Friday, June 16, 2006


I'm just trying out the new Flock web browser, that integrates photo uploading and blogging using my existing accounts. Seems pretty badass.


My First Gig

I guess it's not true that the wedding I'm going to in 8 days is my first singing gig, but it certainly feels like it. I sang a lot in high school and college, but those were for audiences made up of Billy and Susie's parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles. I didn't know Billy and Susie, let alone their families, so those kinds of engagements weren't very difficult. I only had to worry about family and friends, really, and most of those friends were probably performing with me.

But this upcoming wedding is a little bit different. Half of the audience will be made up of old friends. But not just any old friends. I've had old friends who have seen me embarrass myself in karaoke bars in China, and I didn't give it a second thought. These are old high school friends. I'm 25 years old now, and I haven't seen most of these people for at least 6 or 7 years. The Fargus they knew is gone in most senses of the word, and this is one hell of a nervewracking way to introduce them to the new Fargus.

Do you think it's frowned upon to have a couple of drinks before the wedding to loosen up?


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Great Wall

I don't know what all I want to put up about my recent trip to China on here. Maybe some reflections, maybe a transcription of some of my travel journal, I don't know. But for now, I'll just give you one of my favorite pictures from one of my favorite stops on the trip: The Great Wall (I'm the one furthest to the right).

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


The Westboro Baptist Church

You all know these wackos. They're the ones who've gotten an undue amount of press because of their picketing of soldiers' funerals. The membership of the Westboro Baptist Church is under 100 people, and most of those are members of the family of Fred Phelps, the church's founder.

This group of lunatics has absolutely no association with any mainstream church, and the main thrust of their beliefs, or at least what they're choosing to highlight at present, is that God is passing righteous judgment on the United States for being too accepting of homosexuality. That's what the picketing is about. They claim that United States soldiers are being killed in Iraq because their country is too tolerant of homosexuality. These people are disgusting, delusional, and dangerous.

But think about this: but for the focus of their enmity, how do they substantively differ from such influential mainstream nutjobs as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson? Both of those men said, in the wake of September 11, that the terrorist attacks were a righteous judgment from God on a country that was too tolerant of, among other things, what they viewed as sexual lewdness. Same goes for Hurricane Katrina. My point is this: the Westboro Baptist Church's beliefs differ from those of Falwell and Robertson only in degree, not in kind.

Some might take issue with my citation of Falwell and Robertson as mainstream. I'd disagree, but for the sake of argument let's leave them aside. Let's look at the platform of the Republican Party, and in particular, the push for a Federal Marriage Amendment. These are people who believe that allowing homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals will cause society to crumble. In other words, they believe that there will be direct negative consequences visited on America for too much tolerance of homosexuality.

You see where I'm going with this, right?

The Westboro Baptist Church isn't directly dangerous. They number too few, and they're crazy. They have no support for their insane views. The true danger of the Westboro Baptist Church, though, is that it creates a foil for those who fundamentally believe the same things as they do about homosexuals. Republicans get to support troops, get credit for opposing an anti-gay group, and then still turn around and vote to restrict gay rights. The Westboro Baptist Church is nothing but a distraction. They're a group that is so extreme that it allows people to imagine that they're being tolerant while they let themselves turn a blind eye to (and legitimize) their own prejudices.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Zhong guo

I don't understand why we translate country names. I'm in China, and here they call their country "Zhong guo."

So where did we get China from? And if we are going to get into the business of translating the country's name, couldn't we realize that this one actually means something? It means "Middle Country" or "Middle Kingdom." So whose job was it to come up with "China," and where did he or she (probably he, I guess) get it from?