Month: January 2010

The lies we tell, part 2


A better title for this post might actually be, “The lies we don’t tell.” Not long ago I wrote a bit about how I’m going to handle my bright, lovely, and inquisitive daughters and the questions they’re almost certainly going to ask one day about difficult topics. The original post is here, if you’d like to check it out.

The gent that commented, bless him, said basically this: be honest; appropriate to the point of their maturity and emotional ability. Good advice, right? It was this kind of thinking, coupled with the Graham essay I quoted in the post, that caused me to blink, shake my head a bit, then re-read a post titled, “Talking to children about evil.”

It’s by a wonderful and witty writer named Delia Lloyd; a journalist who currently lives in London and writes about adulthood, politics, family, and a host of other topics definitely worth reading. Check her out.

You can find the post I’m talking about here, but the first paragraph reads thus:

My daughter came home from school yesterday and told me that her best friend had a “hate list.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“It’s a list of all the people in the world that she hates.”
“Don’t make one yourself,” I said quickly. “That’s not nice.”
“Yeah, but I only have one person on it,” she responded.
“I don’t care. You’ll hurt someone’s feelings.”
She looked up at me, wide-eyed. “But it’s Hitler.”

“But it’s Hitler.” What the hell do you say to that?

I won’t spoil her post, but I’m left with another point of view that’s both valid and worth consideration. It doesn’t conflict with Tim’s comment, necessarily, but it might provide a different definition of what’s “appropriate.”

What do you think? 

Image by John-Morgan

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A query about pigskin. Kind of.

First, I should say that my father traveled all the way from PA and stayed with us this weekend. For reasons passing understanding he drove, but that’s a different conversation. It was actually a pretty nice visit. His trips typically include at least a few moments when we’ve rubbed each other the wrong way and temperatures rise. Blame it on genetics. Not so this weekend. Things went smoothly and we hung out, played with the kiddos, and enjoyed each other’s company.

So that didn’t suck.

While he was here I had the opportunity to do something I don’t often get – watch a little football with a guy. Don’t get me wrong, Sarah enjoys football just fine and she’s always down for kicking back and watching a game, but watching it with a another guy is, well, different. It was nice.

So my question: since Minnesota’s absolutely ridiculous loss to the Saints I keep thinking about Brett Favre, his last play of the season (as well as the look on his wife’s face one of the multiple times he was pounded into the ground) and continue to draw a blank.

So let me ask you: Does he come back next year?

Just Plain Folk

I’m probably tilting at windmills here but I’ve got to be straight – the thinking that aww, shucks, I’m just a normal, every-day-guy is exactly the kind of quality we need in Washington, or our local governments for that matter, drives me absolutely. fucking. crazy.

Take a recent interview with Ted Nugent (see the entire clip here) where Fox host David Asman says the following:

“Well Ted, you have common sense, which probably 98 percent of the people inside the Beltway don’t have. And common sense means much more to living a good life than any kind of degree from an Ivy League university. These government officials, just because they have an Ivy League education doesn’t mean they know more than we do.”

Take away for a moment that, well, it kind of does, and instead consider this: when did having an education become a negative? That former President Bush projected the everyman persona any time he was in front of a camera boggles my mind. That the country elected him twice while he did so makes me want slam my head into a wall. Twice. The right’s continued love of former Governor Palin (due in large part to the same kind of personality) does the same.  

Sure, we elect politicians. But it’s important to note that we call them by another name, too – leaders. And don’t we want our leaders to have a first-rate mind? One that’s informed and analytical and capable of attacking the problems our country faces – problems that are incredibly complex, nuanced, and in dire need of all the brain-power we can put behind them, by the bye – with a little more intellectual might than Joe the Plumber?  

Thoughts?

Thanks to Eileen Smith at In the Pink for the original post.

A word or two about distance

I’m reading a book called A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson. I’m not too far into it yet, but so far I’m struck by a couple of things. First, he’s got a nice, easy-going style that manages to take complex thoughts, break them down into digestible pieces, and does so in a voice that’s both engaging and funny. I dig it.

The second thing is this: there’s a veritable ass-ton of things I don’t know.

Take the following excerpt from the chapter describing our Solar System:

Now the other thing you will notice as we speed past Pluto is that we are speeding past Pluto. If you check your itenerary, you will see that this is a trip to the edge of our solar system, and I’m afraid we’re not there yet. Pluto may be the last object marked on schoolroom charts, but the system doesn’t end there. In fact, it isn’t even close to ending there. We won’t get to the solar system’s edge until we have passed through the Oort cloud, a vast celestial realm of drifting comets, and we won’t reach the Oort cloud for another – I’m so sorry about this – ten thousand years. Far from marking the outer edge of the solar system, as those schoolroom maps so cavalierly imply, Pluto is barely one-fifty-thousandth of the way.

Balls.

More to come.

Bonsai

This image found its way into my inbox under the title of, “a little something to inspire you.” I’ve been thinking about it off and on for the last couple of days and I keep coming back to a phrase I picked up in Japan years ago: Mono no aware. Loosely translated, it means ‘the sadness of the transience of things.’

In other words, things don’t last. 

The brief moments when all is still, music plays softly in the background, and you and your wife cuddle and chat on the couch. Or the bright, sweet smile of your new baby (you know, before they learn the word “no”). Or the taste of a perfectly prepared filet. Or a night out with friends that’s both easy and wonderful. Or whatever. The phrase above tells us that those lovely moments, even when they’re measured in days or weeks or years, will, at some point, trail behind you in the rearview.

Compare that with a conversation I had on Twitter recently that ended with my friend writing, “this too shall pass.” She was having a bad day where everything seemed to go just about as wrong as it could and the only thing she wanted to do was close the book on the day, go to bed, and start over the next morning.

But you have to wonder – how much energy and time and engagement are wasted or lost as we look ahead or behind instead of paying attention to the now? Note to self: kiss your wife, play with your kids, and don’t waste today. It’s not coming back.

image by zest-pk