29 08 2008

Interesting analysis of McCain’s VP choice Sarah Palin (R-AK) and his general economic plan here.  I basically share the same concerns about Palin, lack of experience (I mean 4 years as mayor of 9,000 person town and 2 years as governor of one of the least populated states, really?) and possible ethics violations (see here).  It seems as if McCain is trying too hard to appeal to the evangelicals in the party (Palin is very conservative and a solid Christian) and the Clinton PUMA’s (Palin is a woman).

I would have much prefered Huckabee, who wasn’t even vetted, or Romney because at least there would have been some spirited VP debates.  Both bring way more to the table in terms of experience and both appeal to evangelicals.  So that leaves two factors for McCain choosing Palin; he dislikes and doesn’t get along with Huckabee and Romney, and neither of them is a woman.  Perhaps not the best way to choose your VP candidate.

In any case it was a very interesting pick, and will hopefully usher in an interesting election season, full of debate over the issues and not ad hominem attacks.

John Kerry is that you?

28 08 2008

After listening to all of last nights DNC speeches on youtube, the one that stood out the most was that of John Kerry.  Yes Bill Clinton is an amazing orator, and Biden was he may lack in detail he makes up for in personality, but John Kerry was always somewhere between Al Gore and Sounds of the Rainforest, or something like that.  But watch this youtube clip starting at about the 4 minute mark and the zingers are flying left and right.  Candidate McCain versus Senator McCain indeed!  Kerry comes off here as funny, insightful, with a fairly strong delivery; perhaps this is like invasion of the bodysnatchers and the Kerry from 2004 has been replaced with Kerry 2.0.  Anyways, just a very suprising speech.

Teaching Archaeology

27 08 2008

Today was my first real day of teaching.  It was basically an introduction about the basics of archaeology.  So naturally I had to show a clip of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, it was to show the difference between what Indiana Jones does in the jungles of South America (looting) and what the Nazi’s do in the Egyptian desert at Tanis (excavate).  I find it humorous that the only actual archaeological field work that goes on in any of the Indiana Jones movies is performed by the Nazis, under the guidance of the French archaeologist Belloq of course.

The other interesting thing I did was play a game.  I was talking about artifacts and how an interdisciplinary approach is necessary in order to properly understand them.  So I had the students describe an object they use every day, but only give its material and physically describe half or a quarter of the object.  It was hard to figure out what they were describing, but by asking a few questions about the object, i.e. is it broken, what size is it, is it a utensil, used in the kitchen, etc…they were able to figure out what each object described was.  The point was clear to all of them, context is key and understanding all material excavated is important.  So in other words, it is important to dig carefully and scientifically record everything.


25 08 2008

I was emailing back and forth with my dad about politics.  We were talking about at what point did we begin seriously following the current election.  I figured that I had been following politics closely for about a year, the first time in my life that I had really done so.  I’ve always been interested in politics and current events, and kept up with everything so I could at least have an opinion on any given subject.

However this past year has been different, I think in part due to the historic nature of the Democratic primary (and the competitive nature of the Republican one).  But as I was thinking about why I am so tuned in, and why I have been seeking out so much information, I had an epiphany of sorts…I have entered manhood.  A little over a year ago I got married, in April I found out my wife was pregnant with our first child (a boy!), and I am now nearing the end of my schooling and am transitioning into teaching.  In other words, I have been initiated, I am now a man.  I have to provide and take care of two lives, beyond my own.  I am responsible for more and with this responsibility I now realize that I take the political process that much more seriously.

The decisions our country makes collectively, and the decisions I make as an individual during this election season, will affect the life of my child and my family more so than my own.  And it is with this fact in mind that I weigh every video clip and every sound bite.

Day 1

25 08 2008

Today began my (hopefully long and illustrious) teaching career.  I have 8 students in my Into to Archaeology class; 3 seniors, 3 juniors, and 2 freshman.  Some are anthropology majors, three have been on a dig, and one is a music major.  So it will be an interesting mix and hopefully 2 or 3 more will join in on the fun.  I wasn’t too nervous, I enjoy speaking in front of people and teaching is one of my gifts (I think).  Once the semester gets rolling and I get deeper into it, I’ll better be able to determine how its going, but so far so good.

Facts and Myths

22 08 2008

Two good sites that give the truth behind rumors involving Obama and McCain.  The sites are easy to use and as far as I can tell accurate in their information.  The Obama site was originally started to counteract the absurd chain emails and other smear tactics.  However as a number of rumors involving McCain surfaced, such as the fact he has an illegitimate child (not true) or that he cheated on his first wife (true), they started a second site as well.  All information is cited as well, which I greatly appreciate.

Hobbins on Trinity

19 08 2008

In a string of posts on his blog (beginning here and continuing for several posts), John Hobbins makes some very salient points about Barack Obama, his salvation, his church, african-american churches in general, and church in general.  I love the atmosphere that John describes, with Baptists holding signs reading “God Hates Obama” and black men distributing Black Magazine.  It makes me miss Chicago, not to mention the actual service at TUCC, which is really something to behold as well, so colorful, worshipful, you can feel God’s presence even in the description.

Essentially his posts just make me sad and a little angry, not at Republicans or Democrats, but at the media for sensationalizing and Christians especially for judging.  If only everyone could go to this church for a service, or at the very least read John’s posts.