Tuesday, June 29, 2010

amazing Civil War photos


Mouse over photos to see caption (file name) at bottom of browser. Some truly amazing scenes, plus portraits of most of the major figures.

See Lincoln at the 2nd Innaugural, with, apparently, Booth in the photo, in the crowd above him.

Lots of scenes from Antietam and Gettysburg - places I am familiar with, having both studied the battles and visited the fields.

Also noteworthy: the under-construction Capitol and Washington Monument. Check it out.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I don't mean to mess up your day, but...........

Lots of folks are linking to this OpEd.

Basically, there is a growing possibility that the Deepwater Horizon oil-volcano really is the pivotal event of our lifetimes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

why am I not surprised

it all makes sense. it's always all about the pillage opportunities.

can there be any doubt?

The Deepwater Horizon oil disaster is the defining event of our times. Even the Texas schoolbooks of the future will be obligated to mention it (probably in connection with a sin of some sort).

The developing scenario is reaching the Pandora's Box realm of released evils. For a truly frightening assessment, from someone who appears to know of what he speaks, try this blog post. Yes, it's very long, but it explains the physical forces at work here, and the slim chances for human engineering to control it.

What we have, folks, is a disaster movie, worthy of the great distopian disaster movies of all times. Unfortunately, Bruce Willis is not going to save everything in the final 15 minutes.

Where did America go wrong? Very simply, I believe there can be no doubt that the election of 1980 set the course which lead us to this day. The folks who brought you the Reagan Revolution set it all in motion, and the most-rotten of the rotters, present at every rotten, slimy, greedy point, is KBR/Halliburton.

Just sayin'.

Friday, June 11, 2010

what a world

This morning, our steady Mexican laborer, Rolando, appeared at our house around 7:30, as Karen was leaving for work. Normally he comes by on weekends, and we always have work for him to do, and he does it well.

He does yard-work for several folks in our neighborhood, and he was desperate to find someone with cable, to watch the Mexico vs. South Africa World Cup game.

I told him we don't have cable, but I may be able to find a free stream on the internet. While he nervously watched, I spent several minutes trying several sites, before, magically, I found one, where the commentators were either Russian or Polish.

So, we sat in my kitchen - I made him coffee and toast - one American and one Mexican watching as teams from Mexico and South Africa played soccer, with the audio and video coming from half a world away, on a wireless connection to an old laptop. It's the modern world!

Rolando's joy when Mexico tied it 1-1 was great to see - he stood up and was almost dancing around the room. In the final minutes, he had to get up from his chair and pace nervously. When it was over (1-1), he smiled broadly and left, to go on his way.

I felt lucky to share in his excitement, and am glad I don't have to watch any more soccer for the time being.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

on israel

Great piece in the NY Review of Books - you should read it. It echoes what I've been thinking all along, that the sweet, innocent Israel of my youth (50's and 60's) is long gone.

It discusses the demographics that today's American Jewish youth are largely ambivalent to the Zionist passions that affected so many in my generation.

The split between the older defend-Israel-always attitude and the but-wait-aren't-they-really-oppressors sensibility was brought home to me a few days ago, during a casual conversation with one of the older guys who sings with the chorus at the Jewish Assisted Living home (where I have been playing piano weekly for several years).

Refering to the current tensions between Israel and Turkey (and knowing that Karen and I were in Turkey a couple of years ago), he asked, "do you have relatives in Turkey?" I said, no, we were just tourists. That seemed to be an invitation to discuss the current bad stuff and I made a comment along the lines of "I just knew when Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister that he would be a disaster."

My friend bristled and said, "what do you mean, he's exactly the kind of tough leader that we need, unlike that Obama."

We changed the subject soon thereafter.

I grew up in a home where the UJA 'pushke' (those little blue boxes with the map of Israel on the front and a coin slot on top) was always present, and I was always encouraged to 'put a penny in the pushke'. I was active in Young Judaea all thru high-school and was even in an (shudders to think about it) Israeli folk-dancing group.

But this Israeli government, and a large segment of Israeli society, seems on the wrong side of history and the quest for Human Rights - you know, the one that began when we were slaves in Egypt.

Friday, June 04, 2010

children become domesticated eventually

Ben's favorite holiday has always been Thanksgiving. As readers here may know, he moved into his own house last February, and the first milestone was a brunch he organized, a couple of months ago, for about 6 people. It was a smashing success (homemade bagels, champagne, etc).

Next Sunday, he is hosting (and doing most of the planning for) what he's calling 'Half-Thanksgiving', with an 18 pound turkey and (at last count) 15 guests (including us). I was over there yesterday, delivering cloth napkins, roasting pan, etc, and helping him set up the tables and chairs.

He's really into it, which is both amusing and gratifying. Dylan is expected to come up from Ashland for the weekend, which will be nice, too.

There's more shopping to be done, but, this morning, I made a gluten-free cornbread for the stuffing (which is my contribution). Must get busy...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

back from an abbreviated camping weekend

We drove out to Cove Palisades Saturday morning. It was raining hard in Portland, but, by the time we approached Madras, clearing nicely.

Got set up at the campground, then Karen and I went for a bike ride along the rim road, with turnouts to the magnificent views of the Crooked and Deschutes canyons.

Dinner and campfire with the group was fun Saturday night, and Sunday dawned sunny and clear.

Four of us went for a hike up to an incredible viewpoint, overlooking the canyons. There were a ton of colorful wildflowers and lots of birdlife. Here's a photo, from my cell phone, of the flowers, rocks and cliffs. We hiked to the highest point you see, on the left-end of the rim.

It was still sunny and warm as we finished the 4-hour hike, but, around 3 pm, the clouds descended and the rain commenced.

Dinner was cooked and eaten in the rain, and, as everyone prepared for a damp, chilly night, Karen and I decided to bail. We tossed our gear into the car, said our goodbyes to the group, and drove back to Portland, arriving home around 11:00 pm.

Spent Monday doing yard-work and other chores. All in all, a mixed bag, made somewhat sad by both the weather and the fact that this was our first camping trip without a dog in many years.

It's been a week since Zacky left us, and we are adjusting to his absence. Not easy.

Couple of music gigs coming up in the next few days - a welcome distraction.