The Summer Of Weddings

One of my good friends is getting married on Memorial Day, so tomorrow Caroline and I will pack up the car and head to Nashville, Tennessee, and The Summer Of Weddings will begin.

I call it that because, by my count, there are at least five weddings between now and the end of July that I am expected to be at. Three of these weddings are out of state, and combined, will represent almost 4,000 miles of car travel. I’m not a big fan of car travel.

Oh, and while I’m complaining, I forgot to mention that weddings are undoubtedly one of my least favorite things in the entire world.

Oh well, at least this wedding should involve seeing a bunch of friends and playing a lot of ultimate.

Happy Memorial Day.


Waterboarding And Abortion

Ken Blackwell has written an interesting article pointing out the irony that the same Obama administration that claims to be morally horrified at the idea of waterboarding mass murderers also approves of Partial Birth Abortion.

A couple of interesting tidbits:
“The purpose of the Geneva Convention was to give warring nations a strong, positive incentive to behave according to international norms and not to engage in conduct that “shocks the conscience.” When we give Al Qaeda or Taliban terrorists prisoner of war status and Geneva Convention coverage—without demanding anything of them in return—we abandon one of the great achievements of the Geneva Convention.”

“Our new president abhors torture, unless it is the torture of the unborn. In that case, it is not torture at all, but simply inducing fetal demise. This great international uproar over what is and is not torture has been generated because of the treatment of three known mass murderers. The slaughter of innocents in their thousands elicits no international outrage. This is part of what Justice Breyer sees as evolving international standards of decency.”
I’m not dismissing the torture of captured terrorists as a non-issue (although I think the discussion of whether or not waterboarding constitutes torture is a valid one).

I’m just saying that the torture issue, in scale and severity, doesn’t compare to abortion.


An Open Letter To Brett Favre

Hey Brett,

So the news outlets continue to report on the possibility of you coming back, again, to play in the NFL after “retiring.” I just wanted to write you to say—please don’t.

As you may or may not know, I vigorously defended your decision to come back last year. While you took a lot of flak in the press about how you had turned your back on Green Bay and sold out your fans, I took your side.

I pointed out that in an NFL where criminals like Pacman Jones and Ray Lewis can get repeated chances to play, and where screwups like Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco continue to have the opportunity to screw up, it seemed unfair for a Hall of Fame quarterback who has always served as a good role model to take so much heat for making the mistake of simply changing his mind about retiring.

I still believe that, but c’mon Brett, enough is enough.

After spending all those years with the Packers, are you really going to play for your third team in three years? Did moving to a new team last year really work out so well that you want to do it again? Is it just that you want to go out on top? Do you really think that playing for the Vikings is going to give you that chance?

You’ve had a great career—one of the best ever. Isn’t that enough? Realistically, what can you do at this point except tarnish your legacy?

If you come back, again, I won’t root against you, or hope that you get injured while playing. I might even be happy if you play well.

Just don’t expect me to take your side anymore when everyone calls you a dork for not knowing when to call it quits.


In The Midst Of A Busy Week…

The following words seemed appropriate:

“The endless cycle of idea and action,

Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

—T.S. Eliot


The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

A while back I read Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which I had heard of before, but knew absolutely nothing about.

The book is told through the eyes of a 15 year-old English boy named Christopher who falls somewhere along the spectrum of autism (his exact condition is never specified). The title of the book comes from a Sherlock Holmes story, and Christopher attempts to use Holmes’ methods to solve the murder of his neighbor’s pet poodle.

For the most part, the book has received very positive reviews, though if you go to Amazon you’ll find some reviewers who are completely opposed to it on the grounds that Haddon’s portrayal of autism is grossly inaccurate and that he just adds to the unfortunate stereotypes about autistic individuals that already exist.

I think that’s a largely baseless criticism—the word autism is broad enough and spans enough conditions that an autistic character like Christopher could certainly exist, and besides, what would these critics have Haddon do instead? Even if his protagonist were based on a specific real life individual, critics could still accuse him of stereotyping since no specific case of autism will ever be representative of all others.

The real problem with the book is the fact that the plot is somewhat lacking. Christopher actually solves the murder of the dog relatively early in the book, and the rest is spent sorting through his difficult family problems. It’s not poorly written and the unfolding drama is interesting enough, but I kept waiting for an exciting twist that never came.

Instead of the great downfall of the book as these reviewers make it out to be, the character of Christopher is absolutely what makes The Curious Incident worth reading. Haddon lets the reader get into his main character’s head in a way that is both fascinating and endearing.

If you’re looking for a page-turning mystery thriller, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time isn’t it. On the other hand, if you’d be interested in a pretty neat book about a really neat kid, I’d recommend it.


Brief Thoughts On Swine Flu

You have to be pretty well insulated from the rest of the world to have not heard about Swine Flu…over and over and over again.

The word “pandemic” has been bandied about, schools have been shut down, some states have canceled all high school sporting events, Joe Biden is telling people not to get on airplanes—is it possible we’re overreacting a little bit?

For all of the talk and panic, do you realize that, worldwide, only 13 people have died? Now don’t get me wrong, every is valuable, and the deaths of those 13 people are a tragedy, but should we all be freaking out about this considering that the regular version flu (the one that we’re not worried about) kills 20,000 people a year in the United States alone?

It seems to me that, theoretically, this could turn out to be a huge deal, but it will have to get exponentially worse before it is.

Surely that realization will prevent the panic-mongering of the media (and even our VP), right?

When pigs fly.

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