Love, and being a man

So I was talking with my wife and a couple of her female friends last night about the guy with the gun and the aerobics class. This is the kind of thing that makes me crazy, the kind of thing that gives men a bad name. This is what makes women fearful of men, when most of us just want to love and protect you. This is what makes women afraid that any new man they meet is one "no" away from turning into a crazed homicidal stalker.

I've been rejected. I've been lonely. I've wondered why I couldn't find someone. I didn't, however, get angry or blame women in general. This is because I'm not a narcissistic sociopath, I'm not a child who thinks that the love of a woman is one of man's basic freedoms. I don't call people like that "men." Honor, respect, trustworthiness: these are the kind of things that make one a man. And even if you are a man, you're not deserving of love.

That is to say, you're no more deserving than anyone else. But then, no one is deserving of love. There's nothing you can do to make someone love you. It's not something to be bartered, or earned. It's a gift, given freely and without regard to reciprocation. This is what knowing my wife taught me.

You can never deserve a gift like love, just as you can never deserve the grace of God. But that doesn't mean you don't try. When you love someone, you try to be worthy of their love in return. You might get it. You might not. But you try. Love is a never ending quest. If they give you their love, you owe more than you can ever repay. But you try. This, I do believe, is what makes a man.

We are capable of so much more.

Today I watched an episode of West Wing where one of the plots concerned funding for NASA. This is the quote that got me:

"Voyager, in case it's ever encountered by extra-terrestrials, s carrying photos of life on Earth, greetings in 55 languages and a collection of music from Gregorian chants to Chuck Berry. Including "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" by '20s bluesman Blind Willie Johnson, whose stepmother blinded him when he was seven by throwing lye in is his eyes after his father had beat her for being with another man. He died, penniless, of pneumonia after sleeping bundled in wet newspapers in the ruins of his house that burned down. But his music just left the solar system."

The 55 languages include ancient Greek, Latin, Tamil, and four dialects of Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Amoy, and Wu). I don't know why I thought that was so cool.

Music selections include aboriginal songs, traditional songs of so-called primitive peoples, Bach, Mozart, and Louis Armstrong. Carl Sagan (the chair of the committee to decide what to put on the record) also wanted Here Comes the Sun from the Beatles, but their record label EMI opposed it, which is just about the stupidest thing I will hear all week. Isn't there a fair use provision for shooting a copyrighted work into space? I did find this disclaimer on the Wikipedia page:

"Originally based on public domain text from the NASA website, where selected images and sounds from the record can be found. However, much of the material from the Voyager records is available in compiled form only to extraterrestrials for copyright reasons."

Which is okay, I guess.

I'm getting off track here. All this is to say, I work in news. Top news today: a man stealing computers from a public school system and selling them on Craigslist. Iran is apparently testing a missile that can reach Israel. I see every day what men can do, in the worst possible way, and only rarely what we can do in the best possible way. We are capable, though, of so much more, of science to tell us about what's around us and art to tell us about ourselves, of awe inspiring kindness and charity and courage. More than that, though, is what a story of greatness can inspire in an open mind or fertile spirit.

As I write this, the space shuttle Atlantis is in the home stretch of its last journey; the shuttle fleet will be retired next year, and its replacement is still in the design stage. This project, Project Constellation, is designed to once more take us out of Earth orbit back to the Moon, and one day to Mars. I could have a child who could one day walk on another planet.

Excuse me, I need to go kiss my wife.

Quote of the day

From Coupling:
    Look, I like naked women! I'm a bloke, we're supposed to like naked women, we're born like that! We like naked women as soon as we're pulled out of one; halfway down the birth canal we're already enjoying the view! Look, it is the four pillars of the male heterosexual psyche. We like: Naked Women, Stockings, Lesbians, and Sean Connery best as James Bond, because that's what being a boy is. And if you don't like, darling, join a film collective. Look, I want to spend the rest of my life with the woman at the end of that table there, but that does not stop me wanting to see several thousand more naked bottoms before I die, because that's what being a bloke is. When man invented fire, he didn't say "Hey, let's cook!" He said "Great! Now we can see naked bottoms in the dark!" As soon as Caxton had invented the printing press, we using it to make pictures of, hey! Naked bottoms! We have turned the internet into an enormous international database of naked bottoms. So you see, the story of male achievement through the ages, feeble though it may have been, has been a story of our struggle to get a better look at your bottoms. Thank you, girls, I'm not sure how insulted you really ought to be.
You have to picture the guy getting more and more worked up at having to defend his owning a copy of Lesbian Spank Inferno at a dinner party. It's quite the sitcom classic.

Second of all

First of all in this second of all: is anyone still reading this? I'm sorry I haven't been updating, guys, for serious. I have no excuse. But gimme a while, I'll come up with something.

Second of all in this second of all: I'm seriously out of shape, bad enough where it's even annoying me. Also, money is tight. But I had a minor revelation: exercise can be pretty darn cheap.

Step one (no pun intended): Operation Walk It OffTM. (Alternate titles: "Get Steppin'," "I Wonder If I Could Turn This Into A Book," and "You Are Soooo Pedestrian. HIGH-FIVE.") I'm not riding my bike for fitness, I'm riding it for laziness. It gets me to the bus stop faster. Convenient, but I can't chase down the bus like I used to; believe me, I've tried. The point is, I need to walk more. A lot more. Last week, Wednesday if I remember right, I walked for half an hour before work. On my way to work, in fact: I walked from my house to a bus stop a mile and a half closer to work. (On a related note, I found out I have a 3 mph walking speed. Not bad.) I can't say I'll walk a mile and a half every day, but it's a good goal to shoot for I think. When I get the chance, I'll buy a pedometer and post updates here.

Step two: push-ups and sit-ups. Done right, they're about the best exercises for you, and you can do them anywhere you don't mind laying down. No plan as such, still considering that. But I do find myself thinking about this site a lot. More on that as it develops.

I'm not so optimistic to think that I can drop 50 pounds before my wedding. But the wedding is a consideration here, and I would like to look better then than I do now.

Stay tuned, updates as they occur. First, a word from our sponsors.

Quote of the Day

    I have a long and storied history of not thinking very highly of myself, and at this point I have been outnumbered ten thousand to one.
-sweetafton23 (aka Molly) in her video tribute to 2008, helpfully embedded Collapse )