Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary, NC
Just update my now page. Social distancing.
Just update my now page. Social distancing.
🍿 Just watched A Marriage Story. As an alternative, I could have stabbed myself in the heart 20x.
It may have been Valentine’s Day, but that didn’t prevent my lady friend and I from engaging in our Friday night tradition of doing Apple New Music playlist bingo.
“Does anyone have the new track by Camel Power Club?”
Just updated my Now page. Metablogging, for the most part. frostedechoes.blog/now/
Every week, Medium sends an email about an article urging people not to “fall in love with a smart, introverted man.” For some reason, they seem to feel this is a particularly clear and present danger for me.
The DMV forces you to pay extra to submit vehicle property taxes via a chatbot. Someone please explain to me how having a faux conversation about my address beats using a form.
Knowing E.B., this tweet will probably be purged soon, but I’m linking to it because it was inspirational to me this morning.
It has been raining for days. It feels like we will all be living underwater soon. We’ll try to make casual conversation, but only air bubbles will escape our mouths.
It’s in the 70’s in January here in NC. The windows are open and the sirens outside sound so close and so desperate.
Thinking about switching from Ghost hosted on Digital Ocean back to Micro.blog hosting. Ghost is great, but M.b. is fast, easy, fun and has a great community built-in. Considering doing some more theme customizations, but I may need some help.
Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary, NC
When my youngest son’s friend suggested they turn on Disney+, I didn’t imagine they would end up watching a show about… horse autopsies.
It’s difficult to live in a representative democracy and feel so utterly misrepresented.
🎵 YSSY - The Mandolorian: This synthwave version of the Mandolorian theme song is gorgeous and cinematic.
This post from Austin Kleon is how you do a gratitude list. Just what I needed today.
This review of the new version of A Christmas Carol and the points that it brings about the values of cancel culture is truly scary.
This year, around the holiday season, I’ve had a shift in my thinking about Christmas and the period of waiting that comes before. In the past, I’ve thought of the season of Advent as a joyous preparatory time for the a celebration that is Christmas. The onslaught of cheerful Christmas songs, that starts just as the tryptophan induced coma from Thanksgiving wears off, contributes to that way of framing things. Bing lets you know when it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and he doesn’t seem at all concerned that the holiday is almost a month away.
Recently though, I’ve started to view Advent in a more Orthodox way, as more like Lent. As a time of fasting, rather than feasting. A time that starts in the darkness, as we make our way toward the light. It’s a period of quiet contemplation, instead of the exuberant cacophony of bells from a sleigh, furiously driven to the big box stores in search of Black Friday door busters. Advent is to be waited out with patience and solemn hope.
Once the waiting is over, though, Christmastide begins. It’s not a single day, but those mythical 12 days of Christmas of which another song informs us. The time of Christmastide extends from December 25th through January 5th, just before the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th. Each year, I make more of an effort to swim against the tides of culture that push Christmas as a single day. Of course, the day itself is kept well. Garrison Keillor writes in this post about his Christmas ritual (which sounds remarkably like my own).
All I need for Christmas is Christmas Eve in church, holding a candle, singing “Silent Night” a cappella in the dark with the others, walking home through the city, and waking up in the morning with my wife and daughter. Three gifts apiece, one useful, one odd but interesting, one ridiculous. Dinner is nice. We can make it at home or if we go out for a McTurkey sandwich, that’s okay too. Then we get out the board games. A pot of Christmas tea. Nothing more is needed.
My family will no doubt spend the evening of Christmas trying to save the world from a pandemic and failing in disappointing fashion, if history is any indication. We’ll have collected various forms of tea from different sources around the world and will be imbibing heavily throughout the day. We will be glowing from singing “Silent Night,” while keeping candles from dripping wax onto our palms within the cozy confines of our church sanctuary the night before.
We’ll have a cornucopia of presents to open in the morning, despite having cut back with the introduction of Secret Santa a few years back. In doing so, we’ll dutifully engage in the American commercial Christmas tradition. David Warren writes about this aspect of the holiday and ponders giving back the material in return for the mystical.
Though I love Charles Dickens, I like to dismiss him as “a commie,” for reasons that might not seem obvious at first. A Child’s History of England, I once threw against a wall. In his genius he pioneered the commercialization of Christmas, and every advertising agency should thank him. For consider, what this commercialization required. Scrooge is converted by sentimental ghosts, into a character of material generosity. The moral hints are materialist throughout. Joy, while it is still remembered, is subtly converted into happiness. Soon we have food stamps, and cash welfare, and shops full of Xmas presents, to buy lest Tiny Tim have a wrang.
Gentle reader may not be surprised if I try to return this gift, and exchange it once again for the mystical. For while the story of the Nativity is easy enough to sentimentalize, and captures the imagination of small children (Jesus speaks to them, child to child), it is the document of an incredible event; without precedent, without compare.
It would be hard to abandon our annual tradition of watching A Muppet Christmas Carol, but I understand what Warren means about redirecting the focus of the holiday. To snatch the lasting joy back from the impermanence of happiness. To hold on to something that carries over, year after year, despite external circumstances.
I thought Star Wars Rise of Skywalker was menacing, exciting and redemptive. It certainly did the job of wrapping things up.
Watching my AirPods almost get crushed under the wheels of a Trader Joe’s shopping cart, as I took my wallet out and they sprang out onto the floor, had the effect of dampening my enthusiasm for buying AirPods Pro.
According to a new Pew Research poll, the number of Republicans who say presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts has increased 16 percentage points since last year, from 27% to 43%. Among only those classified as conservative Republicans, the number of those in favor of more presidential power has doubled in the past year. The fears that this president has promoted the idea of a totalitarian state to his followers seems to have been well founded. That should come as no surprise to those who noted the president’s open affection for dictators, including those as brutal as Sadam Hussein.
It appears a certain segment of the population, particularly conservative Republicans, essentially want a king of the United States. This was the state of affairs in ancient Israel, in the time of the prophet Samuel. The prophet warned the people against putting themselves under the yoke of a king. However, the Israelites had lost faith in God as deliverer and wanted a king to lead them to victory over the Philistines.
Samuel pleaded with his people to rethink looking for a king to rule them. They were persistent, though, and he brought their request to God.
The LORD answered Samuel, “Comply with the people’s request—everything they ask of you—because they haven’t rejected you. No, they’ve rejected me as king over them.” “They are doing to you only what they’ve been doing to me from the day I brought them out of Egypt to this very minute, abandoning me and worshipping other gods.” “So comply with their request, but give them a clear warning, telling them how the king will rule over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7-9, CEB)
I’m assuming that a fair amount of those who want to give unchecked power to the president are from a Judeo-Christian tradition. They, like the ancient Israelites, seemed to have lost their faith in God to protect them against their enemies, real and perceived. Many of the Christians who support the current president believe that a strongman with a desire to rule as a king is necessary to protect their religious traditions. On that subject, Alan Jacobs has this to say:
For instance: Stretch your mind and imagine a POTUS who supports religious liberty but who also pursues reckless, thoughtless, and inconsistent policies both domestically and abroad. Imagine that he is cruel to the helpless, treacherous to longstanding allies, cozy with authoritarian regimes, incapable of sticking with a plan, prone to judge everyone he meets strictly by their willingness to praise and defer to him. Imagine that he is colossally ignorant of domestic and foreign realities alike and yet convinced of his matchless wisdom.
You might, first, ask whether such a President is a reliable ally of religious freedom. Would he work to guarantee liberty of conscience for those who on religious grounds criticized his own policies? Don’t make me laugh.
Jacobs goes on to question whether self-preservation should be the strongest driver of choosing leaders and public policy. He asks whether Christians who so clearly prioritize their interests over those of others can be considered reliable witnesses for faith in Christ. The Christian faith explicitly condemns putting one’s own needs above their neighbors. When asked which is the greatest commandments, Jesus responds in clear terms.
He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind.” “ This is the first and greatest commandment.” “ And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39, CEB)
Much has been made of tribalism within the group of Christians who support the current president without reservation. It is evident, by the treatment we have seen of other populations, such as immigrants, that this administration is not concerned about our neighbors. The desire to strengthen the hand of such a leader, to that of a king, speaks of a lack of faith in anything other than despotism.
My lady friend accidentally called Siri “Alexa” and then was genuinely worried that Siri would be angry.
Funky Cold Medina playing in Jersey Mike’s when I walked in. There was a real vibe in that sub shop.
Just updated my Now page. Ghost blogging and other tidbits.