Saturday, November 28, 2009

we survived

Most of the out-of-town guests are gone, and the house is returning to normal, except that the refrigerator is full of little containers of odds and ends. It's slightly obscene, given the reality of most families in this world.

Not much on the schedule today - I'm doing the Yiddish Hour tomorrow (10 am PST - KBOO 90.7 FM in Portland, or streaming live on the web site.

The past couple of weeks have been incredibly busy, but everything that needed to be done was done, including lots of music, cooking, and cleaning.

I have about 5 books at my bedside, and one more on hold at the library. Some will have to go unread.

It's all unreal.

Monday, November 23, 2009

read an amazing book this weekend

Yes, I read the whole thing - couldn't put it down.

It's this. I can't remember who recommended it to me, but thanks.

Really, this was an aspect of the Franco period that I never knew about. Also, the author goes into the whole notion of secret Jews in surprising places.

These are families that have outwardly embraced Christianity for generations, but either still preserve the secretive knowledge of their origins, or, even odder, maintained certain rituals that can be directly traced back to Jewish practice, but have been altered over the years in subtle ways.

One thing common in many of these families is the lingering fear of discovery, and, in one chilling case, that fear was warranted. Apparently, in the 1920's, a number of families in the Netherlands were persuaded to come out and declare their Jewish roots. That worked great until the Nazis marched in 20 years later, rounded them up and killed them.

The families that did not reveal their Jewish past survived.

Once again, it proves the old adage that "I wouldn't be paranoid if They weren't out to get me."

new word for today (thanks to Ken Levine)

If you don't read his blog, you are missing daily entertainment.

The word is to be applied to Sarah Palin's book: alibiography

Saturday, November 21, 2009

mary landrieu says 'yes'!

She will vote 'ay' in tonight's Senate procedural nonsense. It's small, but important.

Meanwhile, just finished reading this. Highly recommended. Thanks to RH for telling me about this book.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

don't look now, but...

Bad things are happening between Venezuela and Columbia, and this may be a very big story before too long.

Chavez is a wild-card down there, and I am afraid that matters are escalating towards bloodshed, which could pull in the bigger powers, who smell oil.

It's always, ultimately, about the oil.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

not raining

So, I guess it's time to confront the remaining leaves.

UPDATE: many leaves moved from yard to compost. What did you expect, announcement of a cancer cure?

Monday, November 16, 2009

it's karen's birthday today (Monday)

send her a note at - she has a big brief due tomorrow and is stressing over it.

as for me, work is pretty lean these days but, fortunately, there are lots of music rehearsals and performances coming up in the next couple of weeks.

also, as I recall, we have having 18 people to dinner late next week, so we are starting to think about that. yikes!

here's a photo from Spain, that I am thinking about today:

The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch (1504), taken in the Prado, six hours after landing in Madrid, after flying for two days. The guard in the room wagged a finger and scowled at me. So it goes.

Friday, November 13, 2009

why isn't everybody saying this?

Am I just stating the obvious, but isn't the proper response to the supporters of the Stupak abortion amendment something along the lines of "Oh, I get it - you want the Government to come between a woman and her doctor."?

Saw the always-wonderful Craig Carothers last night at the Buffalo Gap. As usual, he appeared with a couple of other songwriters and they traded songs, and, as usual, the other star of the evening (aside from Craig's perfect songs), is the dazzling guitar wizardry of Tim Ellis' always-perfect accompaniment. Breath-taking.

Craig and friends are in Oregon for the next few days. If you've never seen or heard him, go.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

is our children learning?

Maybe the proper question should be 'what is our soldiers learning'?

Maybe it wasn't the best decision to make 'Defense Industries' (i.e. Continuous War) the basis of our economy (spreading the money across every congressional district), rather than investing those 400 billion dollars per year in Education and Health Care for all citizens.

Maybe then we wouldn't have (as many) paranoid dumb-asses loose on our streets.

So, is this is further proof that Obama is keeping us safe, or is not keeping us safe? I am confused.

Monday, November 09, 2009


Be afraid, Americans! Notice how similar 'Nibiru' is to 'Obama'? Makes you think.

So the End is 12/21/12? I think the Mayans were off by a few days, and it really should be 12/12/12 -- Ben's birthday. Since the world ends 9 days later, maybe I should hold off buying a present. Must make a calendar entry...

Another triumph of Hollywood marketing - actually we saw the 'trailer' for that movie the other day. Didn't seem like there was a lot of time for character development, what with cars being swallowed up and tsunamis coming soon to a town near you.

And you were worried about the Ice caps melting by 2100 - be happy.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


once again, doing the right thing for the right reasons.

I think time will tell that the bill that was passed by the House this weekend was a disgrace and a failure, and ultimately a victory for the status quo, no matter how much lipstick they put on it.

All the noble ambitions of the true Progressives were thwarted, and the Big Guys are undoubtedly high-fiving to celebrate their effective bamboozlement. It's all very sad, but the saddest part is the claim of some great victory.

It's a tiny step, and, by the time the Senate/House conference gets thru with it, it will be even tinier.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

oh, untimely death!

I was never a major Michael Jackson fan (aside from 'Billie Jean', which I always thought was brilliant musically, until I understood the weird lyrics).

At any rate, we saw the 'This is It' movie last night, and I must say that the guy really was incredibly talented, and showed no visible precursors of a man about to be, well, dead. It makes it seem all the more like a case of medical incompetence, but I'll leave that up to the District Attorney.

Go see it, and, for two hours, forget about the Neverland sleepovers and bizarre surgeries. It's about Dance, lighting, and theater.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

back doing fun programming

Thankfully, my two remaining clients (others have been hit hard by the recession and have shelved further enhancements) have been coming up with interesting challenges, and I have enjoyed digging into code and user interfaces again, to create some cool tools and slick functions for them.

Really, there's nothing more satisfying than being in total command of the all-encompassing universe that is a software application. It compensates for the messier aspects of real life.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

politics in spain

Having read a lot about the Spanish Civil War, in preparation for the trip, I was dying to ask Spaniards about how Franco and his reign are now considered, but I never had the courage to bring it up, knowing that, in some areas, passions are still high.

On the last day, I did ask Liz, the English owner of the B&B about it, and her answers were somewhat non-committal, along the lines of "it is recognized that there were atrocities on both sides." She also mentioned that Tony's (her spanish husband) father was a Franco supporter.

Well, today on the net, I see this. Apparently, my sense is right, and the historical verdict is that the eternal glorification of Franco is not going to happen. It's sort of equivalent to the Russians pulling down the Lenin statues, although the US still has to deal, someday, with the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building.

Beautiful full moon tonight. Totally dark now (5:45 pm).

Did a lot of yard-work this weekend - knees hurt. Busy week ahead, with several music rehearsals and a birthday dinner coming up Thursday (we are going out for sushi).

Spain seems very far away now.