Friday, July 25, 2008

Another explosive topic

Politics. It's that time again in our country, and it seems every time I turn around I'm hearing someone ranting, pontificating or arguing about the upcoming Presidential election. I figured I should join in as well.

Don't worry. Gimme a shot here and see if this is different than the political opinions you usually come across.

If you're like me, then 95% of all political discussions you hear are simply attacks on the "other" side. Nobody ever seems to tell me why they like a candidate -- only how evil the other guy (or gal, while Hillary was in the game) obviously is.

I don't do that. It angers me, and is playing right into the hands of our modern media. They know that happy times and supporting storylines don't get the high ratings. If a TV station or website wants the big bucks, they need to break scandals and tap into the more bitter, empassioned instincts within us.

So I won't do any attacking here. No criticisms at all. I won't even tell you which candidate I like. I'm simply going to list all the ways I agree with what each side (Democrat/Republican) uses as common talking points. Here we go:

Republicans often say that our country is in pretty good shape, that we're the best country in the world and are not in need of massive overhaul. I agree. Our economy, civil rights and safety are higher than almost any other time in our nation's history. See this article by Gregg Easterbrook for more detail.

Democrats often say that it's time for change, and that our country needs to shift gears in some major areas. I agree. Our economy is showing some signs of real weakness and is far too dependent on foregin oil. Our lower/middle classes are far too represented in prisons and slums. Our resources are being stretched and extended across the world in a way we can't support long-term.

Republicans often say that Senator McCain has proven himself to be a seasoned and effective political leader, a man who can work across party lines to solve problems. I agree. His credentials are impressive and he seems to be a man of integrity and strength. He would probably serve us well as President.

Democrats often say that although Senator Obama's tenure in the Senate has been much shorter than McCain's, he also has an impressive resume. I agree. He has sponsored many very important bills and shown empathy and foresight in making some tough calls and votes.

Republicans often say that McCain can truly relate to mainstream America, and that he really gets it and cares when it comes to the worries of the individual. I agree. He genuinely seems to care about people, and I think that is a core part of what makes him an attractive candidate.

Democrats often say that Obama's eloquence and intelligence allow him to inspire great crowds of people, and that this kind of charisma would bring many benefits to our country. I agree. He is a powerfully effective speaker, and envisioning that type of person representing our country is an attractive thought.

This is the way I like to talk about politics. Focusing on whom I like, what I want to see, and where I'd wish our country to go.

I hear Democrats using the name "McSame" and berating the man for the occassional verbal slip, basically saying he's as smart as a bag of walnuts. C'mon now.

I hear Republicans using the name "Osama' and berating the man for his race and his popularity, basically saying he's the antichrist just waiting to emerge. C'mon now.

We can do better.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That'll teach me to tease you

Life has been happening way, way too fast lately. There hasn't been much time to write the posts I promised I would.

When I finally sat down to write them, they didn't feel right anymore. They were perfect a few weeks ago and all ready in my head, but now they feel forced.

Along with the fast pace of life, my own spirit and inspiration seem to constantly be evolving. So I can't really write what I wanted to a few weeks ago, because I'm not that same guy anymore. Do you experience that too?

My muse has shifted. I'm not sure what'll hit me next for a blog topic. We'll see!

Please forgive me for the prior teasing about the upcoming topics. Hopefully I've learned my lesson. :)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Odds and ends

Time to steal an idea from my sister-in-law and just catch up on some things.

#1 -- My dad's music

I just got a cool package in the mail this week -- two homemade music CDs from my dad. One is a rock mix and the other is Brad Paisley.

I am not a country guy. At all. But I've listened to the Brad Paisley CD twice now and must admit I really like it! He's hilarious and can also really play guitar.

The rock CD is hilarious because I truly am my dad's son. The mix includes everything from Rihanna to The Doobie Brothers, from David Archuletta to Jimi Hendrix.

My brother likes Korn and Sir Mix-a-Lot. We're weird.

Life with a 5-year-old -- recent quotes

Church minister: So you see kids, David didn't need swords, shields, spears or armor to defeat Goliath! All he needed was God!
Samantha: And a slingshot.
Me (quietly to Samantha): Good point.

Me, playing with my son Jack: I'm gonna bonk your head! (I bonk it) I'm gonna bonk your nose! (I do) I'm gonna bonk your shoulder! (done)
Samantha: Bonk his penis!
Me: What?!?
Samantha, quieter, sheepishly: Bonk his penis?
Me: I don't think so.

Possible family addition

It's been a while since I had to put our cats down. We've been petless since, for the first time in our kids' lives, and they've been antsy.

I didn't really think a dog would/could be the next pet. We have several nuances in our home that I saw as limiting factors:

--Small yard and a fence/garage structure that meant the dog would often be loose in the front yard and street area (very low traffic).
--Young, allergic kids (the reason we no longer have cats)
--Hot weather
--Not a lot of time/patience for training a puppy

Earlier this week a lady who works with Jamie's dad mentioned that she rescues dogs and adopts them out. She has a 16-month-old Miniature Schnauzer, male, that she's trying to rehome. So this breed, and this particular dog:

--Won't run away to chase other animals if he gets out into the front yard
--Doesn't shed and is practically hypoallergenic
--Likes to spend most of his time indoors
--Is already pretty well trained, neutered and up-to-date on immunizations
--Is excellent with children (the foster home has a girl Samantha's age)

The lady is bringing him by to "visit" this weekend. We haven't told the kids, so they'll just think she is a friend stopping by, and we won't take the dog unless everything feels right. We'll see what happens!

His story is pretty cool. He was basically abandoned at four months old, and when this lady found him he was very, very sick. Eating his own feces and everything. She cleaned him up and got him healthy, but his spirit was still very terrorized. Every time someone picked him up he peed himself in fear.

Over the past year he has come out of his shell and now loves to play. He still has some timidity and won't make the first move for affection. For instance, if you sit on the couch he may sit on the floor close to you, but he won't jump up there. But if you get down on the floor he knows the game is on and gets very happy.

He sounds sweet, fun and uniquely flawed. He might just fit in around here.

What's on tap -- deep stuff

1. Eastern vs. Western thought -- how we sometimes miss basic points of the bible
2. Free Will, and why I think it may not actually exist
3. Religious people "missing out on the fun", and why I think that's a load