INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Further Restored

Verrrrry interesting. No sooner do I start to kvetch about "why bother to blog," and Chris Locke's motivating newsletter arrives in my box (see my preceding post). Then, during a break today, I start checking out some of my blogroll, and lo and behold, Halley Suitt, in her post "Big Blog Fan Me," includes me with a group of blogs that she says she likes to curl up with on a Sunday evening. Considering the quality of the group, I am flattered to the core.

You made my day, Halley. Some blogs on your list I haven't read yet, so I'm looking forward to checking them out.

Monday, April 29, 2002

Credo From Chris

I've been going through one of those periods where I'm struggling with my blogging--why am I doing it, it's not worth a damn, who cares, nobody reads it, I can't hold a candle to the really good bloggers so why bother, does the world need another blog, it's a waste of my time and mental energy, it's time to get a life and end this farting around on the internet, etc., etc., etc.....

and then Locke sends this in the EGR newsletter, slapping me into recognition of what "writing ourselves into existence" is all about:

"I don't want to be a hero, I said. Don't want to have a thousand faces, launch a thousand ships. But I wonder why we think this way. Where our sense of shifting destiny has gone. For better or worse, I said, I am trying to live my life in public. Online. We've never had any channel for this. No models. And the models we need are not"model" lives but real ones. Uncertain and afraid, crippled, broken. Trying to make sense of our minds and our hearts and the world we encounter out here. Telling each other what it's like to be human. Making what we can with all we've got. Not shitting ourselves and each other with facile platitudes, easy formulas, empty slogans. A human life for all to see, for what it's worth. It may not be worth much, but that's what I'm doing here."

Uh... guess I'll keep plugging away for a while longer.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Blog Cycles

Does your Weblog look like this?

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Can We Have Some Female and Married Clergy, Please?

I've been asking some of my male Catholic (mostly ex-Catholic) friends about their experiences as lads in Holy Mother Church. It's been instructive.

For example, Indiana U classmate and former bar room buddy, Ed Minczseski writes:

I did have a number of banal encounters with predatory clerics in my golden youth. The parish priests were no problem but the Brothers of Holy Cross (the teaching order at my high school that also runs Notre Dame), were another story. I never had anyone attempt or suggest a B.J., hand job or actual buggery, but there was a lot of groping, rubbing, fondling and general fooling around, the purpose of which (cleric becoming visibly excited) was unmistakable. One tried to avoid those guys known for their "tendencies," but some situations were box canyons. The principal of the high school, for example, an ex-wrestler, was a shoe fetishist and would stand outside his office staring at passing feet with an uncommon interest. We all knew what he was up to, joked about it and blew it off. Until the day I wore Wellington boots to school and he decided I required a private audience. Had me sit in front of his desk while he massaged my brand new wellies. Came in his jeans, in a manner of speaking.

All in a day's work.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Not Your Father's Comic Strip

Thanks to Doc for the link to "get your war on." Flat out fucking funny! Biting political satire and garbage-mouth humor in one hilarious package.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Almost Famous

For a moment, I thought I'd been discovered by a really cool blog, "Everything Burns," when it showed up in my Daypop. But it turns out that the link to my blog was only temporary and that I had been caught up in a clever link sweep that preys on what blog author Jim Flanagan calls "narcissurfers." (Great term, Jim!)

Narcissurfer that I am, naturally I checked out Jim's site as soon as I saw it in my Daypop. Is this a cool way to get traffic, or is it too sneaky? Actually, Jim is very up front about it and 'fesses up on one of his site's pages, in which he explains:

"The bottom part of the left-hand sidebar is generated from the changes.xml file at Every 10 minutes, a daemon grabs that file, and takes the most-recent 50 updated weblogs (which aren't filtered out), and makes links to them. If your page was in that top 50 when blogdex came along to scrape Everything Burns, you'll show up there. But by the time you get here, that link has scrolled off the bottom."

So I'll just say, hats off, Jim for being smarter than I am. But I do have one question for you. Now that I've given you a mention and a thumbs up, do I get a permanent link?

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Halley's Reminder

I've been trying to catch up on some of my blog reading today. Once again, I've been falling behind on some of my favorites. One in particular that I'll mention is Halley Suitt. Her Dad died last week and Halley writes about being present at his passing.

What a gift she has for conveying not only the emotion of the moment, but the meaning as well. While the occasion is obviously sad and painful, Halley also makes it extremely uplifting. I was present when my own father passed on, and from my experience, I can say that Halley just hits it right on the head when she says:

` "Do you wonder if there is a soul? I don't. You can feel it fly out of the room. I did with my mom. And I did with my dad. It's beyond religious. It's primal and basic. It's a lively vital force of nature that has gone out of the body it once animated. I knew when he went. I was happy for him.”

Thanks, Halley, for giving us such a vivid reminder that we are Spirit and not Flesh. This is one of those fundamental verities that escapes our consciousness most of the time. We need great communicators like Halley to keep things in perspective. No wonder I love bloggerdom!

Halley, we're with you!

Monday, April 22, 2002

Rogers Returns

Thanks to Dave Rogers for the link to David Weinberger's, "The Hyperlinked Metaphysics of the Web." It turns out , of course, that Dr. W has already elegantly expressed what I was somewhat awkwardly trying to get across in my post, "The Value of Emptiness."

I'll quote the same Weinberger passage that Rogers does:

"You know that hollow sense you have when you've just had a great success at work? The empty feeling as someone praises you for an accomplishment? The tremendous sadness that can invade even as you're wrapped in love for your family? You know that disturbing feeling so profound that we have to use German to name it: Angst? This is the sense that, for all that's good and even magnificent in one's life, there's something more.
The something more is what I will call the "spiritual." We experience it as a longing, a yearning, and horizon of the world that is.
This something more is the basic movement of spirituality."

Welcome back, Dave! After an absence of about a week or so, Rogers comes back to blogging with a bang. He proposes and examines a fascinating hypothesis--the metaphorical connection between dreams and the Web. Highly recommended.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Chthonic Lessons

Elaine does me the honor of using my post about the value of emptiness as a springboard into explorations far beyond anything I was capable of perceiving when I wrote the post.

Her depth of insight and willingness to share the lessons of her own personal struggles are indeed gifts to the blogging world. An excerpt from her own poem about the pain of a divorce:

"I have only had the quest,
the question
that has grown into this pain
--your pain—
and the pain of my knowing
that my only way out
is through you"

Rocked Out

I'm all rocked out from last night's unbelievable Lucinda Williams concert. I'm not going to be up to much blogging today. All I can say is that if she comes to your town, run, don't walk, to the nearest ticket office.

I don't think there's a better songwriter on the rock scene at the moment. Her band is powerful and her voice gritty and seasoned by twenty years of paying her dues in smoky roadhouses.

Soul, love, fear, irony, tenderness, indomitable will--her musicality and poetry projects it all.

Friday, April 19, 2002

Paglia Time

Thanks to Elaine of KalililyTime for her weighty dose of excerpts from Camille Paglia's book: " Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson." Haven't heard much about Camille in a while, now that she no longer seems to be a media darling.

Elaine says Paglia is "dismissed by most men because of her intense, confrontational, opinionated style." I wouldn't include myself in that group at all. Yes, Camille can really piss you off, but I've always respected her fierce spirit, unconventionality and fearless intellectuality--although it's something I generally keep to myself, given the hostility that she engenders.

Anyone who takes the kind of bold and daring leaps that Paglia does is bound to get it wrong sometimes. No way is that a reason to dismiss her.

Anyway, catch Elaine's post. Good stuff.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

The Value of Emptiness

Jeneane has admonished us to get more personal in our blogging ("I dare you" were her actual words). So I'll try to take her dare to heart today.

Jeneane, in my estimation, has earned the mantle of "The Conscience of Blogging." Some might refer to her as the Queen of this realm, and I wouldn't argue with that. But she would have to share that throne with quite a few others. Elaine, Denise, Halley, Rebecca Blood are just a few that immediately spring to mind. As The Conscience of Blogging, however, I assert that she has no peer.

Anyway, I'm sitting here in my Berkeley Hills home, looking out on San Francisco Bay; an amazingly beautiful April day; the clearing sky with bright sun and brisk spring breeze; air feeling like the High Sierra; the Bay emitting unaccustomed Aegean blue; the magical city across the water shimmering white like a Greek isle; anticipating my trek over there tomorrow night to have the shit rocked out of me by Lucinda Williams at the Fillmore; both of my sons happily pursuing serious relationships with outstanding young women; wife's practice humming along nicely.

And Yet……..

there's a big hole somewhere in the middle of me.

Isn't it amazing? Most of the time we're struggling with this or that problem, fighting off our various demons, dreaming that someday, if we just try hard enough, we might get to the kind of place that I'm in today. So what the hell is going on? How can there be any emptiness in the midst of so much bounty?

Then it hits me. This Emptiness is a gift!! It's my reward for having succeeded today in telling my concerns for my "security" to fuck off. Emptiness equals Space equals Opportunity to be with my Spirit for a change, instead of my demons and petty agendas.

Eric Norlin's observation comes to mind: "God is all about attention." Yes, indeed, and if Major Upset (e.g., my cat's violent death) is required to yank me out of my lapsed attention, God will not stop it from happening..

Or, I can be proactive about the matter of attention to the Divine. I can choose to spend the day with my Spirit (don't ask me to define what that is. "Being with my Spirit does not exist in the definable realm. That doesn't make it any less real).

I think of Jean Shinoda Bolen's directive: "Show up, and pay attention." I've already covered the "pay attention" part. As for the showing up, I check my to do list and place a critical eye on making the distinction between what's truly non-optional and what isn't. For non-optional I apply this test: an immediate or very near-term negative consequence would result from not doing the item.

Only two items qualify. All I have to do is show up for these two. Everything else can go to hell--or be completed. Strictly my choice. And sure enough--items with which I normally have an epic struggle--like exercising--just flow like melted butter. They don't occupy an ounce of my psychic energy because I'm too busy Being With My Spirit.

If only I could bottle this.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002


The local rock station is playing excerpts from a live Lucinda Williams concert, and I am getting super-psyched--cuz I have tickets for her show at the Fillmore this weekend!!

The Decline of Disney, Cont'd

Disney-owned ABC dropped its only good show--The Court, with Sally Field--after only three episodes. Spineless bastards! Is it any wonder they have the worst ratings of the Big Three networks? May they decline even further.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

23 Great Years

Congratulations, hugs, kisses, high fives, etc. to my son Jonathan on his 23rd birthday! He'll be hitting the Prague nightspots with his fellow students--among whom is his girlfriend who is--as he has taken pains to assure us-- "not a practicing Catholic," despite her having dragged him off to Easter Mass while in Poland last week.

"She did it to appease her Polish grandmother," he says, edgily, afraid that we might be concerned. Hey, man, I'm just thrilled that you've got an amour to share the sights with in Europe!

Be My Handicapper

I think I want Mike Sanders to go with me to the racetrack. He picked Tiger Woods to win the Masters by three strokes--which is exactly what happened. Not that there's any rocket science in picking Tiger at the Masters. But Mike called it when there were still three rounds to play, Woods was behind by three strokes, and has been off his game since the winter. I'm impressed!

Mike obviously spotted that victory look in Tiger's eyes. When his indomitable will to win takes over, the opposition crumbles. Never mind that the scoring leaders that he had to overcome this weekend were all among the top ten golfers in the world. It doesn't matter how good they are. They're toast when Tiger starts his victory march.

It's totally reminiscent of the only other sports figure of comaparable stature to Tiger--one Michael Jordan. His team could be behind by 15 points in the fourth quarter, and you could just see that look come across his face. "Enough of this shit!" he seemed to say. "If my team isn't going to do it, then I'll just have to do it myself." And sure enough, he would. It was metaphysical, and so is Tiger.

As for the Swedish girl friend that Mike seems so fascinated with, I'm out of the loop on that one, and frankly, don't care. You'll have to consult Mike about Tiger's love life.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Cooper Clues Me In

The term "postmodern" is tossed around so loosely on the Web these days that I find it becoming more difficult to know how to interpret it anymore.

Thus, I was most pleased to discover Jordon Cooper's site re-design, which includes an extremely comprehensive section on the subject--Our Postmodern Context.

Good work, Jordon! And thanks for the link to an article by Brian McLaren--Why I Still Use The Word Postmodern--which I found especially helpful.

And, by the way, Jordon (a Blue Jays fan), kudos to the Jays for knocking the pants off of Roger Clemens the other day. All Yankee killings cheerfully welcomed!

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Norlin Responds

Eric Norlin responds to my request for recommendations for non-techie reading material on the subject of digital identity:

"there really aren't any *great* things to read on this subject. IMO, this whole industry is just being born -- and the techies have about as much of an idea about what's going on as most people. I'd say, keep up with 'digital id world' -- as i think it'll aggregate articles that span the range from techie to general..."

Good idea, Eric. From what I've seen of it so far, Digital ID World is something worth keeping up with.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Office Depot, Cont'd

Blogger is not letting me edit my last post which, inexplicably, was cut off in mid sentence as I was completing the post. Anyway, I was about to say, "See you at Staples." And then I was going to say that if you'd like to express your displeasure at their stupid move, you can write to the following: Jocelyn Carter-Miller
Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

Bruce Nelson, CEO

Office Depot Corporate Support Center
2200 Old Germantown Road
Delray Beach, FL 33445

Bye Bye Office Depot

If you enjoy the new, highly intelligent, quality cop show--The Shield--on FX, you might want to join me in withdrawing your patronage of Office Depot--in the event you're a customer. I've been buying from them for years and it pains me to change my habits. But I feel that I have no choice when they've been so stupid and prudish as to have withdrawn their advertising from such an outstanding show.

If young children were their target, I could accept it. But what's more adult than office supplies? Bye, Bye. See you at

The Next Frontier?

Eric Norlin's been touting the importance of Digital Identity. "IDENTITY is the frontier," he says.

His point is well taken. Being a non-techie, I decided to see if I could educate myself somewhat on the subject. Found a white paper written by the British consulting group, Hyperion, for general business readers. It was very helpful.

However, it could be full of holes for all I know. If any of you more technically literate folks care to weigh in and recommend something better, I'd be much obliged.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Deserving Award

Congrats to the New York Times on winning a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize for "Portraits of Grief," one of the most moving pieces of journalism I've ever experienced.

These were the very human and heart-warming portraits of the victims of The World Trade Center attack, which the Times ran every day for more than six months.


Thanks to AKMA for the mention and link to wood s Lot, an eclectic, incisive, and thoroughly fascinating blog--plus being an amazing treasure trove of links.

One of wood s lot's links is to another great link source--Rebecca Blood, an excellent commentator on the blog scene and author of Rebecca's Pocket, a great blog and useful portal. I've been remiss in not getting Rebecca up on my blogroll. I'll correct that forthwith, along with the addition of the aforementioned wood s lot.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Halley's Process

Halley Suitt is sharing some of her process in dealing with her father's final days. Thanks, Halley. This is just outstanding, and we're with you.

Bloggin'Time Again

Back from an outstanding three-day trek through the Sierra foothills and old Gold Rush towns. The resplendent hills greeted us in their full springtime green, carpeted with wildflowers, criss-crossed by the first melt of the High Sierra rushing through the many rivers and streams. We meandered through back-country roads, refreshed ourselves in lively 19th century saloons, and hiked over some gorgeous trails. It's tough to come back.

So now it's time to revive the blog. Jeneane's gotten over her blogging funk, and is now back in the groove. So I guess I'll follow her lead.

Sports Serendipity

Our baseball Giants have had a phenomenal opening while we were away. Only team in the majors still undefeated. Barry Bonds starting right up where he left off last year. Got to get out to PacBell Park. It promises to be an exciting year.

After the wonderful surprise of my Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA, this latest news has made for quite a serendipitous month, sports-wise.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Givin' It A Rest

Jeaneane confesses to a bit of boredom with blogging and says she seems to have touched a nerve, judging by the comments she's received. In that spirit, I'm shutting Insiteview down for a few days to spend some time with my family. The way this blog has been going lately, I don't think anyone is going to give a rat's pituitary.

Jeneane's right. There must be something in the air right now. There's a flatness I'm seeing in bloggerdom, or is that just my projection? Whatever. Please excuse the downbeat vibes. I'll get'em back up with some down time.

Monday, April 01, 2002

Why I Love the Web

This story--a great piece of legwork by Rob Cockerham of a target that you love to hate--has climbed all the way to ninth position on Blogdex. These freakin' signs are all over my neck of the woods, too. Let's hope Rob's efforts get some results.