Saturday, May 31, 2008

Blue Sky Morning

blue sky morning
wipes away
the tumultuous night
today we join together
remember
and say goodbye

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Their Wake

respect...
care...
compassion...
slowly dissolved
in a world of churning selfishness
those rare commodities
that elate the soul
intoxicate to the core
leave yearning in their wake

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy Enough?

I watched the movie Waitress last night, which incidentally is a very well-written movie, poignant on many levels. One scene was particularly powerful, between the main character (Jenna) and her boss (Cal).
Jenna: Cal, are you happy? I mean, when you call yourself a happy man, do you really mean it?
Cal: You ask a serious question, I'll give you a serious answer: Happy enough. I don't expect much. I don't get much, I don't give much. I generally enjoy whatever comes along. That's my answer for you, summed up for your feminine consideration. I'm happy enough.
I've been running that scene around in my head since the movie ended. Is there such thing as happy enough? To me it seems that once you consider yourself happy enough, you become complacent and stop growing, learning and experiencing new things. Happy enough strikes me as stagnation. But at the same time if you're never happy enough, do you continually feel unfulfilled?

I don't think I'd ever settle for happy enough.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'll Let This One Speak for Itself

Let Them Vote Red



You know what? If expecting more out of so-called "Democrats" is elitist, then I wave the elitist banner proudly. If not pandering to the kind of close-mindedness featured in this video means not carrying states like West Virginia, then so be it. Let them vote Red.

Who Says Parenting Isn't Fun?

I've been finding quite a few reasons to smile the past week or so. Tonight was no exception. Our bedtime story with the kid has been Captain Underpants And The Perilous Plot Of Professor Poopypants and we all got a great chuckle out of the name game in Chapter 15 - The Name Change-O-Chart 2000.

Here's how it goes. Your new name is determined by checking List 1 for your first initial. Check List 2 for your last initial. And check List 3 for the last letter of your last name.







A=Stinky
B=Lumpy
C=Buttercup
D=Gidget
E=Crusty
F=Greasy
G=Fluffy
H=Cheeseball
I=Chim-Chim
J=Poopsie
K=Flunkie
L=Booger
M=Pinky
N=Zippy
O=Goober
P=Doofus
Q=Slimy
R=Loopy
S=Snotty
T=Falafel
U=Dorky
V=Squeezit
W=Oprah
X=Skipper
Y=Dinky
Z=Zsa=Zsa
A=Diaper
B=Toilet
C=Giggle
D=Bubble
E=Girdle
F=Barf
G=Lizard
H=Waffle
I=Cootie
J=Monkey
K=Potty
L=Liver
M=Banana
N=Rhino
O=Burger
P=Hamster
Q=Toad
R=Gizzard
S=Pizza
T=Gerbil
U=Chicken
V=Pickle
W=Chuckle
X=Tofu
Y=Gorilla
Z=Stinker
A=Head
B=Mouth
C=Face
D=Nose
E=Tush
F=Breath
G=Pants
H=Shorts
I=Lips
J=Honker
K=Butt
L=Brain
M=Tushie
N=Chunks
O=Hiney
P=Biscuits
Q=Toes
R=Buns
S=Fanny
T=Sniffles
U=Sprinkles
V=Kisser
W=Squirt
X=Humperdink
Y=Brains
Z=Juice
Sitting here at age 36 -- sometimes struggling with the challenge of relating to a young son -- I'm not sure who laughed more. Fourth grade would have been so much easier if I had this list at my disposal. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

An Unexpected Flashback


We've been lucky this year to have a robin build a nest right on our deck railing outside our living room window, nestled among the curling vines of a sweetautumn clematis. For the past few weeks we've anticipated the arrival of the chicks. On Saturday morning, they arrived.





It's been a great experience to watch the wonder of new life and the dedication of the parents, but the most amazing thing happened this evening. My wife was peering out the window from our sofa, watching the babies stretch their tiny heads up for food. As I looked up, I saw something I've never seen before -- my wife as a six-year old girl, full of wonder and excitement -- the budding inquisitive scientist -- a precursor to the woman I now know and love. For this alone, I'll forever be indebted to the mother robin that chose our deck railing to start her new family.


Postcript: As I sat here writing this, a large hawk landed on the deck rail, looking for an evening snack. Thanks to the quick action of my wife, the chicks are still pleasantly snuggled in their nest.

Emotional Symbiosis

I've been doing regular mental calisthenics of late trying to clarify some of the big questions that have intrigued me throughout life. Recently burning my synapses is this question: Why does my general outlook and attitude seemingly correlate with the amount of time I spend surrounded by my closest friends?

Now I'm not talking about friends of the Facebook variety. Rather the friends whose presence can have such profound effect on my emotional state are those with whom I've spent endless hours in poignant conversation; those with whom I've shared intense life-defining experiences; those around whom I've let down my social defense and shared something of what comprises me.

It makes some sense to me that that act of sharing me, and receiving something of them in return creates a sort of symbiotic relationship. It is as if a part of me lives (physically? metaphysically?) in them -- lying safe, but dormant, until our paths cross again. To me, this would explain that feeling of instability when I've been disconnected from friends for too long; perhaps the me in me is wondering where the rest of me went?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Natural Attractions?

While trolling Reddit today, I found this list of the top 25 tourist destinations in the U.S. It strikes me as significant that only eight of the 25 can be remotely considered "natural attractions." and of those eight, many are man-made modifications of nature. This country certainly doesn't have a dearth of natural attractions, so it must say something about our need to be entertained more than Mother Nature can provide.

For the record, I've been to 11 of the 25 most popular attractions -- but only three of the eight "natural" attractions. How about you?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Did She Really Just Say That?

In an article published in today's USA Today, Hillary Clinton used the phrase "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans" to describe the group where she is getting the most support. So much for the subliminal appeal to the hidden (and overt) prejudices that exist in this country. She's just coming right out and saying it now.

As much as it pains me, if she's the nominee, I might join in with Rush Limbaugh's "operation chaos" movement and vote for McCain. OK, that would pain me a little too much.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Birth of Trust

We all start out behind our curtain of control, whether it's cynicism, bravado, or another of the multitude of protective facades that we use to mask our vulnerabilities. What causes us to draw back the curtain and let someone peer at -- or even take a seat behind -- the controls? What releases us to trust -- to fundamentally give of ourselves in confidence that our gift will be treated with respect and care?

Trust seems innate in some relationships. In others, it takes years -- if ever -- for the seed of trust to slowly crack through our thick emotional skins. But in all cases, it takes the first step, the first peek from behind the wizard's curtain, to let trust emerge. That trust may be broken. It may wither and die from undernourishment. But, slowly, ever so slowly, it may grow into something extraordinary. And, so we step out from behind the curtain and welcome a new soul into our life's adventure.

That's My Boy

The kid's here catching an old Tom and Jerry with breakfast. There was a scene where one of the characters pulls a gun out of a closet. He turns to me, and says "Who would keep a gun in a house?" Crucify me all you want for letting him watch non-politically correct brain drivel before going to school, but I do feel a slight bit of parental validation in his ability to question the illogical.

(I'm expected a posthumous Charlton Heston message any time now.)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Awakening

After a string of mediocre springs, we've been presented this year with a nearly picture-perfect display of new life in Central Illinois. Warm days and cool nights -- coupled with just the right amount of rain -- have made for a brilliant, lasting display of flowering trees and shrubs supported by a foundation of tulips, daffodils and other flowering bulbs. The flowering crabapples perhaps have been the most impressive-- forming dense, fragrant canopies of white, pink and red.


It is striking to me that we're being treated to such a spectacle of nature, simultaneous to my own personal search for rebirth and belief. Lest you think I'm heading to the nearest revival, I assure you that my rebirth won't be anything of a traditional religious reawakening. Rather, I'm searching for a more concrete something to hang my spiritual hat on. And I suspect the juxtaposition of efficiency and intricacy found in these spring blooms -- in fact, in all of nature -- might lead more to my awakening than any communion of humanity can offer.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

More on Gas, Less on TVs

The NY Times has just published an interactive graph of how Americans spend their money and how each spending category has changed as a percentage of total spending between 2007 and 2008. It's easy to guess that fuel costs have seen the biggest increases. But where are people cutting back? It seems TVs, toys and clothes.

More Parties to Choose From?

Just read this Philadelphia Inquirer article about Bob Barr's possible Libertarian Party run for president. Certainly an interesting prospect. Along with Ralph Nader's impending run, it could make for an interesting fall political season. We are certainly seeing more dissatisfaction with the two-party system -- especially when both parties have been overtaken by hawkish, neo-cons.

While I'm still standing in Obama's corner, I certainly can stand behind the general philosophy of smaller, less-intrusive government.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What Is Your Geek Thing?



So the question is: What would your friends and coworkers fill in the "He/she is such a _______ geek" blank?

A Republican I Might Stand Behind

I'm not sure if I'm getting more conservative as I get older -- or if perhaps my idealism about a government that is capable of taking care of it's people is fading. Or maybe it is simply refreshing to see a politician from either party retain independence in the face of mounting pressure for "party unity." I just find myself respecting what Ron Paul -- the only Republican candidate for president who hasn't lined up behind John McCain -- is trying to do for his party.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

An American Hero

Perhaps it's sad that it's so unusual for a member of the White House Press Corps to ask poignant, pressing questions, but when Helen Thomas asked tough questions about the use of torture by the United States, she became a hero to the online progressive community.

Here's the video.



And here's the online progressive community's "thank you" for her professionalism and dedication to the truth.

Stories like this renew what little faith I have in the people of this country.
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