Is Three Stable?

The PEW folks this morning issued an article [Link] that 0.56 of the sample population is in favor of a third political party. What is not surprising is that 0.72 of the independents have this opinion, and 0.47 of the democrat party adherents, after all, they have a charismatic, some even say messianic, maybe candidate apparent. But that 0.53 of the republican party adherents have this view is a bit notable.

The difficulty with all this is that the article does not go into any details of what that third party would embody. There is plenty of dissatisfaction with the two currently duopolistic political parties but it is not at all clear that the dissatisfaction is consistent or unified.

I have mentioned in previous blots of the absence of platform differences between the two parties in Alibam. For example, no one running for office in Alibam can be in favor of either gun control or women’s reproductive choice. This is in sharp contrast to the anti-control and anti women’s choice by the republican party and the opposite by the democrat party.

The point here is that the political parties have evolved, although they would both tend to avoid using that term in their courting of the superstitious and mystical, towards a set of planks that collectively they hold in opposition to each other. In maths terms each party possesses a set A of planks that they are for or against, and the other party possesses a set Not-A that is the reverse of A (since each member may only occupy two states.)

Now if we conside that each of these sets possesses n planks, then the number of possible combinations of stance on the collection of planks is 2^n. In effect, this is the number of possible sets of planks, but only 2^1 are presented by the two political parties. Hence there are 2^n – 2 plank sets that are not offered.

I have previous blogged on the question of how many planks one finds difference with before one ceases to be an adherent of a political party. I shall not belabor that point. But I shall labor a bit on the idea that the demographics of that population who have ceased adherence to either of the political parties is approximately smoothly distributed among the 2^n – 2 other plank sets.

Assuming this to be approximately the situation, then something on the order of half of the people who are adherents of any particular subset of planks are balanced by those who are opposed to that subset. Hence, there is little to indicate that all of those people who favor a third political party are unified in agreement as to what that party should have as a platform.

The implication of this is significant. It potentially is little less than the balkanization of the political instrumentality of the Yankee republic. As a minimum we might find the number of political parties being four at a minimum. Suddenly American politics would cease to be which party is in power but which coalition can be formed. It is not at all clear that this would not be worse than an abolition of all political parties and the institution of popular elections.

Drivels

The good news starts with a live broadcast of Friday’s solar eclipse from Novo Sibirsk. You have to register but that’s a freebie. [Link] Definitely cheaper than going up to Canada.

You can also see it from China, but do you really want to go there? The PEW folks did a multinational survey of whether having the Olympics in China is good/bad. Seems that the bad opinion is pretty high in Europe, Japan, and the Yankee republic. Personally I think it’s a good thing that it isn’t here.

But speaking of good things, I note that Illinois has made it a misdemeanor to cross a street while using a cellular phone or texting. [Link] I think they should generalize the law to make it a crime to use a cellular phone or text while you are moving! And our council of thieves legislature in Muntgum should emulate the Land of Lincoln.

On the bad side, the Gartner folks have come out that the $100 laptop – ala the Black Bridge project – is at least three years away. [Link] Based on what I have seen as Gartner’s track record this is either common knowledge or they are highly inaccurate. My corporate experience with Gartner was that they were masters of repackaging what everyone already knew and of distracting from their egregious and frequent mistakes. It’s a shame P. T. Barnam is dead because he would have been right at home with them.

It has also been shown by researchers at U Adelaide that Peruvian chickens are genetically indistinguishable from other chickens. [Link] This puts rather a bit of a damper on the theory that the Peruvians got chickens from Easter Island rather than from the Conquistadores. The interesting question is what did other meats taste like before Columbus?

And for mixed news. it appears that the former Vice President from Tennessee has stepped on himself again by claiming the Moore’s Law applies to colar cells. [Link] Perhaps he should change his name to “Goring Error”.

Also on the down side, is research from Federal U of Pernambuco that one cannot create ball lightening in one’s microwave. [Link] One can however make a nasty mess of trying, so in the interest of avoiding pain from FD SCP I shall restrict my recreational microwaving to CDs.

I also read that the Australians are instituting a customs program of searching travelers’ MPs players and laptops for copyright material. [Link] So much for the assumption of fair use. Maybe this is the contemporary equivalent of the Riot Act? Shall we hypothesize that appropriate beatings for searchees is eminent?

Needful Clients

One of my distinguished colleagues, Enthalpy Energy, passed me a link this morning to a SlashDot discussion on LaTeX. [Link] In the wake of a night spent arguing unsuccessfully with nasal constriction that no amount of meditation would alleviate, such a diversion this morning is most welcome. Indeed, it would be welcome even without the sinus difficuties but it definitely puts me in a better mood so that I can recall that the gym this morning was not at a temperature normally used to hang meat with some degree of pleasure.

This is rather a difficult time to go to the gym. Temperatures have been fluctuating – highs – between high eighties and low one hundreds, which gives us some cause for pause at the claim that global warming slope should be zero for the next five years or so. Also, shul – the public type – is about to commence and so all of the territorial teachers are seeping back in to monopolize the equipment and try to intimidate those who aren’t of their particular fraternity. But my chief bother is that this is the null time of several of the podcasts I listen to, notably Melvyn, Lord Bragg’s “In Our Time” and Garrison Keeler’s “News from Lake Woebegone”, both in cessation for vacation. On the other hand this does give me occasion to catch up on some of those podcasts I subscribe to but can’t quite get around to listening to.

This of course adds somewhat to my reputation as a bit of a something else. Most of the seniors have no interest in podcasts or MP3 players; indeed, I believe even the young folks who have MP3 players – young means forty and under these days – just listen to music, which given the diversity of music types makes me glad for the privacy of MP3 players so that I am only inflicted with what I want to listen to, and, of course, whatever is being watched on the television. It is rather amazing just how much crap is on television at 0400 in the morning, and I don’t mean exclusively infomercials for exercise videos, scrap booking kits, or absurd claimed diet preparations. No, even the news programs are crap. So from my perspective, especially since I can’t read a book when I am using the ergometer, podcasts and an MP3 player are what keeps me from plotting evil scientist plans.

All of which puts me in mind of how I have said several times – and will continue to do so as long as I adhere to the theory – that computer requirements are increasingly defined by what clients we use. This theory has come home to me as I search for equivalents to my “necessary” clients in Ubuntu, and a LaTeX processor is central to that problem.

First of all, LaTeX is of the class of social things that may be referred to as Listerine. To use the old advertising slogan, “it’s the taste you hate twice a day.” The price one pays with Listerine was a hideously bad taste (now much abated by modern flavor chemistry) and a righteous burning action in the mouth for the benefit of deferment and deterrence of tooth decay and gum disease. Hence the rather classical manifestation of a Freudian Love-Hate relationship.

LaTeX is much the same. It leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth and getting it to compile is often a burning sensation, down time at best when everything moves smoothly. The result is the best formatting and presentation of nerd information – equations, tables, and figures – that one can find. The beast also has the singular advantage of completely decoupling the composition aspect from the formatting aspect. Having said that, it has a learning curve that is characterized by a series of Dirac delta functions on a stochastic basis of distribution. The only good thing about learning how to use LaTeX is that it is significantly easier than learning how to build a LaTeX theme or style. It is gain through pain intellectualized.

The fundamental problem is that one may significantly short circuit this if one only wishes to be a fairly simple parasitic user – you only make use of canned styles and never have to depart from them – is that you can use Scientific Word or WorkPlace. This entails swapping several pictures of dead presidents for a pseudo-WYSIWYG front end to a LaTeX processor. It has the singular effect of permitting other than LaTeX nerds be LaTeX geeks and write productively.

There is however, no Linux version. So one must either: (1) make do with what Linux offers as a LaTeX processor; (2) run Windows in a Virtual Machine; or (3) keep a Windows box just to run Scientific Whatever and other irreplaceable clients. This is what makes the theory more than talk and gets into walk.

But Is It Good?

The news feeds are picking up again but I was struck while reviewing them that there seems to be an absence of proportionate good news. Now I will concede without any question that what is good, as opposed to either bad or ho-hmmmm, is to some unspecified degree a matter of personal outlook, but one would think that the fraction of good news would stay approximately constant with increase and decrease in volume consistent with sampling variation?

It seems [Link] that one of the man made causes of global climate change is human efforts to staunch forest fires. Research at U California indicates that combating and preventing forest fires actually reduces the amount of carbon that a forest may entail.

Let’s see now. We let people build houses near and in forests, and we let corporate oligarchs engineer forests to maximize their wood production. And both cause us to try to reduce or minimize forest fires. But by doing so we reduce the carbon entailment and increase greenhouse gasses. But if we let the fires burn the idiots who build in the middle of forests get killed so there is less demand for processed wood and global climate change is abated?

And then I read [Link] that the current developing generation is not reading paper, they are reading screens. But no where does the reportage address the question of whether this is actually literacy or just an aberration of rebellion. I have to admit to not liking reading much of what I was supposed to read, especially the things prescribed by the mushy side of academia. But I can read – somewhat – physics books which is more than something like 0.99 of humanity, so if that is the criterion for literacy then there is no significant statistical difference between my generation and my daughter’s generation.

But I can proceed with this with the clear assurance, courtesy of researchers at U Wisconsin, that there is no gender difference in math performance. [Link] The thing that is a bit concerning here is that this is the generation that can’t make change, has benefited, if that is the term, by Every Child Left Behind, and is avoiding technical careers like the plague. Is this other than an assurance of gender unbiased failure?

No matter. It seems that because of the evaporation of the strength of the American dollar we are now in a position where menial labor jobs are returning to the American homeland. [Link] We are thus assured that our children, who cannot make change and cannot read books, will be able to do sweatshop labor to support themselves while high paying technical positions are filled by immigrants from nations with a more fundamental education ethic.

The quality of that technical talent is demonstrated this morning by a bunch of mavericks from Gooey who have started their own search engine Cuil. [Link] One of the things I have had to do over the years is to define a set of search engine testing searches to use in evaluating search engines. This is fairly exacting. The best rating I ever found for a search engine was the Copernic lash-up with a grade of “B”. Gooey has consistently gotten a grade of “D” with a rising “C” in commercial searches that rises to a “C+” is you blow away all the right hand margin stuff and the first page of results. I can only hope the new engine is going to improve fast as it got a solid “F” in every area except social gossip and mumblage, which is defintely a product crying shrilly from exposure on the mountainside for the need of a wolf.

And finally we have a coverage of a debate on what is the best way to protect Tellus from meteorite hits, especially the ones that tend to cause “nuclear winter” and extinction events. [Link] This looks to be bnecessary because NASA, aka the Yankee government, issued a report last years saying that nukes were the answer. Apparently this was intended to reassure those who cannot make change nor read books, as they are perhaps the only audience who would swallow such a patent story.

But it is Monday and we have another week to destroy.

THe Search for Intelligent Life Continues

I am not sure whether children are not learning what they should be, or adults are perceiving that children are learning the wrong things. The question arose while reading my daily aggregation of comics. The one in question is “Non Sequitur” [Link] which is better than most and has something approaching proper disrespect for false authority.

The problem arose with this panel of the cartoon:

I was immediately apalled at the failure of the investigation.

Now I should comment that the character Jeffery is a righteous nerd – which one would not expect with a name like Jeffery – and should have done the requisite research to determine the correct resolution of his problem. That’s even with the anticipated abolishment of his community library and a well meaning but ill-equipped-to-handle-nerds librarian – after all, there is the internet even with its high fraction (0.99+?) of baldertripe.

And it would not at all have changed the gag-like humor of the cartoon.

So maybe society is bankrupt. After all, any self respecting nerd, which discounts those who are only geeks and computer geeks at that, knows that gunpowder includes its own oxidizer so that if the cartridge is properly sealed, combustion will occur …..

Infame

The silly season is definitely in remission at least on the basis of what I found in my RSS feeds this morning. Since they number ~ 100 this gives us a confidence of at least one 9 and close to two 9′s.

But having muttered that, I take some note of an article “The Online Legacy of Professor Pausch[Link] in the New Yawk Times. What was notable about the article was not so much the article itself, which is a list of links to other informations of the man and hence a rather outstanding piece of traditional journalism, but that the tag line shown in the accumulator referred to the man as “an accidental celebrity”. This description immediately riveted thought and consideration.

Early into this I found myself needing reassurance of the meaning of celebrity and hence I consulted by OS’ dictionary, giving me,

“3. A person of distinction or renown; — usually in the plural; as, he is one of the celebrities of the place.” [1913 Webster]

from which I could proceed with my consideration. This consideration almost immediately took the direction that “an accidental celebrity” would be the only worthwhile kind.

By this I mean that most celebrities these days are celebrities not for who they are or what they have accomplished but what they have done to become celebrities. In effect, the norm is an unaccidental or, perhaps, deliberate, celebrity. Most celebrities today can be categorized as politicians, entertainers, or those we used to categorizze as “members of society” but which now is simply those who are rich and desire to be celebrities. One of the singular commonalities of all of these is that they have become celebrities by means of publicity and the attention of the media.

This is not to say that some of these people do not espouse “good causes”, but that attention is given to the good causes not because they are inherently good but because these people are celebrities. Hence we have people who have become celebrities not because of what they have done but becuase of the publicity they have engineered. And what they do then becomes of note in a rather vapid paroxism of adulation.

Randy Pausch is the exception. He became a celebrity for what he did, because publicity attached itself to his accomplishments. And this is what makes his departure so bitter sweet, so much an indictment of the bankruptcy of contemporary society that his celebrity had to occur because attention only came to his actions when he was dying.

Perhaps we should say Kaddish for him and society together.

Silly and Random?

It is rather uncertain this morning whether the feeds are dominated by silly season or just the usual weekend randomness that has a strange coherent attraction.

The Huntsville Times announces that the Yankee army has finished its assessment of the May 30 debacle. [Link] The assessment is that the city of Huntsville vertically copulated. Now this may sound like the usual “Army finding any scapegoat handy”, but it was apparent from the morass of reportage that this was an activity of unresolvable time lines. As such, until the city gets its act together in communicating with the Army there is scant way of determining whether the Army could have had their act together. Slightly paraphrased, one cannot assess the efficiency of the fire department if the alarm is not sounded till after the barn has burned down.

That such an event occurred is not only not surprising but a matter of assurance given the nature of relations between the Army and its civilian neighbors. Were it not for the availability of work force the Army would be very happy for the city government, and probably the county government to disappear. Similarly were it not for the economics, the city would be more than happy for the Army to disappear. Both suffer from the fundamental characteristic of organizations that each must be in change and the other subservient.

On a more nonsensical basis, which somehow seems fitting given the absolute futility of the forecoming discussion, Live Science has an almost charming list of their picks for the Top 10 Mad Scientists. [Link] Needless to say, physicists have the lion’s share among the listed although I am not at all sure of the nature of the ordering other than editorial mischief. The pleasing thing that may safely be concluded from inspection is that mad and scientist are redundant in their assessment, which is probably pretty accurate.

Truck Gardening

Greater Metropolitan Arab is located atop Brindlee (other various spellings) mountain, which in turn is noted for its truck farming. Truck farming is noted for producing product continuously and incrementally over the growing season. By its nature truck farming has been popular in Alibam because it provided a home based means of feeding the family and the work was of short daily duration and amenable to children doing so, and since it was a family chore the government didn’t get involved.

The point being that if the silly season has arrived, then we may expect a fairly continuous crop of silly, and that is exactly what the feeds provide this day.

We start with an article on how the aurorae are produced by magnetic storms a third of the way between Tellus and Luna. [Link] The silliness here is the inspecificty of the reportage, we are largely left to surmise that the storms are closer to Tellus than Luna since the description is vague and inspecific. Isn’t it wonderful how traditional media journalists can ruin anything good, sort of like dumping old crankcase oil in the ‘niller home churned ice cream?

Next, we learn that eating tofu reduces sperm count in men. [Link] Now I eat a lot of tofu and beans – my cardiologist Displacement Current Squared has me on a modified version of the Mediterranean Diet and that diet makes use of bean protein a lot in place of flatulent meat animal and after a couple of years on the diet I find I like it better than what I used to eat. But I do sometimes miss biscuits and drippings gravy, which are noted for making men impotent due to excess salt. Makes you kinda wonder if eating is adverse to reproduction, doesn’t it?

I am told most seriously by the Economist [Link] that telecommuters need more than email and a broadband link. Living in the hinterland where, because I live in the central part of Greater Metropolitan Arab, I have three choices of broadband: DSL from the Oneonta Telephone Company – by far the better choice if one wants to coexist with bureaucracy; the cable company, one of those who arbitrarily censor downloads and email; and the cellular company who offers catch as catch can access. My fellow citizens living in other parts of the city have choices ranging from three to zero in number. And those outside the city limits, in the county do so with the comfort that they have no more than one, and usually zero, choices of broadband provision. So thank you very much for your traditional media blathering.

It seems that HP is preparing a reduced price/capability (?) alternative to its Eee opponent the 2133 Mini-Note. [Link] We may only hope that they will offer this one with a useful alternative to MegaHard slavery. The SLED on the 2133 is as user useful as a hammer lacking its head. Oh, and with splinters! The hardware is nice, almost half of what one expects from the folks who gave us the HP 35 in the mid ’70′s, back before profit ruined the company. Of course it is available with a spayed/neutered version of XP – the ambiguity is determining which gender should apply; it is hard to tell from the plumbing. Meanwhile MegaHard reports that its successor to Vista is “on track.” [Link] Except for the folks who have to administer “managed” windwos desktops – a fading bunch now that the fraction of boxes that is organizational has fallen below 0.5 and dropping and since IT became a “blue collar” paying – we have to wonder who really cares other than those of the human race incapable of using any other OS. Between the Apple OS – despite its obvious comparison to a wet suit in a shower – and the various versions of Linux – what the Founding Fathers would use!? – is there anyone left who really matters? Outside of the Yankee government, of course.

The answer to that is a resounding yes. I have numerous colleagues who are excellent people but for some reason choose to be the mental and work slaves of MegaHard. For many it is what is imposed on them by their employing organization both directly and derivatively. For most however it is a matter of having inadequate knowledge, probably the result of a congenital lack of will power, perception, and and analysis that robs them of knowing what they are limited and subjected to and of what their alternatives are. The basest few are those damned by a disdain for education and inquiry and economic decrepitude. One even finds it most telling that christian adherants are almost uniformly MegaHard minions.

But in recognition that they are still good people – after all we do identify with Sparticus more tham with republican Rome do we not? – today is Systems Administrator day. [Link] This may seem rather aspecialized holiday until one thinks that over half of all boxes are in private hands and most of those boxes have a systems administrator who is their owner-user. This could easily be the second largest holiday in the American pantheon, raight after Kuly Fourth which celebrates every citizen now and previously. Boo Yah Guys! Gals! Folks!

And while we are picking on folks, let us again find fault with traditional media. The baised support that the traditional media have for Windows is seconded only by their acognitive support of the Irish politican O’Bama who is wracking such havoc on the serach engines of Crimson Tide fanatics. We note the comment “Open source software, while possibly still more secure than Windows, still has its own security issues to deal with” [Link] by what it negates, that open source software is at least as secure as Windows and usually more so. Indeed most recent tests have shown significant differences in Windows versus various versions of Linux. Shall there be any tears shed at the graves of traditional journalists?

On which matter we find reserach from fair Harvard et al. that under similar circumstances older people sleep less than younger people. [Link] The reportage is that this indicates the older need less sleep; nowhere does it address the well known fact, even to me by personal observation, that older people have more trouble sleeping for a variety of reasons having to do with relief from discomfort, ache, and pain. We have to surmise that the denizens of the other shul on the Charles have once more been drinking from it.

Our last bit of traditional media silliness – incompetence in action is a story of a man masked in a shirt and armed with a sword robbing a Dunkin Donuts. [Link] The most casual of inspections indicates that the man in question is clearly a shirt ninja armed with a batlet, probably therefore a Klingon shirt ninja. What is thus particularly notewirthy is not at all mentions, namely the strong liklihood that Klingons have developed a taste for doughnuts to accompany blood wine.

Not Just the Lawyers

There is a superb piece in the Spectator this morning entitled “All Local Government Should Be abolished” by Ron Liddle. [Link] Kudos to Mr. Liddle for both his excellent analysis and his excellent suggestion. I also commend the reading, and mindful attention, of this to the government of the county of Marshall, the government of the city of Arab, and to a somewhat lesser extent, the government of Alibam.

I was especially taken by one of Mr. Liddle’s comments,

“a district council in Wensleydale decided that some of its residents would henceforth be required to drive a mile and a half with their wheelie bins if they wished them to be emptied. For about 96 per cent of residents, the only purpose of district councils is to empty the bloody bins..”

which I sincerely hope I have not removed too greatly from context. The reminder here is that the primary purpose of local government is to provide those services that we, the citizens, cannot effeciently provide for ourselves. It is not their purpose to beggar the community on project that are of no interest to anyone other than the petty elected officials who comprise that government. Both of these sadly appertain to Greater Metropolitan Arab.

In the second instance, we have the spectacal of the GMA government being derelict in their duties to adequately police the established ordinances concerning pet animals, largley due to the zealotry of the now releaved animal marshal in applying these laws to the cronies and masters of these seated government officials. The aforementioned marshal, generally admired for his steely determination by the citizenry sorely set upon by the roaving packs of unsupervised dogs and unable by dint of other ordnances prohibiting the use of firearms to solve this problem on private lands, has been replaced by a taody of the administration who has been assigned other duties assuring that no enforcement of the animal control ordnances will ever be effected.

One fallout of this is that the few animals left in the city kennel have been left to the depredations of starvation and disease except for the kind ministrations of local volunteers. These stalwarts have contributed out of their privy purses with scant and scolding recompense from the constituted authority so determined to misuse that authority.

And as to the first instance, it is unclear whether Mr. Liddle is referring to recyclage bins or garbage – rubbish in the British metaphor – bins. Neither are adequate in Greater Metropolitan Arab. Where under previous administrations city employees collected garbage twice weekly and recyclage weekly, now contractors sometimes collect each weekly and seldom on the avowed schedule. Apparently one of the premiere characteristics of the contract between the city and the contractor is that the city will pay the contractor and the contractor will do what he pleases or not on whatever schedule he pleases or not.

Garbage may only be collected from “official” containers which are frequently damaged, occasionally stolen, and never replaced. Recyclage is limited to what the contractor wants to haul away, not what can be recycled. Communication between government and citizen, and contractor and citizen is zanishingly small which is a boon since what there is is as painful as a tooth with an infected nerve.

This is what modrn America has become – communities of inept government founded on the conversion of all their territory to unremoved garbage heaps peppered with useless projects. The latest of such was a scheme by the local government to beggar the community in a degree comparable to a Baptist church in renovation to lure a chain restaurant to the community in competition with existing excellent not-chain restaurants and to be underwritten with their – and our – tax monies. Someone needs to tell these wastrels that their duty is to those who elected them and not to someone who may choose to join that electorate.

I shall not hold my breath awaiting any improvement in the situation. Were the housing market not so destroyed by these and other poltroons, I should evict myself to a county stronghold and have only to contend with that pack of nepotistic thieves.

One has to wonder if a civil service management could not be better. Certainly government in Alibam below the level of state, and perhaps including that, is worse than such.

Triumphant Entry

It would appear that the silly season has set in. I have noted this week when I drive into downtown Greater Metropolitan Arab that a crew of painters are industriously – as industrious as one can be on days that top 100 degrees Fahrenheit as often as not – spraying the buildings of the First Baptist Church of GMA.

The silliness comes in that, first, the buildings of the First Baptist Church are made of fine red brick. Hence the act of painting them is not only questionable but probably silliness. It is rather a simple matter to spray pain on a brick edifice. Removing that paint in future is quite another matter. Hence the quotient of silliness on this paining pogrom, one wonders how much money the church is spending on this project and if they have contemplated, much less considered, the cost of reversing the act.

Based on prior experience with the interior politics of baptist churches, which incidentally are radically different from the exterior politics of baptist churches, considerably more different than the interior and exterior ballistics of guns and rockets and also more destructive, I can offer with reasonable confidence that the undertaking has been effected without any rational, reasonable, or even adult assessment of future considerations and probably of current considerations. Little has been written about the contribution to the current banking mess of the asolvent economics of churches, especially here in the Old Confederacy. This asolvency is particularly relevant with Baptists who have no self control when it comes to purchasing instruments of perceived faith and no ability to effect political compromise. Hence the political differences between those who spendthrift plan is in effect and those whose spendthrift plan is in abeyance do not find mediation or negotiation and eventually the strain becomes so great that the congregation splits, the “ins” keeping the building, grounds, and debt, and the “outs” marching off to generate their own bulidngs, grounds, and debt.

This division has a mean time of 2.5 years, so that if a congregation takes on a ten year mortgage, the capacity of the congregation to retire the mortgage will be halved (approximately) three of four times during the duration of the mortgage. Calculation of the probability of default is left as an exercise to the reader.

This calamity is somewhat less to be expected with the First Baptist Church of GMA. For GMA, this church is as high church as it gets. One may motor down the mountain to Guntersville to find Catholics or Episcopalians or Anglicans, but here in Arab we have the rather skewed situation where the baptists of this church are the conservatives of the community. As a result there is less hot headedness; the politics are no less intense, just that the staid parishioners are better attuned to abiding that tension while awaiting their turn. Make no mistake, this is no roisterous bunch of foot washing, serpent considering, back slapping baptists like one can find in other congregations specking Greater Metropolitan Arab like acne pustiles on a teenage chocolate addict’s countenance. In this congregation body contact is limited to women’s air hugs, designed to leave cosmetics untouched, and men’s firm hand shakes. This is not a congregation to have boisterous outdoor games at its vacation bible shul, nor revival services outdoors. No, this is a massive hulk of a temple and it will be used for all purposes and they will be worshipful.

But the selection of a pain color that can best be described as an equal combination of the battleship grau of the Kriegsmarine and “baby shit brown”?

The invited comparisons and comments are left as exercises to the reader.