Saturday, September 11, 2010
A Day Of RemembranceAnother 9/11 comes... for me the paradox, a day to celebrate (my birthday) and to mourn those lost on this day 9 years ago.
In a special way I remember John Badagliacca, whose name on wear on my wrist every day. May he and all those who died that day rest in peace, and may the grace of God give comfort to their families and friends.
Monday, August 09, 2010
VacationLong time, no post, sorry. I am on vacation in Oregon. I arrived Friday. Saturday I spent with Dad and Fran, and we had dinner with my Aunt Nancy and cousin Robin, it was really nice to see them. Sunday was a long day -- figures competition in the morning and then hanging out with my friend Mary afterward. We were going to go to Voodoo Doughnuts but the lines were really long so we hung out on the waterfront and looked around and talked. A good time.
Today I drove out to the coast. Stopped in Astoria and visited the Astoria Column, then a brief detour over the Astoria-Megler bridge. I have a fascination with bridges (on the drive out I also got to see the beautiful St. Johns bridge and the impressive Longview bridge). The Astoria bridge is really, really high for the part over the channel; then it sinks down and is just a little way above the river. Coming back over it from Washington it looks like it goes straight up, it's so tall and steep! Wow.
I drove down to Seaside and checked in to the hotel here, took a walk on the beach and looked around a bit. Unfortunately it is typical Oregon weather, cold and dreary (though, surprisingly, not actually raining -- yet).
Tomorrow I will look around a bit more then head back toward PDX as I have lessons with my old coach Tuesday evening and early Wednesday to prep for the competition at the end of the month.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Have You Read The Bill?[Background: I have had a number of discussions on FaceBook, sometimes heated, about Arizona's SB1070. I wrote and posted this there, but thought I would share it here as well.]
May 28, 2010
Have You Read The Bill? – A response, and a challenge.
In the discussion of Arizona’s new immigration law (SB1070) and its implementation and the continuing reaction of others, this question “Have you read the bill?” (“HYRTB” for short) has come up repeatedly. Indeed, I think I myself have been asked this question five or six times to date.
I find the question, and the reasoning that underlies it when asked by some persons, to be offensive; it’s also unhelpful and uncharitable. I’ll try to explain why. I must point out at the outset that my remarks are not aimed at any one person, for while some people have what I consider to be bad motivations in asking the question, I know several of my interlocutors to be people of sincerity and good will who genuinely mean no offense.
The question seems simple enough. Have you read SB1070? This is often accompanied by the remark that it’s only 17 pages. True enough. What are the subtexts of this question? I can think of several variations on a theme:
1. You must not have read the bill; otherwise you would agree with me/have a different position.
2. I don’t understand why you don’t support this bill, so I’m assuming you must not actually have read it. (This is the kindest variation, held by at least one person I know.)
3. Reading the bill will convince any intelligent person to support it regardless of any other circumstances.
4. If you have not read the bill your opinions don’t carry any weight and I can ignore them.
Let’s take them in turn. The first and second are very similar; the main difference is that the first seems arrogant and the second comes from a position of sincerely seeking understanding. Behind them both, though, is the implication that reading SB1070 will produce agreement with it. Considering how many well-educated and well-read people in our society disagree on fundamental points of view, the likelihood of education resulting in uniform support for any particular position is low.
The third point is also similar to the first two, but I put it this way to bring out another point – context. Every person that’s asked me the question has been a white person, and most of them do not live in Arizona. I find it ironic that someone can ask this question, because the questions that I would ask in response include “Do you live in Arizona? Are you familiar with Arizona politics? Do you know why this bill came forward at this time, and who supports and opposes it and why? Do you have any Hispanic friends?” SB1070 did not come forth in a vacuum, but in a particular set of circumstances of which many of the people asking HYRTB are totally ignorant. Many people who object to SB1070 do so not because of the text of the bill but because of their experiences with Arizona’s politics and law enforcement, especially in Maricopa County.
Furthermore, it applies a standard for debate that most do not apply to other discussions or issues. Do I have to have read the entire Tax Code of the US to object to the level of taxation I experience? Did those objecting to Obama’s healthcare initiatives actually read all 1000+ pages of that bill? Do I have to have read the UN Charter to support or object to the United Nations? What about the North Atlantic Treaty? I suspect not.
It’s the fourth point that is most offensive. Put another way, the question asks “Do you know what you are talking about?” Questioning the knowledge and/or intelligence of your interlocutor is never conducive to a good discussion, but is a standard ad hominem tactic. It also avoids discussing the actual objections raised. If you wish to have a respectful, productive, and persuasive interchange, avoid such tactics and address the actual points of discussion.
My challenge to those who have asked HYRTB, and to everyone – have a discussion that is respectful and uplifting, edifying and charitable. Seek to understand not just the text, but the context, of what you discuss; and for those that profess a Christian faith (at least) – as Frank Sheed (I think) said, when you are tempted to put someone in his place, remember that his proper place is Heaven and everything you say and do towards him should help him attain that end.
I have a lot more to say about the bill itself, which I will do in a future posting. I did want to take some time to make these points since they have been the cause of some hurt feelings on my part and presumably on the part of others.
And yes, I have read SB 1070.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Still Alive, LolYes, I'm still alive. I spend a lot more time on Facebook these days, but I think I'm going to post some things here that are a bit long for FB.
Quick summary... moved to Chandler 10/1/09. Found a nice house to rent that's really close to work and very convenient to everything and not too expensive either! Moving was very stressful and it was hard to say goodbye to the many wonderful people I had met in Portland. Also I re-injured my foot and though the podiatrist here said it was not broken, I had an extended period of being off the ice and trying to take it easy. To be honest it still doesn't feel exactly normal even now and it's been a year. Oh well.
I've been really enjoying being close to my family and my Arizona friends. I have been singing with the Schola at Ss. Peter and Paul down in Tucson. The drive is pretty tiring (it's about 100 miles) for rehearsals but I love getting to sing quality music.
I bought a digital piano (Kawai Digital Piano 500, an older model) in November (?) and started taking piano lessons in January with Stephanie Koogler in Chandler. That's been going really well and I played my first recital last Saturday (she has recitals for her students in June and December). I played a setting of the theme from Dvorak's New World Symphony, and I also sang. It went really well!
Skating has gone quite well, I have found a freestyle and a figures coach and with lots of convenient ice time available I have been skating quite a lot, preparing for my first competition since PCAS '08 next month (Cactus Classic).
I have been back to Oregon a number of times. I am back about once a month for work, for meetings and facetime with my team. Those trips are usually a one day up-and-back on the Intel shuttle -- pretty tiring but worthwhile. I was up for a weekend in December for the Oregon Chorale concert and also the holiday show at SIA -- it was great to see my homies skating! Then I was up for a weekend in early May and also early June, the last for the Oregon Chorale 25th anniversary concert. It was terrific, and the Chorale invited alums to sing 3 songs for the occasion which was really great. They are such an amazing group! I will be up in August again for a figures competition and some hangin' with the homies.
I will try to post more often and I know I need to fix the comments on this blog. I'll see what I can do.