Monday, February 18, 2013
Presidents' Day Post
Happy Presidents' Day, everyone. I'm sure you are all have travelled to be with you family and loved ones, bought presents for the gift exchange, put up the decorations (wooden teeth and a black top hat on the mantle, sprig of a cherry tree on the table, a life-sized version of William Taft stuck in the bathtub), been to a few ugly powdered wig parties. Yet, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday, I encourage you to take time to remember the reason for the season.
So, basically my life now rotates on a three-day research schedule:
Day 1 - The origins of Christmas - Two theories: one says that Christians took over the pagan sun-worshipping holiday Natalis Sol Invictus (Birthday of the Unconquered Sun) that also fell on Dec. 25 and made Jesus the Son/Sun whose light shines in the darkness, etc; the other argues that ancients at that time believed great holy men and women were born or conceived (in this case) on the day of their death. So, various calculations at the time put Jesus' death/conception on March 25 and adding the obligatory 9 month gestation period, Jesus would have been born in December 25. Puts you right in the Christmas spirit, huh?
Day 2- Methodist hymnals - Charles Wesley wrote a ton of hymns: 6,000-8,000. Apparently, he often wrote them in his head on horseback (the Wesleys rode so much they were nicknamed centaurs -part man, part horse), get to his destination, and before talking to anyone demand pencil and paper so that he could scribble the lyrics down before he forgot them.
Day 3- Social gospel hymns - high view of humanity, social justice, peace, brotherhood, etc; low view of sacraments, creeds, and gospel hymns.
Then, I return to Day 1 and begin my journey anew. I know that's probably completely uninteresting, but I feel like I need to tell people what I do all day to validate the majority of my daily academic existence.
There is no curse in entish, elvish or the tongues of man strong enough for my dislike of the weather as of late. I am over winter and ready for spring.
So, another sign of adulthood. I knew I would have to pay taxes this year for various reasons (mainly because my school stipend is not initially taxed), so I actually saved some cash in an envelope (I can see the tears of joy/pride in my father's eyes as I type) to cover the expenses. Total cash saved: $420; Total taxes owed (plus the price of e-filing): $425. I know I should be proud that I saved almost exactly the amount I needed to pay, but I still just felt cheated sending all that money away. I was hoping by some miracle that there would be some type of loophole or exemption that TurboTax would find, and I would get to keep that money for leisure (read: food/rent/bills).
I think they should teach a class at Seminary on how to use the washroom while wearing your alb/robe, not to mention the pendular motion of the cincture. It could be called "Voiding while Vested." It could be an elective at NPTS, but it should probably be required in the high church traditions.
This video makes me cringe. I stopped twice before I could make it all the way through without being so revolted by the sounds that I had to stop.
If you have yet to vote on my latest poll, go ahead and tell me which obligatory American classic novel you secretly (or not so secretly) hate. You can even vote more than once. Stephen, you can vote for those novels you secretly hated having me read and write the book report for. I'll tell you mine: Great Gatsby. I think F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing is fantastic (obviously), but I don't understand why people think that book is the creme de la creme of American novels. I mean, I guess I don't hate it; I just think it's vastly overrated. Also, as I've said before, Catcher in the Rye is as good as the reader is angsty. The less angst the reader has, the more likely you are to see Holden as a selfish, whiny teenager who needs a good kick in the pants from reality...as do Sal and Dean in On the Road...that and a good stint in rehab.
And I signed up for Grandma's Marathon (Duluth's very own marathon) this weekend. If I don't have a race or something to motivate me, I will not run one step further than 3 miles.