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Something to keep you up tonight

• Pepper-jack cheese is awesome. They should make more kinds of cheese with stuff in it. Pepper-cheddar. Mushroom-mozzarella. Bacon-cheddar!

• I like things that are either beautiful, or especially ugly. Why?

• Most of the important things I’ve learned about life came through making mistakes.

• I love changes. I look for changes. I am absolutely terrified of changes.

• Perceptions are so very easily deceived. Perceptions can be altered by how much sleep I’ve had, what I’ve eaten, what I expect, what I have experienced before, the last conversation I had, the angle I am seeing from, and on, and on, and on. It’s practically impossible that I’ve ever observed anything accurately. Yet we are so certain about so many things.

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They had hipsters back then?

I’d say that this is a dead on description of hipsters, but it’s not. It’s just an exert from Vicor Hugo’s Les Miserables. It doesn’t matter, I’m going to call them dandies from now on anyway.

If they were richer, one would say, “They are dandies,” if they were poorer, one would say, “They are idlers.” They are simply men without employment. Among these unemployed there are bores, the bored, dreamers, and some knaves.

At that period, a dandy was composed of a tall collar, a big cravat, a watch with trinkets, three vests of different colors, worn one on top of each other – the red and blue inside; of a short-waisted olive coat, with a codfish tail, a double row of silver buttons set close to each other and running up to the shoulder; and a pair of trousers of a lighter shade of olive, ornamented on the two seams with an indefinite, but always uneven, number of lines, varying from one to eleven – a limit which was never exceeded. Add to this high shoes with little irons on the heels, a tall hat with a narrow brim, hair worn in a tuff, an enormous cane, and conversation set off by puns of Potier.

Over all, spurs and a mustache. At that epoch, mustaches indicated the bourgeois, and spurs the pedestrian.

The provincial dandy wore the longest of spurs, and the fiercest of mustaches.

And the winner is…

The header contest ended a few days ago, but I am just now getting around to announcing the winner. Vinae of The Oregon Winns sent in that shiny little picture up there. Thanks to everyone who participated! Nice job, beautiful work, et cetera, and so on…

Now I need to go down to the post office.

Mark it zero

It seems like the world today has developed a fixation with sticking up for itself, an You can’t treat me that way! I’ll show you! You don’t know who you’re messing with! attitude. It’s gone so far that the general consensus is that if you’ve ever been taken advantage of, it must be because you have some kind of personal problem. If you don’t fight for your rights, you must be weak. You must be stupid.

My kids have come to the age now where they only want what somebody else has. If my daughter is having fun with something, my son suddenly decides that he must have it. The only thing to do is sweep in and seize that item immediately. It goes both ways. Naturally, whoever had it first has the right to that book, or toy, or whatever. And naturally, they usually put up a fight. But what happens to that book or toy in the ensuing struggle? They both pull on an end until it breaks.

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 1 Corinthians 6:7

Yet, what would have happened if the victim had simply let go? Worst case scenario: the aggressor would get what he wanted, play with it for a time, and then put it down to go do something else. Much more likely, the victim would come to one of us parents and plead for justice. And we the parents would give it to them. But that’s not how things usually go.

And as adults, we are rarely any better. We stare down people who cut us off on the road. We guard our place in line at the grocery store. We throw parties at news of the death of our enemies. We stake out our half of the desk. In all this, what have we become? Jerks.

In our passionate defense of our rights, how often we blur the line of victim and aggressor. I remember, long ago, my brother and I were taking karate lessons together. He was trying to learn a new throw, and I was the practice dummy. Such is life. Part of the throw required him to sweep his leg in front of mine. What wasn’t part of the throw was me getting repeatedly kicked in the shins. He was doing it wrong, and I tried to correct him. And I kept getting kicked in the shins. I warned him, and it still didn’t stop. Finally, I had enough. He kicked me in the shins, I kneed him in the back, tossed him on the ground in a reverse, and stood their gloating.

Was I right? Even the instructor thought so. But what did I accomplish? I created a schism between my brother and me. He was so offended that he wouldn’t talk to me. He felt that I could have seriously hurt him, which was true. He said that he couldn’t trust me. Not long after, he quit taking lessons completely.

Beloved, never avenge yourself, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21

And such is usually the case when we insist on sticking up for ourselves. You can’t fight back without fighting. The stakes get higher. And all the sudden you’re pulling a gun at the bowling alley because somebody’s toe crossed the line. No, you’re no wrong. But you’re still a jerk.

Yeah. I used a picture from that movie in the same piece that I quote the bible.

So, what am I saying? That we should just roll over? Let people walk all over us? Take advantage of us? Are we all to become passivists? No. I’m not saying that. But allow me to finish with what Jesus says about it, and that can be the end of the matter.

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:38-41

adventures in semi-lucidity

• Of all Shakespeare’s characters, I like his fools best.

• When your job is to clean up somebody else’s feces off of the floor or walls of a public restroom, it helps to be methodical. Gloves are also important.

• I exist in a perpetual state of losing and looking for things. I found my watch. But has anybody seen either my bookmark or my phone charger?

• The quality of music you hear playing in other people’s cars is inversely proportional to the volume at which they play it.

• In a conflict, it doesn’t matter what anybody else has done to me. What matters is what I have done to others. I am not responsible for anybody else’s wrongs, but I neither am I justified by them.

• I really like symmetry. But the word used to express symmetry should be a palindrome. Then again, so should palindrome.

as long as you can live

The way to hunt is for as long as you live against as long as there is such and such an animal; just as the way to paint is as long as there is you and colors and canvas, and to write as long as you can live and there is pencil and paper or ink or any machine to do it with, or anything you care to write about, and you feel a fool, and you are a fool, to do it any other way. – Ernest Hemingway

Thoughts from the hurricane 5/8/11

• If you can’t admit when you’re wrong, you’re probably wrong more often than you’re right.

• Narcolepsy is like an unexpected gift to the insomniac, this one at least.

• Milk jugs, juice boxes, water bottles. It’s obvious that we can make foolproof containers for liquids. Yet it seems to be impossible to make a gas can that you can handle or use without getting gasoline all over your hands.

• Watching my daughter pick up and read a book is a little unnerving. It’s like having a pet bear. Sure it’s cute, but before long it will be able to effortlessly overpower you.

• Ignoring the obvious doesn’t make it untrue.

• Legos are unspeakably cool.

• Knowledge is not power.

• Little Dane visited the coffee roaster this week. Before that, he spent a week at the bottom of a fish tank.

Dreamy

If there is one subject that can galvanize my attention immediately, it’s dreams. I love to talk about dreams. Several of my co-workers know immediately when I’m in the middle of a dream discussion, just because of how animated I get. They mock me, in fact. I’m alright with that. Because other co-workers share my passion.

There is one gentleman in particular, and I don’t use that term loosely, who trades dream stories with me on a weekly basis. He has to do most of the sharing, actually. I hardly ever dream. This story, Of All Our Parts, is my interpretation of a dream he had awhile back. I tried to follow the story as closely as possible. But I had to make up an ending as I saw fit. When you get to the line: “I realized as I looked at her that I was in over my head,” that’s where my own imagination took over.

I wish I dreamed like that.

Post-script: don’t forget the design contest!