Friday Nights Bite

Friday nights have been hard for a long time now. I am typically exhausted by the end of the workweek. I often leave late, the traffic is bad, tonight it was raining…you get the picture. On top of that most Fridays for the last two months my wife has had other plans and my son is always with friends.

Most Fridays I come home, eat and crash in front of the TV. Not much life.

On the plus side, now I get to post. I must admit I am feeling better already. Looking forward to the rest of the weekend. Sleep, exercise and time with my son is on the agenda. Life can be good.

Being a Parent of a Teen is Hard

I have a son. I think I was a reasonably good parent until he was 11 or so but I have not figured out how to make it work since then. He turns 16 in a couple of months. He is basically a good, bright kid. But Agggghhhhhh..

Without any further explanation any parent of a teenage boy knows exactly what I mean.

Personal Freedoms and Choices

To get my 15 year old son to think and read about things other than sports — mostly baseball — I have had him pick out an article from the front section of the newspaper. We then discuss what he reads. Last Sunday’s the article connected to a number of thoughts.

Peering beyond Muslim veil in Britain describes how many Muslim women in the UK are choosing to wear a Niqab, a veil that covers all but the eyes. Is this the medieval manifestation of female subjugation or a religious practice? Tony Blair and other political leaders were denouncing the practice. It seems they are worried about the lack of integration into British society and possible radicalism among the Muslim population. Given the subway bombings of the not too distant past who can argue? And yet the woman interviewed was not interesting in converting all to her belief. It was a strongly held personal choice that connected her more closely to her god. What possibly can be wrong with that? Given piercings, colored hair, torn jeans and provocative dress, personally I think I can adjust to someone wearing a niqab.

Same weekend, Friday night, saw the play Inherit the Wind. Loosely based on the scopes monkey trial at which the right to teach evolution in the schools was at trial. (Who would have guesses that almost 100 years later we continue to have the evolution vs. intelligent design debate?) So, what is the main point of the play. Choice. Freedom. The right of one belief system — strict interpretation of the Bible — to make criminal another belief system. Even one based on rational thought and scientific evidence. Is this truly a question of choice? Can we allow anyone to hold a particular belief, share it with others, as long as it causes no harm to those nonbelievers? Or is their a right and wrong. At the end of the play the Hero, the lawyer playing the Clarence Darrow role, quotes from the bible to a cynical journalist. I interpreted this to mean that he had respect for at least part of the other point of view.

To me these two stories intersected on the issues of personal choice and freedoms. On the day that Democrats retook congress and Rumsfeld resigned, it felt apropos to share these thoughts.

Bunco!

I learned a new way to have fun and meet people. One of my son’s best friends for 10 years is the third of eight children ranging in age from 20-4. As an only child, my son relishes the times he has spent being the “ninth” as much as his friend enjoys coming to our home for the relative peace and quiet. We have known and admired the parents over the years but infrequently interact socially other than at our sons’ baseball games or school events.

Tonight our family along with many others were invited to play BUNCO ( http://www.buncorules.com/rules.html ) their house. This is a dice game played in goups of four divided into teams of two. For each game a number from 1-6 becomes the scoring number. Each person rolls 3 dice and gets points each time the scoring number is rolled. If all 3 dice come up with that number you have “BUNCOED” and receive 21 points. The team with the most points wins that game.

What made this game fun is that the teams constantly change. There were seven tables with two teams each. The winning team moves to the next table but needs to become partners with one of the two “losers” who stayed at that table. By the end of the 30 games almost every different combination of the 28 players occured. I got the chance to meet new people and get to better know people I barely knew. It was fast, furious and fun. This game can be played by people of almost any age. We had kids as young as 6 and as old as 60. Because this is a game of chance, the experienced players have no advantage over rookies like me.

What made this a special evening were the hosts. They brought together people from different part of their lives to the same place, made it a big event, provided food, prizes and most importantly genuine warmth. I was suprised at how much I enjoyed myself.

I have been to formal dinner parties where the food is equisite but the conversation is polite and the atmosphere a bit stuffy. I like to eat well, I do. But I hate small talk (preferring conversation with depth) and love being casual.

I can not wait until next year’s BUNCO night!

First Post Ever!

While blogging has been around for years, it is new for me. I have been planning to start for a couple of years. Long story.

I am doing this for me as an outlet that may stimulate creative juices, let me blow off some steam or give me voice on the days I feel stifled. While this blog is geared toward these selfish aims, I hope that I connect with some people out there. Personal connections have always been the most important things in my life.

Not sure where this blog will go. For awhile it will take whatever direction it takes. Some posts may be short  and others novellas. No real theme except that of the title. I do believe that virtually all of us and all situations are multifaceted. However, only one or at most two aspects tend to be quickly visible. We then tend to brand people with those initial observations. What is waiting to be discovered under the surface is is often as or more interesting. Anyone who has already formed an impression of me should take this to heart.

So welcome. I am interested in any and all comments.