#57- Small Gods- Terry Pratchett

Small Gods - Terry Pratchett
Small Gods (made my favorite list!)

i’d read Pratchett before, and liked his work. It’s tough to secure Nerd-Card credentials without dipping into Discworld at least a little. Here’s my confession though… i’ve only liked Pratchett’s writing before, never really found myself a huge fan of it. Here’s an addendum to my confession: i LOVED Small Gods!

Small Gods makes you laugh your way into uncomfortable introspection in a magical sort of way that i’ve only really ever seen Adams pull off with the Hitchhiker’s series. One second you’re laughing at the absurdity of belief, or philosophy, or patriotism and then; you’re not laughing anymore! You are wrestling with the realization that you’ve just wrapped one of those things around you like a blanket on a stormy night trusting in that thin cloth to protect you from the boogeys under your mental bed!

Brutha, the main character, is one of my favorite protagonists of all time. His development arc is amazing, heartwarming, inspiring, all those Hallmark movie things without leaving you feeling like flimsy gross noodle-creature (that’s the best descriptor of the effect of Hallmark products, transforming us into bland, flaccid, creatures with lightly warmed hearts.) Vorbis is an amazing baddie, and Brutha’s responses to him are part of the power of the book. Another bonus: you don’t have to know anything at all about the voluminous story-line of Discworld (in which Small Gods is set) to dive into this book. IF you are a Discworld junkie, then there’s plenty of little crumbs dropped along the narrative trail for you too! Great balance of being accessible to those not acquainted with a well developed world while not feeling flimsy to those who are.

Book Club of One Score: A+ Read this one for sure! Small Gods will earn a spot on my bookshelf as a favored read of mine.

Mean Humor

i’m a master at being an A-hole…

i can poke fun of the most deeply held convictions, the most vulnerable spots in a person, the most recent personal or social scandals. i can say those things that shouldn’t be said; and can i step over “the line”? Well yes, but i’d much rather jump over it and do a metaphysical jig.

Here’s a fact about that: that’s a trick that ANYONE can do that. Anyone can pull of mean humor. It’s the easiest route to get laughs. Mean humor is the cheapest way to buy laughs and smiles, you just buy them with someone else’s social credit card.

Here’s another fact: i’ve recently become VERY convicted about mean humor… i don’t like it (the convictions i’ve developed regarding it, i mean). It makes me uncomfortable. i like to make people laugh. But i’m trying to stop doing so at the expense of others.

i’m admittedly NOT doing a bang-up job of it either… We live in a social climate that is chock full of political unrest, where people who don’t like what others have to say rail about how it causes them pain… OR (the other side of the same coin) they rant that if you say/do “that” (whatever “that” thing is for the moment) you should be carted off to a modern internment camp and deported from the United States of America. (But that’s a whole separate rant for another time)

So i’m putting on my big-boy pants and doing my utmost to steer clear of the cheap and easy way of humor. Mean humor denies others the basic respect due them as a fellow human being.

It Devalues other passengers of Space Ship Earth…

Ultimately i’m stumbling along attempting to be a Christ-follower. To live the example that He laid out for us. (Admittedly many days i’m a poor one, limping along and poking at the gray areas of life and spirituality with a stick). i find myself hard pressed to imagine Jesus throwing back his head and laughing at my witty rip on flat-earthers, or my quip about those deluded Republicans, or those silly Democrats. i can’t envision him slapping a robbed knee at a well timed “nice shorts there 1995…” Honestly most days i’m not sure i’d garner so much as a smile from Him if we were chilling around a campfire in sandals, eating fresh fish, and keepin’ it Kosher.

Humor is a gift, a gift to bring light and levity into a world filled to the brim with pain, confusion, hatred, frustrations, etc, etc, etc. It’s a shame that humor has become a vehicle that drives those things it could be so effective at repelling.

i’m endeavoring to treat humor as the tool for good that it can be, and not a cheap shtick to get laughs at the expense of others…

What am i doing here?

Years ago i had a blog…

i would regularly write as a way to collect my thoughts, and post them there. Over time that collection of my thoughts became something that i cherished. So i did what came naturally: i deleted them all and stripped that old blog down to absolutely nothing… No need getting soft, right?

But here i am, a few years older, probably not much wiser, and thinking it’s a thing i’d like to do again. It provided me with a time of reflection and introspection and gave me a spot to ruminate on ideas. So i’m endeavoring to post something weekly here, for at least the next 3 months (and hopefully beyond). i’ve sprung the minuscule funds to get my own domain, and set-up this woefully simple site; so here goes!

To provide some structure for myself, and whoever else may misstep and find themselves here, i want to post within a few categories, categories pertinent to who i am. So, who am i? My bride once wrote a great 6 word biography for me, “My life is love and mischief.”  In my Instagram profile (the only social media i’m really very active on by the way) i’m self-described as: “Part time curiosity seeker, reader of things, spreader of mirth, and Oxford comma advocate.”  My everyday friends know that i’m an avid cyclist. My cycling friends know that i’m a pretty hard-core nerd. Life, work, and my quest to seek out curiosities mean that i like to go new places, aka i’m a traveler.  At the root of things i’m spiritual, just maybe not like everyone wants me to be.

Those things fairly concisely describe me and most of my interests so i’m going to catalogue my ramblings as follows:

Reading: Books i love, books i hate, books i read, ingredients on shampoo bottles, book club stuff (when i’m involved with one) etc etc etc.

Travel: i go places, i see things, i drink in life. May have an addiction to the National Park Service! When i ramble and my mind rambles i’ll hammer away on my keyboard under this heading.

Spiritual: i made a living as a professional minister for years, my faith is VERY important and sacred to me. It’s probably the thing i wrestle internally with the most in this life. i’m prone to doubt and question… Spiritual moments will be filed here!

Cycling: Life is better on two wheels. traveling down road or trail with only yourself as an engine! Reflections on life as a two-legged-motor will be under Cycling.

Nerdity: i’ve been a nerd for my entire existence.  i will passionately debate the finer points of the LOTR mythos, am in a razor thin minority who loves Kirk AND Jean Luc, get frustrated when people can’t tell 12 sided dice from 20 sided dice, have a solid strategy for winning base Catan a majority of the time, and will smite you down (left handed) if you bad-mouth The Princess Bride!    i also love Carl Sagan and what he did to make real science accessible and alluring to the average person, think it’s a great time to be alive when Neil deGrasse Tyson is a public figure, want to give NASA more money to do cool space stuff, and have a near encyclopedic knowledge of mammalian life forms on this planet! i’m a sort of renaissance nerd! Post containing Nerdity will be posted under this category.

Life: Someone once said, “Life… It just keeps coming at you, right up to the end.” i have no idea who said that (it could’ve been me, i dunno) but it’s true. Life just keeps happening. The vast majority of the time i drink it in, sometimes though it knocks me on my butt. Posts that fall under all things life and living will be sorted thus.

 

So… thus this thing begins.