Tuesday, January 31, 2006

my angelfood agincourt

Alas! *swoon* My creative juices were cut off by an angelfood cake last night.



At a store!

By the mother-in-law!

Can you imagine?!? *scandalized* WHELL! I never... and to think I welcomed this serpent into my home. Embraced her to my very bosom. (Er, you know how flowery they spoke in the old days...)

"This angelfood of thine methinks is like another fall of cake!"

-- Henry V's chef

So we ate angelfood cake for my darling's birthday.

Soulless angelfood.

Infernal angelfood.

Could only be worse if it were fallen angelfood.

Well, I refuse to be outmaneuvered by the in-trigues of the in-laws. I shall regroup and create another masterpiece for the upcoming "Margarita Night."

My darling will be in attendance. The MIL safely anchored down miles away with her two favorite granddaughters. The stage shall be mine. No hoity-toity angelfood to contend with. Not even a proletarian flan to compete for the heart of my truelove.

And there will I unveil....roasted, caramelized pineapple over vanilla ice cream with cinnamon tortilla crisps.

You are allowed to show your pleasure. ;?p

Monday, January 30, 2006

too much sleep

Am I hitting my "wall" as a blogger? Seems like I've been going on for a little while without serious new inspiration. Or maybe I just got too much sleep last night and am feeling sluggish.

Maybe I just need to get in the kitchen a little bit more.

Y'see, writing is one of my outlets, but cooking is where I get to really create something in a jiffy.

I can always go to the Joy of Cooking well and pull out a new recipe. In under an hour I've gotten my fix of experimenting, applied technique and results to chew on (literally and metaphorically).

It's been awhile, so tonight just might see a little magic in front of the range.

For a certain someone's birthday, I think I shall try out my volcanic cupcake recipe...using a cupcake mix this time. Will the mix yield a fluffier cake that still rises quickly enough to contain the melting truffle within??? Will it?!?

Only time will tell-- Sixteen minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

not quite the hallelujah chorus

some choral fun from a Honda ad.

Funny, my 1990 Accord makes a whole set of different sounds. ^_^

The not-quite-right antenna motor sound would probably be achieved by one of those singers dragging his teeth across a rubber wet suit while a donkey is braying in the background.

Side note, this kind of thing makes me think the "soundscapes" jobs in movie making must be among the most fun. Hard work, but incredibly imaginative work - small team of folks running around trying to create sounds that fit what's happening on screen.

The Lord of The Rings "making-of" DVD shows a bit of what I'm talking about.


The last password Blogger asked me to enter was "whdumbb"

I wonder if there was a message in there...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

irandom thoughts

Here's an interesting bit on the complexities with the burgeoning debate over Iran. Take or leave the messenger (The Nelson Report by way of [liberal-ish] Steve Clemons), it's a good read.

No easy answers. Many potential vectors of response.

pimpafy yoself

No longer must one long only to "pimp one's ride" as seen on MTV...

You too can get your own Pimp Handle so you can playa' appreciate.*

Just plug in your name and [PIMPAFY!]. Multiple 'clicks' yield new handles.

jer, uh...ME! is now otherwise known as:

Professor Truth Reynolds Large

Can you dig it suckazzzz?! :?p

If you too "pimpafy", please let us know what handle tickled your fancy.

(*It is better if you don't ask how jer,uh...ME! came into possession of this dark knowledge.)

Monday, January 23, 2006

a little blues pick-me-up

Well, nothin to do 'bout the stock blues right now. But here's a little funny on the blues to lift spirits...

1. Most Blues begin with: "Woke up this morning..."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues unless you stick something nasty in the next line like "I got a good woman with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes, sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch. There ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or SUVs. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin'to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" mean being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or anyplace in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still great places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues anyplace that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg 'cause you were skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chomping on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in a office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go out to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:

a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass

Bad places for the Blues:

a. Nordstrom's
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League colleges
d. golf courses

11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit,'less you happen to be a old ethnic person, and you slept in it.

12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues?

Yes, if:

a. you older than dirt
b. you blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can't be satisfied

No, if:

a. you have all your teeth
b. you were once blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived
d. you have a 401K or trust fund

13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

14. If you ask for water and your darlin' give you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:

a. cheap wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. nasty black coffee

The following are NOT Blues beverages:

a. Perrier
b. Chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast

15. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So are the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broken-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.

16. Some Blues names for women:

a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

17. Some Blues names for men:

a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

18. Persons with names like Amber, Jennifer, Tiffany, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

19. Make your own Blues name Starter Kit:

a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

Examples: Blind Lime Jefferson, Jackleg Lemon Johnson.

20. No matter how tragic your life, if you own a computer you cannot sing the blues.


Hmmm, I guess It can't rightly be the blues I'm feelin' over my stock troubles. ^_^

the best advice i didn't take (latest installment)

We are always being given advice. Some good, some misguided. Yet it always seems the good advice never sticks until we have to learn it on our own. with pain.

Advice: Never hold onto stock if you can sell it now for a profit. In the long run it'll make you cry.

This is advice that was given to me - or rather it is my synthesis of someone else's experience. Every time this person held on to stock in the hope it would increase in value, that person got burned.

Well, I am now a believer. Held onto a small amount of company stock on the advice of "market analysts". Now it's dropped on me. -sigh- CEO quit today with a golden parachute. He gets +8 mil to walk. My stock takes a "confidence" hit.

At least Vegas makes no pretenses at being honest. You will go there and lose money in the most entertaining way they can devise. But you will lose.

I could gripe about the shell game the stock industry runs, but the honest truth would be that I am the dabbler who hasn't stopped to learn the rules of the game. I might as well have gone and played roulette.

Anyway, now I know my lesson (fortunately not too costly this time) and I will settle for the small gains. :?)

Friday, January 20, 2006

i don't have a title in me

Another class finished, another work week done. I am looking forward to tossing my woman onto the back of my bike and speeding off for parts unknown.

Well, at least for an hour or so (pesky kids). in a 4-door. don't own a bike.

It'll be a nice antidote for the post-class blues I need to shake off.

It's mostly just fatigue anyhow and I'll be over it soon. One of the more lousy compromises with teaching corporate education is the condensed 1-day, 2-day, 3-day classes. It's like enduro-education. Quick, get your powerbar sponsored jersey cause we're gonna cram ya full until the project manager finds out where you've been slumming and pagers you away from us with some emergency or another.

I really like the kinds of depth you can create with a whole day of uninterrupted classtime, but it's also a constant fight with the physiological reality: people don't learn very well when confined for long periods.

So here I am rachetting up my engagement factor, playing aggressive music beats during breaks, shovelling monosaccharides into them to abate flagging energy and keep tired minds just open enough to lay some time-delay learning bombs (student wakes up at 2AM, wondering what instructor meant by ______!?!)

Maybe I'll thesis on something like how to break the suicide pact of condensed education (can't rightly call it learning) at work for professionals. Something like extending learning over some period of weeks with practice and reflection time threaded throughout and chunked out modular instruction for 2 hours max at one sitting.

Gawd that would bore me to tears to do the research. Would probably make the career university faculty judges howl with glee and heap praises.

Maybe I'll thesis on the decline of applied adult learning theory in university classrooms for continuing education and advanced curriculum in the discipline of adult learning. That would be wildly entertaining to research. Might get terrific response if cloaked in guise of study on methane production in office of the Chancellor. ;?)

Hmm, I just realized I finished another writing class today. I wonder if this funk thing correlates with this writing class. Hang on....


Okay, I went back. Certainly had some post-class stuff back here, but nothing conclusive. Some classes jazz. Some sap.

This then, would seem to be one of the latter at the moment. :?)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

luck is one of my skills

--or rather I am lucky in my chosen profession to get to meet and chat with people of every background each day. I guess a taxi driver might run into as many or more - but then my acquaintances actually want to talk to me. ;?p

or so I hope.

My point (he actually has one?) is I get to learn about cultures and stories and share perspectives that I wouldn't ordinarily come across or even find through active searching. I just wouldn't think to Google them. Maybe I should press the random bounce button, but how much random stuff to sift through to find the gems?

Like that story from a colleague who escaped the killing fields of the Kmer Rouge.

Or yesterday when I got to chat with an Indian friend who educated me on the drama of the Cricket Test Match. And in between stories of Trobriand Islanders playing a cargo-cult version of cricket (complete with shamanic curses, play stoppage to find the homerun ball clobbered into the jungle, hometeam always victorious, banquet for the visitors...), we talked about a guy by the handle of Thich Nhat Hanh.

This septuagenarian monk espouses the idea that we must be actively aware of the life we are in. When you eat an apple. Really eat it. Stop thinking about everything else. Taste it. Savor it.

Even a lousy Red Delicious.

Oh course life isn't about apples. But the life lived perceived with awareness and thought is more worthwhile than the life we allow to just sweep us along, like a leaf on the wind.

I try to get my students to think more like that when they look to the future.

Are they gonna just sit back and wait for some external force to deliver them to happiness and prosperity, or are they going to make conscious decisions today to reach out make that life happen?

Occasionally I succeed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

how ya like me now?

Well faithful reader, I have not been terribly faithful with everyday posting. Impossible of course in a full life, but one tries.

I do hope the new banner has provided some stimulating photons to keep you dazzled and wondering, 'what magic!'

My underdeveloped technological skills do lend themselves to creating art with primitive tools (MS Paint and PowerPoint, alas!)

There's a sort of brutal excitement in mashing some nice images together and making something halfway cool (at least, when not looked at up close). Then forcing them into this nice tight little Blogger template in place of soothing out-of-focus flora.

It's a dissonance that nicely fits in with the mood of a household raising a fresh child.

The anime kids in the drawing are supposed to be Kari and Me on a motorbike racing along at breakneck speed. The background is some Hubble picture or another.

Your gov'ment dollars at work for my entertainment. ;?p

At any rate I am back up to full speed teaching, so you may get used to spurts of entries coming out every couple of days when I'm not batch-drafting and trickling them out.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

outwitted by a child: my proudest moment as a father

At some point in every parent-child relationship, there is this inevitable passing of the torch where the child surpasses the parent. We tend to think of boys whupping the old man at roundball in the late teens, or young women blossoming into a fresh beauty that mothers have moved past.

My moment came yesterday at the hands of a 3 year old. On that day, I was bested by a mind against whose pure cunning I am hopelessly overmatched.

I am boundlessly proud, as Machiavelli's father must have been ("My son is published! He has made it as an author!").

The event was a rehash of the now-old 'pooping in her pants'. This is a regression thing related to a new baby in the house. We've been cleaning up poopy panties and bottoms for weeks. Something HAD to be done!

So, rational man looked rational child straight in the eye and reasserted the proper potty process - sit on toilet, ask adult for help if needed.

Rational man dangled a carrot to give the child incentive - use of the proper potty process will earn a reward pick of ice cream or french fries (the only two known motivating substances for this particular child).

The casual reader might pause here and say, 'Oh no. You didn't just make that bargain?!? You poor, stupid fool...'

The child hesitated for perhaps the half-life of a snowball in hell, then grinned brilliantly--

CHILD: "I have to poop!!!"

FATHER: (incredulous) "Wha?! "You just pooped your pants. You don't need to go right now!"

CHILD: "Oh yes I doooo!"

FATHER: (sick inside) "I don't think so..."

CHILD: "It's coming!"

MOTHER & GRANDMOTHER: (in other room cackling with glee)

FATHER: (unconvinced, but defeated) "Fine, go sit on the toilet. Pull up the steppy stool. Drop trou."

CHILD: (sits on toilet and issues forth the loudest grunting ever heard as she strives to produce.)

The rest of the scene ended with father sitting in chair, visibly aged and diminished in stature as mother reports a successful pee.



So much for rational man. What makes this event all the more amusing is I knew of a little kid who was bribed by another father not to bite classmates at preschool.

The reward for resisting biting and reporting it was a movie with dad. X-number of occurrences deemed to be equal to some weeks' worth of normal biting was the target. With similar, all-too-predictable results, that child racked up the winning number of "didn't bites" in a matter of hours. A truly staggering effort that took far more work than the original offense.

(It leads one to wonder how much faster New Orleans could be rebuilt if we but employed a mass of preschoolers and a manipulatable reward system.)

I feel a kinship with that other father. Probably because he was my father.

Kurt Vonnegut and Me

How do humanists feel about Jesus? I say of Jesus, as all humanists do, "If what he said is good, and so much of it is absolutely beautiful, what does it matter if he was God or not?"

But if Christ hadn't delivered the Sermon on the Mount with its message of mercy and pity, I wouldn't want to be a human being.

I'd just as soon be a rattlesnake.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

So I finally read some KV and turns out I kind of like the guy. I can't say I am more wise for some profound A-Ha! moment, but I do feel a little richer for it.

I particularly like the passage above. I am not a humanist, though for a long time I guess that's what I might have called myself had I the word.

But what it says to me is people with different deeply-held beliefs can value many of the same things. Can appreciate. Can be community if we simply take our eye off ourselves and see what is good instead of fretting about who is right.

Or as Oscar Hammerstein II put it--
Territory folks should stick together,
Territory folks should all be pals.
Cowboys dance with the farmers' daughters,
Farmers dance with the ranchers' gals!

-- The Farmer and the Cowman, Oklahoma

Basic solution to global conflict - when nations and organizations are removed to their place far above the concerns of our everyday pursuit of happiness, individuals can relate to each other as human beings. For while our rituals and expressions differ, those are by far the smaller part than that which we share- the need for love and community, the caring for family and the hope for children, yearning for a little plot of land...

If we could but get those pesky governments and institutions out of the way...maybe occupy them with moon-races or something else that can do no harm.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

passion AND humility

I was thinking about another blogger's post: 'We railers at wrong-doing are not free from imperfection ourselves, so have a little humility.'

I guess I feel I must be at my least interesting to other people when I am railing at the world.

They see injustice too. They have their own fears and worries. Being a member of the choir shouldn't be a license to be preached to...

Well, that's what I feel about me.

At the same time, I am genuinely interested in what people are passionate about. What gets their color up. It may not always be pretty or my cup of tea, but there is virtue too in expressing frustration- even while acknowledging our own imperfection.

Being passionate brings out some of the best qualities in people. Music, Art, Oration, Athletic achievement, Civil Service-- all benefit from passion. Some of that may be passion to redress wrongs.

Jazz, loved the world over (except inside Jeremy's head) and a source of great joy, had its beginnings as a response to the agony of slavery.

We can't know what will happen when we get stirred up, do something about it, open our yaps. We may put our foot in it royally. Or we may inspire big deeds.

But we can guess what happens when we do nothing, refuse to be roused. The things that affect us will continue and likely worsen as other passions drive them, unchallenged.

And that is why politics scares the hell out of me and gets my passion up.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

back in the saddle agin

Well I'm back in the classroooom today and I must say it feels good. Not too much rust to shake off after a long vacation.

Can I whisper something? Don't tell anyone, but...

It is nice to be in-class. When I am in here I am not out there. accessible. interruptible. needable.

Out there I have to be the good guy all the time. It is hard having to be "on" all the time. It actually makes me like people less when they are always demanding. My whole team are very "feeling" people. Very high-context communicators. I am not quite on that level of chirpiness all the time, so when I am focused on my work I get accused of being a cold, uncaring...blah blah blah ;?p


It is true that I don't care now. Or rather that I have priorities too. and being easily distractible I have to work hard at focusing. So in those rare moments when I can achieve robotic perfection I have to use it.

In here, in-class, I can be focused and more or less work with people on my terms. That may sound kinda funny as a teacher of grown-ups. They are supposed to be this rabble of independent thinkers and trouble-makers.

Nonsense and other remarks. They are highly-invested collaborators. Treat them with respect and show them commitment to resolving their challenges together and they will purr like cats. Even the I.T. students. Especially the I.T. students - though their purrs sound unnatural and freakish, coming as they do from bodies that consume way too much Red Bull* and are very much aquainted with robot-like perfection.

(I.T. Dads are excepted from the freakish purring category, though I am not sure I quite want to hear that sound coming from pop unless someone is scratching his back. Back scratches trump any other rule.)

*hint: any amount of Red Bull is too much. even very high values of zero.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

grading me

So I'm deep into my masters program. Postsecondary, Adult and Continuing Education.

Was an interesting journey getting here. Always a B (and C to be honest) student, I finally went in for more school after years of gentle needling from pop. It also didn't hurt that I found something I really wanted to do and had little knowledge background in it.

Thank heavens a no one seems to care much that undergrad schooling was in something other than "education". I guess I'd be screwed if the discipline needed anything like hard science or math. But then if I ever want to teach people about math, c'est la to me!

This time around I wanted to prove to myself that I could be a committed, excellent student. I'm sort of like the annoying non-trad older person in every class that kept raising a hand and dragging the discussion on and on, spoiling whatever sleep I was trying to catch up on as an undergrad.

Well, I've been pretty successful. Seven straight A's as some sort of objective measure that I'm good enough, bright enough and...well, maybe not all that liked.

I am told it doesn't really matter, 'cause in grad school the standards are a bit different. I guess that means A's are handed out less miserly.

But it mattered to me. Hey, a perfect record is something. And even if I don't get extra honors for it, it would be nice to walk with that perfect record intact.

It was not to be.

Got an A- in Statistics. It would have to be the math class! *rolls eyes* That bothered me to no end, because I knew I could have kept the streak alive had the teacher done his job a little better. That's what I was thinking. There may be some defect in my own skull that contributed, but I bled and suffered to get through that class and I know it didn't have to be as hard as it turned out.

I am a teacher. And this other teacher was cutting corners. phoning it in. I wonder if he stopped to think that everyone in this class was a teacher. That should be pressure to bring your best stuff. Should be, but evidently wasn't.

You learn new stuff in grad school every day. I learned there that some 'teachers' are really just research specialists who are forced to torture themselves AND students by spending some minimum level of time in a classroom f-ing up peoples' best efforts to learn something.

Why this is so, I do not know. It must have something to so with credentialing or dust-jackets on books. I dunno, maybe the research was being performed on us.

As you can see, I haven't really accepted those events and gotten past them. My mantra is supposed to be "just get through, just get through, just earn your degree and get away from these people..."

But it's a compromised notion that I shouldn't allow myself to care and be bothered by it. When that stops bothering me, what will I have learned from it? How will I have used that experience to benefit my own students?


So I got another less-than-perfect grade the other day. Was on a final paper I had to mail away to be graded by someone in another state who had nothing to do with the workshop I took or the instruction I received. Seemed like the criteria I was writing by were not the criteria it was being graded by.

I survived with a B. Any ugly B. B for (B)ottom acceptable performance in grad school.

Once more I found myself wondering, 'Why do they do this???' I am here. I am ready to do the best work they ever saw. I am motivated to read more, learn more, add to- not just get through.

What bugs me about me this time is it doesn't hurt as much and it's a little easier to look at all the ways it happened and shrug off the inequity.

I guess I'm getting better at caring less.

Knowing myself, this is a big warning sign because I am naturally lazy. If the level of resistance grows, I'll start rationalizing that B's are okay. I can work a little less hard and still get by, right? Heey, I got eight A's. If I coast the rest of the way I'm still gonna end with a 3.5 or better. That's not bad for kid with a 2.7 history!


I can see this is going to be a problem if I don't turn it around. I just looked at the Google PageRank for my own blog and it registered a 7/10. Seven out of ten. Not even 80%. Sub-B territory. Google rates me a "C-".

I looked at that and thought, 'Cool! I'm ranked.'

My standards must be slipping. I suck. :?)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

...or does morality matter afterall?

Someone (probably me) asked me why I am so deeply and personally bothered by torture and lies and domestic spies.

It doesn’t really affect my daily life. I’m one of the good guys. Well, the good-but-conflicted guys at least.

Beyond an intellectual exercise in morality, isn’t it hysteric and indefensible to recoil from doing whatever is needed to feel safe and secure?

I could try to see it the other way (and I have tried)…that to beat the other guy you have to convince him that you are scarier than he is.

Lewis Black (comedian) mused that to scare the crap out of America’s enemies in the world, we should elect a dead president in 2008. ‘Re-elect Regan’, beseeches Black. ‘He scared the hell out of people when he was alive (and talking tough about nukes), think what he’ll do to them now that he’s dead?! Then have Justice Rehnquist swear him in a silent ceremony.'

That should convince would-be terrorists we are mentally unbalanced enough to be capable of going further than they (who must afterall have some rationalizing capacity, indecipherable to us though it may be).

Didn’t the Soviets have some success with kidnapping the families of suspected kidnappers and then asking the very reasonable-sounding question, “Is this really the nature of conflict you would like to have if it involves your loved ones?

But then their regime isn't quite the model we are aiming for, eh?

Mass murder isn't kidnapping though. So a game of chicken is not really scalable up unless you start blotting out cities. Kennedy threatened it, but then nobody had started shooting yet, so he didn’t have to prove anything.

So we can’t really bluff. We have to be hard and heartless on an individual scale when dealing with the hard and heartless.

And then one day we wake up and realize we are hard and heartless, not merely acting the part of bad cop the get the other guy to fold. On some metaphysical level we are what we are, right? Once we stop thinking and start doing a thing, when do we cross the threshold that we become the thing? If you have this answer you probably know when a human becomes more than just a cell with an agenda.

Riddle: When does a police state become a police state?

Answer: When you don’t have a right to point out that it is one.

Well, I do worry that we are headed there even though it seems a bit farther off than one should worry about. I worry about it because our executive is working on the Nixon theory that 'if the President does it, it’s not illegal.'

We only wiretap bad guys anyway. Well, that's not entirely true since U.N. Secretary Bolton (Bush appointee and one of Cheney's guys) ordered wiretaps of other politicians and administration officials when he was in the State department and NSA gave them to him.

So I don't really buy that these guys have the discipline in them to keep it professional and only use the info to fight terror.

That's the best my new-dad-sleep-starved intellect has been able to piece together.

Or does morality actually matter afterall?

Is it enough to know that it is wrong and see that any amount of rationalizing is just trying to make a wrong thing look right...'from a certain point of view?'

(gee, thanks for manipulating me OB-Wan. You couldn't just say my deadbeat dad IS Darth Vader? Like I gotta get my hand cut off before you think I can handle it? Hellooo, no hand-- kinda hard to 'hand-le' it now!)

If we allow others to do a thing in our name, or even allow them to co-opt our implicit consent we are equally guilty. We held the German public to that standard some time ago over other secret prisons.

more relevant words from elsewhen

More current reflections from another time as shared by Peter Brooks from his Slate article.

"As for torture—however that word has been parsed by the administration, we know torture has occurred—Jean-Paul Sartre in response to Alleg's La Question made a point ominously pertinent to us today:"

In 1943, in the Rue Lauriston (the Gestapo headquarters in Paris), Frenchmen were screaming in agony and pain: all France could hear them. In those days the outcome of the war was uncertain and we did not want to think about the future. Only one thing seemed impossible in any circumstances: that one day men should be made to scream by those acting in our name.

"I share Sartre's horror at what is being done in our name."

Sunday, January 01, 2006


A friend put up a list of reflections and resolutions from the last year. It reminds me of the 'old' days when such lists were the heart and soul of spam. Now if I get one list for every 55 hundred Viagra emails I feel blessed.

In the spirit of the list and with a somewhat lighter tongue than I've had recently, here are my answers...


1.What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?
Raised a 3 year old. I cannot recommend it, yet it seems I am doomed to repeat the experience in 2008. *g*

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I've moved on to an ongoing resolution system. Every week I try to exemplify some aspect of my values. I fail frequently, but I get to re-resolve each week. :?)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my wife.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Mmm, I hope I haven't forgotten anyone.

5. What countries did you visit?
Not a one. I hope to visit D.C. this year and learn how the government works in that country.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
More resolve. Less doubt. More patience. Less schoolwork. More pay.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 12. Daddy Day 2.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
We made it to delivery and brought a perfect little human into the world. Now we just have to not ruin her.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Glimpsing the path to peace of mind, then taking my eye off it and losing it for a while.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Had every throat problem I can think of and experienced what a stupid-yet-debilitating injury feels like. But then I am frail and need lots of love. Even in my dumps I had it far batter than many people's good days.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought music, which I had given up on doing for a long time (overpriced garbage, anti-industry sentiments). It was good for my soul. and showed me that sometimes my righteous stands are too costly (tho I still will not shop Walmart).

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Many of my countrymen.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
May of my elected leaders.

14. Where did most of your money go?
To fulfilling one of my darling's dreams.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Rediscovering old friends.

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
Plainsong. captures the breathlessness of big decisions, trying to hold it together on one income, feeling always on the edge with never much safe ground to retreat to if fortune turns bad.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier and more anxious
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter
iii. richer or poorer? Richer and less wealthy

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Living today. Cooking.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying. Eating. (they seem to go together)

20. How will you be spending New Year's?
A break for capuccino with my darling in betwix feedind, burping, rocking and changing.

22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
Yes. With new things about my darling and with baby (but just barely with baby-- they aren't very lovable until they start getting those little gassey smiles.

23. How many one-night stands?
heh heh-- Just the one. Seems like we hit the fertility jackpot.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Deadwood on DVD.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?
Player of Games. Banks riffs on the serpent in paradise as well as anyone.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Two. That I can love classical music. and The Cure.

28. What did you want and get?
healthy baby, healthy mom

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Batman was well done. They did something I wouldn't have given anyone credit enough to do - gave the series a new lease on life. Serenity was a long-awaited payoff. Was this Spiderman 2 year? Was better than the first one.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 33. I am sure we did something, but I can't remember.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being done with my masters. It is a weight around my neck.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Nike aquires Converse --> Jeremy downgrades to converse-casual for the workplace. Hey, it could be worse, the active life folkes wear Hurley!

34. What kept you sane?
That's a rather largish assumption....

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Well, Barak Obama has bucketloads of charisma...lets say I fancy his oratory and politics, K? *g*

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Terror (ours) and lies.

37. Who did you miss?
My bro. I need to spend more time with him.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005:
Sell your house for what you think you can get--don't cave in to the realtor's doubt. Otherwise even if you get everything you ask, it'll taste like ashes.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"i think it's dark and it looks like rain" you said
"and the wind is blowing like it's the end of the world" you said
"and it's so cold it's like the cold if you were dead"
and then you smiled for a second.

Mucho angst, hurtling along without the reigns in my hands, but then for a moment I can see that it's worth the fright and I wouldn't change the choices we've made.

back to my life

Is it January? -squint-

In just a few days I will be off hiatus and back to my sometime life as a purveyor of wisdom and dispenser of knowledge. Or at least I will be back to work and teaching. My other life.

It's been an oversized three weeks home with my babies in almost every sense-- most of which are distorted by the time warp that happens with low sleep.

It's strange, but just as I am beginning to be functional on this new regimen I must go back to the old.

I feel a little bit like that guy marooned in the Cast Away movie. with the volleyball.

How will I adjust when I go back? How to graciously commune with co-workers about the mundanities of their lives while my inner voice murmurs, "you have no idea where I've been and you never will."

I suppose I will smile and shrug helplessly a lot.

How will I handle my performance review two days back to work? I can't say, "Right now, I could honestly care less about my goals. I'm just trying to get my shirt on right-side out and I really don't care if my eval forms say, "Covered material well, but smelt of sour breastmilk."

I suppose I will smile and shrug helplessly a lot.

How can I capture the clarity of my purpose and hold onto that certainty just a little longer? I am holding my dozing baby and there is no doubt. Soon I will be jousting with distractions and vexations and everything will get more confusing.

New Year's wants a fistfull of resolutions, but what I really want is resolve. How does one resolve to be more resolved?