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Archive for April, 2007

proverbially

“Those who are kind to the poor lend to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17

It occurred to me in reading this: as it turns out, the Lord helps them that helps the poor.

A penny saved is a penny.

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I always miss TV Turnoff Week. Probably because it’s not well advertised.

I’m in TN this week working. Yes, I’m working. Abstaining from TV by default. In the boxy tunnel I walked through to board my plane (you know, that word I’m thinking of) in LAX, there was a guy behind me on his cell phone whose conversation went something like this:

Actually, I’m getting on a plane for Nashville right now.
Well, (underbreath stealth voice) I’m doing a project for a. . . kind of a Christian band.
Yeah, I know, but they’re going to pay me, so. . .
Right, money changes everything.
Yeah, I’ll probably have to go through some kind of cleansing ritual when I get home.

This was funny to me, as much as it was a reminder of almost everything that makes me deeply saddened about the church and the arts, since I could have overhheard nearly the same conversation but substituting the word “secular” for “Christian.”

Goodbye, internet. Hello, library.

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The current top five requests by toddlers in our back seat, for the week ending April 21, 2007:

5) “Radio Man,” David Wilcox (down 3 spots from last week)
4) “Shabalala,” Ladysmith Black Mambazo
3) “Can’t Stop,” Ozomatli
2) “We’re from Barcelona,” I’m from Barcelona
and at number 1:
“La La La,” Bert & Ernie

Number 3 holds position with the memorable refrain “shake it, shake it; shake it, shake it” inspiring random bursts of gyration at home. 1,2, and 4 are favorites for the infectious “la la la”s throughout. It’s “Radio Man’s” lyrical poigniancy that keeps it in the top five, but in trying times such as these, we naturally lean towards simple pop accessibility.

Number 6 with a bullet: The Weepies, “Gotta Have You.” With its even beats, easy nouns, and litany of “no’s,” this song’s headed for a number one spot.
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I am pleased that headlines are making note of the Catholic Church’s gentle dismissal of the concept of limbo. Although, according to some theorists, this really puts the writers of Lost in a bind.

But losing limbo doesn’t rule out the possibility of intercommunication with the bizarro world, as it appears a cooperative venture between Bono, Disney’s Broadway gem Julie Taymor, and Spider-Man may soon be providing new fodder for conspiracists and end-time predictors.

One of the interesting emphases of the statements in the story about limbo is looking to the way Jesus loved children. Score one for “the word of God should be interpreted by the Word of God.”

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Kurt Vonnegut has passed. I started reading him as the subject of my 11th grade English thesis, and I liked him even more than Douglas Adams. I ended up keeping on liking him. He sort of laughed, not at our pain, but because we could have so much possibility, and be so unnecessarily, particularly cruel. I found that quite clarifying. So, here’s a set of quotes I insincerely gathered from the internets:

“People don’t come to church for preachments, of course, but to daydream about God.”

“Human beings will be happier — not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie — but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again.”

“The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.” – “Harrison Bergeron”
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In A Color of His Own, Leo Lionni tells the story of a chameleon’s unease over his inability to maintain a coherent identity. His mirrored image is as impermanent as the colors of his context, whether shifting out from underneath or losing their own hue over time. Finally, in the darkness of the tall grass, the chameleon finds a companion. This friend cannot guarantee a color to permanently define him, but can promise to share in every change together. I read this to a class I taught to illustrate the crises and characteristics of life in the late-modern world, where it is not a shared certain foundation that makes for reality, but the identity we form in a community of shared narrative. Sure, there’ll have to be some supplementary texts, but I expect my toddler to be fully equipped for his postmodern condition.

Peggy Rathmann’s Goodnight Gorilla tells the story of a zoo watchman being followed on his nightly rounds by a gorilla who swiped the watchman’s keys. As the watchman makes sure each animal is down for the night, the gorilla opens their cages, and they join a stealthy parade back to the watchman’s house, into the watchman’s bedroom. When his wife says, “goodnight,” she is surprised to hear each animal respond in kind, and to find the gorilla cozied up between her and her husband. His wife turns the light back on, and silently escorts the zoo back to their cages. I have no doubt that this is the story of my spouse, and I am sure many others – spouses, dear friends, family, spiritual companions – who welcome us home even when we’ve left the door open behind us.

Also, I am fairly sure Dr. Seuss’s The Foot Book is a highly nuanced critique of the two-party system.

Left foot, left foot, right foot, right. . . .

Pulitzer.

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I become self conscious sometimes about loving words and sounds and pictures so much. It seems foolish, when so much is at stake.

When I am reading Vonnegut or watching a Charlie Kaufman film, the absurdist sublimity of everything becoming so ridiculous assures me life is more hilariously beautiful than I thought. When I am reading O’Connor or watching a P.T. Anderson film, everything glows so tenderly flawed, so scarred and so loved by their creators that the grace of those words and scenes embraces me. I am going to shout. My eyes and ears and mouth are going to shout. But I am completely paralyzed by whatever might come next – by anticipation, by expectation, by readiness to celebrate whatever is going to happen. I cannot move, because this is not my scene or page or sound to make – I have to wait and see what is next.
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