Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dancing Fool

season2_dance_picAsk anyone who knows me, and they will tell you how much I despise reality shows. I simply cannot stand watching people make fools of themselves just for the sake of a few hours of public exposure. And don't get me started on the inane dialogs on these shows! Unscripted conversation is usually sooo uninteresting.

So...I thought I would get away with not having to get hooked on any of these shows. Then, they had to go and make the dance competition shows...and I am hopelessly addicted! First there was "Dancing With the Stars" last year, followed by "So You Think You Can Dance"Then another season of "Stars," and now, "So You Think..." is back. I love this show! I love watching how a person who specializes in one style of dance tackles an entirely different style. I love seeing them get better as the weeks advance. Well, watching dancing in general just makes me happy!

If you, like me, think that reality shows are a waste of television airtime, check out "So You Think You Can Dance." I don't have any favorites yet, since they just started competing tonight, but there are several outstanding dancers in the crowd! Wow - would that I could move like that! We'll talk later about who should win...unless you already have your own ideas!

A Meme and Some Randomnesses

Oh wow - I got tagged by two people, so here I go with my very first meme. It's a cool one too...I actually learned a bit of history! So thanks Heather and Jay! Here goes:

1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. In the Search box, type your birth month and day (but not year).
3. List three events that happened on your birthday.
4. List two important birthdays and one interesting death.
5. One holiday or observance (if any).

I chose three from three different areas of history: American, music, and technology.

•1877 - Chief Joseph surrenders his Nez Perce band to General Nelson A. Miles.
•1962 - The Beatles release their first hit, "Love Me Do," in Britain.
•1991 - The first official version of the Linux kernel, version 0.02, is released.

•1958 - Bernie Mac, American actor and comedian
•1962 - Michael Andretti, American race car driver (who did great at Indy this year, even if he didn't win!)

•2004 - Rodney Dangerfield, American comedian (b. 1921)

International World Teachers' Day (personally I think teachers deserve a whole week, but a day is a good beginning!)

Now for some randomnesses:

1. Wandering through Salvation Army the other day, I came across a rack of donated underpants. I mean...who gives their old used underwear to the Salvation Army? And who would buy it??

2. Overheard on the bus, from guy entertaining the entire bus with his scintillating phone conversation: "Oh yeah, they had the street all blocked off for a couple of hours. A window on the 40th floor cracked and they were afraid the glass would fall." Then I realized that he was talking about the building we're moving to in a few months! Eek!

3. I'm a relative newcomer to the corporate world, and I am quickly realizing that the number of meetings is directly proportional to the amount of work that must be done to meet deadlines. No wonder people in this country take less vacations than anywhere else!

Oh! I almost forgot - I guess I need to tag someone...let's see...I tag Denise and Mike.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Conversation on the Bus

Warning: Strong opinions ahead!

I was on the bus this morning talking to “M,” with whom I frequently ride, and a friend of his. We were talking about this and that, and somehow the subject came around to door-to-door missionaries, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Scientologists.

We discussed Scientology and the fact that the group was founded by a man who wrote science fiction. Good science fiction, mind you, but still – science fiction. Someone mentioned that Scientology actually was started as a grand experiment, apparently never meant to become a religion. I asked the guys if they had ever visited the Scientology Web site and looked at the glossary. I told them that personally I find it all to be a bunch of bunk.

“M” then said that one day a woman and her daughter came to his door, and as he was feeling “chatty,” he engaged them in an hour-long discussion about the precepts of their particular religion. They brought up point after point, and “M” found the flaw in each one. They never once lost their tempers or got frustrated, and after an hour the mother said, “Well, you have a nice day,” and they took their leave. We laughed about an imagined comment that the daughter might have made to her mother as they left.

At this point, a young woman sitting nearby interrupted us and said, “Excuse me, but this is a public bus, and you might want to be careful about what you say. You never know who’s listening, and you might be offending someone.” To which I replied, “Well, the last time I looked this was a free country, and I have the right to express myself freely.” She persisted with her statement, adding that a relative of hers is a Jehovah’s Witness, and she’s a very nice person, and she really believes in her religion. To which we replied that we never said that Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t nice people. Again, we were vaguely threatened with “You should be careful.” Our conversation was quickly squelched when it became obvious that pressing our right to free speech with this young woman would be to no avail. Shortly after that we changed the subject to general pleasantries about the traffic. Did I just say “pleasantries” about traffic? Well, the traffic was hardly pleasant, as we were crawling into town, but we had moved to a “safe” topic anyway…

Excuse me?! Since when did avoiding the risk of offending someone trump a person’s right to free speech?? When did the fact that I happen to disagree with these particular beliefs mean that I shouldn’t be able to express that opinion because I might offend someone? Never once in our conversation did we attack anyone for belonging to these particular groups. Not once did “M” say that the people who came to his door were stupid or ignorant or ugly for believing what they do or for wanting to share their beliefs. We NEVER said that these believers aren’t nice people! Heck, I grew up in a religious group considered by many to be a “cult,” so I’ve been on the receiving end of many religious discussions. Offended by these discussions? No. Motivated to defend my beliefs? Yes.

I know that we all want to be nice and considerate of our fellow man, but I also believe that we should cling tenaciously to our freedoms. Giving those freedoms up for the sake of being “politically correct,” or because we might “offend” someone flies directly in the face of the intentions of those who framed our Bill of Rights. I will fiercely defend a person’s freedom to believe whatever they choose to believe. They have a right to express their beliefs to whomever they choose. By the same token, I have the right to express my own opinions about what I personally believe. I’ll be respectful, but I’ll be expressive, remembering these words from William Cowper, British poet:

Discourse may want an animated "No"
To brush the surface, and to make it flow;
But still remember, if you mean to please,
To press your point with modesty and ease.

Whew! This was an intense topic; but I felt it was an important one, and if I didn’t express it here, it would bother me for days. Now I have it off my chest, I do feel much, much better. I am also interested in hearing how you guys out there feel. Are we, in striving to avoid offense, in danger of breaking down meaningful discourse? I’m sure there are other questions I should put forth here, but it’s after midnight and I’m very sleepy, so I must post this and head to bed.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

They Always Know...

...where to find the love. This is Peaches, my mum's cat. A picture of pure, satisfied bliss that belies the cockiness this little cat possesses.

Peaches wasn't her cat once. He lived somewhere around the corner, but he loved to visit my parents and "help" my mum as she gardened. Helping consisted of sitting on the backs of her legs as she knelt and weeded, or climbing up onto her back. He also had to carefully inspect every hole that she dug...making sure the depth was correct, I suppose.

Peaches wasn't even Peaches once either. He was Wiley. One day when he was visiting my mum, his owner came by and saw him in the garden. "Wiley! There you are!" he exclaimed. Pleasantries and explanations were exchanged, and the owner trotted off home, leaving Wiley/Peaches to keep mum company. Another time the daughter came and plucked him off the fence and carted him home. He always came back. Apparently his real home was full of other pets and kids, and just too darn noisy for one little white and orange kitty to handle. So he spent his days hunting and playing in mum's English cottage garden on the corner.

One eventful day, Peaches officially moved in. There was a knock at the door, and there stood Peaches and his owner. Or rather, there stood the owner with Peaches in his arms. When my dad opened the door, the owner said, "We have to move, and we know that Wiley is happier here with you. So we want you to have him." So my dad naturally said, "Sure - we'll take him!" The little wily cat has been there ever since. He rules the roost like a little banty rooster, and everyone in the neighborhood knows him. We, of course, love him to pieces!

The name Peaches? Well, mum didn't really intend for that to be his name, but she called him that as a nickname, thinking that he was a she. Of course the name stuck, as names will do. Only now it's Peaches LaRue, just like a little gangster. Fitting, isn't it?

Before I forget...Many happy returns of the day, Mum!