30 April 2005

“Worst Pub Ever”

We went out for dinner last night, to a local pub named Bukowski’s that
I had heard good things about.  It was so dreadful that I posted
this review to several art and entertainment sites.

Miserable, miserable food.  I’ve been to a lot of pubs, and
this one was the worst.  I had the “Buk” sandwich — dry turkey,
inoffensively bland cheese, Wonder-quality bread, and french fries (*in
the sandwich*).  The burger was only average.  And although
the beer selection was good, the price was about a buck higher than
other local places; the beer did have about an inch of head, and in
some countries, that much head is against the law.  Combined with
the noise — music as loud as a rock concert, but I didn’t enjoy
myself–I would have preferred to stay home and have Cheerios for
dinner.

Service was so-so.  We had three different servers in our
hour there. They weren’t bad, but not exactly attentive, either. 
it took a while to get anything.

You can get much better than this for the same money.

I didn’t mention that there’s a double irony in a generic-upscale,
catering-to-the-wrong-PBR-crowd (sorry, Andrew, but I think you would
have been offended by $4-5 cans and bottles of PBR, Ballantine, and
Lone Star) naming itself after a man who spent his life in dive bars
and loathing the clientele of his namesake pub.

Posted in Day2Day on 30 April 2005 at 1:40 pm by Nate
24 April 2005

Thoughts on turning 30

Today is my 30th birthday.

I’m not sure exactly how I feel about this.  I don’t really feel
any older than I did yesterday or a couple of months ago, and I don’t
really feel much older than when I was 27 or 28, to be honest.

(My mom, however, called today, and she said that she doesn’t feel like
she can have a kid who’s thirty.  And I actually sort of remember
when she turned thirty.  But she remembered it was a Thursday, and
about 10.30 in the morning, and it was kind of cloudy, but she saw a
little bit of sun through the window in the delivery room.)

Perhaps I’m supposed to start thinking about mortality or something
like that, and I guess I am in some way, in that I have now had three
decades of time to do something with life, and so one might want to
have something to point at.  One of the first thoughts that comes
to me is, “God, I am STILL in school.”  I’ve only been out of
school for a year or two since I turned five.

Here’s the thing.  One of the themes that’s come up a bit in
talking with my spiritual director is the need most of us (all of us?)
have to “do” something, “make” something, “impact” something.  I
certainly feel this need, in almost all the areas of my life —
physical, mental, professional, spiritual.  What do I have to show
for my efforts?  What output comes from my input?

And that’s the trap of our world, whether because of the particular
logic of the capitalist ethos, some innate human nature, or whatever
explanation you like.  But perhaps we are most fully ourselves,
most fully human, most fulfilled when we simply are.

Thirty’s a big marker only if I’m looking to validate or put a stamp of
accomplishment on my life so far.  But maybe thirty just is if I
just am.

Maybe more on this later.

Posted in Day2Day on 24 April 2005 at 6:21 pm by Nate
23 April 2005

I speak American English, apparently

Your Linguistic Profile:

60% General American English
20% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
5% Yankee
0% Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?
Posted in OnTheWeb on 23 April 2005 at 1:08 pm by Nate

Just liked this irenic thought

From
AKMA, in a sort-of-tangential comment on the matter of the “Connecticut
Six” (whom you really don’t need to know about to appreciate the
comment).
  (It also seems applicable to the situation some of
our Roman Catholic friends find themselves in this week, both
conservatives who think they’ve “won” and liberals who may despair a
bit.)

It would take a lot of persuading — the kind typically associated with
biblical miracles — to convince me that justice in the church should
involve one party prevailing over the other in an unambiguous way.
Under the circumstances, though I know no one will like it and everyone
feel wounded, it looks to me as though the only way that leads closer
to God involves us all enduring for a while in uncorrected injustice,
and having faith that the God in whose grace and love we put our whole
trust will bring a church of frayed-but-bound-together affections to a
fuller understanding of what justice requires of us.

Posted in Rayleejun on 23 April 2005 at 1:04 pm by Nate
22 April 2005

Somehow I doubt it

That Microsoft is afraid, I mean.

The Microsoft Corporation, at the forefront of corporate gay rights for
decades, is coming under fire from gay rights groups, politicians and
its own employees for withdrawing its support for a state bill that
would have barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation….

State Representative Ed Murray, an openly gay Democrat and a sponsor of
the bill, said that in a conversation last month with Bradford L.
Smith, Microsoft’s senior vice president and general counsel, Mr. Smith
made it clear to him that the company was under pressure from the
church and the pastor and that he was also concerned about the reaction
to company support of the bill among its Christian employees, the
lawmaker said.

Mr. Smith would not comment for this article.

Representative
Murray said that in a recent conversation with Mr. Smith, Mr. Smith
said that the minister had demanded the company fire Microsoft
employees who testified this year on behalf of the bill, but that Mr.
Smith had refused. According to Representative Murray, Mr. Smith said
“that while he did not do the many things that the minister had
requested, including firing employees who had testified for the bill,
he believed that Microsoft could not just respond to one group of
employees, when there were other groups of employees who felt much
different.

Dr. Hutcherson, who has become a leading national critic of same-sex
marriage, said he believed he could have organized a widespread boycott
of Microsoft. He said he told the Microsoft executives, “If you don’t
think the moral issue is not a big issue, just count the amount of
votes that were cast on moral issues in the last election.”

“A lot of Christians would have joined me,” he said, “But it would have been a lot more people, too.”

Um, no.

First off, this Christianist is a bully.  Like all bullies, he
has an overinflated sense of his own power, and he’s going around
making demands and issuing threats.  Let us repeat: only one in
five voters said that “moral issues” were important in the last
election.  Eighty percent said they were not.  And the poll that everyone’s making claims upon was significantly flawed, and so its results should not be trusted
So he also asked for those who testified in favor of the bill to be
fired.  Granted, that would capture a lot of the LGBT employees,
but it’s a request to fire someone from their job because of the opinions that they hold and the thoughts that they think.  Such seems the essence of theocracy and of totalitarianism.

Second, who does he think he’s threatening?  This is MICROSOFT,
the most powerful company in the world.  He probably wrote
everything pertaining to this case on Word in a Windows
environment.  They have 95 percent of the home market.  And
Apple tends to be similarly liberal, too, so defection is not an
option.  And few people want to deal with Linux, especially with
its anti-hierarchical structure (which probably concerns the
Christianist bully).  Even if people threaten Microsoft with
action, when it comes time to buy a computer, or a palm device, or a
home media center, and so forth, will the resolve really hold up? 
If the choice is consume or not to consume, people in our society
generally consume.  Sure, some won’t, but most will.

Something else is going on here.  Microsoft may have backed away a
bit because of this guy and his supporters, but even a bunch of
churches spread throughout the country won’t break Microsoft’s hold on
your (and my) desktop.

Posted in Politicks on 22 April 2005 at 10:52 am by Nate

Saint Francis and the Sow

I ran across this recently and really liked it.

“Saint Francis and the Sow”
    by Galway Kinnell

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to re-teach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of the earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Posted in Ev'rything But the Sink on 22 April 2005 at 10:47 am by Nate
21 April 2005

Out of my head once a week

Well, sort of.

I’m taking a bike machanics’ class from Quad Bikes here in Cambridge.  We’re learning intermediate stuff in the four-week class.  Last night: rotational systems, especially hubs!

Yeah, it’s kind of geeky, but it’s nice to do something mechanical and
with my hands, rather than with books and the computer all the
time.  Also, it makes me feel more competent and secure with my
own bike….

Posted in Day2Day on 21 April 2005 at 12:12 pm by Nate
19 April 2005

Habemus papam

As everyone knows by now, we have a new pope.

The head bishop of the American Church fired a shot across the bow,
saying, “I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide him in his words and
his actions and that he may become a focus of unity and a minister of
reconciliation in a church and a world in which faithfulness and truth
wear many faces.”

That is, Truth is not held solely within the Roman Catholic Church and
the interpretation of that faith that Benedict XVI holds. 
(Benedict has become well-known for his claim that the full Truth of
the
Gospel is found only in Roman Catholic Christianity and that other
forms of Christianity and religion are “deficient.”) Truth belongs to
God, and we are at best imperfect custodians of that Truth, prone to
error even in noting where that truth may lie.

Rowan Cantuar is a bit more hopeful — or politic: “His election is also of great significance
to Christians everywhere. I look forward to meeting him and working
together to build on the legacy
of his predecessor, as we seek to promote shared understanding between
our churches in the service of the Gospel and the goal of Christian unity.”

All the Protestant conservatives who will hold this election of a
conservative pope as a sign of great things need to remember that he
thinks their faith problematic, incomplete, and at least in part, in
Error.   Pause before rejoicing.

Posted in Rayleejun on 19 April 2005 at 8:05 pm by Nate
16 April 2005

Coffee lovers!

The World Barista Champion will soon be crowned.  We should all go.

Posted in OnTheWeb on 16 April 2005 at 9:43 am by Nate
15 April 2005

The President’s iPod

Maybe you saw the story this week about what the President listens to on his iPod. And the accompanying sidebar on what’s on his playlist.

You can also read some speculation about what might be on the playlist of other politicians
(this is on the L.A. Times website, which requires registration, but
just go to bugmenot.com and they’ve got a reg already set up for
you–even better, download the extension for Firefox and automate the
bugmenot process
).  Some examples:

Karl Rove: “Under My Thumb”; “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

Alberto Gonzales: “Whip It”

Colin Powell: “Free Bird”

John Bolton: “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)”

Bill Clinton: “Sexual Healing”

Al Gore: “March of the Wooden Soldiers”

Tom DeLay: “Burnin’ Down the House”

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

In that spirit, fire up your iPod in shuffle mode and put down the first 10 songs that come up.  Here’s mine:
Ultraviolet – U2
River Rat Jimmy – Kelly Joe Phelps
You’re Gonna Change – Emmylou Harris
The Ballad of Carol Lynn – Whiskeytown
Even Better than the Real Thing – U2
The Lighthouse’s Tale – Nickel Creek
Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Fats Waller
Big Rock Candy Mountain – Harry McClintock
Poses – Rufus Wainwright
Personal Jesus – Johnny Cash

Posted in Politicks on 15 April 2005 at 10:36 am by Nate