The Old Man and the Other Old Man

I woke at shortly before 5am, the (really minor) cross I bear in later life—once I’m awake, I’m up. Or at least if it’s after 4am, and sometimes even then.

It just rarely happens. I could use more sleep (get in line) but I do OK. Not so much last night, but not awful. About 6-1/2 hours; I was heading for the sack a bit after 10, because it was a bit of a day.

I led a class yesterday on Partisanship, part of a series we’re doing this fall (Prophets, Politics, Partisanship, and Peace). These days I’m usually the only one without a seminary degree leading this class, so I stay away from God stuff. I stick with history stuff.

But, oh boy. This was tough, this particular weekend. We tend to think of partisan in innocuous ways, or at least I do—this is my favorite team, or my favorite band. You know. More like fans.

Not the biased, emotional allegiance to a cause or a person that is the textbook definition of partisanship. I led the class to my conclusion that instead of being a partisan, we need to focus on being good citizens. I’m not sure how well that worked, but everyone seemed attentive.

Because I baked my maple gingerbread cookies, of course. These things are pretty badass cookies. They’re not as gourmet as my chocolate-chip ones, but they grew out of last year’s desire to learn out to make gingerbread and I went crazy. I don’t care much for crisp, wafer cookies (they have their place, don’t get me wrong; they come in handy for cheesecake crusts, for one thing), so I opted for the thicker versions, and then I used a donut cutter so I got exactly the right size of cookie (pretty big), which means extra chewy, and then I dip them in my extra-special maple glaze. I mean, damn. They’re a little pricey, calorie wise, so nobody wants to stuff them by the handful, but they seemed to be a hit.

I baked them while putting together the presentation for my class, which should amuse at least one of my readers. I snicker sometimes at these preachers, setting up their cute PowerPoints because that’s what they learned in the academic setting. PowerPoint, phooey. You want a slideshow with graphics and text and sound and maybe video? I can build you that from scratch, no problem.

Except it would take forever, and I had a blast making my very first PowerPoint. I may never do it again, but I spent most of a blustery Saturday fooling around. I had a really nice quote from John Wesley:

I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them:
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.

There were other things. I tried to make a point about the binary nature of American democracy (we really have always been a two-party system, for one thing, regardless of whether that’s a good idea; the parties have changed, but it generally comes down to two camps, and has since the first days of the Republic). I tried to do all sorts of things, but it was just hard on a weekend when we learned about all the mail bombs and then the Pittsburgh shooting, apparently products of diseased minds just waiting to hear their marching orders from the Cheeto in Chief.

That’s disrespectful but I’m not longer interested, not with this coarse, horrible man running my country into the ground. We won’t recover from this, you know. You can unlive times, and these are some times.

And I had a nice text exchange with an attendee, whom I suspect is more conservative than me and sometimes feels uncomfortable in these discussions, when most of us lean toward the left, if nicely (seriously, we’re nice). We had a nice text chat and agreed on most things, particularly the exploitation that comes from our media (I always emphasize broadcast media, which I think is the problem, but I get as frustrated at sloppy writing and dumb filler articles and both-siderism as anyone). She’s a smart woman and can figure her own stuff out, and once again the differences are minor. Maybe we disagree on a particular tax policy. We could do that over lunch and our stomachs would be fine.

 Sissy Spacek and Robert Redford in “The Old Man and the Gun”

Sissy Spacek and Robert Redford in “The Old Man and the Gun”

Then I came home, edited the worship service audio as I do every Sunday and posted it online, then headed out to see The Old Man and the Gun, which I’ll write about today for the newspaper. Not so much the movie, although it was a pleasure. Small, simple. Just two of our national acting treasures, doing what they do best.

As for the lack of domestic tranquility, I don’t know. I’m not putting a lot on the midterms because things are in a flux. Voter suppression is in full swing, demographics are weird, nobody really knows. Maybe we’ll get some legal help from Mr. Mueller, but in the meantime I just watch in horror like everyone else.

No horror at the movies, though. Not yesterday, and certainly not this week, as I continue my annual confusion about why adults think Halloween is some kind of holiday. Nothing wrong with it, of course. I’m all for costumes. It’d be nice to hand out candy to little kids but we really don’t get many if any, and I’ll be at choir rehearsal anyway.

But no horror movies for me, no sir. I’ll watch a good psychological thriller any day, like The Manchurian Candidate or even Ex Machina, but I stay away from the dark, slashy stuff. Or even Alien. I might tolerate some Star Trek.

And my final point, before I start writing for reals, is only for those sports fans out there, and not the baseball ones (never watched a Series game this year).

I’ve been only keeping half an eye on the Seahawks this year, noticing the building aspect of the season, all the young players, really a completely different roster. It felt good to wander away from that kind of passion, which comes and goes. It’s always exciting when the home team does well, but it’s also easy to be a fair-weather fan and slip away when they head for .500 territory, as they appear to be doing.

But, you know. It’s strange. I pay attention. They’re pounding defenses with, of all things, a shockingly good running game and a huge offensive line. Their brand-new defense is playing at the top of the game. They have one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the league. They went head-to-head with the best team in the NFL a few weeks ago (Rams) and lost in the last seconds, a last-team-with-the-ball scenario.

I dunno. They might be the real thing. I’m watching. Let’s talk again in December.

Now to write about Bob Redford and a beautiful career, and a lovely Sunday at the movies. It was, too.

Chuck SigarsComment