Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holden Caulfield went on to coach little league

So today we attended the wedding of our friends Rob and Liz. Rob and Liz. I like the sound of couple names. I’m sentimental that way, you know. Two first names melded into one, joined only by a conjunction, to describe a single couple unit. I just like the sound of ‘em. Travis and Ashley. Tim and Julie. Sean and Anna. Kelly and Alan. Guillermo and Winnifred. Rob and Liz. I just like the sound of ‘em, that’s all. Don’t look at me like that.

I don’t know any people named Guillermo or Winnifred.

It was a gorgeous wedding though, complete with a beautiful hill country backdrop and peacocks, oh yes, peacocks, even an albino one. It was one of those weddings that reminds you why we still have them. Weddings, if done as beautifully as the one we attended today and as beautiful as The Ash and I tried to make ours, are a lot like the Constitution of the United States. Perhaps this isn’t the strongest analogy, but what I means is that they present an ideal that, although you may never attain and that you may continually fall short of, is worthy of striving for. And being reminded of that ideal is good for those of us who are already on that commitment ride.

I’m glad I went today because the close of this here 2006 holiday season finds the Holmes in an odd mood. Grumpy. Cranky. Irritable. Prone to using synonyms. Pretty much displeased about most everything to do with the holidays. I’m sure part of it had to do with moving and being unsettled at a time of year when you’d really rather not be. But I think it was more than just the move that had my feathers ruffled. I honestly felt like this was a Charlie Brown year for me, one where I was looking around and wanting to find some sort of deeper meaning somewhere. I think it’s the fact that, now that Ashley and I are family folk, there’s a responsibility that sits with us to help define what we want this time of year to be about for our son and any other kids we may have. And for some reason, almost everything this year seemed to have about as much depth as a J.C. Penny’s commercial. It all seemed to piss me off somehow, whether it was Santa Claus or Jesus or people arguing about Santa Claus and Jesus, it all just seemed so two-dimensional. It’s funny, I thought I’d gotten over the complete bastardization of this whole time of year, but now that I have a child, it all seems to have come to the surface again.

There were, thankfully, exceptions to this cynical rule. Watching Henry (sort of) open his presents….he seemed to not make a whole lot of distinction between the paper and the gift inside, and that’s totally cool. Watching Ashley open her present from me. My new pea coat from Ashley. Christmas dinner with the in-laws. Watching Advent candles being lit. Winter solstice party with the Bedlam Faction kids. Anchor Christmas Ale. Checking out the tree of lights down at Zilker (we didn’t make it to the trail of lights this time). And now Rob and Liz’s wedding. Between my fits of “searching for meaning” these things all added up to a pretty damn meaningful and enjoyable holiday.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

(almost) Completely Moved & New Thundercloud Slogan, sure to sell boatloads more sandwiches

So today was the big moving day, and I'm buttass tired. Yes, you read right: buttass. Ponder that one on your own.

For moving day lunch time (for even semi-pro movers have to eat) my moving buddy Shayne and I bopped on over to the Thundercloud Subs near the new place. This is one of the few Thundercloud franchises I had never visited before, so I was relieved to see that, like all the others in town, this one is also staffed by stoners. Stoners who know how to make kickass sandwiches. Which made me think that perhaps they need to ditch their "fresh, fast, and healthy" marketing slogan in favor of something along the lines of

"Thundercloud Subs: because only a stoner really knows how to make a sandwich."

Except as soon as I came up with that slogan, I instantly thought of three other Austin chains that could use that slogan, substituting the word "sandwich" with "pizza", "burritos", or "ice cream."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This was actually fun

Because I'm moving and this is the only kind of blogging I have much time for:

Instructions:
1. Open your library on your Zen or Ipod or other MP3 player
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every question type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question press the next button

Opening Credits: My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys - Willie Nelson. As long as the movie's not a western, this'll work. If it's a western, it's too stupidly obvious, and I'm already sending it back to Netflix.

Waking up: The News (A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Microsoft Inc.) - Del Tha Funkee Homosapien. Ah, I see, waking up from the dreaming about cowboys in the previous song to the reality of the modern world. How...clever.

Falling in love: Lazy Dreamer - Liz Phair. Hmm, Liz Phair for the falling in love song? This movie's at least NC-17. And beautiful in a sad kind of way.

Fight song: Lonely As You - Foo Fighters. Nice.

Break up song: From the Morning - Nick Drake. Any Nick Drake song would've worked here, eh?

Making Up: Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie - Black Flag. "Sitting here like a loaded gun, waiting to go off." This doesn't really work so much as a make-up song, but more for the scene where the broken up couple finds themselves reluctantly alone together and they end up having angry hate sex. And one of them is Henry Rollins.

Life's Okay: Shame on a Nigga - Wu-Tang Clan. I guess "life's okay" in this movie means the hero is recovered from his or her injuries, back on the street, and ready to kick some ass.

Mental Breakdown: The Tain - The Decemberists. Wow, that one's actually pretty perfect.

Driving: Toxicity - System of a Down. For the angry beat-the-steering-wheel driving scene. So is this "Office Space" or "Falling Down"?

Flashbacks: Fixation - The Coup. Here, our hero flashes back to his or her life as an underground communist hip-hop activist.

Happy Dance: Surface - Denali. Where our hero is overjoyed to watch as the world is cast permanently into various shades of gray.

Regret: It's Up To You - The Specials. If you have to feel regret, having The Specials for your soundtrack is probably your best bet. It will likely prevent you from taking your stupid regret too seriously and doing something dumb.

Final Battle: Guess Things Happen That Way - Johnny Cash. This would have been a better regret song, eh? I guess this would work if the final battle was between two lovers and one reluctantly had to kill the other, but then they missed them immediately after the fight. Yeah, I like that. Yes, this song juxtaposed over a fight...that sounds good.

Death Scene: Almost Done - Morcheeba. Oh that's nice! Let it speak for itself: "I always knew the truth, always nice to have some proof....tears run down my face as you spray me with your mace. I thank you. I'd love to cut your throat."

Final Credits: Nightshop - Fugazi. Hmmm, clearly the antihero must win out in an unexpected twist.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Stabby thing that goes stab

At dinner this evening, Henry successfully navigated food from his tray to his mouth with a fork. The food in question was avocado, followed by some acorn squash. He's been working on it for some time now. He took a few bites with the fork, but then ditched it in favor of his reliable little fingers.

"I thought it would be the coolest thing ever, eating with a fork," he seemed to say, "but it just didn't live up to the hype." He shoveled some more acorn squash down his gullet, leaving a bit on his face. "I guess I just had it so built up in my mind, there was no way fork eating could have possibly met my expectations."

"I know how it is son," I would have said, had this conversation actually taken place. "Just wait for the follow-up album of about 50% of your favorite bands. Or for your favorite book to get made into a movie."

The fork laid on the floor where it had fallen. It had no comment.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Henry helps with moving

We move in three weeks! Henry helps by tossing out all the CDs that suck.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Black Dog Ale

Typically when I purchase a beer just because I like the label or its clever name, it turns out to be a mistake. That's how I ended up drinking Mickey's for so many years. Fortunately, such was not the case with Black Dog Ale. Being the caretaker of a black dog myself, not to mention a Zeppelin fan, I couldn't walk past it, and it turned out to be reasonably yummy. Who knew that my dog was running his own brewery?

Child abuse at Hyde Park Baptist

I was just about shaking with anger by the time I finished reading this story.
"In December of 2003, Tara Turner, recently divorced and with a year-old baby, was looking for a day care center. A family-law attorney, she planned to work from her Hyde Park home and wanted a place nearby so she could spend as much time as possible with her son, Parker. The Hyde Park Baptist Child Development Center, run by the Hyde Park Baptist Church, seemed perfect, located in the middle of one of Austin's oldest and poshest neighborhoods, and run by one of the city's best known churches. Tuition was high, and there was a long waiting list for enrollment, but Turner visited the center and was impressed with the colorful classrooms and attentive staff. 'They seemed to run a very tight ship,' she says."
It goes on from there to tell the story of her son's abuse and the abuse of other children by one of the center's oldest teachers. Beyond that, the story makes it pretty clear that the church had been aware of this teacher's abuse for years, and had dragged their feet on doing anything substantive until the situation got too hot to deal with, at which point they let her go and tried to keep it quiet, and they might have succeeded had this crazy old bat not left a knot on the back of the head of the son of a family-law attorney. Oops.

What's really frightening here is that it's not like this mother was just dumping her kid off at Crazy Eddie's Discount Daycare. She was supposedly leaving her son in the best care that money could buy. Go ahead and read the whole story, but I find this part particularly interesting, though not surprising:
"Turner also took Parker to a therapist. She says he found his behavior to be consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder, including a recent tendency to imitate abusive behavior. Turner says Parker has become aggressive with other children and with Turner's pet terrier. According to Turner, Parker was sweet and gentle with the dog when the family first adopted it in the fall of 2004 but later began to kick, hit, and smother the 5-lb. dog. Also during that fall, when Parker was in Lowry's class, Turner says she noticed his behavior toward other children becoming more aggressive – behavior which has continued. According to Turner, the child who used to hug other children too much now pushes them down, unprovoked."
It's not surprising that this behaviour is coming out in this lady's son after what he's been through, and hopefully it's been caught soon enough that he'll be okay with time and some help. But the thing to remember is that somewhere in the past, there's almost certainly a variation on this story that occured in the early life of the teacher who committed this abuse. She didn't just wake up one day and decide to be an abusive old troll. No abuser, no violent offender, no murderous dictator happened like that. It excuses nothing, but I think it explains a lot.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Some ol' bullshit I saw at Sears the other night

So the Holmes herd dropped into Sears the other night to pick up their family portraits that had been sitting there unclaimed for over a week. We had other priorities. Not to go off on a tangent, but I'm never giving that damn place any photo business again. I'm sure there are plenty of perfectly qualified portraiture professionals in the employ of Sears, but none of them were on hand the day we came in to get our mugshots. In fact, I don't think a single employee present that morning was over the age of 17. Our photographer showed up in a letter jacket.

Oops, looks like I went off on a tangent.

So back to my story. Right outside the portrait studio was this little toy display they'd tossed up in preparation for the coming Christmas toy binge. Get the little ones thinking about what Santa Claus had better bring if he knows what's good for his fat ass. And amidst the toy power tools and the toy mastodons with cool mastodon roaring sounds and of course the toy military crap...okay not to go off on another tangent, and I know I had toy tanks and guns and soldiers when I was a kid, but doesn't it seem particularly twisted to make toy versions of the implements of war when we're in the middle of wartime? Or is that just me not supporting the troops again? I hate it when I don't support the troops!

But ANYWAY, amidst all the other toys, I spotted this:

Look closely friends, but don't try to make too much sense of it, for what you are seeing is none other than a Star Wars Transformer. Let's see if I can explain this shit without the computer exploding. The one on top is Han Solo, and the one below is Chewbacca, and they both, um, transform into the Millenium Falcon, the ship that they both, uh, piloted together. Except now they each actually like, are the ship. They're like, some kinda cyborgs now I guess?

I'm not gonna lie to you folks, I had a really bad reaction when I encountered this idiotic toy. In the middle of Sears, I involuntarily shouted "This is bullshit!" No, you know what? Now that I think about it, I didn't even say the word "bullshit", I actually think I used the term "bullcrap." You know, the way a kid who looks like this might say it:

You know, like "Thith ith bullcrap!" By the way, that's Bill Haverchuck from the awesome show Freaks and Geeks. And even though Bill lives in a pre-Transformers world, I guarantee that he'd call bullcrap on this Star Wars Transformers nonsense in a heartbeat. Like me, he would be utterly offended, OFFENDED I TELL YOU, at the idea of this ridiculous combination. I don't like the idea of my son growing up in world where Star Wars and Transformers have been morphed together into some kind of Island of Dr. Moreau experiment.

Bullcrap.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Henry laughing spreads his wings

Biscuit laughing spreads his wings

Minion

looking very ozzy

Halloween came a bit late for us this year. We had the costume all ready and everything, but then the little dude got sick the night of. But never fear friends, there was no way we were going to let a costume this awesome go by unworn, so last night we pulled it out of the closet, dressed Henry up, and let him torment a few souls for all eternity for a little while. Who knew the devil was such a cute little munchkin.

In other news, we sold our house! We're moving! Woohoo!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What came in the mail today

My apologies in advance for missing any of your social functions for the next few years because it looks like I'm going to be a little busy. As if I had nothing going on already. I'm sitting here looking at a letter from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest telling me that I have been accepted to their Masters of Arts in Counseling program. It doesn't really come as a surprise, but then again it sort of does. Anyway, I'm going to be a wee bit busy, so if I'm not at the party, drink one for me.

Friday, November 03, 2006

DadBloggers!

The dudes over at DadBloggers decided that I'm cool enough to blog amongst them, so I'll be dropping in a post about once a month or so over there. My first post went up today, and at the risk of getting a reputation as some kind of holy roller, I chose the subject of baby baptisms. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Henry did something horrifying today

So Henry took an interest in our house's staircase pretty early on in life, pretty much from the time he could crawl. I watched him closely over the weeks and months while he climbed up a few steps, then back down again. Then last week, with me behind him as always to play catch in case he slipped, he made it all the way to the top of the steps completely under his own steam. As great as that accomplishment was, it was also a call to action to get a gate in place at the bottom of the steps without delay in case Henry decided to do some solo climbing whilst Mommy and Daddy both had their backs turned. Our stairs are kinda weird at the bottom, so the gate fits funny, but we managed to get it in there. We had a system in place.

Today, the system was compromised.

For you see, while playing with The Baby Henry in our living room today, I watched with amusement as he crawled away from his pile of toys towards the stairway gate. He looked at it for a few moments, as if considering. I was thinking about picking him up and lifting him over the gate to see if he felt like climbing, but before I made a move, Henry took matters into his own hands. My amusement turned to impressed horror as I watched my baby boy lift the bottom part of the gate out of his way and wriggle underneath, like a ninja slipping beneath a trip wire. Completely unaided, he made it past the gate and onto the stairs.

Oh shit.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Henry!

It's been a crazy birthday weekend here at the Holmes house. The Henry was successfully birthdayed, and afterwards he slept like a partied out rockstar. I'm way too tired to say much beyond that, so I'll leave you with a bunch of cleverly captioned birthday party pictures to tell the story.

henry sippy mom
Mom and Henry with pre-party energy


moms grandmoms babies and a dad
Multiple conversations about babies

how life has changed
Oh how life has changed.

the cake
The cake, which wasn't actually for babies. The baby cake is unpictured, as it was slightly less photogenic and had no fire blazing over it. Seems odd in retrospect.

so many new toys
And we told people no toys. Heh. He even got a Cabbage Patch Kid?!














Buy too much beer + All your friends bring 6 packs + Nobody drinks more than two beers + Everybody leaves their beer at your house = A fridge full of beer after your son's first birthday. Aw yeah.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Conversations, imagined and otherwise

Direction I'm Glad the Conversation Didn't Go - Number One

The Barber Shop. The Holmes sits getting his hair cut by The Barber Lady. Other customers are also getting their hairs cut by other barbers. The Holmes notices that The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm.

HOLMES: (talking to himself, nobody else can hear him, real sneaky like) Hmm, looks like The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm. Ouch. Wonder how that happened? Say! I could ask her how she got that nasty cut, and that could make for at least 30, 45 seconds of haircut chit-chat! Good thinking Holmes. (speaks so he can be heard) So uh, I can't help but notice you got yourself a cut on your arm there. How'd that happen?

BARBER LADY: Uh, yeah. I did it myself.

HOLMES: You...cut yourself?

BARBER LADY: Yes. I cut myself, okay? I took a blade and I sliced my skin open, okay? I like to cut myself so that I can feel pain outside and stop the pain on the inside. Okay?

HOLMES: Okay.

The Barber Lady shakes her head and gets back to work on The Holmes's hair. The Holmes maintains his silence.

Direction I'm Glad the Conversation Didn't Go - Number Two

Same barbershop, same Holmes, same Barber Lady, same situation. Again, The Holmes notices the cut on The Barber Lady's forearm.

HOLMES: (talking to himself again) Hmm, it looks like The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm. Say! I could ask her how she got that nasty cut...oh wait a minute. Maybe that's not such a good idea. You never know Holmes, she might have given herself that cut. On purpose. She might be a cutter. You know, one of those people who cuts themselves so they can feel pain on the outside and stop the pain on the inside? Do you really want to ask a cutter how they got a cut? But wait, don't cutters usually cut themselves in hidden places? Gosh, I don't know. Does she look like a cutter? Shit, I don't know what cutters look like. I don't know anything about cutters besides what I've seen in movies. I'm such a shitty person for not knowing more about cutters. Okay fuck it, I'll just ask her. (speaking to The Barber Lady) So uh, I couldn't help but notice you got a pretty nasty cut on your arm there.

BARBER LADY: Oh yeah, that was an accident with a pair of scissors.

HOLMES: Oh thank God! I was scared to ask you because I was afraid you might be one of those people who cuts themselves on purpose.

BARBER LADY: Oh, like a cutter?

HOLMES: Yeah, a cutter.

BARBER LADY: No, this was an accident. (Lifts shirt sleeve to reveal a series of evenly spaced cuts) These I did on purpose.

HOLMES: Oh.

Direction I'm Glad the Conversation Didn't Go - Number Three

Same scenario.

HOLMES: (again talking to self) Hmm, looks like The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm. I should ask her how she got that. She doesn't look like she's a cutter or anything. (out loud) Say, how'd you get that nasty cut?

BARBER LADY: Oh, I'm just a big klutz.

The Barber Lady accidentally cuts off The Holmes's ear. Blood squirts everywhere. The Holmes screams, The Barber Lady screams, and all the other people scream.

The Actual Conversation

The Barber Shop. The Holmes sits getting his hair cut by The Barber Lady. Other customers are also getting their hairs cut by other barbers. The Holmes notices that The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm.

HOLMES: (talking to himself) Hmm, looks like The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm. Ouch. Wonder how that happened? Say! I could ask her how she got that--

A thought cloud appears over The Holmes's head wherein the three previous scenarios play themselves out in fast-forward. When they're done, the thought cloud pops.

HOLMES: (out loud) So uh, how'd you get that cut on your arm?

BARBER LADY: Oh, my cat did that.

HOLMES: Ouch.

BARBER LADY: I was holding her and she got startled and she cut me.

The conversation continues. The Holmes counts himself thankful that he has not offended the sensibilities of a self-cutter or been injured by a klutz.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Will that be abs or no abs?

Last Sunday I found myself standing outside of the Party Pig Superstore with the baby Henry strapped to me, while all around us swirled the excitement of Halloween consumers. We were there to pick up a few supplies for the 1 year anniversary of Hank's emergence from the warmth of the womb to the cruel existence known as planet Earth. Geez, that sounds bleak, but I kinda like it, so I'm not changing it.

But anyway, we're standing outside aforementioned party supply superstore, and I'm checking out all the pictures of the different costumes available for kids. Now it's a given that lots of the girl's costumes are probably age-inappropriately adult, but since I have a boy and since I was once a boy, it was the boy's costumes that caught my notice more. And I really don't know which I found more amusing/disturbing, the fact that there were so many costumes of killers available, ie Michael Myers (dressing your child up as a killer child? Seems odd, maybe just me), or the fact that for every superhero costume, there were two versions available: regular and muscle. That's right, you could either be regular Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or Wolverine, with your own scrawny physique, or for a few bucks more, your folks could do you up right and hook you up with a little muscle tone. Not to mention all the different variations on evil clowns. So many evil clown costumes! I wonder if the next generation think that clowns are as creepy as we do, or if they're like, so over that.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The politics of baby-wearing

To explain: I was going to write this really kickass post that you were all going to love that was all about this story that the Ash read on some baby-wearing forum and then relayed to me, and I thought it was really funny because it seemed to illustrate the politics, yes my friends, the politics of baby-wearing. And the fact that politics do in fact exist around a topic such as baby-wearing just cracks me up. But then I started working on the expertly doctored photograph shown above and before I knew it, I'd blown all my writing time, and I didn't really care about writing about the politics of baby-wearing anymore, and I just wanted to post the picture. So uh, yeah.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Raffi Kicks Ass

Yeah, I said it.

Like many parents before us, the Ash and I have discovered the joy of Raffi. It'd be easy to make fun of the guy, but his music seems to please the Henry, and I confess, I'm not yet sick of having him stuck in my head yet. Yet.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shut your loathsome yap

So this is just about the most interesting horoscope I've ever read:

CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19)
I was nine years old when I first risked my ass to fight for the rights of others. It was a winter morning in Ohio. Ten of us kids were waiting on a corner for the school bus to pick us up. A fifth-grader named Jerry Demasko was doing his usual shtick: insulting and belittling the girls. When he sneeringly informed little Debbie Runello that she would always be ugly, I snapped. I tackled him, sat on him, and drove his face into the freshly fallen snow. "Promise you'll stop being a mean bastard every minute of your life!" I demanded. He resisted at first, but when my inflamed strength kept him pinned, he broke. Your assignment, Capricorn, is to recall the first time you felt an eruption of pure compassionate rage in the face of injustice. Once you've done that, spend the next ten days cultivating and expressing that beautiful emotion.
I had to stop and think on this one, especially since I'm not really an eruption of rage kind of guy, and certainly wasn't an eruption kind of kid. I'm just not all that confrontational, even when I want to be. The first thing that comes to mind is this time that my mom took me and a couple of my friends to see a Rockets game at the arena formerly known as the Summit (apparently now it's a church?! Double you tee eff?!). This was around 7th or 8th grade. I don't remember who the hell they were playing or who won, but what I do remember about that night was that I was there with my mom and my friends Matt and Robbie. There was some obnoxious guy sitting in the row behind us who kept yelling all these pointless insults at the ref. You know, the guy who thinks that the price of his ticket included the right to be a total asshole? So somewhere near the end of the first half, I pulled together all my courage, turned my little ass around in my seat and told the guy to shut up. I literally said "shut up" to a grown person. Of course, I was totally banking on the fact that I was a little kid and that my mom was there to protect me, but still. I don't know if the guy actually shut up or not because come the second half of the game, he wasn't sitting behind us anymore, but damn if I didn't feel the badassest little junior high kid on the planet that night.

Of course, it's not as if Matt and Robbie and I were perfect little angels that night. I have vivid memories of us throwing various single serving condiment packages on the ground inside the Summit and jumping on them to see how far we could get them to spray. Amazing the shit you get away with as a kid.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Like Ike

We just finished watching Why We Fight, which is one of those kinds of documentaries that pretty much confirms all your worst fears about the forces of evil being at work at the highest levels of government and industry, and pretty much makes you want to grab whatever possessions you can stuff in your car and load up the family and haul ass to Canada where you can watch the empire crumble from the north side of the border. Seriously, if we're the new Rome, I sometimes wish we'd just fall already.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bad Religion

"Beware of people and groups whose political blueprint is based on a mandate from heaven that depends on human beings to implement."
That is a most excellent quote from a book I just finished reading titled When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball. Kimball's background alone makes for an interesting story, but suffice it to say for the purposes of this post that he's an ordained Baptist minister who has spent decades working in the Middle East, he's met with many of the political and religious leaders in these nations, and he's negotiated several high visibility hostage situations that have flared up in that region over the years. I think it's safe to say he has a strong understanding of both the Christian and the Muslim world. My friend Brandon lent the book to me after we had a discussion about religion's potential for evil in the world. Frankly, most of its conclusions will probably not come as a surprise to most reasonably well-informed people, though it does do an excellent job of distilling the traits of corrupted religion down to a few basic characteristics by taking a close look at the dark sides of both Christianity and Islam. And although he's a Baptist minister, he pulls no punches when he turns his gaze to the evils perpetrated by followers of the Christian faith, both past and present.

I can't speak for Islam because I know so very little about it, but on the Christian side of things, I have to confess that I find efforts such as those described in the above quote to be a bit ludicrous. The term "theocracy" is not often used, at least not by those who would seek to institute such a thing. But when people talk about ordering society according to their narrow ideas about what the Bible says or what they think God intends (all other ideas about God and the divine be damned!), well that's basically what you're talking about.

And you know, I'm no theologian, but I'm not completely unfamiliar with the Bible either. And when I think about the kind of world that the Falwells and the Robertsons and the Grahams and the Dobsons of this world would have us live in, the question that comes to my mind is, isn't the concept of a theocracy just plain bad theology? I truly don't know what Biblical leg these people are standing on. I mean, maybe if the gospels recounted the story of King Joseph and Queen Mary giving birth to Prince Jesus, or maybe if they described the daily grooming ritual performed by Jesus's dozen-and-a-half servants to prepare the Jewish prince to walk among his subjects, or even better, maybe if they described Jesus's ascencion to the Emperorship of Rome where he then proceeded to order the world as he saw fit (because if he wanted any real power, would he have bothered with just Jerusalem? Caesar Jesususus, anyone?), or maybe if there were any record at all of Jesus ever telling his followers to seek out power or dominion over other people, if anything resembling any of these hypothetical events ever appeared in even one of the gospels, then maybe, MAYBE the theocrats would have some sort of leg to stand on...it'd be a wobbly one, but they'd have it, and it'd be more than they have now. As it stands though, all they have is plain old Jesus, who never held any governance over anyone. Beyond that, rulers in the Bible are all ultimately conquered, killed, or otherwise deposed in some form or fashion.

The book quotes the first century rabbi Hillel, who, when asked if he could explain the whole of the Torah while a man stood on one foot, responded, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Jesus, whom the proponents of theocracy claim to follow, said basically the same thing. In fact, it's probably a safe bet that every religion in the world endorses some version of the Golden Rule. I may be horribly naive and tragically idealistic, but I believe that a world populated by people with the courage and strength to just try to follow this rule would do more good than any amount of legislation we could ever hope to pass.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Indulge me my occasional bout of sappiness, okay?

I gotta tell ya, I'm not a big fan of going to work. But I love coming home. Because when I get home and my little boy sees me, his whole face lights up, he gets real excited, and he starts chirping "Da Da Da Da." It's a greeting I never grow tired of. After that, Henry and I play on the floor while Ash recounts their day to me, good, bad, or blah. Then dinner, where Henry hopefully eats more than he flings or drops on the floor for the dog. On paper, they're not the most exciting evenings, but every now and then I give myself the gift of remembering to be grateful for them, remembering just what a huge gift a family is, that there are some out there who have to fight very hard just to keep their families united.

Like most working parents, I have a ton of pictures of my family at my desk at work. My monitor's desktop is a constant rotation of favorite Henry pics. I sometimes get overwhelmed by just how strong my feelings for this little guy are. Just sitting there in my cube, I'll happen to glance at one of his pictures, and instead of moving on to whatever task is at hand, I'll stop and think about him for a second, and I'll get a little teary-eyed. Of course, it seems like I've been more prone to uncharacteristic emotional displays lately, but that's another story. It's a bit frightening sometimes, but I try to appreciate it for what it is.

Since I grew up without a father, I sometimes feel like I'm stumbling in the dark as a parent. Of course my mom worked extremely hard to be the best mother she could, and I spent time around other people's dads, but I can't really point to a particular role model, good or bad, to model myself off of, either to emulate or to do the opposite of. I suppose you could say that just by being present, I've made a 100% improvement over my own father's performance, but that's hardly a major accomplishment. I guess that's why I'm always surprised, reassured, and happy when Henry is so excited to see me every single day. Every day, a little reaffirmation that, imperfect though I may be, I matter to this little guy. And that, my friends, is an excellent state of affairs.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More Shit I'm Tired of Hearing About

Every time I read about these so-called "values voters" I just want to punch myself in the face. These are the segments of the conservative base for whom "values" issues such as gay marriage and abortion are of highest priority. According to some blog postings and articles I've read recently, these "values voters" (and yes, I'm going to keep putting it in quotes because that's the easiest shorthand to indicate ridiculousness) are finding themselves to be a bit disillusioned with the Republican Party for not doing enough to put a stop to, that's right, gay marriage and abortion. Opine some in the various political opinion machines, these "values" folks are so unenthusiastic about the GOP that many of them will either vote against the Republicans or just not vote at all.

Stop and think about that for a second. I mean, sure it's great if it helps the Democrats gain some ground. But if in fact there are enough of these "values voters" out there to help sway an election, that means that there are masses of people in this country for whom the Republicans currently in power are simply not hardcore enough. That's like heavy metal fans who think Slayer is a bunch of pussies because they only spew ten gallons of goat's blood off of the stage instead of the thirty gallons typically spewed onto the crowd during the average Norwegian black metal show. Or it's like freestyle fighting enthusiasts who think that UFC matches are weak because the opponents can't take chainsaws into the ring.

"Values voters." Feh. Somebody tell these people that real values, the kinds without quotes, are not centered around the restriction of personal freedoms. You people make me sick.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Whenever stuff happens

Whenever I see an elevator door open and noone exits or enters, I always wonder if an invisible person just stepped off. Are they walking towards me? Am I about to get goosed? Are they naked?
Whenever I walk past an unoccupied desk and the phone is ringing, I am always tempted to pick up the receiver and then slam it back down into its cradle. But I don't.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Habitually Cynical Worldview Is Challenged

So I sort of work in a cave.

Not exactly a cave, but I'm way down at the end of a row of cubicles. It's cool being next to a window, but sometimes it's a bit quiet. There's plenty of other cubes around me, but one of them is empty, and two are occupied by people who are in the office irregularly. Thus, I find myself alone quite a bit of the time.

In a seemingly unrelated but totally related matter, we have an all-employees meeting every month to talk about how kickass the company is doing. Every month during said meeting, the Q&A session inevitably includes somebody asking if they can get a particular office supply. Red pens. Green highlighters. Functioning staplers. And every month, the answer is the same, just go see the office manager lady and she'll hook you up.

So I was looking around my little cave cube dwelling the other day when I was completely by myself, and I decided that I needed a plant. And I decided that a plant qualified as an office supply. So I went to the office manager lady's desk.

HOLMES: So we're supposed to talk to you about office supplies, right?

LADY: (grabs pad and pen, ready to take down The Holmes's request) That's right! What can I do for you?

HOLMES: I need a plant.

LADY: (uncertain) A plant?

HOLMES: Yeah. See, it's kinda dark over where I sit.

LADY: And a plant would brighten it up?

HOLMES: Well it'd add some life to the place.

LADY: I see. What kind of plant?

HOLMES: (indicating nearby plant) I don't care. I'll take this one.

LADY: You can't have that one.

HOLMES: Okay. Well just a plant really.

LADY: And you don't care what kind?

HOLMES: I'd prefer it didn't try to eat me.

LADY: (writing on her pad) One plant. Okay, I'll see what I can do.

I had about zero expectation of actually receiving this request. If I wanted a plant in my cube, I'd hafta bring it from home.

Except, about an hour later, the Office Manager Lady shows up with a plant. A living green plant. "Here you go" she chirped, and set it on my desk. I couldn't believe it.

So now I have a plant. Yay for unexpected responses to smartass requests.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Violence Against Children

So it seems that lately, me and the Ash keep ending up with these movies that depict scenes of violence against children. They range between slightly unnerving to horrifically graphic, but the common thread is definitely there, and in some cases they jarred me so bad that I couldn't help but get up and go check on Henry while he slept (Syriana, Tsotsi, I'm talking to you).

Which brings us to the other night when Ash and I plunked down to watch
The Pledge. I'll spare you the extended review, but let's just say that's two hours I'll never get back. The plot revolves around the main character's hunt for a murderer of little girls, and as such there are some rather graphic scenes. It's no Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but as a parent, it was more than enough to disturb my otherwise pleasant suburban evening.

It was while watching this film, this completely squandered bit of cinematic potential, that the Ash piped up with an observation about the recent glut in our household of movies with this kind of imagery, one which I found interesting. She said at first that she thought it was a weird coincidence, us getting all these movies with kids suffering at the hands of violent hate-filled adults. Then she thought that maybe somehow we were subconsciously choosing them, as if some force deep within our collective psyche was compelling us to move these films to the top of our queue. Which doesn't totally make sense to me, but okay. But then she thought, maybe it's simply that there's a boatload of movies out there that depict violence against children.


Before I go any further, I'm not about to try and make a case for censorship. Just so you know. I don't think it makes much sense to blame the movies for society's ills. If anything, blame society's ills for the movies.


I don't know if there's any relevance to it or not, but I think Ash may have a point. Regardless of how they keep ending up in our DVD player, there simply are a lot of films that depict violence of some sort against children. Becoming a parent obviously causes me to notice it more than I did before, and in fact, I think I've found myself to be much more sensitive to violence overall. Again, I'm not advocating for censorship, nor would I ever. I hardly think I fit the profile of the hysterical parent who thinks the world needs to be padded in Nerf foam and is outraged, OUTRAGED I TELL YOU, at all of the corrupting influences out in the world that could stain his poor baby's innocent little soul. But still, I have to ask, what does it mean? What can we say about a society whose film, whose art, whose entertainment, is capable of producing such imagery? Are they a happy people? Do they find this kind of thing entertaining? Are they so desensitized to violence that their filmmakers have resorted to victimizing children on screen in order to disturb an otherwise blas
e audience? Or, perhaps looking on the brighter side, does it all indicate a broader cultural awareness of the tragedy of a child's suffering? I know it may sound stupidly obvious to say that children suffering is tragic, but I don't think it always was quite so. In other words, maybe the massive appearance of violence against children in movies is actually a sign of progress.

Then of course, there's the question of why? Why show such imagery? As a playwright who's penned some rather brutal scenes of my own, I think that much of the time, the intention is in fact to disturb the viewer, to jar them out of a complacent state, if only for a moment's thought, a brief reconsideration that the world as they know it is in fact the place they think it to be. Sure, sometimes, scenes like this are only meant to shock or disgust, but I think the intention is usually easy enough to infer.

And one more question I have to bring up: why is violence against a child more tragic than violence against an adult? My short answer: it's not. But I have to confess, I think it's more my head giving that answer than my gut or my heart.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

New Stuff

New things Henry's doing:

1) Sharing food:

sharing with mom

He's definitely getting better at feeding himself, as evidenced by the improvement of his mouth to floor ratio. He pretty much tried to feed the dog from the first day we put food in front of him, but just recently he's started trying to share with me and the Ash as well. Today alone, he and I fed each other banana, pasta, and peas. He seemed to find as much satisfaction in feeding me as he did with filling his belly.

2) Holy rocking crap, Henry threw up his first today. We weren't prompting or coaching or listening to Black Sabbath or anything. He just up and out of nowhere. Tragically, the camera was not in reach at the moment, but his Aunt Kiki and Uncle Alan were there to bear witness to Henry's first great moment in rock.

Oh, and not necessarily something new that Henry did, but we bought his first Halloween costume yesterday, and I think the Ash and I are both bursting at the seams to see him in it. He may just have to wear it once before Halloween arrives. Technically, this is his second Halloween, but he was only ten days old for his first one, and he insisted on dressing up as a colicky baby and he refused to leave the house.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Better Days

Ah man, back when we had Ann in the governor's mansion and Bill in the White House.


Good night Ann. Thanks for everything.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Random Quotations Meme

From reverend mommy, who I don't actually know, but whose blog I enjoy:

It's an easy one to do. The rules: Go here and look through random quotes until you find 5 that you think reflect who you are or what you believe. Feel free to use the "New Random Quotations" button at the bottom of the page. I hereby tag all my friends with blogs.

Here's mine:

"Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information."
Kurt Vonnegut
US novelist (1922 - )

"
The arts must be considered an essential element of education... They are tools for living life reflectively, joyfully and with the ability to shape the future."
Shirley Trusty Corey

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

Mahatma Gandhi
Indian ascetic & nationalist leader (1869 - 1948)

"In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you."
Leo Tolstoy
Russian mystic & novelist (1828 - 1910)

"The world is now too small for anything but brotherhood."
Arthur Powell Davies

Plus a few more good ones:

"The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
US jurist (1841 - 1935)

"If dracula can't see his reflection in the mirror, how come his hair is always so neatly combed?"
Stephen Wright
US comedian and actor (1955 - )

"Modesty in an actor is as fake as passion in a call girl."
Jackie Gleason
US television actor & comedian (1916 - 1987)

Monday, September 11, 2006

All the sorrow in this world

It is so easy to get distracted in this life. So incredibly easy to have your gaze pulled away from The Big Picture. To get caught up in bullshit and forget to focus on That Which Truly Matters.

I had absolutely no intention of mentioning 9/11 in this blog today. In fact, if I remember right, I bet if you searched the archives of this humble blog, you'd find not a single mention of that day. And today on its five year anniversary, I had no more intention of writing about it than I did yesterday or the day before or last St. Patrick's Day. It's not that I intentially set out to not write about it, but seeing as how
nearly every story on NPR this morning, and over half of the headlines in my blog reader today were 9/11 related, I just felt no need to add mine to the 17 megatons of voices already going on about it from all sides. And folks, now that I've brought that day up, I wouldn't blame you a bit if you stopped reading right now.

Cuz see, I sorta changed my mind about not blogging about 9/11. And since it's late in the day on 9/11, most of you won't read this until 9/12 at the earliest.

See I was coming back from running an errand on my lunch hour today, and I was singing along with one of my favorite songs:




Man I was singing it, the kind of uninhibited belting that somebody like me can only achieve when sealed away in the solitude of their vehicle. Or when drunk. And at this point, I was not thinking about 9/11. I didn't have the above video scrolling by in front of my eyes. I wasn't thinking about crumbling buildings or bombs or children with seared flesh or the sound of a uniformed voice telling you that your kids no longer have a father/mother. I was probably only thinking about getting back to the office so I could eat my sandwich and then slog through the rest of the day so I could go home. Except then I came around a corner and I saw a flag at half mast, and I thought "why's that flag...?" but before I finished asking the question, I remembered yet again what day it was, and it was right at the part of the song where he mentions good men being trampled down "just to settle a bet that could not be won between a prideful father and his son." And right there in my car, music blaring, grief washed over me like a fucking tidal wave.


Typically, whenever the subject of 9/11 comes up, I roll my eyes. It's not that I don't see it as an unspeakable tragedy, because it is. It's just that I tend to let my focus get stuck on the political side of things...which is ironic since I always get angry whenever I hear about blatant politicizing of that day...so yes, I get angry a lot. And as its anniversary approached, the only thing I really thought about was how our idiot President would once again use it as an opportunity to tell us how great his war is going and how we have to watch out for terrorists around every corner while he pretends that he gives two shits about the deaths that his war has caused. Meanwhile the left and the right will continue to hash it out all the way up to election day. The political blogs will keep firing away. And people will keep dying.

But today, I don't know why exactly, but something hit me, something well beyond politics. I don't know if it was the song or my mood or what, but all I've been able to think about since I found myself tearing up uncontrollably in the car this afternoon is all the death and grief and rage and hurt that led up to that day, that happened on that day, and that have stemmed from that day. Death built on lies built on tragedy built on hate built on...shit, where does it stop? The sheer number of people dead, the number of loved ones left behind.

So if we're going to remember 9/11, let's remember every last bit of it. Every last life lost. The victims in the towers and in the planes and in the Pentagon. The first responders. Every soldier and civilian killed in the ensuing wars, no matter what side they were on. And while I'm at it, every poor uneducated Middle Eastern kid who gets duped into strapping a bomb to his chest by a charismatic psychopath with a carefully edited version of the Qur'an. And the sorrow of every loved one who will mourn them until the day they die. Because, as I so easily forget sometimes, it's about people, not politics. And it's not just the loss of American life that's a tragedy. It all is.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Theater Goes Corporate

If art is a lie that tells the truth, then the Yesmen are the most honest thespians I've ever heard of. From their site:
"Honest people impersonate big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else.... The Yes Men have impersonated some of the world's most powerful criminals at conferences, on the web, and on television, in order to correct their identities. They currently have hundreds of thousands of job openings."

Help Isabel

I don't know these people at all, but if Henry ever got sick, I'd want the word to get out. This is Isabel and she's a sick little girl in need of help. Click the picture to check out the website.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Protest Picture

Picture from an antiwar protest in, of all places, Salt Lake City, Utah.



I hope the answer to this kid's shirt is "no", but since we're going to have to attack the entire world, I'm afraid it's "maybe."

Monday, September 04, 2006

#$%* you I won't sleep when ya tell me

Look upon these pictures my friends, look upon them and understand that the Holmes today is different from the Holmes of the past.

Henry and Dad RATM

Henry and mom RATM

See, ten years ago or so, had I seen some happy couple with their happy little baby wearing a Rage Against The Machine onesie, I think a little short circuit would have occured in my brain. "Do they think that's fucking cute?! Do they think that's clever?! How can they dress a baby up in a shirt (for I did not know the term "onesie") bearing the name of the MOST AWESOME BAND IN THE HISTORY OF EXISTENCE?!?!?! That baby doesn't know how to rage against any machines! He's too young to have learned of the evils of capitalism! He knows nothing of the suffering masses or of class warfare or of corporate greed!"

Yes, that's how seriously I took RATM and myself. Can't say I'm proud, but hey, let's dredge up a few of your past attitudes and see how well they hold up. And anyone who thinks that a baby can't rage against a machine hasn't seen Henry smash a phone and a remote control together repeatedly, as if he's trying to meld them together into one supercontroller.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Welcome to the new blog

So yes, I'm shutting down my old blog and have officially moved over to this new free one. And just like any move, things are a bit of a mess, there are some unpacked boxes shoved in corners, and I don't have any decorations up, but I'm moved. And yes, I did make the slightly nutty move of importing all my old entries from my old blog into this new one. Yes I did. I thought about just abandoning it and leaving all that old stuff behind, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. That old blog was started right after we found out that Ashley was pregnant with Henry, and many of those entries follow the pregnancy and the first ten months of his life. I like to think that in however many years, Henry might want to look back and see what his dad had to say during that time. I guess I just want to make sure he has as clear a picture of me as he can, and part of that includes the stuff I put into writing.

So anyway, welcome to the new blog. Look forward to more Holmes goodness.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I Got 99 Projects...

...and a fence is one.

So we're selling our house, which means that I'm currently in the midst of house preparation hell. This weekend, me and my neighbor Mike with whom I share the back fence tore down said property marker and got to work on a new one. My buddy Andy came out for some of the fun too. That made for a sweaty backbreaking blistering weekend, I assure you. And that's just one of the projects we've got going on. I had this brief fear that Ashley hatched this plot with a real estate agent to trick me into agreeing to all these home improvement projects, and after they're all done, it'll be a great big "Just kidding! We're staying!" Maybe she even got Mike in on it. Maybe even Andy! That'd be fucked up.

So Saturday night, our friend Erin was over for dinner because she'd come over to help slap up some paint, and we got to talking about kid's memories, about how we carry lots of memories with us that we don't consciously remember. Like songs for instance. It's a well known fact that people grow up to have a certain knowledge or affinity for music that they heard repeatedly as babies, or even in the womb. Henry hears lots of music, but over the course of his first 9 months, I seem to have narrowed down a particular list of songs that are more guaranteed to get him to sleep. Thus, he may end up knowing the words to the following and have no idea why (and my apologies to future grown-up Henry for a few of these, but not all):

- "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" by Hank Williams
- "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" by Willie Nelson
- "Pancho and Lefty" by Townes Van Zandt
- "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett (okay, apologies to Henry on this one, but dammit, it seems to knock him out about 80 - 90% of the time...I've really developed a love-hate relationship with this song, with the pendulum swinging strongly towards hate).
- "Desperado" by The Eagles (I'll shush you if you talk over this song)
- "Give My Love To Rose" by Johnny Cash
- "Summertime Rolls" by Jane's Addiction
- "Minerva" by the Deftones (this is a recent addition to the repertoire, since it was getting too full of country songs).

So yeah, there ya have it. There are others, but these seem to be the starting lineup. Between my awesome vocal stylings and a shot of breastmilk, that kid's out like a light. Except when he's not.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The words are dying

I would probably go nuts posting all the YouTube videos that I find interesting or funny, but this one demanded to be posted. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Firetrucks in my hood

So here's a sight that nobody wants to see out their front window.


These guys were actually coming for the folks across the street. Apparently he hadn't put his coals all the way out after barbecuing, and a coal fell under his deck and set it on fire while he was gone. Lucky for them, The Ash was outside and smelled smoke.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hummer commercial

Sometimes, I just don't get advertisers.





To me, this commercial seems to be saying "Hey buddy, feeling like a pussy? Then buy a Hummer so that you can become the exact stereotype that everybody thinks of when they think of Hummer buyers: guys with adequacy issues who buy Hummers to help them not to feel like pussies."



Then again, maybe I'm not their target demographic, especially given that I'm not all that taken with their 20mpg fuel efficiency rating.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Holmes as comic

So I always wondered what I'd look like if I was teleported into comicbook land:

This is from an online comic that my friend Brandon and his partner Artie are currently working on. It doesn't really require much from me except to show up and make whatever motions and facial expressions I'm told to. There's a lot more pics just like this that have me pretty stoked to see the finished product.


Parenting For A Peaceful World

So I just finished a pretty amazing book. It's called Parenting For A Peaceful World, and it's by an Australian chap goes by the name of Robin Grille. I think I mentioned this in a previous post about ten years ago when I started reading it. Before you yawn off, I should tell you it's not exactly a parenting manual. It's more of a journey through the world's history through the lens of parenting and childhood, talking about the various stages of parenting through the ages and what life was like, not only for the children, but for the adults who grew up within those varied societies to become the next generation of parents, teachers, doctors, legislators, experts, and leaders. Long story short, we've gotten much better over the millennia, advancing from infanticidal barbarians to our current state where, although abuse does still happen, it's much less common and recognized as wrong and pretty much outlawed. The book succeeds, I think, in spelling out a pretty good cause and effect relationship between a society's more common parenting styles and its proclivity for violence or peace. To cite just one example, the generation that grew up to become Nazi Germany was raised during a time when the most popular German parenting manuals advised parents, and I shit you not, to refrain entirely from physical displays of affection and do whatever was necessary to establish rigid authority over the child, including such lovely methods as "physically perceptible admonitions" to bring baby's crying to an end (i can only imagine what that means), the use of metal jackets to enforce posture, and teaching self-denial to children by eating their favorite foods in front of them, but not giving them any. Hitler himself was made to count each blow out loud as his father administered them, and was frequently beaten unconscious. Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Saddam Hussein, basically every perpetrator of massive state-sponsored murder is known to have had an extremely violent childhood. It's pretty common knowledge these days that abused children become abusive adults, but pulling back for just a second and seeing what happens, what has happened, when abused children grow up and vie for power that is then handed to them by nations of people that also experienced abusive childhoods who are all too glad to give over authority to punitive rulers, well...let's just say it makes me curious about what the Bush household was like when George and Jeb were growing up.

Speaking of G.W., the book's got some pretty harsh words for the U.S. For example, in 1989, the UN General Assembly passed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stipulates, among other basic kid-related laws, that children may not be executed, jailed for life, or imprisoned with adult offenders. Sounds good, right? Every UN nation has ratified it except for the US and Somalia. We're in company with goddamn Somalia. The US must be like the big rich retarded kid at the UN. Not to mention the fact that we give WAY less maternity leave than many other nations, including many rather poor nations. Why are we always so goddamned backwards on this shit?

So that barely covers a tiny portion of the book's scope. The ultimate premise that it sets out to prove is a fairly simple one, that loving and empathetic parenting develops children who are more capable of love and empathy themselves, who grow into more fully-realized adults with no need or desire to choose violence, thus creating better societies and a better world. A simple formula, right? It's tempting at times to just jettison the whole thing, especially after listening to war coverage on the way home from work, and particularly because the book is just so damn optimistic in tone. This Grille guy really envisions a peaceful world, and in fact sees that as a fairly modest accomplishment, just a starting point for much greater things. The book was published in 2005, and he doesn't ignore the Iraq war, but even with that factored in, he still manages to see us moving towards peace, and I think he actually succeeds in laying out some pretty good reasons for hope. I guess I have to give him kudos for having that kind of audacity.

I think ultimately, it's a reminder that parenting, like any of the larger roles that we find ourselves called to, is work that's performed day to day, moment to moment, but whose scope is long term. The treatment of our ancestors when they were children shaped the world we grew up in and the parenting that we received, and the way we treat today's kids will have many results that we won't live to see.

To close, here's a neat quote:

"To look into some aspects of the future, we do not need projections by supercomputers. Much of the next millennium can be seen in how we care for our children today. Tomorrow's world may be influenced by science and technology, but more than anything, it is already taking shape in the bodies and minds of our children."
- Kofi Annan

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How the sling got slung

So checka check it out. The Ash has been working like mad as of late, staying up while the boys in the house sleep, working weekends, etc, and her online store is now open. My friends, I present to you Little Pepper Pouches! (ahem, dot com).
















So just like the website says, the whole thing came about because we wanted to do the whole sling thing, but were having a hell of a time finding any that we really dug on in which to enslingen our little dude. It seems like most of them out there are either A) impossible to use, B) uncomfortable, C) supermegauglyboring, or D) a painful combination of the above. So Ash hopped on the sewing machine and LPP was born. Yes, that's me in the picture, yes that's Ash in the other picture, and yes that's the baby Henry in both pictures.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

LITOA

So as of late, I've been feeling like a goddamn dirty hippie. No, I haven't gone vegan or starting wearing hemp. Have you ever priced hemp clothing? That shit's for RICH hippies. No, I tell ya, I'm feeling this way because as of late, it seems like every news story I read or hear about, I inevitably find myself thinking about it in terms of love. Yes, love. How love fits into the picture. Or in many cases, the lack thereof.

Let's just take war for example, since there are so many nice ones to choose from currently. Nations do not go to war because the hearts of their leaders and their citizenry are swollen to capacity with love and good will towards their fellow earth-dwellers. Fair enough statement? Of course there are plenty of reasons for the 21st century conflicts that we're currently engaged in, ranging from the official to the factual, and it'll be interesting to see which ones the official history books will choose to adopt in the years to come. But I can't help but think that the real reasons for most any war all come down to the fact that the men who are in power that made the decision to plunge into war have no love for humankind. They love power, they love wealth, and they love destruction, and they hate anything or anyone who stands in the way.

I don't know why our leaders are this way. Perhaps it's the catch-22 of power: those who want it will do anything for it, but those who want peace are typically not interested in power.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I might be getting weirder

Today I found myself thinking about that one line from "Fight Club" where Tyler Durden demands that Jack "Just let go." I found myself replaying that one line over and over in my head. After a while, it didn't sound exactly like Tyler Durden anymore, but became much less aggressive. Less "fuck it all and let's all hit bottom together" and more "hey, why don't you quit trying to control everything because you can't anyway and uuuuuh, yeah."

Just let go.

Just let go

Just let go

Maybe I shouldn't talk about hearing voices in my blog.

In other news, Henry is learning how to play with his spit.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

When the elephants rumble, the ants get crushed

When I was younger, I didn't care at all about politics. And when I say I didn't care, I mean I truly didn't care which way it went because it all seemed the same to me - the parties, the ideologies, and the people behind them all seemed like repackaged and reimagined versions of the same refried horseshit. Those in power were going to do as they were going to do, and from my youthful know-it-all vantage point, politics had pretty much no effect on my existence.

Fast forward to today. My outlook has changed quite a bit, but that's not what I want to talk about. In the last few days I've seen lots of articles pop up that offer explanations and opinions about the whys and whodunits behind this whole Israel vs. Lebanon war thing. And I've tried to read them, really I have. I've tried to gather together some facts and opinions in an attempt to develop some meager bit of understanding that goes beyond the standard "the Middle East is a swirling mass of violence and bloodshed and that's just how it is" that we typically fall back on.

Or I guess I should say that I've tried to try. Because as I'm skimming through this stuff, I realize that I'm only halfway reading it. I'm trudging through it like a high school reading assignment because once again, I just don't care. I don't care about the Israel Lebanon conflict. I don't care about the Iraq war. I don't care about the war on terrorism. Honestly, I just don't give a flying fuck about any goddamn war going on anywhere on this poor abused planet of ours.

Maybe I should clarify.

I do care that people are dying every day. Soldiers, civilians, innocents, guilties, whatever, they're human beings. I do care that children are being orphaned and that parents are losing their children and that friends are losing friends and families are being torn apart and towns, cities, entire countries are being decimated. But what I'm really tired of caring about, what I can no longer find the energy within myself to be concerned about is the reason for any of it. Who attacked who first and who responded in what way and what historical conflict goes back to the cavepeople and which corporations are run by which thinktanks and have the balls of which politicians in their pockets --- I simply don't care. Because the way I see it, behind all the reasons and all the justifications and all the lies, it all comes down to one basic fact: these wars are being waged by people who have placed humankind second to their own need to wreak havoc and accumulate power. That's it. The inalienable unquestionable right to freedom, to peace, hell, even to live that is shared by ALL human beings, these things mean nothing to the warmongers. They're breeding hatred where there should be compassion, and perpetuating the fallacy that the only appropriate response to violence is more violence. It's a lie that we should all be sick of choking on by now.

And don't hand me that "freedom isn't free" crap. These wars aren't about freedom, and I sure as hell don't need George Bush writing any checks on my behalf.

So I guess at the end of it, what I'm saying is that I do care, but I'm sick to my stomach of hearing the justifications because there's no justification for this shit. Humanity has to come to its senses before it destroys itself. And I don't think any power in the universe would stop us from doing so.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Oddities of the day

Two interesting things happened today:

1) Henry picked his nose for the first time. We're totally proud. I still can't believe Ash didn't call me as soon as it happened.

2) Ash sang a cowboy song that I didn't know. This is odd not because I sing lots of cowboy songs, but if a cowboy song is to be sung in this house, 99% of the time it will be coming from me. It was 100% of the time before tonight.

That is all. More on other stuff later.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dude, that's so deep

So tonight, the Holmes did something weird and different and attended a theological discussion group held at the campus of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest. Crazy enough, I lived right next to that campus for a year of my college life and never noticed it there. Before I continue, let me make it absolutely clear that I am not making fun of any of the people in attendance. But I have to say, the conversation reminded me of a number of dormroom conversations held back in my days at university. You know, the deep kind, with quotes like:

- "Wow, so what if God is like..."

- "To me, heaven is just an imaginary creation made up to keep the masses hopeful in the midst of their suffering"

- "You know in Eastern philosophies, they believe..."

And so on and so forth. The only difference was that in this case, the Holmes was the youngest one in attendance by decades, there were no pungent odors permeating the room, and there was no Pink Floyd, Doors, Jimi Hendrix, or any other classic rock playing in the background.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Cast of Slapdash

This slideshow cracks me up.

In case you're wondering, this is the cast of Slapdash Flimflammery 2006 in action figure form. Guess which one is the Holmes. SDFF happens tomorrow at Arts on Real. I've got my bags packed and my lunch made. Hope to see ya'll.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Obligatory LGT plug

Ever since this picture came out in the Chronicle, people keep asking the same question, and the answer is "No, I'm not grabbing my crotch. I'm clearly breaking into a run."

Slapdash Flimflammery happens this Saturday, July 8th. Check the LGT site for the info, and make sure you haul your ass up there.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Random thoughts about peace

Last night on the way back from San Antonio, I sat in the back of the car with Henry because he was rather displeased. I was able to get him to sleep pretty soon, and then I just sat back and watched I-35 zip by and thought about peace. I just started reading this book, Parenting for a Peaceful World by Robin Grille, which so far has been pretty amazing. I'm only a little ways in, but the main tenet of the book is that advances in freedom and peace throughout history correlate directly to how society takes care of its children, and that care of children is a major piece of the puzzle with regards to steering our planet off of the violent course that it's currently on. But I was sitting there in the car feeling all good for getting the baby to sleep, and I started thinking about what a peaceful world actually looks like, and my first thought was that it was a world without violence, but then I thought, well that describes what a peaceful world is not, but what about what it is? And when I start thinking like that, my brain goes into a place where words seem laughably inadequate to describe what I'm envisioning, but the best I could come up with was that a peaceful world is a place where every human being is nurtured, where everyone's best is allowed to flourish, and where violence is not even an option on the table when it comes to conflict resolution because we've realized that to strike another is to strike ourselves. And then I started thinking about this thing that a wise friend of mine said one time, about how every person is an entire universe, which then caused me to think about that one scene in the first Star Wars (episode IV, the real first Star Wars) where they blow up Princess Leia's home planet right in front of her, and I thought to myself "What total bullshit. She barely even protests! If somebody was about to blow up everyone you know, wouldn't you be throwing a hysterical shitfit? Yet another reason why George Lucas is an asshole."