Friday Link Love: Death with Dignity, a Real-Live Forrest Gump… and a Cross-Dressing Mayor

(Koshyk/flickr/CC-BY-2.0) — from the Radiolab page for the “New Normal” episode mentioned below

And they’re off! Lots of video today:

~

Cross-Dressing for the Gospel — David Lose

I’m on a big David Lose kick right now. I posted this one last week to Twitter but saw it too late for last week’s Link Love. Stu Rasmussen is a man in Silverton, Oregon who is a cross-dresser. He was also elected mayor of the town:

Don’t get me wrong, not everyone was wild about this development. The election was very close and his doubters didn’t stop doubting. Some because of their religious convictions, some simply because cross-dressing just goes against their sensibilities.

But then something else amazing happened. After his election, and before his inauguration, a group from the Westbro Baptist Church came to town. (A quick side-note: this isn’t your typical Baptist church. In fact, this is an extremist group not affiliated with any major Christian tradition.) They came with signs – “God hates Silverton,” “God hates your mayor” (and these were the more polite signs!) – and with their slurs, determined to protest Stu as an abomination.

And although Stu encouraged people not to give them the time of day, folks in the town staged a counter-protest…where lots and lots of ordinary, everyday folks cross-dressed. Men dressed as women, grandmas dressed as men. Kids joined in. Liberals, conservatives, young, old, on this day in Silverton it just didn’t matter. They were determined to stand with Stu, to identify with him, to stand up for him.

That’ll preach.

BTW, the story originally aired on Radiolab, which is my favorite podcast bar none.

~

I also got this video from David:

Bus Station Sonata — Arts Council of England (video)

From the site: “The work was created with commuters and passers-by from the Haymarket Bus Station in Newcastle UK. Most of the participants are non players, many had never touched a piano before, we just convinced them to donate a note or two.”

The delight on some of the faces is palpable… and I love the end.

~

How Not to Spend Your Whole Day on Facebook — BigThink (video)

An important tip for procrastination:

~

12 Guidelines for Deciding When to Persist, When to Quit — Harvard Business Review

When to hold ’em, when to fold ’em:

  1. Are the initial reasons for the effort still valid, with no consequential external changes?
  2. Do the needs for which this [is] a solution remain unmet, or are competing solutions still unproven or inadequate?
  3. Would the situation get worse if this effort stopped?

Etc.

~

Massachusetts Vote May Change How the Nation Dies — Slate

Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act has been in effect for the past 14 years, and the state of Washington followed suit with a similar law in 2008. Despite concerns of skeptics, the sky has not fallen; civilization in the Northwest remains intact; the poor, disenfranchised, elderly, and vulnerable have not been victimized; and Oregon has become a leader in the provision of excellent palliative medicine services.

But the Massachusetts ballot question has the potential to turn death with dignity from a legislative experiment into the new national norm.

I support so-called Death with Dignity statutes. When properly defined and carried out, they are sane and compassionate.

This article profiles some of the physicians involved in this movement:

Perhaps it takes the dramatic actions of a flawed advocate like Dr. Jack Kevorkian to catalyze change that leads to the appearance of more reasonable and likable physician reformers. Physicians of this new generation do not seek out or necessarily welcome the role, but, having accepted it, they are irreversibly changed. Most are modest, highly intellectual, and intensely private professionals who are drawn to medicine because it offers a challenge and an opportunity to help relieve distress.

…After her patient’s death, Dr. Kate concluded, “I think Cody taught me that ‘first, do no harm,’ is different for every patient. Harm for her would have meant taking away the control and saying, ‘No, no, no! You have got to do this the way your body decides, as opposed to the way you as the person decides.’”

~

Real-Life Forrest Gump Walks Across America in 178 Days — Oddity Central

A friend sent this to me and wondered: “Sabbathy? He talks about taking the trip because he had stopped appreciating things and wanted to slow down his life.” Could be…

He left only with the clothes on his back, a sleeping bag, his backpack and a few thing in it, determined to survive only on the goodness of the people he met on the road. He depended on them for the most basic needs, like food, water and a place to sleep, and whenever he got money and gift cards he didn’t actually need to survive, he just gave them away to the homeless. He said the point was always to give away more than he took, and added that the biggest takeaway from this epic experience is to have realized that “mankind is better than I ever dreamed.”

This is one of those “it takes all kinds” stories. And I don’t mean that disparagingly—it really does take all kinds.

~

Does Brainstorming Work? — RSA (video)

No, but you should watch this anyway because it’s entertaining:

~

Peace be with you…

Advertisements

Friday Link Love

A bounty today:

High Speed Liquid Flowers — Colossal

“High speed photographs of colored water.” Amazing:

~

A Company’s Stand for Gay Marriage, And Its Cost — NYT

It’s a very interesting story because it blends the personal with the corporate and the political:

“I understand that your company donated $250,000 or so to the effort to ban the marriage amendment,” read one [critical e-mail]. “I am very concerned that with an increased visibility and acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyle, one of my children, who would have grown up and been happily married to a husband, could be tempted to the lesbian lifestyle.”

I support people putting their money where their mouth is. I’ve bought from Replacements Limited several times over the years. I wish I hadn’t already completed the set of china we got for our wedding.

~

13 Great Books on the Horizon — NPR

You can look forward to a host of new titles by writers who’ll keep you riveted without insulting your intelligence, whether you prefer thrillers, literary fiction, biographies or page turners in just about any genre. Books are among the joys that make summers memorable, and this year we’re spoiled for choice.

Every summer I make an informal pact with myself not to read any church administration, organizational leadership or theology books for the summer. Maybe I’ll check some of these out.

~

An Anne Geddes Baby Manifesto — McSweeneys

Occupy Flower Pot!

We reject the premise that all babies are cute and worthy of being surrounded by fluffy, pastel, scented debris. We reject the serving up of people in the early stages of cognitive development in giant teacups, unable to comprehend the tropes they are helping to propagate, specifically regarding colonialism and unsupervised use of diuretics. We reject the reverse anthropomorphism of humans into bumble bees, especially in so anatomically simplistic a manner, without so much as a solid thorax to recommend the likeness.

~

Fifteen Ways to Stay Married for Fifteen Years — Huffington Post

We’re going on 18 years and yes, I’d agree with every one of these on one level or another.

Marriage is not conditional. It is permanent. Your husband will be with you until you die. That is a given. It sounds obvious, but really making it a given is hard. You tend to think in “ifs” and “thens” even when you’ve publicly committed to forever. If he does this, I won’t tolerate it. If I do this, he’ll leave me. If I get fat. If I change jobs. If he says mean things. If he doesn’t pay more attention. It’s natural, especially in the beginning of your marriage, to keep those doubts in your head. But the sooner you can let go of the idea that marriage is temporary — and will end if certain awful conditions are met — the sooner you will let go of all kinds of conflict and stress. Yes, you may find yourself in a horrible situation where it’s absolutely necessary to get a divorce. But going into it with divorce in the back of your mind, even in the way way way back of your mind, is going to cause a lot of unnecessary angst. Accept that you’re going to stay with him. He’s going to stay with you. Inhabit that and figure out how to make THAT work, instead of living with the “what if”s and “in case of’s.”

~

Bone Flutes Found in German Caves Point to Roots of Creativity — LA Times

Researchers have discovered flutes dating back to as much as as much as 45,000 years ago using radiocarbon-dated bones found in the same layer of the archaeological dig.

Awesome.

~

John Waters Tries Some Desperate Living on a Cross-Country Hitchhiking Odyssey — NYT

Loved this article. The Freakonomics podcast had a feature several months ago exploring whether hitchhiking is as dangerous as we think. Conclusion: probably not. Stil, I will live vicariously through John Waters, methinks.

May the highways of your life be full of joy and surprise this weekend.

Thought for the Day, on Writing and Life

Novelist Luis Alberto Urrea was one of my favorite speakers at FFW. I went to his session with Debra Dean and they were a hoot together.

Here’s a paraphrase of something he said:

If you’re writing about matters of faith, you have to be vigilant against cliche and grandiosity. 

So go through your work and look for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir—those moments with the angelic choir, bathed in light and going “ahhhhhhhhh.” Take those out. Faith is too messy and gritty for them. Instead, replace them with James Brown.

May your day be funky, friends.

 

Friday Link Love

We’re all over the place this week:

~

Barbie Trashes Her Dreamhouse — Carrie M. Becker

1/6 scale hoarder’s house. Awesome and disturbing:

~

Aurora 2012 — Vimeo (video)

Amazing. Good job, God.

Aurora 2012 from Christian Mülhauser on Vimeo.

~

Why Morning Routines Are Creativity Killers — Time

Imaginative insights are most likely to come to us when we’re groggy and unfocused. The mental processes that inhibit distracting or irrelevant thoughts are at their weakest in these moments, allowing unexpected and sometimes inspired connections to be made. Sleepy people’s “more diffuse attentional focus,” they write, leads them to “widen their search through their knowledge network. This widening leads to an increase in creative problem solving.” By not giving yourself time to tune in to your meandering mind, you’re missing out on the surprising solutions it may offer. (If you happen to be one of those perky morning people, your most inventive time comes when you’re winding down in the early evening.

~

Show and Tell: Six Ways to Teach Your Children the Faith — U.S. Catholic

“The” faith is the Catholic faith. But these simple approaches can be adapted for other contexts:

Try asking your kids what they thought of the Sunday homily. (If they answer, “It was the most boring thing I ever heard!” and you agree, consider saying so. Avoid insincere praise, which they can spot in a minute.) Ask them what they might have said about the gospel if they’d given the homily that day. They might surprise you.

~

And finally, just for fun… Parsing the President’s Spotify Playlist — Maddow Blog

There’s been plenty of snickering on Twitter and pop-culture blogs about the inclusion of not one, but two songs by former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker. I think of them as the playlist’s equivalent to the Affordable Heathcare for America Act: so bland and watered-down that you can’t believe anyone’s as worked up about them as they are. (And let’s be honest: you know these are some of the ones Obama selected himself. We like to think he’s Mr. Super Cool, but don’t forget, this is a guy who keeps his cell phone in a belt holster.)

I’m listening to it right now…

Let’s Argue about Advent/Christmas Music Again

(Prepare away, but a little "Away in the Manger" never hurt anybody either.)

I got a comment yesterday on a post I wrote a year ago defending Christmas carols in Advent. Wow! These posts really do hang around forever.

I looked at them again and mostly stand by what I wrote. Here is the whole string of posts:

First, I detected a genuine longing for Christmas, beyond some grabby-greedy-gimme kind of consumerist thing, and wondered if other people were feeling that too. (For what it’s worth, I don’t feel that same urgency for the Christmas message that I did last year at this time… you?)

Next, I unpacked some of the tensions between Advent and Christmas hymns and mounted a theological defense for singing Christmas carols in December.

Finally, I looked at some non-theological reasons for the same… some of them more substantive than others.

Discuss…

Actually, you guys argue—I have a book to finish.

And if you’d like a soundtrack for your discussion, may I recommend Peter Mayer’s Midwinter—beautiful Adventy stuff there, with a bit of Christmas thrown in. These are all original songs—no chestnuts roasting on an open fire here.

Indeed, his song “Where is the Light?” is a perfect example of an Adventish song that has a celebratory, upbeat tone—which is something I talk about in my second post.

Link Love: Thanksgiving Edition

Just a couple of items before the weekend:

~

 

Doesn't she look tired? Hey, she writes, fights for abolition, AND raises six kids---you'd be exhausted too.

Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” — Slate

The iconic Civil War anthem was written 150 years ago. Interesting piece, but I especially related to this:

Frequently, she experienced these visions [i.e. writings] while in bed, perhaps the only place where—as the mother of six children—she could snatch a moment of quiet reflection. She had grown used to scribbling notes in barely sufficient light, so as not to wake the baby invariably sleeping beside her.

As my deadline looms, Robert and I have a short getaway planned together this weekend, Sunday we put up Christmas decorations, and Monday is Jamesy’s 4th birthday. So Julia—YOU GO GIRL. I can relate.

~

Happy Evacuation Day! — The Daily Show

The holiday we should be celebrating this weekend, according to a cutely nervous but still hilarious Sarah Vowell. (Sorry I’m having trouble embedding the video—follow the link above.)

Friday Link Love

Hope you folks in the U.S. have a wonderful Labor Day… We’re making a special outing to Wolf Trap to see Cathy Rigby in Peter Pan, but mostly we’ll be getting the kids ready for school. Margaret goes to kindergarten! Amazing.

Away we go:

Animated Sheet Music

Watch the sheet music go by as Miles Davis and his bandmates play “So What.”

~

Samuel Morse’s Reversal of Fortune—Smithsonian

It wasn’t until after he failed as an artist that Morse revolutionized communications by inventing the telegraph.

Let’s hear it for Plan B!

~

David Allen on Dealing with Interruptions—GTD

That cheap three-sided piece of plastic on your desk holds the key.

~

Finding Time (to Write)—Anne Lamott

No one needs to watch the news every night, unless one is married to the anchor. Otherwise, you are mostly going to learn more than you need to know about where the local fires are, and how rainy it has been: so rainy! That is half an hour, a few days a week, I tell my students. You could commit to writing one page a night, which, over a year, is most of a book.