Following Rachelsent and Ozarque’s excellent advice, I will go this weekend and get a vise before I continue attempting to solder. I can see that it would make a big difference.

I have a lot of other things that need doing, in any case. For the HGP this week, we are supposed to thoroughly clean our bathrooms, and I haven’t even done my closets from last week, nor do I have any cookies in my freezer. I have a trio to prepare for Sunday, we’re doing photos at Chamber Singers rehearsal tonight, there is my jacket to finish soon here if I want to stay on my self-imposed schedule for the SWAP, I have till Sunday to make the SewRetro project I have in mind, the books for the Sunday School class I am teaching have just arrived and I need to prepare this week’s lesson, and The Little Friend is not going to read itself.

Partygirl came in for a book yesterday and was very bracing about my sleep deprivation problem. She is a poster girl for happy marriage, and part of that seems to be that she has convinced herself that her husband is perfect. She assured me that he would never expect her to get up early with him. The trouble is that I started doing that at the beginning of our marriage, and I can’t stop now after 25 years. She thought I could. Hmmmm.

Partygirl and I are studying the Book of Romans together. Well, us and several hundred other women, but we carpool, so it is more together for us. We talk it over a lot when we see each other, which can lead to some odd public conversations, as it did this week when we found ourselves discussing bird-worship.

The first chapter includes a sort of laundry list of sins, and our homework involved coming up with modern examples of them.

This is not a difficult assignment in general. As you know if you ever read the Bible, or history, or well, books of any kind, people don’t change much. We can still relate to Othello, there are still people who consider torture appropriate, and we still commit just about the same sins we always did. Eddie Izzard has a very funny bit about original sin vs. original sins which just emphasizes that point. The sheer sameness of human bad behavior over the centuries is yawnsome indeed.

But there is a point in Romans where the sins are a little outre. The homework questions directed us very specifically to think about modern examples for the part where the people are worshipping humans, birds, quadrupeds, and reptiles. Usually, I think of this stuff as being about idolatry in general, and think in terms of what one of the ladies in my discussion group called, “Oh, you know, the usual stuff: money, houses, cars…”

(I should perhaps explain a little about idolatry. People who are not very familiar with the Bible usually seem to think that most of the discussion about wrongdoing in it is about sex. In fact, idolatry is one of the most frequently discussed sins. You may think idolatry has to do with bowing down before golden statues of calves, but in the mainstream Protestant churches, it is interpreted to mean putting other things, including yourself, above God. So workaholism, selfishness, claiming that you are The Decider of what is right and wrong, and materialism are popular examples of idolatry.)

But we were being asked to break this down and have specific examples for each of these things.

Humans were no problem. The cult of personality and celebrity is alive and well, and lots of us pay more attention to Britney Spears than to God. But I could not for the life of me come up with any examples of modern reptile worship.

That Man suggested “those women who dance with snakes,” which rather echoed The Empress’s suggestion that we just don’t travel in the right circles to be up on modern trends in animal worship. She reminded me that we hadn’t been aware of insect fetishists until we were in our 40s. One of  Partygirl’s colleagues thought of the names of cars. Could excessive fondness for one’s Mustang or Falcon be a sort of animal worship? One of the women in the class hesitantly suggested tattoos. The rest of us looked at her with polite incomprehension, but she did not elaborate.

I am looking forward to finding out what the writers of the questions had in mind.

Last night was the beginning of our annual biker festival. You may think I am kidding, but my idyllic little town is host to the second largest biker festival in the nation. It claims, in fact, to be “the largest family-friendly nonprofit motorcycle rally in the world.” We have just over 58,000 people living in our town, and last year there were 300,000 at the festival and this year we are expecting 400,000. If they wanted to, they could completely take over the town and we would be helpless. They don’t seem to want our town, though, except for this one week.

I have never gone to any of the events, but I have been inconvenienced by the parade a few times. Mostly it is the noise level that I notice. That and the bikers who come into the store to buy presents for their grandchildren. We always say we are going to get toy Harleys in for the occasion, but this year once again we didn’t do so.

I expect my sleep deprivation to increase this week, because it will be too noisy to sleep. I live about 15 blocks from the center of things, 3 blocks off a main road which is very popular for riding around on, and right at this early moment I can hear the motorcycles. I don’t know how the folks who actually live downtown stand it.

But I may go down and see it this year. Blessing always goes, she says, because her family likes to look at all the bikes. Maybe my family would too. There is also lots of music and barbeque, which could be fun even if they don’t want to look at bikes.