"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


Free Hugs.

I'm sure this has been around for a bit, but this is the first time I've seen it. It made my day. Hopefully it will make yours.

Update: I saw the Free Hugs guy (or a Free Hugs guy) in Union Square on January 6th, 2008. Great hug!



I am famous for my anxiety dreams. In one I waited in a doctor's office waiting room for 24 hours before I was seen, and then when someone finally saw me it was not a doctor, but the mother of a guy I knew in the 3rd grade. Well, I have had a day today that is like one of these dreams come true. This morning I had a meeting at my company's corporate office in the financial district, so I went down there only to find that this meeting did not exist. I have no idea what happened to it, but I spoke to several people and I was the only one who had ever heard of it existing. Then I had to find the train to get to my office but instead just wandered in circles for about half an hour through the maze of identical buildings. And now that I have finally gotten to work, all hell is on the verge of breaking loose, but I can do nothing to stop it. So I comically shake my fist at the sky, and hope that I will wake up before I get to the point in the dream where my teeth start falling out.


Fenced In.

So it's been a while since I've had anything to say. Know that I have started several blogs, only not to finish them because they were dumb, or because my work computer is evil and wouldn't allow me to finish them. There was a very good one about how evangelical churches feel they are losing teens to the evils of popular culture, but then the article was made available only by payment on the New York Times Web site. But just know, that it was going to be a really fiery blog.

A few moments ago, I was reading a New York Times story about the approval of a bill to fence in 700 miles of the border between the United States and Mexico. And of course, I was fired up enough to write something. I am somewhat distressed by the thought of a huge fence going up to seperate one group of people from another anywhere it happens. Borders should be things drawn on maps, not things that exist in real time. It's like creating a giant gated community because we don't want the riff-raff to come into our swanky neighborhood. When in reality we are responsible for the conditions on the other side of that fence, that we insist on protecting ourselves from. Just because things are out of our line of sight does not mean that we hold no responsibility for correcting them.

I understand very well that most of my opinions are very idealistic. I work more on a good-of-humanity level than a practical politics/diplomacy level. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend who actually knows alot about and has a very good understanding of the political system. He helped me to understand some stuff, though I still don't like it. I will choose to stay in my utopian headspace and hope that someone can put my thoughts into practice.


The Shah of Blah.

Last night I had the amazing privilege of sitting audience for Salman Rusdie. Salman Rushdie is like a rock star in my world. His book Haroun and the Sea of Stories (in which the Shah of Blah is a character) is the first book I read in college and on the list of things that I forcibly make everyone I know read. It was especially wonderful because he wasn't really there promoting a book, but was just speaking his mind as the first lecturer in the "Voices of Reason" series of the Center for Inquiry here in NYC. I cannot express how awesome it was to be able to sit and listen to him.

Mr. Rushdie is a bold man. He spoke at length about the crises in the Middle East and the relationship of Muslim communities to the rest of the world. He spoke of how sometimes respect for a culture can turn into fear of or intimidation by these cultures, citing acts of terrorism by people using the Islamic faith as their justification. And when we address things in the cautious manner that we often do, so that we will not anger a particular group to action against us, it becomes unclear where the problem truly lies. "The point is to call things by their name. To avoid naming them properly, avoids thinking of them properly." I think it's interesting to think about, the fact that so many things have been deemed a product of individual culture and are therefore off limits to discussion.

Mr. Rushdie is decidedly anti-religion, as apparently most of the crowd there last night was. And I feel like it is understandable for him to feel this way. As an adult, he began to criticize Islam, which had been the faith of his family. And as a result, a fatwa was proclaimed by the Ayatollah, and millions of Muslims were instructed to kill him for a hefty reward. And this was not condemned by most of the religious world, even outside of the Muslim sphere. Imagine if GW had put a price on the head of Dan Brown for insinuating in The DaVinci Code that Jesus had married, and that Mary Magdalene was an apostle, and not a prostitute. And then Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell, and the Pope all stood in agreement that this should happen. It's pretty frightening, isn't it?

A friend and I have been talking alot the last few weeks about the tragedy of the way Christianity is viewed by much of the world. And this was very apparent to me last night. Mr. Rushdie talked at length about how he felt when people live their lives by the principles of a religion, any religion, disastrous things tend to happen. Or as he said it "When religion gets into the driving seat, all Hell breaks loose." And from the state of our World, I would say this is true. The principles of Christianity and Islam, and many other religions, have been skewed in such a way that GW is seen by many Americans as the divine liberator of the people of Iraq, when in fact their "liberation" has brought them to the brink of civil war.

As I sit at my work desk, I am still trying to process it all. It has given me alot to think about.

P.S.--I think that I saw Tyne Daly of Cagney & Lacey fame watching off to the side.


Three Beautiful Things.

As it is 4:45ish, and I am not in the middle of something at work, I was surfing around blogsphere and found something delightful. It's a blog called Three Beautiful Things. It made me very happy, so I thought I'd share it with you. And here are my Three Beautiful Things for the day.

1. Today was the first day I could actually justify wearing a scarf. I love scarves.

2. Fonts. I love them without reason.

3. Sweaters....almost as wonderful as scarves.


Prisoners of Certainty.

I long for the day when putting significant thought into a decision that may affect millions of people is thought to be prudent; when changing your mind with good reason is not demonized; when the word flip-flopper is used only to refer to a person who makes, sells, designs or wears flip-flops. I hope someday for a politician to take office who freely admits to mistakes in judgement and who is not afraid to rethink things. There is in the New York Times today a review of Bob Woodward's book State of Denial. It describes GW as "a prisoner of his own certitude." This is an interesting way to think about the current state of our country. We are in the hands of a group of men who were so certain of their ideas-- ideas that have been found to be rife with bad judgement and contradiction--that they are now unable to see the misteps they have made that it seems are inescapable by the rest of the World. Even the Republicans are beginning to see things for what they are, but maybe it's not admitting fault if you say that neither side is right.