Friday, November 28, 2008

we did it

The crowd was fed and happy. Now, Friday morning, the house is getting put back together.

All that remains is the glow from having had a wonderful evening with good friends, and a lot of leftovers in the fridge.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

game over?


what are the odds that the politicians of the world will actually do anything to forestall this scenario? my guess is: pretty darn slim

Goody-bye, Miami, Manhattan, and Tillamook.

Happy Thanksgiving. It's great to be living here in Matrix-land. Don't forget to go shopping tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

no news is good news

All of the food for tomorrow is purchased and slowly being processed into dinner. The table is mostly set for 16 (rented chairs picked up this morning).

Dylan, we think, is currently on a Greyhound bus somewhere between Ashland and Portland, expected to arrive at 9 pm.

My computer work is finished, until Friday.

It's under control, except that the cats are beginning to squawk about their dinner.

Happy holiday, everyone.

Friday, November 21, 2008

wisconsin obits

For lack of something better to do, I found myself scanning the obits in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel this afternoon. After the first few, it was clear that a number of euphemisms for 'died' are commonly used. Among my favorites:

'Joined his loving wife'
'Departed this life'
'Found peace'
'Born into eternal life'
'Entered in to eternal life'
'Passed into eternal life'
'Reunited with her beloved husband'
'Went home to Heaven'

and the #1 favorite euphemism:

'Walked into the Arms of the Lord'

Thursday, November 20, 2008

wintry in wisconsin

Another day spent with Mom at her facility. I showed my Turkey photos to a small group, none of whom fell asleep.

Wind chill expected to get down to about zero tonight. It's definitely a change from a month ago, when we were cruising along the Mediterranean coast.

Just finished reading an absorbing book about a remarkable woman of whom I'd heard various references over the years, but really knew nothing about. The book filled in many gaps in my understanding of how the modern nations of Iraq and Saudi Arabia came about, not to mention correcting a few misconceptions that I had, from my many viewings of 'Lawrence of Arabia' (Gertrude Bell was a colleague of T.E. Lawrence, and his exploits are intimately connected with her work).

In the end, it becomes clear that the American experience in Iraq is eerily similar to the catastrophe of British involvement in the same region, in the 1920's. We never learn.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

in 'airport world' again

Yes, in less than a month, I am back in the world of concourses. Here, in Denver, there is free WiFi, which is always a pleasure to find. I am between planes, headed for Milwaukee, to visit Mom and my brother's family for a few days.

Mom had taken a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago, with a couple of Emergency Room visits, pneumonia, and continuing heart and kidney issues. My sister-in-law related that she was sleeping a lot and eating very little and losing weight, so I figured I ought to get back there before Thanksgiving.

Since then, she has apparently stabilized, but it's still an opportunity to check in with her, show her my Turkey photos (which I have still not posted here - sorry) and, as always, play piano for her and the crowd at her facility.

Left Portland in the dark at 6 am. The skies brightened soon, and the view flying over southern Idaho's massive lava-fields was pretty cool. Descending into Denver, I was on the Great Plains side of the plane, rather than the Front Range side.

Still I did get a glimpse of the snowy peaks and maybe my next flight will have a scenic start, before heading into the featureless expanse of Middle America, where, I read, "a third of white evangelicals believe the world will end in their lifetimes."


Friday, November 14, 2008

so much for 'United We Stand'

Received another wing-nut mass email from the guy in Southern California who frequently sends out 'be very afraid of Obama' screeds.

This one was the familiar 'Obama is another Castro, but worse' theme. I replied back:

C'mon, Joe.

The guy isn't even taking office for another 2 months and you're already sowing FEAR, FEAR, FEAR.

I believe a clear majority has voted to give him a chance, in the most lopsided Electoral College results in recent history.

How about a little hope and best wishes that his leadership will improve things just a little?

Just received his reply. Ready?

The vote just proves there are more liberal fools with their hands out then real Americans that contribute

You're in denial defending the most vile embarrassing scar this great country has ever taken at least until ISLAM takes over

Yes, it resembles coherent English, and yet...

Any suggestions on how (or if) to respond? Here's his email address. Since he sends out mass emails, I don't feel bad about passing it on.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

want some entertaining reading?

check out not only this article about the origins of Mormonism, but DO read the comments.

who ARE these people?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

thoughts on 'Boogie Man'

Watched this Frontline (PBS) program last night, on the life of Lee Atwater.

This is the bastard that, up until last Tuesday, had so poisoned the Media/Politics/Religion complex since the Age of Nixon. Perhaps thanks to his own personal demons, this bald-faced liar and all-around little shit was responsible for the electoral successes of Ronald Reagan and both Bushes, and was the adored role-model of another little shit named Karl.

I have to admit that, by the end of the program, when Lee was horribly wracked by hideous physical changes from his brain tumor, I had the largest burst of schadenfreude in my life. As they carried his casket down the church steps, I shouted 'good riddance'.

With any luck, the Obama victory will help candidates, in the future, to stand up to malicious political chicanery, but, I fear, there will always be smart, twisted little men, full of hate and thirsting for power at any cost, who will look you in the eye and tell you what both you and they know just ain't so.

I will dance on Karl's grave, too, but I hope it is preceded by a long prison sentence.

Normally I am a charitable, forgiving kind of guy, but not this morning.

OK, now that that is out of the way, I can get back to thinking about the proposed bail-out of the US auto industry. Last night, somewhere in the news, there was a story about the growing auto market in India, with Indian leaders telling us that now it's their turn to enjoy the wonders and freedom of personal cars, and we have no right to tell them that it's bad for the Earth, so they should not go that route.

The argument in favor of propping up the US automakers is that 'so many jobs throughout the economy rely on cars, so this industry must be saved'. The absurd extension of this argument was best voiced by Douglas Adams, in one of the Hitchhiker books, where he described a planet that had reached the 'Shoe-Event Horizon', which was that, eventually, the rules of manufacturing efficiency and economics resulted in every shop on the planet being a shoe-shop.

Perhaps it's time to adopt an economic base industry other than cars, one whose success will produce jobs that can't be outsourced and that will have subsidiary benefits (um, like solar units on every building, like we saw in Turkey) rather than cars, whose success leads only to choked roads, gridlock, road-rage, pollution, and the scary proliferation of cup-holders.

'nuff said. Is the coffee ready yet?

Good morning.

Monday, November 10, 2008

thanks, again, Sarah

Yesterday, McClatchy posted this story about Sarah's return to Alaska. In it, she refers to all the media exaggerations about her record. Referring to the famous 'ban the books' incident, she is quoted as:

"...banning books. That was a ridiculous thing also that could have so easily been corrected just by a reporter taking an extra step and not basing a report on gossip or speculation. But just looking into the record. It was reported that I tried to ban Harry Potter when it hadn't even been written when I was the mayor."

True, the incident was in 1996 and the first Harry Potter was published in 1997.

However, let's look at a report from the ORIGINAL reporter (Anchorage Daily News). Hmmm - no mention of Harry Potter, just a clear indication that Palin DID approach the Wasilla librarian and asked about banning 'certain books', the librarian replied in no uncertain terms that this wasn't going to happen, and the librarian was informed, a few months later, by the mayor's office, that she was fired.

Popular local pressure let to the librarian's keeping the job, but I think Sarah's quote from this weekend's story is a little, shall we say, disingenuous.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

here's a thought

Since we have two full months left of the now-irrelevant-but-still-dangerous Bush regime, how about putting Impeachment back on the table, Nancy?

great cartoon

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

obama mia!

That was the lead-off parody in last night's Capitol Steps show at the Schnitz.

When, at the end of the show, they announced from the stage that McCain had conceded, the place went nuts. Everyone poured out onto the street, where drummers were pounding out amazing rhythms and everyone was jumping.

After a while, the drummers moved up Broadway and the crowd followed them to Pioneer Courthouse Square, where the drumming and dancing frenzy continued, while passing drivers honked continuously.

I'd like to officially thank the US voters for this birthday present.

Monday, November 03, 2008

sign of the times

Casper, Wyoming paper endorses......Obama.

get out the vote rally in SE

Karen and I dropped in at the Obama HQ yesterday afternoon, to see and hear Barbara Roberts, Kate Brown, Ben Westlund, David Wu, Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkely, and Howard Dean deliver the last minute adrenalin. It was pretty exciting.

It will be a long day tomorrow. We have tickets to see the 'Capitol Steps' with friends tomorrow night. The show starts at 7:30 and, perhaps, by its end, they will be able to announce happy results from the stage.

Wouldn't that be too cool?

However, I still can't shake the disturbing image of a somber President Biden. Here's hoping past ain't prologue.