Dear Mahmoud

Maybe the people of Iran would have re-eleted you if you didn’t always wear a fake Member’s Only jacket.  Just a suggestion…

nothing good about this

Yesterday in Wichita, KS, where I grew up and most of my family lives, Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed.  Dr. Tiller was a well known Abortion Doctor who had a practice on the east side of Wichita.  He had been shot once in 1993 and survived.

As somebody who is Pro-Life, I don’t like Abortion… or murder.  The nutjob who did this deserves to be punished.  (They’ve got the guy is custody) This didn’t help the Pro-Life movement, it hurt it.  You can’t be Pro-Life and Pro-Murder.  Even if I didn’t like what Dr. Tiller did, or the reputation it gave Wichita as a place to get a late term abortion, there is nothing good about this.

We have a word for people who commit violence in the name of the religious faith they espouse… terrorists.  When that moron pulled the trigger he joined the same ranks as Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, & the IRA.  I hope people out there who are Pro-Choice, are able to see that not all Pro-Life people are all violent nutjobs, but after yesterday, making that case just got harder.

rooting for the bad guy, or at least, the irresponsible guy

the-wrestler-one-sheet-2

Last summer everybody told me to go see the Wrestler.  It got great reviews and was the film that gave us comeback of Mickey Rourke.  I figured I’d like it, and for the most part I did.

Rourke plays a own on his luck former wrestler who used to be a big star in the wrestling world but who fell on some hard times.  To pay the bills he works at a grocery store and does small wrestling venues.  His health isn’t great and after having a heart attack, he is urged by his love interest (played by Marissa Tomei) to reconcile with his estranged daughter.  He hasn’t spoken to her in years, but his health, and his desire to earn points with the girl push him to try to connect with her.

Thats where it gets interesting, and it got me thinking.  In movies, its easy to be critical of a film that tries to do too much, say too much, and accomplish too much.  And sometimes you watch a movie and you feel like the people who made it weren’t really sure what story they wanted to tell, or even knew how they wanted to tell it (i.e. Hancock, Bedtime Stories, & Mission to Mars).  But this time, I think it was intentional because… they wanted to show how the Wrestler, Randy the Ram, wasn’t sure either.  He wanted lots of things, his career, his girl, his health, his daughter, etc… – but wasn’t sure exactly how to get any of them, and how he allowed his issues to get in the way of each of them.

In the end, he choses his career which means he loses his girl, his health, and his daughter.  So it was easy for me to finish the movie and think to myself, okay, I’ve been rooting for this guy, and in the end, he chose his career over everyone else.  But the more I thought about it, I was okay with that.  The movie showed that even the screw up who lets everyone else down, is extremely selfish, and abandons those who love them when they need them, can be sympathetic.  I watched the movie hoping he’d change in order to be with those who needed him, but in the end, he didn’t and that’s what was so compelling for me.

Its worth seeing.

eloquent

Sometimes I wish I had the brains and the time to have a really thoughtful and impressive blog that people went to and loved.  I’m always jealous of people who can write and blog about important issues, of who can point out funny things in sociaty and culture.  I’d like to think that I can sometimes do that, but not regularly.  

Every once in a while I’ll have a great idea for something I’d like to write about but either forget it or can’t get to a computer in time – and when I finally have the time, I’m not as interested in it anymore.

Oh to be eloquent.

I bought a new car

May 7th, 2009

I know its been a while.  Here is what is entertaining me, causing me to think, or causing me to be angry.

ENTERTAINING ME

Oh Miss California, you are starting to make Miss South Carolina look like a genius.  If you’re going to be a moral crusader, make sure you don’t release the topless pictures of yourself.  (BTW, this is just a link to the CNN story)

Goodbye Scrubs.  I didn’t watch you all that much but when I did, you made me laugh.    I wonder if any of you will have a career after this?

CAUSING ME TO THINK

Why did Europe conquer South America and not the other way around?  Why did Aryans in Central Asia ride horses and Bantus in Africa didn’t ride Zebras?  Why did China go from being the most advance society in 1400 AD to being at the mercy of Europeans and the Japanese by 1900 AD?  Jared Diamond wrote a really fascinating book that explores why societies and cultures advanced in certain places and not in others.  Its a great book.

The economy is really starting to impact the way I work.  People are less likely to spend money and we aren’t able to hire and pay additional summer staff like I had hoped.  So how do I do more, or at least as much as I used to, with less help?  Will people understand?  Can I adjust to the realities of working in 2009 without acting like its still 2005?

Also, I’m not sure whether or not I should go to my 10 year high school reunion…

CAUSING ME TO BE ANGRY

I really wanted this movie to be good.  But it sucked.  It wasn’t as developed as it could have been and it really didn’t make 100% sense.  The Adam Sandler guy figured it out too quickly.

Just because gas used to be $3.89 does not mean I am happy with $2 gas.  I was happy with $1.88 gas but not with $2 gas.

10% right

When I disagree with someone, I like to think that I’m 100% right and because they don’t agree with me, they are naturally 100% wrong.  And while thinking that way does make me feel better about myself, it doesn’t always make things easier or help things get done.  One of the first lessons I’ve had to learn since I got out of college was that conflict was inevitable.  And the second lesson I had to learn was that when there is a conflict or a problem, a leader needs to run TOWARDS it, not AWAY from it.

A few years ago, I was talking with my friend Chris H and we were discussing a guy who used to attend our church but stopped because he had some disagreements with our stances on some issues and for some personal reasons too.  Both of us felt that he had overeacted and were confident that we were “right”, and that he was “wrong” or at best, “misguided”.  But Chris in his wisdom said something… he said that the guy was 10% right.

That stuck with me.  Even though he was 90% wrong, overwhelmingly wrong, he wasn’t totally wrong.  He had a valid point, feeling, or idea that you couldn’t really ignore. 

In the past few years when I’ve had some real disagreements of conflicts with others, at the time my emotions told me that I was totally in the right and they were totally in the wrong.  But once that passed, looking back, you can see where even if they were 90% or even 98% wrong, there was a small amount of truth or validity to their side.

Last Spring everybody talked about how Barack Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright was a hate filled angry firebrand for what he said after 9/11.  And there was pressure on Obama to condemn the remarks.  He did and he should have.  But even though what Rev. Wright said wasn’t appropriate or even really correct, there was an anger that he and many others felt about living for so long in a country that had for many years treated them as second class citizens.  That anger towards discrimination and injustice was right, but the way it was expressed, and the timing of the expression were bad, tasteless, and wrong.

I think a challenge for myself and for other leaders is to find ways to see the 10% truth in our opponents and while we may totally disagree with the other 90%, validate where we see their point.  And how can I help my opponents better see the 10% where they agree with me…