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Friday, March 28, 2003

My Latest Bloggermeet

We’re on our way up to Mendocino for a fun weekend that will include laying back in a room overlooking the Pacific; attending a Neil Simon play whose cast includes Denise Howell’s dad, Mel McKinney; and, yes, meeting the lady herself, one of the Blogosphere’s major talents, Denise Howell of Bag and Baggage fame.

We’ll be dining with Denise tomorrow night and I can hardly wait. If it’s as much fun as it was meeting Frank Paynter and Dorothea Salo this winter, we’re in for a great evening.

Denise decided at the last minute to come on up, citing Worst Practices as the rationale for doing so (meaning she’s up to her earlobes in work, and when there’s no time available, that’s when you take off). Way to go, Denise! Worst Practices rule.

This should snap me out of my recent blogging funk. Look for me to be back after this dreamy little trip.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Tentative Return?

I’ve been in good company in my recent absence from blogging. Frank Paynter’s blog was silent for a time, but now he’s back—most recently with a moving piece about his father.

Now that Frank’s back, I guess I should step back in the waters as well. I’m not sure, though, that I can get my heart into it for the time being. I’ve got a ton of spring projects, and I don’t do well with blogging when I’m extra busy.

And now, there’s the war. It depresses the hell out of me. When I’m depressed, I generally don’t like to write. But maybe I’ll find some therapeutic value in it. I can’t say yet. If this blog is thin—or even silent-- for a while, the sadness over the war will be the reason—not because I dropped off the planet

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Best Wishes

Happy Birthday to my fellow sexagenarian, fellow Piscean (our birthdays are only one day apart), and “self-proclaimed Resident Crone of Blogdom,” Elaine of Kalilily. She’s blogged a nice, introspective piece about turning 63.

Tomorrow’s the big day for me, but I’m not going to wax philosophical about it—except to note that the 60’s ( the age, not the decade) has been an outstanding period for me—certainly better than my thirties when I had to make so many fateful decisions about which direction my life was going to go.

Now, all that angst is long gone. Life has turned out, my health is good, my house is comfortable, my wife and children are doing well. The only downside is not having all that much time left, but I don’t waste any energy dwelling on that. I live for today, which is perhaps the best thing about being at this stage of life—you have a much greater ability to stay in present time.

So enjoy your day—and your days, Elaine. I know you have your struggles, but your blog—which has become a part of my life—does a great job of conveying your ability to keep on functioning at a high level, in strength and spirit.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Father Knows Best

Try to guess the author of this quote:

”We should not march into Baghdad. . . . To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us, and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero . . . assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability."

Would you believe George Bush the Elder? Yep, and not that long ago—a 1998 book by Pops (co-authored with Brent Snowcroft) entitled, “A World Transformed.”

(Thanks to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times for the link).

Friday, March 07, 2003

The Advice Lady Par Excellence

I’m one of those introspective bloggers who goes through regular bouts of discouragement about the value of my blogging, and then starts looking for reasons why I should even bother to continue. Well, here’s one I can add to my arsenal: serendipitous connections.

Earlier this week, Denise Howell urged theatre-lovers to hightail it up to the North Coast to the picturesque town of Mendocino--wherein her Dad is a member of the cast of a Neil Simon play at the local theatre company. On top of that, Mel (her Dad) is also doing some inn-keeping nearby at a beautiful inn overlooking the Pacific.

Denise is a person whose advice you can trust. I immediately proposed the idea to my theatre-loving wife--who immediately gave her assent. I told Denise and she promptly contacted Mel, who in turn contacted me with a generous room offer at the inn—plus reservations for the play. Mel also indicated that he’s willing to devote a spot of time at the bar sharing libations with one his daughter’s fans—i.e., me.

Well, I’m just pumped! I’m going to order a copy of Mel’s book, bring it along for weekend reading (another of Denise’s suggestions), and have him autograph it. Denise is right. This is a Renaissance guy.

To make matters sweeter, Denise is hinting that she might try to get up there on the same weekend. My fingers are crossed.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Acrimony Redux

I first heard the story of the T-shirt fiasco at an Albany, NY shopping mall from a post in Elaine’s blog. She lives nearby. Seems that a guy was busted for refusing to honor the request of the mall’s security guards to remove a T-shirt which read “Give Peace a Chance.” The guy happened to be a lawyer, so they fucked with the wrong guy. The mall has now dropped the charges.

This nearly unbelievable incident is a sharp indicator of how much the acrimony level is rising in this country. More and more, it’s feeling like the 60’s—citizen pitted against citizen—a quasi-civil war sort of atmosphere. If you were there, you remember all too well. I, for example, had the delightful experience of being spat on. My wife had family members doing jail time for expressing their views.

If you weren’t there, hold on to your hats. It looks like you may get your chance to get educated in how ugly fellow citizens can be toward one another once an unjust war--fought in the name of “bringing peace to the world”--gets underway.

Thanks, George, for giving us this wonderful atmosphere in which the bad shit can roll all over again.

A Touch of Civility

Kudos to Don Hewitt, executive producer of CBS’ 60 Minutes for arranging the series of debates--spanning a period of ten weeks--between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. These two guys are smart, congenial, and witty. It should be a welcome relief from the screaming matches to which the cable news channels have been subjecting us. And how about the timing? This may well be one of the most critical moments in our nation’s history since WWII—perfect timing for some thoughtful debate—of which we get zero from our elected representatives.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003


There’s no shortage of things to enjoy about Dorothea Salo’s blog. One of the facets that gives me particular pleasure is her dexterity in term-coining. A current delightful example is “Chomskybottitude”, which Dorothea defines as “an affliction few graduate linguistics departments are wholly free of in this country.”

Man, I can’t wait until she’s back in grad school. The clever coinages and assorted barbs should be flying at an accelerated rate.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Bushism and Fascism

Let’s get our Fascists straight. William Rivers Pitt, via wood s lot, provides the following intriguing observation:

”Critics of the Bush administration like to bandy about the word "fascist" when speaking of George. The image that word conjures is of Nazi stormtroopers marching in unison towards Hitler's Final Solution. This does not at all fit. It is better, in this matter, to view the Bush administration through the eyes of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, dubbed 'the father of Fascism,' defined the word in a far more pertinent fashion. "Fascism," said Mussolini, "should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."

Best Wishes

Happy Birthday to my fellow Piscean, fellow Bay Arean, and exemplar extraordinaire of the Piscean soul, Richard Cody!

Monday, March 03, 2003

Blogging For Proactivity

I’ve really been enjoying Mike Sanders’ series of posts on “The Habits of Effective Blogging.” This is the Mike Sanders to whom I was originally drawn.

Mike‘s series spins off of the Stephen Covey classic, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” He makes the following point:

”A life by design is better than a life by default.

Thinking about life is proactive, and is at the heart of the Seven Habits. Why is thinking and talking and blogging any different? Blogging for fun, like living for fun, misses out on greater opportunities. Try to come up with one primary reason for why you blog. It may be difficult. It may be uncomfortable. But, it may be worthwhile.”

OK, Mike, I’ll give it a whirl. Perhaps the primary reason that I blog is to know myself better--to put a spot of definition on this hunk of flesh sitting here in front of the keyboard.

Another reason is to practice the proactivity that you and Covey promote—to shake myself out of my default tendency to be private and withdrawn. Confronting my resistances to this proactivity enhances my experience of living. That’s more than sufficient excuse for blogging right there.

Obviously, I’m giving myself a pep talk here, but why not? My blogging’s been flat lately. Time to kick it back into gear. Thanks, Mike for your motivational words!

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Travelogue Nirvana

My favorite travel-writing blogger is back in action. After a prolonged absence in transitioning from Southeast Asia to Mexico, and recovering from an injury, Dervala Hanley is back. What a treat!

Gather ‘Round the Telly

Anxiously awaiting the nine o’clock hour. It’s the season premiere of Six Feet Under—a dramatic series that’s the equal, imho, to The Sopranos—and that’s saying something, to be sure.

If you have cable but aren’t subscribing to HBO, what are you waiting for? It’s less per month than than going out to the movies and, in most cases, a hell of a lot better.

And the icing on the cake—the return of Boomtown after NBC took it off the air for over a month to make room for a miniseries Those NBC pinheads sure had me scared for a while.

How To Profit From the War

Shelley Powers floats a great idea. She proposes Bush invading the USA, thereby qualifying us for all that postwar aid and democracy that he’s promising the invadees. Lord knows, we need it.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

A Welcome Arrival

My favorite month has arrived—March, the end of winter, NCAA Hoops, wild skies and bracing air, daffodils, tulips—plus which, it’s my birth month (the 12th). Come to think of it, two distinguished bloggers, Denise Howell and Elaine, have birthdays right close to mine. I’m in great company.

Anita Bora has a roll of March bloggers on her blog. On checking it out, I find another member of my roll, Richard Cody, celebrating his 36th in just a few days (the 4th). Richard’s being treated to a weekend at Big Sur, lucky guy.

Anita’s not on her own list, but if she’s not a March baby, then why would she be highlighting March bloggers? Maybe she’ll be good enough to clarify this little mystery. I’m hoping that she is in fact part of the March list, thus adding further luster to an already select group.

Have I missed some March bloggers here? If so, let me know. And let Anita know. Maybe she’ll add you to her March list.

I should be doing yard work, but, screw it, I’m going to switch on the tube and watch my alma mater—the Indiana Hoosiers--as they take on Iowa. Unfortunately, the game means zilch as Indiana has had their worst season in thirty years.

Does anyone know what the hell happened to these guys? At the beginning of the season, I was ecstatic. Indiana was one of the best teams in the country and they beat defending national champion Mayland in an exciting game. I thought we were in for a wonderful year.

But they seem to have collapsed, and I haven’t been able to find out why. If they don’t turn it around immediately and totally, they aren’t even going to make it to the NCAA tournament--which, if you’re a Hoosier fan, is unthinkable. I can’t even remember a year where they didn’t get in.

C’mon guys, don’t spoil my favorite month!