Showing posts from September, 2010

National Coffee Day

Philosophy Over Coffee is a proud endorser of National Coffee Day.

Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are giving away free java today in celebration. But if national chains aren't your thing, just grab a friend or loved one, head to your favorite coffeehouse, and enjoy.

Love Responds to Love

Let me ask you a question.

If I were to say to Coffeewife one day, "If you ever stop loving me, I'll kill you," what kind of person would you think I am?

What if your spouse, your fiance, your boyfriend or girlfriend, even a parent or close friend, said that to you? Do they seem to have your best interests at heart? They've just threatened you: they will end your life if you ever cease to show them the affection that they think they are entitled to receive. They're dead serious, by the way. They're not playing around. They'll do it. So you'd better keep loving them.

So, how would you respond? Would you say, "okay, I will?" Would you agree to their terms, and keep loving them? Would it really be love? Maybe it was love before, but now that the threat has been made, is it still love? You know the consequences, after all. Stop loving them, and it all ends.

It's an abusive relationship, most of us would say. That person has no right…

My Annual Fall Trip

The Michigan Wolverines battle the Falcons of Bowling Green State University. The last time I went to see them play an Ohio MAC team, it didn't go so well. Hopefully it'll be different this time around, though after last Saturday, who knows?

This is actually the first of two (that's TWO) trips I'll be taking to the Big House this fall.

The weather is supposed to be around 63 degrees and sunny. A beautiful day for some football with 109,000 of my closest friends.

Go Blue!

Pop Culture Roundup

I'm still reading The Undertaking. Last week I observed that these stories are as much observations about life as about his profession. I realized after the fact the significance of the subtitle: "Life Studies from the Dismal Trade." Dur hur. I shouldn't have been so surprised once I started reading. At any rate, Lynch devotes an entire chapter to Dr. Kevorkian near the end of the book, or at least the larger issue of assisted suicide. He puts it into the larger issue of being "pro-life," essentially calling for a consistent ethic when approaching such matters. He cites four issues--abortion, assisted suicide, war, and the death penalty--and observes that people who are against the first two are generally in favor of the other two, and vice versa. He observes that choice comes into play for the first two on one "side," while the sanctity of life is highlighted by the other. The sanctity of life is also then cited by people who oppose war …

First Day of Fall

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."
- Stanley Horowitz

That Time I Quit the Internet

Several times, I have thought about quitting the internet. A couple times I actually did for a while.

1997 was the year I really began using it, and it started innocently enough. I'd never had regular access to it until then. But suddenly, this vast network of information (and misinformation), this ability to connect with people and places all over the world, was at my fingertips. I didn't really know what to do with it all at first, so I checked my e-mail, downloaded a couple songs, looked at a few favorite bands' websites, and that was about it.

Eventually, I realized that the website for the United Church of Christ had a discussion forum, and this is when I began my descent into addiction. I use the word "addiction" playfully, but sometimes I wonder.

I got off to a good start when posting there. There's a space called "UCC Cafe" where you can get to know other posters. I talked to a member of Old First Reformed Church in Philadelphia, at whic…

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been reading The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch this week. Lynch is a poet and undertaker, and this is a collection of reflections about life and death. When I picked it up, I thought it would be much more about his experiences as an undertaker, but the book is not so narrow. There are many tie-ins, of course, but so far I have the impression that he wants to tie in what he does to life, rather than talk strictly about death. The book is still quite fascinating, as he reflects on how customs have changed over the centuries related to family rituals and the rhythms of life. In one chapter he rightly points out that the whole business of funerals is for the living, as he uses the refrain, "The dead don't care." Lynch is a wonderful writer...I once read that a good writer "writes downhill:" when you read his/her work, it flows so easily and naturally like walking down a hill. Lynch does that.

We watched Couple's …

Your New Word amid Our Anxiety

From Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann:

The promises roll off your lips
and into our ears:
I will be with you;
I will love you faithfully;
I will be your God;
My covenant is forever.

We count on your words that flow from our ears
to our hearts, and we are glad.

But even while we listen,
we live much of our lives underneath the table.
We read these old stories, and
we know about intrigue and fear and
anxiety and near violence
and deception.
We mostly do not act out our violence
but we imagine and ponder and scheme;
and then we, too, must cover up
and the cover-up ferments;
our lives become complex and burdened.

We keep inventing ourselves and our underneath selves turn out
to be less than adequate
and we wish we were other than we are.
We juggle your good purposes and
our hidden yearnings and
try to serve two masters,
try to live two narratives,
try to live two dreams,
and we are weary.

Because we know our hearts of anxiety so well,
we seem fated to disease.
But because we know your heart of fide…

The Idiots Are Winning

A couple years ago I watched the movie Idiocracy for the first time. Here's my analysis from an old Roundup:
[The movie stars] Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph as two subjects of an Army sleep experiment who end up sleeping for 500 years. When they wake up, they find that somehow the world is completely populated by morons. Crowds are easily riled up and manipulated by someone yelling or by explosions, a Gatorade-type corporation has taken over the FDA and heavily influenced what people eat, Wilson's character takes an aptitude test that includes questions such as, "If you have one bucket that holds two gallons, and another bucket that holds five gallons, how many buckets do you have?" We also find that Costco has become as big as a city and that most chain restaurants now feature prostitution. Anyway, because of Wilson's high score on the aptitude test (he becomes known as the smartest person in the world), he's whisked off to serve on the President's Cabine…



Pop Culture Roundup

I've read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. 90 (or 93)-year-old Jacob Jankowski reflects on his time as veterinarian for the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, which he ran off to join after both his parents died suddenly and left him with nothing. Gruen culls many of the scenes that happen during these flashbacks from real live happenings. All in all, the circus is depicted as a dirty environment where performers and workers are segregated, and one needs to take on a survivalist mindset. The story provides a fun, eye-opening look behind the scenes of circus life during the Great Depression, but is also about the romance that Jacob discovers during his time with Benzini Brothers.

I've been reading Pure Scum by Michael Sares, who is pastor of Scum of the Earth Church in Denver. This is in part his story of how that church got started, but also his reflections on what he's experienced. I first heard about Scum of the Earth (a reference to 1 Corinthians 4:…


The fall months have started well.

At the risk of completely alienating my readership who doesn't care about college football and barely put up with me last week, Saturday was really, really fun. We had people over to watch the Michigan/UConn game, and I broke out all my Michigan-themed party stuff for the occasion. I've had this stuff for a couple years, but this was my first chance to use it. The game itself far exceeded my expectations, although after last year I know not to get too excited just yet. All the same, Denard Robinson set new Michigan QB records. Here's hoping he 1) can keep up these types of performances, and 2) doesn't get injured.

And that's all I'll say about that, aside from agreeing with these people:

The leaves are already changing, the crispness in the air can already be felt. It's so clearly not August any more around here, and for that I'm glad. This past summer was good to me for the most part, and I found it to be a good, …

What Is a Michigan Man?

Coaches and former players answer the question. Go Blue, beat UConn!

What is A Michigan Man? from Charles Woodson

I Want to Believe

"Any street urchin can shout applause in victory, but it takes character to stand fast in defeat. One is noise - the other, loyalty." - Fielding Yost

The day before Michigan's season begins...I just don't know, man.

Michigan fans used to "know" that certain things were going to happen year in and year out. Things like they'd beat their cupcake/MAC opponents. Things like they'd run over at least the majority of Big Ten opponents. Things like they'd maybe, you know, beat Ohio State now and then. Things like they'd be in the hunt for yet another Big Ten Championship and an upper-tier bowl game.

We don't "know" these things any more. We haven't "known" some of those things since 2006...we haven't "known" some others since earlier than that. It feels like forever since we've "known" much of anything.

Heading into this latest season, I do know a couple things:

~3-9 in 2008, 5-7 in 2009, no bo…

Michigan-Ohio State '95: Biakabutuka Runs All Over You

Maybe we can pretend that this is Denard Robinson:

Michigan-Penn State '05: Henne to Manningham

I miss a lot of the guys from this team:

Save The Game

Update: The Game is still set to be the last game the next two seasons. But after that, who knows?

On November 18, 2006, Michigan and Ohio State played a football game. They do this every year, of course. Many years before that point, the Big Ten title and/or a trip to the Rose Bowl has been decided by this game. The natural rivalry due to proximity has only been heightened on a regular basis by these sorts of raised stakes.

In 2006, however, things couldn't get much bigger. Both teams were undefeated and ranked #1 and #2. Not only would this game decide the Big Ten Championship, but it would also decide one of the contenders to play for the BCS National Championship. Everything but that NC was on the line that night.

Ohio State won by three points. It was everything people had hyped it to be. In the following weeks, one of the hot topics was whether the two teams should meet again, this time for the title. This game, some argued, had shown that it could have gone either wa…

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