not the fourteenth century
Sunday, October 24 2004
I worked many hours on the slab resurfacing project today, beginning at around 8:30am and continuing until about 4:00pm, with a single hour and a half interruption to take the dogs around "the big loop" of the Stick Trail system (a two and a half mile hike). The reason the hike took an hour and a half was that I stopped several places along the way to impulsively assemble new cairns.
By the time I quit working, slightly over half the 160 square foot slab was finished. I'd also worn painful sores into the tips of my left forefinger and right middle finger. It's surprising that all the caustic wet concrete and mortar hasn't taken more of a toll.
For the past two days while working on the slab I've been listening to archive episodes of Ira Glass's This American Life instead of Air America, since on the weekend the latter is recycled news commentary that is badly dated by its second airing. By contrast, archives of This American Life from 1997 seem surprisingly fresh, fresher than my archives from that year certainly.
When listening to This American Life, one notices that the stories almost always fit within a small handful of types: the wacky irrationality of religion (and other forms of self-delusion), the misery of childhood, and the difficulty of maintaining dignity. The best stories either strike a responsive chord and make you say, "Wow, I've felt exactly like that!" or, alternatively, "How could anyone possibly think that way?" I had a response of the latter type today while listening to a segment about a megachurch in Colorado Springs that aims to systematically pray for everyone in the city. There was a tape of them praying at a site where they claimed they could feel a malevolent force, and one of them claimed to know what it was they were feeling. Liberal college students had hung out here in the past, and evidently their freethinking ways had poisoned its spiritual aura. So they held hands and prayed that the Lord would shine His in light and dispell the Satanic contamination. Some people haven't gotten the memo: hello, it's not the fourteenth century anymore.
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