Encouraged by Marji’s words, I have determined to declare tomorrow a PSD and make the muslin for my jacket. Then I can hold my head up again among decent non-wimpy seamstresses.

Actually, I was somewhat encouraged by this photo. The woman who made this ended up with the sort of wonky collar I fear I will make, and was so intimidated by the buttonholes that she embroidered fake ones on and wore the thing open all the time. I can’t do worse than that, can I? And yet, she wore hers to a wedding, and looked quite nice in it, too. I am going to run down to Hobby Lobby in the morning and see if they have anything on the clearance table from which I could make a “wearable muslin,” a popular concept among the sewing bloggers. #2 daughter found a really nice wool and rayon flannel for her wearable muslin dress last week, and I might be equally lucky. The idea is that the fabric is so cheap that you don’t mind using it like muslin, and if by some chance it turns out well, you can finish it up and wear it. If there aren’t any snazzy fabrics for $2 a yard or less, I will take advantage of their muslin sale and grab some of that.

Now, if you have been reading my blog every day for a year or so and have total recall, you will remember the Great International Richard Dawkins Read-Along of 2005. I am a big fan of Dawkins, but for some odd reason I don’t seem to know anyone who wants to talk about him in the physical world.

In The Know-It-All, the hero tries to share the nuggets of information he has mined from his reading of the encyclopedia with other people. He goes out of his way to manufacture opportunities to do so. No one responds well. This is probably why he started writing the book. Plenty of us knitting bloggers started because the people in our physical milieu are just so patient when we talk about cabling.

Anyway, I have this experience when I try to discuss Dawkins with other people, even on topics which might be thought to have broad appeal, such as the correlation between testical size and monogamy, and whether music can be considered a by-product of biological processes.

#1 daughter, another Dawkins fan, had the same experience. Her social circle consists largely of drunken sailors, and the selfish gene had no charms for them. I doubt she even considered bringing up the question of monogamy and testicle size.

So we began the online/telephone discussion group. It was fun. For me, it had the serendipitous counterpoint of a study of Genesis with a bunch of fundamentalist Christians, which I undertook at the same time.

This year, I am doing a study of Romans, the book in the Bible in which Paul begins by telling the guys in Rome that they have no excuse for refusing to believe in God. Right on cue, Richard Dawkins is coming out with another book, The God Delusion, in which he evangelizes for atheism.

I think I have mentioned before how loony that seems to me. I understand evangelism among religious people. If you sincerely believe that your words to another person can prevent them from an eternity of torment in Hell, you would have to speak up, I think. Not to do so would be like watching someone set off on the path that leads through the enormous poison ivy thicket and saying nothing, maybe just chuckling cruelly under your breath.

But evangelism for atheism I just don’t get. What does Dawkins care if people believe in God? Religious people are, statistically speaking, happier and healthier than irreligious ones. They do good works and write some fine music.Why not just accept it as a little pecadillo, like wearing gloves, and ignore it? No doubt the book will answer this question.

#1 daughter called yesterday to discuss her job hunt, and I told her about the forthcoming book. She suggested that we each buy a copy, read it together, and discuss it here. I thought this was a capital idea.

Perhaps you, too, are a Dawkins fan. Perhaps you had heard about the book, and were just saying to a friend, “That scamp Dawkins! I bet he’ll be foaming at the mouth in this book — you should see how worked up he can get over people’s failure to understand mathematical probability!”

Your friend looked at you with that blank gaze, and turned the conversation to football.

If so, then you should also get a copy of this book when it comes out next month, and join us.

So that you won’t be behind, I’ll tell you the rest of our conversation.

I expressed my opinion that evangelizing for atheism was loony.

“Well, evangelical Christians want to save people from Hell, but Dawkins wants to save them from ignorance,” said my daughter.
“This is totally outside his field, though. He’s no more qualifed to write about religion’s effect on history than you or I,” I objected.
“That’s what I like about him. He goes off on wild tangents.”

I agreed that his passion is a likeable quality, but remarked that early reviews said he was a little hysterical in The God Delusion.

It should be fun.

Immediately after writing that, I happened upon a forum at Amazon where people are discussing this forthcoming book. Within two posts, the whole discussion turned into obnoxious attacks. And the book hasn’t even come out yet. This is why I like small private discussions on these subjects among people who can talk about ideas without getting nasty.

#2 daughter’s job hunt caused me to muse on the job-hunting experience, and then we went through the hiring experience at work, and now #1 daughter’s job hunt is causing me to think on it some more. Her situation is very different from #2 daughter’s. #2 was just out of school, with lots of stuff on her resume. #1 has been a Navy wife for three years, and married quite young, so all the impressive stuff on her resume is a) old and b) from when she was a kid.

When she said “I have no qualifications,” I immediately suggested that she go for jobs where looks are a factor. In general, I tend to think that jobs like those should be left for people who really don’t have any other qualifications, but this seems like a case in which she should get off the internet and walk into places. Places like fashion retail or high-end office buildings where they might value a gorgeous receptionist (#1 looks like a young, Eurasion version of Catherine Zeta-Jones). Her efficiency, intelligence, and perceptiveness can then come as a pleasant surprise to the employer.

People seem to believe that online job searches work well, but #2 didn’t actually get work that way, either her Day Job or her performance stuff. It will be interesting to see how #1’s search works out.