September 30, 2005
Of course, right after this there was a poop of epic proportions. So, it's not all giggles and happiness.
September 29, 2005
I've been sitting downstairs listening to stories from four generations of women in my family. Well, to be fair, Mia didn't have much to contribute but the rest of the convened family did. Its interesting, although a bit like waking up to find yourself on an episode of The View.
My parents rented the house Beth and I usually stay in - which is why the pictures I eventually get around to posting may look slightly familiar - and brought my grandmother, aunt and cousin down to stay. They're falling over themselves trying to get acquainted with Mia while Beth and I are trying to squeeze in a little relaxation.
I'm trying to avoid being around when Beth's request from last night is eventually honored. Let's all tell stories about Chris growing up she encouraged. And they will. Families are all about stories. And that's okay. We're constantly making more. Like the time when Beth and I showed Mia the edge of the continent this morning. Sure, she was mostly asleep but maybe some day, in some house on some beach, Beth and I will be the old folks in the room and we'll tell Mia and her kids about this day.
September 28, 2005
Back At The Beach
We have arrived. Yep, we're safe and sound at the beach. I'm happy to report that the Atlantic Ocean is just where we left it. And I'm even happier to report that Mia slept the whole way.
Mia's gotten to meet her great grandmother, her aunt and one of her cousins. She drooled and spit up a little but we think, overall, she's enjoyed meeting the family. Pictures tomorrow. Now...rest...
The Ass-Crack of Dawn
We figured, if we want Mia to sleep in the car on the way to the beach, we should probably go when she wakes up. She usually naps after a quick snack anyway. So, its 4:30...we've been up for half an hour...the car is loaded...we're heading out. Daddy needs coffee.
Wish us luck.
September 27, 2005
If you don't hear from me for a little while, don't worry. I haven't run off and joined the circus or anything. Beth, Mia and I are headed to the beach! If the Internet gods are smiling, there'll be daily updates and pictures. And if the baby gods are smiling, a vast majority of the road trip will be quiet due to a sleepy baby.
Not long ago, I bitched up a storm about the media. This is what I was talking about.
Somehow, against all logic, the death of Don Adams becomes breaking news. Yes, sitting above news of real honest-to-god tragedy, we get this little emergency nugget. Can you imagine the conversation between the geniuses that decided to greenlight this one?
Media Idiot 1: Hey, Don Adams died!
Media Idiot 2: Who?
MI1: Don Adams. The Get Smart dude.
MI2: The Get What who?
MI1: Secret agent...cone of silence...Agent 69 or whatever
MI2: Heh. You said 69. And I still don't know what the fuck you're talking about dude.
MI1: Um. Inspector Gadget!
MI2: Inspector Gadget is dead? This is big!
MI1: No, no. He was the guy who did the voice of Inspector Gadget.
MI2: Voice? Gadget wasn't real? Go go gadget bummer.
MI1: This is way more important that all that hurricane shit.
MI2: I smell breaking news, dude.
MI1: No way.
MI1: No way.
MI2: Rest in peace, oh gadget man.
September 26, 2005
The Sunday Night Through and Through
Warning: This is probably an over-complicated story filled with way too much information that will, by its end, have very little payoff. But it is one aspect of life I don't believe I've described before.
If you've been reading for a while (longer than two months because, as you can imagine, they've been displaced from the limelight since Mia's arrival), you know that we have two cats. There's Pixel, the 13 year-old monster cat we adopted in an emaciated state one icy winter. Then there's Callie, the 18 year-old who's lived with Beth since she (Beth) was 12. Callie is exactly half the size of Pixel. Callie suffers from faltering kidneys.
Because of her less-than-reliable kidneys, once or twice a week we have to break out what we call "The Callie Bag." It's essentially an IV bag like you'd see in the hospital. It's filled a saline-like substance delivered through a long line and a needle. Before anyone says anything about how cruel this is, Callie is a happy cat. Otherwise we wouldn't do this to her. She's quite healthy, kidneys aside, and regularly kicks Pixel's ass.
It takes two people to hydrate the cat. Yes. Two people for a 7 pound cat. Typically, I sit on the couch with Callie in my lap. She assumes the position - hunkered down, relaxed or just plain resigned. Beth inserts the needle around Callie's tail area at which time it becomes my responsibility to hold the needle in (while still holding the cat in place) while Beth squeezes the bag and keeps an eye on the amount of stuff that we've pumped into the cat. Once complete, Beth removes the needle and we hold on to Callie for a while to make sure she's alright.
When all goes according to plan, we fill the cat like a waterbed, she sloshes upstairs and takes five minutes to get over the trauma then heads back down to take a nap. When things go wrong, though, several things might happen.
The Blockage. Sometimes, whether its by physical blockage or just sheer force of will, its impossible to get any fluid into the cat. Like the Bermuda Triangle, the location of socks gone missing after a spin in the dryer and the continuing appeal of Jerry Lewis in France, it's just one of life's little mysteries. The needle must be removed. We try again.
The Callie Fountain. Occasionally, when the needle is removed, even after the area has been monitored, the cat, well, the cat springs a leak. Sometimes this leak is constituted by a mere trickle. Sometimes, however, its more pronounced leaving a little trail of saline on the carpet or, perhaps, the wall. This is easily rectified by applying a bit more pressure to the ass of the cat near the point of entry.
The Through and Through. Like Briscoe and Curtis, sometimes Beth and I encounter the “through and through.” In this arrangement, and unbeknownst to us, the needle has both entered and exited the cat. We’re all quickly brought up to speed on this situation as a cold spray of saline exits the cat and douses my nether regions. Composure, in my book, is being able to hold on to a pissed off cat with a needle in her ass while your crotch gets a bath in cold saline.
Last night, and for the second week in a row, we had a Through and Through.
Me: Through and Through! We have Through and Through!
Her: Oops. Sorry. Okay. Fixed.
Her: What’s that look for?
Me: Christ, my balls are cold! That stuff is freezing. Oh. Oh no.
Me: It’s made its way to my ass crack. Oh, that’s not comfortable at all.
Her: Have you realized you’ve got the only balls in the house? You're the lone ball-bearer of the family.
Me: I’m painfully aware of that right now.
Her: Then why are you laughing so hard?
Me: I just picture a bunch of people in tuxes carrying two little boxes.
Me: Ballbearer...pallbearer. Oh, and dibs, by the way.
Her: What, you’re going to tell the Internet about this?
Me: Of course.
Her: Do you think the Internet is really ready to hear about cold balls and wet ass cracks?
Me: Probably not. Like that’ll stop me.
It's a glamorous life we have, no?
Haiku For Monday #97
How the hell did that happen?
Sheesh. Weekend timewarp.
September 24, 2005
September 23, 2005
Audioblogging? I Remember That!
It's been a little while since I've actually audioblogged. Sadly, I've got nothing to say...but I won't let that stop me!
I'm under a little stress. See, I have to do this thing this morning that I really don't want to do because it involves standing up in front of a bunch of high-powered people and presenting what will hopefully be a spirited, professional and competent briefing. And this morning? I couldn't figure out how to unlock the front door. I've got a lot of mental distance to travel over the next three hours.
Possibly the strangest manifestation of the stress? The dream I had last night. It was like the college dream where you realize you have a final in a class you've never attended. Only with a twist. In the dream, I have no idea how old I was - at least high school age - but I got sent back to elementary school. As a student. How fucked up is that?
Okay...back to work. Happy Friday everyone!
September 22, 2005
Eeyore, Working, And Hookers
It's hard to believe but Mia is two months old today. Even more difficult to fathom is the fact that she's already got a boyfriend.
Yes, Mia's in love with Eeyore. Everytime we put her in her crib, mobile overhead, she merely gives the slightest of glances to Piglet, Tigger and even Pooh. No, it's Eeyore she loves. Every time. It's bizarre yet insanely cute.
Yesterday morning I woke up from a bad dream and convinced myself that I was going to work from home. Before I knew it, however, I was dressed and fighting traffic to make it to the office. Where I proceeded to have a very boring day. This morning? I thought better of the whole thing. I'm working from home and preparing for a presentation I have to give tomorrow morning. That I'm not particularly looking forward to. At all. But I'll live and then it'll be the weekend!
Oh, before I forget, many of you have commented that I was perhaps slightly off when it came to the price of your average hooker in yesterday's post. This should serve to reinforce my position that I have no first-hand experience with ladies of the evening. So, I low-balled it. Um, so to speak.
September 21, 2005
No Moon Left Behind
Science rocks. I had to say that. Some people might read what follows and think I’m some anti-science freak. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Science has brought us many great things like advances in medicine which have increased our health and longevity and the Internet which brings us porn. I applaud science and the scientists who sciencify for the benefit of us all. Like I said, science rocks.
Earlier this week, NASA made a great big announcement. Apparently, we’re going to the moon, baby! Yes, in the interest of exploring the many nooks and crannies of this great big old universe we call home, we’re headed moonward. Okay, okay. I know, we’ve already been. But that’s not the point, right? How else are we going to spend $100 billion?
Do you have any concept of what $100 billion will buy? Besides half the cost of the war in Iraq to date or half of the estimated costs of rebuilding the Gulf Coast following hurricane Katrina? Here’s a hypothetical. Let’s say I’m a billionaire. I just happen to have 100 billion-dollar bills in my wallet that I’m itching to spend. I’d hate to be selfish so…burgers for everyone! Who wouldn’t like a burger right now (don’t worry – I have veggie burgers for those of you who, like me, don’t eat meat)? Well, it turns out with $100 billion I could buy burgers for 20,000,000,000 people…if there were that many people on the planet, which there aren’t. So, want fries with that? I can buy burgers and fries for 12,500,000,000 people. But damn, that's still more food than there are people in the entire world. So, I’d like to buy the world a Coke. That means I can only buy food for 9,090,090,090 people…still more meals than people. How hard is it to feed the world anyway? Fine. My last offer? A full body massage or a hooker. Your choice. 1,639,344,262 of the planet’s population should be very pleased with their fine fast-food meal and hooker (or massage). Of course, I’m sure there are already a bunch of people with plenty of burgers and hookers (or masseuses). I’d better rethink this.
There are an estimated 36 million Americans living below the poverty line. With those crisp billion-dollar bills, I could feed each one of them 253 times, or spring for three meals a day over the course of 80 days (hooker [or massage] not included). Can you imagine how completely and utterly cool it would be to have the power to feed 36 million people for three months? How amazing it would be to put food on tables across the country for 36 million people, to temporarily eliminate the struggle for one basic necessity for a short period of time allowing folks to focus on other things like finding jobs, gaining job training or pursuing an education? Can you imagine the impact of helping this group of people use their money to find adequate child care, pay off medical expenses or put something back into the sagging economy?
I don’t think going to the moon is a bad idea, as long as we’re able to answer a couple questions and make some difficult choices. What do we tell the soldiers in Iraq who are scrambling to weld iron plates to their Humvees because the government hasn’t followed through on its promise of better equipment? (By the way, when you’re out in space and realize the government didn’t adequately equip you, you’re fucked.) Or the folks diggging out from underneath the piles of rubble in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama? Or the veteran who’s trying to get the government to pay for a prosthetic leg? Or the seniors crossing the Canadian border in search of prescription drugs they can afford without sacrificing meals? Or the 36 million people living below the poverty line who could use a burger right now?
Methinks the President should focus on one thing at a time, mainly the welfare of the people living in the United States. To remind him of his civic responsibilities, please join me in Operation: No Moon Left Behind. Next time you see the president in person, drop trou and show him your own fleshy pink moon. Remind the President that there are moons here on earth that need his attention first.
All costs were estimated. Food costs were derived from average prices across major fast food restaurant chains. Burger prices were inflated a bit just cos. Rates for hookers were derived through extensive viewing of Law & Order episodes which are kindly provided by no less than three channels (NBC, TNT, USA) and can be found nearly every night of the week.
Burgers - $5.00
Fries – $3.00
Coke - $2.00
Hooker/Masseuse - Priceless. No, I'm kidding...$50/hour (prices may vary based on the rates established by each individual hooker/masseuse and his or her professional, uh, limitations.
September 20, 2005
On Books: August (really late)
Those of you who actually keep track of this kind of stuff know that I'm really late. Late with my thoughts on the stuff I read the previous month. I'll play the baby card again. Hope that flies. Without further (or, any actually) ado, here's August, in books...
Sandstorm by James Rollins. I'll say this - it didn't suck as much as some of his previous books. I know, I know - if they sucked so bad, why did I pick up this one. Hrm. Seems like another appropriate time for the baby card. I was actually seeking pure, mindless drivel. And I got it. Rollins writes very generic, bland adventure-thrillers (if that's a genre) that could easily be written by any hack, anywhere. But don't underestimate the entertainment value in cheap fiction.
Off Ramp by Hank Stuever. A collection of articles written by the Washington Post feature writer, Off Ramp takes a look at the off-beat and, occasionally, the just-plain-odd. Each and every one of them is brilliant. Now, I get the Post. It comes to my door every morning. But rarely do I flip through it. I will, now, if only to find Stuever's latest.
Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans edited by Dave Eggers. You'd expect nothing less than brilliant, funny fiction from McSweeney's and Eggers. And nothing less is delivered here. Although it's spotty in parts and, occasionally quirky and funny part ways and just become odd. But I like odd. So it works for me.
Miss Wyoming by Douglas Coupland. I get the feeling Coupland's falling out of favor, that his moment of glory has passed. Reviews of his most recent novels have been less than stellar and this once cutting-edge author might no longer be so hip. That said, Miss Wyoming emerged from Coupland's glory days. Its captures Gen X accurately and yet, as Coupland always does, he catches something else, something meaningful and true. Like Brett Easton Ellis or Jay McInerney, Coupland's fiction might forever be associated with a decade or generation. But there's nothing wrong with that.
The Task of This Translator by Todd Hasak-Lowy. You know how it sometimes takes you a little time to get the author, to understand the author's (and I'm sorry - this will sound pretentious) voice? It wasn't until I made it through the second story in this collection that I got it, that I understood where he was coming from. Hasak-Lowy is a gifted author with a quirky style who clearly loves stringing sentences together. His stories are different, as is the way he tells them. But that's a good thing.
Dude, Where's My Country? by Michael Moore. I like Michael Moore. There. I said it. Yes, he's obnoxious and I'm very well aware that he's a propagandist at heard but I like the fact that he says what he feels. But this book? Not so hot. First, Moore has good ideas but he's so cynical you feel terribly negative agreeing with him. In one chapter, for instance, he does nothing but swear up and down that corporate America has it out for each and every worker, that they don't care about you and merely want to use you up and spit you out. I don't think that's true. I'd like to give people a little more credit than Moore. I know where he's coming from - Flint, Michigan where GM packed up and left an entire community destitute - but I can't operate under an assumption like that. I'm a cynic about my politics but I've got to believe there's some good in everyone. Second, Moore's not a terribly good writer. He sometimes comes off sounding more like the editor of a high school newspaper talking smack about the principal. And I know what I'm talking about. I was the editor of my high school newspaper. Regardless, Moore raises good issues and makes some strong points.
The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas by Davy Rothbart. I'm not a short story fan. I like novels, stories with room to grow, to spread out in front of you. Occasionally, I pick up a short story collection, as I did twice in August (again, baby card, short attention span, etc...), and walk away genuinely impressed. Rarely do I find something that inspires awe, on par with the finest fiction I've read. This, however, was one of those times. Rothbart is nothing short of brilliant. I dare you - pick up this collection.
Lessons From Dadhood: Episode Four
Lesson Ten: Dads Are Evil, Infants Are Helpless
I have no clue who put her pants on her head. No clue. At all.
September 19, 2005
"Bupkis" Is A Funny Word
It's bright and early on a Monday morning. I'm here, in the office with a nice big cup of coffee, racking my brain in an attempt to come up with something simultaneously witty, enlightening and entertaining. You know what I got? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Bupkis. At least in the witty post department. I've got a big effin' headache and a sleep deficit. But that's not entertaining.
Yesterday was quite the parenting challenge. I'm afraid there's a distinct possibility I didn't rise to it. You see, it became apparent around noon yesterday that Mia needed a nap. Eleven hours later, she fell asleep. The period in between was, well, just a tad stressful and ever-so-slightly frustrating. So, needless to say, I'm a little shell-shocked and worn out today. Not to mention feeling a little inadequate since I didn't seem to be able to do much to help the situation. About as useful as a wine steward on the Titanic as it went down. Or a toaster in an Amish kitchen. Or...well...you get the idea.
So, what were your weekends all about?
Haiku For Monday #96
I've got a headache
this big (arms stretched wide open).
I call it 'Monday'.
September 18, 2005
The Great Escape
Get this - last night, Beth and I went out. To dinner. Alone. Yes, bottles were filled, diaper bags packed and grandparents enlisted. After eight weeks of trial-by-fire parenting, we still have things to say to each other. Of course, we mostly talked about Mia. We made it through a wonderful meal at our favorite Indian place with only one phone call to the grandparents. Then we looked for a Starbucks. Didn't find one (can you believe it? its not like we were in Beruit. And I bet they actually have fine coffee establishments in Beruit.). Found ourselves just driving around aimlessly. And enjoying it. Then, of course, we raced back to pick up Mia because we just couldn't stand being away from her anymore.
I learned a couple things. A night out with Beth is still wonderful but leaving your child behind anywhere - even with the most wonderful, patient grandparents in the world - is massively difficult.
September 17, 2005
I've been tagged by the lovely Tamara. Here goes...
10 years ago:
Ahh, ten years ago I was fighting crime on the force with my partner White, who was, ironically, black. We were just about to break up this big drug cartel when his family was captured, held hostage and I had to go all Mel Gibson on their asses which is when, after successfully saving everyone, I got shot in the thigh. Then I retired. Now, I live in a trailer park with my dog Fletch, find the occasional cheating husband for an attractive new wife and live off of Ho Hos and cheap booze.
Oh wait. That's not me.
In actuality, I was living in Small College Town with Beth and Pixel The Extraordinarily Large Black Cat. I was sleeping rarely and skipping way too many classes (both of which, I'm convinced, have resulted in a more frequent than normal occurrance of that "holy shit I've got a final in a class I've never attended" dream). Had there been a degree program for slackerdom, I'd have been well on my way. And quite successful. Somehow, I did emerge from college a year later with a decent GPA and a degree. My hair was down to my ass and there was a high probability that I was wearing something flannel. And listening to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Screaming Trees and countless other offspring of the Seattle music scene that had exploded earlier in the decade. I played a Fender Strat by ear and learned all the grunge I could. I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and still ate meat.
5 years ago:
This broad walked into my trailer having somehow gotten by Fletch. She must have brough a juicy steak. She plied me with cheap booze and told me that old tale of greed and infidelity that I'd heard so many times before. I told her I wasn't interested. She told me there was $10,000 in it for me. I told her I was interested.
Damnit! How'd that happen again? My life, five years ago...
Beth and I were living in yet another two bedroom apartment, only this time we were in Northern Virginia, outside Washington DC, having completed school. I was a running help desk with five employees for a startup and Beth was actually working for the same company she does now.
1 year ago:
The dame had left. It was just me, Fletch and Jack. Jack Daniels.
Oh, shut up!
If you're interesting in what was going down a year ago, well, you can read about it for yourself. I was trying to escape from the clutches of guitarist-obsessed freaks and preparing to number three in a cup. I'm afraid I can't add too much.
Yesterday, I took a day off and spent it with Beth and Mia. And the toothless contractor. Not much to report. It was a nice day.
5 songs I know all the words to:
- Any song by Genesis (shut up) or Led Zeppelin
- American Pie by Don McLean
- Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
- U2's Joshua Tree in its entirety
- In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel (like the rest of my generation)
- candy, especially gummy things
- cookies (current favorite - snickerdoodles)
- Chex mix
- ice cream
5 things I'd do with $100 million:
- Mia's education
- buy a farm or ranch - something with land stretching to the horizon
5 places I would run away to:
- some deserted island in the South Pacific (with the family, and a nice house of course)
- the middle of nowhere
- Canada (pending results of next presidential election)
- did I mention Paris?
5 things I would never wear:
- thong or bikini underwear
- anything popularized by the show Miami Vice
- cocktail dress
5 favorite TV shows:
- Law & Order (all 2,394 of them)
- West Wing (only lately, not so much)
5 greatest joys:
- being a dad
- being a husband
- music (the playing of and listening to)
- my daughter smiling at me
5 favorite toys:
- my guitars
- the iPod (aka, Cactipod)
- 10 speaker stereo system in my music room
- pod coffee maker
5 people I'm taggin:
- That's up to you. You haven't done it, try it out. Just let me know you're doing it!
September 16, 2005
Where I'm Not
After the past four days, I'm beat. And, due to a slight hiccup with a particular project, there's nothing I can do until next week anyway. So I'm at home with my girls. Oh, and the contractor who finally showed up to finish all the work that was started before Mia arrived. It's kinda funny - Mia has just about as many teeth as the contractor. So, my girls and the toothless contractor.
Happy Friday everyone.
September 15, 2005
Freaks At Play
What I'd most like to know is this - why are there kids from the 1930s playing in my neighborhood? Or is this a special play area for all those kids who constantly get told your momma dresses you funny?
Either way, I know why the kid's running. If you're wearing that, you're going to get your ass kicked. It's more of a Children Kicking Other Funny Clothes-Wearing Kids' Asses Zone.
There's a third possibility - elves. We could very well be living around a hidden pocket of elves without knowing it. And if there are elves, I wanna know. We got a score to settle.
Whether it's child or elf, I'm slightly distrubed at its apparently detatchable head.
September 14, 2005
The "Culture of Hopelessness"
Whenever I’m in the car at a certain time – driving home early or heading to a client meeting – I tune into Bill O’Reilly. I’m a masochist. To be fair, however, there are lots of conservative folks I don’t have a problem listening to. And O’Reilly, despite calling himself an “independent” is, at the very least, entertaining. Full of shit and a bully, but entertaining. Yesterday, however, he just plain pissed me off.
The topic: poverty and hurricane Katrina. Almost as soon as I turned the ignition, I heard a caller stating that, in New Orleans and elsewhere, there is a “culture of hopelessness” among the poor. Further, she expressed the hope that Katrina would “provide the electroshock therapy” to snap them out of that mindset and force them to “focus on making their lives better.” Instead of laying out a rational argument why this woman was being insensitive – and why I’d expect O’ Reilly to do this is beyond me – he agreed. The implication was clear – this supposed “culture of hopelessness” festering among the impoverished was the fault of the impoverished. Worse, it was a mindset they were responsible for changing. I’ve got a few issues with this.
1. There may or may not be a “culture of hopelessness” among the poor in the South or anywhere else. And it’s anyone’s right to voice their opinion. But watch how loud you scream that from the rooftops. There are two ways of looking at this culture. Either it’s inherent and endemic among those living below the poverty line or its foisted upon them by those in greater positions of social and financial power. More clearly, they’re poor and hopeless and keeping themselves that way or those with greater political, social and financial power are creating an environment in which it’s impossible for them to gain any traction. It’s their fault or our fault. Given that, what kind of damage does it do to use the soapbox hand-crafted by the mainstream media to undermine the efforts of those living below this poverty line? The implication made by O’Reilly is clear and, in one terse comment the value of the poverty-stricken is marginalized. Worse, its made clear that there’s nothing the poor can do nothing to redeem themselves, that it’s a foregone conclusion that the poor, through the implied lack of motivation having succumbed to this “culture of poverty” will do nothing to change the situations in which they find themselves. This culture isn’t being discussed. It’s being reinforced.
2. In 2003, the last year for which complete data is available, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 35.9 million people, or approximately 12.5 percent of the US population, lived at or below the poverty line. 7.4 million people were designated as “working poor.” Also in 2003, slightly more than 140 million people were employed in this country. Nearly 4% fit the definition of working poor. Three out of every five people designated as working poor worked a full-time job. Nearly 2% of the working poor have college degrees. During the same year, 4.2 million families were determined to be working poor. Now I ask – as over one-fifth of the poorest people in the country were holding down jobs and, as there were 4.2 million families considered working poor which, depending on the size of those families could make up a significant difference between those working and those who weren’t (because they were dependents), where is this “culture of hopelessness”? If they were truly hopeless, if they were committed to sitting around collecting welfare checks, having kids and drinking 40s, shouldn’t the number of folks with jobs be a lot lower?
3. Regardless which side of this argument you come down on – whether you believe this culture, if it exists, is the fault of the poor or something that’s been imposed upon the impoverished by those with the financial, political or social clout to change these circumstances – does it really matter? When the founding fathers and those that came after them, backed up the democratic cement truck and started pouring the foundation of the country, wasn’t one of the main ingredients in the mix compassion? One of the driving forces behind the creation of this country was a commitment to the welfare of its citizens, the fact that we’d all try to help those who can’t help themselves, that you’d be looked out for if you couldn’t look out for yourself. The huddled masses, and the like. Who listens to O’Reilly and the rest of the political pundits, conservative or liberal, saturating the radio waves? People like me. People tuning in from a decent car, driving home from a job that pays pretty well, headed for a home with a decent sized mortgage full of stuff we probably don’t need but sure make life more comfortable. I don’t want to police the media. Censorship is wrong and people can express whatever opinions they happen to have. Broadcasters have the right – even the obligation – to point out the problems but to sit and bitch about them, to contribute nothing but anger, is irresponsible. To encourage the same behavior in others, especially those who are in a position to do the most good, is unconscionable. Following the logic on display yesterday, I can visualize O’Reilly’s advice to a rape victim. It wasn’t his fault for raping you. You probably provoked him. And you better expect it to happen again unless you start wearing longer skirts and shorter heels. Because you’ve clearly created a “culture of sexual assault” here.
4. To say, or even agree with the sentiment, that a natural disaster of such proportions should be seen as a catalyst to such drastic societal change is a theory founded on such a flawed premise, and is fundamentally asinine, the theorist can only be irresponsible and just plain mean. Sure, you can say that an earthquake should prompt people to build sturdier houses or a hurricane should clue people into the fact that they might not want to set up a restaurant three feet from the ocean. But the same arguments don’t hold when you’re talking about social forces. Katrina highlighted some significant problems in the ways in which emergencies and disasters are handled, not to mention the financial and racial lines along which people see divisions. But to point out a natural disaster and say, essentially, maybe this will force the poor to improve themselves is just silly. And to expect that to be possible without a greater amount of compassion for those in need is ridiculous.
The solutions? I’m not sure. It’s a tough problem. For many years, I worked with the homeless. I learned a lot of interesting lessons, some of them tough to deal with. But one thing that was abundantly clear was that, in the vast majority of cases, poverty was attributable to pure, dumb luck. Sure, I saw a lot of strung out heroin addicts, a lot of single mothers with five kids and a lot of alcoholics. But in almost all cases, if someone had taken the time to cowboy-up a job and a place to sleep, situations would have changed drastically. For the better. So, who has the power now? Is it the poor or is it us reinforcing the “culture of hopelessness?”
September 13, 2005
Lessons From Dadhood: Episode Three
Lesson Eight: One Size Does Not Fit All and
Lesson Nine: Sometimes Dads Go A Little Nutty
I think this speaks for itself. Don't worry. I'm not at all tempted to try on a onesie.
September 12, 2005
Powered By Juan Valdez
AND BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NUMBER FIVE
Ready for a really lame Monday-morning post? Here you go!
For some reason, I didn't get a hell of a lot of sleep last night. I woke up, oh, about every five minutes. Then, I woke up around five this morning for good. And now? I have five meetings back to back. Starting in an hour. Five hours of meetings, folks. Nothing says "welcome to the five day work-week" like five hours of meetings. Wish me luck with the whole staying awake thing.
See, I told you it would be a lame post.
Haiku For Monday #95
Oh, look. Time for me
to bitch about Monday in
haiku form again:
Monday, please bite me.
And kiss my sleepy white ass
too while you're at it.
September 11, 2005
I have no single, monumental photo that captures Ground Zero or what hapened there or what it felt like to be there. When I visited, my hands were shaking a little too much and most of the photos came out slightly blurred. But this...this is my favorite.
It was taken inside St. Paul's, an Episcopal chapel located feet from Ground Zero. This was where emergency workers first brought the injured. Firemen and paramedics slept here for weeks. It remained a chapel but, in a matter of minutes, it became a hospital, a morgue and a hotel. Today it houses many of the things left behind - pictures of the workers and the missing, patches from uniforms of the hundreds of emergency teams who came to help from every corner of the country, banners made by schoolchildren showing support. The pews are forever scuffed, dented and grooved by the gurneys that were laid down upon them. Musicians play thoughout the day, even four years later.
Buildings are buildings. As much as we like to attribute a certain amount of character to them, they're buildings. They stand, they serve a purpose. And sometimes they fall. But people, well, people dream, feel, love, laugh, cry, try, fail and, most importantly, hope. In the cab ride to Ground Zero, I tried to prepare myself for the worst. But when we arrived, I saw only a construction site. A big hole in the ground. When I entered St. Paul's, though, I saw the tragedy, the real effect, the true cost. Remember those people.
September 09, 2005
Why I'm Happy It's Friday
Well, here's a sure sign that I was ready for work to be over with for the week.
I was doing some financials for a project this afternoon. I got a little tired of them. Can you tell?
Thanks for all the great blog recommendations. Keep 'em coming!
Good Friday morning to you! Is it me or has this week lasted forevah? I'm tired, I've got a headache and I'll be in meetings half the day dealing with issues I'd much rather fool myself into believing don't exist. But I'm happy. Because it's Friday.
Now, for your mission - take a minute, delurk if necessary, say howdy and point everyone else to the greatest blogs we're not reading (or maybe we are). Pimp yourself, pimp your friends or pimp your family members. Easy enough, right? Now, do it standing on your head while whistling the theme from Barney Miller. Okay, I'm kidding. But just about the head-standing, theme-whistling part.
September 08, 2005
Lessons From Dadhood: Episode Two
...picking up where I left off...
Lesson Five: Time Flies When You're Having _____
It's a good thing God/Intelligent Design/Science/The Aliens/Elvis made infants develop so rapidly. It reminds parents of the old axiom, if you snooze you lose. A few weeks back Mia, while incredibly cute, was a chubby pooping machine. While still far from solving quadratic equations, Mia's now awake, vibrant, paying attention to everything and even smiling. Of course, she still poops like a champ but get a load of all this development on her. What I'm trying to say is that the earlier you notice them growing, developing and reacting, the harder it is to forget that they're growing whether you're watching or not. And, with this knowledge, I think you're more apt to watch.
Lesson Six: Babies Make You Forget Lesson Six
There have been times over the last six weeks in which I've legitimately forgotten my name. Someone asked me how old I was (rude bastard) and my response? "Uh." A lot of this might be due to a lack of sleep. Yesterday morning I was on my way to work, stuck in traffic, tired, stretching out behind the wheel, trying to wake up. All of the sudden some asshat starts honking. Like, really leaning on his horn. Everyone stuck with me is looking around...I'm looking around...and then I realize, hey, that asshat is me! I didn't even notice that I was leaning on my steering wheel. I was just tired. And, even though I knew they were asleep, wondering what Beth and Mia were up to. At least, I think that's what I was pondering. I forget.
Lesson Seven: Babies Come with Pre-Installed Slack at No Extra Cost
No one ever tells you this because they're really more concerned with telling you about how hard parenting is and how little sleep you'll get (they're not lying though - it is hard and tiring). But I'll let you in on a secret - when people hear that you have kids, they cut you a little more slack than they ordinarily might. This is especially true, I'm guessing, for first time parents. Here are some helpful examples:
Me: Sure is quiet around here today. And its a gorgeous day out there.
Boss: Yeah. Pity we're stuck inside.
Me: What I wouldn't give to go home and see my kid.
Boss: Oh, that's right. You know what? Take two weeks off.
Me: Is five scoops of ice cream too much?
Me: You sure?
Conscience: You have a kid.
Me: How fast was I going officer?
Cop: You were doing 115 in a 25 zone.
Me: Gee, I'm sorry. Not that you could tell because I'd never drive that fast with a kid in the car, but I'm a first-time parent of a newborn.
Cop: Oh, why didn't you say anything? Let's get you out of here. Need an escort?
Me: No. But that old lady I hit back there...
Cop: Think nothing of it. Let me get that walker out of your grill and you can get on your way.
As these are fictional examples (except for that ice cream thing), the real-world limits of parent slackerdom might vary from parent to parent and prove somewhat more restrictive. However, people do seem to give you a break when they realize you're under the thumb of an infant.
September 07, 2005
Fasten Your Rattles
My wife just put Mia in her swing. I was sitting here listening to her and she started to recite the in-flight safety lecture you normally get on a plane. To Mia. About the swing. It was just about the cutest thing ever.
Oh, and FYI, cats don't particularly like to wear wrist rattles.
The Band's Tight
On the way into work this morning, I spied a rather odd bumper sticker. It's message was simple - "Love me. Love my goats." What do you suppose that means? Ponder that for a while while I move on to music.
The Hold Steady: Separation Sunday
The other day on NPR, I heard a story about The Hold Steady. I'd listened to clips on iTunes but hadn't been all that impressed. Of course, you can't really tell where a band is coming from in 30-second morsels. Anyway, back to being impressed. When I got home, I downloaded the album and was almost immediately happy I had. How to define the sound...
Picture, if you will, a great bar fight. Heavily-tattooed, Harley-riding, leather-wearing guy number one has just cracked moderately-tattooed, long-haired hippy guy over the head with a broken beer bottle while his two buddies armed with pool cues are going after two drunk former jocks who called into question the virtue of Harley-riding guy's mom. The Hold Steady's Separation Sunday would be the album blaring on the jukebox. But there's a catch.
The guitars are loud and crunchy. Think about the more raucous periods in Aerosmith, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin history. Throw in a little AC/DC for good measure. Drums are solid and absolutely bombastic. Booming bass-work rounds out the steady, solid rhythm section. Vocalist Craig Finn talks to the music but rarely sings. His voice is ragged. He sounds like a poet wailing on a soapbox on a busy street corner. But listen to what he's saying.
The bar-fight soundtrack is only the first, most accessible layer of Separation Sunday. Listen closer and you'll realize Separation Sunday is a highly literate album. Instead of being about actual bar-fights or loose women, Separation Sunday tells the story of one person's struggle with addiction and Catholocism in suburban Minneapolis. Not your standard hard rock fare. A few lines from Chicago Seemed Tired Tonight sum it up well:
we gather our gospels from gossip and bar talk then declare them the truth. we salvage our sermons from message boards and scene reports. we come on to the youth. we try out new testements on the guys sitting next to us in the bars with the bars in their windows. even if you don't get converted tonite you must admit that the band's pretty tight.
The Hold Steady have truly produced a fantastic piece of music. It's brash, loud, exuberant and incredibly intelligent. What more could you ask for? Except for more cowbell, of course.
Our Lady Peace released the aptly titled Healthy in Paranoid Times recently. I wasn't taken with their previous two efforts but this one burrowed into my brain and set up camp. It's been in heavy rotation on the iPod. It's not album-of-the-year material but it's solid and catchy. All-American Rejects' Move Along is similarly catchy. They improve and expand upon the formula they laid out with their debut and there's almost no better song on the airwaves this summer than the album's title track. Also notable is Michael Penn's Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947. Concept albums seem to run in the family - Penn's wife, Aimee Mann, released The Forgotten Arm earlier in the year. Both are similar in sound and both deserve a listen.
Now, have you come to any conclusions about that bumper sticker?
September 06, 2005
So, which castaway goes next? Better yet, uh, which ones are still alive?
Resting. My Eyes.
Oh, uh, hi there. No, I wasn't sleeping. Really. I was just resting my eyes. Yeah. That's it. Resting. My eyes. What? No, I didn't drift off on you just now. You have my complete...where was I...my complete attention.
This morning it became abundantly clear that summer is over. Labor Day's in the rearview mirror, schools are back in session and traffic, well, traffic sucked even when I tried to come in (it was dark - that's all you need to know).
The long weekend, however, was a good one. Did you see the pictures? No? Well, what are you waiting for? Beth, Mia and I took a couple walks, hung out with the grandparents, ate a lot, napped way too infrequently and occasionally spit up. That last one was mostly Mia. Mia also managed to scream at Daddy as though he were the devil incarnate for about half an hour last night. That was fun.
Oh, and I got bombed last night. Okay, not bombed. But I don't drink. And I had a beer last night. You know how long its been since I had a beer? Eisenhower was in the White House and Mrs. Cleaver was donning first set of pearls (I'd like it to be noted here the self restraint I'm showing. My 12 year old brain could have a field day with all sorts of things in this sentece. Let your mind wander for a minute). I might be exaggerating a smidge. But it had been a while. So, after I drank the beer, wandered around the neighborhood wearing nothing but a lampshade on my head and a rose between my teeth singing a rocking version of The Love Boat theme (admittedly difficult with the rose and all, not to mention the fact that it was nippy last night), I returned to the bosom of my family and slept it off which is more than I can say for Mia, as she seemed to be awake most of the night. And now its Tuesday morning and I have work to do. Apparently, that's why they pay me to show up. Huh.
This is going to be one of those posts I look back on, scratch my head and wonder what the hell got into me, isn't it?
September 05, 2005
Ahh, yes, finally. I've snapped a few pics this weekend and edited others (I was backing up all my shots this weekend and found a bunch that never made it online). So, here you go...
Enjoy! And happy Labor Day, everyone!
Haiku For Monday #94
Do you think it odd
that we don't work on a day
that's called Labor Day?
September 04, 2005
The Long Weekend So Far
Uh, hi. I'm still alive. All is well. The long weekend is going by swimmingly. Did I just say "swimmingly"?
Mia, Beth and I had dinner at my parents' house this evening. Mia behaved and, when she didn't, grandpa came to the rescue. I almost thought I was going to have to throw down with the guy to get her back. Give the baby back or we're gonna go, old man! or something like that. Luckily, it didn't come to that, although he seemed pretty happy that he'd gotten to spend some nice quiet time with Mia.
Anyway, for those of you who have long holiday weekends, I hope you're enjoying them. For those that don't, well, I hope your work-week starts out okay. Look out for pictures tomorrow.
September 03, 2005
September 02, 2005
Messages From The Edge
I have no concept how to begin, what to say, and where to end.
I grew up on the Gulf Cost, or next to it, rather. I was, myself, the victim of a few storms. I remember one, in particular, that shattered the glass skyscrapers of downtown Houston. They closed that portion of the city so bulldozers and dump trucks could remove the glass that had piled into two and three foot drifts like snow in places. I remember the taped off windows in my house bending, looking as if they’d implode at any minute. They were like soap bubbles on a plastic frame waiting for a kid fill his lungs and blow. But they didn’t break. No. After a couple days withouth power, we settled back into our normal lives with an experience under our belts but no last effects or residual terror.
I'm looking for my sister who is a resident in Meryville,La. nursing home..we haven't been able to telephone the facility the lines must be down..wondering if they are safe..please call her sisters if they get this message...
I never saw this much devastation. No one has. Not in the United States, at least.
I'd say this if there was a Democrat or a Republican in office - there are too many mysteries. Why wasn’t the military or national guard deployed sooner? Why aren’t there bunkers of MREs and water, cots and blankets and medical supplies scattered along the Gulf and Midatlantic coasts? Hurricanes, while unpredictable, only hit certain areas of the country. Why didn't we see this coming? Why were calls to improve the levees around New Orleans, known to be insufficient for storms stronger than category three hurricanes, unanswered? Why is there a vacuum of authority and communication?
My mother is missing. Last known place was her residence in 527 Burgundy #1 in the French Quarter. She is 63 years old, 5'0, 95 lbs., light brown hair, and in ill health. She has Emphysema (oxygen dependent) and needs daily high blood pressure medication. Please help find her. She will more than likely be in a nearby hospital or at home. I am very concerned for her well-being and need to know where she is. I can pick her up anywhere as soon as possible. Please Help!
Maybe what surprises me most is the complete societal breakdown. And the fact that in this, the most prosperous country in the United States, there are convention centers, schools, makeshift-shelters, all filled with the poor, the starving, the orphaned and even the dead. In this country, a country which can drop precision guided missiles on foreign targets, there are hundreds of thousands with, literally, nothing including food or water. There are people who don’t know where their kids are, there are kids without diapers or formula, and there are once-rational adults looting stores and assaulting their neighbors. The majority are trying to help. But they’re all desperate in a country not used to seeing desperation. At least not within its own borders. It’s what you read about in dystopian fiction novels. It's not reality. Or wasn't.
It’s hard to deal with the truth that none of us are too far removed from such desperation. We’re a storm, electricity, food, and water away from being them.
I'm living in a one bedroom apartment with a big living room. Survivors are welcome to stay in my living room (includes sofa, sofa-bed and twin size bed) for as long as they need, for free. (For those who lost everything, I can give the sofa-bed and twin size bed away for free). However, I can not afford food, money or transportation to Ames. I can help out with food a little. If you can make it to within a 3 hour drive of Ames, I can pick you up at a location. Can take up to 4 people.
As I said when I started typing, I don’t know how to start, what to say or how to end. I know that whatever I sit down and type will be inadequate. I’m horrified. I watch the news and have to keep reminding myself – this is our country. The only thing most of us can do, is give money. So please. Give. Please.
Here Comes The Flood by Peter Gabriel
my father, is a pharmacist at memorial medical center on napoleon ave. we lost communication with him 8/30/05 when their landlines went down. looking to find out if the hospital has been successfully evacuated and the location where evacuees from this hospital are being brought to. please email. none of our phones are working properly.
I will pick up and care for your pets while you are in transition. Several of my friends are willing to do the same.
My brother in law is missing. he did not leave with my sister and the children. He is a Black male, 36 years old. If anyone knows how we can find him please reply.
I am willing to make any phone calls and send emails for any victims...FEMA, loved ones.. etc. I'll help anyway that I can.
i am looking for a friend from louisiana i have not spoken with him for years, but i am very concerned for him and his family. his parents are older and i do not know exactly where he may live at this time, but almost certain it would be southern louisiana. any info would be appreciated.
I am very concerned and cried when I seen this, I cry when I see all of those babies and children over there. I want to know if there is any way to find out if the baby is okay. I am really concerned. It was the mother holding the baby and saying it was getting harder and harder to wake him up. I pray for all of you, I wish I could get you all food and water, my heart goes out to you all. I am so sorry this has happened. Please if anyone finds out about this baby and his mother let me know.
Looking for a sweet 80 something lady with a heart condition and her 54 year old son. Any information is greatly appreciated.
TIMCO aviation services inc. has openings for aircraft mechanics. Permanent openings with excellant benifits. Relocation available and housing and travel assistance for qualified individuals. We will help you to relocate to Greensboro NC, Lake City FL, Goodyear AZ. We will assist you in relocating your family in this most desperate situation. Hotel and travel assistance.
We have 1 bedroom AND 1 sleeper and 2 regular couches ...... Plus room for horses, cats, dogs, other animals..... etc. extra barns available..... We are anxious to offer any help we can. Churches and others in my area are open and willing to help..... Would love to help and know of others that can and will open homes to help.
I have lots of kid's toys & clothing (from newborn to 4 yr size). I would be happy to send them to anyone who is in need of them. I live in Chicago. Please tell me what you need & I'll send it to you.
I am looking for my brother to see if he is alive. I can have him moved to Jackson if we can locate him. He is ill and has been in the hospital there.
looking for any infomation about OB patience in New Orleans. Pregant with young daughter. She is due to give birth next week. Last know location Hanes Blvd in New Orleans East.
One-Handed Friday Entry
So, yes, I'm typing one-handed. Get your minds out of the gutter. Beth has a dentist appointment this morning so I'm minding the store. Then we trade. Because we're brilliant and both scheduled dentist appointments on the same day. Back-to-back.
Happy Friday everyone. More later...
September 01, 2005
The Alkie Mist: A Novel
The world's gone mad! Mad I tell you!
The Borders information desk. A couple - in their forties and no more ignorant looking than most - are waiting for some assistance. The desk is abandoned.
Him: What are we looking for?
Her: The Alkie Mist.
Him: 'Bout alcoholics or something?
Her: Nope. Don't think so. Don't know why it has "alkie" in the title.
The phone rings. Surprisingly, the woman picks it up.
Her: Hold please.
Him: Where are these information people?
Her: I'm not sure.
Him: Who's this thing by?
Her: Guy named Cole Ho.
Him: Heh. Ho!
Phone rings again and again, the woman picks it up.
Her: Hold please.
Him: Here's somebody.
Poor Borders Bastard: Can I help you.
Him: Yes. We're looking for The Alkie Mist by Cole Ho.
Her: Oh, and there are some people on hold for you.
Turns out, these scholars were looking for Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. Unlike much of Western civilization, I haven't read it. But neither have these gems so I can't feel too bad. And also? Who just picks up a phone in a business establishment in which they aren't employed to put people on hold? I mean, come on! And the guy? Didn't miss a beat. It seemed as though it barely registered. Does she, perhaps, do this everywhere?
I do have to say, I'd like to get my hands on a copy of The Alkie Mist by Mr. Ho. I'm sure that's a compelling read.
P.S. - I've migrated from Guns n Roses and Green Day to Pearl Jam. I've been running this playlist for, oh, about half an hour and suddenly realized I've been listening to the same song over and over again (Light Years from Binural in case you're wondering). Maybe the early start wasn't a good idea after all.
Early Morning Ramblings
Mia woke up butt-early. Now, I can sleep through most anything you could throw at me. Midgets juggling barking Jack Russels, an impromptu Deep Purple concert in the living room - I can snooze through anything. Except Mia crying. So I got up with Beth and figured, like the sick man I am, that I might as well just get dressed and head into work. So, here I sit, alone in the office having arrived here around 5:15, blasting American Idiot and pounding coffee. Welcome to a random post from what's sure to be a random day.
The Dream: Stoned
Waking up was actually a good thing though. I was trapped in a dream in which I was trying to make it to all my finals. And of course, I couldn't even remember half of them since I was caught in the age-old dream where you realize you've skipped half your classes and don't even know what building they're in. And for one of the finals I had to translate the Rosetta Stone which, yes, I realize has been deciphered but it seemed like one hell of a challenge in my dream. Oh, and I had to do that for a geology class. I think it was the whole stone thing. And then? My dad ended up in the hospital with a kidney stone and he wouldn't tell my mother. As soon as I got him home though? He turned into a coworker. So really it was an okay thing that I woke up when I did.
Pop Culture Education...While Rocking
Last night, we were watching that stupid dance show (shut up) and one couple was dancing to an Elvis tune. I figured it was my duty to educate Mia in the underbelly of pop culture.
That's the King! Did you know Elvis' colon weighed over 50 pounds when he died? Yep. Elvis' colon was impacted. Thank you. Thank you very much. Elvis' colon has left the building
I also completely dorked out when they introduced some disco choreographer.
Me: Who's this? Where the hell is Denny Terrio?
Me: Denny Terrio - original host of television's Dance Fever!
Beth: *blank stare*
Me: Of course, they could have gotten Adrian Zmed who took over for Denny.
Beth: God you're a dork sometimes.
Me: I know.
Okay...I've made it though Green Day and Appetite for Destruction just entered the rotation. I might be able to stay awake after all. Although I could use another gallon and a half of coffee.