Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thurvey 2/24/2011

The Thurvey question is:

If you could teach the world to sing, which song would you choose?

(I think this is a repeat, but I like it, and the world changes quickly)

Or if you are in a more serious mood:

Unions. Love 'em or hate them? Why?

Please comment by clicking on comment below and following the instructions.


Rock and roll . . .

Saturday. Sofa. Coffee

Why are things the way they are?

I don't mean like why the world seems to be in such a mess.

For instance, why do cars look like cars?

We are at the beginning of what many think is a radical revolution in personal transportation, the emergence of the electric automobile. Admittedly a radical change if it continues, the shift of power source from internal combustion of petroleum to electricity. But it still looks like a car. Four tires pushing us along a smooth hard surface while a driver controls the direction with a steering wheel as he or she faces forward, just as the passengers that travel along.

I like my car, even if the right rear window won't stay up sometimes. But is this the only design available for personal transportation?

A caveperson with an aching back dropped a chunk of tree trunk on the way to the fire and kicked it out of frustration. It rolled. "Hmmmm . . .," he thought. Another kick. It rolled a bit farther. He didn't have to bend over and pick it up. This was much easier. It was even easier if the logs were straight and uniform. But not everything could be made straight and uniform. "Hmmm . . ." He lifted a heavy, chunky rock and put it on top of the straight uniform logs. The rock didn't roll, but the logs did, moving the rock right along with them. And we were off to the races. I think the neanderthal went straight to the infield at Talladega. Nobody noticed.

Sure, there were a lot of innovations along the way, like cup holders and eight track players, but the conception of the wheel, the simple machine of elementary school science class, was the genesis of the cars we drive.

Maybe that's the only way it could have happened. But maybe not. We just got on a roll.

Every creation of man has a genesis, whether the creation be mechanical, institutional, philosophical, intellectual, or some other -al that I haven't thought of.

And once we have a genesis, a starting point, we as humans have a tendency to never look back. We look forward, which is not a bad thing. But even our cars have rear view mirrors.

There may be other ways to do things that we left behind, other points of genesis that are excluded by the chosen path. Exits on the developmental interstate that we should have explored.

And that is the general reason that things are the way they are.

And that includes the mess the world seems to be in.

Remember some of those irritating words of Jesus?

It was said . . .but now I tell you.

Love. Love God. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Love yourself. Serve. Turn the other cheek. Give what is needed. Don't store up treasures. Put away the sword. Pick up your cross.

He told us we had to change, to turn around, to find the better way.

Wait till we find a safe exit with clean bathrooms. Meanwhile, set the cruise control and crank up the praise music.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Why I auto . . .

It was a beautiful day Saturday. It was such a great day I grabbed my coffee and got moving. So no sofa. I caught up with that Sunday afternoon.

I decided to get my car washed. Not a very original thought as it turned out. The line into the fancy-shmancy car wash was bumper to bumper. I sat in line for about twenty minutes before I got to the machine that takes your money. Finally the yellow gate went up and I proceeded to the short line waiting to move into the tunnel of sudsy automotive shiny-ness. As I usually do, I checked my windows to make sure they were all the way up. Suddenly the back right window came back down. I hit the button, it went up and came back down. I hit the button, it went up and came back down. The cars ahead were moving toward the now threatening tunnel of doom. I hit the button, it went up and came back down. By now there were only two cars in front of me, and a mile of cars behind me. The carwash attendant came over and said, "you'll need to roll that back window up."

No kidding.

I told him the situation and he looked at me for an answer. I had none, except to hit the button. The window rolled up, and came back down. The crowd behind was getting a bit restless.

The attendant moved several orange cones, I did an eighteen point turn, and left down the wrong way lane. As quickly as I could find a place, I fiddled with the window. I couldn't fix it, but with quick staccato presses I moved the window up incrementally, micron by micron (actually micrometre by micrometre as of 1967), until it was shut. Then it came back down. But I was sure I had the formula now, so I tried again. This time it worked.

So back in line I went. Another twenty minutes later I paid my money, the yellow gate went up and I was on my way in the short line. Now to just check the windows one last time. Crap.
Fortunately I had perfected my method to the point that I could do it quickly and finished just in time to enter the maw of the carwash tunnel.

The great thing about this carwash is that when you finish getting the car washed, you can vacuum all you want for free. Fortunately I had thought ahead. Up until that morning my car had been crammed full of Vacation Bible School materials accumulated over years and years at the church. Surely someone can use this, I thought, so let's not throw it away. Let's put it in my car. Along with the boxes of grape jelly I need to deliver to the Church of the Reconciler. But I removed all that stuff before I went to the carwash.

Man that Prius looks good. Even with the VBS stuff and boxes of jelly stuffed back in it.

Anyway, I don't know why I decided to post this. Except maybe we all felt good about washing our cars this Saturday. Work weeks can be hard, and frustrating, and you wonder if anything ever gets finished.

But a clean car, now that's getting something done.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thurvey 2/17/011

The survey question for this week is:

What makes you want to yell "just stop it?"

(see previous post)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stop It

There is a wonderful video of a Bob Newhart sketch in which he plays a psychologist, not the one on his sit-com, but another one he did on a variety show. In the skit he charges five dollars cash for a session. His client has a seat and begins to divulge her problems. As she continues, he interrupts and yells, "stop it. just stop it." The woman continues, and his only response is "stop it." For a chuckle, you may view the whole thing. I love Bob Newhart. "Stop It"

I find myself wanting to yell the same thing quite often these days.

Take the debate over the budget and deficit reduction. Democrats and Republicans alike offer their budgets with "meaningful" cuts as the solution to the big economic problems. While it is a good thing to cut wasteful spending as a matter of good governance, none of the proposals address the critical problems. Medicaid, social security, and war are the only areas where cutting costs will make a significant dent in the deficit and the debt. I am a fan of medicaid and social security and believe they can be maintained with reasonable adjustments. But no politician seems to have the fortitude to tell the obvious truth to the masses, that some adjustments must be made to those programs. And military spending must be made accountable and be cut dramatically, even in the face of those who would scream that it would be unpatriotic. But our leaders are too afraid to tell us the truth.

I just want to yell "Stop it."

Or Glenn Beck. Just "stop it." He is a complete nut. A lunatic. And for some reason otherwise intelligent caring people watch him every night and believe his latest ravings. At best he is too dumb to get his facts right, at worst he is an opportunistic liar. His conspiratorial theories regarding everything, but lately the revolution in Egypt would be entertaining if they weren't so dangerous. And the rest of the media gives him credibility every night as they recount his antics. And people like me blog about him. Of course, the only reason it is dangerous is because people actually seem to believe he is for real. So to Glenn Beck, and the people who must be hypnotized by him, and to those of us who give him a platform,

"Stop it."

Birthers. Get over it. President Obama is a native born citizen. If you believe otherwise, or even have doubts, I suggest you get therapy for the issues that plague you. There is some reason you don't want him to be a citizen. I'll leave that to you to figure out. And to those Republican leaders who know better and are too weak or too immoral to stand up against those who are fanning the flames of this ridiculous lie for the sake of a few votes, shame on you, and,

"Stop it."

The federal government is bad? Is it so bad when you drive on the interstate system or take for granted air safety or food safety or drug safety? Is it bad when it educates, protects, and adjudicates? The federal government performs functions that would otherwise be left undone, or left in the hands of those who would use it for financial gain or personal power. It protects the rights of the minority against the majority. Perhaps the last two sentences are why some would call it bad. To those I would yell,

"Stop it."

Christians. We claim to follow Jesus. About three billion or so of us, give or take a billion. With his original twelve He changed the world. It seems like with one third of the world's population claiming that we are followers, things should be a lot different. Hunger should be eliminated. Disease should be diminished. And surely war would have already been relegated to the trash heap of history. But we waste our time justifying our lives and looking for certainty. I think I remember Him saying,

"Greater love has no man that he lay down his life for his friends."

I used to think that only meant being willing to die for another. I still think that. But maybe He also meant "life" in the way we use it today. "Greater love hath no man that he lay down his way of life for a friend." That's a bit more threatening. That decision comes up for all of us every day. To take up our cross it requires that we put down those things that we prefer to carry. And we just can't seem to do it.

Let's just "stop it."

I could go on, but this post is getting a bit judgmental.

I better just "stop it."


Monday, February 14, 2011

Swing your partner, do-si-do . . .

I just ate one-half a box of girl scout cookies and a quart of milk. It began as just two cookies, but there is some evil ingredient in the do-si-dos that ensnares me in their peanut buttery crunchiness.

So now I'm feeling badly. My stomach is distended and my guilt is expanded. But why feel guilty? I bought them from girl scouts, for heavens sake. How bad can they be? Is it so wrong to enjoy a bit of life while giving to charity?

Which brings me to the question, what is life all about after all?

I think it is like a game of computer solitaire. For generations and generations new hands are dealt. Some generations do very well, others not so well. But each plays the hand as best they can.

But a generation will come that will do it all. All the cards will fall in place and boom!! the stacks of cards will explode and bounce in a triumphant dance because the game has been won as the combination of player and cards was finally perfect.

What is in those cookies, anyway?


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thurvey 2/10/2011

The Thursday survey questions of the week:

How would you cut federal spending? Be specific.


Black Swan? Great movie or great hype?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I like snow. It makes my yard so beautiful, white and smooth. It covers the leaves and sticks that I never raked. The broken grill that I meant to throw away becomes a cottony sculpture. The stack of flower pots and recyclables that should have been put up or hauled away months ago disappears for the moment. The beautiful snow covers up a lot of things.

There was a time, a couple of long months ago, that we were dreaming of a White Christmas in Dixie. And we got one. Then we got a snowy week to begin the new year. Then we got a surprise ice snow storm to begin February. Then we got a couple or three inches last night.

I'm ready to wake up from that dreaming.

I still like snowfall. But I live in Alabama where it is supposed to be the occasional unexpected holiday, sometimes skipping a couple of years. Something we like to dream about.

And now it seems the national unconsciousness is dreaming of budget cuts.

Cut the Budget!!! Yeah!!!

Better start listing the school closings.

Slogans and mantras do not solve large economic problems. They simply provide a nice, simple covering for complex and sometimes dirty things that lie underneath their shiny surfaces.
Today there is talk of dramatic cuts in government programs. The cuts would do away with the Public Broadcasting System as we know it. NPR, WBHM, and probably Alabama Public TV would not survive in their present form. Public television in Alabama has provided educational programming for generations of Alabamians, supplementing a sometimes wanting education system, actually a pioneer in the nation for such endeavors. And public radio is a last bastion of old school news objectivity. Who's gonna complain about that? Probably a lot of people, but there will be one less place for their voices to be heard.

Legal help for the poor. Gone. Who's gonna complain about that? Certainly not the poor. We know they have no voice.

Environmental Protection Agency. Gone. Who's gonna complain about that? No one except the tree huggers and a couple of owls. And that couple may not be around long to complain the way things are headed.

Policemen. Prisons. Teachers. Courts. Judges. Aid to children. Who's gonna complain?

Just frills. We don't need to be throwing money away on such services.

So yeah!! Cut the Budget!!! Cut the Budget!! Cut the Budget! Cut the Budget. Cut the Budget?

When the snow melts, the ugly things re-appear, uglier than ever.


Thursday, February 3, 2011


After a rather extensive hiatus, the public will prevails, and the Thurvey is back. For those of you unfamiliar with the Thurvey, it is merely a Thursday survey. Rather than another rambling post by me, which this intro is in danger of becoming, I simply ask a question and you post comments in response to the survey question. If you are not blog comment experienced, I would love to be your first. Just click on the little word "comment" below the post and follow the instructions. Be anonymous if you wish. Anonymous Chicken. Just kidding.

The Thurvey question is:

What is the cause, if there is a common one, of the protests and resulting changes/revolutions in many of the governments in Africa and Middle East? What role should the USA take and why?

Alternatively, for those who wish for a more light-hearted question:

Super Bowl. What would be your dream half-time show?

So there it is. Let the people speak.

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