Save the Carbs

Many of you have heard me bemoan the fact that no existing political party or position accurately reflects the particular diversity of my ideologies and agendas. I can’t bring myself to cheer for the Republicans, Democrats, Greens, or whatever they’re calling the party-formerly-run-by-Perot-now-run-by-Perot-formerly-run-by-Perot these days. I’d all but given up hope of ever finding a home on the political landscape.

Until now.

procarblogo_copyTonight I decided to form a new party, which I’m calling the PC party. That’s Pro-Carb (but the double entendre works nicely). If you’re anything like me, you daily find yourself awash in the cancerous growth of anti-carbohydrate sentiment. For all the talk about tolerance in our melting pot of a country, the poor carb has no place to hide. No carb is safe. Not bread carb. Not Coke carb. Not even beer carb. Frankly folks, in the USofA, it’s open season on carbs.

This is travesty and tragedy and trickery. The carb is not evil. The carb has never done anything but just be itself, and the freedom to be one’s self is what America is about, right? It’s put the “d” in delicious in the aforementioned products and so many more. It’s been whatever we wanted it to be – simple, complex, fibrous, starchy, high glycemic, low glycemic. Talk about being flexible and accommodating. The carb has given us energy, fueled our cells, and fed our brains.

In fact, here’s a dirty little secret Dr. Atkins and his storm troopers won’t tell you – carbohydrates are the main source of blood glucose, which is the only source of energy for the brain and red blood cells.

Is the light coming on yet? No carbs. No energy. No brain power. There’s a subversive revolution underway, and the carb conspirators won’t rest until they breed a new generation of lazy people who think they’re getting skinnier but who are really just getting stupider. People with neither the intelligence nor the inclination to resist the ascension of the Atkins Army to total totalitarian tyranny. It’s terrible.

We must rise up. We must resist. Listen up, you haters of carbs – we will not go quietly. We, the founding members of the PC party, will fight. We will prevail. The world will be restored to its carb-friendly beginnings, and we will all be bubbling with energy and brilliance. And you will be banished to a dingy basement in rural Iowa where you’ll be fed a steady diet of bread and carb-loaded water.

You can have my carbs when you pry them from my cold, fat, healthy fingers.

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I am not a Republican

I’m not. As I mentioned before, I find myself with less of a political orientation all the time. I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with people all over the ideological map. I often think the Christian Right is neither and that the Secular Left is both. But that’s neither here nor there.

What I know is that Michael Moore has suddenly risen to hero status among many of my generation who have become disenchanted with the machine. I understand that inclination, as I have no use for the machine myself. Moore seems like the perfect unlikely hero — a white guy against all the white guy causes who also happens to be unkempt, witty, and…well, fat. I’ve seen his first film, Roger & Me, and it was smart and funny.

Now comes Farenheit 9/11, the cinematic outworking of his 2003 Oscar rant at the current President. Apparently he’s blaming everything from 9/11 to the Kennedy assasination on the Bush family’s secret alliance with the Bin Laden family (oversimplification intentional…I assume it’s about more than that). And people are eating it up, of course. My favorite pub bit so far is the TV ad I saw last night which explained that F-9/11 is the only film in the history of Cannes to receive a twenty minute standing ovation. Stunning. Who would have guessed an anti-Bush reel would be so warmly received by a room full of rich French elites and Hollywood types? Tough crowd.

Anyway, Christopher Hitchens can handle this all far better than I can, and he’s done so here: The Lies of Michael Moore. Read it. Hitchens is a writer without a filter, and he’s also well left of center on virtually everything. The most scathing critiques of Bush political policy I’ve ever read were born at Hitchens’s keyboard. This ain’t Rush Limbaugh picking at a liberal. Not even close. This is a serious liberal (former Socialist even) completely exposing Moore’s theatrics for what they are — theater.

Of Muscle Cars and Lone Stars

So it’s probably not news to anyone by now, but we’re moving back to Texas. Maybe at some point I’ll take the time to tell the story that precipitated this move at this time, but not tonight. For now it’s sufficient to say that we’re sure that we’re doing the right thing. We’re not running from anything, which is nice. We’ve had days here when we’ve wanted to run from certain things, but we didn’t. We’re glad. Our time in Pennsylvania has been no accident. No mistake. It was a season of purpose populated by wonderful people and a fair number of knuckleheads. But now it’s time to go.

This all unfolded pretty quickly, and it wasn’t really possible for me to feel much excitement at first. It’s not that I was unhappy, I was just overwhelmed by the weight of the decisions and the craziness that accompanied the decisions. Once the decision was made to move, the first thing I began to feel was relief. I’m telling the truth when I say we’re not running from anything here, but there are some circumstances in our lives here that we’ll be relieved from when we move. Nothing terribly tragic or oppressive, but the kind of stuff that weighs you down after a while. Even where there’s the sadness of departure, there’s also relief. I feel relieved. But then relief began to become something else.

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High end prayer

reagan.new

I watched some of President Reagan’s funeral procession and then most of the memorial service in the Capital rotunda. Despite my increasingly apolitical tendencies, I’m still pretty interested in these historical moments. I’m one of those guys who buys newspapers and magazines when real history happens. I tape things like state funerals and Michael Jordan’s retirement press conference(s). I have some stuff that I think I’ll be glad I have down the road — tape from the first day of the first Gulf War, magazines from McGuire and Sosa’s dramatic race to break Maris’s record, newspapers from all over the world after 9/11 and hours of tape from that day. I even inherited a pretty amazing original newspaper covering the second continental congress when we lost Amy’s Dad a few years ago. Some people have no use for this stuff, and that’s fine. I like it.

Anyway, I’ve already heard some people complaining about the excessive coverage of Reagan’s death. Everything gets covered excessively these days, but I welcome the change from the daily blah of Bush/Kerry non-happenings and tragic reports from the Middle East. You can like or dislike Reagan’s politics, but there’s not much disputing that he possessed something that none of today’s players do. He had a presence, and people trusted him. Most people felt good about him being the guy, even if they didn’t vote for him. Some of his approval ratings were absurd they were so high, even among Democrats. For me and folks about my age, Reagan dominates our memories of becoming acquainted with the ceremony and public face of American democracy. I vaguely remember Carter, which I think is pretty impressive since I was five in 1980. Yeah, I’m like that (but no, I didn’t save any papers from Reagan’s first election).

This is also interesting to me because this is the first state funeral for a President since LBJ died in ’73 (I was born in ’75). Nixon died in ’94 (and yeah, I have his funeral on tape too), but he didn’t get the full treatment for obvious reasons. All the living presidents showed up for that one, but the show went down out in Yorba Linda. This is history, folks. Give it five minutes.

All that said, there’s always reason to raise an eyebrow or two and laugh a little when these self-important events unfold. At the conclusion of tonight’s ceremony, the Senate chaplain, Barry Black, offered a prayer that included the following phrase: “…[Reagan] lifted the lamp of liberty to topple totalitarian towers.”

Wow.

But it makes sense when you read about Barry Black. He has three Master’s degrees and two doctorates. That’s five post-graduate degrees, if anyone’s keeping score. That’s a lot of education, which I guess makes your prayers sound, well, really educated. Oh, and there’s this — Barry Black is married to Brenda Black, and their three sons are Barry Black II, Brendan Black, and Bradford Black.

Wow.

Dig it

I grew up with a feeling of fear about people because I had been told over and over again, “Don’t make friends with people who aren’t Christians because they’ll pull you away from your faith.” In general, as the church, we seem to grasp the “Don’t be of the world” part pretty well, but the reality is we’ve moved to a place where we’re nowhere even near the world. Instead of carrying God’s grace into our culture, we’ve created our own little subculture. And when the world pokes fun at our subculture, we think it’s persecution. It’s not. Persecution happens when someone’s reacting to the person of Christ. cable10What we see is usually people’s reacting to our little subset of laws and rules and connections and commerce—how we do our stuff. I, personally, feel a need to begin to break free from that in whatever ways I can. I think it’s time to think differently about how we approach our faith in the world. We have to find a way to be human and let our faith express itself in our humanness while we’re involved with other human beings.

Chris Rice, freelance nice guy, songwriter, and philosopher

I promised I’d gradually pull the curtain back on what I mean when I say I want this site to be (in part) about “exposing the big ubiquitous thing.” Consider this the first of many glimpses of the wizard. He’s little and, ultimately, powerless, but he puts on a big show as long as he has the curtain for cover.

[NOTE: For those who struggle with metaphor, Chris Rice is not the wizard. The Big Ubiquitous Thing (aka the BUT) is the wizard. Don’t worry, we’ll keep working on this.]