By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Thu, March 01 2012 - 9:47 pm
March 31, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Little did I know when my husband suggested home schooling our children (which suggestion I greeted with a sinking heart and a resounding internal, "No!") that home schooling would end up being such a big deal.
I really don't know why he wanted me to do it. Maybe he thought the children would get a better education.
That may be true, although some comments about how uneven home schooling is - how the emphasis on math or language to the detriment of other studies takes place - have come to my attention.
The thing that made me hesitate to home school my children (apart from being so selfish as to want some time to myself!) was an awareness of the unremitting discipline (of myself as well as my children) that would have to be maintained.
Really doing a good job of home schooling is a daunting task, and to tell the truth, I don't believe most other people would be any better at it than I would have been.
Not really happy with what your child is learning in school? Then add activities and reading to what they are doing at home. Refine and correct. Go for it!
But let your child experience all school has to offer. That includes socialization and exposure to the big bad world. Think of it as an inoculation against the culture at large, if you will. What we are exposed to in small amounts might protect us from larger doses later.
March 30, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
I read lately that you can't really unify people with anything but sacredness. People who hold the same objects (or human) sacred trust each other.
Yup, you see it all the time: members of a church giving donations to a priesthood, or a faith-based enterprise that promises if you give what you give shall be returned to you in multiples, with interest.
How can we wean ourselves from the delusion that others hold the same things holy that we do just because they say they do?
How come the God within us isn't enough to make us hold each other, or our common humanity, sacred?
This does not bode well for agnostics or atheists, who will have to find some belief or universal human appeal in order to satisfy the inner person's desire for a spiritual community.
Put the Madison Avenue marketers on to that problem!
After all, they have succeeded in turning automobiles into love objects!
Why not the Sacred Doubter? St. Thomas the Divinity!
March 29, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Lilacs blooming outside in March?
For once, the weather matching the calendar!
But what is going to happen later this year? Is it superstition to fear that Fall will come sooner, also?
No point in worrying about the future! I'm too delighted that March is not only leaving like a lamb, but a very sweet, docile, charming, soft little lamb.
March 27, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Now that we know from Blink (Malcolm Gladwell) and Who's in Charge? (Michael Gazzaniga) that most of our actions occur before consciousness (not that those are the only sources, just mine) and are only rationalized after, I think it is more important than ever that we rely on good habits.
Good habits of discipline that enhance our self-esteem and good habits of self-care that increase our happiness are a good place to start.
How about habits of introspection and self-awareness that help us realize if we are angry and more likely to act out in an undesireable way?
When I was in high school I once back-handed my mom in the arm in spite of my well-ingrained habit of respect and obedience. Consequently now I try to keep out of reach of anyone during discussions when I am frustrated or angry.
Don't want those reflex arcs to do something I'm going to have to be accountable for later!
March 26, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
I plan to earn my social security by volunteering - later.
And, um, of course I probably really won't work for 60 whole hours a month. I mean, that would mean 15 hours per week!
Wouldn't it be wonderful, though, if I found something I liked well enough to do it for nothing.
But it is a worthy goal, right, to work as a volunteer as partial compensation for my social security check?
I know I already earned some of it, but I hope to eventually get more than I put in.
The only trouble is, when it comes right down to it, I'm not sure I'll be willing to sacrifice my time.
I have some ideas, though, of things I'd like to do for my community, wherever that may be.
Giving park trails a Spring cleaning might be a worthwhile activity. Most places have trash that needs to be picked up.
There might actually be people who want to learn a craft like quilting now that economic times are more difficult.
Small towns might need volunteers to help encourage people and teach them exercise techniques.
It depends on where we go, though.
If there is nothing I can teach, then I'm sure there are things I can learn. I can pretend my social security is scholarship money and audit some classes.
No matter where you live, learning techniques of preventive health is a good way to save society money.
I want to make sure my social security isn't federal money down the drain.
March 25, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
A glorious day, unsullied by anything. Except maternal sullenness, the scarring of our lawn by an overenthusiastic octogenarian driving a 1941 lawnmower precursor, a ten-year-old kamikaze bicyclist who smirked nastily as he missed by two inches his intended scare-target making a right-turn in front of my partner five feet from our destination curb, depression, dietary restrictions dictated by age and acid reflux, piss-pot emptying, and
like that insaner woman of yore who spent her whole Saturday working like a dog and at the end of it, probably panting like a dog, too,
I thank the Lord for a perfect day.
Ha! An average one, actually, thank the Universe kindly.
March 24, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
I wasn't going to say anything about the Trayvon Martin case. So many people have been saying so much I can't have heard it all, let alone feel that I have something different to say.
But maybe I do. More and more this seems to me like a stalker scenario. White male following presumably suspicious black teenager. Neighborhood watch kind of activity? Okay.
These neighborhood folks are supposedly acting in support of the police. Okay.
At the point where the police tell the virtuous follower to cease following and he does not obey that order, he ceases to be supporting the police. By my definition, at that point the individual becomes a stalker.
Let's see. The stalker winds up alive and the person being stalked ends up dead. Does that seem surprising to you?
If it does, put different stereotypes into the roles. How about a young unarmed woman being followed by a middle-aged man. She winds up dead and he is apprehended with a smoking gun. Is there any doubt about where public sympathy would lie?
How about a white middle-aged man in the role of the one being unaccountably followed in his own neighborhood after dark, with the pursuer being an armed black male. The white man ends up down and the black male standing. Is there any question that an arrest would follow?
Spare me. This white guy was playing cops and robbers, and got tired of having no dramatic action in his activity. He had a real gun and he was spoiling to use it.
The gun lobby says if toting a gun becomes illegal then only the bad guys will have guns.
As far as I'm concerned, everyone carrying a gun is a potential bad guy - even a cop.
Soldiers and policemen carrying guns? Arguably necessary evils. Ordinary citizens having the right to wander our neighborhoods with loaded guns are unnecessary evils.
This guy wasn't standing his ground. He was a stalker and surprise, surprise, his victim wound up dead.
March 23, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
I was thinking the other day about the older-than-I-am (equals old) woman who was crying, "I want my America back!"
My response at the time was, "Isn't she being childish. She sounds like a five year old!"
My response later was: her America never existed except in her head.
Now my response is both of the above. What she really wants back is her childhood, replete with a grade-school understanding of American history.
I can understand why we mostly teach children about the good side of things. Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, and the George Washington of the cherry tree story are all good models for grade school children.
Part of my definition of evil, though, is behavior that is inappropriate (okay, okay, an over-used word these days) to the person's age.
So the anonymous woman was not only behaving like a child ("Wah, wah") but she was expressing a belief comparable to a belief in Santa Claus.
Why are we so enamored in this country of the weird juxtaposition of murder and warm safety in our cosy mystery fiction?
Better that we should be reading some uncosy American history!
March 22, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
I read an interesting article today about the possibility of abolition of currency as we know it today - not just pennies and nickels, but paper money also. The article talked about how much money creating and handling money costs, but is the abolition of money you can carry really a serious possibility?
How would transactions between neighbors occur? (You know, like hiring the neighbor kid to mow the lawn.) Would we all have to have credit card machines like retail businesses?
What about garage sales? Would we all have to have registered businesses in order to participate in such ventures?
If we aren't allowed to make transactions in real money, which isn't real at all compared to solid gold and silver, I'll bet an informal currency will arise. This would be similar, I suppose, to stuff that used to be utilised in transactions before governments started controlling and creating currency.
I would like to propose monopoly money. Do we still have that old game around the house? As long as many of us agree that it is worth something, it can be worth something.
The idea of using play money appeals to me. Isn't our present coin and currency play money?
Don't tell me monopoly money couldn't be worth anything! I could buy a neighbor's lamp for twenty dollars, and then he could buy my shovel for five. It would be like bartering with rain checks.
The monopoly playing pieces could be strung into charm bracelets, which would sell at different prices depending on their charm.
I don't know what the board could be used for - maybe the roof of a doll's house, which could be used as a stash for the monopoly money.
The idea of nothing but an electronic bank account makes me terribly insecure, even though I don't stash cash at home.
Having a literal building I can visit to get my money is a source of comfort to me. Do you realize they might start charging us for cash transactions? (According to the article.) What happens in a state of emergency and Internet breakdown if everybody's money is inaccessible?
Tomorrow I'm going to shop for a few Monopoly games. They could provide symbolic virtual money until "real" virtual money is restored. I will be rich!
Um... I can't remember. Are five dollar bills pink or blue?
March 21, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Which would you rather do, split an avocado or split an infinitive?
Dance a waltz or March a parade?
Blame or inflame?
Spring fling or Winter over?
Swing and swing or bling bling?
Test the weather or weather a test?
Winter is Spring and Spring is Summer. Confusion reigns and rain's a bummer.
Spring madrigal time - where's the strummer?
March 20, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
This morning I was complaining to my sister about the fact that I could only talk to my mother in simple sentences. If I try to get a word in leading to another part of a compound sentence, my mom interrupts me. I said, "So now I find myself interrupting people if they try to -"
My sister interrupted me. "I think the whole population is having trouble listening to compound sentences, and - "
A whoop of laughter from me forestalled the rest of her thought for a minute or two. Talk about universalizing your experience! (I hope you got at least a chuckle from that one, too)
My sister continued, "I noticed this in the East in the nineteen-nineties. As soon as I started the second part of a compound sentence people started moving away. It was - "
"The same thing happened to me at the clinic," I exclaimed. "I thought that they were just being rude, but maybe you're - "
"I think it is a cultural thing. Just one more thing not to take personally," my sister concluded.
So take it from those of us over fifty, folks, your inability to spit out a compound sentence uninterrupted is just one more of those many things not ... to ...
Now, where was I?
March 19, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Today I started doing some yard clean-up. I seem to be behind most of my neighbors, but I don't blame myself. I've seen the spring clean-up called April yard clean-up. Don't blame me if it's already June!
The most mysterious thing in my yard is the compost pile. I thought for sure all the messing around I have done out there would destroy the scylla in that part of the yard, creating an ugly-looking although very dark and rich mound of dirt.
Instead, I went back there today with a full compost bucket and found only a couple of spots I cared or dared to dig. Little blue flowers everywhere!
Mom mentioned the other day that she only put in a few plants originally. (Of course that was over fifty years ago.) I'm sure they weren't the first to be seen in the neighborhood. Mom never went to a nursery and bought plants. She swapped and traded.
Well, I tried to give some scylla and daffodils to the neighbor across the street, but they don't seem to have taken.
My neighbor had Cosmos last year. Maybe the plants will swap themselves. The trade is more likely to be successful that way.
March 17, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
When I left school, I was foolish enough to think I had left grades behind, perhaps forever.
Make no mistake: you are continually going to be graded by society, and the 1-percenters are the A+ students.
Ayn Rand's worldview is winning out.
But just in case you A+ students are beginning to feel insecure at the top, as if all the C students are piling up weapons and beginning to attack, consider this:
What grade do you get in compassion? What grade do you get in generosity? What grade do you get for consciousness?
Oh - and I forgot to tell you. You won't be giving the grade to yourselves, any more than students do in school
What grade are the rest of us going to give you?
If you (plural - this is a team effort!) deserve an A+ in these qualities, you (probably) have nothing to fear.
March 16, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
I read recently that perhaps the only sin of modern times is hypocrisy.
How about the oppression of others?
How about unjust power plays and overt abuse?
Maybe whoever wrote that was talking about sins that aren't considered crimes.
People who have less seem to think that people who have more have perfect lives.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There are so many ways that life can seem unfair; one person can experience one, another can experience them all, seemingly.
The satisfaction of one need, while healing for a time, often just gives us the comfort to perceive another, different lack.
There is no telling which might give more pain. For instance, are hunger pangs worse than emotional torment?
March 15, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
The other day we bought a powerball ticket and didn't win - no surprise.
But does anyone want to bet that the world won't come to an end this year? I will bet any amount of money that it doesn't! Ha, ha! I can't lose!
If I don't have any takers for that bet, though, I really wish I had a dollar for every time (no, just every date!) that someone has predicted that the world would come to an end.
I would be one hundred thousand dollars richer, I am sure.
After all, these prophets of the end of the world don't get just one date apiece!
When their projected date passes without apocalypse, they figure their figures were wrong. Somehow they miscalculated. They will rework the numbers and next time it will come out right.
My feeling is that all these people who obsess about the end of the world really want the world to stop.
It would be so much easier than having to deal with life!
March 14, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
An intriguing little piece in the Jan. 27 The Week talks about a New York Times article about the 1% richest folks in the country.
It's interesting, but what is it supposed to mean?
The 1-percenters are three times more likely than the rest of us to work more than 50 hours a week. Certainly that is still not close to a majority.
And so what? Presumably such rich people (at least the richer of them) are working because they want to. If they love their jobs, how does that make them so different from us? If I had loved my jobs, I might have been more willing to work longer hours.
Are the authors of the article trying to say the very rich are harder-working than the rest of us? If they are, sorry. That doesn't follow. Having money to hire servants to do all the at-home chores and half of the child care adds a lot of ease and leisure time.
They say the 1-percenters are twice as likely to be married. And...? Do the authors of the article know that many people do not marry because they can't afford to? Many!
This little blurb in The Week arouses more questions than makes points in this particular reader.
It is intriguing, though. I smell a book here!
(Oh, and if the richest are working 50 hours a week, they don't have as much time to spend their money - so why not be more willing to pay taxes that benefit all of us?)
My other response to the information given, though, is an almost immediate cessation of envy. Do they really have to work so very hard?
Poor little rich folk!
March 13, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
"Look before you leap" is a good old adage that I always took way too literally.
Insofar as I didn't take it literally, I might have acknowledged it as an emotional warning.
The best way to take it, I believe now, is in the form of information gathering. Maybe I'm just watching too many movies and reading too many novels, but it seems to me that unquestioning acceptance of false information (is "noise" still an expression in common use?) is responsible for an undue number of serious mistakes people make.
"Look before you leap" would go well, then, with the admonition against "don't jump to conclusions."
Why don't we feel the need to check and double check? Are we too sanguine? Too trusting? Too conceited, thinking we know it all?
If the last, I guess failing to pay heed to the first two sayings will result in the third: "Pride goeth before a fall."
Too cute by far.
I think the reason people don't question what they hear is that they are too humble, not too proud.
And far, far too trusting!
(Human nature being what it is - at least in movies and novels!)
March 12, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Are you creative, or are you reactive?
Are you live, or are you evil?
Spend your time with ailings, or sailing?
Are you winsome or would you like to win some?
Blatant bleatings or fractious fractions, somehow the white blank page is like snow.
You want to write something, figure something, mess it up a little with tracks, or try to read the tracks left by those who went before.
Rabbits, bunnies, snowshoes or bozos; dogs or racoons or dragons or dragoons; pigeon feet or pigeon toes, cat paws or tracks of crows.
Be creative or read this and react.
Do both and maybe you'll be better!
Thob nad rebett.
What the hell, shuffle and scuttle!
March 11, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
I don't know what my mom did in the past, but in the last few years when I have felt really responsible for her safety, she has refused to go into the basement during a tornado warning.
Well, you say, who does want to go into the basement?
My mom! We had to put a hook way up high on the door leading to the basement because her instability, plus cement floors and no hand rail, made it unsafe for her to go down alone. (This stricture was advocated by Visiting Nurses' Service.)
There is a tornado warning. We put a comfy chair in the basement and suggest that Mom go down with me and hang out for a while.
Nothing doing. She doesn't take the warnings seriously.
Maybe lots of people are like that. After all, the tornado doesn't usually materialize where you are.
But why not play it safe? She could read down there as well as on the ground floor.
I, myself, who NEVER (well, hardly) clean the basement, spend tornado warning time cleaning up much as people use the coming of company as an incentive.
Recently a whole bunch of sugar ants invaded the basement only to die thanks to a visit from Terminix last fall (nice to know it is still effective - and don't look at me, organic environmentalists - my sister made the call while I was on vacation!)
The ants are littering the ledge and the basement cries out to be cleaned and put in order.
It's almost enough to make me want a tornado warning! That place is really getting gross!
And if a tornado comes, and my mom won't come down to the basement, and the noise of the vacuum cleaner drowns out the screams and cries for help from above (or in this case, below - (or both!))...
March 10, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Winter marches on; thank heavens, it is flagging. More lavendar crocuses - whole clumps of them.
This morning we saw a good-sized warble of sandhill cranes overhead - close enough to see their necks and legs stretching out in either direction.
Their call is so distinctive - how could I ever confuse it with the clonky goose-honk?
The other day I saw an article about saw-whet owls in an office. The pictures show feathery feet! I didn't know saw-whet owls had feathery feet, and don't remember them on the little owl I saw up the street a year or two ago. Must have been a screech owl after all.
The sky was as blue today as a New Mexican sky. That is something I can't say very often in Northern Indiana.
Robins have returned.
Otherwise, we have only the usual animal life to report: cats in trees, yippers behind electronic fences, squirrels running around with old walnuts in their mouths.
The living isn't easy quite yet.
March 9, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
My first crisis of faith occurred when I read Jack London in junior high school.
In my young single adulthood, I remember an older woman asking me how I could get along without a belief in God; she said she couldn't do it. Since I remember her asking me that, I must not have felt I believed in God then.
After that, when life got too much for me, sometimes I would pray for help. One time, maybe figuring God hadn't answered me, I went into the bathroom and screamed at the top of my lungs. Nobody answered that cry for help, either.
If people who are harshly treated by life stopped believing in God forever, there wouldn't be many believers left.
I think the thing that really makes people stop believing in God is the sheer craziness of too many religious beliefs, not to mention the cunning of the prophets.
Science education dampens too literal an interpretation of religion, but it doesn't stop the belief and reliance on God.
As for bad luck, think of the moral of the story of Job. Some people just use misfortune as a spur to stronger faith.
Speaking about magical thinking, though, there is something interesting about the name Job.
How many people these days do you know with the first name Job? (Not to mention a job - there's a piece of work for you. The task of completely rebuilding a life.)
March 8, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
The name John has more than one meaning - at least one of which is not a name.
Maybe Robert isn't something else, but Bob sure is. Apples, anyone? Don't look further, Rob is even worse.
Nor is Jimmy a good tag, when it is a verb!
Joe is a good old-fashioned name, and the drink is probably even older!
Pat - well, pat pat.
Pam is now a household oil spray.
Sue is a big number of people - and a bigger number of legal actions. Better stick with Susan.
Les is less, not more.
Pete is definitely earthy.
A Mark can be high or low.
No wonder a good many people are giving their kids names like Nebuchadnazzar and Zachariah! Ezekial and Obadiah!
Or is that Nebuchednassar and Zackaria? Ezekiel and Obediah?
You can't win.
Might as well name them Di and Trey.
March 7, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Well, good for the atheists if they are marching on Washington, D.C.
I call myself an agnostic now because I don't want to pretend to know anything about such lofty cosmic subjects, but I'm glad atheists have a support system. I feel supported by their empowerment.
An Islamic leader who did not object to a billboard advertising the event ("You know it's a myth... what are you going to do about it?") said the organizers were trying to be provocative. I don't think that is so. Are people who have public demonstrations trying to be provocative by definition?
Maybe not. What I do believe is that if militantly religious people just stay away from this event - which has nothing to do with them - it will probably be peaceful.
The more stand-offish and insular people of any faith are, the more others are forced to rely on folks like-minded with themselves.
That's a pity. I think our sense of community should be bigger than that.
March 6, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
When I was a young mother, I often felt as if I were losing my mind - as in going crazy.
Now I feel as if I am losing my mind. I don't feel like I'm going crazy, though. I feel that the street police should be getting after me for littering the street with gray matter, which must be physically oozing out of my brain.
It does not help to remember that I forgot things when I was younger. Well, of course, I was thoughtless and feckless then. I had to learn to try to be more responsible.
I have learned to try to be more responsible. The trouble is, the attempt hasn't actually led to being more responsible.
Intentions, unluckily, do not equal performance.
But, la, the flowers growing between the Flagstones of Good Intentions along the path to Hell smell just as sweet as all the others!
The spirit is light and gay!
Yesterday we saw a cardinal singing in the rain. Today we saw scylla, lavendar crocuses and a budding-out pieris.
Snow, melt! Squirrels, chatter!
March 5, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
I wonder what physical balance has to do with mental balance.
If you walk alot and ride a bike, does that help you stay balanced with regards to the golden mean, or human mean? (As opposed to mean human!)
When I think of unreasonable people, I often imagine them charging ahead in vehicles with big engines. You don't need a sense of balance to do that!
Maybe, though, I just think gas-guzzling vehicles are unreasonable transportation for these times, therefore....
When I had a bout with real vertigo a few months back, the balanced thing to do was stay horizontal.
I didn't feel extremist - I felt nauseated!
No thoughts before or after in overdone black and white about anyone else, just a desire to get my sense of balance back.
The cause of the malaise? Inner ear infection? Problems in the spine and neighboring cerebellum?
After struggles with physical disequilibrium, mental balance seems relatively attainable.
Hmmm... part of the problem. What's balanced to us is relative to what our relatives and those immediately (or virtually) around us perceive as balanced.
How moderate and real is that?
March 4, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Why is a fussbudget called that? Isn't fussing what he doesn't budget?
Would flabulous mean the same thing as zaftig?
I wonder if scrumptious is related to a scrum. Something so yummy it just messes you up?
Is a floorist someone who puts down carpets?
Are carpets pets who live in your car?
Is a crowed cowed by crowing?
Why is a fight called a row? Does it have anything to do with rowing a boat?
I fail to see the connection. I flail to see the connection!
I fail to avail myself of correction.
March 3, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
March so far is snow and wind-blowy. Cold and bold.
Up here in northern Indiana we have been lucky. The southern part of the state has not been so fortunate.
Oh, and we thought tornadoes were not a winter-blooming plant!
We have bought night-lights to keep everyone from bumping around so much inside, but outside the sun still goes down pretty early and rises pretty late. The moon hides behind clouds.
We have seen snowdrops and heather and teeny diminutive yellow crocuses, so Spring is on the way.
Hope we don't have to look for it under snow!
March 2, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
Why does the word "syllable" have more than one syllable? That sure isn't very onomatopoetic of it!
Well, no wonder. I looked up the derivation of the word, and it comes originally from the Greek "to gather together."
That is rich. The gathering together, I presume, comes at the letter level. Letters are grouped around one or more vowels to make one, unified "bark" of sound.
So the gathering together of several elements results in one unified whole.
But the story doesn't end there, because these barks, or grunts if you prefer, combine and create ideas that are higher and more complex yet - words! And on up the literary ladder.
No wonder the word syllable doesn't have only one of itself. It's not in its makeup! Besides, the word has a pedagogical purpose. It provides a perfect example of how to divide words into syllables, depending on whether there is a double letter or a vowel and letter between itself. Syl-la-ble.
Ah, language is so wonderful!
That one word provides a perfect analogy to the human desire to socialize, reproduce, teach and create something greater than itself!
March 1, 2012 Valparaiso, IN
We want to move South. Lots of older people do, and often I think younger people sigh with relief when the older folks do so.
Then I think about the older people I met through the Santa Fe Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. They weren't all inspirational, but many of them were wonderful. I grew a good deal in association with them and also, I admit with some closer to my own age.
Are young people the worse off for having too few older people around? Are there enough elderly people escaping Southward to have a significant impact on the young'uns left behind?
I look around and see quite a few older people here, but I go often to the Senior Citizens' Center in the neighborhood.
Judging by the reaction to the older generations I have seen in recent years, I sometimes wonder if the young adults don't know what they are missing.
Ha, ha, of course I would have these thoughts now that I am in my mid-sixties!
Well, I'm glad moving South brings me closer to, not farther from, my adult offspring.
Ready or not, here we come!
P.S. For those who visited this site and read something different, I decided to edit the February spite out of this entry. For those who saw it, lucky you! You got to see the unedited me!
P.P.S. Probably Rush Limbaugh inspired both the impulse to vent spleen and (by negative example) to erase the nasty. Now isn't he one successful hypocrite?
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