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Short-Attention Span Commentaries
Ryan's Ruminations

9 Sept. 1999

Request | Reflection | Remark
Regrets | Radio Rave

In between classes, I notice dozens of people walking by with their eyes focused straight ahead or at the ground. Be focused on your goals, but don't forget to look around everyday. Besides the fact that UC San Diego is one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, there's something special in seeing humanity buzzing about.

I am not known as a person that quotes from the Bible. (You can catch a glimpse of my viewpoint on the Bible here). Despite my view that the Bible should be subject to interpretation and not used to establish a theocracy, there was a verse used in This American Life that I thought were words of wisdom. A man was reunified with his estranged father, and 1 Corinthians 13 was used in the epilogue.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

One fine Saturday last month, I trudged out of bed and booked it down to the DMV to renew my car registration. As usual, the line was lengthy and ran along the side of the building. Since my polite suggestion that everyone leave the line to go to the county fair was ignored, I settled in to wait.

I immediately struck up a conversation with my line buddies. The conversation drifted back and forth but centered on the government -- mainly how inefficient bureaucracy is. In jest, I suggested that the posting of the Ten Commandments would speed up the line (it makes as much sense as some of the Republicans' arguments on the issue). As the line wound to a close, I wanted to end the conversation on a high note. I suggested that we mention things the government does well. My line mates were quick to denounce the government. I hesitated because the more I thought about it, I realized that the government really does alot of things very well. I mentioned our schools and libraries, fire, police and medical services. All of these were downplayed. As I was called to be helped, we agreed to disagree.

My registration was processed quickly and efficiently. As I turned to leave, the lady at the booth informed me that she thought that my posting of the Ten Commandments at the DMV was a good idea. I smiled politely and mentioned that I was just kidding. She insisted that it was a good idea. I merely nodded my head and bid farewell.

The lesson for standing in line for two and a half hours was the fact that there are many different people that have drastically different ideas than I do. It's vital to observe and respect the opinions of others. You may disagree, but everyone should be respected for their thoughts.

Speaking of the bone-headed Republican idea to let states post the Ten Commandments in public buildings, I was thinking about posting the commandments in one of the free speech areas on campus. The point would be to see if there would be a significant drop in campus crime (one of the assertions was that the posting of the Ten Commandments would restore our "morality" and perhaps could have prevented the shootings at Columbine High School).

I also wanted to present a copy of the Ten Commandments to the UCSD Police Department. According to some Republicans, this piece of paper should be our shield against crime.

Vices and Virtues from the Stuart Art Collection

I stopped in my tracks with an epiphany. I realized that the data of this experiment would be flawed because there is already a "moral compass" on campus. There is a neon sculpture on the Charles Lee Powell Structural Systems Laboratory called Vices and Virtues. Signs with seven virtues mingle with signs of seven vices. The art is part of the Stuart Collection, an outdoor art collection that is site specific to UCSD. I thought that Vices and Virtues was based on the Bible, but Stuart Collection material on the Internet doesn't mention anything religious.

One problem with this exhibit is that it displays virtues AND vices -- they cancel each other out. Perhaps our moral friends could convince the artist to disable the vices -- that way our young and impressionable minds would not be distored by these negative pieces.

Radio Rave
There are several radio shows that I make a point to listen to every week.

In an old PBS promo, the tag line was "Everyone in America has a story to tell. It's our job to tell them all." Each week, Ira Glass brings us some tales in This American Life. Each week, the show chooses a topic and assembles creative talent to address it. The material on TAL is a breath of fresh air compared to network TeeVee. Highlight's from last week's show on politics included a gay, sex columnist (and Republican precinct leader) Dan Savage and Daniel D. Portado, the head of Hispanics Against Liberal Take Over (HALTO).

Music in America is extremely diverse and American Routes seems to cover it all. The host Nick Spitzer broadcasts music from the "third coast" (New Orleans). Some of the best shows cruise down the "Mother Road" - Route 66.

Kronos One

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