‘Tis the Season

I have a warm spot in my heart for the Political Conventions; for either party. They both hold special meaning for me because of my father. Politics is something he’s always been interested in and he’s shared that interest with me since I was a boy. I remember watching the conventions as he would explain the whole thing to me. It all seemed so mysterious then. Of course, it actually was a bit mysterious back then as opposed to now where there is no drama to speak of.

I also remember playing a board game with him called “Landslide.” It was a regular game where the object was to collect enough electoral votes to become President. This further educated me in the ways of America’s Politics.

During this political season, he and I often will sit for hours discussing and debating the candidates; what they should do or say, what they should emphasize or minimize about themselves. “If it were me, I’d blah, blah, blah.” Followed by, “Oh, no, are you crazy? He should blah, blah, blah.”

Two observations about this season: I finally got him to converse normally with me about these things. For instance, he now uses the term “we” when talking about the Democrats. He knows I’m going to vote Republican no matter what, and for the longest time he danced around and avoided saying it like that, and all the while bashing the President and accusing me of being a religious fanatic. I’ve been working on him for years now to get him to admit that he also has strongly held beliefs. Many people fall into this category: They think they’re open minded but they’re just not. They won’t admit that they too come to the table with a set of beliefs. I find it much more fruitful to have conversations with someone I completely disagree with, but who announces their viewpoint or agenda up front. Someone who claims to be open-minded while accusing you of being judgmental is of course being judgmental. Again, I can handle that as long as they admit that their belief system plays a part in their opinions and politics. So you see, by my Dad using the term “we” finally to describe the Democrats and their convention, I believe I’ve made some headway.

The other observance I have is a complaint though it just me, and I think I need to get over it. And that is that “I get no respect!” I have been, thanks to him, following and reading politics and history for my entire adult life. That gives me about 20 years. He still talks to me like I’m a kid who doesn’t know anything about politics. I’ve made many predictions that have come true, I’ve offered many an insight into complex situations concerning current events; and I get nothin’! So the other night at the baseball game, I told him we were going to predict the outcome of the general election in November, with electoral vote counts and seal them up until after the election. Then we would open them and see who was closer. He just kinda shrugged. I did my prediction anyway. If I’m close, I’ll be reminding him of what I wrote down. He’ll probably remind me if Kerry wins! I predicted Bush will win with 278 electoral votes. That leaves Kerry with 260. We shall see.

This is your big chance

OK, if you haven’t read some of the reviews for Catwoman I’ll just tell you they’re all bad. But, is the movie worse than the title of these reviews? I think we can do better. I’m going to list some of the ones I’ve seen and your job is to come up with a better one.

  • Brush with Catwoman may cause a bad reaction
  • Catwoman far from purr-fect
  • Catwoman: From housecat to Hallecat
  • Catwoman: Purr-fectly dreadful
  • Catwoman makes viewers want to claw their eyes out
  • Catwoman is declawed by director’s style, goofy story
  • Catwoman is a catastrophe
  • This cat lacks bite
  • Film should be fixed
  • Fails to purr
  • Catwoman coughs up a hairball
  • Catwoman: No amount of kitty litter could save this stinker
  • Kitty litter
  • Fur doesn’t fly
  • Ewwww, who spilled the litter box? Catwoman stinks
  • Like claws on a chalkboard
  • Catwoman uses up all of its nine lives in about 35 minutes
  • Catwoman claws its way to bottom of litterbox

All of these are actual titles of actual reviews from the past day or two. OK, now it’s your turn. I’ll get you started:

  • Catwoman film just lays there (Rich)
  • There’s more than one way to skin a Catwoman movie (Jen)
  • Looking like something the Cat dragged in (Jen)
  • Not enough sweet and sour sauce in the world to make Catwoman tasty (Tim)
  • Catwoman doesn’t scratch the surface (Marty’s back. Yeah!)

Random Thoughts

I don’t know…my thoughts are all over the place tonight. We’re not walking tonight because the humidity and temperature are just unbearable. My thoughts are with Marty tonight as she heads into surgery tomorrow morning. We’ll keep praying for you, Marty.

When I last wrote, I talked about my Spider-man Coin and a friend sent me a link to one for sale on Ebay. I did bid on it, but it eventually sold for over $50.00, and I’m not quite ready to spend that much. Maybe later.

If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, well… just re-read the last couple of month’s blog entries and you pretty much got it. The coffee houses are over for the season. We’ll do something in December for Christmas, but other than that, we won’t do another until January. In August we go to Pensacola, in September it’s Bellerive Day, October the Church Bazaar and November it’s Thanksgiving.

This will be our fourth year in a row that we’ve vacationed in Pensacola, Florida. We’ve been several times before that through the years just not one after the other. This regularity really just stems from me having a “regular” job. I really look forward to it. This year Emily will be 17 (her birthday is this Saturday) and we’re taking along her good friend. I know they’ll have a blast cruising the strip at Pensacola Beach.

Well, if can convince myself that I don’t lead the most boring life imaginable, I’ll try to start writing again.

With great power comes great responsibility

When I was twelve or so years of age, my best friend Chris Stift and I sent away for two solid bronze Spider-man coins. They were a bit bigger that a Kennedy dollar and each coin had a serial number etched in the side. The front of the coin showed Spider-man hanging from a wall and the back had just his face, but split in two; one side Spider-man, the other side Peter Parker. Above that was the inscription, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

I carried that coin with me in my pocket wherever I went. I managed to keep it with me for over twenty years before I lost it. People would always say, “You should put that away before you lose it.” But I loved having it. I’d had it in my pocket since I was a boy. Do I now wish that I’d put it away? No, I just wish I had it back in my pocket.

One day I was showing it to a grade school teacher of mine, and upon reading the back, he snorted, “Someone should have told that to Nixon.”

I responded, “Whatever.” He shouldn’t debase Uncle Ben’s words of wisdom with profane politics.

Now though, well…we really do give our President a lot of power. And it is an awesome responsibility. I don’t think any of us can really conceive of that kind of responsibility and power. The power, of course, comes from the Office, not from the man.

I have some bad news for you: Spider-man is not on the ballot this time, nor is Uncle Ben.

We, the Electorate, hold the actual power. With less than 50% voter-turnout, I’d say that most people don’t understand this power. This year, ask a young person if they’re registered to vote. If they’re not, keep bugging them until they do. Talk to them; argue with them, whatever it takes. (I find ridiculing them can work.)

Just tell them that Uncle Ben would want them to, and Aunt May will be very disappointed if they don’t.

In answer to Jennifer’s question about the 1812 Overture from her blog the other day, read this.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Is that so much to ask? Yes, as it turns out, it is a lot to ask for. Why? Because all people were, are and will forever be sinful. Before I came to see the world through the Christian lens, I did not like this concept. It’s not that I “like it” now of course, it’s just that I see it as a hypothesis that explains the whole of human history better than any other. People are bad. Some people are real bad and some people are hardly bad at all. But, all of us have the potential to be real bad. Given the right or extreme circumstances, we all are capable of terrible things. Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein were human beings just like you and me. People that rape young girls and boys differ from us in no fundamental way. Are the “sick?” Sure they are. But we’re all sick.

But I digress. I’m taking the occasion of the holiday to write briefly on freedom. I’ve made comments here and there on the subject, but I want to take the time tonight to say it one more time. We define freedom with that great phrase we all know so well: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That’s the definition I’m sticking with for now. Life; don’t kill me or try to kill me. That’s simple enough right? Liberty; don’t stop me or try to stop me when I want to do something. Pursuit of Happiness; I should have the security to pursue any endeavors that I’d like without someone stopping me or trying to stop me.

Now if our world were filled with mature and reasonable people, these three things would be good enough to run our Libertarian society. But, alas, our world is not filled with these kinds of people so we have (in our country anyway) a set of laws designed to make fair the problems and disagreements that will naturally occur. This set of laws can never stop bad people from doing bad things, it seeks only to fairly punish the bad guys and protect the good guys.

So, although I do believe that Freedom is endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, I also believe that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. One of the chief responsibilities of a Government is to secure this Freedom.

This security is not cheap. Every soldier who has ever sacrificed his or her life in this cause hope that their sacrifice will be “worth it.” What do they mean by this? To bring Freedom to many others, it would be worth it. And if any of us thought that our own sacrifice would bring a lasting Freedom to many others, we would do the same. Let the dying soldier’s prayer of “let me be the last one to die forever,” be heard throughout the land and across the whole world. “Make my sacrifice be enough.”