Archive for February, 2010

Brutal Reminder

New photos of NYC on 9/11 were released today.  They were taken by a police helicopter and show a view from above that I’ve never seen.  They offer a new perspective on how far out the smoke and ash went into the surrounding area, that I didn’t even realize.

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CAI readers and writers, it’s a pleasure to guest contribute.  I feel compelled to start a discussion inspired by this portion of a recent interview of former Alaskan governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin that a friend shared with me.

I have no specific comments except for a great fear and confusion as to what the cuss Sarah Palin is thinking.  Is President Obama’s lack of ‘toughness’ the root of his failing support in America?  Palin didn’t back up those statements with any response from the people on that particular issue, she simply began talking about the Tea Party.

I am not of the persuasion that the rest of the world ought to necessarily influence American politics, but the last thing the other members of the UN want is for President Obama to follow the lines that Sarah Palin suggested he might in order to be re-elected.  The reason is not because the UN wants to necessarily weaken America, but every war that America starts (some may say that Iraq and Afghanistan were wars initiated by America’s enemies, which is debatable, especially in Iraq) causes a greater degree of global instability.  And say President Obama did declare war on Iran (a possibility which I will admit is rapidly approaching with every new missile factory that Iran builds), where would the thousands of Iranian and neighbouring refugees go?  This is just one example of the many repercussions that Europe faces in light of America’s decisions.

What’s going on here?

See the full transcript here.

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Bon Iver – Blood Bank

Thanks in part to lists from Elijah and Greg, I checked out Bon Iver.  I have been addicted to this song for a couple of weeks now.  Enjoy.

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You may have heard the news about Sarah Palin saying that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel should be fired for using offensive language when he called some other democrats, “f***ing retarded”.  Mrs. Palin is upset because of the use of the word retard in any context.  She explained:

Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities — and the people who love them — is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.

While I can appreciate her sensitivity in this situation it is, among other things, a political dart she is firing… and not an effective one.  Just as Jesus said of those without fault casting the first stone, so I would wonder if she or any of her staff have never used the terms: stupid, dumb, idiot, or moron?  These are all epithets that can describe actual clinical conditions.  But guess what, the word fat can have connotations and cause offense to people who are fat.  I can imagine that we all have examples of where offense or politically correct behavior has annoyed or even infuriated us.  And so while we can dimly see where people are coming from in their offense to certain terms, we most often do not change our lives around them, knowing well that most every word in the English lexicon could somehow be construed as out of bounds.

My point is not that Palin should not be offended, she most certainly has the right to, and I’m sure her closest friends would never dare or wish to use that word… even in jest.  But as I stated, I think she is after something political here, and not something of moral value.  She cannot truly hold the opinion that the Chief of Staff should be fired for saying what he said.  Surely she knows what kind of language is used behind closed doors… even perhaps by G.W. Bush?

I am aware that my friends and I use words that very likely would offend members of society… even family.  I use the word gay to describe many things that I think are uninteresting to me, or out of sorts… yet I have homosexual family members and friends.  I use the word retarded, and yet am affiliated with a company that works with students with learning disabilities.  Just as with many things of this nature, I think it is always best to look at intent… as far as is possible.  When Rahm Emanuel was berating his colleagues, was he literally thinking that they were of the nature of a child with Down syndrome?  No.  If my wife asks me if I want to read the Twilight series and I say that’s gay, does that somehow imply that I think homosexuals are preternaturally drawn to teen-vampire drama?  No.

Words have meanings, and the meanings have different effects on people.  We can and should be aware of certain contexts – even if you think saying fuck is cool, maybe you don’t drop that bomb in sunday school.  So Rahm can make his apology, and be sincere in doing it, even if he returns to using that word again… but Palin is barking up the wrong tree in proposing he be fired.


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Death to Pete Records

My family and I moved last week, in part because of a foolish interest-only loan we took on four years ago, and in part because of some utterly contemptible behavior on the part of Chase bank, and in part because of the fact that my parents are really cool and are allowing us to rent a sweet house from them at a great price.  All of that, however, is the topic of another post.

My point here though is to discuss the way that moving can sometimes force us to confront a reality that we’ve stored in an attic or garage.  For some, it means debating whether to load up that exercise apparatus into the loading truck, or throw it away, since it hasn’t been used in ages.  For others, an expensive tool that’s been collecting dust or a hobby that never took off.  In my case, it meant confronting a failed business endeavor.  As I stared at roughly 20 boxes full of lp covers sitting in my attic, I had to ponder the likelyhood that one of the records I printed 5 – 6 years ago as a would-be music mogul might somehow start selling in such a manner that 500 blank lp jackets could come in handy.  With some quick mental math I determined that it would be somewhere under 0.01%.  With much encouragement from my friends helping me move, I dumped them into the trash.  My friends were probably trying to save themselves the effort loading and unloading these boxes, plus they wanted to use the boxes for moving other things that still need packaging.  Still, I knew they were right…it was time to let it go.

What they don’t know is that we didn’t even trash the half of it…There’s at least 1000 more actual lps sitting in my old bedroom closet at my parents house (I suspect this was part of the motivation for my parents getting me into a house with a garage, since lp storage is not exactly their ideal use for a closet).  There’s also CDs, posters, stickers, T-shirts…whether I’ll be able to stomach all of this going to the trash is another story.

Tonight I decided to listen the Seamonsters “Turning Tide” album for the first time in years.  I still think it’s got some great songs, though I don’t know if I would release it if I owned a successful label and had the resources to do so now.  I think it must be impossible to have any objective idea if your band is any good when you’re playing in it.  Has anyone ever played in a band (not paid) that they thought sucked? I don’t know where the other 700 or so copies are, maybe Matt’s house?  I don’t know if I even own a single copy of the first CD.  I never think about these things, which must be one of the great hazards of access to storage space.  Cleaning out my attic caused me to ponder these things…it was one of the most depressing tasks I’ve had to perform in a long time.

The dream is over.  If anyone wants the Pete Records catalog, just let me know.

What reality awaits confrontation in your garage/attic?

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