Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend Roundup: Vernal Equinox! Vernal Equinox!

1) Last Week
Last week was a bit of a roller coaster. Work has been crazy busy, and this morning I found out that the Secretarial Awards Ceremony I’m in charge of has been moved to the Fall. I’m doing everything I can to let them agree to let me go to Switzerland in September with Steven (see #3).
So, I only really pay attention to College Basketball until Tournament time, and since my other teams were out quickly, I turned my enthusiasm to BYU. BYU Men’s Basketball actually won a game in NCAA Tourney which was a major highlight of the week. Of course they lost on Saturday, but still-they proved that they could win a game at the Big Dance! Plus, Michael Loyd Jr.? He’s going to be fun to watch the next couple of years. The sad news is that a co-worker and close friend of mine passed away from cancer Wednesday evening. I worked closely with this co-worker for 4 years, and it’s always tough losing a friend. My heart goes out to her loved ones. However, the weather in DC has been phenomenal. Mid 60’s-70s with no wind and sunny days? Oh, I’d love to package up the weather over the weekend and save it for a rainy day. The tulip trees are just starting to blossom which means cherry blossoms in about 2 weeks.

2) The weekend?
Friday: I had Friday off and spent the morning at the Doctor’s office getting a Xolair shot. My nurse blew a vein in my leg, but she’s totally forgiven (seriously) for bringing me Cabbage and corned beef while I was waiting in the office afterwards. Food heals all wounds in my world. That evening Kelli and I sheepishly admitted to the other that we really liked “The Hangover” and we both wanted to see “She’s out of my League” but common sense ruled out as we went to buy tickets at the movie theater. Instead of paying $21.50 for a movie, we decided to spend $47.50 on a Dust-Vac. There’s logic to that decision somewhere, I think. Saturday: After Kelli got home from working a few hours, we went up to Eastern Market for Lunch. We didn’t find the pickle guy (my fave) or the Crepe Guy (Kelli’s fave) until as we were leaving, but still had a great time taking in the sun while browsing through the stalls. That afternoon I cleaned and watched my Bracket Picks go down the drain (Thanks Kansas!). After the first half of the BYU game, we went to a house farewell party that evening (friends are getting kicked out of their house as their landlady is moving back in) and talked to a good friend for most of the evening. Sunday: I slept in and didn’t go to Stake Conference. Oops. But there was more cleaning to be had, lungs to be convinced that pollen isn’t out to kill them, a dinner at our neighbors and tentative plans for next weekend made. All in all a great weekend.

3) Trip Plans
March is here and I already have two big trips (Ecuador and Switzerland) planned. Ecuador will include the Galapagos Islands, and Switzerland will be 2 weeks of hiking in the Alps with my baby brother. There’s a smaller trip to Montreal in July that we’re hoping to do, and then there’s Christmas and a trip to Portland to see a baby get blessed. I’m already saving for a house down-payment, but it’ll be good for me to do some further cut-backs on my expenditures.
4) The “I will if you will” Book Club
One of my absolute favorite blogs is “Monkey See” on NPR. The primary writer, Linda Holmes” waxes poetic on pop culture and each post is a gem. A couple of weeks ago after admitting she had never read Twilight, she started the “I will if you will” book club on the blog with Twilight as the first book. Today is their first installment of talking about Twilight and Linda chose to talk about the writing with another Monkey See Contributer. Here’s an excerpt about the book:
It's just this wildly florid prose that's wielded with the subtlety and repetition of a jackhammer, all in the service of a story that's going nowhere being told by a girl who seems to be fighting me for the gold medal in a not-liking-her contest.
Monkey See Blog

5) Health Care Bill
All in all, the Health Care Bill has kind of been an exercise in hilarity. I wasn’t real impressed with anyone during the whole debacle, but they finally passed it. Now that it’s passed, I’m hoping that it actually does more than just line the pockets of the Health Care Industry and actually gives the uninsured a chance to have cheaper, more comprehensive health care and it gives those that are insured better health care. Because really, our Health Care system is broken and unfortunately I don’t see how anyone except the government can fix it. Here’s hoping that the Bill will actually help fix the problem. And if someone could explain to me (in a rational, logical manner) how passing this bill would move us over towards a totalitarianism government, I’m all ears.

6) Everyone’s Favorite Mormon: Glen Beck!
I’ll be honest. I’ve only watched about 2 minutes of Glen Beck before changing the channel, so all I know about him is mini clips here and there, and others verbal repudiation of Beck. However, Beck encouraging listeners to flee churches that had hints of social justice shows of a lack of understanding of basic Christian Doctrine
Roger Ebert wrote an enjoyable piece about Beck and some great points that he learned about Mormonism. A highlight from his blog is here:
Nor, for that matter, could a genuine conservative identify with a flywheel like
Beck. Conservatism is a political and ethical philosophy that exists in another
universe from Beck's shopping cart. Remember that TV show where couples raced up
and down aisles seeing who could jam the most loot into their carts? Beck loads
up from the shelves of the Discount Screwball Supermart. He needs material to
fill his daily hours of air time and fuel his fans with one-liners they can pass
off as thought.

One of my friends, Matt, wrote a thoughtful, sometimes humorous (the kicking puppies line is great) post about Mr. Beck and Beck’s summation of the “religious left.” Definitely food for thought. From his post:
The savagely brilliant religious imaginations that Martin Luther King, or Walter
, or Dorothy
mobilized behind social reform worked because of their
comprehensiveness. They began with a vision of the world in part inspired by but
not bound to the contexts they found themselves in. And the social reforms they
advocated for were not merely an end in themselves, or to satisfy our basic
human impulse toward charity, or to pursue greater egalitarianism as a
self-contained good. Rather, their calls for social reform were bound inexorably
into the most basic and primal aims of Christianity – to, through the atoning
acts of Christ, attain for humanity salvation. Their theologies of social
transformation were based upon their imagination of the Kingdom of God. They
were radical, then, in the best sense, not merely political. They knew that the
world that Christ calls us to is not the world we live in; that the things
Christ asks of us cannot be fully embodied in the tools of politics. One does
not get that same sense of the incarnation of Christ in the politics of Jim
Wallis. And that, because, like those of Beck, they are simply politics.
I feel an incessant, nagging suspicion that perhaps Beck’s salvo is a justified
one. This is not to endorse his somewhat staggering ignorance, bluster, and
paranoia; indeed, Beck suffers acutely from the same problem he diagnoses; he
believes God is on his side rather than engaging in that constant struggle that
should afflict every Christian – worrying that he is on God’s. It is, though, to
point out that as in every age, idolatry may be the most pervasive sin of our


Sparklebot said...

You have so much great stuff going on. I'm pretty jealous, actually.

I'm happy to talk about what an ass Glenn Beck is, anytime you want! The church would do well to distance themselves from that kind of insanity, in my opinion.

SJ said...

We take all kinds :) Glen Beck is fired up for ratings sake. I mean, he wouldn't be on the air otherwise. So whether he is even fully aware of that or not, on some level he is and I think it fuels his antics. Many a radio and TV host I've known does that very same thing. It's entertainment. Hopefully people don't just see one kind of Mormon (Beck) and think we're all like that, though.

Sherpa said...

SJ-What, you mean Sean Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh are entertainers! No way!

Okay, that was kind of harsh. Sorry for the sarcasm.

You're right, they are entertainers...but...I'm going to stop now. Otherwise, I'm going to get on my soapbox that has bothered me about those guys for years.