Thursday, October 05, 2006

Up late...

I was playing around with some django features I hadn't tried before. Finally got them all working. Django is cool, but still a little rough around the edges.

While I was hacking on my django code, I got distracted by a link in the iTunes music store to Joan Osborne, and I decided to see if she'd done anything recently. She actually just recently cut a single of Brokedown Palace, which is apparently an old Grateful Dead tune from the American Beauty album.

American Beauty is an album that my sister used to play incessantly when I was a kid. I had some kind of weird belief that I was supposed to hate all of her albums. I professed a particular dislike for the Grateful Dead, or "Dreadful Grate," as I used to call them. This was particularly pathetic because I actually kind of liked them. I don't know how I got it into my head that it was cool to pretend dislike for things that I actually liked, but I guess it was some kind of high school thing.

Anyway, I normally just send off for the album from Amazon rather than getting it from iTunes, because keeping my iTunes libraries in sync with DRM's songs is such a pain in the neck, but I bought the Joan Osborne song anyway, because it sounded pretty good in the sample, and it was a single - not something I'll ever bother to get on CD, if it's even available that way. It's a good song, and she performs it well. But I got it into my head to listen to the original, which I also wound up buying from iTunes. And it's much better. I like both versions, and I'll keep them in rotation, but wow, the Dead were really good, weren't they? Maybe there's a reason people used to follow them around in old converted school buses.

I was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy yesterday, and the theme seemed to be delusions, or something like that. One of the characters got into a bad accident because he had developed obsessive/compulsive disorder. Stopped at a red light, he couldn't go until he was done counting up to three hundred something, even though the light had changed. Another character resisted surgery to fix her ruptured spleen after a bad fall because her horoscope seemed to be telling her it was a bad idea.

And it occurred to me that actually most of what we do is like that. Invading Iraq is like picking up a penny, only with lots of killing. There was no way before the war that we could have predicted any kind of outcome, positive or negative, other than that a bunch of people would definitely die because people die in wars. Looking back on it, the decision seems completely idiotic. I mean, I thought it was idiotic at the time, but now it looks ten times more idiotic. I can't see my own blind spots, but I'm sure that I have some that are just as huge as our country's blind spot about retaliation and safety.

The latest thing in the news is the school shooting of a bunch of young Amish girls. The Amish have reacted very intelligently to what happened. Their focus is on forgiveness. They are grieving privately. They are bringing in the harvest. They aren't talking about retribution. They aren't talking about shunning the killer's wife. They are talking about forgiving him, and welcoming her. The Amish, I now see, are some of the least superstitious people in the United States. We have a lot to learn from them; I am grateful that they found their way into the public eye, even if the occasion was death.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having to say that about the good Amish folk could be the blind spot. Why would you reflect and comment on something so simple? Are you embracing them into your world still? or between all the chatter are you listening to them past yourself for a change?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Ted Lemon said...

I live in the world, not in the Amish retreat. So the world is my default context; the Amish retreat is nominally separate from that, although of course in fact it is part of the world. So yes, you could say that the fact that I find the way the Amish reacting to what has happened in their community remarkable indicates that I have a blind spot. But it's a joyous occasion to find a blind spot, and that's why I celebrated it by mentioning it.

As for the greater question of whether the beauty that I see in the Amish response indicates a change in my own internal world, again the fact that I noticed it probably does. Or maybe it's just an ongoing thing about which to rejoice.

Honestly, I don't think trying to be certain about what it means is going to benefit me; I'm happy to just rejoice in it when it comes along, and work on my practice in the meantime.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 9:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honest reply, thanks, sorry for asking daft questions in the first place...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 10:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to lower the level of the conversation, but what hit me are these words from Ted: "...but wow, the Dead were really good, weren't they?"

Ah, Ted - I just knew you were alright.

your Dead vajra sister

Saturday, October 14, 2006 8:22:00 PM  
Blogger Ted Lemon said...

Hee hee!

Saturday, October 14, 2006 9:32:00 PM  

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