I was at some sort of lecture for really smart people, and a precocious young woman asked a technical question of the speaker, who answered back with some Math, and the questioner apologetically asked for a moment to run the Math through her head before she could follow-up. The speaker replied that she should take her time, because after all, “this is an open forum, not scramble time at a methadone clinic.”
And I was like where the heck did that line come from?!
Later in the dream I was looking for my car in a parking garage and found it not where I thought I had parked it but a little ways away where I had actually parked it earlier in the dream. I was like “this dream has a great continuity” and then I had to pee so I was looking for a toilet in the parking garage. That is when I got up to pee, and realized that I had slept really soundly this night. I was glad the sun was managing to peek through the clouds.
Eileen linked me to this YouTube video. It rocks. It is Iowa’s Senate Majority leader Mike Gronstal making it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he will not cooperate with the Republicans to amend Iowa’s constitution to ban gay marriage. He quotes his daughter, Kate, after listening for several minutes to her older colleagues complain about the subject:
“You guys don’t understand. You’ve already lost. My generation doesn’t care.”
Well, I, for one, care. And Mike Gronstal is clearly compassionate and thoughtful on the subject:
I think I learned something from my daughter that day, when she said that. And I’ve talked with other people about it and that’s what I see, Senator McKinley. I see a bunch of people that merely want to profess their love for each other, and want state law to recognize that.
Is that so wrong? I don’t think thats so wrong. As a matter of fact, last Friday night, I hugged my wife. You know Ive been married for 37 years. I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other.
No, Senator McKinley, I will not co-sponsor a leadership bill with you.
And Vermont passed gay marriage, this time through the legislature, and overriding a governor’s veto! Sure, gay marriage can be had in only four states today, but I’m getting this hopeful feeling that the cooler heads prevailing in Iowa are the real tipping point. The Right thought California would lead the nation, and they fought hard to win Prop 8, and they won that battle. But while they were fixated on the West Coast, they have been outflanked by the reasonable Midwesterners making reasonable decisions in the middle of the country. Hoorah!
Also good, thank you Tom, is the Supreme Court Summary for Varnum v Brien, which lays out in simple language over six pages the case for why gay marriage ought to be legal. Basically, unless there’s a compelling reason to ban it, equal protection means you should allow it, and there’s no compelling argument for why a state ought to ban it, so, now, Iowa has it!
After a campaign centered on the idea of “change” President Barack Obama mentioned in his inauguration speech that:
“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.”
Alas, Congress decided that giving our all to the difficult task of obtaining a digital converter box, even without a government coupon, so we can finally change over to digital television on February 17, was too great a character-building exercise for the American people. And I suppose the risk of impoverished and mentally challenged consumers losing access to a constant barrage of commercial advertising would be too great a blow to our weakened economy. Congress has therefor postponed the transition to digital television until June 12, “sending the fast-tracked legislation to President Obama, who has promised to sign it.”
Really, this legislation deserves a
pocket veto. “Oh, you wanted me to exercise personal responsibility? Dang, it must have slipped my mind.”
To me, this is thoroughly symbolic. And when it comes to such a fairly trivial issue as to whether we will accept a bit of minor pain and inconvenience to get the job done versus hem and haw and make excuses and opt for business as usual, we have opted for the excuses. Frustrating! After all, we how can we face up to the challenge of Global Warming when we can’t even get the TVs switched over on time?
Surely you have by now heard about the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush. Whatever your own position on Iraq War II I think we can all agree that this seems like the perfect expression at Iraqi anger and frustration at how terribly the postwar occupation has been managed. I also enjoy hearing how Chinese Internet folk look at the issue. Here’s some of the quotes I most enjoy, as translated by ChinaSMACK:
This (news) shows that the democracy of Iraq has been greatly improved.
If any one dared to throw shoes at Saddam, he might have already been fed to the lions.
The United Sates had spent billions of dollars and thousands of human lives to gain the right for Iraqi people to throw shoes. Chinese people’s right for throwing shoes needs to be gained by the Chinese themselves.
What was the brand of the shoe he threw at bush? If it was made in China, the U.S. would again say China provided terrorists with weapons.
I saw it too,
Little Bush was nimble;
The journalist’s courage was laudable;
Good job, both!
Note from Fauna: Although not many people like Bush, I think many Chinese netizens will still miss him because he was such a funny man and not many people could be very serious about him.
I myself have always thought Bush was kind of funny. I have made a conscious decision not to get too worked up over the many awful things he has done as President, if only for my own health. Obama has been elected and Bush was bidding adieu to his greatest legacy; I hope the people of Iraq find the shoe-throwing somewhat cathartic.
If Iraq’s democracy survives, I hope that one day they erect a status of this guy in a square somewhere, leaning back to hurl his shoe, a testament to the mixed blessing of American occupation and the (often terrible and bloody) freedoms it has brought. More power to them!
These are probably from a recent issue of The Sun.
“A human being who has not a single hour for his own every day is no human being.”
–Rabbi Moshe Leib
My party had been pushing ahead at a fast pace for a number of days, and one morning when we were ready to set out, our native bearers, who carried the food and equipment, were found sitting about without any preparations made for starting the day.
Upon being questioned, they said, quite simply, that they had been traveling so fast in these last days that they had gotten ahead of their souls and were going to stay quietly in camp for the day in order for their souls to catch up with them.
Winter makes me sluggish.
Go go Google!
We do not generally take a position on issues outside of our field, especially not social issues . . . however, while there are many objections to this proposition — further government encroachment on personal lives, ambiguously written text — it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 — we should not eliminate anyone’s fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.
Official Google Blog
As seen on Judah:
Do you see a sign “Leave your
junk here”? No you don’t see
a sign “Leave your junk here.”
Do you know why? Because this
corner is not a junk yard. Try
putting your crap in a garbage
There is a certain practice in San Francisco of people disposing of unwanted stuff by leaving it on the curb. Alas, for stuff that nobody wants, that means crap piling up on sidewalks. Someone expressed their disapproval in the form of an homage to Quentin Tarantino.
I couldn’t agree more.
“The art of having adventures is simply that of saying, “Wow, that is dang cool!” and then having the courage to let go of all the doubts and the what-ifs long enough to grab hold of the adventure and go, trusting that you’ll be able to solve problems along the way. This is just as true in the creative arts as it is in adventure travel.”
“So you don’t approve of getting even — of taking revenge for something that was done to you?”
“Revenge does not alter what was done to you. Neither does forgiveness. Revenge and forgiveness are irrelevant.”
“What can you do?”
“Forget,” said Borges. “That is all you can do. When something bad is done to me, I pretend that it happened a long time ago, to someone else.”
“Does that work?”
“More or less.” He showed his yellow teeth. “Less rather than more.”
Talking about the futility of revenge, he reached and his hands trembled with a new subject, but a related one, the Second World War.
“When I was in Germany just after the war,” he said, “I never heard a word spoken against Hitler. In Berlin, the Germans said to me” — now he spoke in German — “‘Well, what do you think of our ruins?’ The Germans like to be pitied — isn’t that horrible? They showed me their ruins. They wanted me to pity them. But why should I indulge them? I said” — he uttered the sentence in German — “‘I have seen London.'”
Jorge Luis Borges speaking with Paul Theroux
_The Old Patagonian Express_
Revenge has its appeal, but I don’t think it helps. We use the expression “forgive and forget” but the concern is that certain things should not be forgotten. I figure it is better to forget than to have difficulty stuck in your heart. I think I’d say “forgive, if you can, draw a lesson from the memory, and then move on.”
Try to remember the circumstances and what happened, and that you felt a certain pain and whatnot, perhaps with great intensity. The pain itself, the “pain memory” I would leave behind, if you can. We are fools to forget, but we are foolish too to react in the present to pain from the past.
It is exciting, inspiring, and hopeful, to hear a conservative like Colin Powell speaking like this:
Let’s welcome every foreign student we can get our hands on. Let’s make sure that foreigners come to the Mayo Clinic here, and not the Mayo facility in Dubai or somewhere else. Let’s make sure people come to Disney World and not throw them up against the wall in Orlando simply because they have a Muslim name. Let’s also remember that this country was created by immigrants and thrives as a result of immigration, and we need a sound immigration policy.
Let’s show the world a face of openness and what a democratic system can do. That’s why I want to see Guantánamo closed. It’s so harmful to what we stand for. We literally bang ourselves in the head by having that place. What are we doing this to ourselves for? Because we’re worried about the 380 guys there? Bring them here! Give them lawyers and habeas corpus. We can deal with them. We are paying a price when the rest of the world sees an America that seems to be afraid and is not the America they remember.
Amen! Let’s stop hiding behind an Iron Curtain of Fear.
Are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves.
(Thanks, Craig Newmark.)
“Little boys love machines. Grown-up men and women like to walk.”
“What is to give light must endure burning.”
From “The Sun” March, 2007
I read this quote shortly after a significant personal setback. I believe the author is alluding to the Holocaust, which puts things in perspective. For me, the take-away is that if you want to shine, you must be ready to be burned.
I had rushed in to marriage, and consequently took a conservative approach to feeling my own love and expressing it. I figured we should take things slow. I got burnt anyway. Nowadays . . . I’ll give patience its due, but I must shoot for giving light. Keep the senses keen for that flame within, and if it seems right, throw gas on the fire . . .
. . . and be prepared to endure burning.
“The coldest Winter I ever knew was a summer in San Francisco.”
It has been overcast, chilly and wet in my neighborhood throughout July. Monday the sun came out for about an hour in the morning, then again at sunset. I ran out of the house when that happened but it was too late in the day to get much sun. The midwesterner in me reminds myself that this is a temporary and “symbolic” Winter, without the snow. It is just weird the way the seasons work when you live adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.
(No, I’m not actually depressed. Well, this gray does make me blue, and that is why I am conscientious about getting out doors any time the clouds break. I am supposed to be starting work next week, so I should be getting more sun during the week.)
The morning of July 2, I have arrived at the last page of June’s “The Sun” and find an occasion to chuckle:
“By all means marry: if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”
Socrates is a mortal. And so am I.
“Wasn’t marriage, like life itself, unstimulating and unprofitable and somewhat empty when too well-ordered and protected and guarded. Wasn’t it finer, more splendid, more nourishing when it was, like life itself, a mixture of the sordid and the magnificent; of mud and stars; of earth and flowers; of love and hate and laughter and tears and ugliness and beauty and hurt.
Yes, the title says “Two Perspectives” but we wouldn’t want this content to be too well-ordered, yeah? Here’s an assertion that I know many would take exception to. (more…)
“There he goes, one of God’s own prototypes. Some kind of high-powered mutant, never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, too rare to die.”
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