"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stream of consciousness be dammed

I was going to call it 'train of thought derailed' but it wasn't really a train, just a series of things going through my head as I walked Ripley this morning, which came to a screeching halt when I got stuck on not being able to remember the name "Elizabeth Taylor." The process of getting there was so odd, though, that I am compelled to write it down.

It began when I saw someone walking one of those Portuguese water dogs, or a dog that looked a lot like one of those dogs. That made me think of Bo, the Presidential dog. Bo Obama. That naturally led me to start singing "The Name Game" in my head, because obviously it's easier to say "Bobama" than Bo Obama. The Name Game lasted for quite awhile as I ran through everybody's name I could think of, including a few repeat rounds of Ripley Ripley Bo Bipley, Banana Fana Fo Fipley, Me My Mo Mipley, Ripley! Then I began speculating about whether my littler nephews (or even the not-so-little nephews) would find the name game quite entertaining and I imagined demonstrating it for them next time I see them. Then I imagined, for heightened nephew (and self) entertainment value, that it would be good to add a special dance that is danced for any particular person's name. I thought about some potentially very silly dances. Then I imagined telling them it would be "their own interpretive dance."

Then, naturally, the line "If I can't dance my own interpretive dance, I won't dance at all" came to mind, from the film "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" I thought about what a depressing movie that was, with the couple going down into the depths of mental cruelty to each other, and how I probably wouldn't want to ever watch it again. Then it happened: I couldn't remember the name of the lead actress. Despite running through several of her best known films, i.e. International Velvet, Cleopatra, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and so on. The name 'Elizabeth' was coming but the only last name that came up with it was Montgomery, and of course I knew that was definitely wrong -- "Bewitched" was my favorite of all the syndicated re-run shows though I was never able to grasp what Samantha saw in Darren - either of the Darrens. Anyway.

The other name that kept coming up was Joan Collins and I knew that was wrong too. Elizabeth. Elizabeth. Overdressed lady in a wheelchair, friend of Michael Jackson...a thing like this can drive you insane. It went on for at least five minutes. Then, suddenly, I got it. Taylor! HUGE sigh of relief. Stream free to flow again.

I'd better start doing more crossword puzzles, or something. It could be a long next 50 years. I can see myself parked in a hallway, singing the theme song to "Bewitched." Or perhaps playing the name game with everybody who walks by and dancing my own interpretive dance. Worse things could happen.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One more song...

loathsome earworms, karma, etc.

Who knows how or when these things get into our heads, but heading out for a run this morning my internal stereo was plagued by a certain perennial patriotic country/pop song I dare not name, for fear of infecting my readers' heads with it as well. I am happy to report that I was able to get rid of it by substitution with the classic, stirring, patriotic "Wasn't That a Time" - originally by the Weavers but I'm very fond of the PP&M version. No video but you can listen to it here. So - if you ever are suffering from the earworm to which I'm trying not to refer, know that there is a cure.

So I watched the BYU - Florida State game yesterday. It was on the Versus channel, my favorite cable channel EVER (and one of the few I get with basic cable). I have a little bit of ambivalence toward BYU but I really wanted them to win one for the Mountain West. Or at least not be smeared all over the field. Which they were, pretty much. Things might have gone better if they hadn't had such a spirit of generosity with the football. Reflecting on the game while running this morning, though, it occurred to me that the 'Noles are sort of like the Utes of Florida. That makes the crushing loss not seem so bad.

But oh, the glum faces in the stadium. Why did BYU lose so badly?

They were completely outplayed. But apart from that, the question raises a serious and pervasive spiritual fallacy. That suffering or loss is ever something inflicted by God as a punishment for sin (at worst), or as some kind of deliberate 'teaching moment' if you can't see why you / someone else would 'deserve' what happened. Conversely, that everything good and desirable that a person might want or enjoy is assigned as a reward for personal righteousness. Gain or loss is neither a blessing nor a curse, it is a situation arising from the continuous playing out of cause and effect. I'm a heretic (if you hadn't already noticed) but I just don't believe that God is the great Skinner Box operator in the sky, or a micromanager of the universe so as to interfere with the system of cause and effect, as much as we might sometimes wish for interference. But I do believe in the blessing of gratitude and acceptance. That is probably the only thing we ever really need and lack, and it's the only blessing I can think of that isn't a little bit mixed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mary Travers 1936 - 2009

"'It's not your duty to finish the task, it is your duty not to neglect it.' If war and hunger and racism were easy things to get rid of, I would assume we would have gotten rid of them already." - Mary Travers, 1993

Monday, September 07, 2009


Having just a little trouble coming back mentally from happy-birthday-holiday-weekend-land so it's a good time to express gratefulness to my parents for providing me with 1) a birthday, 2) a world-class location in which to have celebrated it sharing the weekend with good friends, and 3) a brand new car!

Just kidding about #3. Ha ha.

I did get a parent-sponsored new fridge for my birthday though, which I very greatly appreciate, as I learned awhile back that fridges are more essential than cars. I already have a vehicle that runs perfectly well but my old fridge was circa 1990--doesn't seem like it should be that long ago, but it is, considering other events that took place that year. The gentlemen that came to pry it out and haul it down the stairs commented that it seemed the kitchen, and perhaps the entire building, had been constructed around it.

You can always decide to bike, walk, bus, or stay home, but there is really no alternative means of keeping ice cream frozen.

Speaking of my truck, my friends washed it for me as a surprise birthday treat (I'm going with that over the 'in pity and disgust' option). Thanks!

Also, Heather cooked the best veggie enchiladas ever and made sure there was cake and reminders every quarter hour on Sunday that it was my birthday. At my age one begins to need prompts, or so she said. Thanks!