Glad you asked :) Basically life happened.
I could run down the litany of all the things, but at the end of the day, when you're a single father and you're caring for elderly parents too, any "thing" can disrupt the schedule and WHAM, you turn around and realize 6 weeks have gone by in a blink.
I ran into this beauty last night, almost by accident.
Earlier in the day, I ran into a reading of the famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy by Andrew Scott, a.k.a Moriarty from the British Sherlock series. If you've seen the show, you know he's brilliant! His Hamlet is brilliant too.
Well, the very next video in YouTube recommendations was Ian McKellen. It auto-played, and I only had to listen about 1 minute to be captured.
Side note: for those of you that don't know, I'm a terribly slow reader. Horribly slow. A.D.D. leaves my brain distracted, and so reading - which requires focus - is just difficult. So don't find it surprising that it took me months to read 200 pages. Totally normal for me. And finishing a book is a celebration for me, so I'm blogging about it!
If you are a like-minded conservative and Evangelical, and you're seeking, like me, to make sense of our political-religious environment, you owe it to yourself to read It Was All a Lie.
There are so many poignant passages in this book, but this one really hit home and sums up one of my big concerns: that Republicans no longer stand for anything. Instead, they merely oppose "those other guys" (Democrats and "liberals"), and have no raison d'etre other than to be contrarian:
When any political movement loses all sense of self and has no unifying theory of government, it ceases to function as a collective rooted in thought and becomes more like fans of a sports team. Asking the Republican Party today to agree on a definition of conservatism is like asking New York Giants fans to have a consensus opinion on the Law of the Sea Treaty. It's not just that no one knows anything about the subject; they don't remotely care.
(Stuart Stevens: It Was All a Lie, pp 94-95)
You can read my earlier post (further down this page) for more details about the book. Suffice it to say, Stevens views the current state of the Republican Party from many angles and from past to present, and shows that (unsurprisingly) the sicknesses of today were manifest 40 years ago or more. So while many of us are left with spinning heads from the events of the past 4 years or so, in fact, these issues were festering for years, and they mostly took us by surprise because we believed in the party. We put our faith in the wrong place, or at least part of it anyway, and for me, it's time to reverse that course.
As much as I love movies, you'd think I'd have seen some of these before. But yet, no.
So I decided to catch up. Here is a short list of some of the movies I've just recently seen for the first time.
It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump by Stuart Stevens.
Reading this book is part of my attempt to make sense of the events of January 6 last year. I've been a Republican and an Evangelical Christian since my conversion to the faith in 1992. But it wasn't until last year that I really comprehended just how badly Evangelical Christianity and Republican politics had merged.
Like many Americans, I watched in horror as the events unfolded, as protestors assaulted the Capital, many carrying flags suggesting that this was God's will. There were so many things were wrong here:
How had my faith -- not personally, but corporately -- become so very tied to the Republican party that the mere thought of an Evangelical voting Democrat is akin to blasphemy? Where did we go wrong?
I realized, once I'd thought back a bit, that I hadn't voted for the Republican nominee in a while. I voted third-party in the 2012 and 2016 elections. When 2020 came along, I voted Democrat for the first time in my life, and I did so across the board, for every position available. I wanted to send a message to the Republican party that this was NOT OKAY.
I also started looking to new voices for better perspective, and this book is one I found along the way.
Stevens is a long-time Republican ad campaign designer. He created television spots for Republican elections at the state and federal level from the 1970's, and observed several generations of Republican Senators, Congressmen, Governors and Presidents.
In "It Was All a Lie", Stevens covers a different facet of the Republican "brand" in each chapter, and so far we've covered Race, Family Values, and Economics. The book provides excellent insight into the lack of soul of the Republican party that we see today. The Republican party brand projects an image of conservatism, but acts in the interests of the elite and of businesses, and Stephens has had a front-row or "insiders" view of the entire evolution of Republicanism that began around the time he started his career.
If Stevens has declared it was "all a lie," perhaps we should listen.
Oh, and one other note: the Democrat party is no better, but we'll get to them later. So no, political salvation won't be found in either party.
Almost forgot to mention: while we were moving my parents, the new trash company delivered the new can on schedule (Monday, the day we left for GA), and the old company picked up their broken can too.
The old company could have kept me as a customer if they had only swapped the can out as I requested (three times). Apparently it's more important to them to pick up cans from lost customers. Duh.
Not so good. But we got my parents moved here, that's the important thing.
I'm making this post a little early. Tomorrow morning we leave to move my parents here from southern Georgia. The plan is straightforward enough: drive down tomorrow, spend Tuesday packing things up, leave Wednesday and arrive back here Thursday (taking two days to drive back here).
We'll see :)
I almost forgot to post about the trash. Good lord.
Our trash company uses robotic trash trucks. These trucks have a robotic arm on them that picks up the trash can, and turns it upside down, spilling the contents into the top of the truck. The process is pretty violent: the robotic arm is not gentle with the cans.
A few weeks back, one of the pins on the lid fell out, so the lid was hanging on by a single pin. I knew it wasn't going to be long before it broke. I called the trash company, and after waiting on hold for 20 minutes, they said they'd come and pick it up the next morning, just leave it on the curb.
Three weeks and three phone calls later, and the broken can (which has since completely lost it's lid) is still sitting at the curb. My neighbor must think I'm nuts ("can Tim not see the can sitting in the cul du sac for 3 weeks straight?"). So yesterday I fired my trash company, and hired a new one, the one that I see most of my neighbors use. The new company comes Monday to bring me a can, and next Friday for the first pickup.
Trick is, it's Christmas. There's going to be a lot of trash. I can't use the can I have, since it has no lid. I'm worried about animals and rain (can you imagine the can completely filling with rain water and trash, what a mess!). To top it off, I leave on Monday for a 5 day trip, so I won't even be here when the new can arrives. So: no trash can...Christmas...leaving for vacation...lots of trash sitting...where exactly?
Neighbors to the rescue! I contacted our neighbors yesterday and asked if I could put some trash in their can while I wait for the new company to show up (here's hoping they have it more together than the old company).
For today, a simple Merry Christmas! Another year has flown by, and I can't believe I'm starting down Christmas Eve service, Christmas morning, presents, dinner, etc. yet again! I miss my friends and family, some of whom I was able to visit this year, others not, but know that I love you all and pray the best for you this year and always.
Well, yes. Woke up yesterday morning and went to let the dog out for his morning pitstop. The doorknob to the back door just wouldn't work. You could turn it, but the latch wouldn't move far enough to let the door open. So the door was stuck shut. I tried taking the doorknob off and trying to manually unlatch it, nothing worked, the latch wouldn't budge.
"That's a worst-case scenario" the locksmith told me. "It can take me hours to get the door open in situations like this.
Long story short: I had put the doorknobs in when I moved into this house 15 years ago, so I knew how to dismantle them. He was able to put a wedge in the door and get it open quickly. But I had no idea that these latches could fail this way. Yes the knobs were "old" at 15 years, but at the same time, I've never had a latch fail at any house I've ever lived in...ever. And I know for sure those knobs and latches were way older than 15 years. In fact, I don't know anyone who's had a latch fail this way either, so who knows, maybe I just got unlucky, but I'm not going to wait for the others doors to get stuck shut. In the new year, I'll replace all the doorknobs and master them to a new key. The front door is worn out too, so maybe I'll get the front entrance replaced and do the knobs then.
The site is starting to come together (as you can see). Still struggling a bit with the theme at times, but the basics are good enough. Starting to get it filled with content now.