influenced M. K. Gandhi and M. L. King); founded Hopedale Community 1841-68 (utopian, Milford MA); raised Christian Connexion, ordained Universalist

Harriet K. Hunt (1805-75), physician, women's rights advocate, abolitionist, lay preacher; first woman to practice medicine in US c.1834 (without degree; earned honorary M.D. 1853); pioneered holistic treatments combining nursing, diet, bathing, exercise, rest, and sanitation; created preventive health measures for women and children; founded Ladies' Physiological Society 1843; Universalist, later became Swedenborgian

P. T. Barnum (1810-91), impresario, publicist, social activist; helped found Tufts College 1852-54, endowed Barnum Museum Natural History there; legislator CT 1865-69; mayor Bridgeport CT 1875-76; credited with inventing circus parade, press conference, rain check, ringmaster and grandstands; built Madison Square Garden (originally named Barnum's Hippodrome); founded first three-ring circus 1871 ('Greatest Show on Earth,' joined by James Bailey 1881 to become 'Barnum and Bailey'); wrote Why I Am a Universalist 1890 and helped finance translation (first Universalist literature translated into Japanese)

Horace Greeley (1811-72), printer, publisher, journalist, statesman, social reformer; advocated temperance, woman suffrage, abolition and civil rights; founded 'New-Yorker' 1834-40, from it founded NY 'Weekly Tribune' 1840-72; only newspaper editor to print serious, respectful reports on women's rights events such as Seneca Falls (NY) convention 1848; congressman 1848-49; helped found Republican Party 1854 and elect Lincoln 1860; unsuccessful presidential candidate 1872; Universalist

Israel Washburn, Jr. (1813-83), LL.D., statesman, abolitionist, author; congressman ME 1851-61; instrumental in founding Republican Party and credited with choosing party name 1854 (Jackson MI); governor of ME 1861-63; port collector 1863-78 (Portland ME); Universalist

Mary Livermore (1820-1905), suffragist, women's rights advocate, lay preacher; 'Queen of the Platform'; associate editor 'New Covenant' 1858-69 (Universalist periodical, Chicago); as director of Chicago Sanitary Commission 1861-65 organized over 2,000 soldier's aid societies, conducted fairs, raised money for relief work and assigned women to hospital posts as nurses; organized first Women's Sanitary Fair 1863 (raising money for relief work, prototype of many similar fairs); founding president Association for the Advancement of Women 1873; president American Woman Suffrage Assn 1875-78; with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Julia Ward Howe organized International Women's Rights Congress (Paris, 1876); raised and confirmed Baptist, became Universalist

Clara Barton (1821-1912), nurse, educator, peace activist, women's rights advocate; 'Angel of the Battlefield'; first woman clerk in federal government 1856-58, 1860 (US patent office); organized care for Civil War wounded, donations of food and medical supplies and distribution to battlefields; superintendent of nurses Army of the James 1864; nurse in Franco-Prussian War 1869 (Switzerland); founding director American Red Cross 1881-1904; persuaded US to ratify First Geneva Convention 1882; Universalist

Rev. Thomas Starr King (1824-64), political activist, abolitionist, naturalist; wrote White Hills 1859 (recognizing priceless beauty of Yosemite area); credited with convincing CA to remain part of US at outbreak of Civil War 1860; Mount Starr King in Yosemite National Park named in his honor; statue placed by CA in National Statuary Hall; 'The First UU'; raised and ordained Universalist 1846, dually fellowshipped Unitarian 1848. Famous quote: 'The difference between Unitarians and Universalists is that Universalists believe that God is too good to damn men, and Unitarians believe that Man is too good to be damned.'

Rev. Caroline Soule (1824-1903) (pronounced 'sole'), denominational leader, women's rights advocate, editor, essayist; editorial staff 'Ladies Repository' 1856-65 (Universalist women's magazine); founding editor 'Guiding Star' 1867-78 (denominational Sunday school paper); founding pres Women's Centenary Association 1869-80 (world's first independent group of organized church women); first woman Universalist foreign missionary 1875; as missionary to Scotland 1875, 1878-82, 1886-1903 helped found Scottish Universalist Convention; first woman ordained in Europe 1880 (Glasgow)

Rev. Lydia Ann Jenkins (1824-74), M.D., women's rights advocate, educator; first woman ordained 1858 (fellowshipped by committee of ministers of regional Universalist association, Fairport NY); first woman to hold dual full-time pastorate with husband 1860 (Clinton NY); first woman invited to give commencement address; credited with convincing many that women could be effective preachers; physician and teacher Hygienic Institute 1866-74 (Binghamton NY); raised Baptist, ordained Universalist

Rev. Olympia Brown (1835-1926), women's rights advocate, orator, suffragist; usually credited as first woman ordained 1863 (see Lydia Jenkins); kept own name when married 1873; president WI Woman's Suffrage Assn 1887-1917; publisher Racine (WI) 'Times' 1893-1900; pres Federal Suffrage Assn 1903-20; Universalist

Rev. Augusta Jane Chapin (1836-1905), educator, lecturer, women's rights activist; founding member executive committee Association for the Advancement of Women 1873; first woman member (Universalist) General Convention council of ministers 1870; first woman marriage officiant on west coast 1874 (San Francisco); first woman to receive honorary doctor of divinity 1893 (Lombard College, Galesburg IL); helped organize World Parliament of Religions 1893 (Chicago); raised nominally Congregationalist, became Universalist

Rev. Joseph Fletcher Jordan (1863-1929), educator, attorney; pioneered education by African Americans; third African American Universalist ordained; principal Jordan School 1904-29 (also known as Suffolk Normal Training School, one of VA's first schools for black children; later known as Jordan Neighborhood House); ordained African Methodist Episcopal, became Universalist 1903

Arthur Nash (1870-1927), businessman; as founding pres Nash Company 1916 had profit sharing and employee advisory group; encouraged workers to organize; during massive clothing workers strike 1919 (Cincinnati) had only factory at which workers did not strike; wrote Golden Rule in Business 1923; contributed to strike fund for Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America 1925; Seventh Day Adventist then Universalist

23 October 2006

What Bookdealers Call their Most Annoying Customers, and Other Useful Terms

Some of these terms have been around for years and are of uncertain origin, some came from other dealers, and some I invented just to vent. (The latter are marked gf). Many thanks to bookdealer Joyce Godsey and others who contributed their terms. All characters are fictitious and no similarity to real people should be assumed.

Agent 99. person who comes into the shop and receives cell phone calls with louder-than-hell ringtones and who proceed to gab on in loud tones as if we all want to hear their inane conversation. I then take off my shoe and blather into it to amuse myself until they make like a tree and leaf. (Term is based on a character codename on old spy sitcom "Get Smart," where shoe-phone was running gag.) coined by Rachel at Old Saratoga Books dot com.

anti-handling-buyer. buyer, usually encountered on eBay, who thinks that sellers should only charge the actual cost of shipping, regardless of seller's handling costs. They like to justify it by saying, "Well, other eBay sellers ship books for $xyz." coined by anonymous dealer.

baron / baroness. a customer who requires extensive waiting on and the answering of multiple questions asked in imperial fashion. Stops short of asking for a complimentary ass-wipe in the restroom. No resultant sales, of course. coined by Rachel at Old Saratoga Books.

bone-to-pick twit. someone who emails you because s/he has beef with the author or the book's contents. Example: "How can you be selling a book on xyz?!" coined by anonymous dealer.

cheapskate. someone who asks something like, "Why the hell are you asking over $200 for a used book?!?" because they are completely ignorant of the book's scarcity, value, condition, or other important factors. coined by anonymous dealer.

crazy glue. a borderline insane customer who "sticks to you like glue." Term from my friend R.F. Johnson, a computer tech who has often encountered such types. Compare Mr. Sincere.

credit card neurosis. condition of customer who is afraid to give you cc info over the net; usually they telephone instead. There are many different manifestations of this condition. gf

customs scammer. overseas customer who asks you to mark the item as a "gift" so they won't have to pay fees or import duties on it. (Falsifying a customs form is against the law.) gf

demming. sending an email reminder to a customer who keeps promising to send a check but never does. See spaz. term comes from fake surname of scammer in Brooklyn who has managed to get a lot of free books from trusting dealers in this manner. gf.

ditz. customer who uses the query button and thinks they have completed an order for the book. gf

doofus. customer who emails to ask a question about a specific book, and in doing so, copies your description in their email, and right there in the description is the answer to their question. Example: "You mention a few inconsequential dings to covers, how bad are they?" (They're inconsequential, doofus!) gf

dung beetle. someone who only looks at the crappiest, cheapest books on the bargain table and spends their dollar (paid in small coins, of course). Then they roll the crap out of the store to their lair. Dung beetles almost exclusively come from the upper income insect species. coined by Rachel at Old Saratoga Books.

entitled buyer. someone, usually found on eBay, who emails about shipping/handling before committing to buy because for some reason they think they're entitled to a discount or a break on s/h fees. coined by anonymous dealer.

eyeball killer. another name for a screamer: someone who types everything in ALL CAPS. Can't remember where I heard this term but it has been around awhile.

flake. customer who inquires about priority mail but delays payment for several days, thus negating any time saved by ordering priority mail. gf

fly-by. customer who emails to ask a question about a book in your inventory but after you reply you never hear from them again. coined by bookdealer Lee Kirk. Another term for this type of customer, which I heard from a guy in the furniture business, is a be-back, because they say they'll be back but they never come back.

fraudite. a species of scammer, mostly seen on eBay, who claims to have some ridiculously valuable or impossible treasure for sale, such as a copy of Huckleberry Finn printed in 1935 and signed by Mark Twain. gf

gomer. a scammer who purposefully gives you the wrong country name in his address, hoping you won't notice. For example, Beijing, Greece (Beijing is in China), or Surulere, Finland (Surulere is in Nigeria). Term comes from medical slang for an especially difficult elderly patient with mental problems, filthy habits, and an inability to communicate.

gusher. customer who announces on entering the bookstore that she just loves, loves, loves books, and on, on, and on, but does not purchase anything. Also called a shitkicker. coined by anonymous dealer.

halfwit. epithet for Half.com. A longstanding slur.

homeward. descriptive of customer, item, and transaction, when the item is purchased by someone who is the author's son, the publisher's daughter, the illustrator's grand-niece, or any similar relationship. So called because the item is "going home." gf

ignoramiana. general term for books pushing ignorant ideas such as crop circles, pyramid power, or UFOs. coined by bookdealer Gary L. Wallin.

jerk. customer who orders Media Mail then complains about the long delivery time. There are many names for this species, most of them far more colorful. See also wheresmybook.

lowball scammer. customer who sees your eBay auction for an item worth, for example, $200, and offers you $80 for it if you'll end the auction right now. (This is against eBay rules.) Lowball scammers are sometimes also snipers. gf

merrick. customer who writes glowing feedback about you but then rates you less than 5 out of 5. (Refers only to Amazon customers: the Amazon feedback system has both a number function and a comment line.) gf.

Mr. Sincere. an individual who comes into your store too often, makes a point of taking your hand and acting like you were his bestest friend, all the while the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Of course he never actually buys anything. coined by bookdealer Joyce Godsey. Compare crazy glue.

mushpup. someone with a bratty toddler in tow who abandons them in the kid's section of your store, where they promptly tornado through the shelves while the adult goes off into the ether. Usually also spends nothing or less than $1. coined by Rachel at Old Saratoga Books.

paypal scammer. customer who insists on paying via PayPal, even though you don't list that as an option, but you agree to it and ship the book, then the customer puts in a non-delivery claim with PayPal two weeks later. (PayPal routinely honors these customer claims even when the dealer provides proof of delivery.) See also naidoo. gf

poopal. epithet for PayPal.com. gf

naidoo. customer who pays directly with a credit card but, like a paypal scammer, disputes the charge soon after. In nearly every case, a credit card company will reimburse the customer and debit the merchant, so the naidoo walks away with a free book.

pubtwit. customer who thinks you have a warehouse full of identical new copies of the book they want. So named because some pubtwits address you as if they think you're the actual publisher. gf

scanner scammer. customer who pretends to be a prospective buyer, asks you for a scan of your book, then uses the image to try to sell your book on eBay. (Thankfully eBay boots fraudsters who are caught pulling this kind of theft.) gf

screamer. customer who types everything in ALL CAPS. This is considered to be screaming and is an internet no-no. Also called an eyeball killer.

sharecropper. term used pointedly by one bookdealer to describe himself and other bookdealers who sell through the large portals, on the grounds that, as their vendors, we store all their inventory and pay them to do so.

shitkicker. a person who comes into your shop and admires the shop profusely and thanks you for "being here" and then does not spend a dime on anything. Also called a gusher. coined by Rachel at Old Saratoga Books.

sniffer. one who is overly concerned about a book's smell before they buy it. coined by bookdealer Joyce Godsey.

sniper. customer who wants your eBay auction but bids nothing until the last 10 seconds of the auction, then bids just one $1 (or one bidding increment) above the current bid. This is an old term. Sniping is seen by many eBayers as extremely unfair behavior.

spaz. customer who promises to send a check, and continues to promise to do so after every polite reminder you email, but you never actually get the check. See demming. gf

sobber. type of scammer who claims to be dirt poor and can only pay, for example, $10 for your $70 book. gf

swag method. a pricing method used when a bookdealer can find no history or other helpful information on the item in hand. An old term based on the acronym "scientific wild-assed guess."

wheresmybook. customer who orders Media Mail and two days later begins demanding to know where their item is. Term can refer to both query and customer and should be pronounced as shown, as if it is all one word. gf.

10 October 2006

Garage and Estate Sale Synonyms

Synonym List #97

I go to a lot of estate sales and on the way I have collected a wondrous assortment of amusing names people give to their sales. My collection so far, as of October 2006, has over five hundred different terms, but here I present just a few of the more unusual and unique ones, arranged by type. Each of these phrases was spotted either on a sign or in an ad placed by the seller.

We Have Too Much Junque!

House Has Grown Too Large For Garage Sale

What The Heirs Did Not Want Garage Sale!

Grandma’s Cleaning The House Sale!

Oh My! Cleaning Mom’s House Sale

He’s Cleaning Out His Garage Sale

Avid Collectors Downsizing Sale

Ridiculously Large Garage Sale

Seven Ladies & A Garage Sale!

Shopaholic Recovery Program

Retirement Reduction Sale

Shopaholic Cleans House!

My Junk, Your Treasure

Ran Out Of Room Sale

Spoiled Children Sale

Pack Rats Going Zen!

Huge Baby Sale


Our Sign Is Too Small!

ABC SALE — Affordable, Big & Clean!

VBS — Very Big Sale!







Marriage and Breakup Sales

Home Consolidation Sale

Foreclosure Moving Sale

Merged Household Sale

Pre-Demolition Sale

Got Married Sale

Just Married Sale

Downsizing Sale

Demolition Sale

Teardown Sale

Divorce Sale

Where It’s At

Driveway Sale

Car Boot Sale (UK)

Shop On The Beach Sub Sale

Condo Clubhouse Parking Lot Sale

Virtual, Online, Mega, E-Garage Sale

It’s Huge, It’s Cheap

Not Your Ordinary Garage Sale

Mega Make An Offer Moving Sale

Once In A Lifetime Fabulous Estate Sale

Everything You Can Imagine Sale

Mother Of All Garage Sales

Mega #4 Generation Sale

U Won’t Believe It Sale

Super Size Garage Sale

Name Your Price Sale

Chachkas Galore!

Garagezilla Sale

Moving Out & Moving In

Leaving Sale

Florida Bound Sale

Aftermove Garage Sale

Empty Nest Furniture Sale

From Big House To Little Condo

College Student Moving Out Sale

Married Awhile Plan To Move Sale

Kids Are Moving On Sale & Grandma’s Attic

Moving From Large Home To Small RV Sale

Retiring And Moving To Florida Sale

Moving To A Loft In The City Sale

We’re Outta Here Moving Sale

Moving Back To Europe Sale

Getting Ready To Move Sale

Moving Cum Garage Sale

Really Something Special

Life Affirming Rock & Roll Garage Sale

Gala Garage & Hungarian Pastry Sale

Another Damned Garage Sale

Mostly For Men Garage Sale

Top Of The Line Estate Sale

Treasures & Trinkets Sale

Before Snow Flies Sale

Superlative Junk Sale

Hodge-Podge Sale

Bachelor’s Sale

In + Out Sale

Fifty Cent Sale

Jumble Sale (UK)

Garage Saler’s Sale

Bonanza Sale Of The Season

Senior’s Trash And Treasure Sale

Science Fiction Lover’s Dream Sale

One Little 10 Year Old With One Big Garage Sale!

04 October 2006

What Pizza Restaurant Employees Really Call their Customers, and Two Pizza Jokes

Excerpted from Domino’s Pizza Jargon

by Gwen Foss, 1992

First published in Maledicta, The International Journal of Verbal Aggression, Volume 12, 1996

The entire article can be read by ordering a back issue here:


address cheater. customer who gives the wrong address, so that the driver can’t find the house. This is usually an attempt to receive a discount or free pizza.

con artist. customer who, for example, gives the driver a twenty-dollar bill for a twelve-dollar order and says, “Just give me a ten; you can keep the rest.”

dark-house. customer who has no lights on and no numbers on the house, which makes it difficult for the driver to find the customer.

invisible customer. one who does not answer his phone or open the door when the driver arrives. This is usually an attempt to receive a discount or free pizza.

liar. customer who tells the driver that the store quoted a lower price.

placer. customer who places a hair on the pizza and then complains about it.

prankster. someone who calls in a false order.

rookie. customer who tries to order food that is not on the menu.

scammer. customer who tries to cheat the restaurant’s employees.

starver. customer who orders a pizza, then tells the driver she didn’t order it but will buy it for a discount.

stoner. customer who doesn’t know his own address or location.

tightwad. customer who does not tip.

And now, the world’s worst two pizza jokes:

1. What do you get if you sit on a pizza?

A pizza ass!

2. Knock, knock.

-- Who’s there?


-- Eisenhower who?

I’s an hour late, so your pizza is free!

03 August 2006

How Can I Improve My Gas Mileage?

A short list of easy driving techniques that can help you beat the gas crunch and lower greenhouse emissions

I first compiled this list in 2002. It is based on many years of experience including several solo cross-country trips and three years as a professional driver. These tips will improve your mileage whether you have a car with a carburetor or a fuel-injected engine, whether you have a manual transmission or an automatic.

Of course the best way to save gas is to use none: walk or ride a bicycle. You can also buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle, combine trips, carpool and so forth. Great ideas all. But how can you save gas when you are actually operating your car? The following tips increase my mileage by about 20% and other drivers who have followed them have reported similar gains.

  1. Keep your vehicle and engine in good running order: change the oil every three to five thousand miles, and especially make sure tire pressure is correct. A poorly running vehicle wastes a lot of gas.
  2. Drive at or below the speed limit, rather than 10 or 15 miles per hour over it. The faster you go, the more gas you waste.
  3. On the expressway, and when possible to do so without obstructing traffic, drive no faster than 65 mph. At higher speeds, your engine burns fuel at such a rate that you end up using far more gas even though you arrive only a few minutes sooner.
  4. On the expressway, drive with all windows closed. This makes your vehicle more aerodynamic and thus it burns less gas.
  5. Open the vents and set the temperature to cool rather than using the air conditioner. The air conditioner takes a heavy drain on your engine, making it work harder and thus burn more gas.
  6. Shift into neutral when driving downhill for a length of road. Your engine burns much less gas in neutral than it does while in gear. This technique saves gas whether you have manual or automatic transmission, although the benefit is higher for the manual.
  7. Shift into neutral when slowing down. Again, this burns less gas.
  8. Shift into neutral when idling at red lights. Just keep your foot on the brake.
  9. Turn off your engine if you are going to idle for more than thirty seconds, such as at a drive-through window, at a long red light, or while stopped at a railroad crossing. It causes more pollution and wastes far more gas to idle than it does to re-start your engine.
  10. Don’t leave your car idling just to run your car’s air conditioner. This doubles your contribution to global climate change: your air conditioner is adding more heat (air conditioners expel heat as exhaust) while your engine is adding more carbon monoxide.
  11. Accelerate at a moderate rate of speed rather than flooring it. Quick acceleration wastes gas, is more dangerous, and doesn’t get you there any faster.
  12. Decelerate at a moderate rate of speed rather than jabbing the brakes. Avoid quick changes of speed unless necessary.
  13. Stay in one lane as much as possible rather than weaving in and out of traffic. Lane jumping wastes large amounts of gas because it causes more acceleration and deceleration. It might get you to the next red light faster, but you are only wasting more gas to get there faster just to idle at the light.
  14. Slow down rather than jumping into another traffic lane to dart around a vehicle ahead of you that is slowing down to turn. Coast in neutral if possible. You car will burn less fuel and you won’t become a hazard to traffic. Always leave yourself plenty of forward room (no tailgating) and you will only need to coast for a moment.
  15. Drive at a steady rate of speed as much as possible rather than speeding up and slowing down a lot. Drivers who jab the gas, jab the brake, jab the gas, and so forth, don’t get there any faster, but they do burn a whole lot more gas.

Final note: Safety is the number one concern every time you get in a vehicle or get near a road, even as a pedestrian. Always abandon these tips whenever following them would be too dangerous.

Copyright © 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, by Gwen Foss, a.k.a. Book Doctor Gwen. Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this item as long as the item is reproduced in full, and as long as the author’s name is attached.

02 August 2006

What is The Church Where People Laugh?

It’s the world’s best collection of jokes for and about Universalists, Unitarians, and Unitarian Universalists!

I started compiling this collection some time in the 1970s while I was in the youth group at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Farmington, Michigan. After many years it was just too big to keep in a looseleaf so I had to publish it.

We Unitarian Universalists, or UUs for short, tend to have great senses of humor and we love to laugh at ourselves. It was not difficult to put together this great collection, though it did take a few years. There are over three hundred individual jokes, quotes, and anecdotes in this little book.

For those of you who have never heard of Unitarian Universalism, it is a liberal, post-Christian religion which grew out of Universalism -- “God is love” -- and Unitarianism -- “God is one” -- two radical beliefs that have been around since the early days of Christianity. Each of these beliefs was declared a heresy after having been accepted for hundreds of years.

Today, UUs celebrate diversity of belief and the right to think for yourself. We have no concept of heresy except as an accusation against those who exercise free thought and freedom of conscience.

While you’re here, please visit Alan’s Used Books (link on the right) where you can order The Church Where People Laugh and many other great books.

What is The Church Where People Laugh?

It’s the world’s best collection of jokes for and about Universalists, Unitarians, and Unitarian Universalists!

I started compiling this collection some time in the 1970s while I was in the youth group at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Farmington, Michigan. After many years it was just too big to keep in a looseleaf so I had to publish it.

We Unitarian Universalists, or UUs for short, tend to have great senses of humor and we love to laugh at ourselves. It was not difficult to put together this great collection, though it did take a few years. There are over three hundred individual jokes, quotes, and anecdotes in this little booklet.

For those of you who have never heard of Unitarian Universalism, it is a liberal, post-Christian religion which grew out of Universalism -- “God is love” -- and Unitarianism -- “God is one” -- two radical beliefs that have been around since the early days of Christianity. Each of these beliefs was declared a heresy after having been acceptable for hundreds of years.

01 August 2006

What's a "Book Doctor?"

Book doctor is a term from the publishing business, which I was in before I got into the used book business.

The term means, basically, an emergency editor. A book doctor gets handed bad manuscripts -- ones that the publisher has already paid for -- and has to fix them up in fast time. I was in the business of nonfiction so when one of these messes was handed to me, I would check and fix any misspelled proper names, check and correct any incorrect facts, and so on.

A similar term in showbiz is a script doctor.

Now, if you thought I was someone who fixes old, damaged books, sorry, I'm not. For that you need a bookbinder or a document restorer, not a book doctor.