Monday, January 29, 2007

Who IS the Green Goblin?

Many people think that Willem Dafoe


plays Norman Osborn,




who we all know as the Green Goblin.



But could the Green Goblin really be Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman?


Fact: No one has ever seen the senator and Mr. Dafoe together.

Fact: Norm Coleman is a Minnesota Republican, an oxymoron.

Fact: Senator Coleman has a split personality - which is essential for Minnesota Republicans.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

7 Paper Route Driver: The Semi-Spiritual Journey of a Not Very Religious Man


On one of the early days of the paper route, before dad had learned about International Harvester Scouts and when the there was the morning and afternoon newspapers, dad drove into the driveway of our Valley Park townhouse one afternoon with a partially shattered winshield.
He drove a red Chevette for the paper route because he thought about gass mileage in those days, not utility. It took one Minnesota winter to change his mind on modes of transportation. But this was before all that. The windshield was shattered, which was a mystery in and of itself. What was probably even more amazing to the rest of the family was that dad had come home with a shattered windshield and wasn't cussing about it.
In fact, he sort of wandered into the house, dazed, like people act when they get hypnotized in cartoons. With the usual way my father would enter the house after the route, it took no knowledge of rocket science to know something else was afoot. When we asked what was the deal, he simply showed us the windshield. He wanted to show us the damage in order to beg us to tell the story.
We begged. I was in 3rd grade and just had to know.
Dad told us that we wouldn't believe him, but we promised that we would. Then he began to tell a story that was quite amazing, somewhat incredible. And yet, since we knew he didn't have much of a creative sense about him in matters such as these, we believed him.
The story involved horses, a pack of wild horses, he told us. Perhaps they were not wild horses, but they were not acting tame either. Wild or tame, it didn't matter; between the red Chevette and the herd of horses was no fence. He saw them in running in the field beyond the dirt road, off in the distance in the mid afternoon sun. He was struck by their beauty and kept an eye on them.
He delievered another paper into the paper tube next the farm looking mailbox in the middle of no where. Then dad noticed the horses running toward him. Then he realized that these were very large horses running very fast - toward the road, toward him.
He stopped the car because it looked like the horses might jump the ditch and cross the dirt road. At first he thought that he didn't want to hurt one of the horses with the car. But the closer the horses got, the bigger he realized that they were and thought that he didn't want the car to get damaged by the horses.
The herd was large, each horse was large - there was no sign that they were stopping. The first horse jumped the ditch onto the dirt road right in front on the little red Chevette - my father frozen in wonder. More horses followed the lead horse. Dad looked out over the herd and noticed that if they all kept charging forward at their same course, they would run right into the car. He thought to move th car, but realized that would almost guarantee hitting one of these beautiful equine giants. He stayed put.
Drenched with wonder and fear, my father sat as these wonders of nature pressed in upon him. He was helpless, powerless to make a change. He had to just sit there and let it happen. When you sit in a red Chevette and a herd of gigantic horses is charging in your direction, you don't feel safe. You feel bare naked.
He noticed that one of the horses was headed straight for the car. Without hesitating even a bit, the horse leapt the ditch and landed on the dirt road between the ditch and the car. Dad winced and shut his eyes, bracing for the impact. He sat there, waiting. Nothing happened. All he heard was the thunder of the heard. The horse had completely cleared the car. Dad couldn't believe it.
Then he watched, awestruck, as horse after horse cleared the car. It was as of the car wasn't even there. It was like being caught in an air bubble under a raging river. As the horses cleared
car, dad had a moment of comfort and calm, like he was peacefully swept up into a rushing miracle.
The peace and calm was snapped when the back hoof of one of the last horses missed clearing the Chevette and landed on the driver's side portion of the windshield, right in front of dad's face. Tiny particles of glass fell on my father's lap as he sat breathless in the front seat - paralyzed. The glass spiderwebbed the span the windshield. The last horse crossed the dirt road - and they were gone.
Dad sat for several minutes, right in the middle of the road, wondering if that all had really happened. Did horses really jump over my car? Who wold believe me? The shattered glass kept telling him that he hadn't made it all up.
He managed to finish the paper route drive home with a shattered windshield.
As dad told us the story, it never occured to any of us that there was a message in the horses. These horses told a story. A story of beauty and power. A story about how God is very near and
not exactly safe.

Friday, January 26, 2007

2 Why are you so good?

This question is part of of an apparent series that is developing.

Going back to the first post in this series, I pondered the idea, "What if God decided that everyone gets a free pass to Heaven?"

OK, based on that premise, everyone gets a free pass to Heaven, what would the purpose be of morality? If everyone goes to heaven, what is the function of right and wrong? Do right and wrong even exist if there is no Hell to be afraid of entering?

I want to hear your answers. I believe the purpose and function of morality doesn't change much, but I really want to hear your ideas about it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

White Privilege

If you are a white American, then you probably are not aware of what comes easy to you that does not come easy to ethnic minorities. In fact, you might even bristle a little at the idea that you have some kind of advantage. Things are hard, money is tight, perhaps antidepressants help you navigate anxiety - it sure doesn't feel like any sort of privilege.

Well, race is an issue, a social reality, and a personal identity that no one can afford to not care about.

Here is a link to a blog (whitePrivilege.com) that might be of interest to you or maybe of challenge to you. Check it out.

Why are you so good?

Let's imagine, for a moment, that what I am about to say is true.

It is impossible to offend God. Although right and wrong remain, God has decided that Jesus' efforts on the cross were sufficient to cover all sin and thus, God is not capable of being hurt or angered by even our worst of wrongs. God has committed to bring each and every one of us to a Heavenly eternity after our life here on Earth is over. The Heavenly reward we receive has nothing to do with anything done in this life, and everyone, without exception, is ushered into Heaven upon death no matter their behaviors or beliefs. You, me, Hitler, Mother Teresa, Mohamed, Jeffery Dahmer, ministers, prostitutes, pimps, child abusers, Bono, Marilyn Manson - every one is in.

If this were true, what difference would this reality make in your life? Would all of your motivations to do good remain exactly as they are? Would you be freed to do more good? Would you be tempted to do more wrong? Would you do more wrong? Would doing good lose its value because it gets you only as much as doing nothing or doing wrong get's you?

If everyone were to believe this, how would the world change? Better? Worse? No change?

Would love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union

Although the speech is good, no mention of Jack Bauer. When is Bush going to learn there is only one way to deal with terrorists?

20% reduction in oil consumption. Whew, good luck. Does America have the will to decrease oil consumption? It would be a Hurculean effort to simply not increase demand. But to decrease? Whew. He's going to have to convince people to use turkey poop to heat their homes.

Iran needs a spanking.

Can we have a Korean pen-inch-you-la free from nuclear weapons?

Imagine using the 13 billion dollars in earmarks for fighting AIDS. Nice.

Three qarters of a million people are getting treated for AIDS that were not 3 years ago.

Let's fight malaria. Good one. More 3rd world debt relief. Yeah Bono.

Blue tie. He's given in to Democratic control. What a uniter.

Mutombo has a great smile and laugh. Great heart. He built a hospital. God has given him much and he has not disappointed.

Cripes, he's twice as tall as Laura.

Baby Einstein creator hooks up with John Walsh in a social entreprenuership for the protection of children.

Wow, Bush is on a roll. Cool stories. Wesley Autry blows kisses and points better than Sammy Sosa.

Another story? Wow. War hero. Human shiled lives to tell about it. Bush is telling stories like Clinton did. Stories are good.

"God bless"

Monday, January 22, 2007

Phillip Bauer

Jack Bauer has a father? Jack's father knows Gradenko? Cripes.

"I haven't spoken to him in over 9 years."

Jack's not the best in relationships.

24

24

Super Bowl Dilemma

I have a code of loyalty that goes as follows:

Team>>>>Conference>>>>>Division

So, being a Minnesota Vikings fan (which takes a lot of courage to admit these days) I have got to go for the Bears in the Super Bowl.

However, I really like the Colts. I like Peyton Manning. The only pro game I have actually seen live at the stadium was the Colts in Indy.

Do I go with my gut or stay true to the code?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

International Adoptions Plunge

After years of increases, international adoptions took a plunge in 2006. Why? Well, the NYTimes has a great article explaining. Click here to read.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

6 Paper Route Driver: The Semi-Spiritual Journey of a Not Very Religious Man

Start reading Paper Route Driver from the beginning

March is a strange month in Minnesota. It can be any season in March, and is often two of them in one day. The snow melts during the day and freezes at night, forming a thin ice glaze. March is Minnesota's snowiest month, but also it meltiest month. It's temptamental, unpredictable, and often times vicious. You just can't depend on March.

It was a rare calm morning in March. Dad took the dark, early morning trip to load up the Scout II with bundles of newspapers and it was off to the McStop. His trip down Cedar Avenue into Lakeville was uncluttered with traffic or weather. He was the only one on the road. The green and red traffic lights reflected off the glazed street as he travel south toward the rural farmland where his newspaper clients live. The new construction of another convenience store/gas station must have got him to thinking how long rural would continue to be rural. It's the kind of thoughts a person has when he has hours to himself.

Then there were headlights in the rear view mirror. Crash. Fire. Ambulance. Hospital. Intensive care.
Beep.
Beep.
Beep.

When a vehicle traveling 45 miles per hour is struck from behind by a vehicle travling 120 miles per hour, the crash is an unmentionable violence. The Scout II, full of gas and newspapers, served as a powder keg for the oncoming lit match that was the drunk driver who struck my father.

The Scout II burst into flames and skidded off the road into the ditch. The fire burned my father's skin mercilessly. Then, in some miraculous feat, the nearly 400 pounds of flesh that my father wore, escaped the fiery and badly mangled truck, rolled to the ground to extinguish the flames, and went immediately into shock. How he got out of the truck can only be explained by some sort of divine intevention. The way that the truck was crushed left no way out.

The drunk driver was passed out and sore with a couple bruises.

No one knows exactly how long he lay in the ditch, half dead and severly burned, but the ambulance did come and take him to the hospital with the best burn center in the state. They knew he was going to need it.

He should have died that morning in March 1995. With a quarter of his body covered in 3rd degree burns including his face and hands, with the certainty of brain damage, with his large size and unknown internal trauma, he had little to no chance of living. He did, in fact, die twice on the hopsital bed, but was revived both times. Death was at war with Life, but Life would not relent. Though the assualt was meant to be fatal, somehow he refused.

How did he know to live? Was he trying to live or was Life insistant not to release his body? Could he think? Have memories? Was he talking with God about timing? What happens in the mind and spirit of a person who resides in the borderlands of death?

My father was not a religious man. The son of an overbearing and abusive vitamin supplement sith lord, my father knew hypocrisy when he saw it and could smell it a mile away. His short stint with organized religion proved his radar was working. That short time when he allowed his vulnerability to surface, he was quickly singed by the heat of hypocrisy.
But he was a believer. He believed in God and knew that there was a day when they would meet. I wonder if they met that day in the ICU at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. I wonder if God told him there were going to be more grandchildren. I wonder if God told him that Life was sticking with him, so he had better cooperate. I don't know. Maybe he just lay there and his cells and neurons and chemicals did what nature designed them to do and he just got lucky. Maybe anyone with the exact same circumstances would have lived. I don't know.
What I choose to believe is that God had something to do with intervening in certain death. Death asserted itself and was denied, told to go home for another 11 years. What a beautiful gift of 11 years.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Good friends are better than Powerball

Well, I didn't win the Powerball. The multistate jackpot was up to $155,000,000. No one else won it either, making it $180,000,000. I might buy me me another ticket. Hey, it's my birthday Tuesday, so I can indulge in a little frivolity, can I not?

But I won't win again. I know that I won't. Powerball is a cruel master. A liar, for the most part. What Powerball does to almost everyone who gets tangled into its web is allow for magical thinking. What would I do with 180 million dollars? Yeah right. Like that is really a provision. Bow down and worship the mightly Powerball. Maybe it will relent and allow you to have some cash - but don't hold your breath.

Instead of wasting time thinking about what the Powerball (or whatever lotto, magic bullet, relationship, material gain, you might place your ever precious hope in), let's invest some spiritual energy into what God has already done.

Powerball can't:
Love me
Make snow fall on pine trees and stick so perfectly
Listen to me
Make the sunrise
Forgive me
Lead me in wisdom
Soothe my tears
Laugh with me
Tell me a joke
Foward lame, but endearing, e-mails
Change the color of leaves
Give life meaning or purpose

Please, add to the list

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ramblings About Grief and Depression

Grief and depression are two different animals.

Depression is dark pit. Your are in the pit and you are falling - hoping and at the same time fearing to hit bottom. The light you are staring up at in your fall grows farther and farther away. As you fall, there is no control, there is no way to guage your boundaries, and the further you go into it the more it feels like no one is ever going to find you.

Grief is a process a person enters into at the loss of something that person values. Usually we think of this in terms of human life and death. When someone you love dies, the loss is terrible and is perhaps the worst kind of loss. Maybe. Death of a loved one is not the only kind of loss people greive over. Loss of dreams, loss of limbs, loss of income, loss of opportunity, loss of ability, loss of memory - the list is about endless.

Grief is often sad, it is numbing at times, it is confuging, it can cause the body to ache, it can make what was once fun into something dull. It is the very difficult process of accepting the fact that you have no choice but to reorient your life to the new reality - and then doing it. Some losses are harder than others. I lost my father 10 months ago and have not been the same since. I don't guess I ever will be. However, I knew the day of his death was coming. I know it was coming within 3-5 years. I knew I was already in range of his death. I knew that every day I had prior to his death was a bonus. I knew of three other times in his life when he should have been taken in death, but wasn't. And in one of them for sure, I attribute some sort of miracle.

Others get no warning at all fort heir loss. Children who die. Children born with massive disabilities. Cancer at the age of 30. Getting raped. These kinds of losses are legion.

My point in this post is that grief is not some sort of depression. Although the two are unpleasant, they are not the same. They are not really even similar. However, one can trigger the other.

At the same time, the depressed person and the grieving person need to talk (not necessarily to each other, but maybe). There is a power to words that is healing. Millions of people find the healing power of talk when they meet with a therapist. Many of those people need to technical training a therapist can provide. However, sometimes they just need someone to listen. They need to know that their words mattered to another person. If their words mattered to another person, then the source of those words mattered to another person. They mattered.

5 Paper Route Driver: The Semi-Spiritual Journey of a Not Very Religious Man

Read Paper Route From the Beginning

For the paper route driver, the world is his urinal. Since 98% of rural paper route drivers were men, the generalization works here. While driving 200 miles of dirt roads, there can be cause to stop and get some relief without the convenience of an official place to stop. For the paper route driver, there is never the insecruity some people feel while driving long distances - "will I make it to the next gas station?" When the urge to go arrives, all that is required is to be out of sight from the nearest farm house - which happens most of the time.

Now, this rule only applies while actually driving the paper route. When my father was not driving the route, he would stop at gas stations like everyone else when traveling long distances. A paper route driver, the good ones anyway, knows when he is and is not on the route. The paper route code of conduct only applies while on the paper route.

Beside the world being his urinal rule, there is an entire different code of behavior for the paper route driver when he drives his paper route. Another rule involves painted road markers and road signs. In the few places on the route that my father did drive on a paved road, the yellow and white solid or broken lines did not apply. The entire road was a single lane - a one way street in whatever direction he was traveling. The paper route driver likes the freedom of wide lanes, so the arbitrary markings were invisible to him. Stop signs, speed limit signs, do not pass signs, yield signs, chevron signs, and so forth were much more friendly suggestions than anything else. They were signs that applied to ther people. Paper route drivers were like mail deliveres; that had special rules. Only mail deliverers were wimps.

Paper route drivers were entitled to divine meetings. My father would go through a solid week and not see another vehicle on the paper route. There were those times in the icy Minnesota winter when he would slide of into the ditch or get stuck in a huge snow drift. This was a much bigger problem in the age before enVs, Razors, and iPhones. He couldn't just call someone or knock in the door of the nearest house. He was in the middle of no where with no one nearby. Now, a paper route driver knows how to rock a truck from a snow drift, use 4 wheel driver, shovel snow from behind the tires, throw kitty litter in the right spot for traction and all of that. Usually he dug himself out and away he went.

And yet, there were those times when he had gotten himself so deep into it that he was truly stuck. Lo and behold, within 15 minutes of being stick in a snow drift or sliding into the ditch, not only would someone drive by, it was invariably someone driving a huge truck with a winch or a farmer, for some unknown reason, diving his tractor at 3 in the morning. He got pulled out of the ditch every time. Of course he offered money every time he was pulled out, but no one ever took him up on it. Accepting money for a kind deed to a person in need meant you didn't really care about the person you just helped. In Minnesota, you offer the money to let the person know that it meant a lot to you, but the helper refuses the money because he really meant to be kind. No money is ever exchanged, but it has to part of the equation in order to show respect.

Another rule is that paper route drivers are entitled to seeing things in nature most people never see. The summer sunrise comes very early in Minnesota, and my father saw every one of them. He saw every critter of the forest, every mysterious sunrise mist, every color of the morning, every forboding cloud formation before a morning storm, every beauty of nature that runs away from humans in their busy lives was not lost on my father. He saw it all.

Paper route drivers, the rural ones anyway, have a sort of religion that is deep into nature. They are the few welcomed into the holy of holies of creation. And with this invitation, they form a kind of respect for creation that most people are just fine missing out on. For my father, many of his days on the paper route were more like church and taking a leak into the ditch off a dirt road in the middle of no where wasn't gross - it was worship. He was one of many creatures in the forests and fields that did the very same thing every single day. To do anything different would be to insult the world God created.

Go to Paper Route Driver 6

Sunday, January 07, 2007

4 Paper Route Driver: The Semi-Spiritual Journey of a Not Very Religious Man

Read Paper Route From The Beginning

Paper route drivers have supplies. You know, the ordinary supplies - duct tape, bungee cords, and of course 50,000 rubber bands.

You may be wondering why a paper route driver needs 50,000 rubber bands. And if you are wondering why a paper route driver needs 50,000 rubber bands it is because you are not a paper route driver. Believe me, my dad needed 50,000 rubber bands. Don't make a fool of yourself by asking why again.

Each Minneapolis Star Tribune issue bag of rubber bands is a 500 count bag. Having 100 bags of 500 count rubber bands adds up to 50,000 green rubber bands lightly covered in rubber band dust.

The Scout II was home to a few thousand rubber bands. Each viser was wrapped in at least 100 rubber bands each, the stick shift was looped with hundreds as well, and the 4 wheel drive stick shift a few hundred more. A dozen unopened bags rest in the rear of the truck covered in dusty bask issues of the Star Tribune next to the post pounder, the hydrolic jack, and the dusty duffle bag of paper route driver essentials.

The lion share of the 500 count bags, however, were stored in the one car garage of our small Valley Park townhome. What do you suppose 86 unopened bags of rubber bands means to a 3rd grade boy? Truth is, few 3rd grade boys ever get access to 86 bags of rubber bands. So, since you don't know what a 3rd grade boy does with an unlimited supply of rubber bands will do, I will tell you what he does.

The one thing a 3rd grade boy would do with 43,000 rubber is first to get a friend. I got Todd Orth to help. Todd lived in the townhouse unit furthest from mine in a complex of 5.

After gaining an accomplice, it was time to get to work. Todd Orth and I began our work. We opened one bag. I knew that once the clear plastic bag was ripped we had crossed the line of no return. We were on the other side of the Rubicon. This was illegal activity. I knew that once my father found out I had gotten into one bag of rubber bands it would incite as much rage as opening lots of bags. There was no point in stopping now. 3rd graders have the best logic.

We began to tie rubber bands together, end to end. One after another we tied them, making a very long rubber band. A couple hours of time is plenty to make a super-duper long rubber band.

How 2 third grade boys tied thousands of rubber bands together without getting them tangled up is a feat bordering on miraculous. After tying was completed, it time for the reveal. We opened the garage door and began to unravel the rubber band. We stretched out the rubber band from my house to Todd's. It must have been a city block. It was a success surpassing all others up to that point in my life. I was so impressed with myself.

And then dad came home.

Ecstatic celebration turned into dark dread as I could hear the leather of my father's belt snapping in the chambers of my little 3rd grade mind. Although Todd was at the other end of the same rubber band I was holding, he had no idea of my impending doom in face as I could not even look into my father's eyes. I knew I was dead meat.

I had violated the paper route driver's stuff. I had misused a paper route driver essential. And now, my life was in danger...

Read Paper Route 5

Saturday, January 06, 2007

3 Paper Route Driver: Semi-Spiritual Journeys of a Not Very Religious Man

Read Paper Route From the Beginning

Truck drivers don't wear seatbelts and neither did my father. It was the 1980's version of Man Law. Sissies wore seatlets. Bad drivers wore seatbelts. Women wore seatbelts. James E. Gonzalez, professional paper route driver, DID NOT wear a seatbelt.

A guy who wore a seatbelt was admitting something.

The paper route my father drove on a daily basis was not a city route. Nope. That was for sissies, too. Driving reidential streets and tossing a newspaper into a driveway wasn't working. No way. My father drove 200 miles of dirt roads in rural Lakeville, Minnesota, the very last roads to be plowed when snow hit. The distance between houses was measured in miles. You knew the next house was coming up because you could see the solitary farm light off in the distance. Otherwise, it was a dulled set of dusty headlights giving a Promethean protest to the dominating darkness.

A call came to the house early one morning, maybe six o'clock. It was dad. There was never a good reason to call from the paper route. There was never even a way to call from the paper route. The only cell phones in those days were the kind that could fit in a duffle bag and carried a price tag that only CEO's and drug dealers coud afford. Mom let us sleep as my older brother was old enough to stay at home with us without Child Protective Services getting their undies in a bundle. Mom left the house to go and pick up dad.

By the time they came home, the three of us were awake and more than a little curious. Why did mom have to go and pick up dad? Yes, and where was the truck?

Dad went on to tell how it was at Marek's Salvage yard and would die there. He had double rolled the truck. He skidded on a patch of black ice on one of the county roads and rolled off into the ditch, rolling the Scout twice.

"Funny thing is," he said in one of the most humble (and almost dazed) tones I have ever head, "I have never worn a seatbelt on the route. For some reason, I put it on today. I even thought it was weird when I put it on. I just thought I might need it today."

Go to Paper Route 4

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2 Paper Route: Semi-Spiritual Journeys of a Not Very Religious Man

Read Paper Route From the Beginning

Even though International Harvester left the automobile manufacturing business disgraced in abject failure, my father’s faith in his Scout II was unwavering. The fact that parts for repairs became more and more scarce only fueled my father’s faith in the Scout II. The scarcity of parts for him was like most people think of the scarcity of gold.

When the Scout II would break down, he took it on as a personal challenge to fix it. Now, it is important to understand the definition of “fixing.” My father was not a change-my-own-oil-take-it-apart-put-it-back-together kind of guy. He was more of a duct tape and bungee cord guy. Bungee cords held the muffler to the truck, duct tape fastened several parts together, and then there was the locking pliers that held the battery together. He had to fix the Scout II; it was his responsibility as one of the faithful to make sure the legend of the International Harvester Scout II lived on. His faith led him to heroic and sometimes desperate acts with common tools.

More than I ever wanted, my father brought me along with him on the paper route. One dark, rainy morning after grabbing a little something to eat at the McStop, we both hopped into the Scout II, dad with his coffee, and me with my soda. Dad turned the key – silence. Nothing. It didn’t turn over. It didn’t even click. In the dead of night, rain pounding down, the sound of silence was terrifying. The red and yellow glow of the McStop sign danced in the puddles of the empty parking lot. My anxiety shot up because I knew that there was no amount of duct tape or bungee cords that could get a truck going.

Dad didn’t miss a beat. He invented an impressive line of cuss words and then got out of the truck. He opened the hood, propped it up with a short 2 by 4, cussed some more, and headed to the back hatch of the truck and dragged out a dusty duffle bag. Soaking wet and in the dark, he found a locking grip pliers and headed back under the hood. Like a missionary undaunted by the elements, he was going to save the Scout II.

From my vantage point in the passenger seat I could see what dad was doing through an opening between the raised hood and the truck. All I saw was that he grabbed something with the pliers and locked the grip. He knocked out the 2 by 4 and let the hood fall hard. He got back into the truck and it started right up.

I literally cheered. He told me that the battery cable came loose from the battery and now it’s fixed.

Fixed. Curious. He thought it was fixed.

The pliers held for the entire duration of the paper route. In fact, it held so good that he just left it there for weeks. It was his faith that held the pliers in place.

Read Paper Route 3

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

1 Paper Route: Semi-Spiritual Journeys of a Not Very Religious Man

There were three things that most defined my father. One thing that defined my father was his big and generous heart. The older he got, the more tender and generous he became. Another thing was his foul temper. He was by far the most creative cusser I have ever heard. He found reason to cuss out loud in the driveway before sunrise. The fact that the neighbors houses were in ear shot was irrelevant. But what might most define my father was his long tenure as a paper route drive with the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.

Every morning at about two o’clock, James Gonzalez woke up and climbed into his International Harvester Scout II and drove to pick up his cache of newspapers. Bundled in fifties, he would throw the newspapers into the back hatch of the Scout II and loaded one bundle on the passenger side of the front seat. Newspaper ink stained his thick and calloused hands. Those hands. A 16 ounce cup of coffee in the styrofoam cup didn’t seem enough.

Before he delivered the first paper, he would grab a coffee at the McStop, a McDonald’s/Truck stop; it made him feel like a trucker. My dad had a great respect for truckers, like they were wild horses and he was fenced in. He envied them. He had a route that lead him back home in a couple hours; their route took them across country. He bought a trucker ball cap, the kind found on the rotating rack at gas stations along the interstate, in order to fit in with the truckers.

Before the coffee went cold, he was off into the early morning darkness, rain, sleet, or snow.

Read Paper Route 2

Whatever the Hell I want to

I am studying emerging adulthood and ethnic differences. Emerging adulthood is roughly defined as the stage of life that occurs between the ages of 18 through mid/late 20's.

According to one study by Jeffrey Arnett, Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians all value independence at roughly equal levels. However, all but Whites value interdependence, norm compliance, and capacity to have a family as a marker of adulthood.

Whites more than any of the listed minority groups are fiercely independent and individualistic - and arguably isolated. Whites value individualism more than communal markers of adulthood. They want more autonomy, more freedom, and more latitude. Unilateral decision making unfettered and unconfronted appears to be the norm for Whites.

In short, if you're a white American and want to become an adult, all you have to achieve is the ability to do whatever the Hell you want to. If you can do this, then you'll be a grown up.

What does this mean?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Blog Roundup

My Blogs
We're assembling the candidates at 2008 For President.

Koran Chapter 1 is now posted.

New photos posted at Nature, Art, and Architecture.

Smart Stepfamilies will be looking at stepfamiliy life from different perspectives in January.

Smart Single Parents will be giving tips for single parents all month.

Your Blogs
Black prof has New Years Resolutions from the Middle East.

Larry James has New Years Resolutions on poverty.

Brian McLaren says everything must change.

Doug Pagitt is bald.

Blog In My Own Eye wants to know who knows God better.

World Trade Center

I am watching World Trade Center right now. Looks very good thusfar. Will review later.