This is not the religious freedom you are looking for

Atten­tion, reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tives decry­ing the government’s crack­down on your reli­gious free­dom: you’ve got it all wrong. See, you think reli­gious free­dom means you have the right to prac­tice your reli­gion wher­ev­er, and when­ev­er, you like. Not true.

Reli­gious free­dom actu­al­ly means “free­dom from reli­gion.”

Let me explain.

Clear­ly, you are free to prac­tice what­ev­er reli­gion you like. We agree on that. I can­not force you to prac­tice my reli­gion. Like­wise, you can’t make me prac­tice your reli­gion. Nobody is drag­ging any­body into a church here. Your reli­gious free­dom is actu­al­ly the free­dom to not be dragged into my church.

In oth­er words, you (or your daugh­ter) are free to not wear a hijab. Not your reli­gion, so nobody’s going to make you do it. Awe­some. That also means that my kids are free to not pray in pub­lic school. Not their reli­gion, nobody’s going to make them do it. Dou­ble-rain­bow awe­some.

So nobody impos­es their reli­gion on any­one else. Reli­gious free­dom in Amer­i­ca, as the found­ing fathers envi­sioned it. Huz­zah! Don’t you think we should all be able to agree on that?

Please apply this to your own life. And get your reli­gion out of mine. Thanks.

Introducing the Pringle

Over break­fast this morn­ing, while look­ing through the news­pa­per ads, my sev­en-year-old son asked me what a Pringle was. I explained, and we dis­cussed why they come in a can­tube, instead of in a bag like nor­mal chips, but there’s noth­ing like expe­ri­enc­ing some­thing for your­self.

So today, while I was at work, I bought one of those lit­tle cans of Pringles.

Their first Pringles

Their first Pringles

We shall see what he (and his lit­tle broth­er) think of this.

Name a Children’s Book Every Child Should Read

This post idea is from Plinky.com, fwiw.

Name one children’s book every child should read.  This is tough.  I grew up being read to.  I grew up read­ing.  Our kids get books read to them every night.  Our old­est reads him­self to sleep every night after we read to him.  I’ve been steal­ing our family’s old children’s books from my mother’s shelves for years now (usu­al­ly with her per­mis­sion).  I love books.  I love board books and easy read­ers, chap­ter books and young adult nov­els.  I can name, off the top of my head, prob­a­bly a hun­dred children’s books I like.  So the most dif­fi­cult part of answer­ing this ques­tion is pick­ing just one book.

And that’s the fun of it, too.

My choice is The Tale of Cus­tard the Drag­on, by Ogden Nash, in the edi­tion illus­trat­ed by Lynn Mun­singer.

Cover of The Tale of Custard the Dragon

Here is why.  The sto­ry has a drag­on in it.  That’s prob­a­bly enough, for me, but I also like that the drag­on is owned by a lit­tle girl, Belin­da.  I like that the book is about courage in the face of dan­ger, but also accept­ing your true self.  It has sym­pa­thet­ic char­ac­ters that are still flawed (Ink, Blink, and Mus­tard are kind of mean, but still part of the fam­i­ly).  I like that Nash rhymes “win­dow” with “Belin­da” (as in “win­dah”).  That he rhymes “pirate” with “gyrate.”  That the poet­ry flows eas­i­ly when read aloud.  That the pic­tures are delight­ful­ly detailed and whim­si­cal.  Every child needs a lit­tle adven­ture, and a lit­tle whim­sy, and an under­dog to root for.

I give this book as a gift when­ev­er I can.

Here it is in prose form Here it is at Ama­zon (for just $7.00!)

What one book would you choose?

Bad Machinery

I don’t often get caught up in the fan­cy of some­thing, but this has entranced me. There is a web com­ic, that’s been around since last Fall, that I can’t stop read­ing. Well, that’s not strict­ly true. I can stop, but every time I go back it is just as delight­ful.

It is called Bad Machin­ery, by John Alli­son. It takes place in Tack­le­ford, some­where in Eng­land, and involves kids who are about… I don’t know, four­teen, fif­teen? (I’m so bad at judg­ing ages that it seems to extend into car­toons… huh. ((Oh, look, they’re twelve. See how bad I am?))) Any­way, it is so quin­tes­sen­tial­ly fun, cool, young, and Eng­lish that I can’t help read­ing it in my head in an accent. I’ve even tried fit­ting dif­fer­ent accents on dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

Very cool. I’m about halfway through the archives, but it is absolute­ly fab­u­lous.

Try it. Start at the begin­ning.

Oooh, and look what I found, the home page! Bad Machin­ery.

Yes, the cross-pol­li­na­tion with Scary Go Round is odd ((Okay, not so odd, as it seems the super­nat­ur­al has made an appear­ance in Bad Machin­ery, too… not sure how I feel about that.)). I haven’t let it quell my enthu­si­asm, how­ev­er. As best I can tell, Bad Machin­ery is Scary Go Round: The Next Gen­er­a­tion. In any case, I like the young’uns bet­ter.

What he said, about “Lost”

This bit from Alan Sepinwall’s review of the last episode of Lost is key to why I loved it, and the series as a whole.

Ulti­mate­ly, “Lost” didn’t suc­ceed because of the mythol­o­gy. We’ve seen too many exam­ples of mythol­o­gy-heavy, char­ac­ter-light series fail over the last six years to think that. “Lost” suc­ceed­ed on emo­tion, whether that emo­tion was fear of the mon­ster in the jun­gle, or grief over Juli­et dying, or joy at Desmond reunit­ing with Pen­ny, or thrills at Sayid’s break­dance fight­ing and Hur­ley rid­ing to the res­cue in the Dhar­ma bus. When “Lost” was real­ly and tru­ly great, it locked you so deep into the emo­tions of the moment that the larg­er ques­tions didn’t real­ly mat­ter.”

The rest of the review is also inter­est­ing, if you care.

The Blade Runner gun

The oth­er day I was mus­ing to the wife about how ridicu­lous it would be to spend stu­pid mon­ey, just because I had stu­pid mon­ey to spend. I mean, if I was a bil­lion­aire, I said, I could not imag­ine spend­ing $150,000 on a car, no mat­ter how elec­tric or cool it was. It is one of these tru­isms I’ve always held to. Lots of mon­ey would nev­er over­come com­mon sense.

And then I heard that Har­ri­son Ford’s gun from Blade Run­ner was up for auc­tion. Here let me show it to you:

Harrison Ford's gun from Blade Runner

Har­ri­son Ford’s gun from Blade Run­ner

Anoth­er view

It was expect­ed to fetch $150,000, and instead went for $270,000.

And yes, if I was a bil­lion­aire, I would prob­a­bly buy this.

Guided Selections in the iTunes Music Store

Neat how the iTunes music store lets you — This is fas­ci­nat­ing. Guid­ed selec­tions for artists or gen­res in the iTunes Music Store. That is, they present you with (someone’s opin­ion of) the basic songs for the artist or genre, next steps, and deep cuts. It’s a lit­tle hard to find in iTunes, but if you click on any of the “iTunes Essen­tials” links, you get this inter­face. Quite frankly, awe­some.