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What Would People Think?

Friday, February 23, 2007

What cats and Joseph Biden Have in Common

What they have in common is that I'm about to blog about them in another one of those multi-topic posts.

1. Christy's cat, Max, isn't doing too well. He's somewhere around 18 years old...Methusaleh in cat years. He's walking funny, slipping a lot, and not putting weight on his left side. But he doesn't seem to be in pain. Christy is distraught. We're taking him to a vet tomorrow.

[Update:] I wrote that part yesterday. We took him to the vet this morning. She says it's probably nerve damage from jumping off too high a height.....and, well, being really old. Right now we are just trying to give him a lot of rest and keep him off high surfaces. This is really hard on Christy. She's owned Max for 15 years and there were times when he was her only friend.

2. Stupid, widely publicized comments about African-American candidates be damned, I'm throwing my fickle, influence-free support behind Joseph Biden for President. Why? No, I don't think he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning. His name isn't Barak, Hilary, John (pick one), Mitt, or Rudy. And my decision is basically based on a sound bite. At a recent Q-and-A with various Democratic candidates, Biden is the only one that seemed to be thinking long-term. Most were talking about their various plans for getting out of Iraq. Dennis Kucinich was basically chanting about how he opposed the war from the beginning. Biden's the only one who said "we need to get out of Iraq....but then what? We need to think about how to prevent the Middle East from descending into chaos because of our mistake." Seeing as lack of foresight is one of the current administration's chief flaws, I consider such forward thinking very important. Looking to see if there was anything to back up that phrase, I looked at Biden's campaign site and saw that he does indeed have a rather detailed and logical plan for (a) getting out of Iraq and (b) preventing the Middle East from imploding in the process.

[Update:] Since I last wrote that part of the post, Tom Vilsack has already dropped out because the money's being absorbed by the likes of Obama and Clinton. Vilsack was left with no money to even pay his campaign staff. Sad that those with money are going to kick out so many candidates - including, probably, Biden - before we really get a chance to vote for or against them. Yeah, I guess I can vote with my pocketbook. Perhaps a Howard Dean-like candidate can pull together a lot of small donations and stay competitive. But let's face it, Joe Biden is no Howard Dean. Obama probably has the best chance of exciting the grassroots.

3. The Supreme Court recently struck down a large punitive damages decision against Phillip Morris. Their reasoning was that comments by the plaintiff's lawyers may have caused the jury to award the huge punitive damages sum in order to punish Phillip Morris for harm that cigarettes have caused to the public in general, not just to this particular plaintiff. As a strong supporter of punitive damages, I have my beefs with the specifics of this decision. [i.e. How can "reprehensibility" be a factor in weighing the appropriateness of punitive damages if you can't look at how much damage a particular actor's behavior causes?] But I think the idea of focusing exclusively on the parties to the lawsuit has its merits....

So, next the Supreme Court is ready to throw out 3 Strikes laws, right? I mean, you don't want to be punishing someone for actions other than the ones currently before the court, right? After all, it's unconstitutional to punish someone for harms they may or may not have caused to someone who is not a party to the current case, right? RIGHT? Be consistent, Mr. or Ms. Supreme Court Justice. Throw 'em out.

4. Oscars are tomorrow. Over the past 3 years, I can safely say that fully half of my TV watching has been seeing the Oscars. (Yes, I watch that little TV.) But this year is unique in how few of the Oscar films I've seen. I've only seen 2 of the Best Picture nominees, none of the roles nominated for Best Actor, 2 in Supporting Actor, 1 in Best Actress (Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada....for the love of God, it was The Devil Wears Prada! I've sunk that low), 2 in Supporting Actress, 2 in Cinemtography, 2 in Directing, 2 in both of the Screenplay categories.....well, I've seen 4 of the 5 Best Song nominees. Thank you, Dreamgirls.

I think there is no better way of ending a post then saying "Thank you, Dreamgirls." Oh, and Goth Pigeons. Thank you.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

My Old Haunts

I write this blog from Durham, NC. I lived here for three years. In fact, I'm writing this from my old apartment.

Countless times, I've driven these streets, shopped at these grocery stores, slept in these rooms. In this very apartment, I used to be the fixture with a revolving door of roommates, the last one being my closest friend in law school, Kenny, who now lives in the apartment with his wife, Erin. Now I'm the visitor. I can't tell you how weird that is.

At least it's not like Vanderbilt. When I first visited Vanderbilt after graduation, I felt just like that...a visitor. But gradually, more and more of my old friends graduated and were replaced by new Vandy students cheerfully, obliviously living their lives in the place where my memories were created......running my beloved Slant (not always up to my tastes in humor)....and otherwise proving that life moves on and you can never go back to create your old life. When I wandered Vanderbilt while visiting Christy, I didn't feel like a visitor.....I felt like a ghost haunting my old lair. Who were these people? There was nobody there I knew....just these strange faces living their life in this surreal, familiar physical surrounding.

At least right now Kenny and Erin are here. And Chris and Monica (whom I really hope to see but might not....Monica's not feeling well.). And Nathan and Bethany. And many of the old CLS folks. And Jeff is still up in Cary, currently hanging out with his old high school friend. For this visit, I'm just a familiar old visitor....not a ghost. God bless them all.

You really can't make it all come back, can you? I plan on seeing my friends in the future and love them dearly....but I can't have The Slant back. I can't have Unexpectedly Sober back (even if my friends and I continue to collaborate musically). I can't have long philosophical conversations with Jeff and Mike, or long theological conversations with Kenny back...at least not for long. I can't have walking through Vandy back. I can't have wandering the halls of Duke Law while surrounded by people I know back.

Life goes on. And I can't deny I'm blessed. I have the most awesome wife in the world, objectively speaking. I have a good job where I feel I'm doing some good. I have a food and a roof over my head and opportunities to serve. I have blogs and cell phones to reach my friends, should I choose. And I'm sure Christy and I will eventually make friends. And I have eternal life and a relationship with my Savior. Really, that's everything.

But right now, I want to either quietly weep or break out into a Bruce Springsteen song. Rock music lovers will know which one. For those who don't, here ya go.

I love you all and miss you terribly.

But now I'm going to put this computer down....wait for Kenny to wake up from his nap and Erin to get back from her run....and enjoy precious time with my friends. Don't want to ruin the present focusing on the past.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


.....covered CCR/Tina Turner, Dylan/Hendrix, and Foo Fighters. Awesome.

Also, Jeff has proven he probably won't have a successful career as a prophet, and this amuses me.
Also, I miss my friends. Don't get me wrong - Christy is my best friend ever. But the only other friend I have who lives nearby is Dan, and he and I only see each other every couple of weeks. It's different being out of school. I no longer have situations which force me to interact with a bunch of people my age. I miss my old brothers in arms.

Also, Christy and I saw Dreamgirls last night. My favorite song - "Jimmy's Rap." Eddie Murphy was awesome in every scene.

Also, I'm asking y'all to hold me to something. If - as I truly believe - my purpose on this Earth is to love God and love my fellow human beings, I've got to break out of my protective professional middle class shell. If Jesus hung out with the prostitutes, the lepers, the Gentiles, and the tax collectors.....then, dammit, the least I can do is interact with the homeless person who asks me for money instead of averting my eyes and hurrying to work. Hell, that's not even the least I could do....it's not enough. I need to seriously invest my time and resources in service. I don't know what yet, but I want you to hound me 'till I get on it. If I don't make community service of some sort a regular part of my life now, it'll never happen.

Also, I've been listening to the new Switchfoot album. I LOVE "Faust, Midas, and Myself."

Also the mostly-annoying, occasionally-insightful, always-interesting Dailykos does a great job of puncturing the myth of peace protesters spitting on Vietnam (and now Iraq) vets.....and the even greater myth that the real reason we lost in Vietnam was lack of "will."

This post has been another random mix of the deep and shallow brought to you by Ben's tired brain. Wish it could have proved more worth the read.