I purchased an Asus Eee "netbook" computer for personal use. The few of you who have been steady readers over the years know that I have used a Dana Palm type device for a long time. I liked it because it was light and relatively simple to use. Alas, as time has gone on, the Dana's biggest weakness, the rather small, dimly lit screen, became an insurmountable problem - the old eye just couldn't handle it anymore. I looked at several of these mini-laptops, even going so far as to order the Dell Mini-9, which Dell seemed unable to deliver, even after nearly a month of waiting. When it became obvious that the Dell wasn't coming any time soon, I checked out Amazon.com, read several reviews, and decided on the Asus Eee 1000.
The Asus meets the Dell in terms of size and weight, comes with a real 160g hard drive, built in camera, lacking on the Mini-9, Bluetooth capability, and came with Open Office pre-installed, It was ready to go right out of the box. Best of all, costs over $100 less than the Dell. With its bright, clear, color screen, it seems a suitable replacement for the Dana. About the only negative is that the right shift key is very small, the size of a normal keyboard key, and a bit awkwardly placed, but I should get used to that quickly enough.
I've started on a book by Norveen Vest called Preferring Christ, which is a commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict. It has two strikes against it. First, the format of the book. It presents a short section of the Rule, followed by a "Commentary" section, then a "Reflection" section. The idea is to encourage the reader to read through the Rule as lectio. The problem is, when I read Scripture, or the Rule as lectio, I'm stubborn enough, and old fashioned enough, to want to do the meditation myself, without prompting. For me, an introduction with examples of the methods she wishes to introduce to the reader would have been more helpful.
The second problem is, in my opinion, worse. Ms. Vest has, apparently, modified the language of the Rule in certain places to make use of inclusive language. Its not necessarily that I object to inclusive language, the problem is that I object to putting inclusive language in the mouths, or on the pages, of authors who wrote long before our more politically correct era. A monk who wrote fifteen hundred years ago did not use inclusive language, or even think of it and it seems unfair to someone long dead to change what he wrote. It seems especially problematic when that author is considered one of the great saints of the Church and has been read in the original all this time. It seems a bit arrogant to assume that Benedict would want his language changed for him, and Ms. Vest is not the first modern editor to do so. I think this practice puts us in danger of losing touch with who these authors really were by trying to model them after ourselves. Enough said.
For the last two or three weeks I have spent far too much time worrying about the current state of the coming election. It finally dawned on me that I needed to step back and try to take a more Benedictine and Christian view of things and I tried to firm up in my own mind what that might be. It is, primarily, to remember that our future in all things rests in God's sure hands and my worrying isn't going to change that. I simply don't know what will happen tomorrow, much less what will happen next year, no matter who the president is. The government cannot be thought of as the source of our well being or happiness, that is in God's hands.
I had a bit of a shock yesterday. During my time in "the Nam", I was stationed for a time at a place called Lai Khe, which is about 40 miles north of Saigon, if memory serves. At the time I was there it was headquarters the 1st Infantry Division and was the base for Sidewinder FAC, the Air Force unit I was attached to and bustling with activity. On Thursday, with a few minutes to spare at lunch, I decided to Google Lai Khe, with no idea what I would find. What I found was pictures on a "Donut Dolly" web site of the place at roughly the time I was there, which brought back memories of the place as it was. The shocker came when I also happened on some pictures taken by a 1st Infantry vet who had returned to Lai Khe a couple of years ago. Apparently, most of the base has been torn down, and one picture even showed that the runway of the airfield and the area surrounding it overgrown with trees and grass. A market of some kind had apparently been built on one end of it. All that was left was a rather long, dirt strip. It kind of took the wind out of my sails; I don't know why I had assumed that the places I knew thirty or more years ago would remain unchanged, but I guess I had. It was shocking to see the place empty and in danger of being swallowed by the jungle. Many aspects of my time over there are nearly fresh in my memory, and to see such a vivid demonstration of time passing by was eye-opening, to say the least.