Monday, July 31, 2006


I just got back from a root canal over lunch. Funny how all dentists say the same thing. "This may tingle just a bit. Just lift your hand if it's uncomfortable."

Tingle. Uncomfortable.

That's kind of like the Russian soldier telling Rambo he might feel a tingle when the electricity is turned up.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Feeling my age

I'm a little sore this morning. Last week as we were cleaning out our closets, I stumbled across my old rollerblades. It's been at least ten years since I strapped them on and I only used them a few times at that. Last night was one of those perfect summer nights, the kind when it's still 80 degrees at nine at night and the air is sweet and thick. Under the cover of darkness I went down to our lake, Lake Harriet, and strapped on my blades. I was sure I would remember how to use them, and would be catching air in no time.

I did in fact catch air, just not how I intended to. I had hoped the lake would be deserted, yet it seemed that everyone had the same idea. I landed flat on my gluteous maximus in front of a carload of teenagers. It was a great fall. Feet flying out in front. Hands clutching for the air. I don't know how the teens responded because I was in pain. Yet I kept at it for the better part of an hour, trying to keep a little of my dignity.

Lake Harriet is gorgeous; I love that I can see the city in the background, and one of my favorite fountains is on the east side. My plan is to be able to rollerblade completly around the lake, then make my way through the park to the adjoining Lake Calhoun. After I soak in hot tub for a few hours. And I think I'll wear those wrist guards, too. Rollerblading is fun, but I already broke my wrist once trying to take a ramp my first time snowboarding. I hope I've learned my lesson. Probably not.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Philosophy Football

If you like philosophy at all, these Monty Python clips, here and here, are a must watch.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Chicken Philosophy III

Let no one say that I show favoritism...

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am for it now, and will remain against it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Chicken Philosophy II

We continue to search for the secrets of the universe as the chicken crosses yet another road.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

If there's any one man who exemplifies Either/Or thinking, it's President W. In the film The Princess and the Warrior, the protagonist is an ex-soldier who is expertly skilled in fighting and adapting to life-threatening situations. Yet, in the midst of battle, he weeps and continues to fight. His tears do not display weakness; they show us his strength. In the Lord of the Rings films, Aragorn fights for his rightful place as king, yet he does so with a moving combination of conviction and humility.

Are there any leaders in real life who can call us to more while also acknowledging our humanness?

DONALD RUMSFELD: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road. Now watch as the F-15...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chicken Philosophy I

Sometimes a kernel of truth hides in the strangest places. I think that "the chicken crossing the road" jokes may indeed hold the secrets of the universe. Let's explore...

So, why did the chicken cross the road?

DR. PHIL McGRAW: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on "THIS" side of the road before it goes after the problem on the "OTHER SIDE" of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his "CURRENT" problems before adding "NEW" problems.

Annie likes Dr. Phil; I can't stand him. She likes his "common - sense" approach to relational and existential problem solving. I think he's nothing more than a pragmatist with a flair for the dramatic and an MBA in marketing.

Ok, I'll give a little. Pragmatism can get you part of the way toward becoming that which we were meant to be. It's just that Dr. Phil is so... American in his approach. And not just American; "George W." American. "Take control of your life." "Set goals." "Accomplish... things." "Buck up." "Change your behavior." His counseling advice is little more than a Nike catch phrase, "Just Do it." I imagine that his solution to the current Middle East crisis would be to tell Hezbollah to forget about establishing an Islamic republic. "Listen up, y'all. Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right."

I think we'll have to continue investigating why that chicken wants to get to the other side of the road.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Annie's Dad

Tomorrow Annie's Dad undergoes a double-bypass surgery to take care of two blocked arteries in his heart. Please remember him as you talk with God along the way.

[UPDATE: My father-in-law's surgery was successful, and he will remain in intensive care for 24 hours, and stay in the hospital for another 4 - 5 days. He'll be back on the tennis court in no time. At least I hope so. I want a rematch. Last time, he beat me.]

Friday, July 14, 2006

Talk about the weather

Oscar Wilde said that conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative. So let's talk about the weather. It's going to be hot.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Headbutt heard round the world

One British announcer commented during the awards ceremony that in the French locker room sat the loneliest man in the world...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Celtic Monastic Gathering

This weekend I'm planning on attending the Celtic Monastic Gathering, sponsored by the Northumbria Community. As a descendant of both the Celts and the Vikings (who conquered and terrorized the Celtic people) I've oscillated between the gentleness of the Celtic traditions and the desire to grab the nearest Chieftain Sword and cut my way through the world. It should be an interesting weekend.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Inno di Mameli

It's been a busy week. I had four days off of work, and a World Cup to watch. I had intended to write the next Great American novel during those four days, but you know how it goes. Saturday was the England vs. Portugal game, which Silvi and I watched at Brit's Pub on their huge screen out on their lawn bowling greens. Hundreds of fans (England all the way) packed the downtown pub, the cheers echoing off of the skyscrapers forming a man-made amphitheater around us. Alas, due in part to an angry kick by Rooney, the English footballers packed their bags for home, and the German authorities breathed a sigh of relief as busloads of drunken hooligans crossed the border out of Rheinland.

The Fourth of July, and back to Brit's Pub with some of Annie's friends from London. (who were still sulking over having lost to the Portuguese, of all people.) Germany met Italy, and I have to say I was torn. Shocking, I know, but I half wanted Germany to win in their home country. Probably because of what a great Story it would have made, retold through the ages. I'm a sucker for happy endings. But the fairy tale ending was saved for millions of fans in Rome, as Italy drove two shots into the net in the final minutes of overtime. (A television camera crew was at the pub, and my mom told me that Silvi and I made the evening news.)

Yesterday, (I'm not even going to bring up Brazil's shameful performance over the weekend) I skipped the Portugal vs. France match. All I know is, I hope the world is singing Inno di Mameli on Sunday instead of La Marseillaise.