Sunday, July 31, 2011

Twitter Humor

It's funny 'cause...


(Spotted on Failbook)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On Camp, and Innocence Lost

I am a news junkie. Newspapers, news magazines, websites... I am there. So normally when an event like last week's massacre of innocents at a Norwegian camp would occur, I would be the first to know.

Not last week, though. Because, ironically, I was at camp.

Camp. You probably know it. The innocent place. The place where everyday cares slip away, and your most pressing thoughts are:

1) How can the ocean be so infinite?
2) How is it that I can feel God's presence here so much more than in real life?
3) How, exactly, does one get a mosquito bite on one's butt?

Probably the same thoughts experienced by those young Norwegians before they were gunned down (with American bullets) by a madman.

But the result of the irony of where I was when this happened is that I cannot think of this tragedy without imagining the faces of our campers on the bodies.

That one could be Amanda, the soccer fanatic. This one, Jake, the flirt. That one over there, he could be Cameron, the clown. If things had been different, all of them could be...they could be... They could so easily be our own kids.

Being at camp when something like this happens makes it impossible for me to depersonalize. Because these kids, theirs, and ours, are real.

My first thoughts, on hearing the news, were practical, the Bear-Grylls-meets-terrorist-attack kind: What would I do, at our camp, in a similar situation? Where would I go? Would I grab kids and run down the open beach, toward the tribal lands, where we would be safe quickly, but open targets to long-range weapons? Would I encourage them to go into the water, to swim around the point and towards safety into town? Or would I grab them and run into the woods? Onto the chapel trail, or the trail below the cabins, or the trail above the dining hall? All of which, eventually, lead to the single, only road to camp, which might or might not be safe?

And what about my own kids, who are there as leaders, there to protect the campers? Who would I, the mom, protect first?

It's an academic exercise, of course. It could never happen here.


My denomination, the one that runs the camp, has been targeted by Glenn Beck because of we are a "social justice" church -- one which believes that justice and dignity should not be reserved for only those with money and power. In many eyes, this makes us a target. And if the Norwegian tragedy shows anything, it is that all it takes for evil to be manifest in the world is for one deranged person to take a disturbed ideology and act on it.

In his 1500+ page manifesto, Anders Breivik, the Norwegian shooter, quoted Muslim-hater and Fox News sweetheart Robert Spencer 64 times. Sixty-four. Spencer claims he is innocent and this is not his fault. And yet he worked so incredibly hard to plant the seeds of fear and hate.

So many seeds.

I will return to camp next year, and my guess is that there will be some new security measures in place. With luck, they'll be like the ones implemented after the Catholic church sex scandal, subtle enough to protect us all without being too obvious to the kids who are there to experience God's love and creation while escaping real life.

In the meantime, I will pray for a longer-term solution: an end to the hate.

(Or at least an end to the public promotion of it? Is that too much to ask?)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vat Vould Freud Say About ze Penguin?

My future son-in-law is a nerd in the best sense of the word. (And I live in Microsoftville, Washington, and used to teach chess to small children, so I know what I'm talking about.)

And so when I found the following article, I figured it had his name written all over it:

Batman Villains Psychoanalyzed by Mental Health Experts

In it, mental health experts who are attempting to de-stigmatize real mental illness take a look at the issues of fictional characters. The Joker, for example, shows symptoms of psychopathy (a personality construct) rather than psychosis (a mental disorder.) So he technically does not suffer from mental illness. Says one of the authors:

"Just because a behavior is aberrant or considered 'crazy,' it does not mean that the behavior is the result of mental illness."

And so I posted the link on Andy's Facebook wall. Got back the following response.

"I think I'd prefer to just classify them all as 'Evil Super Villians.' It makes punching them much less morally ambiguous."

Hmm. Can't argue with that.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pretty Sure It's Because Seattlites Recycle

Conversation this week with a friend in Chicago. Who fortunately shares my sense of humor and would immediately do the same thing to me if the situation were reversed. Because otherwise, we probably wouldn't be friends.

Friend: Supposed to not drop below 90 this week.

Laurie: I just did 10 mile rollerblade. Mostly sunny, 66 degrees, light breeze, low humidity... Not that I'm trying to make you jealous. Or anything.

Friend: I am literally sitting here checking the weather to see which t-shirt to wear - as in how sweaty I need to prepare to be - before I walk into hell. 94, high humidity. I hate you.

Laurie: Then my work here is done.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Scandal! Scandal! (Unless you watch Fox News)

Wow! HUGE scandal at News Corp, parent company of Fox News. Phone hacking on what Newsweek described as an "industrial" level -- 4,000 people -- not just royals and the famous, but of average joes and crime victims as well. (Including probable attempted hacking of 9/11 victims.) Arrests all over the place, and the head of Scotland Yard just resigned after it was discovered that the people who were supposed to be investigating law-breaking at News Corp were instead on their payroll.

If this keeps up, I fully expect that Fox News (which has been oddly silent about the whole deal**) will suddenly discover that the Black Panthers and ACORN are using Weiner photos to impose Sharia law.

(Because, of course, the best way to draw attention away from your own lack of ethics is to create and attack an imaginary boogeyman.)

You heard it here first.

** Actually, Fox News has not been completely silent. Fox and Friends have, inexplicably, tried to make this about "hacking," comparing themselves to B of A and Citibank. Who they're EXACTLY like! Except for the tiny little detail that News Corp were perpetrators of hacking and B of A and Citicorp were victims. Minor, minor difference: B of A was hacked. News Corp hacked.

But then again, verb tenses never were these people's strong suits.


And, because I can never resist a Word Nerd afterword:

Rebekah Brooks, former head of News Corp's newspaper business and most recent arrestee, as well as close personal friend of Prime Minster David Cameron, is being described as News Corp head Rupert Murdoch's "protégée." The word protégée (feminine form of the word "protégé")comes from the French verb "protéger" which means "to protect."

Which Murdoch did, right up to the point where he needed to throw her under the bus to save himself.

Bummer to be you, Rebekah! Might want to choose your protector a little more carefully next time!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy Bastille Day!

(Just kidding, France. We in the US always care about another excuse to blow things up.)

In related news, The US Women's soccer team celebrated Bastille day a day early by vanquishing the French women, despite the fact that the French were a much more polished and technical team. Which, come to think of it, kind of describes US soccer in a nutshell.

Up next, on Sunday, the Women's World Cup final match with Japan. If you're not yet on the bandwagon, you should be.

U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!

(Will post more real posts soon, I swear.)