August 13, 2007


Kristen and I went on a much needed date tonight. I love everyone that visited this weekend; we needed some serious time to ourselves in our control. We thought about going to see the new Jason Bourne movie but decided instead on
Stardust. It was a romp and I recommend it to everyone that liked all of the following movies:
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Princess Bride, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, because it was the first two rolled together with a smattering of the third for good laughs. There was a scene where some unimportant character crawls out from under something, after having been turned into a goat and then back into a person, and I needed that person to say, "She turned me into a goat." ...... ..... "Well, I got better!" I'll let you figure out the rest.

If you haven't seen the Baron Munchausen, it is, in my opinion, a "Don Quixote de la Vienna," sort of rendition. Excellent. If you haven't seen the other two, well, shame on you.

Posted by Mendon at 11:21 PM | Comments (1)

August 7, 2007

Water Damage

Yesterday, I noticed that there was some serious dripping going on outside our apartment. I called the building engineer and offered to go up on the roof. She said, "uh, no, no residents on the roof." So, that was that, she told me that she'd get the landlord to call his roofer, which he did do.

So, this is pretty much what we saw when we woke up this morning, only it was wet instead of dry.

And it was spreading. As you can see it made it all the way from corner to corner.

And, this was well on it's way to becoming what you see here.

So, I called our landlord and let him know about the amount of water coming into our apartment and he said that he'd call his roofer right away, again. As of writing this post the roofer has been called at least twice and hasn't returned our landlord's calls.

When we got home from work, though, the problem had spread. Especially when I noticed this.

Yeah, I don't believe it either, take another look, closer.
Closer look And, to the right

But that isn't what bothered me the most, really, the smell of re-wet paint isn't cool, still. Here's what's really bugging me:Dude this sucks. Because,This is what it was.

Which was precipitated by this:Drip Drip Drop

Our landlord is being cool and taking full responsibility for this. I think he's even going to drop me a check for getting up on the roof and helping him unclog his roof drains, which I was happy to do for free in order to keep our belongings from getting any worse.

Posted by Mendon at 9:36 PM | Comments (9)

August 4, 2007

Mercy, Forgiveness, and Absolution

This is another entry in a succession of entries discussing a few topics that I feel are important and neglected in our society. They are a moral third rail that teachers shy away from in school and parents are often too ignorant or lazy (often both) to make an effort to simply educate their children about (we won't even discuss making an effort to guide behavior). Also, in my previous post about apology, it is worth noting that I spoke of apologizing in an advice giving sense. I feel relatively capable of delivering a sincere, contrite apology. In this case, I'm going to speak more in terms of knowledge because I'm not sure how I feel I measure up to the many standards that people have regarding these words.

Mercy, Forgiveness, and Absolution are three different words for a reason, though I suspect that many would be hard pressed to identify what those distinctions actually are, especially between forgiveness and absolution. Mercy, the one that is different, is forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power. The emphasis is on in one's power and forbearance. Note that a necessary cause for the existence of mercy is a differential amount of power; the only entity capable showing mercy is the more powerful entity. Also, it is worthwhile to note that forbearance can be thought of as a synonym for restraint. This means that an entity of greater power chooses to refrain from exercising its power which would be, presumably, be to the detriment of the lesser entity. If it refrained from using its power to assist a lesser entity, we might call this negligence in the pejorative and prioritizing in the positive sense.

Forgiveness can be used as a synonym for absolution, which frustrates me (i.e. see "forgive debt"). However, it has a meaning that absolution does not, that is to cease to feel resentment against. This is important. If I accept an apology by saying, "I forgive you." We can think of this as absolution or as saying, "I no longer hold you accountable for your previous actions." I don't think that most of us mean this when we say it. Rather, I feel that when we say that we forgive people, we mean that we no longer feel hurt or injured, emotionally, and are ready to move forward and continue pursuing a positive (or at least neutral) relationship. This is important to me. If I say to someone that they are forgiven, I still expect that they will own their behavior and take responsibility for it. "I forgive you for crossing the yellow line and colliding with me," does not mean, "It's ok that you were driving irresponsibly, you don't need to take responsibility for your actions, you can leave, I don't need your insurance information."

Absolution is different from forgiveness in that it is a release from consequences, obligations, or penalties. Thus, a person may be absolved without being forgiven but cannot be absolved without being shown mercy. Why? There must be an entity capable of enforcing consequences, obligations, or penalties. The absolving entity may remove the consequences, for whatever reason, but may withhold the forgiveness. An excellent example of this situation is at the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Many members of the previous South African government were freed of the penalties that might have been just in favor of a "moving and unifying" approach. Instead, victims were given a voice and validation, and were able to address those who perpetrated against them. In a sense, these perpetrators were absolved but may never be forgiven. They could not have been shown mercy if there was no entity more powerful than they were, which was a more representative government.

Being shown mercy does not guarantee that a person is forgiven, remitted, or absolved. A person who is granted forgiveness may be in a position of authority over the granting individual. And the entity that grants forgiveness can still expect that the forgiven powerful entity make efforts to ameliorate the situation. Mercy is a word that regards the actions of the powerful, Forgiveness is a word that regards the emotional state of the injured, and Absolution regards the expectations of future actions of the perpetrator. Understanding the differences between these words can help a person to know what behavior is expected of them. Even better, understanding these words and discussing how they are relevant to one's behavior can be an important part of moral education.

The next word is, "Responsibility."

Posted by Mendon at 11:37 PM | Comments (8)