Thursday, October 28, 2004

Civil Discourse

I don't mind discussing politics with those who disagree with me. I don't. I don't as long they're the type who can treat you with respect and recognize your right to your opinion. Unfortunately, those are in short supply. And we have the worst role models in the popular media and online. A few horrid examples: Jon Stewart, Bill O'Reilly, Anne Coulter, Jeanine Garafalo, Rush Limbaugh, Zero, Robert McClelland, but I digress.

What is the problem? How can anyone be so wrapped up in their own viewpoint that they are unable to so much as consider the salient points of an opposing view. Their conversations quickly dissolve to expletives and insults. They're all output, no input. Opposing viewpoints aren't necessarily wrong or right. Sure, there are some: racism, NAMBLA, Country Music; those are wrong, just wrong.

Most viewpoints are in opposition because they are based on different priorities. Every person's values are a system of priorities. Everybody wants to protect women and babies. For some, their priority is the interest of the woman and her right to choose. For others, the life of the child, born or unborn, takes precedence. Both are good, but what is more important? Nobody will ever convince me that it is okay to take the life of an unborn child, especially for the convenience of the woman, who's just not ready for a child right now. But if I am to express my opinion, I must be able to converse civilly with a person who feels the individual right of a woman to determine the fate of all parts of her body and everything therein are unassailable. If the two of us cannot have a civil discourse, then we are not worthy of the conversation to begin with and ought to simply shut our traps.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Fan For A Day

As an Oakland A's fan, it's not hard to hate the Yankees. I hate them with every ounce of my being.

Well, I severely dislike them, anyhow. Or hate them.

Aside from all of that, though, it's really easy to be a Boston Red Sox fan today.

It's not that they won, it's that they beat the Evil Empire. And it's not just that they beat the Yankess, but it's how they beat them.

No team in the history of baseball had ever come back from a three game deficit to win a best-of-seven. Any number of teams could have done it, and it would have been exciting, newsworthy, and something to talk about around the office.

Boston vs. New York took exciting and newsworthy to transcendent. If a sportswriter were to sit down last spring and fictionalize the perfect storyline to end the season, he might have written it just like this. Going down three games, the last a massacre, hope all gone everywhere except... in the Boston clubhouse. They scrape out two improbable extra-inning wins against the best closer in baseball, then go back to the home of the Evil Empire. They win a nailbiter. Then, they don't just scrape out their last win, no, they CRUSH the enemy in their own ballpark, even daring them to come back by putting their whipping boy, Pedro, on the hill in the seventh, and, at the very end, not one of their big bats, for which they paid $185 million, could do more than whiff and whimper as they finally rolled over and died.

That was, perhaps, the best thing about it. In the face of all of the trash New York could muster, Bucky Dent, pics of The Bambino, the number 1918 all over the park, the Red Sox would not be intimidated, cowed or denied.

At this point I don't care who wins the NLCS. The Cardinals would be nice, in a way, since they had a direct hand in the perpetuation of The Curse. Whoever it turns out to be, it will be a good series.

However, it will be a great series if the Red Sox end the Curse of the Bambino, a series baseball fans will tell the grandkids about years and years from now.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

First, Last, and Now

Hey, stole these from UV, who got 'em from... Oh, never mind.

First job: newspaper route at 10
First screen name: Theryn of Nowhere
First funeral: my wife's grandfather, about 10 years ago
First pet: Fluffy the poodle at age 4.
First piercing: Left ear at 27
First tattoo: none
First credit card: Meryvn's at age 20
First kiss: Kim Younce, age 12
First enemy: Mike Ward, one of my best friends :-)

Last car ride: Last evening, taking dinner to the youth group at church
Last kiss: Last night, the wife (I mean, durrr)
Last movie watched: Dune (SciFi Channel version)
Last beverage drank: Diet Coke
Last food consumed: Slice o' bread
Last phone call: Recorded message from Arnold Schwarzenegger
Last time showered: yesterday morning. Have 20 minutes before I get in today
Last CD played: Aaron Jay Kernis, Symphony No. 2
Last website visited: Psychobabble

Single or taken: married 16+ years
Gender: Male
Birthday: June 14
Sign: Gemini
Hair color: dark brown
Eye color: hazel
Shoe size: 10
Height: 5' 9"
Wearing: white t-shirt, jeans
Thinking about: reading Hyperion, by Dan Simmons
Listening to: The boys have Scooby-Doo on in the other room.

An Offer I Can't Refuse

Kiss my ring, you peons...

This site also says I'm JFK on their "World Leader" test. Where do they get this crap?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Mother, Did It Need To Be So High?

I've taken a trip on the Wayback Machine, back to my teens and to 1980, with Pink Floyd's The Wall.

I've read many reviews and analyses, all of which point to the hopelessness of this brilliant watermark in rock. I've never quite agreed with those assessments. Granted, my knowledge of the band members biographies is quite limited in comparison, but I persist.

The album has always seemed to me more of a love letter to Syd Barrett, and moreso to everyone lost in the layers of their own experience and circumstance that compel us to raise barriers against the onslaught of daily reality in order to avoid further emotional and psychological pain.

I drive about 150 miles a day to and from work, so I'm able to listen to large swaths of the album whenever I commute. My most common emotional response is a sadness for the ones who have lost years hiding behind their own walls, for whom life is no more than an obstacle course of threats to the bricks of their psyche.

What about me? What is the makeup of my wall? How high is it? Am I still building or am I tearing it down? I've always thought that I had a firm grip on reality. I've always felt that I had a reasonable view of my own psyche. I've always tried to be introspective and critical of my own thinking, of my own reactions to life and circumstance. I've always tried to be honest and consistent with myself and with others.

Could even that be my wall? Is that another layer that I need to peel away to understand myself and my true nature? How much does what I believe about human nature create boundaries rather than reveal my own soul? Where is the line between belief and truth?

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I question my beliefs so much as I wonder if I hide behind my beliefs to avoid taking a harder look at the imperfections in my soul.

Perhaps I ought to just relax and enjoy the cool music...


It's about me, dummy!!!


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