Showing posts from November, 2010

The Better Discussion

So yesterday in Toronto, Mr. Famous Atheist Journalist debated Mr. Famous Former Poltician: "Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world." To read the transcript, go here . Get a cup of coffee first, though. It's long. And no, I didn't get through it all. Partly I'm an intellectual lightweight. Partly I am less impressed with Christopher Hitchens than most people are--and far less impressed with him than he is. Ditto Blair. And partly, I think it's the wrong question. This statement is never debated: "Be it resolved, atheism is a force for good in the world." Possibly, atheists would say that they don't claim to be a force for good in the world. Except that they do, increasingly. Hitchens and Dawkins and their ilk make this claim when they describe people of belief as unintelligent and dangerous--when they equate all people of belief with religious extremists. But actually, I don't think a defense of atheism as a force for good

The Long Haul

Today on Facebook someone linked to this article, from the NY Times . Matt Richtel writes, in "Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction," about high school students' work habits, and how their schools are approaching the technology of which the students are so fond. It's worth reading. That said, here's a sample of my internal monologue about the article. 1. Five pages? Wow, this article is really long. It goes on for-EV-er. 2. Another article about how "kids today" are going to be seriously messed up by their fragmented attention spans? Again? Or is this one about how high school kids are undisciplined? Because when high school kids ARE disciplined, like Olympic athletes, everybody writes about how they're robots and don't have a "normal" childhood. Response #1 is what my sister and I call "a thing made of things." I did skim the article, mostly because I was pressed for time but also because I have a low tolerance for bleat

Unexpected Brilliance

Sometimes creativity and satisfaction comes from unforeseen places. As an example, I share this with you, from my friend Peggy , a bookseller and otherwise extraordinary person. How many people on that stage grew up thinking, "I want to be really good at playing pop bottles when I grow up!" ?? I'm guessing the answer is "zero." And yet, given the opportunity, there they are, doing it well, having a great time, and giving the world a smile. Sometimes the creative comes from the unexpected--playing around, meandering, exploring a trail to its end. And sometimes, people smile when you get there. Can't beat that!

Spirited Interpreting

I already shared this on Facebook, but I wanted to post it here, too. This is an American Sign Language interpreter--I assume a professional; she's definitely experienced--performing Michael Franti's "The Sound of Sunshine." I used verb "performing" on purpose. Most of the time, interpreters don't perform; their role is to communicate what the speaker is saying. (At least that's what I learned many moons ago.) However, in this case, I think "perform" is accurate. It's what Michael Franti does when he plays this song. It's also what she does--very well--because she has prepared this interpretation and likely performs it much in this same way every time she does it. Even if you don't know ASL, you can probably guess that a large part of her interpretation has to do with the heartbeat. That's what she's communicating with her hands pulsing open and closed on her chest. She uses this metaphor because, of course, Deaf people

That @$&*!! Buzzing Fly

This is a season when buzzing flies multiply inside our house. During spring and fall, flies come out of nowhere (not literally but I don't want to think about the literal) and hurl themselves at the window, over and over again. They buzz. And thunk. Randomly. Bzzzz-thunk. Bzz-zz-zzzz-thunk. Zzz. Z. BZZZZZ-thunk. Because they move slowly, they're not that hard to kill, except that they can be sneaky. Get out a flyswatter, and suddenly they hide behind the blinds and behind furniture. When you start doing something else, the buzzing starts up again, just loud enough to annoy the hell out of you. Me. One. And some weeks are just full of the damn things. Like this past week, which was full of doing things for others. (Aha! The meta-phor you've been waiting-phor.) Also, to be fair, last week was full of a certain amount of not-doing things, and to be fair to me, that was caused largely by a big two-day storm and a power outage that I wasn't prepared for. It's not that I