Friday, January 27, 2006

Real Freedom

Yesterday I saw a car with a sticker on it that made me sort of angry. The sticker had an American flag on it, and superimposed on top of the flag was the cross. Underneath the flag in small letters, it said "God Bless America," and underneath that in large block letters were the words "REAL FREEDOM."

I thought that real freedom was found in obedience to Jesus. Jesus said that "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." Who are we to add the American flag to the cross of Christ? I guess people who have found freedom in Jesus in other countries don't have real freedom.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Nothing New to Say Today

After one week into the semester, things are going nicely. I kind of like having five sections of the same course because I can do the same lessons with everyone, and I only have to do one website. When I finish thinking about Argumentative Writing, I don't have to remember to think about Literature.

My students really are getting into the discussion boards on my website. In fact, I didn't have to start the topics--they jumped right in and began discussing campus problems, the war, the fact that most of them hate Bush, etc. One of the discussions got so heated at one point that I had to jump in and remind them to watch their tone and not engage in namecalling.

Discussions in class aren't nearly that heated, but they're good. There is one guy in my 8:00 who is a die hard Bush supporter, and I have a very difficult time not expressing my extreme disdain for our President. He's outnumbered in class, so I feel I have to help in out some, but it's hard!

On another note, Husband is sick. I think he caught the flu at the doctor's office when he went to get a physical. He slept on the couch last night so I could sleep instead of hear him cough all night.

So that's about all that's going on. I'm working on a new article that I hope to post in the next week. I'm calling it "In Jesus' Name, Amen." There, now that I've told you about it, I have to finish and post it.

For now, I have to get to class.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Back to the Old Grind

Today I'm back at work after a month off. (Have I said I love being a teacher?!) Finding a parking space was not so bad--I decided not to even try parking really close to the building--but traffic was terrible, and it was raining hard. Campus has terrible drainage problems, so I knew to dress for the weather and not for fashion. My pants legs were soaked by the time I walked to my first class.

My first class went well. I had five students from last semester; seeing familiar faces really helps out on the first day. In fact, there should be lots more familiar faces in the rest of my classes. Several students asked questions about the course--I felt a little like the president fielding questions from the press corps.

I have three more classes today. Tuesdays and Thursdays are very full, and lunch comes at a weird time. The good thing about this semester, though, is that I get to teach argumentative writing, so in class we get to have great discussions about current issues. Today we talked about "Brangelina." (What's up with that?)

Well, my desk is still cluttered from last semster's junk, so I guess I should straighten up now.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Good Laugh!

If you like (or even if you don't like) blonde jokes, this one is a must see!

Illegal Immigrants and Our Comfort

This is not an opinion either way on illegal immigration, just an observation of an effect of it.

Many people say that immigrants take jobs such as construction, agriculture, etc. away from citizens by working at the same jobs for much less money. This is often true. Employers can sometimes get away with paying an immigrant (illegal or otherwise, I suppose) minimum wage or less with no benefits, when a citizen would demand twice the pay and benefits. How is it that when citizens seem to have so much trouble making ends meet, immigrants don't seem to complain about the low pay? They seem to have plenty to eat, and they come to work wearing clean clothes and looking like they've slept well. And we know that they also send money back home to their families in other countries because of the proliferation of so many Spanish-language money transfer establishments. Why, then, do we have such a problem working for so little?

Perhaps the answer lies with lifestyle. Many immigrants share housing costs by having numerous roommates. They don't seem to mind sharing close quarters with several friends or family. The sacrifice of privacy is apparently worth it to be able to save hundreds of dollars on rent each month. Lots of citizens complain about this mode of living that seems so foreign to us. Many of us wouldn't want to live next door to a three bedroom house that is occupied by ten grownups. We have grown accustomed to having our space and our privacy, and we mistrust those who don't conform to society's norms. (Oh sure, it's OK for college students to bunk up to save money; we expect it from them. But the time comes when they must grow up and conform. If they persist on bunking together after college, it must be because they are having drunken orgies and are manufacturing meth in the bathtub.)

We work hard and save our money to buy nicer cars and bigger houses. Many immigrants work hard and save their money to send home to mothers and fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles who don't have the opportunity to work for a "decent" wage. These immigrants will sacrifice their own comfort so that their relatives back home can eat a good meal every day. When is the last time that we sacrificed our comfort for the good of someone else?

Jesus sacrificed his comfort for the good of those around him. Think about that.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Wisdom From Wally

On Leave it to Beaver last night:

Wally: You could buy it on the installment plan.
Beaver: What's that?
Wally: It's so that people who can't afford to buy something can buy it anyway.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Size Matters

I just saw a story on Inside Edition about Cosmo Girl magazine's use of a plus sized model in this month's issue. How nice, but she's a size 10. You male readers of this blog may not understand the significance of this. If your wife is a size 10, you will not be shopping in the plus size section of the store for her birthday this year.

If I keep feeling sick at my stomach, maybe I'll lose enough weight to qualify as a plus size rather than what ever I must be.

P.S. Weren't you intrigued by the title of this post? Get out of the gutter!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Gum Tree

I don’t chew a lot of gum these days. I chew gum like the gentleman caller in Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie: I take it out as soon as the flavor is gone. But when I was a teenager, I chewed gum all the time. In fact, I think the only time I didn’t chew gum was when I was eating or sleeping and during band practice. I remember the band director’s wife once commenting that every time she saw me I had gum in my mouth. I recall wondering what was wrong with that.

I liked chewing gum when I was a little kid too. Mama used to let me have chewing gum, usually in the car on the way to town—probably to keep me busy and from thinking too much about McDonald’s. Mama’s choice of flavor was Wrigley’s Doublemint, which I liked just fine, but my favorite was Juicy Fruit. I loved its flavor—instead of tasting minty like toothpaste, Juicy Fruit was sweet like candy and slightly exotic. It was a taste like nothing else, and I craved that unique mouthwatering sensation. Mama hardly ever bought Juicy Fruit, but I knew where I could get a fix.

Uncle Dean almost always carried a pack of chewing gum in his shirt pocket, and it was almost always the coveted Juicy Fruit. Back then, much of the extended family lived right there within a mile of each other, so it was a regular occasion to find family members at each others’ houses for whatever reason. This situation enabled my Juicy Fruit addiction because I might see Uncle Dean at any time. Whenever he was around, I wouldn’t leave him alone until I got my hands on a precious stick of that juicy, fruity treat. Sometimes, however, Uncle Dean’s pocket would be empty, and severe disappointment would set in. Every now and then, he would have taken his pack of gum out of his pocket and left it in his truck, so my temporary disappointment would be alleviated, but every now and then, no amount of begging would produce a piece of that wonderful treasure. “Gum doesn’t grow on trees,” Uncle Dean would say. (Actually, I don’t remember if he really said that—I wouldn’t have known what that meant, much less remember it—but it goes so well with the next part of the story, that I’m going to believe he did.)

One afternoon during the early spring or late fall—I don’t remember when, just that there weren’t many if any leaves on the trees—several of us were gathered in Uncle Dean’s front yard. It seems to me that there were lots of us there, but like I said earlier, there was always lots of family around, so nothing seemed out of the ordinary to me. I don’t remember the exact events as they transpired or what all was said, but what happened next was a momentous event for a young Juicy Fruit addict. Uncle Dean pointed me toward a tree on which were growing, miraculously, slender stalks in the familiar bright yellow hue. When I got closer, I saw that packs and packs of Juicy Fruit gum had been painstakingly tied to the tree, and they were ripe for the picking. My hand took hold of one the golden fruits, and my heart leaped for joy. I unwrapped a stick of my harvest and quickly savored its deliciousness. My brother Michael and my cousin Rachel helped me gather the bounty, and I was exceedingly happy even though I had to share with them. It was a wonderful day.

It must have taken hours to tie all those packs of gum to that tree. Looking back on it now with nieces of my own, I think I can see why Uncle Dean might have done that. I’ll never forget the pleasure I got that day, the day that for just a little while, in Uncle Dean’s front yard, gum really did grow on trees.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

It's 2006 Already!

I can't believe another year has arrived. I just can't believe it. It's going to take me two months to get used to writing 2006 on my checks. Even typing 2006 feels weird.

Husband and I stayed up until 11:00 last night, but that's as long as we could hold out, so we didn't get to see 2006 come in. But I'm sure it looked a lot like most any other midnight.

I don't normally make any resolutions, and this year is no different. How about y'all? Are you making any resolutions?