A Cup of Coffee With Dad

Yesterday was my birthday.  It was a time for reflection for me, but nothing earth shattering or particularly apocalyptic in nature.  I think about my life and place in this world a lot more than once a year.  Yesterday was just the first day I did it, aged 36.  No, yesterday wasn’t so much about my birthday as it was about having a cup of coffee with my father.

He’s been gone from this world for almost ten years now, but death is hardly something to stop a coffee date.  You see, I inherited this coffee cup from my father when he passed.  It’s a Burlington Northern coffee cup, with the words, “Safety in ’88” on one side and “Yellowstone Division” on the other.  In between the two, it has the BN logo emblazoned in gold lettering, all of it set on a blue colored mug.  When I’m holding it, the mug has a solid, comfortable heft to it.  It is a good cup for coffee…

Perhaps the most consistent image of my father when I was growing up was him sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in his hand.  Whether it was at his house, over at our grandma’s, at one of our relatives, or visiting my brother and I at our Mom’s, Dad always sat down and drank a cup of coffee.  Cream and sugar, never black.  He’d sit there at the table, talking with us boys and sip that cup of coffee.  By the end of the day, it was a guarantee that there would be coffee stains on his shirt, almost like a measuring stick of how much coffee he’d had that day.  As I got older, I’d have a cup with him, and we would sit and talk about whatever we had going on that day.  Those times became our way of bonding.  Anytime we wanted to spend time together, we just turned to each other and said, “Want to go downtown and have a cup of coffee?”

So, yesterday, I sat down with that cup of fresh brewed coffee, thought about life at age 36 and told my dad everything that’s been going on for the past year.  He didn’t say much, he never does anymore, but we drank our cup, enjoyed my birthday morning, and, like my father before me, at the end of they day, I had a coffee stain or two on my shirt, too.

An interesting point of view.

http://maxistentialist.tumblr.com/post/63322853991/an-open-letter-to-speaker-boehner-from-a-game-designer

I liked this post.  Being an avid game player and puzzle solver, I enjoy those things a lot.  I liked how the author was able to parallel his experiences in design with a meta analysis of what is going on in Congress.  I don’t think he’s wrong in his analysis, either.

Ideological Relativism

I was watching  a debate among my coworkers today about the ethical responsibility Miley Cyrus has with regards to her endorsement of products, services and lifestyles that are considered unhealthy for children and teens.  One of the common themes present was the idea that personally, her actions were in moral bad taste and wrong for children, but in the interest of her public persona, it was a logical and viable business plan and therefore, acceptable.  Indeed…

I didn’t jump into the whole discussion except to clarify what the moral relativism was, but it did get me thinking about my relation to our government and why I am disillusioned with the current parties.  At the end of the day both parties are of the my way or the highway disposition with an ends justifies the means mentality.  They leave no room for compromise and are quick to criticize the actions of the opposite party while committing the same infractions themselves.

I don’t find either party that useful, in terms of their stated aims vs. what they have actually done.  I don’t find it a terribly difficult concept for people to realize that a smaller government begets more social and economic freedom for the private sector.  Environmentally friendly initiatives beget fewer expensive cleanups in the future, as well as protecting limited resources for future consumption.  Providing alternative resource options now leaves us in a strong position for the future when global supplies are down.  Social legislation should apply equally to all and that is the end.  The exercise of one’s rights, in public or private, should not be an infringement on another’s.  A Christian prayer is no more likely to cause an Atheist issues than gay marriage will to the straight couple down the street.  Denying rights to one group doesn’t make everyone else equal in comparison.

I bring up these things because both sides find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum regarding these issues, and yet, if you view them from the side, you realize they aren’t opposing viewpoints at all.  Am I simplifying things?  Yes, but no so much as to be unreasonable, I should think, it just requires thinking along a longer timeline…

 

 

Lickable Sense and Modern Forestry

So earlier I had put on my grumpy old man hat and ranted a little about the corruption of our educational standards by the religious right.

Here’s the problem.  You hold a position that does not require scientific proof to believe in.  Indeed, your literal belief requires that there will be some things cannot be explained by human understanding.

It is often pointed out by apologists that science cannot explain all that occurs within the Bible.  I believe that is why we have such words as “miracle” and “tastes great, zero calories”.  Why then the fear?  Why the push to do away with something that is already understood cannot explain the power of God? 

Science relies on the basic principle of observe, test and observe again.  A real scientist acknowledges how little they know, how ephemeral knowledge is.  They may be forced to rethink the most trusted of theories if new data presents itself.

So here you have the supposed collision of something that cannot be explained with the idea that our explanations may not be all there is…  What’s the problem again?

Am I being simplistic?  Oh Lord yes. ..but the absurdity if it all.

The buck stops here

That line right there, as definitive and well intentioned as it might have been, perhaps best illustrates the greatest weakness of our modern government.  And by modern, I’m willing to go back as far as the 1950’s.

In one word- accountability.  Truman meant to say responsibility was his, he was taking ownership of the consequences of governmental choices.  Too bad he chose the wrong system of government for it.  I suggest a benevolent dictatorship, perhaps in a nice tropical country.  A good friend of mine would be happy to recommend a few.

Ours is a Republic, democracy our chosen tool, and with our division of leadership, no one person should be the subject of all our expectations and scrutiny.  Indeed, all of them should be.  The Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches should all be held accountable for their performance and choices. 

We should be holding the Supreme Court to task for their rulings, Congress should be scrutinized for their reasoning and the President. .. well, what should we do with the Quintessential Everyman?  We blame him, of course.