Let’s ease into this

Whatever happened to that rock-n-roll trend to break down the music to some minimalistic drums, guitar and thuddy bass line while the singer spilled some erotic lyrics like in Van Halen’s Panama?

Back in my high school band, my brother wrote these sections into songs. They were hilarious callbacks to a recognizably hilarious songwriting technique.

All this is to say, let’s ease back into our return from Carbondale. We got back late last night. Today is our vacation from vacation.

I’ll catch up on some blogging. Some laundry. I need to get ready for a big week.

Our time away was good. Out of a bit of a need to detox from the Internet and because it was too difficult to connect out there, I left my phone in our bedroom, and stayed off the grid for a few days.

Our hosts’ home is full of books and magazines, like The Atlantic, National Geographic and Newsweek. Book-wise, I read through a lot of “Game Change” by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. And then I spent a while with “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen.

Some critics tout Jonathan Franzen as being the best living American author according to clippings that were neatly folded and stuffed in the front of this copy of the book. These two separate articles gave Franzen a virtual blow job and explained in not-very-convincing terms why you should accept his manhood in your mouth as well.

Everything I read from “Freedom,” my mind wandered around aimlessly without paying any attention to the words written.

I guess I’m not going down on Franzen anytime soon.

Imagine me, pool side, in a loin cloth, reading aloud to Tina. 

On Friday morning around 10:30 a.m. the sun was laying down a heat napalm worse than anything we’ve experienced in Chicago. It was 95 or 96 degrees.

I laid two towels out by the side of the pool. I stripped off a sweaty t-shirt that read, “This Beer is Making Me Awesome.” I had “Game Change” with me. I laid down on my belly, propped myself up with my elbows, and opened the book. “Hey Tina, I’m going to read to you from these pages!” I said. And from that position — wearing only my bathing suit — I read several pages to Tina.

She loved it.

“Game Change” is a political look into the last election, attempting to explain the hows and whys of Obama’s victory despite his pathetically short resumé. The writers try to show how Hillary Clinton, the favored hopeful took second fiddle, and then got wooed by Obama to be his Secretary of State. It talked about McCain’s campaign and eventual loss, highly thanks to the impetuous choice to make piss-poor, overly confident and badly educated Palin his running mate.

In a chapter called, “Sarahcuda” Halperin and Heilmann describe McCain’s vetting team missed the mark so hard that they knew they were going to lose from early on. They said that Palin wasn’t even on the short list, but that if they wanted to take the presidency, they needed a “game changer” not a safe pick.

What I took from the portions I read was politics are a joke in this country. Our leadership is dictated by a bunch of morons. It’s a stage show. It’s a popularity contest, and the contestants might be nice people who mean well, but the people behind them are a lot of faceless demons with ambitions that probably do not match yours in any shape or form.

National Geographic, take me away!

One NatGeo article I read was about Göbekli Tepe, an almost 12,000-year-old temple found in southeast Turkey. This was a religious sanctuary dedicated to some form of worship that predates other civilized religions. Archeologists think that the temple predates agricultural advancements. They claim that religion organized hunters and gatherers so the they could focus on staying in one area. Previously, science thought that organized people invented religion to magically encourage a fertile earth. The discovery of Göbekli Tepe may change that.

I read through several other articles and books. I made some headway with Julie Ferwerda’s book “Raising Hell.” I’ll write about that in another post.

I skimmed through an article that claimed it would set the record straight about the Founding Fathers. It discussed how Thomas Jefferson would consider himself a Tea-Bagger, promoting small government and power to the people, but that the party wouldn’t accept him because of his infidelities, his deism and his views on slavery. The writer carefully pointed out that atheists are wrong to claim he was one of them. And theists are just as ridiculous for wanting him on their side.

Jefferson did not accept the virgin birth, the resurrection nor the Trinity as true. But Jesus was an alright guy, and world philosophies were important to his views.

I wish more people saw the world a little more realistically as Jefferson seemed to. I mean, who cares if Jesus wasn’t magically born, and he wasn’t the actual son of god in the sense that he’s a relative of the almighty? What if everyone saw themselves as connected to the largeness of the universe, and whether you called that largeness “god” or not didn’t matter?

I’m tired of people claiming god’s grandeur when his book makes him out to be a big douche and his followers make him even douchier. But I’m biased, and I write biased things.

Alright, I’m rambling. So much for this post. It’s getting published, and I’m going to make myself some lunch.

“Hocus-pocus phantasm”

Next November, Thomas Jefferson‘s 86-page bible will go on display at The Smithsonian. Jefferson is a hotly debated “founding father” because of this shortened bible. In letters, he claimed he was a Christian, but his slice and dice of the holy book garnered him name callings as awesome as “howling atheist” and “a confirmed infidel” known for “vilifying the divine word, and preaching insurrection against God.”

From an article in WSJ:

To readers familiar with the New Testament, this Jefferson Bible, as it is popularly called, begins and ends abruptly. Rather than opening, as does the Gospel of John, in the beginning with the Word, Jefferson raises his curtain on a political and economic drama: Caesar’s decree that all the world should be taxed. His story concludes with this hybrid verse: “There laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.” Between these points, there are no angels, no wise men, and not a hint of the resurrection.

After completing this second micro-testament, Jefferson claimed in a letter to a friend that it demonstrated his bona fides as a Christian. “It is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

That, of course, has been hotly debated from the election of 1800 to today, and Jefferson has been called an infidel, a Deist and more. What is most clear is that he was not a traditional Christian. He unequivocally rejected the Nicene Creed, which has defined orthodoxy for most Christians since 381. And he was contemptuous of the doctrine of the Trinity, calling it “mere Abracadabra” and “hocus-pocus phantasm.”