Friday, February 29, 2008

So What's Up?

The weather outside is exhibiting extreme Spring-iness. My cabin fever is nearing terminal.

I'm still listening to Missy Higgins on her website while I wait for her CD (autographed, no less) comes in the mail.

I'm still working my way through "Young Bucks" and liking what I'm reading so far. Many of the ideas sound fun for me to do--forget the kids!

I've resumed watching Babylon 5 after a involuntary hiatus. Last night I hit the episode where the fourth season really starts to heat up. Good stuff.

Waiting for my tax refund so I can pay what I owe on state tax.

We've got our tickets booked for a great family vacation this summer--I think. We used an agent this time, as she promised she could save us money. Perhaps she has, but when I can't be entirely sure I actually have tickets I'm starting to sour on the deal.

My middle child has his kindergarten orientation today in preparation for this Fall. It won't be that long before my wife is all alone during the days--well, except for the two cats and the dog.

My gaming group meets tonight, and another weekend is upon us. Yay!

Bob, Bush, and Personal Portaits

Time magazine online is running an interesting article by Bob Geldorf on his travels in and discussions on Africa with Pres. Bush. I think they both come out of it looking fairly good.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wonder from Downunder

There's a site I visit that plugs a new artist/group each day. I almost never pay attention. Today's album thumbnail made the singer look like Laura Bush. I admire Laura Bush. I was curious.

She's not Laura Bush. She's 23 and writes some interesting music. It doesn't grab you by the throat and make you listen (well, at least one song does for me). It's just there, waiting for you to invest a bit of yourself and listen. It rewards you if you do.

Her style is an interesting mash of country, blues, folk, and pop. It's all acoustic, and the elegantly simple arrangement supports a pleasant, mature, evocative voice. It's easy on the ears and it's seductive, and I am so tempted to buy her album.

May I recommend Missy Higgins, of Melbourne, Australia.

"Steer" grabs me. At least listen to that one. The video that goes with it is pretty good, too. I can relate to the concept of a human crash-test dummy.

Favorite line: "You've been playing at a game called remembering your name / And you stuffed it up."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Remember Your Place!

Conversation with my youngest this morning:

Me: You and I are having a date today. Where would you like to go?
Son: With Mommy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Next Reading Project

I listened to the latest Glenn and Helen Show where they talk to Troy Dunn, author of "Young Bucks: How to Raise a Future Millionaire". It focuses on how to turn your children's passions into businesses so they learn to make money for themselves instead of relying on you.

One example that jumped out: A mother complained to the author that her daughter just wanted to sit and hang out on MySpace all the time. The author worked with the daughter a bit and helped her set up a business where she maintains MySpace pages for various businesses that have pages, but don't known how to maintain them. She charges them $100 a month, and currently has 11 clients. Suddenly the mom is thrilled that all her daughter does is hang out on MySpace all the time.

I don't have the book yet, but I intend to get it. I have to wonder if there isn't some not-so-hidden messages for adults as well. Also interesting is that the author has seven kids, and drops the code-phrase "No other success can compensate for failure in the home".

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hear, Hear!!

Orson Scott Card has done it again, this time bemoaning the two-party system that requires a person to either conceal their true beliefs or turn off their brains in order to adopt the full raft of party policy. He contests that no one can be intellectually honest and an idealogically pure liberal or conservative. And I agree.

I have leanings, to be sure, but I think both parties are so full of crap and themselves that no sensible person could ever side with them completely. I'm a moderate, as Card describes it, and there is just no place for moderates in today's politics.

I'm reminded of this frequently by a friend of mine. If I remember correctly, he would rather vote for Hillary or Obama than McCain, even though by his own admission, McCain would do less damage to the country than the democratic candidates. Why? Because McCain has dared to vote with the other side. He has failed to live up to the party line. Better to vote for someone who will cripple the country than someone who has disappointed him, lest he reward that kind of behavior.

So instead he rewards completely unrepentant, assinine behavior. Straining at gnats and swallowing camels, in my view.

Such is the legacy of our two party system. I'd much rather be a moderate. Thanks to Card's description of what a moderate is and is not, I can begin to say that with pride.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bawling to Barber

I listened to the local classical station on the way in to work this morning. Just as I got to work they played Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings". It's one of my favorite pieces, so I decided to be a little late and listen.

I wasn't prepared for it this morning. It reached right in and ripped my heart out, and left be bawling behind the wheel in the parking lot.

I would have to agree with the announcer, that that is one of the most perfect pieces ever written. It does its job mercilessly well. The climax is nearly unbearable, and makes the resolution all the more poignant, even cathartic.

Still, I think this morning's encounter speaks as much to my current emotional state as to Barber's inspiration.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I "Club" You

I was driving around the other day and saw a bumper sticker that caught my attention: "I "Heart" Scotties", or something like that. It stuck out not because of the specifics, but for another reason.

You don't see many bumper stickers that simply declare what the driver likes/loves anymore. The vast majority of bumper stickers today are all about hate. We no longer define ourselves by what we enjoy, but what we despise. We are what we are against, not what we are for.

The main trouble is that either choice requires effort and energy. Even if what we hate is something worth hating, if we're not careful we don't leave ourselves anything for what we enjoy or should support.

And heaven forbid we should ever allow ourselves to hear the other side of something. Heaven forbid we should ever look for alternatives that might get us what we want--or at least closer--while not making the other guy give up everything. It's not enough that we win, but the other guy has to lose LOSE LOSE!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't think I like the world we are building for ourselves. Probably because I know there are already people out there who hate me generally. I only have to read the comments thread to an article about the new prophet of our church to see that there are people whose mission in life is to hate me generally. It's only a matter of time before they start to hate me specifically.

Once people become emboldened to no longer hide behind the anonymity of their blog/car/pen-name and are willing to look the other guy in the face and still hate them it's a short step to persecution, violence, bloodshed, and death--all in the name of tolerance, of course.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Vox Politico

I would have voted for Fred Thompson. He dropped out. I would have voted for Mitt Romney, and now he's dropped out. I am a curse, it would seem.

But what is most interesting is the footing Romney left on. He essentially said that he is resigning to increase his party's chance of winning the election. In other words, he's doing it for the good of the party--and of course for America, but that's actually somewhat irrelevant at the moment. I don't think his timing and his explanation are about what is immediately best for America, even if it's true.

I think he's putting pressure on John McCain to move more toward the party line. He's saying to "Maverick", "Hey, I'm willing to do what is best for the party. Your turn."

And in so doing, I think he is doing what is best for America, too. There are a lot of things about McCain I don't like. There are some things about Romney I don't like. I've long given up hoping for the perfect candidate. But I believe that a president's impact on domestic policy is minimal compared to what they can do for foreign policy. And that is where this next election is so critical.

We don't need a president who is going to apologize to the world for having freedom and democracy, tuck our tail between our legs, and hide at home waiting for Islam to come take that freedom and democracy away from us. Whatever else he may do, John McCain won't do that. If any of the Democratic candidates win that IS what they will do.

So maybe, just maybe, Romney's pressure will help push McCain a little more to the right on the domestic issues. Or maybe it will set him up as a potential running mate, which could put him in a position to influence those areas where he is stronger than McCain. The two of them together may add up to a decent presidency.

Romney's move in this direction at this time opens the door for that. The continued Hill-bama brawl pretty much guarantees neither of them will get the nod for vice president--too much bad blood in the water. Any independents who supported the loser may have little choice but to jump to the Right side of the fence, whereas there's a good chance that most of the independents currently on the Right would stay there with a McCain-Romney ticket.

Just my thoughts. Only time will tell if I know anything. I'm predicting I don't.