Managing the inbox

YouveGotMail-200On a weekly basis, I probably read 8 to 9 percent, if that, of the emails that come that hit my inbox. And I read even fewer at work.

Lazy? Probably.

Overwhelmed? Definitely.

There is just too much coming in all the time.

You visit a website of a podcaster that you listen to on a regular basis. On the website there are several social media icons. So you start following the person on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc. Then the flood begins. The newsletter, followed by notifications about everything this person says and does on all of her accounts. Now multiply that by every website you visit and only wanted to download an ebook or report.

Plus something every few days from each of the online stores you visit.

Plus something every few days from retail stores who gave you a 40% off first purchase for joining the club and giving them your email address.

Now, start wading through all that to get to the emails that are actually important.

And god help you if your website visits attract a spammer.

Be careful to whom and to which websites you give your email address. If you only want to have one account, I suggest getting an account at GMail or Yahoo as a junkpile account for sites you need something from once or twice but don’t visit regularly. That way you can get your PDFs and deal with the potted email product later. Sometimes you have to get what you want from a particular site and unsubscribe later that day. You don’t want a situation where most of your time dealing with email constitutes messing with it.

Prioritizing messages is a sizable chore. I’ve tried several prioritzation tricks to handle it, and at some point they’ve all failed, or I’ve failed at them. This is where the email overwhelm part comes in. It can be depressing. You look at the inbox and the numbers of messages and your response is ‘ugh.’ Then you close the inbox and come back later when there are twice as many messages in there. You’d like to delete everything, but there might be that one message that you’ll need some day. If the need for something buried among irrelevant messages hasn’t arisen in a year, it won’t. Just dump it.

Google divides the messages in buckets to try to keep the social messages from the marketing crap from the important stuff in Gmail. But that’s running off an algorithm which are never efficient, so things you want to see end up in a tab you never look at.

I have several email accounts that I use, and a couple of apps to manage things.

aquamail

The gmail accounts just kind of sit until I get to them. I have moved most of the important mail from those. The google account is necessary for the phone. I try to move less relevant newsletter items to my gmail accounts. My primary email accounts are through the hosting company I use. I use AquaMail Pro on my phone and tablets to read, scan, and delete emails. The app is set to erase emails from the server when I delete them. Anything I leave on there I need for reference.

mozilla-thunderbird-1When I can get to it, which usually ends up being the weekend, I open Thunderbird and download everything off the server. After that I go back to AquaMail and delete those emails from my phone and tablet. My devices don’t sync, so I have to delete copies in AquaMail on each one.

I don’t always get around to doing all this on a regular basis, and sometimes I leave Thunderbird open after I’ve downloaded and cleared the phone and emails get through. But, overall this cuts down on much of the current accumulation in my inbox. It’s not a perfect system, but it works for the most part.

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Why I reject American Christian Theocracy Theory, AKA Dominionism

There has been quite a bit of talk in the past few years from GOP fundamentalist icons like Sarah Palin about making law according to the God of the Bible, or converting as many as possible because Christ’s return is imminent, as former congresswoman Michelle Bachman said. It’s quite clear that not winning the prayer in schools ruling has stuck in the craw of many on the Christian right since Reagan’s time. As the marriage equality debate heated up, some ministers called for executing gays by stoning. Of course this is a gross seven-mountains-NO 300cherry-picking of the law because these people would not want to be stoned for driving or barbecuing on a Sunday.

Dominionists are people who want to see some form of Christian rule or Christian theocracy in the United States. They talk of things like a ‘separation myth,’ having a biblical society, and getting a ‘Preacher in the White House’ as was said of the failed Mike Huckabee candidacy. The politicians currently in office who hold to some version of this philosophy are just as hawkish and ‘bootstrap-ish’ as their more secular counterparts.

I don’t have time to try to paint a more complete dystopian picture of how the world would look with our society brought under ‘New Testament Rule,’ except to say that under such a system there might be more conversions and baptisms but overall there would be little change economically and there would be a lot more moral intrusiveness in the country. If you think the tattle culture is bad now, just let these people get what they want. I am rejecting it because I just don’t want it. I don’t want religious dominance of any kind, whether it’s is Islamic Sharia and the Muslim bogeyman that is being constantly pushed at us through the media, or Christian ‘Sharia’ taking the form of dominionism. Although they know that the people continue to suffer on numerous levels because of the twisted and unholy alliances between the United States government, the corporate lobby and mass media, the Federal Reserve and associated transnational money trust organizations, and other international partnerships, not one of these politicians who takes office makes any effort to end any of them.

A meditative moment

zen rox

Some days the chatter in the office gets a bit irritating. Yesterday it reached the point where I just couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing. So I got up and went outside. The edge out front between the sidewalk immediately in front of the office and the curb is filled with river stones. When I walked out I had intended to go to my car and just sit for my break and just reset from the cocktail party that was going on among my coworkers. When I’m around any group that is getting increasingly loud and chatty I have to do this sometimes. When I stepped out the rocks caught my eye and I decided to select five or six to build a miniature version of the rock balancing “cairn” sculptures. The display out front is mostly flat white-ish stones of the skipping variety. I bent down to pick one up and the security guard who was close by asked, “Is there something wrong with the rocks?” I looked at him and shook my head and went back to scanning the rocks. I spent the next fifteen minutes going over most of what’s there and the sense of agitation that I was feeling went away. I found these five that would work and I took them inside and placed them on my desk next to the Mac.

‘Authoritative’ translation

Note: I wrote this prior to leaving Christianity.

In the centuries since the King James Version was authorized in 1611, many have come to refer to it as the “authoritative” translation. This notion of authoritativeness is so pervasive that many hold the KJV in higher esteem than the Hebrew and Greek texts from which it was translated.

There was a time when a grade-school education included a certain amount of Latin, Hebrew and Greek. We left that a long way back…decades before our modern public education system. Now, we’re lucky if the kid makes it to graduation, and can function in English. But I digress.

Since the ancient languages aren’t taught in school, they’re not taught at home. This means that several generations of kids have grown up in Christian homes not knowing how to study the Bible in the ancient languages. This only increases the reliance on translation.

The reality is there is no such thing as an “authoritative” translation.

None.

It does not exist, except as an emotion-laden idea in the minds of many Christians.

It’s an idea, a notion, a myth. A widely- and closely-held belief. That’s all.

The message is the authority. How it is presented is another issue. Assuming the presentation itself is the authority is unhealthy.

The original writings from which we get the biblical text, whether they be on scrolls or tablets, probably don’t exist anymore. They’ve been duplicated by thousands of scribes over the centuries and whatever documents survive are most likely copies. So while we speak of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek being the original languages, the resource materials we employ for study are not those original documents.

With all that said, read your bible. Study it. Put a cover on it. Use highlighters. Write stuff in the margins. But understand that it is a tool, not an object of worship.