Thursday, August 30, 2007


I learned today that Richard Jewel had died. You remember him - he's the one who found the bomb at the Olympics, saved lives and then spent months defending himself from accusations that he had planted it. The FBI confiscated his mother's Tupperware and (??) Disney movies in their search for evidence against him, before realizing that the bomber was Eric Rudolph.

Jewell was forty-four.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Utah & Utah

I'm strangely heart-broken about the lost miners in Utah. I believe in miracles, but by now I am sure thay they are dead - I only hope that it happened right away, quickly, without pain and not three days ago. I want to do something, but have settled for prayers and hopes -

Then I found out that thousands (literally) of miners die in China each year. With all that we have learned about mine safety in the last century, is this the best that we can do?

Then there's the collapse of the stock market, which affects me only in as far as my hope that interest rates will drop and my student loan payments shrink.

Anyway, I was wallowing in self-pity, melacholy and whatnot, so I picked up the textbook for this fall's class. It's been two years, so naturally there's a new edition. Unusually, actual significant changes have been made. This necessitates actual careful reading - American History has not changed, but the book has. The book's collective authors have added lots (wonderful) about the Mormons. Somehow reading about people who lost everything not once but several times, then walked with wheelbarrows from Illinois to Utah -

my life is mindbogglingly safe, protected and boring. This is actually a good thing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

the waiting game

I have come to the conclusion that the nation and the world are simply waiting for G.W. Bush's term to end. Teh latest corruption stories (firearms stolen and sold to others rather than given to Iraqi police - unless the police stole and sold them, who knows) have attracted attention from only the far left-wing. Newsweek ran an article about it but their pieces on college admissons will attract far more attention.

Much as it pains me, I think that most of the world has simply given up - they support the troops and wish them well, but there's a feeling that once GWB is out of office, somehow all of this will get better.

I do not share this view, but I do begin to share the sense that this is a waiting game, that we must simply outlast the president's term before we can do anything about his legacy.

Meanwhile, I can be glad that I have no 401(k) as it probably would have tanked by now.

Yours in cynicism,

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

mystery house

Naturally I've had "You Can Leave Your Hat On" stuck in my head since Thursday, coupled with an incredible desire to giggle.

Sam and I follow the same route nearly every day for our walks. Periodically I will notice something about one of the houses or other buildings and (human curiosity, I suppose) I start to come up with possible explanations. One house had an enormous trash binin teh back yard for months - the kind that are the size of a garbage truck. "Ah, remodeling," I thought. Then a port-o-potty appeared and stayed, which to me suggests a lack of running water.

The grass stayed neatly mowed and the bushes trimmed. Maybe I've just seen too many episodes of Flip This House in which the whole project gets completed in two weeks or less, but this wasn't what I expected.

The bin and the outhouse were gone as of yesterday, but there's no For Sale sign - perhaps I need a new theory.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

adventures in music

I am not, as Dave Barry would say, making this up -

Scientists at the Berlin Zoo have been experiementing with mood music to encourage the sharks to, well, fornicate more frequently. (As long as these sharks stay inside their tanks inside Berlin, I have no problem with this experiment.)

Appaerntly one of the songs which sharks find most conducive to procreation is Joe Cocker's "You Can Leave Your Hat On" immortalized in the soundtrack to 9 1/2 Weeks.

The Indianapolis Zoo has a new shark petting tank. I am deeply tempted to bring in a boom box... though I would not dream of turning it on while petting them. Perhaps I should donate some ipods?

Friday, August 03, 2007

downsides to post-modeern technology

It’s happened again.

This is the third time.

Someone gave out my phone number as theirs, and now I get their calls.

The first time, it went on for years – women would refuse to believe that I was keeping their man from them and subject me to all sorts of interrogations. Mothers looking for their daughters would burst into tears (this happened three times) when they realized that the “nice boy” had lied to them. Only when the “nice boy’s” boss called looking for him did the calls stop. “Oh, I’ve been getting his calls for years – usually teenage girls.” Oh to have been a fly on the wall when he and the boss did finally connect.

Anyway, in the last month I’ve been getting another round from a fresh source – three messages on my answering machine, including one left at 6 AM, plus plenty of collect calls. This woman owes someone money, and the people calling refuse to believe that I don’t know her.

It’s all quite annoying, but is also a very strong message: I will never, ever, EVER default on any sort of loan, even if it means a lifetime of Ramen noodles. Oh, yes, and cheap beer.