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Archive for September, 2009

I just knew that I’d miss some lame and trumped up controversy when I went on vacation, and I wasn’t disappointed. I opened my Facebook in the middle of last week to see many of my right-leaning friends in high lather about the President speaking to their schoolchildren.

You’d have thought someone invited Fidel Castro to come and share tips on how to overthrow democracy.

Now, granted if I were a parent I’d want to have some say in what my children were taught. That’s probably why I’d either send them to a private school or–if worse came to worse–join a homeschool consortium. But if I were relying on the government and other people to pay for my children’s education, I would just accept the fact that he who pays the piper calls the tune. And since the government is the piper-payer….you see where I’m going with this, right? You see yet again why I’m a libertarian.

As a libertarian I’ve seen kids forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school (and church!) for years. As I’ve said before, I feel it is a grave miscalculation to require recitation of the Pledge without first teaching its meaning and significance. A vow to support something with your life shouldn’t be something done as a sing-songy poem in a room of children who can’t even read. Yet for decades we’ve been pleased as punch with this form of government indoctrination. So why now are so many of my fellow Americans in a near riot?

Because we’ve decided that the President is no longer a public servant. After eight years of insisting that the President was Commander-In-Chief and qualified by that rank to make decisions over the armed forces; after eight years of insisting that the President was deserving of respect no matter what your party affiliation or ideological leanings. I guess with the show on the other stage many of us have decided to give lie to our previously-stated beliefs by becoming the very thing we hated for years. We have become people who characterise the President of the United States as a villain. We are telling our children that the President doesn’t deserve respect or decent treatment. There are many words for this, chief among them being “childish”, which I suppose is appropriate in this particular instance.

My parents saw their children exposed to a lot of things they didn’t believe in. You know how they handled it? They asked us what we thought of it and explained the other ways to look at the same issue. It taught us critical thinking, discernment, logic and tolerance. I wish other people had learned the same lesson.

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I get so tired of people saying “If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter” because it’s kind of like ‘so how many rooms of navel-gazing do I have to traipse through with you to find out basic information?” but I realised on this last vacation that Facebook and Twitter DO lend themselves more easily to the dashed-off thought you have while going about the rest of life. They’re kind of like subtitles for your reality.

So if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (ha) you’ll be aware that on Friday my father was sent to the hospital with heart irregularities. So I’ve been bouncing back and forth between concerned and turning-it-over-to-The-Lord. My atheist friends are free to cast aspersions, but I have to say that having an “imaginary” friend who is in control of all things is pretty handy when the rest of your planet is sliding off axis. Besides which I have yet to meet an atheist who doesn’t drink. So take that for what you will.

At any rate, the doctors are doing their things, the nurses are doing their things and we have no news yet other than the growing inevitability of a pacemaker. So there’s that out there on the edge of time waiting to happen. And I’m praying that all goes according to God’s will and that I have the strength to meet any eventuality. That’s the best we can hope for as slaves to time.

But for some reason as I was thinking about all of this and what I should say about it on my blog I was going through all the songs that had “heart” in the title so that I could make some halfway decent blog title and then my mind got stuck on Neil Diamond’s “Turn On Your HEART-liiiiight” thing and I can’t get it out of my head. No matter how hard I try. I had Hot August Night II on cassette that I used to listen to in the laundry room at college. Every time it’d get to that song I’d be so mad I’d flip it over. But then “Song of the Whales” was on the reverse side and that was not much better. At least it had no words.

I love Neil Diamond, but honestly some of his songs can make a woman homicidal.

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It’s bad writing–or maybe weak writing–to overuse adverbs and adjectives in a sentence.

Lately I’ve read several books where the opening paragraphs go something like this:

It was a dark, stormy night. The woods were old and piney and filled with giant black flies.

It’s like someone teaches a basic creative writing class where they are told the formula for creative writing=

Noun+verb+adjective/adverb+adjective/adverb+Direct Object.

The last book I read before the excellent Cutting For Stoneopened with 10 sentences having that exact construct.

I don’t relish tearing apart another person’s creative work so rudely, but this has got to stop. Or maybe I should worry about the unfinished, unpublished log in my own eye.

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