vendredi, mars 14, 2008

Now, for something very wonderful

A Polish born priest named Michael Heller has won the Templeton Prize. Endowed by Sir John Templeton, the money is given to a person who advances the dialogue between religion and science. Read about Fr. Heller in the Christian Science Monitor article linked above.

He sounds like a wonderful man-modest, self-critical, and bright as all get out.

Anyone who seeks to build bridges like this, instead of blowing them up, has my respect. It seems so challenging to be constructive in an academic arena in which you garner publicity by creating controversy.

Can a balding priest in his 70's be a sex symbol? Let's nominate this professor at Krakow's Pontifical Academy as one of the beautiful people of 2008.

Monarchy rules

When the Administration interferes with an Environmental Protection Agency headed by a guy who is already sympathetic to its pro-business slant, you have to wonder whether something has gone deeply wrong with their ethical compass.

See the Post article above on their five of midnight change to ozone standards.

Their contempt for law, and public safety (a vulgar gesture at the Clean Air Act) is almost incredible...almost.

mercredi, mars 12, 2008

Spitzer sermonette

Like practically everyone else with access to a newspaper, Jay Leno, or the Internet, I've been following the Eliot Spitzer saga with unrestrained curiosity.

A governor with a reputation as a campaigner against corruption-brought down by a very personal and pricey weakness for eclectic sex with call girls-surely someone right now is writing the screenplay.

Let's leave aside the tragedy here-because the destruction of his family is also Governor Spitzer's very personal responsibility.

What of the sexual politics of this unspooling tale, so much of which is yet to be told?

You gotta wonder why a Governor would have to, or want to, pay this much for sex. Many women simply find power an aphrodisiac, and would have no scruples about bedding the Governor of New York for free-or at least for a few cashews from the mini-bar.

And what about his loyalty to his position? As one escort service owner suggested on NPR this morning, it doesn't speak well of New York's first citizen that he felt he had to go out of state for a few hours of fun.

Then there is the more serious question-what lies, as it were, behind the Spitzer exposure?

If he is charged with the rather obscure crime of "structuring", is it because one of his enemies finally found a way to bring him down?

And, in the interest of sounding rather medieval (angels dancing on pins) we have to ask, once again, what kind of moral compass we want our politicians to have. Spitzer isn't the first guy to patronize prostitutes-although he is one of a select few who can take out a few thou from his bank account every now and then to pay for them.

I suspect that what we want, most of us, is some kind of evidence that politicians really believe what they say-whether the topic is the state budget or the state bedroom.

mardi, mars 11, 2008

Not goin' write you a love song....

I've been reeling a bit from a bad cross-gender experience-feeling a bit more rattled than I usually do in the wake of these odd riffs on potential sex, romance, and saying what you really mean.

As so often in these cases, I wonder what I didn't see, what I could have done to communicate better, why I didn't stop it sooner. Mad that he didn't see who I am, and wondering if perhaps I didn't understand him either.

His loss. Maybe mine, too.

Glad it's over-no more roller coaster, no more torturous two hour chats online, no more feeling demeaned and confused (by him, anyhow-and he probably didn't even mean it that way). No more snippy zingers from me (at him, anyway).

Missing our conversations. Wondering what the heck we talked about for that long.

Getting ready to get ready to move on. Guys are better at scavenging (it's the hunter-gatherer thing), so I'm guessing he's on to the next five or six women already.

And yanno, beneath all of this turmoil of undigested feeling, knowing that we, even him and me, are all in this boat together.

Communicating with another human being is damned hard-for you to understand what they mean they have to be able to understand it first! Lots of times, to steal a friend's phrase, we don't want to pick up what they are laying down.

We don't really want to be challenged and to grow-but it's the testing and the coaching that make us feel alive.

Not to mention that, in the end, I do think that all of us really want to be loved and accepted-we very often, too often, don't know how to ask for it. And, as we get older, we bury this need under shoulds and shouldn't, layers of defenses, old hurt, misunderstood or poorly understood previous much trash.

I really do believe this. Now I just have to practice it.

dimanche, mars 09, 2008

Small blessings

I appreciate now the aphorism that youth is wasted on the young-or, at least, appreciate the emotion behind it.

When we are teens or young adults, we strive to command the world around us, thinking we can get circumstances to bend to our wills. Sometimes, it seems as though we can-we find the job that will get us the next one, friends who like to play basketball, or troll the local microbreweries, or talk philosophy while drinking Belgian ales. If we are lucky we recruit a boyfriend or girlfriend who is fun in and out of the bedroom, shares our values, and sees themselves in our lives longterm.

Then comes the phone call in the night or in the sunlit morning-a relative diagnosed with cancer, an accident, a friend gone too young.

We lose our job for no good reason.

A friend walks away or betrays us. A spouse falls for someone else.

When these events befall us, we know how little control we have over either life's vagaries or other people's actions.

As a woman with professional and personal experience of tragedy as well as of joy, I have come to appreciate the times between. Like this morning, when my daughter wrapped our Inky in a blanket and chased around the house with him, only a black and white cat head poking out on one end and a long black tail on the other.

My son seated at the computer holding on to his stuffed bear, ten years old and magically unselfconscious.

The snowdrops poking up out of the chilly damp earth, with the promise of an army of blossoms and grasses ahead.

Thank you God, for the gift of ordinary time.