What’s a Word Worth?

As part of my resolution to try new things, I’ve been doing some transcription work for an on-line company.  The pay looks possibly decent on paper, but it’s factored per audio minute, so the actual rate per hour depends on how quickly the transcriptionist can complete the job.  The easiest part is the typing.  The audio quality varies a great deal per file which means the transcriptionist must have quality headphones and a flexible ear.  The most challenging aspect is discerning voices.  Many of the audio files are of group discussions.  When the participants are not evenly miked, some voices are loud and clear while most others are harder to hear or even sound muffled or mumbled.  Another challenge is understanding non-native English speakers with various accents.

I’m also finding that most people interrupt themselves.  They don’t speak in complete sentences.  They often use strings of unfinished phrases, and it’s sometimes difficult to even find a noun and a verb that convey a thought.  It seems to be common place for conversationalists to throw at each other what I would call word-paintings a la Seurat!  Fortunately the transcriptionist doesn’t have to make sense out of the recorded words!

And yet, that is the biggest challenge of all for me personally.  When I don’t see the value in something, it is extremely difficult for me to contribute any of my energies towards the advancement of it.  I simply can’t fathom why so many people believe so many of their thoughts matter to anyone else.

I realize others could say the same thing referring to my blogs!  Why does the Merry Lark need to post to the public so many of her musings?  In this case, I acknowledge the main benefit is the therapeutic value for myself.  However, as evidenced by these audio files awaiting transcription, many companies (and sometimes individuals) are paying personnel to interview people and then paying yet other people to transcribe what was recorded during the interview.  I can’t imagine being willing to pay even the fewest pennies to gather what often amounts to drivel!

The lesson I take from this? Choose my words carefully.  Continue to hone my thoughts. Speak (and write) in complete sentences!  Cherish any available silence.


Post-Establishment World

Those who think all the fake-news/ hit-pieces/ hysteria against Trump will erode his base are either stupid or delusional.  Trumpers identify with him partly/ largely because we don’t identify with establishment and we see media as an arm of the establishment.  The only way the media could influence our views would be if they presented fair debates/ discussion with multiple voices with multiple perspectives.

Dear Media, we don’t trust you.  We don’t trust your info-gathering.  We don’t trust your presentation of your highly selective “facts.”  And we don’t trust your spin/ interpretation/ summation.  All you can do now to redeem yourselves is to host original voices dialoging with each other.  I.e. shut up and let original voices speak.  Media, you forgot your purpose is to present other voices from all perspectives.  When you voice your own views/ agenda (or your moneyed-bosses), you cease to have professional integrity.

Do I believe there is any hope for a restoration of investigative journalism?  I don’t know.  Probably not in the established networks.  Front-line, honest news-gathering will probably be found only amongst the raw reporters on twitter.  Regular people who have nothing to gain reporting to regular people is where we’ll find real news.

Being Catholic is an “all skate!” dance

Have you ever been to an old-fashioned roller-rink?  When I was growing up, the local youth group would sometimes have skating parties.  At these parties there would be times when only the boys would skate (typically with no music and they would race as fast as possible).  “Ladies only” meant only the girls were allowed on the floor and there would be lovely music.  The lights would dim for the “couples” skate.  And of course, before the night was over, there was the mandatory “Hokey Pokey.”  But after each of these times designated for only a qualified crew, the announcer would call out “Aaaaall skate!  All skate!”  And that meant everyone was welcome on the floor.

I used to think of myself as a “conservative Catholic” until I met some Catholics who are devoted to their right-ness and their righteousness.  Also, I recently read an article about how any qualification of Catholic is just off, can’t be true.  That resonated deeply within me, like my fundamental (pitch of a string’s full length).  And all my over-tones sang for joy!  Being Catholic really is an “all skate” religion.

Why Catholics must recognize all other Catholics as Catholic, even the “bad” ones, even the ones some would call nominal or only ethnic or heretical or whatever is because of what Catholic actually means.  People who call themselves Catholic are.  Now you can debate what The Catholic Church officially teaches and all that, but when it comes to the people, there simply can be no discrimination.  There’s no way around it.  The “Catholic”-ness of the Catholic faith is this: we claim to have access to the fullness of truth and are called to share it with all people, but we don’t claim to be the authors of that truth, nor the Lord of the mission.  So, while we believe Jesus Christ has commissioned us to profess the Good News to all the world, we can’t claim to judge the hearts of anyone who appears to receive or not receive this Good News.  Maybe more importantly, we recognize God calls each and every human-being into the church, into the fold.  If God is calling everyone, who are we to screen who may hear?

I think I recognized this when I found my Home in the Eucharist, but somewhere along the way I lost clarity and part of my heart resisted seeing how every Catholic is at Home in the Catholic Church, even if they keep house differently from the way I thought Church was supposed to be.

So now that I realize Home is much messier than I’ve wished it to be, I’ve also realized I’m not all that interested in putting undue energy into tidying-up.  I.e. I’m much more of a “Mary” than a “Martha.”  I believe hospitality needs only sufficient order.  I have appreciated the Martha’s for attention to environment, but even more so I’m grateful Jesus lets anyone come to Him, and in fact the “better part” is communing with Him (rather than making sure everything is in its proper place before we can connect).

The real challenge for me in all this now is in knowing that I have RELIED on the Martha’s to maintain an environment in which I can pray or create or be faithful or serve or what-have-you comfortably.  How the Martha’s of the church “keep house” is very comfortable for me personally.  However, I recognize that it actually drives some people away, and that makes my conscience wake up and say “wait a minute, is this really what we’re supposed to be about?”

I was in a liturgy meeting recently where in the majority of the time was taken up with miniscule details about what the altar boys need to do or not do, where the Eucharistic ministers should stand before the Consecration, whether or not they should kneel, or if they should stand on a step or not, etc.  Now I understand and embrace the value of rubrics, but what I chafe against is spending all our planning time (and thinking and spirit) on it.  Rubrics can help us get somewhere, but they are not the destination.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg!  I find that just as I’ve had to go through disillusionment about priests, and about who the church is, so too I’m being disillusioned about ministry.  Being disillusioned is actually a good thing, but going through it is painful.  And now I can’t console myself with thinking “well that isn’t how to be Catholic.”  It certainly is how some will be Catholic!  It just isn’t how I want to be.  Meanwhile, we’re all Catholic.

As most vents are likely to be, this is a ragged piece from a torn heart.



When people preach “peace” yet denounce the Prince of Peace.

When people “love” “tolerance” yet hate the Merciful Messiah.

When people demand liberty to have “free sex” yet deny a baby’s liberty to live.