Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

19 Oct 2001, 10:16 a.m.

Carrot Stick

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Latin translations, probably bad. "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur (Anything said in Latin sounds profound.)"
"Cogito Ergo Doleo." (I think therefore I am depressed.)

Thursday night.

So Katie came over, Katie of Reed College fame, and she whirled me off to a folk concert and then to a shindig at her friend's place. And I got lots and lots of stories to tell about this evening.

Utah Philips and Rosalee Sorrels. Fun folk singers and folk storytellers. I probably shouldn't tell the most memorable lines and stories. I'm lazy, but in addition, the delivery helps a lot, and I wouldn't want to spoil anyone in case s/he goes to see either Philips or Sorrels sometime.

Hymnals. The event happened in the First Congregational Church at Dana between Durant and Channing in Berkeley. I glanced through the New Century Hymnal. I wish I knew that many songs. I wish I'd been in an organization, when I was younger, that had disciplined my singing voice.

Aphorisms and stories. "A bird in the hand does you no good if you're trying to blow your nose." Okay, I spoiled you on one. There are many more, including some extended and hilarious anecdotes, where that one-liner came from.

Xenocide. The fella sitting near us in the pew was reading Orson Scott Card's Xenocide, third book in the first Ender series. Katie remarked, "I thought everyone who would want to read Xenocide already did."

In addition, almost everyone she knows, she maintains, has read part of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, but not all.

Juggling. After the performance (I fell asleep a bit during the last bit, but only because I was tired and the music was slow), Katie and her friends had scheduled a shindig. But they had just made friends with a girl who was attending a circus school and carrying a "Bag o'Fun," i.e., a bag of juggling balls and pins." So, inside and outside the church, Katie's friends juggled for about 45 minutes. Very amusing. I'd like to learn to juggle. I've tried, but not very hard.

"A few degrees short of cheddar." What does that mean? Even the coiner didn't know.

The Anecdotes From the Party. "The Evil Circus" and "Please don't tell me his name is Mateo Car" and "Lying in a Language I Don't Know to the Chief of Security of Beijing to Get an Exit Visa." These are great stories and I will tell them in person to anyone who asks.

World travels. Peter and David are jugglers -- street performers! they do this for money! -- and recently traveled the world for a year together, performing in various locales around the globe, such as Rotterdam and Hong Kong. I hope to someday do something half as neat.

Penn and Teller. While at Peter's place, I skimmed a volume entitled Acrobats of the Soul that profiled clowns, magicians, and the like. I had never before considered how Penn and Teller consciously involved the audience in their deceptions as a political act. I'd like to see some more of them, or read some of their texts.

Tea. I have never before taken part in such an elaborate tea ritual as the one I did early this morning. It's a Chinese ritual, with a smelling cup and a drinking cup, and probably the caffeine I consumed was one reason why I stayed awake till something like 5am before falling asleep. Another reason, of course, was how Newton's Cannon engrossed me. Thanks, Jeana and Adam!


Good diction. The Infidels Newswire pointed me towards an editorial by another Leonard, this time a Miami Herald columnist. "This is a man who purports to speak for God? God ought to sue for slander.....God help us if this guy represents anything beyond his morally illiterate self." Morally illiterate! At least I didn't call that credit card vendor that. Just "such a sophist."

Both/and thinking. Food AND Bombs. Bringing justice to them AND bringing them to justice. A carrot stick.

Oychen prosto! In Russian class, we listened to and reenacted a dialogue between a candidate for president and a journalist. The candidate said oychen prosto ("very simple") three times in describing his proposals, and every time he proposed a policy -- four times! -- the journalist responded with Da, eto konyeshna khorosho ("Yes, of course that's good"). I'm really glad that McGraw-Hill ginned up this dialogue, because that means they faked it. Right? Right?

Friday night.

I read more of Newton's Cannon, prepared and consumed ravioli, and visited two parties. Nothing very, very exciting. One amusing discovery: a few months ago, Seth called Michelle's cousin, Lia, and asked whether she had just gone to a movie with Leonard. The answer is no. Different Lia. Extra hilarity.

Originally published by Sumana Harihareswara at