Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The Parts


There are certain recipes where you mix the ingredients until they “begin to form a ball.” You have to be on the lookout for the precise moment where it all begins to come together. Writing a blog is somewhat similar. There are any number of things to write about each day. As I sift through them there’s a magic moment where everything begins to coalesce.

Today is not one of those days. Things are not sticking together. Writers live for the days when they create a piece which is greater than the sum of its parts. Today, my friends, what I have for you is the parts.

If you’ve been following the discussion around what it feels like to be a non-Christian in a community that explodes with Christmas decorations and festivities, you might enjoy this thread from It begins:

Dear Teachers,

As some of you may know, if you have any students in your class who identify as Christian, they may ask to be excused from school to observe the Christian holiday of “Christmas,” more popularly referred to as Yom Christmas or Nittel. (1/31)

It gives a thorough and thought-provoking look at what it must feel like to go through life having other people - - who don’t really understand you - - filter your faith and practices through their own narrow and limited lens. If you celebrate Christmas and have wondered what I mean be feeling “othered” by the dominant culture, I hope that reading this will enlighten you. 

Back to bicycles:

When I was looking for an image to include with my piece about Free Bikes 4 Kidz the other day I searched the words “bicycle dreams.” This cartoon by Andy Singer popped up.

Singer’s cartoons are self-syndicated under the No Exit title. The last line of his Wikipedia bio intrigued me:

 He currently lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota and serves as volunteer co-chair of the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition.

Minnesota. Didn’t Free Bikes 4 Kidz Maryland’s leader Ted Cochran return to Clarksville from Minnesota where he was active in bicycle advocacy? There must be something pro-bicycle in the water out there. I wonder if Cochran knows Singer?

Anyway, finding that image by chance was, as they say, a rather trippy experience.

As of yet I have not been able to determine who the third entrant in my photo caption contest was back in 2017. Was it you? Fess up! Don’t be shy!

Photo credit: Kristen Carrasco

Or perhaps you’d like to throw your hat in the ring now with a newly thought-up caption. Remember, I’m going to make this a reader’s choice contest. Whichever of the three garners the most votes will get bragging rights and its creator will get to direct a 25 dollar donation to the charity of their choice.


The real reason I can’t seem to make anything stick together this morning is the weight of two very important issues pressing on my brain. One is the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act yesterday. The other is today’s 10th anniversay of the school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. 

It may seem odd to you that I am lumping them together in this way, but, here they are in today’s current events. Both are occasions for thoughts about how we could be doing so much better. 

The Respect for Marriage act is an imperfect bill. It is better than nothing largely because it is the only protection that some folks will have against the ever-reaching grasp of the current Supreme Court. Imagine that. Legislators finally took a stand, however limited, mostly to protect Americans from the Supreme Court.

The anniversary of Sandy Hook is an occasion for grief, and anger. Grief at the loss of human life and anger at elected officials who were not brave enough to take immediate action. It’s also a day to give thanks for everyone who has stepped up since that day to call for common sense gun legislation and to advocate for adequate mental health supports for students. Groups like Moms Demand Action and Sandy Hook Promise are changing our world. 

In the case of both issues, I wish we were making it better faster.


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