Jeneral finds of the week: 2015-06-29

Obama and Amazing Grace, what’s keeping America (and in a growing way Canada) so bitterly divided on so many fronts, the US Supreme Court ruling that love is love, and figure skating as an X Game event? These are my Jeneral Finds of the week (or rather, month): 2015-06-29

  • Please, make the time and effort to watch the entirety of President Obama’s eulogy of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the 9 fatal victims of the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina 8 days earlier on June 17, 2015. It is tempting to skip straight to the end when Obama sings a portion of “Amazing Grace”. But have patience, it is even more moving and significant when you have the full weight of Obama’s speech leading up to it. He not only celebrates and honours the lives lost, he urges a rallying cry to continue the work to fight against the prejudices and racism both overt and subtle. There’s a brilliant cadence in his delivery, and marks him as one of this generation’s noted orators.  
    (here’s a great discussion on why Obama’s use of grace as a central theme is so powerful)
  • Two opinion pieces that emerged after this tragedy serves up thought-provoking ideas on the root causes for such continued and visceral divisions in contemporary American society. Anti-intellectualism is Killing America from David Niose argues that “[s]ocial dysfunction can be traced to the abandonment of reason”. A direct response from Ravi Chandra posits that No, Self-Centeredness is Killing America: A lack of empathy is at the root of our ills. I think the truth lies in the combination of the two.
  • Congratulations USA on your Supreme Court ruling that the US Constitution to guarantee same-sex marriages as a right! The timing could not have been any more perfect, to coincide with Gay Pride celebrations all over, including here in Toronto. We’re glad you’ve seen the light!
  • On a lighter note, I just heard today about a new figure skating competition form that is exclusively based on the jumps, and will take on more of an X-Games vibe. Meet “Freezer Aerials“! (that’s a terrible name though, it should find a new moniker). The purist in me scoffs at the idea, but I realize skating needs to evolve for the sport to survive and attract an audience outside of the ardent fan. I just hope they don’t get to the point where skaters have their own theme songs they enter the arena in.

~Jen

<–previous find of the week

Psst, happy belated father’s day!

Psst, hey Dad–I know Father’s day for this year has already passed, but I wanted to say a few things in tribute anyway.

Thanks for being giving of your love, thoughtful guidance, and just your continued presence in my life. I’ve always felt loved and cherished. And trusted. There’s a vague conversation I recall that we had in my early teens where you conveyed you had a base level of trust in me due to how you and mom raised me in the 13 years prior. It was now up to my actions  whether I continue to build on that trust and enjoy the privileges that holds, or not. Of course wanting to be a good, responsible daughter, I was happy to oblige along the path of good, responsible behaviour, and get access to the car when I got my license at age 16. 🙂

My earliest memories of you ask have to do with you playing joyfully with us. Unlike a lot of men of your generation, I think you really enjoyed interacting with me and my brother as children, something I see echoing now when you are with my daughters, your grandchildren. From the day they were born you had such an ease with them, even as tiny infants. With your playfulness, they always greet your arrival with glee. However, you are just as firm in your disciplinary principles with them as you were with me. If they are behaving badly, you let them know what is expected of them and follow up with discipline if they still persist. I appreciate that consistency, as opposed to totally spoiling the grandchildren as many grandparents are aught to do.

I know you are not a man entirely comfortable with talk and banter; you hate being on the phone, and no one will ever accuse you of talking their ear off. But you do occasionally serve me some well-thought out words. I have a vivid memory of the advice/parting words you had for me when you dropped me off at university, a province away from home.

One day you will look back on this time and realize it’s the best time of your life. You may not have much money. No car. No good food. You will be far from your family, home and all your current friends. Your school work is going to be harder than you’ve ever had to work for and you might be stressed about that and exams. But it will be one of the best times of your life, so enjoy it while it is happening. ~my dad, on the pathway leading to the earth sciences building at the University of Waterloo, September 1996

How right you were, dad.

Without really realizing it or intending to, I now realize that T has many of the same qualities that you have. You set the bar of how a man, husband and father should act. Through your actions, support of my ventures and attitudes towards my achievements, I believe you to be a quiet feminist. (you do joke that you were trained so by your sisters) T meets that standard head on, and I thank my lucky stars every night when I retire to bed that I have his hand to hold onto. (Psst, T,  I’ll write your Father’s Day tribute next year. *smirk*)

And even though I may laugh now at how you and mom have turned into hippies now in your retirement, instead of with the times in your youth, I always deeply respect you.

Thanks Dad for being a wonderful Dad. I love you very much.

~Jen