Helping an elderly lady

This is JennyAnyDots.

This afternoon I went help an elderly lady who goes to our church clean her bathroom; I have helped her clean her apartment before and she was pleased with my work. I really enjoy doing this kind of work, and it is a good way to learn serving others and to overcome shyness.
This lady knows someone else who might need my help washing windows; I might be getting a regular business going soon! 🙂

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Vandalism as Art

Some of the previous Common Room posts on art are here, here, here, and here.

Today’s article is here.

The juicy extracts:

An artist who randomly vandalised nearly 50 cars as part of a project said yesterday the owners should be happy they were involved in his “creative process”.

Mark McGowan, 37, will display pictures of himself scratching the vehicles in Glasgow and London in an exhibition this week.

He said he had “keyed” 17 cars around the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow’s West End in March and 30 vehicles in Camberwell, south London.

He said: “I pick the cars randomly. What I have been looking at are issues of property and linking it with art and performative action.

“Is it jealousy that causes someone to key a car? Hatred? Revenge? There is a strong creative element in the keying of a car, it’s an emotive engagement.”

The Crusty Curmudgeon, where I found this link, has an amusing idea for an art project of his own.

The Deputy Headmistress wonders about McGowan’s upbringing. When the Common Room children are quite small they are told that it is easy and foolish to destroy, to damage, to demolish another person’s work or property, but it is hard and admirable work to build and create their own. The Headmistress generally delivers a homily upon this them the first time they knock down a sibling’s block tower or scribble on a sibling’s art project, or make a mess of a freshly cleaned bathroom. McGowan’s statement that there is a ‘strong creative element in the keying of a car’ causes us to suppose that nobody ever damaged his little psyche with such corrective teaching. There is a strong creative element in growing up, too. He should try it some time.

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The Bookcases

Some of our friends will remember this post early on in our blog.

This week the Deputy Headmistress agreed to purchase some more bookcases.

Forty-eight of them.


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Article on anti-Christian bigotry

None Dare Call it Bigotry, by Francis Beckworth

It’s all good reading.

In the November 4,2004, New York Times, historian Gary Wills asked the rhetorical question, “Can a people that believes more fervently in the Virgin Birth than in evolution still be called an Enlightened nation?” After using the term “fundamentalist” to refer to his fellow Americans who disagree with his politics, Wills asserts, “Where else do we find fundamentalist zeal, a rage at secularity, religious intolerance, fear of and hatred for modernity? Not in France or Britain or Germany or Italy or Spain. We find it in the Muslim world, in Al Qaeda, in Saddam Hussein’s Sunni loyalists. Americans wonder that the rest of the world thinks us so dangerous, so single-minded, so impervious to international appeals. They fear jihad, no matter whose zeal is being expressed.”

Europeans, of course, do not have the best track record in being able to detect and elimi­nate despots, dictators, and ethnic cleansers. In fact, when given the opportunity—especially in the cases of Germany and Russia in the past century—many Europeans were downright giddy in helping to usher in and defend secular regimes that were hostile to people of faith and committed to philosophical materialism and mass murder. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler would have passed Wills’s litmus test for Enlightenment—they disbelieved in the virgin birth and embraced naturalistic evolution. In the cases of Lenin and Stalin, they had their share of American intellectuals fawning over them, holding them up as models for democratic governance and economic fairness. Fifty million murders later we are now being lectured by Wills and others, the progeny of these American intellectuals, who now cite the “wisdom” of Europeans and ridicule us because we believe in the virgin birth rather than the philosophical foundation of the “promiscuous death.”

[Wills and co.]…need to get out a little more and exercise the understanding and tolerance they claim that social conservatives lack; for even a cursory reading of the relevant literature will quickly reveal to them that social conservatives are far more conversant with and respectful of the arguments of their opponents than vice versa. In what has to be one of the great ironies of our time, the friends of enlightenment turn out to be the enemies of reason. Their case amounts to a type of political gnosticism to which only a privileged few have access and the benighted many cannot comprehend. If Al Sharpton were writing their talking point, it would read: “It’s an Enlightenment-secular-liberal thing, you wouldn’t understand.” If this isn’t bigotry, nothing is.

Once upon a time an idiot masquerading as in intellectual told the Deputy Headmistress that Islam and Christianity shared a common essence. He said that Aschroft and Newt Gingrich were the equivliant of Islamic mullahs issuing fatma against the lives of those they disagreed with. Further he said that while there have been many pogroms of one religion against another there has never been a general pogrom against all religions, implying that therefore, religion itself was at fault.

The Deputy Headmistress is reminded of yesterday’s blog entry where we quoted Mr. McCullough as saying those who do not know their history are trying to plant a garden with cut flowers. That man’s intellect was unrooted and therefore was withering on the vine.

The Deputy Headmistress invited him to consider the history of the atheist governments of Stalin’s Russia (and Lenin’s), Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and the current monstrous regime in North Korea.
The Deputy Headmistress suggested he might wish to familiarize himself with the revolutionary government of France in 1792, The PLA in Albania- led by Hoxha, and Turcanu’s Romania.

The Deputy Headmistress does not know if he indeed did consider those things and become enlightened. He simply Went Away. We hope it was to study, but we fear it was merely to sulk and perhaps suffocate the memory of his defeat by sipping quantities of strong cough syrup.

Sometimes people do horrible, inexcusable things. Sometimes they claim to do them because they believe in God or some other deity, and sometimes they do it because they don’t believe in any power higher than themselves, but the truth is that such unspeakable and horrible acts can actually be traced back to the fact that some people are horrible, wicked, and evil. Some of us would use the word ‘sinful.’

Others are simply foolish, and Beckworth does a very good job of pointing out the foolishness. I especially liked the comparison of Martin Luther King to Darwin, but I don’t want to give you all the goodies. We need to leave something in the main article for you to read- so go read already.

Bonnet tip to the JunkYard Blog for the link to the bigotry article.

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Deconstructing Chomsky

Fascinating review of The Anti-Chomsky Reader:

Extracts of note:*


One of the peculiar phenomena of our time is the renegade Liberal,” wrote George Orwell in 1945. He meant not the classical liberal who believed in individual freedoms and small government but the leftist liberal who glorified communist experiments and disdained middle-class life. To Orwell, the existence of intellectuals who loved the Soviet Union despite the purges, mocked “bourgeois liberty” despite the pleasing bourgeois circumstances of their own lives, and identified with revolutionary movements that would speedily ship them off to camps—this was a fact in need of explanation…

…But his most damning discovery is broader: that Chomsky lacks a historian’s openness to fresh evidence. All historians know that understanding history is an unfolding enterprise, ever subject to revision. And yet not one revelation of the last 20 years has led to a moment’s reassessment by Chomsky. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the opening of KGB archives, testimony by dissidents and ex-Communists—nothing alters his outlook. When Vaclav Havel addressed Congress in 1990 and praised the U.S. for inspiring those under the totalitarian boot, Chomsky scorned this freedom fighter for uttering an “embarrassingly silly and morally repugnant Sunday School sermon in Congress.” The truth remained: “In comparison to the conditions imposed by U.S. tyranny and violence, East Europe under Russian rule was practically a paradise.”

…media savvy is a valuable trait, and one would think that an anti-conglomeration media theorist would keep abreast of changes in media structures and deliveries.

And yet Eli Lehrer finds that, in the last 10 years, Chomsky has all but ignored the most striking new medium of our time: the Internet. He says little about the weblogs and other virtual newsroom start-ups that have done the very work he advocates, forcing into the public eye stories that traditional media outlets ignored. When he does heed the Internet, he makes the same charges he leveled against the networks, in the process misrepresenting basic aspects of online communication. The Internet is just the kind of populist medium that Chomsky supposedly reveres, but all he can do is squeeze it into a conspiracy theory.

…Chomsky is caught in a Vietnam-Watergate time zone, when the Pentagon and White House assumed the most fiendish place in democratic protest. It’s time to recognize that fiends may collect wherever power is concentrated.

*Definition of ‘of note:’ The Deputy Headmistress thought it was worth noting. No other criteria applied.

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