Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's getting religious in here

The relationship between God and gasoline has - from the looks of things - grown quite strong. I don't know if it's the alliteration that people like, or if there is some deeper reason. The owner of the gas station down the street from my house was apparently in quite a pickle over whether he should become a preacher or start up a gas station. In the end, I suppose, he decided that he need not choose one or the other. Quite naturally, the two suit one another. And so we Silver Spring-ites are the benefactors of an outdoor chapel that happens to sell gasoline. While pumping, you can enjoy spiritual quotes on the marquee, Jesus fish on the pumps, and good old gospel tunes.

In other news, some people are taking this relationship to a new level. They have created a religious movement called Pray at the Pump. Skeptical that Congress has any power to change the gas situation, they are appealing to the authority when they pump. Now that prices have dropped a little, they will be holding praise services. And, of course, they won't neglect to pray for further price drops.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Skill vs. determination

George Washington has always been somebody I admire. As I read 1776, my admiration for him grew - not because he became a sort of superhuman, legendary figure. Precisely the opposite. 1776 helped me to discover the real Washington - his flaws, his talents, his luck. Seeing Washington as a real, comprehensible person inspired me to work harder for things I am passionate about. I often feel as though my personal actions are futile, or that because I'm just one person, my miniscule acts pale in the grand realm of collective action. Washington's life, however, helps me to realize what great things one person - one dedicated, determined person - can accomplish. Hard work and single-mindedness often even compensate for lack of skill or talent.
"[Washington] was not a brilliant strategist or tactician, not a gifted orator, not an intellectual. At several crucial moments he had shown marked indecisiveness. He had made serious mistakes in judgment. But experience had been his great teacher from boyhood, and in this his greatest test, he learned steadily from experience. Above all, Washington never forgot what was at stake and he never gave up.
"Again and again, in letters to Congress and to his officers, and in his general orders, he had called for perseverance - for 'perseverance and spirit,' for 'patience and perseverance,' for 'unremitting courage and perseverance.' Without Washington's leadership and unrelenting perseverance, the revolution almost certainly would have failed."

Perseverance, determination, in the most hopeless of circumstances. An indomitable spirit, a refusal to give up. These are the attributes that truly make things happen.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wide open spaces

Lest you think that I have abandoned my blog for some petty purpose, I am including some pictures of the Wild West, which (as luck would have it) precluded my ability to post anything. I am also posting these pictures in case any of us in DC have momentarily forgotten that such places and animals still exist.
*Also, it seems that I have acquired a baby. No explanation.