January 31, 2008
When establishing our current system of government, John Adams, our second President, was outspoken about creating a clear separation of powers through the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. Many of his contemporaries thought this was unnecessarily complex, but Adams was adamant that a particular party should not have control over all of the branches at once, legislating their will freely over the American people. His idea meant that for any piece of legislation to pass, it would have to be legislation that both parties could agree upon. And if they couldn't, then the legislation didn't deserve to pass. Oh how far we have come, when we hear people crying out for either party to take full control over the system so we can at least "get stuff done" and make some "progress." My question is, to where are we "progressing"?
January 30, 2008
When I was in high school, I attended a Dave Matthews concert at Soldier Field. It was a "spiritual" experience for me. The beauty in the music - the shared purpose of 40,000 people. My heart became noticeably full, and I felt privileged to be there that night. Since then, I have experienced God moments, both alone, and through a corporate setting like a church, that have profoundly trumped that concert experience. But, the physical feeling was fairly similar. So, I finally think I can understand the enthusiasm witnessed at these political rallies I see on television. To me, the rhetoric and audience repetition is condescending. But, now I realize, this is simply liturgy for the unchurched. Just as I attended church while listening to Dave Matthews sing #41, hearing some of these candidates talk passionately about how together, we're going to change the world, is the closest many of these people have ever come to a true God experience. But for those who have experienced both, it's not even close. An Obama rally may be our generation's new Dave Matthews concert. But it's not church. He's a man, not your Savior.
January 29, 2008
(continuation) #7. Andrew Jackson Jackson popularized what is now a common practice of dismissing federal employees and replacing them with personal supporters. Today, this practice is known as the "Spoils System", taken from the maxim, "To the victor belong the spoils." While this practice did occur pre-Jackson, his approach of abrupt dismissals without regard to job performance set a dangerous precedent that continues to destabilize the federal government to this day by haphazardly replacing competence with the lack thereof.
January 28, 2008
Heath Ledger died naked on the floor of his New York apartment, drug-filled and drug paraphenelia-surrounded. If he had died on set while doing a stunt, despite his drug history, his death would be perceived in a much more heroic light. So, what do you currently do that you wouldn't want to die doing? Because whatever it is, that activity will claim your legacy. Even if it's the only time you've ever wrestled a goat, your family will forever be left defending their goat-wrestling child.
January 25, 2008
I went indoor rock climbing yesterday. I'm scared of heights. It was terrifying. But, since I did it with guys from work, I forced myself to get to the top mostly because my fear of humiliation outweighed my fear of heights. Similarly, it's been very cold lately in Chicago. Some days I whine when I walk outside. The next day it could be the exact same temperature, and I'm fine. So, obviously, my mental state has a large control over my emotions and behavior. And my question is, how do I conquer these things? Force myself to climb up a mountain? Sit outside in the cold? How do I get control over my mind?
January 24, 2008
I wake up tired every morning. I'm tired at work. I usually wake up a little during lunch. Then, I'm really tired in the afternoon. Then, I'm awake for dinner, and am tired again until it's time for bed. I probably get an average amount of sleep compared to most Americans. And yet I spend most of my life tired. Is this normal? natural? a recent historical trend? It just doesn't seem right. Or should I just compare it to eating? Where I'm always hungry. But, it's a controllable hunger.
January 23, 2008
So, I've been watching the American Idol auditions. And I was ok when I thought that there were just a few crazy people running around out there. But, now, there are getting to be too many. Too many people come on that show, confident of an incredible gift invisible to everyone else but them, and horribly dissapointed when the judges don't see it. You can see their mind just freeze when they learn that their talents aren't universally admired. And they leave thinking they must just have picked the wrong song or that the judges are idiots. And I am finding that there are too many of these people suffering from delusion to make me believe it's limited to a few random "psychos". So, what are each of us delusional about? What are you convinced of about yourself that if the whole world told you no, you'd be convinced that, against all statistical odds, everyone else was simply crazy?
January 22, 2008
Yesterday's post created some interesting comments that have further provoked my initial curiosity. This reason for drinking was given by two separate respondents: "I'm stressed and want to relax". Is alcohol the only stress-relieving drug in this country that's widely socially acceptable? What would it take for social and moderate huffing to become acceptable? Prescription painkillers? Marijuana? Perhaps the effects of drinking are subtler than these examples. Perhaps drinking has a longer history. But perhaps, it shares this lone spot simply because it's legal. When we declare something legal, we create an acceptance as well as an expectation. Therefore, this activity can not be wrong. After all, it is legal.
January 21, 2008
January 18, 2008
Forgetfulness. Quite often, when I'm about to prepare myself a meal, I think to myself, "Wait, did I already have lunch?" Yes, my memory is that bad. But, whenever I'm not sure, I default with not eating. Because I'd rather go hungry than be the guy who ate double lunches. So, if you can trick yourself into forgetting...hello swimsuit season.