Monday, July 25, 2005

Song I like

I recently bought a UU Hymnal and it feels really special to have it. It's fairly rare that I will buy such a frivolous thing like that (no reason for it or anything - I just wanted it!)

Anyway, I found a song that I didn't remember singing before. It's possible that I did sing it, especially since the melody is familiar.

Here are the words:

When windows that are black and cold
Are lit anew with fires of gold;
When dusk in quiet shall descend
And darkness come once more a friend;

When wings pursue their proper flight
And bring not terror but delight;
When clouds are innocent again
And hide no storms of deadly rain;

And when the sky is swept of wars
And keeps but gentle moon and stars,
That peaceful sky, that harmless air,
How sweet, how sweet, the darkness there.

The last verse is my favorite. The melody is so haunting and sweet - it makes it easy to express the emotion of the words. If anyone who knows me in real life wishes for me to sing this for them, just ask. I am working on memorizing the words.

One interesting thing about UU Hymns is that many of them have similar melodies to Protestant Hymns. I originally thought this was because the UUs just ripped off the melodies and applied their own words. But in fact, I was completely wrong. Some time ago (I believe in the late 19th century), the various denominations had various melodies distributed to them from a central source, and it was up to each to make up their own words. I was fascinated to learn this. UU philosophy seems so relevant to modern life; it's amazing to learn that some of this stuff was written over a century ago.

OTOH, the song above was probably written later. I don't know exactly when, but I'm pretty sure it was after WWII, if not after the Vietnam war. On the other hand, it was definitely written *before* September 11th. The second verse seems like it was taken from that experience! But I suppose it's a relatively generic description of modern warfare.

Abortion - like it hasn't been discussed enough

I'm constantly reading/thinking/considering on the issue of abortion, and the more I think about it, the more complex the whole thing seems.

I'm inclined to call myself pro-life, but the label has not fit me well because of the many associations other people have with it. Lately, I'm becoming more and more concerned with the concentration of power on the right. I really don't want people who are hostile to women making abortion policy, and I cannot help but notice that this is precisely the characteristic of most pro-life leaders. Generic pro-lifers tend to be as clueless as the rest of the population about women's rights. (This doesn't excuse them, of course, but it means that I don't exactly despise them.)

In theory, I support certain restrictions on abortion though not an outright ban, and certainly no criminalization. I think that our laws should respect both the mother as fully human (and an autonomous, rational agent) and the fetus as something highly valuable - going from some small value as "egg+sperm" to practically human value as "viable fetus".

But in practice, given the two current political choices, each of which seems to work against at least one of the above, I have to (reluctantly) put myself in the pro-choice camp. Especially because the empowerment of women is intimately tied to actually reducing abortions in a *practical* sense.

So welcome me to the pro-choice club, I guess. I can't imagine I'll be getting a welcome wagon or anything, because I'm undoubtedly a contrarian pain in the ass!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Tooth Fairy

On Tuesday night Callista lost her first tooth. I got to have fun being the "tooth fairy" for the first time in my life. I snuck in, grabbed the napkin with the tooth in it, replaced the tooth with a shiny Sacagawea dollar, re-wrapped it, and shoved the napkin back under her pillow.

Well, she concluded the fairy must be really magic because she just turned the tooth into a coin! Bill (unhelpfully) worried that she might do that to teeth that were still in Callista's mouth... but she knew he was just fooling around. She's getting very good at rolling her eyes at Bill's comments. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Anyway, the funny part of this story is when I was talking to her about it last night. First, she said that the dollar was *2000* years old and she knew that because it said so on the coin. I could not convince her otherwise, so I gave up! Then we had the following conversation:

Me: "by the way, do you know who that is on your dollar?"
Her: "it's one of the presidents from a long time ago - a woman president"
Me: "oh?"
Her: "yeah. She looks like George Washington. She must be George Washington's wife!"
Me: "Did you notice that she was carrying a baby?"
Her: "yes! I know who that is!"
Me: "Who?"
Her: "who's that other guy again? Not Kerry..."
Me: "you mean Bush?"
Her: "yeah him. That's him when he was a baby."
Me: "Hmmm. I don't know about that..."

...and then the conversation kind-of moved on to other things because she got sick of talking about it.

Problem is, I still need to tell her the truth about the coin. And I will, I promise. But I wanted to hold on to the sweet illusion that Sacagawea was a woman president from a long time ago. That there were women presidents a long time ago - of course!

I'll just say this: I love 6 year-olds!