The simple truth is, not all of us become the men we once hoped we might be. But we are all God’s creatures. If there are those among us who thought ill of Mr. Hollom, or spoke ill of him, or failed him in respect of fellowship… then we ask for your forgiveness, Lord. And we ask for his.
– Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
I just got back from a friend’s wedding in Minsk. There were a bunch of awesome sounding weddings this season and I usually make a point of going to all the weddings I’m invited to, but given my new career situation (which I’ll be ready to talk about soon) I’ve unfortunately needed to conserve both the time and money. There’s always an exception to the rule though and my friends Paul and Jenia’s wedding in Minsk was somthing I just couldn’t miss. Highlights:
- Yes you really can consume an entire bottle of vodka on your own and not die. You just want to.
- There is a cured meat there that is basically just the fatty part of the bacon with all the meat part cut away. Amazing.
- Belarussian nightclubs. Wow. We went three nights in a row.
- The “purchase of the bride” – a Belarussian tradition where the groom and friends must convince the bride’s friends to let her go with bribes of chocolates, singing, champagne and cash. We had stacks of 10 ruble notes (worth about 1/3 of a penny.)
- Simultaneous English / Russian / Belarussian translation of the speeches at the wedding so everybody could understand. It certainly makes for short speeches.
- There were 17 nationalities represented at the wedding. (And that doesn’t include cheating ones like “Texas”) An amazing, awesome group of folks.
- The younger sister of the bride (who speaks both Belarussian and English) gave a very different speech in Belarussian that her family could understand than she gave to the invited English speaking guests. I won’t reproduce it here but it was classic.
- Belarussian singing / dancing / cover-band. You really haven’t heard Guns ‘ N ‘ Roses until you’ve heard the Belarussian cover.
- Being beaten by birch branches in the Sauna the day after the wedding. Really the whole sauna experience which involved ice cold water, scalding sauna, absolutely ridiculous hats and of course – more cured meats.
- Going to see Swan Lake the day after the wedding at the Belarussian Ballet. (Yes mom, I really went to the Ballet!)
- And of course – the absolutely amazing and cool friends I met there. The only thing I find sad about weddings is at the end knowing that this group of people will probably never assemble again. As I was leaving I had the urge to tell people, “See you at the Christening.”
The always insightful Scott Adams has a hillarious new blog post: Atheists: The New Gays
While I think many Atheists have an unfortunate tendency to be evangelical about their non-belief, I do think that recent events have made atheism more publicly acceptable in America than ever, even if it’s unfortunate that it’s at the expense of Muslims. I personally very much doubt that Bill Gates will ever run for president and I think it would be easy to go overboard with the “Billionaire as benevolent dictator” meme. Think, what if it were Larry Ellison?