Archive for questions

Smoking Cessation

I’m down in Asheville hanging with the fam. We’ve been talking about the chunk of colon dad had taken out and his subsequent resolution to quit smoking.

The issue is touchy since my dad wants someone to quit with him, but only one of his boys smokes and that one doesn’t want to quit.

“Doesn’t want” isn’t really the right term; “doesn’t feel up to” would be better. He said:

“Drinking gets you drunk. Grass gets you high. You trip on mushrooms. Smoking cigarettes just makes you want to smoke another cigarette.”

He told me half a pack a day for two weeks and I’d be hooked as well. I’m thinking about doing it.


I’m not going to seriously shorten my life by smoking seven packs of cigarettes. I’m pretty sure I can quit after two weeks. I bet it’ll be unpleasant, but if I can get my dad to quit with me, wouldn’t it be worth it?

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It amazes me how often I manage to forget just how short this life is and how important it is that we take ownership of each and every moment.

I’m still trying to figure out why exactly getting fucked up in all its forms helps me remember this. I’ve got an unexpected scientific discipline applied to the problem though, and I strongly suspect I will make progress.

Now: dancing.

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Are We Making Choices?

I’ve been contemplating the man who developed pedophilia from a brain tumor.

Start out with 40-year-old school teacher, respected and liked within his community his whole life. Over a period of months he develops an attraction to adolescents. He gets kicked out of his house and charged with child molestation for making advances toward his step-daughter. He washes out of the court mandated Sexaholics Anonymous program because he keeps propositioning women. The night before he is due to go to prison he checks himself into the hospital complaining of a headache and a fear that he is going to rape his landlady.

Doctors discover an egg-sized tumor in the right lobe of his orbifrontal cortex. Once they remove it, his impulses subside, he completes SA and gets back with his wife. A year later he starts collecting pornography again and under the inspection of a new MRI, they find the tumor is returning. Once it is removed again he goes back to normal.

Definitely something to stop and consider for someone who thinks their brain serves them.

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What Makes An Addict?

Jenni and I have been discussing addiction the last few days. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit following a discussion with one of my cousins about cutting off his dreadlocks.

His family had been pushing him to cut them for years since they never really bought into the Rasta lifestyle. What finally brought him around was his court date after the police raided his grow houses.

So he’s all cleaned up now and attending narcotics anonymous meetings. It’s been about three months since everything went down and he’s still waiting to find out what exactly the government is planning on doing.

One of the things he has working in his favor is the near complete lack of money. He had a friend who had an idea for a raw foods vegan grocery and he lent the guy pretty much all his money and cosigned on the lease for a building.

The grocery has since failed, taking with it any profits from his growing.

He has a social problem in that his parents don’t agree with his lifestyle and want him to shape up into something they respect more. He has a legal problem in that the government doesn’t like the plant that he enjoys growing. What I am not really convinced of is that he has a moral problem.

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Searching for an Honest Man

I’ve been thinking about Diogenes wandering around with a lamp in the daylight searching for an honest man.

I don’t even really know what one would look like if I found one. My life is far too full of little political decisions — niceties or formalities or simple laziness — to really know what an honest life would look like.

Jenni and I spent the morning delivering for Moveable Feast to Baltimore-area AIDS patients. When we are delivering we can only say we are with a “food service” because many of these patients keep their disease a secret from their employers, neighbors and even friends and family for fear of losing their apartments or jobs.

I’ll admit that as people signed their orders that I wondered whether or not there was somehow AIDS on my pen that could make its way into my body. AIDS is scary. These people have a good reason for the lies that they tell. I don’t.

My resolution for 2009 is to figure out what it means to be an honest man. I’ve got a marriage and a career developing, it seems like a good time to figure out exactly what truth looks like in my life.

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Eat Me

I was talking to one of my roommates last night about the Fulbright Scholarship he’s working on. His dream is to head to the Netherlands and work on cultivating meat.

You’re likely heard that a beef requires seven times its weight in grain to produce, and so we are by proxy consuming the world’s food as we as a culture eat tens of thousands of pounds of meat.

That argument has some problems, mainly that much land useful for grazing is not good for growing food. So you’re not really reducing the amount of food.

Dan’s interest isn’t the food angle , but the environmental effects. Commercial meat production is not only bad for animals, it’s bad for the planet as well.

An interesting offshoot of reliable tissue culturing is you can get tissue from anything. Bat paté? Panda-schnitzel? I made Dan promise that if he manages to develop his process that we’re gonna have a summer evening BBQ where we taste test to decide whether he or I serves as the basis for the more delicious human burger.

I’m betting Will burgers are going to have a nice hearty flavor, but not too heavy. Yum.

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Women Who We Want To Be

While I was home for a couple days I ran across my old WWJD dog tags from my fundamentalist youth.

It got me to thinking about the role of heroes in my life.

I certainly don’t imagine any more that I actually have the slightest real idea of what Jesus would really think about what I’m doing with my life. I like the idea that we would get along, but who knows for sure.

The question of what he would do though is still a very important one to me. In my idea of what a person nobler and more loving than myself would do, I sometimes find a course of action that I like better than what I came up with when I was only considering what my normal flawed self would do.

Jesus and Thoreau and Lao Tzu and the Dalai Lama. These are men I think of when pondering my decisions. I realized as I was listing them that the list is bereft of women. As I consider the question, I don’t have any major female thinkers that come to mind.

Ursula LeGuin perhaps, but inferring someone’s positions through science fiction is a tenuous process. I was curious the women other people think of when putting their decisions up to spiritual litmus tests.

Is there some reason women don’t feature more prominently in the course of culture? Is their participation simply downplayed by the patriarchy? Are they actually prevented from contributing? Or is it perhaps a values issue where women have better things to do than sitting around bantering words?

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rq: K. Bradford Brown

This is from a little book that I picked up at the life training weekend by K. Bradford Brown (of “Touchstone” fame) called “Guide Lines to Relationships.” It has several neat quotes.

This makes little to no sense to me, I think I might know what it means, but I’m shooting for some second opinions.

   She pressed me firmly,
      "will you
         put yourself out
      for what you say
         you want?"

   I told her
      to stop meddling.

   No one
         any more.

Anybody know what that means?

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