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serving brain food since 1998

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Comments Off on All’s Well that Ends in a Munitions Dump

All’s Well that Ends in a Munitions Dump

To be sure we weren’t absolutely crazy thinking Liz could take a two hour commute to American University in Washington D.C., we took a trip down there yesterday. 2 hours from our home in Pennsylvania exactly. When we arrived at the Performing Arts building, the place in which she will spend most of her time, we were confronted by police and men in army fatigues. No, we weren’t getting busted, but we were told not to enter the building. When we asked why, the policeman proceeded in telling us only to “move on.” Disturbed by the cryptic brevity of the officer’s reply, we talked to a professor in another building. When he told us the real reason for the closing, I was sure he was kidding.

He wasn’t.

It seems that American University was used during WWI as a kind of munitions dumping ground. For years, poisonous by-products, such as mustard gas and other chemical warfare agents, were buried there, undiscovered for many years. On the Metro towards the National Gallery of Art, we later read about the disturbing excavation in greater detail from the Washington Post.


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Comments Off on Committed

Committed

IMG_2603

I guess there comes a time in every person’s life when he or she decides to commit. People can commit to all kinds of things — ideals, beliefs, ways of life, mental institutions… Usually, in my writing I am inclined to take some sort of societal angle, food-for-thought kind of stuff. But that, and the concept of commitment to me just doesn’t seem right for some reason. I take it as a societal given. A no-brainer. Yes, society needs some modicum of commitment in order to survive, and that’s just what it is. Survival.

Maybe I’m thinking more along the lines of anthropology here. Think of early cave dwellers. They had to commit to some basic ideas to make it through the day, right? Hrothgar was probably pretty committed to finding shelter when necessary and hunting game just about every day of his miserable existence in pre-historic hell. And Hrothgar’s wife, Glok-glok too was probably very busy tending to her children, in a life long commitment to continue the species (and did anyone ever stop to say thanks?).

“Hey, thanks Glok-glok.”

But those are really no-brainers. Sure, without those kinds of commitments I wouldn’t be writing this obscure article for anything but personal joy, just as certainly as you wouldn’t be reading it (of course, the latter would come as a shock). So why did Hrothgar and Glok-glok decide to make a commitment that wasn’t a no-brainer, which didn’t directly relate to the prolonging of their kind? Why did they decide to commit to each other? (Admit it. You knew where I was going with this, didn’t you.)

Now, this is the part where I give the disclaimer. I am by no means an anthropologist. I showed up late to that class in college too many times to know that. I have absolutely no idea if the concept of marriage existed as even a thought balloon during the time of Hrothgar and Glok-glok. I’m just going to assume that humankind has always done what it does at present. Besides, I know for a fact Fred and Wilma were hitched.

The point is at some point in time, some couple somewhere decided it would be a good idea to go through life bonded together through something called marriage and it was, for better or worse, an idea that caught on. I don’t need proof for that. The reasoning behind it, though, seems to me to go a little deeper than mere survival. It seems to go beyond Hrothgar’s exclamation overheard during the Ice Age, “Must keep warm. Fire warm.”

“How make fire?”

In fact, I could just as easily be sitting here, writing away in obscurity, if the idea of marriage never occurred. I mean, people can procreate and continue the species without tying the knot (some would argue it already happens too much). So there really isn’t a cultural, biological, or sociological need for it.

Or is there?

Also, bear in mind that I’m talking about more than just sexual commitment or monogamy. I’m talking about the down and dirty, in your face learning one has to do to keep up with a healthy relationship. The kind of stuff that, I’ll admit, was hard for me to commit to in the past. You know, an idea of commitment that goes beyond knowing someone well, but growing together as two unique individuals, learning not to get on each other’s nerves too much and accepting certain things about yourself and the person you’re with.

Compromising. Sacrificing. Trusting one another. Finding the strength to change a few things about yourself, even if you’ve been the same way your whole life.

These kinds of commitments aren’t really necessary in the text book definition of survival of the species. But we wouldn’t have gotten as far without them. In fact, we were smart enough to realize the importance of these mega-commitments by putting them into one institution called marriage. And because of that, my friends, we as a society have grown.

Of course, I say all this like it’s some kind of a revelation. But it’s not. To some societies and cultures, it’s a rite of passage. To others it is simply tradition. More and more, though, I think people, probably even people like me, are finding that marriage is a convention of time, whose ultimate wisdom is to be experienced, and not studied in a college class.

Indeed, it is an age-old idea of love whose time has finally come.


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Comments Off on My Manifesto

My Manifesto

Its about time I used this page for something more then just evil. It’s time I came out and said what it’s all about. Or maybe I could just ramble some more.

The other day on the way to work I was listening to Howard Stern and realized a peculiar thing about myself. I was laughing hysterically at something that would have irked me in college. Years ago I found his deejay antics as repugnant as three-day-old underwear. I thought he was a mean jerk who hated women. For the most part, that’s still true, but now I listen to him almost everyday with bated ears. I think he’s outrageous, funny, and entertaining and even though his show usually ends around noon I could easily listen to him long into the day when I’m supposed to be doing work.

I guess at some point I lost something in the ideals I once held as sacred. Or I pulled a 180 and just changed completely.

Did I change? I don’t know. But I think I know a way I can find out. To see if I’m really evolving (or devolving) from the person I once was I decided to start a manifesto on this page, a statement of beliefs which will gauge my “progress” in the years to come, for better or worse. Like a diary in a time capsule only more boring.

Humor me. You’ve been an unwilling slave to my haphazard ramblings here before. You may as well know what I really believe in. Here goes…

  • I believe in really hot showers
  • I believe in learning from our elders
  • I believe people are inherently trustworthy until they prove otherwise
  • I believe the best decisions are made for the benefit of the self and for other people
  • I believe the worst decisions are made for the self
  • I believe that status quo thinking must be challenged
  • I believe that a certain amount of hypocrisy needs to exist for status quo thinking to be challenged
  • I believe in hope and that our children will find a way
  • I believe in destiny
  • I believe in mysteries
  • I believe we could all be more empathetic towards each other
  • I believe my cat misses me when I’m away at work
  • I believe yesterday and today are intertwined
  • I believe tomorrow is a clean slate (yeah, I know what I said about destiny)
  • I believe my ideas always look worse in hindsight
  • I believe in flawless execution
  • I believe that nothing is impossible
  • I believe we were born to grow from one another
  • I believe technology is a tool and a tool only
  • I believe the dominant days of Microsoft and Windows are numbered
  • I believe that pro wrestling is homo erotic
  • I believe artists hold the keys to our spirits
  • I believe that we all live in denial of something
  • I believe that Scully and Mulder will hook up and no one will give a damn (lost interest a long time ago)
  • I believe that more power abusing less power is a time for less power to fight back
  • I believe that a two party election system cannot accurately represent a society of 275 million
  • I believe in free speech
  • I believe watching someone win a million dollars is a joyous occasion
  • I believe winning a million dollars would be even better
  • I believe that greed is ugly
  • I believe in laughter and going to the movies
  • I believe I could listen much, much, much better
  • I believe in intimacy
  • I believe in sensory experiences
  • I believe we have all contributed to the earth’s destruction
  • I believe they should have made a sequel to “Running Scared”
  • I believe in choice
  • I believe in abstinence
  • I believe in forgiveness
  • I believe in dependency and coexistence in harmony
  • I believe in independence and knowing when to challenge authority
  • I believe in the freedom to make your own mistakes
  • I believe Ponch and John left an indelible mark on my 80’s psyche
  • I believe in a multitude of things that haven’t really changed from the time I began critically thinking about the world
  • I believe that these things will all hold true until I’m a tired old fart.

Well, I guess we’ll see.


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Comments Off on Have Mac. Will work after Y2K.

Have Mac. Will work after Y2K.

Have Mac.  Will work after Y2K.

That was the joke I was telling December 31. If you don’t immediately get it, let me explain. You see we run things here on a Macintosh, a platform long known to be impervious from the Y2K bug. I thought it would be funny to put an ad in the paper reading “Have Mac. Will work after Y2K” in case everything went haywire in the PC world. Then I could have cornered the market and really raked in the dough. Of course, in this dream scenario all Mac-ophiles would prosper, not just me, and eventually we could have created a new world order where Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) rightly reigns supreme.

But alas, it looks like we’re all safe. No nuclear missiles were launched into our backyard after all. I’ll stop here. My fiance gets embarrassed by my techno-speak (Gee, I can’t imagnine why).


journal

Comments Off on Weblog Prelude

Weblog Prelude

Note: Back-dated entry.

This site, or rather what has become mschindler.com was started in 1998 after my wife, Liz, and I moved away from our family and friends in Pennsylvania to live and work in Charleston, SC. There we stayed for nearly three years only to move back shortly after our marriage.

I have continued it somewhat with the intention of making it a life journal of sorts. It took me nearly two years to finally start saving entries, so much of the early content is lost.

I can’t say I consider that a huge loss to the world.


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