I really love my Daily Tao widget. I don’t go to church, but that doesn’t mean I’m a howling void of spiritual emptiness. I will admit how shallow and trendy it is to have your day’s sole religious moment when you’re checking the forecast and morning traffic, but hey — deal.
It can drive me insane, however. So many chapters seem to instruct us to lie there like a lump and lo, wisdom will descend like the gentle rain that droppeth from heaven. This is a difficult lesson for your average Type-A American to learn. Take today:
When the great Tao is forgotten,
goodness and piety appear.
When the body’s intelligence declines,
cleverness and knowledge step forth.
When there is no peace in the family,
filial piety begins.
When the country falls into chaos,
patriotism is born.
When I was in high school, all the cool kids were into “Kung Fu,” a show I found preposterous. My sole attempt to catch the magic included the wise master telling Keith Carradine, “When you can walk on the rice paper without ripping it, grasshopper, then you will have learned.” Duuuude.
Still, I like that last line. In today’s Tao, that is. When the country falls into chaos, patriotism is born. Dude. Word.
Today’s the last day of school. Obviously, I have mixed feelings. My life gets more complicated, Kate’s gets less. Her Indiana classmates were out two weeks ago, so I told her that by starting early in Indiana and ending late in Michigan, she had already stacked up two weeks of extra-credit learning karma, and that this is a good thing. But lately I don’t know. When I was a kid, we attended school for 170 days, which meant we started the day after Labor Day — the date God Himself intended children to return to school — and finished around the first week of June. When state legislatures became convinced 170 days wasn’t enough for the Three Rs, plus social studies, AIDS awareness and self-esteem calisthenics, school years lengthened to 180 days, pushing start dates into August and dismissals past the first week of June.
And what happens in those last weeks of school? Plenty, and nothing. I don’t think Kate’s done actual schoolwork since the heat wave started more than a week ago. It’s all parties and popsicles and picnics and farewell-to-the-fifth-graders assemblies. Several of her classmates have already left on family vacations, and I can hardly blame them for cutting this silliness short. When we left this morning, Kate reminded me this is the day they receive their “end-of-year gifts.”
“You get an end-of-year gift?” I’m still adjusting to the concept of a lavish end-of-year gift for the teacher. Yes, the kids get an end-of-year gift, too. The next time you see kindergarten graduations that steadily amp up into the lavish, weeks-long prom/high-school graduation festivities of recent years, you know where the idea came from.
Anyway, I have three hours remaining of freedom. I plan to spend it cleaning. Best get to the bloggage:
Terri Schiavo’s autopsy was released yesterday. Her husband could not have ordered a more complete vindication for his position, not that it matters to anyone from the nuttier end of the spectrum. This liar pushed the husband-abused-her-into-a-heart-attack line relentlessly, and if you click through and notice that he’s a Catholic-freakin’-priest, well, draw your own conclusions. He hasn’t reacted yet, but as the report’s release was approaching, this is what he had to say:
I am not terribly optimistic that the autopsy will provide evidence of either the cause of Terri’s cardiac arrest or any abuse. I think there was simply too much time between Terri’s injury(ies) and her death for any such evidence to still be detectable.
Note that reasoning — there won’t be evidence of abuse, because too much time passed “between Terri’s injury(ies) and her death.” Because of course there were injuries. Of which there is no evidence.
Thanks, Father. Keep doing the work of Christ!
As a glimpse into the heart of the right-to-life movement, you could hardly ask for a better case. If your brain has withered to half its normal size, if you’re blind, if you’re in no way conscious of anything in the greater world, as long as you’re still breathing and peeing, you need to be kept alive, even if you could reasonably be expected to live another 30 years.
Sorry, no, no, no, a thousand times no. I’m not interested in being anyone’s cross to bear. I don’t want Alan or Kate coming to visit me in a nursing home, keeping watch over my insensate body. I want them out in the world. Because I love them both, I want Alan shopping for another wife and mother for Kate. I’d want to be dead, all the way dead, cremated and up the chimney and my ashes scattered to the wind and waves. Because that’s what I’d be — dead.
I guess now I’m a card-carrying member of the Culture of Death. Well, sing hallelujah and pass the nightshade, because living like Terri is no way to live at all. And people know this. Which is why this issue is going to be a net loser for Wingnuttia.
Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric et al really get on my nerves. Wolcott’s, too: This morning Sawyer was interviewing the mother of missing teen Natalee Holloway, last seen in Aruba on May 30th. Interviewing isn’t the right word. The questions were more like opportunities for Sawyer to become the golden chalice into which the mother — Beth — poured her hopes and memories as Sawyer nodded with an understanding too deep for words, though she kept using them.
Better go run that vacuum. In two (!!!) hours I become a full-timer again.