Saturday, August 27, 2016

258 candles-days 157-158

The days when I had many friends who rode this horse are long behind me. But I remain glad of any help in keeping other people like them alive. To argue, as Maine's governor Paul LaPage does, that providing access to Naloxone provides abusers an out that simply leaves them free to shoot up again is not only, like Alexander Walley says, like arguing "that seatbelts encourage riskier driving," but suggests that some lives are more worth saving than others. Arguing that is not a moral choice but a moral failing. After all, no one would say that alcoholics shouldn't have AA available to them because it only gives them the chance to make their next binge sweeter. No one abuses a drug in order to make her life more exciting, only to make it seem that way. The reality is very, very boring. While a lot of people shooting up want to continue, a lot more don't, and they should be given every chance to eventually make that decision. Every chance. As Jesus said, forgiving another type of abuse, "seventy times seven."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

258 candles-day 156

I belong to a Facebook page devoted to current and past Barnes and Noble booksellers and this afternoon a member from the Anchorage, Alaska, store posted that a woman came in and bought every coloring book in "the vestibule"--the large display near the cash registers--to donate to local schools. It is this sort of selfless action that makes me proud to be human.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

258 candles-days 159-165

It may seem a little difficult, shoehorning this reflection by Brian Feldman into my intent to post positive stories during this stultifyingly divisive election, but bear with me. In noting that it celebrates both the best and the worst of the World Wide Web, Feldman tips into a truth about nearly everything, that no matter what the experience might be, it can be seen both in a positive and negative light (sometimes by the same person nearly simultaneously). While it is obviously a negative for Semisonic, which in this case loses credit, at least for people who fall for this delusion, it is not only a positive for Green Day (or potentially so; as a punk-sympathizer, if I were Billy Joe Armstrong I would be offended at the notion I sang such inoffensive tripe in such a louche way), but for the recognition that this is how history works. It's the way we attribute the writing of the Bible to various individual writers or The Iliad and Odyssey to the fictional blind poet Homer, even the various misattributions of quotes, real and made up, to long-dead speakers. They become the future "truth" for those works. Some future generation might venerate Green Day's seminal crossover hit "Closing Time" as the moment when postpunk and pop were tethered together, forming some future clumped musical form, like the moment in 1973 when DJ Kool Herc spun one of two turntables repeatedly back to the break, initiating the melange that would become hip hop.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

258 candles-days 156-158

Really, I haven't anything to say about this beyond its being what sports, especially team sports, is all about. Admittedly, an Olympic women's 5000 meter heat is not a team sport. Which makes this gesture all the greater. It makes my heart sing.

Monday, August 15, 2016

258 candles-days 261-264

I had nearly forgotten this local (to the hub) feel-good story about a husband's devotion to his wife's love for sunflowers. But it goes beyond the brevity of what's suggested by that phrase "feel-good" because it also reflects the willingness of the man to share his love with strangers who will never know why someone did it. Ultimately, that's the point of doing things like this, to allow others to contribute their own explanation for why it happened and what it means.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

258 candles-days 158-160

An important element of the American experiment is our dedication to the contributions by immigrants and our celebration of the diversity they bring to the melange of American society. Back in the hub where I used to live, there's been a battle for the opportunity to represent a Minneapolis district in the state legislature. The incumbent, Phyllis Khan, has been in office since 1972. Two challengers, Mohamud Noor and Ilhan Omar, were given little chance at replacing her. However, in the August 8 primary, Ilhan Omar won.

This is significant, not only for Omar and her potential constituents, but for what it means to America. She will not be the first former refugee to become a legislator or the first Muslim, but if she wins she will be the first Somali to serve in a legislative role in American politics, and in a landscape where we ask  whether we have a responsibility to, say, Syrian asylum-seekers or whether the so-called War on Terror is a euphemism for a War on Islam, that is an important voice. This is what makes American culture not only a fascinating experiment but one that's worthwhile as well.

Monday, August 8, 2016

258 candles-days 156-163

I love this commercial. I don't know who might have made it but it encapsulates, in a minute and a half, my belief in change and redemption. It shows a life which, while I'm glad I don't live it, I will gladly describe as being worthwhile in the end.