Saturday, January 30, 2010

Days of Regret and other recent poems...

















These are the days of regret
The already here but not yet
When the sun has not even set
And there is work to be done.
These days slip into those days
The gloss of time is kind
Surprised by the peace and acceptance
The place of eternity finds.
---

This morning there was arctic ice
Floating in the sky
Bits and flecks and windblown drifts
Stretched from mile to miles
---

The tiny babe is stuck in his cradle
We won't let him out
Since he is so meek and mild
He's sure not to shout
Let wise men worship
And skeptics doubt
There's no reason to worry
Or be down in the mouth
Just a baby
In a manger.
---

I bought Christmas
I found it on sale
For the economic uplift
Keeping bankers from jail.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn, at 87

Zinn wrote honestly in his autobiography, "I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than 'objectivity'" The "more" that Zinn referenced is a revisionist history that elevated the American people, those on the left that is, over the realities of commonly accepted history. Certainly we can benefit immensely from understanding the power of dissent. It is also interesting to read history written from an alternative point of view. Controversial in its time,  when I reached the University in 2003, "A People's History of the United States" was still appearing in classrooms, not as a primary textbook but as a source worth referencing. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If we could just get our message across...

Ruben Navarette Jr. writes that "what we have here is not a failure to communicate."
I have noticed that a lot of politicians operate under the premise that if the "message" is properly communicated the poor huddled masses will see the light and wisdom of their agenda. On second thought, maybe this is not so much a feature of politicians but academic elites. This type of person possesses a keen sense of their own abilities and the rightness of their opinion coupled with a low regard for the average and less educated American. But ironically, they demonstrate a naive sense of human goodness and moral spirit. Can I be so bold as to suggest that in some ways I am describing "gentry liberalism"?
I have always held the strong suspicion that no matter how much we "communicate" there will be significant disagreements and a general breakdown between idealist notions and the day to day demands of regular people. Surely there is a relationship between this conservative viewpoint and my own Calvinistic convictions of an all pervasive human depravity. A world of good can be done by just talking, by genuine communication. Dialogue can lead to empathy, empathy to understanding, and understanding to compromise. But only sometimes. And if people don't seem to like your message, maybe they just don't like it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Avatar


I enjoyed the blockbuster Avatar immensely tonight. The computer graphics and 3D effects are clearly without parallel and set a new bar. My wife astutely pointed out that the use of 3D is very tasteful, unlike many previous movies. Instead of gimmicky "jump out of your seat" moments that make the 3D obtrusive, the movie was content to let the effects highlight the amazing "natural" scenery of the movie.
Regarding plot, my wife and I agreed that there isn't anything particularly earth shattering about the plot, story, or message. The movie plays on all sorts of trendy spheres of debate including the environment, native relations, the military, and corporate greed. All of this adds up to a tired but effective manipulation of western white guilt. With so many allusions in a number of directions, there is no surprise that practically everyone has something to be concerned or offended about.
As a Christian, I might have taken greater offense at the pantheistic mother earth worship in the movie if it wasn't all set in a glow in the dark fairy land with blue cats (nice tails!) and oily jungle hyenas. Final call- lighten up, it's a FLICK, and a damn good one at that.
Highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Someone said it...

The Times Online has flipped the coin and is now allowing this traitor to talk- because it makes for compelling reading- and it got my attention:

Patrick Muirhead is now fleeing "a lifestyle, reinforced by a social milieu of flamboyant media gays. At the BBC, where I worked for seven years, homosexuality was very nearly compulsory."

Joining the Mob

With the hope of challenging the label:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

On the strange things that happen when you drive 295 too much.

Dear Friends,

I have recently gone through the greatest trauma of my life.

Who would have thought that the miles between exit 36b on 295 and exit 26 could contain such a strange destiny as I made my way home one late night.

What you are about to hear is a true story. Please do not be deceived by the strangeness of this adventure. I would have trouble believing it myself if the handcuff marks upon my wrists didn’t force me to believe the dreamlike events of last night.

So here goes…

I left Maranatha in the darkening gloom with never a thought that this drive would be any different from any other. And besides accidentally getting on to the ramp for 295 north and having to back out of it while hoping I wouldn't get rear-ended....nothing strange happened for quite a while.

So I was driving along pretty normally at a pretty speed of 90 mph listening to the sounds of Q102 and musing on many wondrous things, when this car in front of me, who I'd been quickly approaching but still had some distance on me does something that cars are not supposed to do...

It was one of those real old minvans...(you know the boxy hippy ones???)

So...ok hold on to your seats people...

He slows down and TURNS his FLIPPIN van sideways in the middle of the stinking HIGHWAY!!!! I repeat!!!! He turned his van sideways and just STOPPED, BLOCKING the WHOLE highway!!!!

yeah!! thats what I thought....heck I was so surprised I almost forgot to hit the brake!! Like what the FLIP is going on??? what is this? a bus stop???

As you may well imagine I was pretty confused and quite at a loss at what to do....As I slowly gazed at the unfolding scene, my mouth frozen in the actions of singing "So what, I'm still a rockstar....."

It was like...gosh, I was just waiting to wake up and figure what I'd crashed into!!!!

Well...I've had a lot of time to think over what happened in the next minutes or so....and having to explain the story multiple times while under custody has definitely forced me to get my facts right....

So I managed to narrow down the facts of what happened to a couple points...

1. Minivan pulls sideways blocking highway.

2. Old geezer (one of those skinny but spry looking ones...) with big white mustache gets out sets flares at strategic spots around van.

3. Pulls several potted shrubs and small trees out of van and places them around van.

ok...

this is the part that really made my mouth drop...like no lie....the radio went OFF at this point...

So the dude pulls a can of SPRAY paint out of his van and begins to paint on the side of his minvan in lurid Green letters:

ready...

STOP DRIVING SAVE THE TREES

um

um

um

um

can somebody smack me????

As I stared at the words staring back at me, even the increasing shouts, screams, honks, and other assorted vocal expressions of anger that came from all the cars behind me slowly receded into a mixed hodgepodge of incredulity....

A freaking tree-hugger??? What is this California??? I'm in NEW JERSEY for heaven's sake!!!!! What is this ol’ dude doing here???

whoooooooooooooooooooo

thats all I'm saying kids...

The next part of the story gets bit blurry for me, but here goes...

Well, you can guess the crowd wasn't exactly as content to stare in wonderment as I was, so I was soon awakened from my reverie by an approaching mob of people with obvious violent intent to remove the old man and his van.

Now I have never been a hero or anything but I've never enjoyed watching an unfair fight....

Anyway...somehow I found myself approaching the old geezer (who had succeeded in painting a large portion of himself green by this time) with some vague thought of mediating the impending argument...

The thing is, the dude wasn't the old hippie I had thought he was...

So he reaches into the back of his van and pulls out a pistol (one of those old looking revolver kinds?) and a shotgun.

HEre's the part you're going to have to bear with me on...

its kind of hard to explain....

So...well he chucks the pistol to me right? and says something...like I dunno....all I could think of at that point while I stared at the loaded pistol chilling in my unresisting hands was the same song over and over again "SO What, I'm still a Rockstar!" again and again.... I raised my eyes to see rows of patrol cars pull up and surround us....

I mean...I've never thought too much about being a rebel, breaking the LAW......OUTLAWRY.....but what was I doing??

You may be thinking right now, "Aijalon you are a stupidhead!" but please understand, when in your a crazy situation like that....and its happening a lot faster...your mind just refuses to put your priorities in the right order...and you just can't reason correctly.... I dunno.

All I know is, when the old treehugger growled with a seasoned old chuckle, "You best get behind the van door for cover."

Something inside of me kind of went "I WANT OUT OF THIS SITUATION!!"

NExt thing I know I chuck the gun and jump on the ground yelling (the cops claimed that I was screaming in a very high pitched tone, but I don't think they liked me so don't believe that) "I DIDN'T DO IT" (again here the accounts vary...the police officer at the station insisted that I screamed "HE MADE ME DO IT!" but again...lies.)

Well..the rest of the story is history...

And while my upcoming court date sheds some gloom on the situation...the fact that I now have a story that will live to be told around my children's children's tables and doubtless be retold until it echoes in the halls of tall taledom brings me great satisfaction.

Whatever happens I know I will never forget the sight of that old man, covered in green spray-paint, being dragged away by two cops screaming at me, "THE TREES ARE ASHAMED OF YOU!!!!!!!!"

Perhaps his bony accusing finger will inspire me to an insanity like his one day......

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Alvin, the Hamster


Much to my chagrin, Laura volunteered to adopt a hamster for her classroom right before Christmas. I could only imagine the cleaning, smells, and general inconvenience of being responsible for a rodent. Bringing it home on weekends and during breaks just didn't seem appealing.
Now that "Alvin" -as her students have named him- has arrived, I have warmed up a bit to the little guy. He's kind of cute. And he came with a palace of a place to live.
Today we made our first PetSmart run to get a smaller weekend carrier and the exercise "pure entertainment for the human captors" ball.

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