Category Archives: culture

Obligatory Michael Jackson Post

Jackson Five – I Want You Back

Without comment.

But it’s a great song.


The Trouble with the GOP?

From Ta-Nehisi Coates blog about Mark Sanford:

If patriotism is love of country, then much of the unquestioning GOP rhetoric fails on the rudiments. Is love of kin, love of siblings, love of spouse, telling your beloved, that they are the best person that’s ever existed in history? Or is that  sycophancy, fast talk proffered by loose friends, who in your darkest hours, appeal to your worst self.

The religious right isn’t what’s wrong with the GOP. It’s the pervasive, unthinking, unreflective nationalism. It’s the arrogance of thrice-divorced adulterers reaching for the banner of traditional families, and it’s the arrogance of men who prosecuted a poorly planned war, on weak intelligence, presuming to lecture us on national security.

Beautifully stated.

One of my problems with the GOP, as it is with many Christians is the total lack of doubt and self-reflection.

Sure, all of us are deluded to varying degrees about ourselves, our families, and our countries. We sometimes invent narratives about those things to make understanding easier. It’s a human trait.

But many in the GOP take that trait and carry it to such a degree that it becomes unthinking arrogance. Such hubris can only be destructive to those who possess it when reality doesn’t line up with the impossible standards they have set for themselves.

Dispointment: Irrititing People I’ve Never Heard of Seem to Have Not Been Tortured in Jungle

I’m against torture. Really, I am.

I’m glad that Obama is going to close Guantanamo Bay and I don’t think that torture is in line with our country’s values.

But if a television network tortures extremely vile self-centered people who claim to be celebrities? Meh. Ok, count me in.

Of course, I’m talking about “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.”

I’m sorry that I feel compelled to blog about this. But I do. After all, I’m only human.

Since I last mentioned this piece of schadenfreude theater, we learned that these people named Heidi and Spencer Pratt, who are apparently more popular than the Beatles because of their love of Jesus were fighting with the other castmembers who included Lou Diamond Phillips, Sanjaya from American Idol, an intoxicated and mean model named Janice Dickinson, Fundie Baldwin, and a bunch of other people were put in the jungle to fight and eat bugs.

Since then, for some reason I will never understand, I went back and watched the rest of last week’s episodes and tonight’s show after I learned that the loathesome Heidi and Spencer had been tortured by NBC.

In last week’s episodes, we got to see Phillips’ hand chewed on by rats, Janice fighting with some guy about something because she was in a drunken rage, and one of the many people I’ve never heard of get kicked out of the jungle by the American people. And Fundie Baldwin baptised that Spencer prick because that Spencer prick loves Jesus and wants to be like Fundie Baldwin in three years. Oh, and then Fundie Baldwin’s brother Fat Baldwin joined the cast.

But the most important part of last week was that Heidi and Spencer left the show because they were far too important to hang out in the jungle with a bunch of other people no one has ever heard of. And then Jesus talked to them and told them to go back to the jungle.

Tonight, Jesus let them go back to the jungle, but before doing so, they were forced to spend the night in some kind of a dark room with spiders. They got through it (that room really looked not much worse than my Peace Corps house) and then went back to camp in good spirits.

Everything seemed to be fine until Sanjaya endured some reptiles and amphibians in a tank of water.

Then that Heidi pretended to be sick and another “celebrity” left the jungle for good. Heidi went to the hospital after mumbling something about Jesus. Patty Blagojevich then sad something about how hard her life is. And then the “celebrities” were upset about not getting enough lobster (seriously!) and we learned that that Heidi and that prick Spencer will never, ever return to the show.

The previews tell us that Heidi’s sister, no doubt another loathesome child of privilege will join the others on Wednesday and that some of the celebrities will “fight.”

I really have no idea why I care, but that’s the nature of irritainment.

And the torture allegations?


“Any accusations that Spencer and Heidi were harmed are untrue,” says the source. “There was no danger, no life-threatening situations — in fact, they were actually protected from the elements, unlike the other contestants.”


Well, a guy can dream.

Biblical Marriage

Betty Bowers, America’s best Christian explains:

Is it clear now?

Michelle, It’s Not Just About the Garden

It really is great that Michelle Obama is growing an organic vegetable garden at the White House. She’s sending a great signal about buying locally to eat healthfully.

But, she’s not going far enough:

However, when The Washington Post asked Mrs. Obama for her favorite recipe, she replied, “You know, cooking isn’t one of my huge things.” And last month, when a boy who was visiting the White House asked her if she liked to cook, she replied: “I don’t miss cooking. I’m just fine with other people cooking.” Though delivered lightheartedly, and by someone with a very busy schedule, the message was unmistakable: everyday cooking is a chore.

Cooking is a chore? Sadly, for most people, it is. To those, cooking it much like sweeping or washing dishes — an annoying task that must be completed to maintain a household.

It’s a shame that prepared and packaged meals have taken the place of real cooking in too many American homes.

As we lost our skills at the stove, we also lost something less tangible but no less important: the opportunity to spend time together in the kitchen, talking and cooking.

Indeed. One of the most pleasurable things in life for me is to cook for others. It gives me a creative outlet, lets me explore new things, and shows my family and friends that I like them and want then to be happy when they are in my home. It’s something of a catharsis after spending an irritating day at work. I can think of few things better than preparing a meal while having a glass of wine with my friends and family.

An added bonus is that cooking at home gives me the ability to control my food in order to make it more tasty and healthy (I’m starting to put ground carrots into most everything I cook, as the carrots don’t seem to change the flavor of most dishes, but that addition makes my dishes more healthful.

Getting away from fast food and processed food is an admirable goal, but it would be made better if the art of cooking were seen as the next step that will help people live happier lives.

Random Music from the iPod Sunday

Nina Simone – I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free

Reflections on an Inauguration

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Maya Angelou – On the Pulse of the Morning

Angelou wrote those words sixteen years ago to celebrate Bill Clinton’s first inauguration, but I think she was a little bit ahead of her time back then. Those words beautifully sum up the feeling in Washington on inaugural weekend. I’ve never seen a city so full of smiling and happy people.

My journey started with my old friend Alicia (she’s not old, but our friendship is) who lives in DC. She was kind enough to host me and show me a wonderful time. My flight got in early Saturday morning, so after an attempted nap that was aborted by our excitement, we headed to Capitol Hill for lunch and to observe the goings-on around the Capitol. We wanted to view the preparations and feel the vibe of the city.

It was a good choice.


Of course, the Capitol looked as majestic as it ever did, but there was something special about seeing it ready to go for January 20, 2009.

But the real story that day was the people who also gathered to check out the preparations. Ever single person was smiling. Huge smiles. Joyous smiles. Loving smiles. But they all  had their different ways of expressing them.


We walked up and down the National Mall that day, putting up with the cold and sore feet, enjoying the moment.

We ended up in Georgetown at’s Manifest Hope display of Obama-inspired art. It seemed like less of a gallery opening and more of a celebration of our country and where we are right now.


It was the most joyful gallery experience I’ve ever had. It felt more like a party than anything else.

On Sunday, we attended the We Are One concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Phenomenal. U2, Springsteen, Wonder, and others gave great performances, but I didn’t know how emotional I was about what was transpiring until the show began and a Naval band performed the “Star Spangled Banner.” I wept like a baby. It was some kind of strange catharsis for me, as I sobbed when they got to the “flag was still there” part. It seemed like such a great metaphor. Given all that the Bush administration put us through, we are still America.

We capped off the night with dinner at the home of one of Alicia’s friends who was hosting another friend of Alicia’s who popped into town from Rwanda as a guest of Nancy Pelosi’s. Odette (the friend from Rwanda) was delightful and her story of how she came to support Obama while speaking from Kigali with her son who was in Zanzibar was a great reminder about how much an Obama presidency means to the world.

Monday was a great day. We didn’t do much special but wander around the city in search of food and cocktails, but there are some pics from that day worth sharing.


Tuesday, January, 20? What can I say?

When we left Alicia’s apartment at around 8:00 AM, we were a little panicked as CNN told us the National Mall was full. We went anyway and found nice real estate on by the Washington Monument. We were cold, but we were happy.

I must have said “good morning” to 1000 strangers that day. It was simply a matter of making eye contact and reciprocating those words. It was a joyful crowd.


When I think about the inauguration, all I can think is that change happened because of us. We voted, we donated, we blogged, we canvassed, we spoke to our families and neighbors. We were the catalysts behind this beautiful moment.

President Obama will disappoint us. He’s human. But this is a moment that we will hold on to forever. We made change happen.