This week David performed in his first school Musical. Here’s the video!
Every time I think of the new Arizona immigration Law 1070 I’m reminded of the song “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie.
Woody Guthrie wrote, “This Land is Your Land” in 1940, he wrote it in direct response to the song “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin. Woody thought the song Irving Berlin wrote was “unrealistic and complacent”. He recorded the song in 1944 in New York and all the lyrics you usually hear today from this song were just the verses he put in the original recording. He didn’t include the bolder verses about private property or our responsibility to the poor. You can read these verses, and more about the song here. These additional verses really drive home the point, that “truth, justice and the American way” are comprised of all of our combined personal commitments to these ideals. The way we act, the laws we pass, the markets we create all express our values.
I have child who’s very interested in what’s fair. This is usually about how sharing is not fair. I tell him that “sharing is about giving something up, and sometimes that’s what fair means”.
In the Bible there’s an absolutely wonderful verse in Micah that really hits me as my major complaint with Arizona’s Immigration Law.
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously take God seriously.
In its brevity, says a lot about Justice. Looking up from the bible to the world I live in, I realize I don’t get much guidance and precious few examples of Justice being done in our modern society.
There’s a scene at the end of the Bonfire of the Vanities that kind of rants on the theme that Micah is teaching us.
I'll tell you what justice is not. Justice is not the will of the few and it's not the will of the many. Justice is not politics. Justice is the law. And the law is man's feeble attempt to set down the principles of decency. Decency! And decency is not a deal. Or an angle, or a contract, or a hustle or a campaign or a trick or a bid for sympathy. Decency is not the beast that bays for money, power, dominion, position, votes and blood! Decency is what your mother taught you! Decency is in your bones! Do I make myself clear! Now go home. Go home now. Be decent people. Be decent.
We had a nice Labor Day weekend. This video sums it up nicely.
we had a nice visit with Emerson a friend of David’s from pre-school. We went to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and had lunch at American Taco, a new place for us which we really enjoyed. After lunch we played around the house and were joined by our neighbors Mark and Caroline, who we’ve not played with enough lately. We swam in the pool Saturday night (video at the start of this post) and David and Laura went to bed early from our busy day. I stayed up and watched VaTech in a valiant effort against Alabama. Good game, too bad the Hokies lost.
Started out with my attending a lovely service at the Church of the Beatitudes. Some of the members of the bell choir performed at the 9:00 AM service and sounded great. After the service I was chatting with our vocal soloist Stephanie and she mentioned that if I wanted to sing with them at the 10:30 service, they would love it, as they were missing their bass voice. I really like the piece they were singing, Lord I Know I Been Changed so I jumped at the chance. It was really fun to sing with a small group A Capella, first time I’ve done that.
While I was at church Laura played with David as he created a TV set out of a cardboard banker’s box that was just amazing, complete with a remote control and crackers all made out of cardboard and decorated with magic markers. I’m going to post a video of him providing instructions for use later this week.
After I came home from church and we had a fun Sunday afternoon of Star Wars Lego - The Complete Saga on the Wii, more swimming and a few errands.
Monday - Labor Day
I like to grill on holiday weekends so we had Laura’s parents over this evening. Most of the day we tidied up the house and prepared for our guests. David had some nice play time while Laura and I took care of the chores. The barbecue was alot of fun. It was great to have Laura’s parents over.
It was just awesome weather for a three day weekend. One of the nicest Labor Day weekends for weather in the 17 years I’ve been living in Phoenix. Started out with a great Monsoon storm Saturday morning and stayed in the high 90’s or low 100’s for the rest of the weekend. Started to peak back up into the 105+ range on Monday afternoon.
Just because I’m blown away by what this band is about, I’m going to start with this before I talk about what’s been happening around my life lately.
Anamanaguchi is an 8 bit hardcore punk band that plays music they create with hacked Nintendo NES hardware.
I’m going to repeat that, because it bears repeating.
They sell their “album” directly from their label site for $5 using Google Checkout. And they allow anyone that wants to to embed the following multimedia version of their album anywhere on the interwebs. What’s stunningly, joyfully and aesthetically exciting about all of this is how it is simultaneously nostalgic, contemporary, and completely different.
It’s been a pretty interesting first half of 2009. Halfway through it seems, at a national level, that 2009 is living up to being a year of the really hard work that creates lasting change. We’ll see if we manage to do it without furthering the empty saber rattling and mind-numbing hate that is the “culture wars”. Don’t you have to have a culture worth fighting for to have a culture war? Seems like we’re starting to get into cultural scorched earth territory.
On a more personal note, this year has been a year of really dramatic change. My work continues to challenge, surprise and puzzle me. I like puzzles so it’s been pretty cool.
David is getting ready for Kindergarten and amazes me daily with his maturity. Wednesday morning this week he announced, after he put on his shoes.
So I really highly recommend going out to help build a Habitat for Humanity house. It’s a great way to help someone out and you get to use power tools and all.
This house is for an entire development of Habitat for Humanity houses around 12th Street and Baseline. Habitat purchased on “infill” plot of land big enough for quite a few homes. We’ve many more weeks on the house our church is involved with, so it’s not too late to join in the fun :). Schedule says
- May 2 is install finish carpentry
- May 16 is Irrigation / Planting and Landscape Rock
- May 23 is cleanup
- May 30 is Dedication and Housekeeping
David, who’s five now, is getting old enough to understand the connections between things, which came up Friday night. I was explaining to him how I wasn’t going to be able to play on Saturday morning, like we usually do, because I was going to help build a house for a family that couldn’t buy a house without our help. He didn’t much respond to that at all, but 30 minutes later the weather brought the topic up again.
This is old news to those who get to see me frequently, but for the rest of you….
They were also up for Best Classical Album of the Year (again!) and 2 others.
Joel Rinsema (who Charles Bruffy mentions in his acceptance speech) is also the Choir Director at the Church of the Beatitudes. Three other members of the Phoenix Chorale sing with our church choir. It’s sure an honor for me to sing next to such talented voices and under such talented direction.
Today Valley Metro Opened the Light Rail to the public. For the first five days it’s free!
We went by the northern terminus of the line, to check out the turnout.
Line was a bit too long to wait to ride. It’s free for the first 5 days and this station is about 1 1/2 miles from our house. We drove about 3 miles of the line just to see what the turnout was like at the other stations. None of the other stations were this crowded but there were events all along the route.
It’s sure nice to see the city turn out to support this new mass transit option! I hope people take advantage of it when they are commuting.
Sometimes I’m surprised to hear myself sharing what I did on the weekend with the folks I work with at Earth911.com. I feel myself thinking something like: you know that was pretty cool, I really didn’t think about it that much while I was doing it.
This past weekend David read for a commercial for a business that’s run by an old friend of mine from my USWeb/CKS days. He had emailed me a couple weeks ago just catching up and suggested David might be good for his upcoming ad.
It’s actually a great business. Mick’s shop provides green building supplies for green homes. It’s hard to describe exactly what it’s like so best that you should just go to the AKA Green site and check it out.
Part of the shoot with David was to dress him up in adult clothes and have him repeat phrases that relate to green building concepts. Don’t ask me what the ad is going to be like but as a parent it was quite humorous. Especially to hear David attempt to repeat the phrase Solar reflective coefficient (or something like that). It was pretty difficult not to laugh out loud for that one.
I can’t wait to see the edited commercial. There were a ton of kids and I guess they were shooting the entire day, so even if they don’t use David’s bit, it’s nice to know they were getting such great takes.
I think this is my favorite.
It’s from our trip to the new Phoenix Children’s Museum.
There’s many others from our first visit there.
I’m a big fan of Local Arizona. I find local retail to be very important to my community and support locally owned and operated retailers whenever I can.
I just got an email from Kimber Lanning, the Executive Director of Local Arizona, promoting a coupon I, or anyone can use to get 20% off at participating local retailers from June 30th through July 6th 2008.
It’s called the Golden Ticket which I enjoy because I really loved Charlie and the Chocolate factory as a child.
So get out there and support your local businesses!
So I’m in a choir. The Choir Director and a few of our singers are in a group called The Phoenix Bach Choir.
They’ve just been nominated for 4 Grammy Awards.
So I figure, well that’s probably a pretty good record, and I can get it autographed too. So I’ll go to Border’s and pick it up.
Bear in mind Border’s is considered one of the last good places to shop for Classical Music. Turns out they have to special order it. So I’m going to see if Stinkweeds can get it for me. I’ll let you know which get’s here first.
I find this kind of amazing, and a little depressing. A lot of people are concerned that classical music as an industry may be dying.
This is kind of interesting for Phoenix because, as such a modern city, we have very limited social norms based on a local classical music cultural heritage. Nothing like this has ever happened to Phoenix. Classical Music, or any other form of music can’t really “die”, it just becomes less interesting to the point that it goes dormant.
Seeing an international debate about the genre’s struggles and viability while watching a local community figure out how to build on the phenomenal success of the Phoenix Bach Choir gives me whiplash. It’s kind of fun.
I’m hoping to speak at church today, but I’m not sure that I’ll get the chance. I’m posting this here so I can share it with my pastors and my friends.
It’s been an honor to work with a group of volunteers at (my) Church of the Beatitudes assisting a group of Refugees that are settling in Phoenix AZ. We were told we were given a family that they were sure would need some extra care becuase our church has such a great reputation for generosity, attitude and responsibility.
As Christmas approaches we’re seeing the family
- struggling and persevering in their to transition into financial independence
- working with us, their network of help, and the local community at large to create a sense of personal identity within a big strange city, and alien culture
I’ve been doing all I can to help, but with my hectic schedule and time commitments it never feels like enough. Still even the littlest effort has been rewarded a hundred fold.
The needs the family has now are many. In some ways fewer than they were when they first arrived. In other ways greater. I know that many of you have been wondering how it’s been going, and I’d love to expand on my very brief overview above, but in the interests of time I’ll refrain. it’s such an interesting story to tell that I urge you to seek out members of the committee to hear it.
I’d like to finish by asking you all to consider helping out, because I know you’ll get as much reward for your effort as I have. The most interesting thing I can tell you we’ve identified as a need is a job coach that can help an ambitious and energetic 18 year old man, put together a game plan to get a GED, and a scholorship for a College Education basically on his own. What a wonderful difference can be made by someone. Is it that someone we know in our congregation? Outside of it?
We are also working on a special Christmas donation so that the family can enjoy giving each other presents. This is outside of our duties, but something special we want to do anyway. If you would like to help us financially, in addition to your normal stewardship of course, then please mark your contribution as “Refugee Family”, and either:
- place it in the collection plate marked
- mail it to the church office (the address is on your order of worship)
- or drop it off at the reception desk
Thanks very much for your time today and have a blessed holiday season.
Seriously, you must do this in your lifetime.
I've seem him 4 times and he keeps getting better.
If you like Blues, Stunning Acoustic Guitar, Even More Stunning Lyrics.. well what the heck, just take my word for it ok?
Stunning Acoustic Guitar
one of my favorites is
though I've loved you for a long time, it can't be denied, someone sees the dreams we hide, the dreams we hide
From the song Hidden Love
what the heck
What else you going to do? Watch American Idol? Go see a show! Go see this guy specifically.. but really, shouldn't you be going to shows more anyway?
Yesterday, Laura was having kind of an allergy headache and needed to lay down for a while after I got back from church.
It was about 11:00 and it occurred to me that 1) David and I had no idea what to do 2) the Red Sox were in town.
There was no way that we were going to make the game though because it started at 1:40 and David goes down for his nap at 1:30 (ish).
So then I think to myself.. if we bring water, pack up a lunch and buy the worst tickets in the ballpark, we can have a nice time in the air conditioned ballpark.
So off we go and got a Brandon Webb action figure as a promotional item.
Good article link from Laura.
This form of commuting - solo drivers picking up strangers so they can all cruise to work legally in high-occupancy-vehicle lanes - is called "slugging."
To Commute to Washington, the Early Bird Gets 'Slugs' - April 29, 2003 By PETER T. KILBORN NY Times (registartion required).
It was great to be able to Slug in Washington. I did it quite a lot when I lived in Norther Virginia. I would dress up nice, act polite, wait my turn and off I went knocking my in transit time in half. On demand transportation without the hassle of riding the bus. It was kind of inspiring and community building too. I felt like I was closer to my fellow commuter when I slugged.
I would commute with folks all over the economic strata, make some small talk if they started a conversation (you never start talking to your driver but you could start talking to a fellow slug) and leave a little closer to my community in both the suburbs and the city. The best part was how it would reinforce within me the idea that the guy in the expensive ride is likely just as practical and friendly as the guy in the effeciency commuter type vehicle, and the guy in the commuter was just as likely to be gruff, vane or otherwise self absorbed stress monkey as the guy in the sweet ride that put his annual income way over yours.
The fellow slugs were even harder to guess right on in terms of personality. I learned alot about the human beings inside the military, the federal government, political lobbies and all manner of other vocations that have completely biased archetypes. It was easy to start a conversation becuase we all hated to waste the time you spent doing something as simple as driving 10~20 miles, so once you got on the move everyone was in a pretty good mood.
I can't imagine this working in Phoenix. I'm not saying there's anything we can or should do to become more slug-friendly. We barely have enough freeways and we certainly don't have enough HOV lanes. It is a shame thought that it couldn't work becuase Phoenix is a friendly town but it's hard to get to know people from different walks of life if you're not thrust into a situation like you are when slugging. Why wouldn't it work in Phoenix? Glad you asked.
I was talking to someone the other day about what I like about Arizona, especially Phoenix. I like it here a lot but it's mostly because of the life Laura and I have built here. I already knew this but describing 'my' Arizona, and my affection for it I'm always reminded how little the specific city had to do with my present state of general happiness.
There are things I love about Arizona, things I couldn't enjoy in other parts of the world. Other places have their own desirable attributes. What I always seems to come back to is that this place, this piece of the world was where it happened for us. This was the place that conspired to allow this life to come to be. So the location is important, it is a fundamental part of our lives almost completely because of what we've done to make it so. It has very little to do with what the area offered to us.
Yet I am still left with a feeling of my life here having found me. I know that a series of specific decisions, some luck and a certain amount of compatibility with the locals combined to allow us to call this place home. I also know that had you asked me 15 years ago where I would be living, Phoenix Arizona would not have even entered my mind.
To me choosing a place to live was like getting in wonderful collision. An accident of preferences and opportunities. Will that happen to you here? I can't say. If my experience is any guide, you'll know pretty quick if you've found the right place to stand, and you'll likely be surprised at where you are when it does.
Will my friend move to Arizona? Should he? Will he be happy? Well "it worked for me" isn't really going to get the boxes in the back of the u-haul.
I have met a few folks in my life that visualize their lives and then set about to make this vision a reality. Very few folks have the ability, the luck and the patience to do that. Many who fail miss a large part of their life in the undertaking. I'm reminded of that great quote:
"Life is what happens when you are making other plans." - John Lennon
All I can say is, if you have my life you would enjoy living in Arizona as much as I do. You don't have my life though, and so all I can say with certainty is, it sure beats the hell out of living in Baghdad though I could be wrong. Baghdad looks like it was a pretty cool place to be this week.