Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Three months after

I had to go into the office for a bit this morning, and I took my camera with me and detoured down Franklin Ave. and through the French Quarter.

Street scene. Note the dirt on the cars, which were completely underwater during the flooding. Posted by Picasa

N. Johnson St., near Franklin Ave. The area was badly flooded, and it remains uninhabitable. Posted by Picasa

the dreaded black mold. Posted by Picasa

Bayou Sauvage swamp, New Orleans East. Some of the vegetation in the part of the swamp that's hard-up against the city appears dead. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

the opposite of motivation

Damn, these are funny. Check out despair.comPosted by Picasa

Thanks, Gene! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Onion Zen?

Wow, those Eastern religions sure are popular. Posted by Picasa

Hard time

We returned Toby and Adam to St. Mary's yesterday afternoon. I feel terrible today for a couple of reasons. First, our original plan had us taking them back early this morning, so we ended up jumping the gun a bit; it's the first time I've ever had to admit to myself that I couldn't coordinate things or even deal with Adam's unanticipated issues for more than a few days. Second, Adam's unanticipated issues left me feeling very sad. He has a new obsessive compulsive behavior--tearing magazine and book pages into tiny squares. He couldn't stop himself, not even in the car. Also, his old sleep disorder has reemerged, albeit not as bad as it was when he sometimes slept only an hour or two a night. This was a real problem this visit, with Toby waking me up at 3 or 4 a.m. each morning. Third, Adam cried horrendously when I went off with Toby on a brief solo outing; it was like I had abandoned and betrayed him. I will be talking to the behavioral and medical personnel at St. Mary's about getting the OCD and sleep issues treated more effectively. He had been using Clonidine for sleep and Celexa for OCD, with some success. I understand their wanting to pull back from pharamacology--he's also on Seroquel for violence reduction--but we may need to go back to those meds. Anyhow, I feel like total shit today.

I did notice some good things this weekend. Toby and Adam are starting to interact, and I saw them holding hands a couple of times. Adam has craved Toby's attention for years, and he is starting to get it. I've worked on Toby by showing him pictures of Adam, and saying Adam's name in little jingles. DW told me that Toby said "Adam Adam Adam" quite a bit when I had Adam off on a solo outing the other day. Also, DW talked me into getting a car DVD player for the boys Xmas present, and it was a major hit. "Blue's Clues" and "Thomas" never looked so good.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Damn, no scanner access

I'm looking at a photo of Toby that his teacher sent us. He is holding a blue ribbon that he won at a recent Special Olympics event--horseback riding, if I'm not mistaken. He has a "yeah! I kicked ass!" look on his face. I'll scan it and upload it when I have scanner access. Not sure how he did at bowling on Friday, but we'll find out on Wednesday when we fetch him and Adam for Thanksgiving.

Speaking of my kids, last night I had a dream in which Toby was at St. Mary's, but had sufficient awareness to ask why he is autistic and mentally retarded. I explained that it was due to my own genetic deficiencies, and that I felt guilty about it. On the topic of dreams, I watched the first half of HBO's superb "Angels in America" this morning--some of the dreams in that film remind me of my own, though I've never had Emma Thompson come crashing through my roof.

We officially unevactuated back to Loo-zee-ana yesterday. Today, I shall measure the gaps in our fence and get some wire fencing for a temporary fix. I'll make the permanent repairs in a couple of weeks.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fashion faux-pas?

Today is casual Friday in my office, which means blue jeans and t-shirts are acceptable. Today, I'm wearing a t-shirt that says, "I make stuff up." So who just walked into our office but a United States Circuit Judge. Fortunately, he's a nice guy, but still. Another Circuit Judge is coming by this afternoon. Who knew?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Communist Propaganda

Ann's question in the Mao comments about how disaffected LDS might make use of communist propaganda reminded me of one of my favorite pieces of Red propaganda. I love socialist realist art, with its depictions of determined, socialist peasants and workers and glorious, demi-god tyrants.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Toby, athlete

We received word tonight that Toby will be participating in a Special Olympics bowling event on Friday morning. He's never bowled before that I know of, but still, woo-hoo!

shy child

on the riverbank
always watching
never jumping

matrix 2005

blue pill, red pill
adjust your

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Vanishing Americana

We stopped by the town of Lecompte, Louisiana, on Saturday, a town most known around these parts for Lea's Pie Store. Posted by Picasa

When I was a kid, we would drive from Oklahoma to Louisiana and back a couple of times a year. We always passed by Lea's on US-71. I loved pies, but my parents never would stop at Lea's, as we always ate at a Picadilly Cafeteria in nearby Alexandria. I'm afraid my nagging and demanding skills have always been lacking. Anyway, I finally got there for the first time a little over a year ago, and it felt good, dammit! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Nonattachment and me

I was half asleep in the car this afternoon--don't worry, DW was driving--when I began to cogitate on the principle of nonattachment and its application inside my own mind. I've been able to detach myself from various "shoulds" over the past few years--my stubbornness on my boys' placement outside the home being the hardest--but I've not yet been able to detach myself from the concept of categorizing myself and my bad habit of self-loathing, something that is fairly complicated and deeply ingrained. Is this a function of my having more of an ego than I'm willing to admit? Is it cultural? Habitual? Delusional? I'd like to think I'm perfectly happy being whomever and whatever I may be at any given moment in my impermanent, transient existence, but I'm not there yet.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Adam's birthday party at Chuck E Cheese

The birthday boy and his pizza. Adam always eats pizza upside down. Posted by Picasa

Mesmerized by the mechanical band. Posted by Picasa

Adam and Toby enter the restaurant. Posted by Picasa

The women behind the birthday guests are superb, long-time trainers at St. Mary's. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oscar-worthy performance

I went to see the Edward R. Murrow vs. Joe McCarthy film last night, at the artsy-fartsy Angelika Film Center. David Strathairn may have a lock on an Oscar for his amazing portrayal of CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow. Also, I thought it was a brilliant idea to film the movie in black-and-white, evidently so as to use newsreel footage of Joseph McCarthy instead of casting an actor in his role.

The movie is well-written, well-directed, and well-acted, but, I don't know, I guess I just didn't feel the paraonia of 1950s intellectuals about being labeled pinkos, or the wave of paranoia on which McCarthy and other red-baiters rose to prominence. There was more fear depicted with the married couple that was afraid their marriage would be discovered (against CBS policy) than there was on the editorial staff that McCarthy might falsely out them as ComSymps. I may be overstating that a little--the CBS anchorman in the movie did commit suicide, after all. Moreover, I might have been asking for more than George Clooney wanted to give me. You did want to stand and cheer when Murrow delivered his grand editorial:

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due porcess of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another.

We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men--not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

I don't think we're really back to anything close to that in America right now (for instance, George Clooney can say whatever he wants about the Bush Administration with impunity), but it's always refreshing to have a reminder of what the legal system of this country is all about. Also, the movie served as a reminder of the existence of liberal anti-communism in America (Murrow and JFK, for example), something that seemed to go out of style during Vietnam.

Oh yeah, family trivia--a certain first cousin of my DW's grandfather is mentioned in the first few minutes of the movie by his last name and the job he held during that period. Can anybody name that individual?

 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Ethical philsophers

I just took the ethical philosopher selector at this site. It appears that I tend towards rationality and utilitarianism, with dashes of existentialism and and spirituality thrown in for good measure. I am a bit concerned that Ayn Rand is in there.

1. Aquinas (100%)
2. Aristotle (94%)
3. Jeremy Bentham (91%)
4. John Stuart Mill (89%)
5. Epicureans (81%)
6. Jean-Paul Sartre (81%)
7. Spinoza (72%)
8. Ayn Rand (71%)
9. St. Augustine (60%)
10. David Hume (54%)
11. Kant (53%)
12. Stoics (51%)
13. Thomas Hobbes (51%)
14. Nel Noddings (49%)
15. Prescriptivism (43%)
16. Ockham (42%)
17. Plato (42%)
18. Nietzsche (39%)
19. Cynics (37%)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Funny video

My LDS readers--active and otherwise--will get a kick out of this video. I was laughing almost as much as I do during "Arrested Development." Okay, not that much, but it's really funny.

Zen on a coffee table

Wait a second; what's that deliciously violent DVD doing there? Posted by Picasa

Tibetan singing bowl

The singing bowl works much like when you were a teenager at a boring adult event and you ran your wet finger along the top of your water glass. With the singing bowl, you tap the bowl to start a vibration, then run the stick around the top of the bowl. You can either hold the bowl atop your palm or place it atop a pillow. The bowl is made from an alloy of several different metals, and the sound supposedly helps calm the mind. And it's kind of fun to play inside a large hotel with guests on either side of you. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ever since I was a teenager, I've wanted a leather jacket, but they were always too expensive or too impractical for a Louisianian to own, so I always talked myself out of it. Yesterday I was mildly depressed, so on the way back to the hotel, I stopped off at Foley's and bought one. It was half-off, so the practicality-guilt factor was greatly diminished. I'm generally skeptical about the efficacy of retail therapy, but I'll be damned if I didn't feel better when I walked out of the store.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The union of one man and three women

The Utah Supreme Court soon will hear the appeal of Judge Walter Steed, from the order of the Judicial Conduct Commission recommending his removal from office. Judge Steed presides over the municipal court in the polygamist town of Hildale, Utah, and has three wives. The Judicial Conduct Commission determined that Judge Steed was in violation of Utah's bigamy law, despite having taken an oath to uphold the law generally. Steed's defense evidently is that his polygamy is a purely private matter that has no effect on his ability to serve as a judge. It'll be interesting to see how this case goes, and whether whatever the Utah Supremes do will be relied on to support one side or the other in that other marriage debate that's goin' on out there.

I'm just curious--do any of our gentle readers who might be descended from polygamists have any thoughts on Judge Steed's predicament?