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Never put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want to read out loud to your mother, your boss, and a judge!

Oh, Oh, It’s Magic

On my most recent trip, I had a unique book to read while lounging by a beach of white sand and impossibly blue water. That book was The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow. No, not a fantasy novel for young adults, but a book about women — oddly bereft of feminism. It’s a book about brides and a very special bridal shop in a small Michigan town. You’ll want to keep some tissues close by while you read it. You can get a little taste of it right here.

How did he end up in a bridal shop? When Mr. Zaslow set out to write “a nonfiction book about the love we all wish for our daughters,” he went looking for “a place with great emotion.” His wife suggested a bridal shop. And it’s not just any bridal shop, not one of those big chains or the boutique tucked in an obscure corner of a big department store. Becker’s Bridal has a long history: 4 generations of women in one remarkable family have worked here, in an old “small town” bank building, creating “magic.”

In addition to reading about the strong women of the Becker family and their business, we also follow a number of brides on their journey through the process. This does cause a bit of a muddle towards the last third of the book as the reader jumps from bride to bride, finishing out what happened between their trip to Becker’s and the wedding itself: is Courtney the one who decided not to kiss anyone until she got married? The kindergarten teacher who was in a car wreck? The widow who is getting remarried even though her kids are unhappy with the arrangement? The independent woman who is finally getting married for the first time in her 40s? Or is she the one with rheumatic heart disease? With many brides comes some confusion for anyone without a photographic memory.

As I consider the idea of my second wedding, I found the idea of a “bridal industry” somewhat creepy. No mistake, I understand and respect that there are people who make a living making sure I have a dress that makes me “princess for a day,” seeing to invitations, attiring my entire wedding party, putting together memorable services and receptions. I can’t imagine spending “between $19,907 and $33,178” as most American couples do. Even the cheapest sale dresses at Becker’s are more than I can justify spending on a gown I will — hopefully — only wear once.

Like the “funeral industry,” it doesn’t quite sound right to have an “industry” grow up around profoundly personal moments in somebody’s life. What’s next? Calling religious institutions part of the “faith industry”?

This being said, Mr. Zaslow comes up with some very interesting observations, presented in a rather dry,┬átangential, New York Times sort of way: brides used to be “smaller,” oh no not because of obesity, but because they “didn’t work out” and “didn’t lift weights” and “didn’t eat the way Americans eat today”; roughly 15% of mothers of the bride want dresses that are “too revealing and sexy,” and 35% have to be reminded that they aren’t the grandmother of the bride; sometimes the boss has to “be a bitch”; and oddly enough, “advances in box-making helped fuel the computer revolution.”

In this world of Brides Behaving Badly, it’s refreshing to see that getting married doesn’t have to be a three ring circus. On the other hand, there’s something odd about a man writing a tear-jerker book about the bridal industry, and saying it’s about “the love we all wish for our daughters.”

Want to discuss this book more? Go check out the conversation already flowing over at the Blogher Book Club.

Disclosure statement: I read this book for the Blogher Book Club. In return for my participation I was given a copy of the book (e-book in this case) and I will receive $20. Nevertheless, the opinions expressed here are my own.

Ok then, who wants a heaping helping of In Closing?: made up words; moron; Anonymous does good; if school was a job, students would get more break time by law; it’s never too early to eat right and move your body; cult; and security theatre.

It worked out so well for King Saul

 

Making sure a Convent’s mortgage bill is paid off? That’s a worthy mission from God. Getting food and medical supplies to kids in a war zone? That’s a worthy mission from God. Disaster relief? Worthy mission from God. Providing medical care to kids with cancer or congenital defects? Worthy mission from God. Charity work in general? A worthy mission from God.

Becoming — arguably — the most powerful man in the world? NOT a worthy mission from God!

Let’s make this perfectly clear. God doesn’t send those kind of messages anymore. He hasn’t since John the Baptist, and that didn’t work out so well either. We don’t do “Divine Right of Kings” in the United States of America. The very existence of the United States of America denies the concept of Divine Right of Kings. The idea that someone is actually running for President and saying in public that it’s because God wants him to should scare the hell out of all of us, whether we believe God exists or no.

Only dangerous men and madmen claim that God wants them to seize power. I’ve even heard preachers say that from the pulpit.

Way back in 2007 I pointed out that even a divinely appointed government can be corrupt, and it seems clear that Herman Cain is somewhat less than a paragon of virtue.

Listen, Herman. You want to make this country better? Go back to creating jobs making crappy pizzas. The only industry you will help as President will be comedy writers.

In Closing: if “global climate change” is a hoax, why is every big company preparing for it? [or, “Not without my bourbon!”]; loss of faith; never give up; tyranny of pr0-“life”; Child Rape in an Infotainment World; I guess I gotta hold my nose to vote; in summary; banks will just lie to follow new rules; and “Oh F***, the Internet is here!”

Target Acquired.

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to a whole lot of tech companies. Surely you’ve heard of “Silicon Valley?” Dozens of tech giants from Adobe to Yahoo have their headquarters in or around the Bay, to say nothing of dozens more companies with large offices there.

So then, with thousands if not millions of tech savvy residents, maybe — just maybe — it was short sighted for Bay Area Rapid Transit to attempt to thwart a possible protest by blocking cell phone service. After all, we can’t have people trying to communicate (or call 911) in the event of a possible riot (or First Amendment protected peaceable assembly). Today, Anonymous struck back.

It’s about time we had some peaceful protest that afflicted the comfortable.

In Closing: The law of demand and hiring; handy.