luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
... when I was reminded why the windows in the future educational center in the Very Prestigious Institution (the project that I am working on for the V.P.I.) are blast-proof. Something about high-value targets across the street and all that. Especially high-value on April 15 every year.

Seriously, I am still heartbroken over yesterday's Boston Marathon bombings. Despite 20 years in the Maryland suburbs of DC, I still consider myself a Massachusetts person who happens to be living down here. If you know me in person, you have probably noticed that I tend to get prickly when somebody disses the Bay State in my presence.

So, even though the cynic in me wants to say "gee, every night in American cities at least three people die in drive-by shootings and that does NOT make huge banner headlines," I grieve for the dead and injured and have nothing but disgust for the coward(s) who planted the bombs and (presumably) took off before they exploded.

I still lack Internet at home, so I have to get out of here for the evening, but here are links to a couple of wonderful essays about the deep affection for Marathon Mondays: Dan Kennedy and E.J. Dionne. I too remember standing in Kenmore Square or along Brookline Avenue to cheer on the runners -- first the elite, then the average Joes and Janes who flocked (or staggered) by a couple of hours later. (One summer I also sublet a room in an apartment about a block from the second blast site. Crappy building back then, but tony location.)

Last night after dance/music practice I had mixed feelings while watching CNN: I was proud to see photos from my favorite college newspaper shared on the news network, but saddened at the occasion that brought it about.
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
Yeah, I shouldn't care anymore, but I will admit to keeping an eye on CNN this afternoon (while working on a short freelance assignment) to see who the new pope would be.

It's part of my secular as well as my religious DNA. During the first semester of my sophomore year at college, the board of my college newspaper decided to get an Associated Press machine (I guess we would become an associate member or something like that; I don't remember the exact details). The machine didn't get installed in the basement of our building until mid-October. Well, virtually as soon as we plugged the thing in, it went "ding! ding!" and started typing out bulletins that white smoke had been seen at the Sistine Chapel. The election of Pope John Paul II was so exciting at first, because of the huge break with tradition in that he wasn't Italian (he was Polish! With maternal Lithuanian ancestry, even!). But a year or so later, he forced Father Drinan to step down from Congress, and that was my first big disappointment....

Many years later and many steps along the road from Catholicism to Unitarian Universalism ... I certainly do NOT expect any pope in my lifetime to change his (because it's not gonna be "her") tune on birth control, abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. Nope, ain't gonna happen. But I do have a slightly more positive view of Jesuits because I lived in Father Drinan's district for a decade of my life, and the name Francis connotes a strong sense of social justice. If this new Pope Francis can clean house from the scandals and shift the public emphasis from the "social conservative hot button" stuff to caring for the poor and downtrodden, I'll be reasonably OK with that. And he's 76 years old, so chances are we'll have him around for only a decade or so, anyway.

I *would* write about "Father Frank" from my college days, but it's getting awfully late and I'm tired.

I just want to conclude by saying: Happy Birthday, [personal profile] pasticcio!!!!!
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
Yesterday the boy toy and I went out for a celebratory brunch at Denny's, and later in the afternoon I ended up taking a short nap.

(OK, so it was part celebratory and partly because the boy toy wanted to try out the "Hobbit" menu. We both recommend the pumpkin pancakes.)

Seriously, I know that I haven't been commenting much about politics in this election cycle. Someone in my precarious financial situation is bound to be more focused on survival than someone who's observing from a more comfortable, stable spot. I think that comes straight out of something I learned in Psychology 101 or one of those other nearly forgotten "core courses" in college.

A few interesting links I've been reading over the last couple of days, some thanks to [personal profile] twistedchick and others I found on my own:

(If any of these links don't survive my cutting and pasting, please let me know and I'll fix them.)

Bottom line is that, even though I consider myself a liberal Democrat, I would be happy to see the Republicans ditch the wingnuts and become a more diverse, if still conservative, party. I don't think the one-party-only mentality is good for small-d democracy.

Reasonable people can debate the size of government, the priorities of government, how much money should be allocated to various priorities, etc. etc. etc. and hash out their differences and come to a reasonable compromise solution in the best interests of the country. Unreasonable people hurl gigantic flaming buckets of dog poo at their "enemies" (i.e., people who don't think exactly like them) and then expect the enemies to vote for them out of shock and awe.

In my humble opinion, the GOP needs to take the fringe jobs out to the woodpile for a talk (is that the right metaphor?). If the tea partiers are going to be that intransigent, then maybe it's time to make the tea party into a formal Tea Party and get their own ballot spot for their purists. Because most Americans don't share their raging anger.

It's human nature to react negatively to "my way or the highway" thinking. Heck, I react negatively to that no matter who is thinking that. In 1990, when John Silber got the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Massachusetts, I voted for the moderate Republican candidate, William Weld. I'd seen Silber up close and personal during my BU days, saw his intellectual arrogance, and refused to help inflict his attitude on the general populace.

Will the Republicans go back to the days of (gasp) Reagan and his friendship with Tip O'Neill, or Ted Kennedy's friendship with Orrin Hatch? Probably not if Mitch McConnell (ugh) has his way. Maybe he's afraid of the tea partiers challenging him in the GOP primary in 2014. Sucks to be him, I guess.

Here's one last interesting essay directed to the "right wing fanatics who put party before country, conspiracy before reality, and ideology before science and intellect." If you continue to put party before country, don't expect the country to agree.

Random bits

Sep. 5th, 2010 06:05 pm
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
BU student falls to death at hotel. I guess this is why the screens were riveted onto the window frames at Warren Towers (the huge 18-story dorm there).

UMass-Amherst mired in second-tier status -- this is sad, and there is no excuse for it. I did what I could while I was still a Massachusetts resident.

Dammit, the Red Sox were ahead and they STILL managed to lose their third game in a row to the White Sox. *grumble* We're never going to get back into the wild-card race now....

Well, I guess I should go enjoy what's left of another gorgeous afternoon.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
Today I had a tasty lunch with the [ profile] cz_unit. We used to do this quite often, but as it turns out, we haven't even seen each other since Darkover. We went into Chinatown to Tony Cheng's Mongolian BBQ, where everybody recognizes him (well, how many 6-foot-8 guys are there?). Thank you, CZ!

(Now I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping that people didn't notice that I took a much longer lunch than normal....)

I also enjoyed last night's discussions at the Baron and Baroness's At-Home. Reminds me that I really need to motivate myself to SEW if I'm ever going to have any other garb besides the stuff I have now. (But I'm still working on the May/June issue of the Herald's Point newsletter. Kingdom-level duties come first....)

Now for a couple of comments about the other side of the pond:

For all the studying and teaching of medieval Lithuania I do in the SCA, you might not guess that I have a bit of Anglophile in me. I took a modern British history course the semester that Margaret Thatcher became the prime minister, and the professor who taught the course was a visitor from an English university and a card-carrying member of the Labour Party. He didn't have anything nice to say about any Tory, not even Winston Churchill, which seemed rather shocking to me at the time, given the enormous respect the guy gets on this side of the Atlantic.

Anyway, I've been watching the news sites and wondering when the UK election results would start rolling in. Turns out the polls haven't even closed yet. They close at 10 p.m. BST. Wow, can you imagine what U.S. elections would be like if our polls stayed open that late? (Once the Brit polls close, you can follow the results here.)

Also from the Beeb: This little vid about our U.S.-UK "special relationship." Tell me, friends, are you amused or disturbed by a guy in a full Redcoat uniform saying that he served side-by-side with Tommies while he was an Army Ranger?
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
One cool thing that I found on Facebook: Reanalysis of the Apollo 13 trajectory data indicates that the spacecraft, had it missed its successful landing 40 years ago next month, might NOT have gone out to wander through outer space forever and ever. (Link is to a YouTube video narrated by Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon.)

Another neat thing, courtesy of a blog called Greater Greater Washington: The Census Bureau has an interactive map that shows how many households in your county have returned their Census 2010 forms so far. (Another thing I need to do this weekend.)

Finally, forwards an article by The Nation on the Cloward-Piven conspiracy theory, about which I have never before heard, even though I took a class taught by Frances Fox Piven back when rocks were soft. (But then, the only people who seem to use that phrase are people who despise her, so maybe I shouldn't be too surprised.)

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