"You've got to go out on a limb sometimes because that's where the fruit is." -- Will Rogers (b. 1879-11-04, d. 1935-08-15)
"If young people are looking for congregations that authentically practice the teachings of Jesus in an open and inclusive way, then the good news is the church already knows how to do that. The trick isn't to make church cool; it's to keep worship weird.
"You can get a cup of coffee with your friends anywhere, but church is the only place you can get ashes smudged on your forehead as a reminder of your mortality. You can be dazzled by a light show at a concert on any given weekend, but church is the only place that fills a sanctuary with candlelight and hymns on Christmas Eve. You can snag all sorts of free swag for brand loyalty online, but church is the only place where you are named a beloved child of God with a cold plunge into the water. You can share food with the hungry at any homeless shelter, but only the church teaches that a shared meal brings us into the very presence of God."
-- Rachel Held Evans, "Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church 'cool.'", 2015-04-30
(1) The garage says they can't reproduce the problem with my van that freaked me out a week ago when I thought it was stranding me and happened again in the driveway the day I dropped it off. I'm not sure what comes next (they talked to Mom).
(2) I'm looking for a ride to the cardiologist tomorrow (14:45, not sure how long I'll be there -- echo, doppler, & consult) ... The office (Bowie) is two miles away, so if I'm having a really good day I guess I could walk, but the reason I'm going is because I haven't been having any really good days lately. (I find myself wishing for a bicycle. Or my van back.)
(3) I have about a half dozen things I really need or want to get done today, and my body is saying, "nope, done." *grumble* Maybe the "nap now and o things after a recharge" trick will work ... for a change?
(4) There's enough uncertainty today that adding any details at all to my Balticon plans (I hope to show up one afternoon and ghost the lobby just to say hello to folks I don't see enough) feels premature despite how soon that is. Too many unknowns.
(5) *grumble* *yawn* *grumble*
Anna Maria Tremonti: "What do you think of the way the media has ... You're putting what's gone on in Baltimore in a wider context, and you're making some very strong links to other ills in America. What do you think of the way the media Has covered these issues?"
Chris Hedges: "They haven't covered it. They only cover it when it erupts. So the poor in the United States are invisible. [...] They have been rendered invisible; news, especially on the commercial networks, is judged solely for its entertainment value and its ability to attract advertising dollars; under Clinton we deregulated the FCC, so the airwaves have been consolidated in the hands of about six corporations [...] and it's all about catering to corporate interests in order to extract corporate money and promote a corporate agenda. And that has meant that the vast majority of the media in the United States has utterly walked away from what should be their role, which is giving a voice to people in the society who, without their presence, would not have a voice (and you just did that on the CBC)."
There are a bunch of other interesting points in the interview. If you've got twenty five minutes, give it a listen. (Do any of y'all have the patience to transcribe the bit about effects of unfettered capitalism and our history of violence, from 11:55 to 13:11, maybe all the way to 14:00?)
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-04-27:
"It felt important spiritually to go to weddings: to give balance to the wakes and memorial services. People shouldn't have been set in motion on this planet only to grieve losses. And without weddings there were only funerals. I had seen a soccer mom become a rhododendron with a plaque, next to the soccer field parking lot, as if it had been watching all those matches that had killed her. I had seen a brilliant young student become a creative writing contest, as if it were all that writing that had been the thing to do him in. And I had seen a public defender become a justice fund, as if one paid for fairness with one's very life. I had seen a dozen people become hunks of rock with their names engraved so shockingly perfectly upon the surface it looked as if they had indeed turned to stone, been given a new life the way the moon is given it, through some lighting tricks and a face-like font. I had turned a hundred Rolodex cards around to their blank sides. So let a babysitter become a bride again. Let her marry over and over. So much urgent and lifelike love went rumbling around underground and died there, never got expressed at all, so let some errant inconvenient attraction have its way. There was so little time." -- Lorrie Moore, in the short story Thank You for Having Me.
(submitted to the mailing list by Terry Labach)
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-05-24:
"An absence isn't a weakness if you make it someone else's problem." -- David Merrill, writing about Anthony Robles, 2011 NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion, who has only one leg.
(submitted to the mailing list by Prem Pahlajrai)
[Neither of these quotations really quite fit my father, but I picked them for today because they each made me think of him. After sixteen years, I still miss Dad.]
"Traveling -- it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." -- Ibn Battuta (b. 1304-02-25, d. 1369) (I don't know whom to credit for the translation; Wikipedia notes a few English translators, and Amazon shows at least one more)
[Wishing a good holiday to everyone celebrating Isra and Mi'raj (Lailat al Mi'raj) tonight and tomorrow!]
"We all have idols. Play like anyone you care about but try to be yourself while you're doing so." -- blues legend B.B. King (b. 1925-09-16, d. 2015-05-14)
"Hail the day that sees Him rise,
Ravished from our wistful eyes!
Christ, awhile to mortals given,
Re-ascends His native heaven."
-- Charles Wesley (b. 1707-12-18, d. 1788-03-29)
[Ascension Day is today in the Western calendar; Orthodox churches will celebrate it on the 21st.]
From Giant's Star by James P. Hogan (1981 Del Rey, New York):
"I spent three months in the Pacific conducting equipment trials aboard a nuclear carrier many years ago," Sobroskin remarked.
"It seemed that it was impossible to get from anywhere to anywhere without interminable corridors. I never did find out what lay in between half those places. This base reminds me of it."
"I'd say the New York subway," Heller replied.
"Ah, but the difference is that these walls get washed more regularly. One of the problems with capitalism is that only the things that pay get done. So it wears a clean suit which conceals dirty undershorts."
[emphasis added to make it easier to spot the bit I really wanted to quote versus the part I included for context]
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2015-04-04:
"Perhaps more than any other people, Americans have been locked in a deadly struggle with time, with history. We've fled the past and trained ourselves to suppress, if not forget, troublesome details of the national memory, and a great part of our optimism, like our progress, has been bought at the cost of ignoring the processes through which we've arrived at any given moment in our national existence." -- Ralph Ellison, 1964
(submitted to the mailing lisy by Mike Krawchuk)
"In order to wipe out systemic forms of oppression, majorities need to stop taking criticism personally. We as people need to acknowledge that everyone fucks up, and everyone holds biases and oppressive behaviors of their own. The only way to fix things is to acknowledge that we are imperfect, and work at doing better." -- Rebecca Hiles (The Frisky Fairy), 2015-05-04
[There are other important notes supporting this point, in this not-particularly-long essay. Go read.]
"Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light." -- Gregory, in The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (2004, Candlewick Press)
[Gut yontiff to everyone celebrating Lag BaOmer tonight/tomorrow!]