Monday, December 25, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different

Good morning. Today's reading is from Matthew 6.

1: "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2: "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
3: But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4: so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5: "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6: But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

I just like to be reminded once in awhile that that's in there. Some people, it seems, who should know better, forget.

Peace be with you.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's All About Meme

The wise and well-traveled Generik of the Generik Blog has tagged me with a book meme. Thanks pal. The rules of this meme, or so he claims, are:

* Find the nearest book
* Name the book
* The author
* Turn to page 123
* Go to the fifth sentence on the page
* Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
* Tag three more folks.

When I first realized I'd been tagged I was in my office at work, where I have only three actual bound books; Elkouri and Elkouri's "How Arbitration Works," Fairweather's "Practice and Procedure in Labor Arbitration," and a Merriam Webster Office Dictionary. All valuable books, but none designed in a way that accomodates this exercise. I didn't think this would work, but thought I'd give it a try anyway. No dice. By the time you reach the fifth sentence of page 123 in Both Elkouri and Fairweather you're either on page 124 or into the footnotes. As for the dictionary, well, it's a dictionary. Need I say more?

So now I'm home, and though my first impulse was to grab the book on my nightstand, "Shalimar the Clown," by Salman Rushdie, the book nearest the computer is actually "Sweet Relief, The Marla Ruzicka Story," by Jennifer Abrahamson, which sat on a kitchen chair waiting to be wrapped for Christmas. The sixth through eighth sentences on page 123 are:
Marla, Bay, and NPR corespondent Ivan Watson were decked out in 1970s formal wear they'd fished out of a Kabul thrift store. Marla teetered on Black foan sandals in a slinky minidress that shimmered.
A couple of hours after the Prom's kickoff, Marla dragged herself off the dance floor and circulated with a wool Afghan hat she used for collecting donations.
I've previously written about Marla and I've been thinking about her the last couple of days because Debbie Schlussel has again seeped up out of the fetid swamp she dwells in to pollute our public discourse. I first became acquainted with this Schlussel creature when, on the occasion of Marla Ruzicka's death, Schlussel chose to pen an article that revealed just how soulless and inhuman somebody inhabiting a nearly-human-appearing body can be. I won't link to it here because it truly was the most vile ejaculation to appear on the internet. Her current effort, though no less mean-spirited and morally corrupt, is somehow less soul-sapping. Her point, such as it is, is that because Barack Obama is descended from Muslims we cannot assume that his loyalties don't lie with Islamist extremists and we cannot therefore trust him in a position of leadership in this country. That is an accurate expression of her "thoughts," though she presented them far less coherently. I just want to point out that, whatever religion his familial predecessors adhered to, he is quite famously Christian. While Schlussel's point was both racist and inane, Paperwight finds chilling antecedents for it.

Meanwhile, back to the meme. Who shall I tag as a Christmas present? Well, because she's got the blog name I wish I'd thought of, I've got to hit Mags, of You Forgot Poland. Because he clearly needs some motivation to post I'm tagging Scaramouche. And for the same reason, as well as because we miss him, John, of blogenlust.

Update: I'm a little slow on this, for which I profusely apologize, but two of my three taggees have their response up (John is the slacker here, too busy as he is reveling in the glories of a Packers' 8-8 season). Well done, Mags and Scaramouche!

Don't Mess With Perfection

I got an email this morning from the good (?) people at telling me the site wasn't dead (news to me) and that it's time to submit your entries for celebrities you think will die in 2007.

With the news that the site isn't dead I thought I'd look around a bit. I don't really see many signs that the site isn't moribund. The give away is The Viewer Hate List, which hasn't been updated since July. 2005. The name at the top of the list was my contribution. Apparently they agreed with the sentiment I expressed and just thought to leave well enough alone.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Eye Level

There's a blog, Eye Level, that I've been meaning to write about and link to for about a year, but somehow the perfect moment just never came up. It's a blog about art, you see. Hence the scarcity of perfect linking moments. The cool thing about the blog, though, is that it talks about art in ways that aren't dry or sterile. Art sounds interesting and vital, as if it's something that should be part of our lives. As, you know, it should.

Anyway, a few days ago there was an entry about a painting that showed up on a wall in an episode of Desperate Housewives and a discussion of why that painting might be relevant to what was going on in that episode. The kind of thing that can illustrate the depth and relevance of art. So check it out.

A Bitter Crop, Indeed

A couple of years ago, shortly before the 2004 election, I sold my pick up truck to a man who I was able to determine, after brief exposure, was clearly a Bush supporter. When he commented on the "Bush/Pinochet 2004" bumper sticker on the truck by saying he liked it, I was at first surprised, then concluded that maybe he just didn't know who Pinochet was. In my cloistered world I just assumed that anybody in this country familiar with Pinochet must consider him a monster. As is sadly so often the case, I've apparently once again misunderestimated just how morally depraved some segments of our society are, and even more greatly missed just how broadly that depravity stretches.

It's important to remember, as we struggle to extricate ourselves from Iraq and select our next President that this is the moral compass that guides the most important newspaper in our nation's capital. Any guidance offered by these people must be weighed against that knowledge.

Friday, December 01, 2006

All Your Sanity and Wits, They Will all Vanish

Gogol Bordello, opening for Primus, is in the Bay Area this weekend, appearing in Oakland on Saturday, Sacramento on Sunday, and San Jose on Tuesday. Unfortunately, they are in league with the forces of darkness, whom I've already enriched more than my conscience can bear, so I'll not be seeing them.

I'll just have to be content with the video.

Chickenhawks, Sharpen Your Beaks

From the AP article announcing that Silvestre Reyes will be the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee
:"Known as "Silver" to friends, Reyes is a Purple Heart winner who was drafted into the Army and served during 1966-68 as a helicopter crew chief and gunner. His service included 13 months in Vietnam."
Let the swiftboating begin.
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