Monday, March 24, 2008

Free music for y'all

Pat is a wonderful musician and songwriter from Lincoln, Nebraska who has just released a solo album on Mr. Furious Records.

Download it here. You'll be glad you did. Download a whole mess of stuff over on that site while you're at it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Very interesting...

This, this, and this.

"Even though her campaign staff is having more fun than it has for a long time, there’s hardly anyone there who, given half a chance, wouldn’t slit Mark Penn’s throat — and such internal dissension won’t help her in the home stretch."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Last night...

With my wife's pregnancy she's been having a little bit of back pain at night and bought what's called a snoogle to help her stay on her side. Here's what they look like:

Last night I came to bed at around 11:00. As I was getting ready for bed, my wife was engaged in a full-on struggle trying to free herself from the snoogle. She had the pillow against her back like the top picture and had to work a bit to free herself so she could use the bathroom. She came back to bed and said that when she woke up, she couldn't figure out why she was stuck in the middle of a letter c.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Was Jefferson a heretic or a believer? Yes.

The founder of, Steven Waldman, has published a new book called Founding Faith. It promises to be fairly interesting, especially to those who consider ours a nation founded on the teachings of the Bible. Beliefnet offers an excerpt from the book concerning Thomas Jefferson, and it led me to wonder if there would be any possible way that Jefferson would be elected to any public office today.

Sadly, his candidacy wouldn't have a snowball's chance. Those who are upset over lapel pins and which church our candidates belong to would be choking on their communion wafers if they were to read anything written by this founding father. His beliefs (like most of ours) are complex. He edited the Bible (with a razor) to remove the miracles of Jesus, he called the Trinity "mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus," and said that, "Calvinism has introduced into the Christian religion more new absurdities than its leader [Jesus] had purged it of old ones." He went on to say regarding what he called "the insanities of Calvin" that the, "strait jacket alone was their proper remedy."

Wow. Imagine the Evangelicals receiving that mailer in their postbox. And then imagine James Dobson's response.

Yet Waldman also provides a look at a person whose reason led him to faith in Christ and God. It's fair to say that he was anti-religion and pro-God. Some of the quotes Waldman has provided suggest Jefferson was someone who may have believed in Intelligent Design. He saw what he viewed as a complex interconnectedness in the universe and viewed that as a work of Divine Providence. However, it's important to remember that throughout his life, more than any religious view he may have held, Jefferson stressed the importance of reason and study (i.e. I'm sure he'd be dead-set against those who'd like to introduce Intelligent Design in a public high school biology class and would have fought back). Take that, Ben Stein.

I find it difficult not to cheer for Thomas Jefferson as a champion of liberty, religious freedom, and rational thinking. I also find his participation in the horror of slavery contradictory to those values and depressing. That's important. It would be good to take the entire lives of our founding individuals and historical religious and philosophical figures into account as we study and judge them and their ideas. We need to hold them, their views, and the circumstances of their life and times up for study and scrutiny in order to gain a true sense of who they were as they've helped shape who we are. By the way he studied the Bible, Christianity's history, and the teachings of Jesus, I think Thomas Jefferson understood and practiced this.

It may be one of the things about him that I admire most.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Rocking out and recovering

I had just a mild hangover this morning, nothing too big. One of the best feelings in the world is that hour or so when you're moving past the hangover. You're drinking coffee, eating breakfast, and moving on with your day. I didn't even drink all that much. Ah, life.

Last night I got together with Medium Walter for my second time. It's a band composed of several people from Lincoln's music scene working on blues tunes that one of us has written. Most are written by Honeyboy Turner, formerly of Honey Stump. We've all shared the stage at some point, either for one-off shows and songs or in regular gigging bands. It's raw, loud, and unpolished, which is exactly how we hoped it would turn out.

I'm working through the much-read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I've never thought of myself as a really high effective model. I've wondered which motivational speaker I'll need to hire to coach me through things like changing diapers and getting my kid to change their underwear. When he or she is 18. That's the point where I figure that a child's underwear is his or her own responsibility, and there's not a whole lot I can do besides beg and plead and talk about how embarrassed I am for them and will they please cut it out.

There's nothing like expecting a baby to make you dive headfirst into self evaluation, wondering what kind of person you really are and have you been leaving little bits of your emotional maturity at each apartment when you moved back in your 20s. It's no wonder that I rarely got my full deposit back. That and "carpet cleaning."


I digress. So I start to think that I only have around 6 months to start shaping myself up. It's probably similar to what some people feel in anticipation of their high school reunion. Except that I really have to go and I'm looking forward to it. I start to think about the relationship that I'm to build and the impression that I'm going to leave. I start to wonder what the kid is going to think of me at different points in his or her life.

Looking back at my feelings toward my own inexplicably absent father throughout my life isn't pretty. Everyone makes mistakes in their interpersonal relationships, yet some people keep making the same moves again and again. They snowball, those unfulfilled promises and no-shows do. Again and again I've wondered about establishing a relationship after the occasional phone call I've received from him. There's a fear of that rejection and of what I really don't know about him that undermines my willingness to take steps to reconcile. The thing that I really don't know about him, after my 33 years, is how he sees me. That's what I fear. Hopefully my child will never know that anxiety.

I'm off to help my buddy install an entry door in his house. Wish us luck that we don't wind up in the hospital.