Author of My Turkey ’tis of Thee

My Turkey 'tis of Thee

My Turkey ’tis of Thee

I first learned this song from my old friend, Tim Leonard. The song is a tradition in his family and is attributed to their distinguished ancestor, the Reverend Doctor Thornton Bancroft Penfield (1867-1958). The Reverend Doctor was born to missionaries in India but grew up in the US, graduating from Columbia in 1890.

He wrote a fair amount of poetry and had a sense of humor. He did time as class poet at Columbia and he edited various college publications.  He also published a book of poems called The Four-Leaved Clover.


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Roku 3 Streaming Player – Soo close to perfect

Soo close to perfect

By Rick from Twin Cities, MN on 7/31/2013
4out of 5

Pros: Fast Setup, Plays From Usb, Plays Desktop Videos, Simple Controls

Cons: No Repeat Play, Feeble Fast Forward

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Slander in the Workplace

Image I enjoy reading the advice column by Cary Tennis on Salon. He seems sensible. People haven’t changed much since the days of Ann Landers and Dear Abby, but Cary does manage to put a modern spin on things. For example, a lot of his stories have to do with business relationships.

Recently, he posted one on slander by a former co-worker. While I doubt I’ve ever been slandered myself, I’ve seen it happen to others. Cary’s advice was pretty succinct: stick to the facts, and only bring it up with specific people whose opinion you value. He also linked to a couple of other blog posts on the subject I found especially valuable.

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Scouting and Stubenville

I’ve mostly avoided news coverage of Steubenville because such tragedies sicken me on many levels, especially the way everyone involved is smeared with dirt by some news reporter or blogger.

Events like this should make us ask, “Why does almost every kid’s parent hope to raise a star player?”

How can this be healthy for growing boys or girls? We always hear about how sports teach ethical lessons beyond the mere rules of the game. But here’s the object lesson of sports teaching “win at all costs,” and “to the victors belong the spoils.”

Scouting has its shortcomings (and there is hope they’re being addressed) but it’s more than badges. The good troops (and there are lots of them out there) lead by example, give the kids a lot of non-sexually-themed things to do, and explicitly promote honesty, courtesy, and courage.

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WordPress and Facebook

Memo to self: next time I edit one of my WordPress postings, be sure to edit the “Publicize” property in the upper left corner.

If I’m updating an old post, I must be sure to un-check Facebook so I don’t republish an old post. If I’m creating a new post (like this one) that doesn’t need to go to Facebook, I should also un-check Facebook.

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What change might look like

Inclusive Scouting Patch

Last week we filled out surveys from the Boy Scouts of America about proposed “membership standards” changes that would lift the official ban on gay scouts and adults. With my active volunteer work in scouting and my gay daughter and daughter-in-law, I’m in the middle of it. Towelroad (self-described as “a site with homosexual tendencies”) has posted an accurate copy of the questions I was asked, more or less (the scenarios were renumbered). Towelroad doesn’t comment on the survey, but lets it speak for itself.

[Update 3/19/13 - Slate published a piece claiming that the survey is biased towards changing the policy. The Dallas Voice, a GLBT publication, has also published a copy of the survey.]

And yes, the survey may be the epitome of political incorrectness. But this is what change looks like if you’re going to carry on conversations instead of just shouting at each other.

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Social Traditions versus Religious Traditions

I’ve been reading  Of Virgins and Martyrs which more-or-less explores the role of women in world culture. David Jacobson, the author, frames the discussion around religious traditions, which themselves generally arose in patriarchal societies. Religious conservatives world-wide often oppose expansions of womens’ rights. I think this often arises because many religious conservatives like to conflate social traditions with religious obligations. Neither Jesus nor Mohammed explicitly relegated women to a second class status (never mind what St. Paul had to say). 

However, both savior and prophet arose in a patriarchal society. It’s easy to portray both as patriarchal or even misogynistic by over-interpreting their social interactions.

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