Thursday, August 23, 2007


It is increasingly obvious that Bush does not inhabit the universe the rest of his do. No, Bush along with his closest advisers and the devout neo-cons live in a parallel universe, one that is black and white, one in which Bush is the good king struggling against the forces of darkness, one in which Bush can do no wrong, one in which Bush can rewrite history. His speech yesterday is a blatant example of this. It's unbelievable that someone could claim that if we had stayed in Vietnam, we would have been better off because we would have prevented a lot of suffering and death and prevented a loss of "American credibility." It is almost universally understood that Vietnam was a major blunder of American foreign policy. For Bush to be giving a speech implying we should have "stayed the course" in Vietnam is one more sign of his residence in an alternate reality, one I've dubbed Bushville. Joe Klein's reaction is here and Andrew Sullivan responds here.

Because I Said I Would

My sister, Shawna, is very, ah, attentive to fashion and what people are wearing. I told her I would post a link to this article for her.

"What does that say about you?"

I met Katie Joy for ice cream Monday night after she got off work at 8:30. She works at the Bible Book Store, either location here in town. That night it was at the Heights store, so we met at Baskin Robbins which is in the same parking lot as the BBS. We "hung out" for two hours talking about all sorts of things. I had a good time. She's fun to talk to and makes me laugh. Funniest moment of the night - She's complaining about all of the mosquito bites she has and says she they seem to really flock to her. I say, "Maybe it says something about you that parasites and bloodsuckers are really attracted to you." She replies with, "What does that say about you?" Yeah, yeah. I walked, nay, ran right into that one. We both got a good laugh out of it.

My Mom Would Not Approve

Fundamentalism is primarily a reaction to modernity. There is nothing wrong with attempting to figure out how your religious beliefs demand you live in our ever-changing world. The problem with most strains of fundamentalism is that they answer the question with fear. Fear of change. Fear of new ideas. Since 9/11 our country has become very familiar with Islamic fundamentalism (well, we think we are familiar with it anyway. I dare say most people have little to no understanding of it, but I digress), but Christian fundamentalism is a powerful movement in our nation and in many ways makes a bigger impact on our lives than Islamic fundamentalism.

Check out this article. The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is now offering a degree in homemaking and even better, it is for women only. These women can take classes in cooking, sewing, and the "value of a child." No doubt they are also told to "graciously submit" to their husbands as the Southern Baptists have said they needed to in the past.

There is nothing wrong with classes for these kinds of subjects. They are valuable skills and I'm sure many people would like to take classes like this in college. But why are they limited to women? Because the fundamentalists are scared of our changing society, one in which women are empowered to join the workforce and be the equal of men. They see problems in society and assume that if we just did things "the way they used to be" then everything will be fixed and we'll live happily ever after. It's looking at the past through rose-colored glasses.

The fact of the matter is that gender roles have changed in Western society. The sharp divide has blurred and men can now be found staying at home raising the children and women can be CEOs. Do we have problems in our society with divorce and families? While there may be disagreement as to its extent, I'm not sure you would find many people who would say there is no problem at all. I don't think giving women degrees in homemaking is going to solve this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"A room without books is like a body without a soul."

I've been doing a lot of reading lately with my spare time. I finished Song of Kali by Dan Simmons. The back of the book gave a lot of hype about how scary and terrifying it was. I've read lots of blurbs and rarely are they accurate. I've read a few books by Simmons and I've enjoyed them all, but I didn't expect to be scared by this book. I wasn't, in truth, but I was deeply disturbed by it. It is about an editor of a small, literary magazine who journeys to Calcutta to investigate the story of a poet who is releasing new poetry eight years after he was supposed to have died. Against the advice of his partner, he takes his wife and child, and what happens is beyond reckoning. The worst part of the book, what makes it so disturbing, is that there is no logic, no rationality, behind anything, not even thinly-veiled, barely plausible fiction logic. Many of the images have been seared in my mind and linger there haunting me. I intend to travel around the world some day, and I do want to visit Calcutta, but forever will I view it through the lens of Dan Simmons' Song.

The next book I picked up and just finished today was Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. It was also haunting, though in a different way. It was heart-breaking. I saw the movie once when it came out, but not since, so, while I remembered the broad strokes of the story, I had forgotten many of the details. It all came slamming back as I read this page turner. The three main characters were so vividly depicted that I could almost forget they were not real. Lehane does a fascinating job of peeling back the layers of the human psyche and leaving it exposed, raw and unflinching. The ending is depressing, but ambiguous and not at all easy. I've read two other books by Lehane, but this towers above them.

I finished another book today, the one I had been reading to my daughters, Watership Down by Richard Adams. I had read this before, but it has been a long time. As I mentioned before, a book about a warren of rabbits does not exciting sound, but this book is amazing. My daughters loved it and I have to admit I was a little choked up at the end. Like all good authors, Adams makes you connect with his characters and they become your friends and family before it is over. Anyone who enjoys a story dealing with love, hardship, friendship, adventure, and overwhelming odds should run to the bookstore and get a copy of this book.

I'm not sure what I am going to read next, but I have more than a few on my shelf that I haven't yet read, so I'll find something.

UPDATE: Fixed typo.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I am taking the rest of the week off from work. My daughters are spending the week with me. We don't have any big plans; we're just going to hang out. I'm looking forward to that and not having to deal with people at work who are special and need to remind me of that so that I treat them accordingly. I don't know how so many people get the entitlement mindset, but it is prevalent. To them I give the words of Tyler Durden: "You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else." In fact, I think that is the new Quote of the Week.

Dinner Date Cancelled

Well, dinner with Katie Joy's parents has been cancelled. She called me today and said she got stuck working tonight, so she would not be joining them for dinner. That saves me from having to answer questions like, "Do you like making the baby Jesus cry, Shane? Because that's what happens when you don't go to church every week." For now, anyway. Her family eats dinner together every Monday night, so I'm sure at some point I will be sucked back in.

We are going at for ice cream after she gets off work, though. I guess that's still safely in the realm of hanging out.

As an aside, the Blogger text editor tried to tell me that "cancelled" was misspelled and that it should be "canceled." I guess no one has told the Blogger people that we speak English in this country, not the foul Commie tongue.

Miracle of Birth Occurs for 89 Billionth Time

Congratulations to my friend Jeromy and his wife, Debbie. On Friday they added Matthew Macrae to their family. He was five weeks early and is still in the NICU, but is doing fine. I know Jeromy and Debbie are thrilled about the new addition to their family. They are great parents, nay, great people and I'm excited thinking about the wonderful family they are building.

Here is Matthew:

And here is Jeromy, holding his son, Elijah, in the NICU with Matthew:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Backwards People

I always knew there was something wrong with lefties. Dr. Sanjay Gupta had a post on his blog recently about some studies done on southpaws.

From Those Who Have Been There

The New York Times also has an article about the Iraq War written by seven NCOs who have done tours there. If only we had leaders willing to listen rather than attempt to force the world to conform to their narrow view.


Andrew Sullivan has been doing a fantastic job of chronicling our wonderful administration's attempts to justify torture and the ramifications of it. This chilling post about the mental condition of Jose Padilla should be enough to make any sane American outraged. If a Democratic president had done this, you can be sure a Republican Congress would have implemented impeachment proceedings.


The New York Times has an article about an interesting new book which examines speaking and language gaffes. It, of course, mentions our fearless leader, Big Brother, so I'll also link to Slate's wonderful collection of Bush's verbal bunglings. It's great to read when you need a little pick me up.

Not Often Enough

I went out tonight with my brother, Shawn, and sister, Shawna. We played pool, listened to music, and had a few drinks - alcohol for them, a now rare Pepsi for me. It was nice. My siblings, myself included, have drifted apart over the years and these moments are too few and far between. I am just as guilty as they are and I need to do better at connecting with them.

It's funny how this can so easily happen to a family. There was no dramatic event that triggered this. It just happened. I don't want us to continue with the attitude so perfectly if inadvertently phrased by my sister, "Family's important, but..." I'm going to work harder at repairing these relationships; I hope my siblings will as well.