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Archive for March, 2007

Some of you may remember Clarence, my budding legal mind of a nephew. Well, Clarence is bracketed by two sisters, one of whom is still a baby of sorts and the other, Aimee, who is now six. This is a brief tale about Aimee’s future as a religious philosopher.

At Aimee’s kindergarten, the children are given plastic eggs around Eastertide. Since this is a Christian school, the eggs contain pictures of Easter-related items instead of the usual candy. Leaving aside the obvious about which any six-year-old would rather have, I need to tell you about Aimee’s reaction to the last picture.

It was a whip.

“A Whip?! What does that have to do with Easter?” Aimee wondered.

Incidentally, I had the same thought as Aimee upon hearing this. A whip? Whattup? Good thing my brother was bright enough to catch on and run with it.

“Well, Jesus was whipped” he explained.

“They whipped the Son of GOD?!?!?” Aimee was quite affronted at the cruelty (and unwiseness) of it all.

“Yes” said her rueful father. He then prepared to bring the Good Friday story into the home stretch. Clearly Aimee was empathetic for Jesus’ pain and suffering. “And then they nailed Him to a cross and killed Him.”

“Well, we’ve all got to die sometime.”

I guess them’s the breaks, Jesus.

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Leaky Cauldron has hi-res versions of all the Harry Potter & Deathly Hallows cover art.

(I’m very nervous about making Harry Potter posts now that Emma Watson changed her mind on me.)

I like all of the covers. As usual, I’m drawn to the stark and arty UK Adult version the most. One of these days I’ll collect all 7 volumes of the UK Adult versions in hardback, because I vastly prefer the look of them. And I hope to have that type of money to spend on books I’ve already read 45 times.

My brother should be happy. The U.S. Version is as orange as a Welcome to Florida brochure.

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pojcar2.jpg

Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes the company hires you, and sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes it rains on a day when you needed sunshine.

Sometimes the cheese on the pizza burns.

I’m really frustrated with the continued hitting of brick walls in our life lately. I feel as though I’ve looked up and suddenly here it is, eight years later. We’ve struggled through so much with startup companies, rundown companies and broken promises that I wonder if life ever gets any easier. Ever.

People often mock my faith as a childish relic or unnecessary fantasisation. Magical thinking which solves nothing. I promise you now, though, that were it not for that magical thinking I would be dead three times over. Because this garbage is just too hard otherwise.

I often feel lately as though nothing goes my way. That’s why the above picture means so much. It’s a photo of my restless dog peeking up at the front seat on our way home from Christmas vacation. That picture was taken on December 27th, 2006. This is the dog for whom we received a probable death sentence on August 18th, 2006. The vet talked to us about possible choices for ‘making him comfortable’ and ‘easing his pain’. Because the x-rays looked like cancer. And the leg swelled like cancer. And bone cancer is a leading cause of death in that breed.

Yet here he is in that picture, four months past the likely date of his death from the cancer that wasn’t. I swear to you I grieved that dog for weeks. Had he been stricken with cancer he would have most likely been dead by mid-October. I pictured getting through Halloween without him barking at trick-or-treaters. I pictured the long car trip to and from Indiana without him clambering over the presents in the back of the car. I listened to songs like ‘Boulder to Birmingham with tears streaming down my face as I got used to the idea of our inevitable separation.

But there he is, in that picture in the back of the car. Alive and well and bored to tears as we gas up the car in Elizabethtown. And today he ran around my backyard in fits of springtime joy, bouncing all over the grass.

So I guess sometimes things go your way. And sometimes God is kind.

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It’s Wisteria season here at the Cobles’ house. Happy Spring!

wisterquin.jpg

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Well, let’s see.

I walked all around London, went to Evensong at St. Paul’s and saw several West End plays.

I then made a quick stop at the Acropolis and hung around the Tennessee Statehouse for awhile.

This is part of why I love blogging. Here I am more or less shut in the house, but I still get to get out from time to time via all my blogging friends’ travels. In most every case I wish I could be there, too, but since circumstances prevent it I at least get to go partway. And I have the added benefit of getting to hear about things in different voices than my own, so I not only experience the place, but I experience it in such a way as to also feel a bit of what it’s like to see through someone else’s eyes.

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Let’s say you go to buy a car.   But the way in which cars are bought and paid for is like the current way we do health care.  You’d go to the car lot, tell them what you need–two or four doors, a v-6 or a v-8, anti-lock brakes, etc.   The sales team (five of them) would bring the car to you that matches your general description.  The billing team (3 of them) would have you sign many papers after which you’d give them your downpayment check.  You’d then drive off.    Ten days later you get a bill from the car lot which says you owe $200,000 for the car, but they’re negotiating with your car insurance to find out the “final” amount.

About a month later your insurance sends you a statement showing that they’ve negotiated the price of the car down to $40k, but you “only” pay 10% of that.   Cool.  You’re only on the hook for $4K (plus the deposit you paid earlier).   But then other bills start to come.   The sales team at the dealership has a separate bill.  It seems that you pay their salary, not the car lot.   So you owe the sales team 20% of $2K.   Then the folks who make the tires send you four bills.   Not only are tires not included in the cost of the car, but for insurance reasons they must bill you for each of the tires seperately.  Same goes for the doors, the engine, the radio.  Separate bills–all of them high.   But since the total is still under that first $200,000 estimate you feel lucky.

And on and on.    Of course you must keep in mind also that you were never able to get the full cost of the car upfront, so you were never able to shop for a better car.   You never saw the car in advance–you just had to take the sales team’s word that it would meet your needs–so you couldn’t really pick a car that would have been better for you.    Since the car is billed to you in pieces you never know for sure when the bills will stop coming.

That’s how health care works now.   For my last surgery I’ve now received six bills from 5 entities.    Prior to the surgery I did ask how much it would cost.  I didn’t know the answer I got was for the HOSPITAL only.   I still had to pay the doctor, the anesthesiologist (twice; once for pre-and post- op, once for the actual surgery), the radiologist who read the x-rays and the pathologist who analysed the tissue.

Clearly the free market is not at work in the health care system.   We need a sea change in medical billing practices.   You shouldn’t need an associates degree to understand the billing for health services.    The free market, with a true end-price for the consumer would force regulation of costs through competition.  If you knew upfront that HCA charges $2,200 for your procedure and Baptist charges $1,950 you’d figure out if HCA had extras that you preferred and go with the place that suits you.   Because I don’t think it’s only the HIGH cost of health care that bothers all of us, but the feeling of helplessness at the confusing tangle of bills.

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Wes Comer has two separate posts along the same theme. The general idea is that Fred Thompson (like Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer) is a sort of he-man kickarse action figure.

Am I bad for wanting our next president to do simple, ordinary things?

Let’s balance the budget. Let’s get realistic about the true cost-to-benefits analysis on the War on Drugs. Let’s keep our nation from harm by having a strong defence. (For the record a “defence” is what you have in case you are attacked. “Preventative defence” is aggression.) Let’s reform our immigration policy to make it more humane while at the same time making the protection of our borders a reality instead of a long-standing inside joke. Let’s reform the national Ponzi scheme we call ‘social security’.

Maybe its time that various campaign teams stop trying to sell us on the toughness of their candidate and start finding men who actually want to do the job we need to have done.

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Do I have a tag for “complete nerd-out”?  No, I don’t think so.   Regardless, this is it.  I’m gonna slice up the lyrics to the Bob Dylan song*** and analyse them against the Battlestar Galactica story.   Why?  Because it’s Monday.  That’s why.

There must be some way out of here

It’s the search for Earth and the hope that Earth implies.  The “here” is most probably the constant and tiring vacuum of space.

said the Joker to the Thief

I believe that The Joker is the human faction, and The Thief is the Cylon faction.   I’m still betting on the fact that The 4/5ths are not Cylons per se, but a unification force.

There’s too much confusion

Isn’t everyone confused?  The last two seasons have built a muddle where bad and good meld into a mess.

I can’t get no relief

Well, clearly that’s obvious.  Both fleets are on an exhausting space journey that seems to have no end.

Businessmen, they drink my wine

Wine is a universal symbol for the spirit of life–ask anyone who’s taken communion.   This line talks about how the day-to-day struggle saps the spirit of the humans.   (After all, it is the Human Faction who is speaking here, in the guise of The Joker.)

plowmen dig my earth

Again the Joker (Human faction) is complaining about the feeling of rape at the hands of everyman.   Earlier in the episode Lee Adama said the Humans had become a gang.   This is more expression of that.

None of them along the line know what any of it is worth

Clearly the rag-tag fleet of humans is still mired in the pettiness of everyday life and are not entirely grasping the larger concepts of life and freedom.   That was obvious in the trial and at the way the gallery was so easily led.

“No reason to get excited” the Thief, he kindly spoke

Now we’re to the Cylon portion of the song, assuming that The Thief is the Cylon faction–which I believe he is.  The Cylons have already been shown to be the monotheistic and more faith-based culture of the two.   This line is typical of the Cylons trying to impart their god on the humans.  (Think Leoben and Six)

“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke”

Look! Brother Cavill has his own line of the song!  Of course this could apply to many in the human fleet as well.

But you and I, we’ve been through that and this is not our fate

Once again, the song can be taken to prove out my theory of the 4/5ths being unifiers.   They’ve been through the vacillations of the joke of life and are pursuing a higher truth.

So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late

The two factions have been chasing around the vastness of space for awhile.   The time has come to get serious about going to Earth.   The hour IS getting late as they run out of fuel, patience and the dream of civilisation.

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view while all the women came and went, barefoot servants too.

There are some (princes) on earth who are waiting for the approaching fleets.  The women and servants are the generations who have lived and died during the 13th colony’s vigil.

Outside in the distance, a wildcat did growl

The war between the Cylons and humans that set this whole thing in motion.

Two riders were approaching

The Humans and Cylons are at last approaching earth

The wind began to howl

Winds of change are blowing, man.   The answer is blowing in that wind.

——

So there you have it.

***I’m so tired of reading various blogs and articles that call AATW a Hendrix song, a U2 Song, a Dave Matthews song.   There was even one joker who referred to it as a Dave Matthews cover of a Hendrix song.    AAACK!!!!

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I’ve noticed that the move to WordPress has altered my blogging life somewhat. It’s not an irreversable cramp to my style, but I realised today that it does change my blogreading in subtle and sometimes-annoying ways.

Reading Other Blogs

At least three times during the week (usually Monday, Wednesday & Friday) I’ll click through to every link on my blog. If you’re in the blogroll, I’ll hit you AT LEAST three times a week. That process of clicking through and reading can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and forty-five minutes. It varies with the number of updated posts and the number of comments I make.

I leave my browser up during the day while I do other things. It’s a bad habit, but if you have someone looking at your blog for 1hr and a half, it’s probably me forgetting to shut down the ‘net. Or someone else reading your entire blog for stalking purposes.

I go through periods where I’ll check the aggregator at NiT every fifteen minutes or so (depending on how slow a day it is around here) to see if anyone has updated. When the aggregator doesn’t work, I get out of that habit.

Commenting On Other Blogs

I try to comment as often as possible on the blogs that I read. It makes me feel as though I’m getting to know the other person by having a sort of conversation with their ideas. BUT nothing turns me off commenting faster than when someone makes a political comment on an apolitical post. Because that seems boorish [to me] and it turns me off the conversation. You know what I mean. It’s like when someone will write a post about how much they love Campbell’s Soup and then a commenter comes on and says “Yeah, I hope you enjoy choking down your broth of death, because the owner of the Campbell’s Soup company is having carnal knowledge of Rush Limbaugh RIGHT NOW.” That kind of stuff deters me from leaving lame little “my favourite flavour is tomato” comments.

It also bums me severely when I miss a post. That happened to me last week with Shauna’s blog and her anniversary post. I totally missed that one. I think I also missed Amy’s birthday.

The thing about WordPress that is making me lazy and contributing to my missing of posts is that they have this new (to me) blogsurfing feature where you see all other posts made on WordPress blogs in X amount of time. So I’ll catch myself reading that instead of clicking the blogroll or checking the aggregator. Not good. Although I’m really up to speed on all the other WordPress blogs. Woot.

Anyway, that’s a little meta-posting for Monday Morning. It may seem dull, but I assure you it is nowhere near as dull as the series finale of Rome last night. That was so excruciating. Silly me I was hoping for wars, but all we got was lechery.

Bah. And the Caeserion cop-out was just horrible.

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Battlestar Galactica Spoilers Abound Throughout

Well, that was something. Who woulda thunk that the big trigger for the Final 4/5ths would be a Bob Dylan cover? And of all the Dylan songs out there, why this one? Wouldn’t Maggie’s Farm have been a better choice?

Alas, no, I kid. The husband and I did immediately start quoting the song lyrics to each other the minute the characters started speaking them line by line. Honestly, you can’t hear someone say “There must be some way out of here” without automatically thinking “…said the joker to the thief”.

This, coupled with the reappearance of Starbuck that I sort of predicted a few weeks ago makes me think that there’s something hinky with the timeline of the BSG universe, and that intrigues me.

There are a lot of snatches of music you could use as an oblique plot point. Think Close Encounters and those specific five tones, and you’ll know what I mean. But using All Along The Watchtower clearly grounds the entire Battlestar Galactica Universe in a specific time and culture. The writers are trying to tell us something, to be sure.

There are several possibilities. Is the journey of the fleet and their war with the Cylons is actually running parallel to our current time? Did the Cylons find Earth AND a way to manipulate time backwards that allowed them the use of that particular song? These are the questions which most intrigue me right now.

I will say that I don’t think the Final Five Cylons are actually Cylons in the same way that we’ve grown accustomed to. For lack of a better way to explain myself, I’m presuming we’ll see that The Five (four of whom were revealed tonight) are a sort of Meta-Cylon, much like Babylon 5‘s Elder Races. It will be as though the fleet humans and the skinjob generation of Cylon are the two feeder-streams from which the new race will be born.

Of course, as the BSG scriptures say, all of this has happened before and all of it will happen again. I suppose they could always use that as an ‘out’. I’ll be honest, though. When they said “all”, I was pretty sure that didn’t encompass things so esoteric as Bob Dylan. But who’s to say?

Heard the tongues of angels and the tongues of men. Wasn’t any difference to me.

total nerd update
I decided to go ahead and hammer out my lyrics analysis. Who said all these years of literary criticism were wasted? Well, yeah, they are. But it’s at least as fun as cross-stitching.

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