Thursday, December 15, 2011

Proverbs 14:34

"Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people."

I noticed this verse while I was in Germany. I was walking around a small town with friends when we saw a monument to victims of the Nazi regime, with Prov. 14:34 featured prominently. I was living in Russia at the time, and I was struck by the different attitudes toward history that Germans and Russians have. The Nazi regime is estimated to have killed 11 million people as a result of their policies; Germany lost a war and were forced to deal with their history. Let's switch to Russia, where the policies of Joseph Stalin resulted in the death of upwards of 40 million. But the Soviet Union didn't lose a war. The government changed. And who made up the government? Former Communist party bosses and KGB officers. Consequently, Russians have never had to confront their own history the way Germans have, and, in my opinion, that is to their detriment. 

I came across an article about this book, and I wanted to shout, "Yes! That's it!" the whole time. You can check out the article about It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Angriest Man in Claremont

A long time ago I read the novel How to Be Good by Nick Hornby. In it, one of the main characters, David, is a journalist whose column was entitled "The Angriest Man in Holloway." I'd say that's a dream of mine, to get paid to rant.

Since I don't have a newspaper column, and since my wife/co-workers/friends wouldn't hang out with me if I ranted all the time, I guess this blog has become the repository of many of those rants. Maybe I'll change the name to "The Angriest Man in Claremont."

I Heard the Bells Pt. II

On the drive up to Redding for Thanksgiving Jameson, Elizabeth, and I played a little game to keep ourselves awake while driving through Merced County at 3 AM: Christmas Carol Bingo. It all started from a question about top three Christmas songs. We then found a Christmas station and it became a game of rooting for one of your selections to play.

Lessons learned from listening to Christmas stations from 3-8 AM:
1. I don't really like Christmas stations because they only play interminable Christmas crap. (see Lesson Learned #2)
2. "Sleigh Bells," "Winter Wonderland," and/or "All I Want for Christmas is You" (and their various renditions) can be heard every other song. This is no exaggeration.
3. "Last Christmas" by George Michael goes on 3 minutes longer than it needs to (some might argue it goes 4:30 longer than it needs to, but I'm feeling charitable).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Heard the Bells

Those of you that know my wife, Elizabeth, know that she is a big fan of Christmas and anything related to Christmas. Pope John Paul II said that as Christians we are Easter People; if Elizabeth would have had an audience with him, I'm sure she would have set him straight and told him that we are, in fact, Christmas People.

So, naturally, Christmas music has been playing in our little apartment since September. Unlike my wife, I'm not a fan of the entire Christmas song catalog, but there are some that always affect me. Here are my top three:

1. I Head the Bells on Christmas Day
2. O Holy Night
3. Silent Night

Let's Push Things Forward

Probably the most often used sentence in the blogosphere: "I've haven't been doing so well in keeping this blog updated."

Anyway, I haven't been doing so well in keeping this blog updated. I think part of the problem is that I've felt I have needed to finish writing about my trip in the fall of 2010 before I could start writing about all this new stuff that's happened. Well, that's been over a year ago and there have been some pretty big things since then, so I'm just going to push things forward. So here's a year in one post:

1. I was in Kazakhstan. It was cold.

2. Christmas in Seattle
3. ...and a Happy New Year with some visitors
4. We got a new niece
5. Married!
6. Moved to LA
7. I went to Russia for work. (no picture)

That just about catches us up.