Magnificent

Seeing a piece like this come out of The Economist is magnificent, or at least entirely enjoyable. Had to post it. Enjoy!

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21594257-our-wildest-fantasy-if-only-french-ran-america-la-maison-blanche

It does eventually beg a lot of good questions, such as, what does it mean for “America to be a better place”? And others, but I have to run.

I Have an Addiction

I have an addiction and it’s to rhythm. The rhythm of words. I love to read a well-written sentence, series of sentences, essay, post. You can feel your way through it. It’s like a dance. Up. Down. Over. Through. Surprise! And back. Flow. It’s a story in and of itself, but it’s one you feel. Exist in. A milieu. The milieu of your ideas.

I haven’t thought about it enough yet, to say anything more substantive. My thoughts are in early stage form. But when they are! I shall post again.

Sherlock Returns

The greatly anticipated return of Sherlock has come and gone. It was entertaining. It was brilliant!  But it was also, honestly, disappointing. Here’s why.

1) From intense to silly. This episode is lighthearted, even silly. Sherlock waltzes in as a French waiter with a ridiculous fake mustache (and fabulous accent to boot) and presents himself to his best friend, expecting love and joy in return. Instead, John tries to kill him. It’s cute, and this cuteness pervades the entire episode. But this is Sherlock! We don’t watch it for cuteness. More than that, this episode directly follows the most intense and serious episode yet: you know, the one where Sherlock commits suicide, his reputation is completely destroyed, John is devastated, and so are fans across the globe. Season 3 surprisingly and randomly swaps out intensity for silliness. It’s a bit hard to swallow.

2) From laser-locked sociopath to more socially aware jokester. Then there’s the inconsistency in Sherlock himself. He’s suddenly got better social skills (he kindly tells Molly thank you and gives her a little kiss) and he’s also become a jokester. While sociopaths can learn and become more socially acceptable, we’ve never seen Sherlock particularly playful before. Playfulness wouldn’t be part of his worldview because the only things that matter to him are what helps solve cases. And yet, he pranks John by not telling him that he’s actually deactivated the bomb that’s about to kill them both. He cruelly deceives his best friend. When he was a sociopath before, he was consistently a sociopath (mean to everyone and unable to care about anything except solving cases). Now, he’s inconsistently a sociopath (mean sometimes and finds pranks worth pulling).

3) No case? And can you really have a Sherlock episode without a case to solve, and his “massive intellect” to display? The episode technically has a case, but it’s such a secondary part of the story that it feels a bit lame.

4) No resolution of the big question. Most importantly, we don’t actually learn how Sherlock faked his death. Everything else in previous episodes has been explained. It’s why we keep coming back for more: he can see things we can’t, and when it gets explained, you mutter “oh, of course.” But not in this episode, the one time it matters most. Unfortunately for my mini rant against this episode, there’s a good argument against this. There are actually many things that aren’t explained. But they are usually small things. So, is it fair for the writers of this episode to play with us? It’s certainly consistent with the lightheartedness of this episode. In fact, it’s perfect. We get fanciful, entirely entertaining, and comedic explanations for his “death”. And just when we think we’re getting the real explanation, the rug gets pulled out from under our feet as Anderson notes the obvious: why would Sherlock ever tell him the truth?

Ultimately does it work? Yes. It is fantastic and fantastical! It’s just not what I wanted. I wanted intensity and not silliness. Instead the writers gave us a highly entertaining and yet intelligent ride where, thank God, the most important thing is established: Sherlock and Watson are back.

Ethical, Moral

I started an “Ethics and Education” class the other day. It is pretty philosophical. My problem so far is what is “ethics” and what is “moral” or “morality”? I spent a decent part of the class just looking up these terms in my Merriam Webster app. It appears that these two terms are, at a high level, interchangeable and mean nothing more than a preferred standard of behavior. This immediately begs a few questions. Who is doing the preferring? Presumably this is the largest part of society which may mean nothing more than the noisiest part of society. And then we have to ask what is the source of their standard of behavior? I believe it’s in answering the second question that the can of worms opens. One obvious difficulty could be that your source is your religion and it is simply not a religion that your neighbor shares with you so your morality is different. Then there’s C.S. Lewis’ idea that, at base, all morality’s are the same. That’s a really nice, neat, and tidy idea. I like it, and I do actually agree with it. Of course, there is more than “the base” and it’s when you progress further in your thought, or attempt to apply your theory that things get messy.

More to come. I hope to explore ethics/morality more.

Good Microbes vs. Bad Microbes

In my effort to fix my physical issues – a slipped disc and undiagnosed chronic pain in various parts of my body – I’ve become much more educated. It appears I have a gluten sensitivity and possibly a second food sensitivity that is undiagnosed. The gut, digestive system, and immune system are heavily related to these two things. Here is a fun video, from NPR, that throws light on good microbes and bad microbes.

A Burden of Beauty

A burden of beauty. This phrase came to me while being overwhelmed at a friend’s dedication to Jesus Christ, and more largely at God’s supreme dedication to man. I sometimes hate reading/knowing these things because they are so costly emotionally. I feel the deepest part of myself being invaded, but is it not also beautiful? I’ll be more specific. When I see my sweet friend speak freely, lovingly, truthfully, and out of true and natural conviction about the best thing in life (God’s love for man), I am forced to look at this blinding beauty. Why does God love me? Why does God love anyone? Why God? A universe without Him is a bit easier, but also unbearably meaningless. So, when someone who commands my respect speaks of the paragon of what it means to be human – to know the source of life, God Himself – my heart is invariably pointed in that direction, my face is pointed towards the sun. And God is not easy. He is demanding. He is perfect. He is partially unknown and thus invariably scary. I prefer to think about cleaning out a vase I just emptied, doing the dishes, warming up the pot roast for dinner, cleaning out my email inbox, reading some Sherlock Holmes, and going to bed. Anything other than God Himself. I guess He wears me out sometimes. A silly thing given that Jesus wanted the “little children to come unto him” and drives His point home by saying that we can only know Him if we can be a child. Well, I can do that! I excel at needing guidance, at requiring another nap (or break), at having 10,000 questions and not always knowing the full ramifications of my own questions or even retaining the ability/energy to wait for the answer. My mother tells me we are all children. Whether or not we know it. I suppose in the Christian ideal, you simply know, and this creates humility.

The Weight of Glory. This is the title of one of C.S. Lewis’ books, and it’s another way of saying what I was saying: a burden of beauty, something which is both “exactly what we would want” but also costly. Why do the best things in life have to be costly?

Interviewed by the Enemy

So I was interviewed today, for a job, and it went amazingly well. I was thrilled. They were thrilled. We were all thrilled. We’ll see if it turns into an offer. One really cool thing was that their facility had much light (giant windows everywhere) and ubiquitous free snacks (oh the nice problems of the modern workforce). But being interviewed by someone who’s last name was Moriarty (save one letter) was highly amusing. Yesterday I wrote about Sherlock Holmes. Today I was interviewed by his archenemy. Although in this case the “archenemy” was a woman who noted that yes, her name is pronounced the same as the famed Sherlock archenemy, and no she is actually very nice, tame, supremely lacking in drama. Or danger. Or really much interest. And I am most certainly not Holmes.

But, I deduce that I might get the job, and if I do… I will eat many snacks.

For Connie

My thoughts in general are too large to fit into one little blog post, but this will have to do. Supposedly I’m finding a career for myself. This turns out to be the undertaking of a lifetime. How does one know what to with oneself before you get into it? I don’t think anyone knows whether they like a job until they start. Perhaps we shoot too high? Perhaps we shouldn’t expect to find jobs that are our fulfillment? Maybe I should be happy with the roof over my head and food in my kitchen and the general prosperity which is 21st century America. It is pretty nice. Amazing actually. Has society been asking too much of itself? 80% of people dislike their job/career. Man I’m normal! As a woman, I should probably be glad to be treated as an equal, to have options other than wife/mother/homemaker, to be able to vote, and to participate in sports. As a human, I should probably be happy not to live in a war-torn area, to have had a functional family growing up, to have food/shelter/clothing everyday, and amazingly enough to have education. I’m quite educated! Got me an MBA, and an undergrad degree.

With all that, I still think I should be able to find a career which isn’t traumatizing and which is generally enjoyable. What would that be? How do I know when I’ve shot too high? I googled “what to do with my life” today and the first link was TinyBuddha or something like that. That site, and all others, said what I already knew. Ask yourself – what do you love, what gives you life, what are you good at, and where do you want to be in 5 years. Ok, done that before. Fortunately, one or two sites were honest enough to say There is no formula but here are some ideas. Awesome! I believe that. If there were a formula, I would have executed it by now. There ain’t none. I like reading, writing, study, presenting, discussing, explaining, teaching, planning, communicating, and learning. Mostly I seem built for academia. Does that seem right? That’s what I’m currently leaning towards. I don’t need money. That’s for sure.

My window to my left shows nothing but snow, a mildly oppressive lack of light (it’s evening), and the stark outline of two trees. And part of a conifer.

Fortunately, while I can’t find a career or wish to play in the snow (I prefer looking at it), I can read Sherlock Holmes. And this stuff is the best! I promise! I swear. Good good stuff. Sherlock, the character, is entertaining, inspirational, and hilarious. Also, the best part of these stories? They are playful. This is crime not like our current crime shows do it – intense, urgent, everyone talks in the same cadence/rhythm (really, when will they learn to act?!), and taking themselves far too seriously. But these original Sherlock stories are whimsical, safe, relaxing, and even cozy, even with references to cocaine, death, and crime. What got me started? The recent BBC Sherlock TV series – I must say both are as good as each other (which is saying a lot!) and the TV series truly honors and does justice to the books, despite being a modern reincarnation.

Sunday ends my insane diet – avoiding all foods except fruit, vegetables, and meat. That is restricted! I will introduce dairy first, see what sort of my reaction that produces. Three days later, I will introduce sugar. And three days after that my first grain: corn, because I want to have popcorn at one of my movie nights. I’m doing this to find out what medical practitioners can’t tell me, which is, exactly what foods I am sensitive too. It is amazing what medicine doesn’t know. I think they don’t know most things. Anyway, I am currently gluten free but have the suspicion other food sensitivities may be floating around my system. We shall find out.

This post is long enough! Way too long! I am meeting the challenge of my sweet friend Connie, to whom I dedicate this post, to demonstrate that you can write about your complete lack of a career, snow, Sherlock Holmes, and health… all in one post.

Purpose

The purpose of this site is to think publicly. Why? It will help me think better. Also, documenting those thoughts should allow me to see patterns. In the meantime, you may certainly be amused. Or bored. I wish you the best!