Friday, June 27, 2008
My brother-in-law has picked up on this tendency of mine over the years; he might be having a battle with Elder Sister in my presence, and I will blend into the furniture, or start chivvying the children to clean up or snap to... and B-I-L will turn to me and say something like "It's ok, you know; no one is in danger just because I'm angry!" Which I know, of course; but when you've learned to deal with an angry father over 13 years of childhood, you try and do whatever you can to alleviate anger, to placate, to pour oil on troubled waters. I will grow very quiet... I will start to tidy up... I will speak in a subdued fashion, to indicate my appreciation of the situation.
I have been fortunate to have friends who will disagree with me, and have spirited arguments over things like religion and politics... it has taken time, but it has allowed me at least some understanding that disagreement and argument do not mean someone will hate or hurt you when the debate is over. But even with all of that, I find myself adapting to the opinions of whomever I am with. I leap to find common ground, to express a sympathy and comprehension of their opinion.
This is why I cannot endure the rants of the Bill O'Reillys, the Ann Coulters and Rush Limbaughs. (I know they have liberal counterparts, but I don't know who any of them are, for some reason.) I might agree with some of their opinions, but their absolute inability to see any good in liberalism troubles me. I wish there was more of an appreciation in this country for the Moderate and the Centrist, and that they could be allowed to have their own voice in the media. I don't think it means that someone is any less compelling, just because they can see both sides of an argument... I mean, wouldn't you want to have that kind of respect in a discussion? Instead of just being lambasted as an idiot?
Monday, June 23, 2008
A particularly amusing narrative:
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Bearing in mind the differences in population (urban vs. suburban) and urgency (dire vs. steady increase), it's hard not to make comparisons between the devastation of Hurricane Katrina (ie: New Orleans) and the flooding along the Mississipi (ie: Iowa).
- lots of water
- destruction of personal property
- breaking levees
- typical for area - it's happened before
Now let's think about how people responded. New Orleans was one long series of "Who's responsible," with local, state, federal government, FEMA, and the population all getting a portion of blame. Iowa seems to be more about "How can I help preserve my city?" I know, they have more time to fill sandbags; their flooding has been a slow and steady increase, while Katrina was a matter of only a few days warning, right? But if you look at it from the perspective of what we can see in media coverage both then and now, New Orleans was all about what the government was supposed to do to fix the problem, while Iowa is all about what the local residents are doing to try and save themselves.
I do see that getting millions out of the path of a devastating hurricane with not enough time is a vast deal more difficult than what's been going on along the Mississippi, and it's not something that could have been stopped with sandbags. But I never seem to hear anyone in news stories talking about how the government has failed the Midwest in this flood season; it's just lots and lots of v-roll of hundreds and hundreds of people filling sandbags, trying to keep their own levees from breaking.
Is the difference that people in urban areas are more dependant upon the government, while the more scattered populations of the midwest are more self-reliant? Yeah, I think so.
I'm sure everyone can think of their own set of rational excuses to be made for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and how it responded in the face of natural disaster. But the bitterness and blame of Katrina is curiously absent from the Midwest, who have lost as much, and will continue to lose more for some time to come.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
- A lake house is nice, except when it's in the 90s and the AC is broken.
- AC filters need to be changed periodically so that the AC can keep working.
- There is such a thing as a 24-hour emergency HVAC repair service.
- Just because you and your friends say over and over that the AC WILL be fixed, it doesn't necessarily produce the desired result.
- It is possible to sleep in an oppressively hot house, as long as you have a fan and a damp towel to drape over your legs and forehead, and you dose up on Benadryl.
- My car loves to kick off its hubcaps.
- There is always something useful to be learned in trying situations.
- I have more endurance and adaptability than I thought.
- It's not always a good idea to force through a vacation trip, because sometimes God doesn't mean for you to go.
- Even in the midst of trying situations, there are treasures such as fine regional cheeses, and excellent country meat-and-three restaurants to be found.
- Just because a store advertises itself as an Amish market does not mean that you will actually find any Amish people there, nor that they will necessarily have any locally produced Amish products.
- There is a time and place for makeup, and a lake house with no AC is not one of them.
- It is possible to fit more activities into a 29 hour trip than initially thought possible.
- Giving up and going home early because you're melting from the heat is not weak; it is sensible.