Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Problem with History

I like math. In math there is a right answer and there are wrong answers. I also like literature and other arts assignments. In literature and arts assignments there are a wide variety of ways to achieve excellence. But I have never been fond of history, and here is why: it is so slippery. 

You cannot just know that because someone won a war, or an election, that they were the Good Guys and that it was the Right Thing to happen. You can usually not even be sure they really won (remembering the Hanging Chad election, for example).

And now Presidents' Day. We had a lesson on it in our Notgrass Uncle Sam and You text. It turns out it really is not Presidents' Day (officially) but Washington's Birthday. It turns out that Washington was born on the 11th of February but then when he was 21 they moved his birthday to the 22nd when they changed the calendar altogether. So for a long time our country celebrated his birthday on the 22nd but then they passed a "Uniform Monday Holiday" act and moved it to the 3rd Monday of the month... which is never on either the 11th OR the 22nd. Go figure.
So, to continue the confusion, we celebrated a night early, or maybe six days late, or maybe five days early, depending on how you think of it, with this pie, which, not surprisingly given the way this holiday goes, was baked in Canada. Go figure. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Superbowl Letters

Did you see the Mercedes ad from the superbowl? 

I watched it three or four times. The first time I noticed how much fun someone had doing up the contract in Latin. Homeschooling Moms notice things like that. And I noticed the nails, I think they are a nice touch, just quietly evil. 

I keep thinking about it, a few random things. Of course I think of The Devil and Daniel Webster. And I think about two old songs, Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" and Terri Gibbs' "Somebody's Knockin'." But mostly I am wondering in terms of Lewis's  The Screwtape Letters - because my first instinct watching this ad is to think, Ha, the devil lost this round. But then I start thinking about pride. What sort of pride would it take to just take on the devil on your own power as this guy is doing? And would Lewis find that pride a bigger sin than signing the contract offered him? And how often do I take on Satan on my own strength?