Archive for April, 2014

Puyallup

29 April, 2014

Recently I read “if there is some racial or gender privilege I am supposed to be privy to…” And then the author went on to list all of the difficult jobs they’ve performed in their life.

When I was a child, I would go to the Puyallup Fair. Never once did I think, “My grandparents were law abiding, hardworking, US citizens. The US government misprision end them here. They were forced to quit careers and college. They lost homes and businesses.”

That is one small example of white privilege. Not only that bad stuff happened to other people, not only was it done by the US Government, but part of our privilege is that instead of “Never Forget” we can easily forget to remember.

What’s racism?

28 April, 2014

Yesterday, I taught Bible class.  The theme was Thomas, encountering Jesus after the resurrection. Long ago, I went to devotion also with MyBetterHalf, when she was still in college. One time, someone pointed out that Thomas was serious, he was ready to go and die with Jesus. Thomas became my favorite apostle. I was reminded that Thomas also asked,” how can we follow, if we don’t know where you’re going?” Thomas is like the kid who asks the teacher what everyone else is too afraid to. That’s what I tried to teach, that asking questions is good.

After Church, we went on a hike. MyBetterHalf, now a Girl Scout Troop leader, had a few other girls and their moms meet up at a park. I forced MrGrunty to go on the hike, he screamed “it’s boring”. (I think he was expecting to stay home with me to watch the Clippers vs Warriors game, but it was too nice to stay indoors) MrCuddles wanted to stay with mommy and the girls. So, me and MrG had a nice hike. I let him pick our direction. I told him stories that happened to me in that park. He asked me questions, ” what’s you favorite day? Your worst day? Your favorite animal?”  We climbed over logs, went off trail up steep slippery hills. It was great. And later he said chatting with me was his favorite part if the day.

Later, me and MrG sat down to watch the game. Due to comments allegedly made by Clippers franchise owner, there were “No racism” signs in the crowd that the camera was focussing on. MrGrunty asked,”Papa, what’s racism?”  I inelegantly went with “… You know how some people have different color skin? Well, if you think someone with different color skin is bad, just because of the color of their skin, that’s racism.”

Kids asking questions is good.

NBA playoffs 2014-04-20

21 April, 2014
  • Mags vs Spurs …expected result
  • Heat vs Bobcats… Ya know Miami, having matching white t- shirts, kinda boring. Why not have red? And the slogan “white hot heat” is dumb. Me and MrG watched this game. I was surprised LeBron played as much as he did. Seems the Heat started slow, then said, “you Bobcats are alright, but here’s how it’s done.”
  • wizards v Bulls… Unexpected.
  • Trail Blazers vs Rockets…this one upset MrG, he didn’t want to even watch highlights after learning the Rockets lost. FYI…James Harden is is favorite player.

NBA playoffs: 2014-04-19

20 April, 2014

Yesterday’s games!

  • Atlanta vs Indiana …what happened Pacers?
  • Nets vs Raptors…I loved seeing the huge crowd outside the arena cheering for Toronto.
  • Memphis vs OKC…how can you stop Kevin Durrant? Double team him…oh wait that leaves Westbrook open. Loved seeing the Thunder crowd all in blue.
  • Warriors vs Clippers, this will be fun. Fourth quarter seemed like Chris Paul was fearless, ready to take the big shots for his team. I thought clippers had a chance when Igludolia fouled out. MrG did not like to see Clippers lose…I told him it will be a long fun series.

NBA playoffs first round predictions

19 April, 2014

I’m a few hours late to make predictions before the first round of the playoffs start, but anyway here goes….

Spurs will sweep Dallas.

Rockets will win over Portland in six games.

Clippers vs Golden State, will be a very fun seven game series.

OKC will sweep Memphis.

 

Indiana will sweep Atlanta.

Chicago will beat Wizards in six.

Nets will beat Raptors in five. (MrGrunty thinks Raptors will win.)

Heat will sweep Hornets.

The Caliph’s Splendor

19 April, 2014

The Caliph’s Splendor: Islam and the West in the Golden Age of Bagdad
Benson Bobrick (2012)

A nice quick read. Blurbs aboot the book implied more of contact and relationship between Frankish Charlemange and caliph Huran al-Rashid of Bagdad. Did not get much of that, but got fascinating views of rise of Bagdad, which I should have expected, had just as much treachery, murder, political and religious scheming as any Byzantine story.

One thing humored me, Bobrick writes, “Yet in the recurrent fate of kingdoms, luxury and learning can lead to a process of decline.” Maybe the key word is “can”. He tells the story of harsh military and political conquest, followed by flourishing of arts, trade, learning. Did the luxury of Baghdad make them soft, so years later it was easy for the Mongols to sack the city, leaving a “mountain of skulls”?  That’s another book I suppose. And maybe “why do empire’s end?” is an unanswerable question.

 

Last night

15 April, 2014

When I arrived home, MyBetterHalf was standing at the back door, looking out the window, “I don’t want to tell them it’s time to come inside.”  All three of them were playing tag together, laughing, running, using team work, enjoying each other.

The most wonderful time of the year

14 April, 2014

Hey Sports Fans!

NBA basketball post season approaches.

I like how as of yesterday there were 14 playoff spots that still needed to be decided. That means games with playoff implications are still coming with a week left.

 

Today

12 April, 2014

I had slumber party in living room last night with the childrens. As usual, not so comfortable. And I also had two bad dreams. The first, I realized my DiffEQ final was in a week. The other, we had to evacuate because a volcano was causing sea level to rise.

Me, Ms Squeaky and MrGrunty did some chores. They are getting slightly better at focusing on the chore without complaints. We worked together as a team, cleaning one room together, then moving to the next.

MyBetterHalf and MrCuddles went to an Earth Day Fest.

MsS and I worked on her book “the Pencil”.

Me and the boys went to park, whilst the girls went to Girl Scouts. MrG and I played two square and basketball. MrC and I played restaurant.

Then I went off to play with Pablo.

The Gothic War

10 April, 2014

The Gothic War: Rome’s final conflict in the West

Torsten Cumberland Jacobsen (2009)

 

An enjoyable book, a large part about Belisarius, the great general who was hated by the Empress Theodora.

Belisarius was given orders to retake Rome, to  liberate Italy from the barbarians. Ironically enough, the Goths that were living in Italy, and had been born in Italy, were probably more Roman than Belisarius’s army that was filled with barbarian mercenaries.

Belisarius attacked the enemy’s weakness with his strength. He was outnumbered, so he avoid direct confrontation. Always ready with a new technique, and when the Goths imitated his army, he knew how to counter. He used trickery to disguise his weaknesses. He always thought about how to prepare for the next several encounters. All the while doing it on a restricted budget of money, supplies, and troops. He did it.

He was successful.
And popular.
And so, the Empress Theodora doubted his loyalty, didn’t believe his lack of ambition. (Funny, Theodora was BFF with Belesarius’ adulterous wife, but I learned that in another book.)

Other generals were sent to Rome, with no supreme commander.
Belesarius was recalled to Constaninople, and taken down a few notches socially, regulated to a lesser post, accused of disloyalty, had wealth taken from him. The generals left were idiots, who were greedy, abused the populace, and cowardly. Soon the Goths had a new king, Totila, who was a good general, and quickly all of Belesarius’s hard won work was lost.