Browsing Archives for March 2012

Alain De Botton

March 27th, 2012

Our first stop on our Spring break trip was in Lawrence, Kansas where we paused briefly to hear author Alain de Botton speak on his latest book, Religion for Atheists.

But before I tell you about Alain, I feel that I must tell you about the supernatural force(s) that have been at work in my life of late.

One day several months ago when I was deep in the midst of reading every book written by Frank Schaeffer, I found myself wrestling with an undeniable thirst to find out a bit more about him and his books. A quick internet search led me to Frank’s blog which revealed that Frank was soon to be speaking in my own neck of the woods!  As a result of this happy chance, I was able to drive to Omaha and hear Mr. Schaeffer talk and ask him a few questions and even get his autograph on several books!  At the time I shrugged off this lucky chain of events as mere happenstance and thought nothing more of it. Little was I to know, that stumbling upon world renowned authors who just happen to be traveling through my area was to become an regularly unexplained phenomenon in my life. For just a few months later, I once again googled upon a famous skeptic/author who had plans to be within shootin’ distance of my own little house on the prairie. This time the author was Alain de Botton and as a result I could no longer accept that these seemingly random events were happening to me merely out of chance.  Clearly there had to be some force… some presence… some supernatural entity guiding and directing the traffic of my life.  How else could it be that in only a few months time I was able to stumble across lectures by two world renowned authors on topics specifically related to atheism, skepticism, and mockery of the religious right?  Clearly a power much larger than I is at work in my life steering me deeper and deeper into an unrepentant denial of anything supernatural at all.

But how could this be?

Why would a supernatural force work so valiantly to get me to NOT believe in a supernatural force?

Why would (it?) direct my fingers to make these searches and then propel me to travel and listen to these same speakers that only serve to fan the flames of my die hard skepticism?

Either this force wants me to burn in hell forever…

OR

This force is kind of weirdly into self harm?

Either way! I can’t deny that something out there is guiding me into further believing that nothing out there is guiding me.

And that is how I found out about Alain de Botton.

Who wrote a book called Religion for Atheists. (In case you forgot about that part already).

I have not read this book yet because I have been reading lots of other good books instead.  But I did go hear Alain speak and if the content of his lecture at all matches up with the content of his book, it would appear that de Botton’s chief complaint regarding atheists is that they don’t appreciate the finer things about religion.

(WTF Alain?)

Evidently by “finer things” he means…

Things like art…

And architecture…

And nature…

And music…
And literature

And poetry…

And meditation, community, rituals, blah, blahdee, blah, etc, etc, etc…

Which is fine and good…

Except that I kind of do appreciate art and go see it often…


And architecture… which I love, love, love – (Clinton Museum – Little Rock, Arkansas)

And nature… (love it, but please no more camping).

And music… always.

And literature… used books.  My favorite!

And poetry…

Like the incredible poem I just composed above.

Okay – maybe I could work on this one a bit…

And though I am not to into meditation these days, I like to think I participate in a variety of communities – friends, workmates, family…

And for me – making a good pot of tea and sitting down to enjoy it, is the best ritual I have ever known.

I’m not saying that I can’t improve on appreciating the wonder and beauty of life, but I also don’t think I have a huge blank spot in that area.

STILL!

I did buy an extra copy of de Botton’s book.

And he even autographed it and everything!

If you would like a chance to get a copy of this book, just leave a comment.

I will say that he is an excellent speaker, very witty and very British.  I really enjoyed him and hope to someday soon enjoy his book.

He also wrote the best seller – How Proust Can Change Your Life, which the CD is currently reading.  He is enjoying that book very much and every once in a while will read a passage aloud to me while chuckling under his breath and insisting that somehow this book with the most horrible title I have ever heard of is highly entertaining.

I am not doing a very good job at making you want to read de Botton’s book am I?

Let me see if I can do better…

Alain de Botton is British.

So, when he talks, he sounds like he knows very, very important things.

He could basically be talking about gluing cheerios onto paper plates and you would think he was a genius.

I am absolutely positive that his books are much the same.

Wait…

Not about the cheerios and the glue… but about the genius…

Oh dear!

Here’s the deal…

Alain de Botton is known as a modern day philosopher.  He is very witty.  Plus English accent.  Plus he once wrote a book with the name Proust in it and even with that extreme handicap it became a best seller.

So how can you not be at least a little curious about his book?

So leave a comment and make both myself and de Botton feel better about his unfortunate book titles and the fact that I am pushing a book that I haven’t even read.

Here is a clip of him talking.  This is basically the same exact talk that I heard at KU.  Maybe he will do a better job of selling himself than I am.

Alrighty then…

Little Rock Bridge

March 27th, 2012

I know nothing about this bridge.

Except that it is in Little Rock, Arkansas close to a pub where I had just drank several fine glasses of beer.

A Very Good Night

March 27th, 2012

Tonight my second son Ethan found me after he got home from baseball practice and he uttered the following magical words…

Ethan – Mom?

Me – Yes?

Ethan – I have soccer practice at 6:30, but Calder is going to take me and then after that I want to go audition for the musical at the Columbian Theater.

Me – You what?

Ethan – I have soccer practice and then after that…

Me – Did you just say that you want to go audition for a musical?

Ethan – Yes.

Me – Wait a second… What?

Ethan – I want to go audition for a musical.

Me – You want to go what?

Ethan – I want to go audition for a musical mom. Can you take me?

Me – You want me to take you to audition for a musical?

Ethan – Yes mom.

Me – It’s like I can see your lips moving, but the words that are coming out can’t possibly be right.

Ethan – Mom. I want to go audition for the musical. Can you take me?

Me – WELL OF COURSE I CAN TAKE YOU SON! I WOULD FLY YOU TO THE MOON IF THERE WAS A MUSICAL ON IT THAT YOU WANTED TO AUDITION FOR!

Ethan – Okay.

Me – Do you need any pointers?

Ethan – Like what?

Me – Like do you want me to teach you to tap dance real fast? I could probably at least show you how to do a decent time step.

Ethan – Uh… no… I don’t think that is necessary.

Me – What song are you going to sing?

Ethan – I don’t know. They said I didn’t have to have anything prepared.

Me – Will you need to do a British accent? Because mine is really good, and I could totally coach you.

Ethan – I think I just… no mom. I’m good.

Me – Ethan!  I was in musicals in high-school AND college Ethan. I know what I am doing. Seriously! I can help you!

Ethan – That’s okay mom.

Me – Can I go with you and take pictures?

Ethan – I… guess?…

Me – Can I film it?

Ethan – No. You can’t film it.

(I filmed it anyway.)

____________________________________________

BUT THAT IS NOT ALL!

Because when I came home after Ethan’s musical audition I walked into the study to find MY OLDEST SON READING A BOOK!

AN ACTUAL BOOK!

JUST LIKE WHEN HE WAS LITTLE AND USED TO READ BOOKS ALL THE TIME!

And he was reading the book simply FOR PLEASURE!

PLUS ALSO!!!!

I made a really good dinner.

Salmon with arborio rice, broccoli and cauliflower!

It was delish!

And then I watched the Mad Men season opener on the internet!

If life gets any better tonite, I am going to check myself into a mental ward as suffering from grandiose psychotic delusions!

Yay for people doing unexpected things!