Mar 312012
 

The boys have been on spring break, so I took the day off yesterday and the four of us went to our third hometown Chattanooga.

We joined the Tennessee Aquarium this time, which softened the experience of sharing the place with six or seven school groups.  We’re excited about going back a couple more times this year.  When you can be standing in the place slightly less than two hours after you pull out of the driveway, why not?

After lunch at the Mellow Mushroom, the “new” thing we did was Ruby Falls.  It was everyone’s first time but mine, and my first since the Carter administration or so.  I remember writing of Rock City that it wasn’t as touristy as it might have been.  Well, the Ruby Falls experience is touristy up to 11, then wrench it around another quarter-turn and yank the knob off.

The waterfall itself is lovely.  However, the half-mile guided walk to it under Lookout Mountain is highly scripted, and along a much-too-finished path.  (I’m confident there are no right angles in genuine speleology.)  Even when you get to the waterfall, you can’t just admire it.  It’s awash in colored lights and overdramatic music, and after five minutes or so it goes dark and you leave.

Now I’m not saying this doesn’t all have its place.  We enjoyed it.  On the way out, Nathan and I entertained ourselves tremendously expressing concern about all of the bats (within earshot of groups who were headed in).  Then, Aaron made a clever-beyond-his-years joke about not disturbing the bat eggs, and we had more cackles about it being nesting season.  Those are the kinds of things that morph into rest-of-your-life private jokes, and I know that because my mother and I had hundreds of them.

But as we made our way to the elevator, I told the boys “all right, so now you’ve done that, so you don’t need to do it again until you have children.”  They agreed.  They knew we’d spent some good time together, but that they weren’t leaving a transcendental experience.

(Did I mention that it was $61 for the four of us?)

We stopped at the unclaimed baggage place in Scottsboro on the way home.  I’ve lived in northern Alabama for 26 years and I’d never been before.  It was both larger and nicer than I expected.  I actually bought a cell phone.

Drove home through the only significant rain of the day.  It was only 20 minutes or so, but made up in intensity what it lacked in duration.  We were all back and in our jammies a little after 6, tired but happy.

I have one more note on the day.  While I don’t let it dominate my thinking, I am acutely aware that it was right now—in terms of marriage length and children’s ages, if not quite mine and Lea’s ages (we’re older)—that my parents divorced.  When we all pile out of the car smiling after having been together for 12 straight hours, I consider how blessed Lea and I are to be navigating a bit of occasional chop, as opposed to class 5 rapids.

 Posted by at 12:43 am
Mar 302012
 

On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for (Putin) to give me space. . . . This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” – Barack Obama to Dmitry Medvedev, March 26

In other words:  “Hey, I don’t dare tell the American people how much we plan to roll over for you now, because then ‘my election’ might not go well.  Let me smile and hopey-changey the poor slobbering rubes just until November, and then I’ll come be your bitch.  Keep the ball gag warm for me.”

Krauthammer here; brilliant as usual.

Change you can believe in, comrades!

 Posted by at 6:43 am
Mar 292012
 
  • We’re not going to get our freeze.  I’m not looking forward to the bugs.
  • I find nothing as reliably exhausting in another person as low self-esteem.  Sometimes I feel bad for thinking that, but most times I don’t.  And then I feel bad for not feeling bad about it.  But I never feel bad enough to make any serious effort not to think it.
  • A little more than a month to The Avengers.  Less than two and a half months to Prometheus.  Seven months to Red Dawn.  If there are any more gotta-see-its for me this year, I can’t remember them.
  • The delta between admission for the four of us and membership at the Tennessee Aquarium is down to $35.  We’re joining.
  • Did you know that many artificial flavors are nearly identical to their natural counterparts, and because of all the testing they undergo and the much lower occurrence of adulterants, may be safer than natural flavors?
  • Speaking of big bad corporations, I think the pink slime hysteria is ridiculous.
  • At this point, I really hope Kiss is never in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
 Posted by at 12:01 am
Mar 272012
 

I’ve made it this far, and I’ll make it the rest of the way.  I’m not going to put three-quarters of it in the books and then quit.

It’s unfun enough to have spawned several moments of reflection, which is the point, yes?

 Posted by at 7:11 am
Mar 262012
 

The Supreme Court began hearing our esteemed president’s greatest accomplishment this morning.

I thought for a long time that the biggest mistake earnest advocates of socialized medicine made was that they assumed it was government’s business—indeed, responsibility—to do “the right thing.”  (Never mind those pesky questions about effectiveness.  Never mind wondering what in the world could possibly make anyone think the government could do this, much less whether it should.)

I think the real biggest mistake is a much more sinister side of the same thing.  The talkers were all over it today.  The most important question the Supreme Court is considering is whether the individual mandate reasonably follows from the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.  Does the federal government have the power to force you to enter into a financial contract with an insurance company?

No, it’s not like auto insurance mandates.  Not all Americans drive.

No, it’s not like paying into Social Security.  Not all Americans have jobs.

This is an attempt to legally compel you to spend money—either as insurance premiums or as a fine for refusal.  It’s charging you to be alive.  As any number of commentators and concerned citizens have pointed out, this is the gravest of assaults.  If the government can force you to do this, then the Constitution as a guardian of our liberty is meaningless.  If the government can force you to do this, then the government can force you to do anything.

And here we sit, having raised our first generation with no ingrained fear of government.  What’s the problem?  The government helps people, right?  They won’t do anything that’s not good for us.

That’s why I’m beginning to genuinely fear for our dear republic.  All of the “raising kids right” that I and people like me can muster is no ultimate match for the juggernaut of ubiquitous statism (in school, in the media…).

I’m really kind of thinking the Supreme Court will throw out the individual mandate, if not the entire law (because of how it was written).  Obviously, I’m pulling for this, and I’ll be happy to hear it.  But if it happens, it shall be no lasting victory.

It’s just the last time until the next time.

 Posted by at 9:30 pm

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