Category: Aspiration

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Be Better Neighbors

Yesterday, I wore my Alienware T-Shirt, with the company’s logo on the front—an alien, of course. For some reason, I got several questions about it. So I said: “Well, this is my illegal alien. He’s afraid of getting sent back to his home planet, and I’m protesting with him.”

There’s truth to what I said. I’m unfavorable to the hardline US legislators are taking with this immigration bill. I just don’t see turning all these immigrants into criminals, or turning them away. As one of the sixth graders pointed out today in the Sunday school class I teach, most Americans are immigrants. And to the Native Americans here 400 hundred years ago, the off-continent settlers were the illegals and, as it turned out, invaders, too. 

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Let Be the Midwives

The New York Times looks at the prosecution of midwives in Indiana, where only doctors and nurses can legally assist births. I believe the same may hold true in Maryland, where we used a licensed midwife-nurse for our daughter’s birth.

Midwifery certainly predates any law governing the practice or the modern-day practice of hospital deliveries. This doctor-hospital thing is a fairly recent practice, while midwives have been birthing babies for millennia. 

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‘Live 8’ or Death

Two Saturdays ago, the family hauled off to Tysons Corner Center, so that my wife could shop at the New Balance store and my daughter at the Sketchers there. On a giant flat-panel monitor at the back of the Sketchers played Live 8, particularly Richard Ashcroft’s performance, with Coldplay, of The Verve staple “Bittersweet Symphony”.

The performance stuck with me, as did vague memories of Live 8, which I mostly missed. I certainly shouldn’t have overlooked the concert as much as I did. During summer 2005, I struggled through some logistical problems at work, which greatly distracted from many things that should have been greater priority. Events like Live 8 come `round maybe once in 20 years, if Live AID is any indication. 

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There’s Still Time

Tomorrow work resumes for lots of folks, following the great Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa holiday. I blew off a bunch of vacation days during the holiday so that I wouldn’t lose them. Turns out, I needed the time off, and more. No doubt, other folks could say the same.

It’s 2006, but I’m living in the past. My calendar says December 2005 because I have yet to find a replacement. New calendars will be gone soon, now typically discounted to 50 percent. For years, I bought the Hansen Planetarium “Wonders of the Universe” calendar, but it stopped publication couple years back. Before the Web really took off, I subscribed by U.S. mail to the planetarium’s “Sky Watch” newsletter. I have yet to find a good replacement for “Wonders of the Universe.” Someone gave me the 2005 calendar that’s still on my wall, of Canadian provinces, in English and French. 

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Matchmaking Marketing

I am fascinated by marketing and how it is filtered through culture. This morning, I clicked through to a news story from Express India, for which RSS feed I subscribe. A banner ad for Indian matrimonial site Shaadi.com piqued my interest, because of its emphasis on matchmaking. There are similar services in the U.S., but they—even match.com—focus on dating or personal ads.

Shaadi.com’s marketing pitch is about finding the right match, utilizing the company’s eMatchmaker technology. The service’s focus isn’t about dating, but I would be shocked if the technology turned out to be dramatically different from other “singles” services. 

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The Christmas I Couldn’t Forget

When I was in fourth grade, my parents both had jobs—a novelty in Northern Maine during the late 1960s but start of a national trend.  Dad worked as a supervisor at the food processing plant and mom was night manager at a local hotel/motel. Financially, those were good years, when both my parents generated income. My mother would later lose her position, after the elegant facility burned down under mysterious circumstances. But that’s another story.

Christmas Eve, when my three younger sisters and I could open one present, I hardly could contain my want. Actually, I couldn’t contain it. My parents had gone out to food shop, preparation for feast as part of a spectacularly planned Christmas Day. They could afford to spend more on us that year than ever. Quite excited were they to give to their kids. 

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The Right Choice

My wife hauls me off to church every Sunday (and that’s not a bad thing). I teach Sunday school, which gets me out of the service. But last week, older kids organized a scavenger hunt for fourth through sixth graders (I teach the middleschoolers), so I had opportunity to sit in the service. Lucky, too.

The pastor announced she would step down at the end of December. After two-and-a-half years, she felt it was time to make room for new blood and a new way of doing things. I thought: “This is how it’s supposed to be”. 

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Why Be a Statistic?

For no particular reason, I looked at the Weddings page in today’s New York Times and all the happy faces there. Then I wondered how many of these marriages, sadly, would eventually end in bitter divorce. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the divorce rate is about half the marriage rate per 1,000 people.

As a teen, I read the humorous, sci-fi parody, Where Were You Last Pluterday?, by Paul Van Herck. For the main character, marriage was easy. But divorce was a complicated and expensive affair—and he had good reason! 

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Mittens and Shoes

This afternoon, on what turned out to be an uncharacteristically summer-like day, I walked toward the veterinarian’s office to see if Mittens the stray survived her fender bender. Turns out the real bender—chug-alug-lug—was the man who first came to our door about the car-struck cat. He walked back from the direction of the vet’s, in socks. No shoes! Sure the day was warm, but not for going down the street in socks.

Turns out he drank up overnight and someone stole his shoes and jacket, or so he claimed, during a blackout. “Could you help me out?” he pleaded. I felt somewhat entangled because of yesterday’s goodwill with the cat. The guy said he couldn’t go back to his “woman” without shoes. I decided to be generous, and gave him a good pair that I don’t wear anymore. He took the shoes and disappeared. I had my misgivings, because sometimes some people take advantage of generosity. 

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Mittens

Some days, people give me hope. About an hour ago, my wife rapped on my office door—sliding glass that goes from the basement into the backyard—and said, “Come here. There’s something I’ve got to show you”. Her body language suggested more, so I responded to the urgency.

A car had hit one of several feral cats that maraud the neighborhood. I had chased this animal, grey with white paws (mittens), out of the backyard whenever it stalked the wild squirrels. Now, the animal lay prone in the street, panting and meowing.