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Monthly Archives: May 2007

I am traveling to Brazil, May 24 through June 4 so no blogs until I return.  Thank you for visiting!


I had lunch today with a close dear friend.  We talked about some topics that get me ‘hot around the collar’.  The first topic that gets me going is how we like labeling people.  For instance, we label people as ADD, as alcoholics, as sex offenders, as hyperactive, etc.  I am not minimizing these aliments but when we label people we dehumanize them or make them one-sided individuals or reduce them to simply their ‘label.’  In other words, when we label it is as though that label becomes the person’s primary identity.  Sometimes a person is treated according to their ‘label.’  However, a person is more than his or her malady.  For example, talk to a person who has ADD and one will see that this person is more than his/her ailment.  Every person has incredible worth and value and is not simply the sum total of their ‘problem.’

 The second topic that gets me hot is ‘efficiency’ or rather the decisions that are made in the name of efficiency.  Don’t get me wrong, as a former engineer, I like efficiency.  However, when I call the doctor’s office I expect to talk to a person and not an answering machine that gives me options.  When you finally get a live person and ask why an impersonal answering machine?  The answer invariably will be something like this, “because it makes us efficient; we can be doing other things.”  It just seems to me that some professions or services should remain personal or at the very least give a caller the option of speaking to a live person first instead of making this the last option.  I often think about the elderly; how do they navigate technology like this?  Maybe they are not as uptight or impatient as I am.

Every day (nearly) I am thankful for ‘noise.’  I have a good friend who suffers from a rare ear disease; an illness that makes listening to common everyday sounds (sirens, music, TV, etc.) quite painful and nauseating.   I am learning not to take such luxuries (like hearing) for granted because such luxuries can be taken away in a twinkling of an eye!

Opera.  Black tie and flowing formal gowns.  Fist fighting.  Now these are terms that don’t come to mind when we think of a symphony.  Aren’t those who attend such classy and cultured events typically people who know how to behave in a civil way?  Before you answer, check out the video below (after a brief commerical of course).  The piece is entitled, ‘Fight Disrupts Pops Performance.’  For those who would rather read an article, check out the second link (it also includes a link to video footage).

A good friend and I were talking a day or so ago and I mentioned the name of a mutual acquaintance who happens to be a police officer.  This guy is a police officer in Union, MO.  This is a place where he has seen many of the kids grow up.  This is a place where he knows most of the residents on a very personal level.  Because of his familiarity with the residents of Union, he often treats suspects with dignity and respect.  My friend said because of his familiarity this creates accountability or a restraint in the use of power.  Often police officers are shown not using restraint and abusing their power.  While I agree with my friend, I thought about those cases where the person in power – like a parent – who is quite familiar with his/her child yet decides to abuse the child.  What’s going on here? Or what about the case where the husband abuses his wife?  Or a pastor abuses a congregant? How do we explain this?  Maybe it takes something or someone else besides familiarity?

There was an enormous uproar over Imus’ comments about the Rutger’s ladies basketball team. And rightly so.  Rap artists have been put on notice that their lyrics warrant reform – especially the lyrics that objectify women.  And rightly so.  However, the ill treatment of women is not new unfortunately.   I am by no means suggesting that this justifies the ill treatment of women.  How are women mistreated?  Consider how scantily clad women parade around a boxing rink to announce the next round; or consider the ‘use of women’ at professional car races; or consider the ‘use of women’ at car shows to bait men; or consider the ‘use of women’ on billboards advertising alcohol.  Or consider how little cheerleaders are wearing.  Or consider the pervasive problem in our world in which women are abused by men (of all walks of life).  Or consider the workplace.  A man and a woman who have the same credentials (work experience, education) are still paid differently.  Why?  In the first century, a woman was considered irrational and her testimony in court was dismissed as untrustworthy. 

I ask the men – what’s going on?  Real men will stand up and say, ‘enough is enough’ and defend the cause of women!

viola.jpgI attended my son’s spring strings concert last night at his middle school.  I am simply amazed at the imagination and creativity of the inventor(s) of the cello, viola, and violin.  I would love to meet the inventor(s)/creator(s) and interrogate him/her/them – how did you come up with this shape? why the bow? Why only a few strings?  Why the depth?  How many ‘tries’ did it take to get the shape right?  Was this an accidental invention? What was especially amazing was the skill and passion that these 6th, 7th, and 8th graders played these musical instruments.  These young people made the instruments hum and sing with each stroke of the bow across the coated strings.  Bravo, bravo, bravo to the inventor(s) and to those who can make melodic music on these oddly shaped instruments. 

Recently, I went to an orthopedic doctor for a follow up exam.  A brief history – I hurt my right leg playing basketball on March 21.  After an X-ray, an emergency or urgent care doctor said I had an hair-line fracture.  Well, I immediately made an appointment with this orthopedic doctor.  He said, ‘we don’t need to put your leg in a cast.  Just let pain be your guide in terms of how much you do.’  So, I went back for a follow up visit on April 26 to the same orthopedic.  I laughed to myself when he took hold of my left leg and began twisting it, examining it, bending it, contorting it and said, ‘it appears like it is mending well.’  All the while he was examining my left leg, I was laughing to myself because it was actually my right leg that I injured.  I went along not to embarrass him.  I guess if I had seriously hurt my leg then I would have said something to him.