Friday, June 30, 2006

Good thing I'm already married

Your Candy Heart Says "Get Real"

You're a bit of a cynic when it comes to love.
You don't lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: is all about the person you're seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)

Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic

What turns you off: romantic expectations and "greeting card" holidays

Why you're hot: you don't just play hard to get - you are hard to get

Artiste

Who Should Paint You: Alfred Gockel

All American yet funky, you inspire an artist's imagination
And while not everyone will understand your portrait, you will!

Quirk test

Your Quirk Factor: 42%

You're a pretty quirky person, but you're just normal enough to hide it.
Congratulations - you've fooled other people into thinking you're just like them!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Satan's politics

The Evil One may be involved in a congressional race in Utah. I loved this line in particular: "Cannon's campaign would not address whether Lucifer is opposing either candidate." In any event, Satan will make a dandy excuse for Mr. Jacob should he lose the race.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Autism Walk

Sean B., the son of autism blogger Marc, is walking in the Cure Autism Now (CAN) Walk in Houston in October 2006. If you would like to donate, click here. CAN is a most worthwhile organization. If we have another involuntary vacation in Texas this year, I may join the walk myself.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Weekend in CenLa


A balanced diet is extremely important. Posted by Picasa


Toby entering Target. We got there around 9 a.m. today, and Toby selected a toy Dodge Ram pickup, a Spider-Man comic book, a SpongeBob notebook, and a pack of pencils. We went back to the hotel for waterplay and elevator play. After that, we took a break in the room, then made our first visit to the better-than-you'd-think Alexandria Zoo. Then we had lunch and took Toby back to his school. Fun day. Posted by Picasa


I picked up Adam around 2 p.m. yesterday, then went back to the hotel for some waterplay with DW. Adam evidently thought it would be fun to engage me in a game of chase, and he tore out like a bat out of hell from the car to another part of the hotel, then all the way around our wing of the place. When I finally got him to the room to change into his swimsuit, he demanded some Keebler fudge stripe cookies we had placed in the kitchen. Now, to Adam, a fudge-stripe cookie constitutes a clump of cookies stuck together by chocolate, and there are only 4 cookies per bag by that definition. He ate all 4 of them. Adam is a heavy eater for such a skinny kid. Ah, those were the days . . . Anyway, we had great family fun this weekend. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wild, wild west



Is anybody else watching "Deadwood" this season? I'm watching S3 while catching up on S2 via DVD. It's beyond me why this show didn't click with me before now, but now I dig it, cussing, whoring, and all. All I can say about this season is day-umn! IMHO, "Deadwood" this season is at the level of "The Sopranos" in its glory years. If you have HBO, check it out--this season will be followed by two two-hour episodes, and that will be the end. Thank goodness for DVDs.

Crime wave

The crime problem here in New Orleans is getting out of control, so the local authorities imposed a youth curfew and had the Governor send in the National Guard to help out the NOPD. At least they're acknowledging the problem and trying to get on top of it. The idea is for the National Guard to patrol the sparsely populated "wet" parts of town to free up NOPD to focus on the "murder triangle" in Central City and other areas with crime on the rise. Still, it was odd watching the convoy roll into town the other day, and the powers-that-be in the tourism industry are afraid of what impression conventioneers might get when they see American soldiers patrolling a large American city during peacetime. This bit from NOLA.com reminded me of my own tendency to minimize things:

To that end, the Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau distributed hundreds of fliers in hotels reassuring tourists that only parts of the city should be considered off-limits.

The bureau told visitors that the National Guard has been assigned to "outlying damaged and sparsely populated neighborhoods," allowing the NOPD to patrol tourism areas and enhance "the already good safety record these districts enjoy."

The flier describes the recent spate of killings as "enhanced drug-related violence concentrated in a couple of isolated neighborhoods miles away" from the CBD, the French Quarter and the area around the Convention Center.

The one-page message urges visitors to walk the sidewalks of downtown -- but recommends against "venturing into areas of the city that are sparsely populated, particularly after dark."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Old satire


 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Killers with a conscience



We finally watched "Munich" last night. It is well worth a viewing. I can see why it was controversial in some cicles, but that happens with thought-provoking films. "Munich" is thought-provoking indeed. "How does a society best respond to terrorism?" is the central question of the movie, and Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner don't answer that question. However, they do point out that violence can beget more violence in response, and that terrorists who are killed may be quickly replaced by people who may be even worse. Also, the members of the Israeli hit squad have deep ethical concerns about their activities, even as they kill the Black September leaders responsible for murdering the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. As in "Team America, World Police," we see that people like us need people like them in the shadows to keep us safe from even worse people. But we sure as shootin' need to give some thought to the results we want to achieve and use these shadowy figures to achieve those ends. "Hell if I know" would be my answer to the question posed by the film, but it seems worth it to explore the question and the other questions to which it gives rise.

Fathers Day in America



Sometimes one discovers that an old man's ritual can be quite therapeutic. However, my stomach is a tad icky at the moment . . .

I had a nice zazen experience this morning. I had difficulty dropping off body and mind, but it was nice when I accomplished that momentarily. On the way home, I reflected a little on something I read recently about Zen being a puritanical form of Buddhism, in that it has jettisoned almost all dogma and focused on meditation practice. I appreciate the lack of dogma and the radical simplicity of Zen, but to each his/her own. Anyhow, maybe the practice of spiritual traditions is the most important component of those traditions--more important than the doctrines and dogmas to which those traditions ascribe. Some of the finest people I know are deeply religious, and they actually practice the gentleness, humility, and love that they preach.

Friday, June 16, 2006

An optimistic viewpoint

poem for nobody

an apprehension for reality, the death of the flower
the collapse of hope, the crush of
wasted years, the nightmare faces,
the mad armies attacking for no reason at all
and/or
old shoes abandoned in old corners life half-forgotten
voices that once said love but did not mean
love.

see the face in the mirror? the mirror in the
wall? the wall in the house? the house in the
street?

now always the wrong voice on the telephone
and/or
the hungry mouse with beautiful eyes which now lives in
your brain.

the angry, the empty, the lonely, the
tricked.

we are all
museums of fear.

there are
as many killers as flies as
we dream of giant
sea turtles with strange words carved into
their hard backs
and no place for the knife to go in.

Cain was Able,
ask him.
give us this day our daily dread.

the only solace left to us is to hide
alone in the middle of the night in some deserted
place.

with each morning less than zero,
humanity is a hammer to the brain,
our lives a bouquet of blood, you can watch
this fool still with his harmonica
playing elegaic tunes while
slouching toward Nirvana
without
expectation or
grace.

Charles Bukowski

I'm not nearly so pessimistic or depressed as that, but I'm afraid there's some validity to the characterization that "we are all museums of fear." Lord knows I've got plenty of fears and anxieities. Perhaps I should write a poem about them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Deluge Revisited



I dreamed last night that I was hard at work in my office when it started raining really hard. It was even harder than during the May 1995 flood. DW called, and I looked out the window, only to see a couple of feet of water in the street and on the side of the courthouse. I went back to work, and it rained even harder. When it was time to go home, I looked out the window to see the courthouse standing in eight feet of water. I called DW, and she was upset that I hadn't come home after the first call, when there was only two feet of water. I realized that I would have to sleep in the office, and I was uncertain about when I would be able to go home, but I was secretly happy, because in the dream, anyway, the flood meant that we likely would be moving.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Estate planning


DW and I have an appointment to sign our wills and other estate planning documents.  We're arranging for our boys' guardianships and the administration of their special-needs trusts, hopefully for the next 50 years or so (and thanks to Gentle Reader Bill here).  We've also got living will and power-of-attorney documents so that we avoid the Terry Schiavo situation.  I still haven't decided which box to mark on the living will.  I suppose that if my condition is terminal and death is certain without artificial supports, I'd rather just get it over with, but I really haven't given it a lot of thought.  Mortality, mortality.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Local history



I picked up "The Great Deluge" yesterday, a history of Hurricane Katrina authored by Tulane history professor Douglas Brinkley. I'm about halfway through the book now. Brinkley is a dispassionate academic by trade; this book is scathing and judgmental, and, in some cases, rightfully so. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is particularly lambasted for his lame leadership during the storm and its aftermath. I gather that Nagin did not provide Brinkley with an interview, but I notice that several individuals who remain in the mayor's inner circle did contribute to the book. The NOPD, FEMA director Mike Brown, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and President Bush also get a big thumbs down from Brinkley. Brinkley is slightly more favorable to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, though it's clear that she was in over her head. On the other hand, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the mayors and police forces of coastal Mississippi, various hosptial staffs, and a good many private citizens are shown to be genuine heroes.

Unfortunately, the book is chock full of typographical errors and misspellings, inconsistencies, and mistakes in geographical references. For instance, Brinkley refers to the residents of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, alternatively as "Chalemetteans" and "Chalmations," (which some people in Chalmette find insulting), and the Lake Borgne Surge pummelled St. Bernard Parish, not coastal Mississippi. I suppose the book was rushed into print. It is compelling reading, however.

Friday, June 02, 2006

poetry moment

regardless

the nights you fight best
are
when all the weapons are pointed
at you,
when all the voices
hurl their insults
while the dream is being
strangled.

the nights you fight best
are
when reason gets
kicked in the
gut,
when the chariots of
gloom
encircle
you.

the nights you fight best
are
when the laughter of fools
fills the
air,
when the kiss of death is
mistaken for
love.

the nights you fight best
are
when the game is
fixed,
when the crowd screams
for your
blood.

the nights you fight best
are
on a night like
this
as you chase a thousand
dark rats from
your brain,
as you rise up against the
impossible,
as you become a brother
to the tender sister
of joy and

move on

regardless

--Charles Bukowski