7 Quick Takes Friday #4

Thanks to Jennifer at www.conversiondiary.com for hosting anotherinstallment of 7 Quick Takes Friday!

It would seem remiss not to acknowledge today’s date – a date that has become shorthand for the defining event of my generation, thus far – 9/11.  It would seem remiss not to remind people that despite our desperate attempts to forge a reality of predictability and continuity and safety, every so often – probably far more often than you or I could know about and actually function – The Real World comes crashing through our paper papier-mâché fabrications and blows our illusions of safety and security to pieces. 

We don’t live in a safe world.  None of us ever have, not since our ancestors were kicked out of a garden for not listening.  My world is not safe, and there’s a healthy tension to be had between ignoring this fact soas to be able to get out of bed in the morning, and dwelling on it to the point that I can’t fall asleep the night before.  We live in a world full of terrible beauty, and we ought each to be aware that we are called to pray for a reason, and we are called to remember that He holds us in His hands.  Always.  Whether our outing to the park is picture-perfect.  Whether our marriage is idyllic or chaotic.  Whether we find that our workplace has been turned into a place of unimaginable destruction.  Whether we live or die.  Whether our spouses live or die.  Whether our children live or die.  We do not hold their lives – He does.  And they are entrusted to us for an all too short time, regardless of how old we or they live to be. 

The kingdom of God is inbreaking, and there will be a day when you and I can walk this world in perfect safety, perfect peace, perfect harmony.  But that day is not today – at least not as of this writing.  Live appropriately.

What sorts of blogs do you read?  As I’ve begun participating in ‘events’ hosted by different blog sites, it’s interesting to see who follows and participates as well.  I peruse probably 20+ blog sites a day, ranging from small startups focusing on home and family life, to huge sites dedicated to collecting information from disparate sources and putting it out there, with or without commentary.  I read in order to write.  I read to find grist for the mill, food for thought, bones to pick.  I read to think and to help others think (hopefully!).  What do you read and why?

What would you sing along with? 

I was raised to my parent’s albums of Simon & Garfunkel & James Taylor.  I fell in love with folk music as I grew older and began to assemble my own musical collection.  I know that there were lots of songs from the 60’s & 70’s that people still remember and can sing along to.  Meaning, they know the words, and the music is easy enough to be passably recreated with the help of a guitar or a piano.  I grew up thinking it was really cool that Andy Griffith and his friends – including his babe girlfriend – would sit out on the porch and he would play the guitar and they would sing from time to time.  In part, that odd memory from childhood prompted me to – much later in life – begin to learn to play guitar.

My question now is, what do people who are under 40 sing together, if they sing together at all?

There have to be songs that are suitable for group singing, right?  What’s the relatively modern equivalent for the folk music standbys of yesteryear?  I’d really be interested in what songs that were created in the last 25 years or less you have recently sung with other people, or think would be suitable for such an occasion, if it ever arose.  I look forward to your responses!

I don’t often hear mention made of the fact that the US effort in Afghanistan is not without precedent.  Our intentions may be different than our Soviet counterparts of 30 years ago, but the net effect is eerily similar.   It wasn’t uncommon to refer – back then – to the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan as comparable to the US experience in Vietnam years earlier.  The irony is rather bitter that we are now involved in someone else’s Vietnam. 

I’m sure it’s of great relief to those of you who tweet, to be reassured that your tweets belong to you and not to Twitter.  For those of you really concerned about this, I think that the comments in paragraph six are probably a good reminder.  And an excellent summary of why I don’t tweet. 

We were sitting in a small restaurant for lunch this afternoon.  A local place – mom-and-pop style, which is what we prefer any day of the week to larger chain restaurants.  Which is neither here nor there. 

We sat in the back in a corner, in my ongoing attempt to not draw attention to ourselves unduly because of having three boisterous young children.  The next table over had a four-some finishing lunch.  They looked like business people finishing up their lunch break.  Three men and a woman.  The woman had a smart phone or Blackberry sorta thing, and would every few minutes pull it out and punch feverishly into it, smiling and nodding vacuously at whatever her flesh and blood conversational partners might be saying, but clearly preoccupied with the digital conversation she was apparently engaged in. 

Am I the only person who still finds this incredibly odd and rude behavior?  Wasn’t call waiting bad enough – where you would interrupt one conversation for another?  Weren’t cell phones in general bad enough at yanking people out of whatever they’re doing now in the hopes that the person on the other end will be more amusing or entertaining?  Aren’t this things still irritating as all get out? 

Here’s an interesting response to the massive amount of time spent on the job using company Internet access for personal stuff like Facebook.  Seems kinda naive to me, but it’s an interesting effort that seeks to avoid simply blocking certain sites from being accessed.  It’s kind of depressing that such measures are needed, after all.  I mean, who uses the company Internet on company time for personal stuff?  Who would stoop to such a thing?  Not me, that’s for sure.  Nope.  Never.

6 Responses to “7 Quick Takes Friday #4”

  1. Melani Says:

    #7 I could not agree with you more! I had a job working from home for the past 3 years, up until recently due to the economy….I would log in for work and work…..I was amazed at a girl who is a friend on my Face Book who would make comments and post things….while she was working! She also worked for the same company and worked from home, and I know it has been slow for the past 6 months now, but come one! When I am “working” I am working not doing Face book….to me that is simply steeling from the company, don’t you agree?

  2. Paul Nelson Says:

    You sound like a model employee!  What’s fascinating to me is that 15 years ago, this wasn’t an issue because most businesses didn’t have Internet connectivity.  If they did, it was usually really slow.  And IM and social networking were in their infancy, to say the least.  In such a short time, the business landscape has been completely altered by the need to have high speed Internet connectivity to the desktop for many if not all employees.  But the same tool that provides so much potential in terms of employee productivity and client-business communication also provides a huge temptation.  This includes the plethora of inappropriate sites and material that employees might attempt to access, as well as the comparatively ‘benign’ activity of personal instant messaging, e-mail, gamesand social network updating.  Some companies attempt to limit this by using firewall software and hardware to prevent employees from reaching sites such as Facebook or MySpace while at work.  It’s amazing how many people I know who seem to be very active in updating their personal stuff during work time.  Many of them make the argument that they’re putting in more than enough time to compensate for the personal activity.  Employers are paying more attention to people’s ‘personal’ web presence as a means of verifying whether they’re really sick or not.  And companies are beginning to make moves to have input or control over what employees post to these sites as well.  I’m not sure what a good balance is, or if a balance is to be had at all.  Sounds like a good future blog post!

  3. geeks Says:

    That was an inspiring post,When you say we are now involved in someone else’s Vietnam, who is we… its americas war….infact…its bush’s war…and hes gone and left everyone else to fix it,Anyway, thanks for the post

  4. Paul Nelson Says:

    Hi there – nice to have you along on this ride!  My comment was a little convoluted.  Afghanistan once had been called the USSR’s ‘Vietnam’, since they were involved in a protracted losing situation just as we were in Vietnam.  So I was attempting to say that we had stepped into the same Vietnam that the Soviet’s had.  We apparently didn’t learn from their costly mistake, just as they didn’t learn from our original costly mistake in Vietnam.  Convoluted, definitely!It is America’s war – despite the fact that for most of it there has been a coalition effort from various other countries around the world.  Is it Bush’s war?  It definitely started during his presidency.  But it was hardly a unilateral decision on his part.  Congress backed him overwhelmingly.  The American public backed him overwhelmingly at the time.  Were our reasons good for this?  That’s open to discussion.  We were hurt and scared by 9/11 and we – the American public – demanded a response.  We could have gone in and simply carpet bombed Afghanistan – totally destroyed their infrastructure and anything else of any note.  We could have resorted to the same sort of one-shot message that terrorists sent us by crashing planes into our buildings and killing thousands of people.  I don’t believe that sort of response would have been very moral, just as 9/11 was not moral.  The US attempted a moral response to the situation: we have a government that is sponsoring terrorism and that clearly has links to the people responsible for 9/11.  The closest thing to a moral solution would be to go in and eliminate that government – which is what we did.  Rather quickly, actually.  However the morality of the action isn’t shown in the killing of people – regardless of how guilty they might be.  The reality is shown in how we come alongside the people to try and help them to make lasting changes that would prevent such oppressive forces from gaining control again.  This is what has kept us in Afghanistan so long.  This is what is going to keep us there longer.  This is what makes Obama commit more troops to the effort, making this every bit his war as it is Bush’s.  Painful and expensive as it is, it seems the only thing we can do.  If we just pull out, the current government and infrastructure isn’t likely to be capable of fighting off the resurgent Taliban.  All of our time and money and blood will have been for nothing.  It’s a complicated thing.  Dropping bombs is easy.  Helping people to clean up the rubble afterwards is hard and expensive.  Which is why we’re still there, and why we’re likely going to be there for the duration of Obama’s presidency, whether it’s one or two terms.I look forward to hearing more from you!

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