Earlier tonight, I saw a bumper sticker that proudly stated “Toenails are for Sissies.” Huh? I’ve never been one to go around advertising my hatred for toenails. I guess it takes a village. He was driving a Hummer, it also seems to take hundreds of gallons in gasoline. Continue reading On Hating One’s Toenails, and Shick Brithouses
Mrs. Caldwell phones our office every time she hears about an earthquake. She has a theory, you see, about the end of the world and the return of the Lord (so I understand–I’ve never spoken with her) and for the last ten years whenever the news reports a quake, she has called our office, double-checks the magnitude with us, plots it on her map, and goes back to whatever she does when she doesn’t record earthquakes.
She specifically calls Bob, in our office, and we’ve spent plenty of time picking on him with the “Bob’s girlfriend’s on the line” jokes. Mrs. Caldwell is from South Carolina and is probably as insane as bat crap. She is always polite, however, despite her attempts to recruit Bob to her cause, before the guy casts off his heritage and jumps aboard the Mayan Spaceship of Cataclysmic Doom.
I often think of Mrs. Caldwell. She’s a nice person–in fact, she stopped calling for several months (we thought she’d died or been taken away by the mothership), because she didn’t want to be bothering us with everything. She talks on one of those old-timey phones you have to crank; the mouthpiece is bolted to the wall. I bet she makes cookies, and thanksgiving at her place is quite a spread. Since Mr. Caldwell died, and the kids moved away to the city, things just haven’t been the same. Her kitchen is filled with chrome yellow Formica furniture, and her study is a dark room piled with magazines and years of dust. This is where she does her meditation and studying. She has a leather-bound book where she logs each earthquake for the future. December 31, 2012, she will prove to us all that she was right; by then, of course, it’ll be too late.
How many Mrs. Caldwells do you have in your life? They don’t look any different from you or me, unless you can spot the people who weaned on dinosaur milk (another interesting person from my reference desk). You may go to church with one, or smiled as you helped her reach a bag of cat food, high up on the shelf at the supermarket. I have a feeling that, we all wish we knew our future with 100% certainty. Maybe we are all Mrs. Caldwell, just a little bit; we just don’t like to admit it because the people in the library will laugh at us when we hang up the phone.
I love Small Things.
I was mentioning it to my sons last night, as I recalled a blog I wrote several years ago (now lost. “Thanks so much, Yahoo 360°,” he said, rolling his eyes…) about a squirrel. The critter, in a battle with a couple blue jays high up in an oak tree, managed to drop a nut on my head. How unpredictable the universe is. Of all the random moments, in all the world, that something could drop from the sky; in all the desperate extra-species battles ever conducted in a tree, it’s amazing–a blessing of uniqueness, even, that at that every moment, I would be collateral damage in a nut bombing. The universe is capricious. Even fun. My children’s original question was if a squirrel had ever shit on my head. My answer was no. I think that, to my boys, it was a bit disappointin’ that I would miss the annointin’. I guess I should thank heaven that squirrels and jays don’t fight with grand pianos and Acme safes. Continue reading A Big Deal
This morning I completed the book called The City & The City, by China Miéville. As my regular blog readers may know, I generally read science fiction and fantasy novels. Miéville’s work is no exception. It was published in 2009, and captured my attention immediately. It is no slouch in the field, having won the following awards:
- Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel
- Arthur C. Clarke Award
- World Fantasy Award
- BSFA Award
- Hugo Award for Best Novel (tied)
It was also nominated for the Nebula Award the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. This post will be unlike many of my book reviews, because I would like to indulge my recent reading, and think through some of the ramifications of the work itself. Even if you generally skip my book reviews, I’d be curious to have you read this one over, and tell me what you think of Miéville’s ideas.
We all have dealbreakers. We have probably all unfriended someone in social media, if we’ve found them disagreeable, or annoying, or offensive. More often, we tend to prune our social media rosters. The Internet now has a smattering of places you can add and delete people, then hurt their feelings, without ever once looking in their eyes! I for one am proud to announce that I no longer have 666 Facebook friends. I have 668. I can’t be going around with the number of the antichrist attached to my friends list. I was gonna delete a few friends just to unnerve a few of my more conservative pals, or just for a laugh, and this got me thinking. Why? Who do I delete? and why do I remove them.
I’ve been sick. About two hours before the beginnings of Hurricane Irene touched our area on Saturday, my body decided I needed a fever. There were no other symptoms; just a nasty fever that seemed to spike when and where it liked. I spent the day popping Tylenol and (after we ran out) Ibuprofen to take the symptoms away. I hate taking pills of any kind. I constantly tested the edges of my fever, not liking to take a tablet to control the thing until I was sure I had a high temperature—”Maybe it is gone now,” I kept thinking to myself. Myself kept being incorrect.
I stayed home on Monday, the last Ibuprofen swallowed around 3 PM that day. The fever seems to be a distant memory now. As a result, I was unable to blog that day, nor on Tuesday. I just didn’t have the energy. I sat at my desk like a paperweight yesterday, only a paperweight is more high-performing than I managed.
So today, I blog.
Remember on Monday, when I said this would be a good, good week? Well, I’ve been right so far!
Despite a small earthquake interrupting the latter part of the day yesterday, we spent a lot of family time at the orthodontist, then out to dinner with the boys (I had an excellent walnut-crusted chicken, surprisingly, at a sp0rts bar). I watched my kids eat. Then we went shopping for Daniel’s birthday, and came home, where I relaxed and read. A point of fact: a couple different earthquakes have happened in my life this week. As Ted “Theodore” Logan once said in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.” (this is possibly the best line Keanu Reeves has ever delivered in a film.)
Whoever invented the phrase “reinvent the wheel” should be taken out behind a barn and run over by something large with wheels.
One of modern church’s greatest dangers is trying to be “edgy” and “attractive” rather than relevant and loving.
It’s gonna be a good, good morning, folks, and then a good, good week. I know this because I’m on my first cup of really lousy office coffee, and it can only get better from thirty minutes of Folger’s, right?
I’m suffering from a Case of the Attitudes at work. Or at least, that’s how I perceive it. I barely get by. I wish I could quit this job sometimes. It’s not the people, or the place really.
Okay, it’s a person.
I won’t go into the details here, as much as I’d like to, because this is a public forum, and I really don’t want to offend anyone, or hurt them, at work. That’s the game I play. I hate confrontation. A few months ago, I wrote the very controversial “Our Gay Neighbors” post. It tore me up inside to read the posts–even the ones I agreed with–because of the ad hominem attacks on people. It required an inordinate amount of Tums to survive the two weeks worth of challenges to my manhood, and credibility, and Christianity, and sanity. I nearly quit blogging. Instead, I went quiet. I didn’t fan flames; I stopped arguing, and allowed people to say their piece. I had my chance to make a difference; I blew it. I caused a controversy using caustic words, and I paid the price for it. Lesson learned.
An old colleague is currently taking an ethics class. For a day, she watched a documentary, and studied the works of Dietrich Bonnhoeffer. You may have heard of him — a German Lutheran pastor who, in the 1940s, decided to work with a group to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer has become a quite influential theologian, and ultimately a martyr. He was sentenced to death, and hanged, for his involvement in the conspiracy to kill Der Führer, a mere 11 days before the German surrender.