Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcom to Cambridge Mass-hope you weren't planning on parking

I went to Boston this past weekend with my family because my boys were putting on a concert with some Boston kids. The concert was actually in Cambridge, and thank goodness, during the daytime, because if I'd had to drive into there in the evening, we might have tossed the kids from the car and come back 3 hours later when they were done playing. What is up with this place and parking? It's not like I'm not used to city driving-hello-I'm from Philadelphia. I've been to New York City and Washington DC. Those places at least have some semblance of sanity in their traffic patterns and parking facilities.
If you dizzy easily, do not go to Boston. For some inexplicable reason, the city planners thought it would be fun for people to drive around in circles. Every corner has not just stop lights, but stop lights with arrows pointing left, and arrows pointing right, and two lines which would usually indicate where one stops and waits for the light, but were we supposed to stop at the first line or the second?
Then there's the parking. Cambridge is home to Harvard University, and has all the-ahem-charm of a college town, plus all the insanity of a major city, plus rows and rows of tightly packed residential streets. Every street we turned down was lined with signs telling us that we could not park without a permit. Some meters lined the street. For no small charge, we could park for up to an hour. Woo-hoo! Some rare spots said we could park for 2 hours-still not good enough; the concert was 3 hours, plus unpacking and packing up time, and walking to the car time. We couldn't even find a lot!
Finally, my husband and I relented and parked in a grocery store parking lot about a block up from the concert site because all the other parents and the music director were parking there. 5 cars with PA plates lined the fence facing foreboding signs that said in no uncertain terms that our cars would be towed if we were there for any other reason but to grocery shop. Of course the men all chuckled and said, "We'll all go down together". I did not see strength in numbers; I saw a Boston two truck driver laughing manically as he made 5 trips back and forth to hook up 5 cars with PA plates, and bellowing, "These people are SO SCREWED!!!"
So, one of the other moms and I decided that honesty was the best policy. We timidly approached a clerk in the grocery store and asked him to please not tow us. "We're from Pennsylvania. Our kids are doing a concert up the street. Could you please not have us towed?" The clerk called back to the store manager and answered back, "As long as you're out by 9." Whew! We were good to go! I sat through 3 hours of kids playing cover tunes with other kids from Boston, practically biting my nails, envisioning Mr. Boston Store Manager calling Mr. Boston Tow Truck Driver, and saying, "Guess what I told these out-of-towners!" Alas, in the end, all was well. All 5 of our cars were still parked, right where we left them when the concert was over, and my faith in the kindess of strangers was renewed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Top 10 Things NOT to say to a vegetarian

1. You need protein!
2. What's in this?
3. So, do you eat like a lot of tofu?
4. I'm guess I'll be brave and try this.
5.What about your kids?
6. I could NEVER give up meat!
7. You should have seen the size of pig on that rotisserie!
8. You know what would be good in this vegetable soup-a big old ham bone!
9. It's just pepperoni.
10. Don't you get a lot of gas from eating all those beans?

Blame Godlessness

An editorial today in The Oregonian:

Blame godlessness

I could not help but notice all the coverage about the downtown shooting. All this coverage got me thinking -- the shooting was just a symptom of a much bigger problem. America lacks God.
America was once a godly nation. Times were better. People were safer. However, we have stepped away from God. We have let humanist views slip into our lifestyles. This absence of God was one cause of the downtown shooting.
The young shooter did not know the God that I know. He was probably taught about evolution. He was probably influenced by atheism. This lack of God leads to dangerous things that even the strictest laws cannot prevent.
More gun laws may be a result of the shooting. Fewer gun laws may be a result. Whatever happens, we should consider adding God back to our lives.

My editorial response sent to The Oregonian:

This is a response to the editorial Blame Godlessness written by Russell Matthews.It's easy to make accusations such as that which Mr. Matthews has made, blaming humanists, atheists, and evolution for violence. However, I notice that Mr. Matthews cites no proven correlation between violence and any of these. The fact is that the USA is the most religious industrialized nation in the world, with the highest rate of violent crime. In my opinion, too many people assume they have brought their children up with morals because they have raised them on religion. The problem is that these people don't teach children to THINK and evaluate the real human consequences of their actions, but focus more on how displeasing things are to God. Instead of focusing on the Golden Rule, which is universal, religions get caught up in petty issues such as gay marriage, pre-marital sex, and "dangerous" movies, books, and music. Where are the lessons on valuing human worth for the inherent dignity of being human? Where is the lesson that hurting people is just wrong, not something one can just confess, be forgiven of, and walk away with a clean slate? Mr. Matthews, I am an atheist and a humanist, who supports evolution, and I am raising thinking, feeling children, who instills morals and ethics in her children, and teaches them not to make generalizations and look for scape-goats, but to make the world a better place from having them in it.