Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Reptile Redux

Some people, they like to go out dancing, and other peoples, they have to work. And there's even some evil mothers, well they're gonna tell you that everything is just dirt. Ya know that, women never really faint and that villains always blink their eyes, woo! And that, children are the only ones who blush! And that, life is just to die!

Friday, June 16, 2006

It Went Like This...

Sam: "Uh. Mr. Ted. I think that says fortissimo not fartissimo. Mr. Bach doesn't have room for improvising"

Ted: "I know, Sam. I keep mixing up those 8th notes with the dotted half notes. I just can't keep this stuff straight. Tell me again. I before E except after high C, right? Aw... I'll never get it."

Sam: "Relax Mr. Ted. It took my dad almost a week to teach me how to read music. You gotta give it time."

Rachel: "Maybe you shouldn't do Bach first. Start with the classics. I hear tell Bach had to practice "Suzy Q" for weeks before he even thought about writing "Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor." After all, Cleveland wasn't built in a day."

Ted: "I know. I've been to Cleveland. Cleveland Rocks. Yet, one weekend in Toledo..."

Sam: "Don't start with Toledo. If I told you all that went down, it'd burn off both your ears."

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Governor's chair

This is the kind of thing that Larry taught me: Set up the shot, grab it and go.

This is my nephew Randy sitting at Gov. Evan Bayh's desk in the Indiana Statehouse in the mid-1990s. At the time I was working for a newspaper in Southern Indiana and had some sort of assignment to cover at the Statehouse. My nephew had completely lost interest in high school in an Indianapolis suburb, and he was nearing dropout status, so I breezed by the school that morning and made a pitch to the principal that would have made Phil Silvers smile with glee.

I was permitted to take Randy out of school to accompany me on my Statehouse mission on the condition that he wrote a report about it. At the end of the day, I stood over him like an old school, cigar-chomping editor and haranged him until he banged out an essay on a typewriter in the media room of the Statehouse.

Earlier, while we were touring the stately old Statehouse, we asked if we could take a peek inside the governor's office. Sure, why not, the security person said. The guv was not in anyway. So we were ushered into the empty room with the admonishment of looking-not-touching, sure-sure, and then the security person became busy with something else outside the room.

After a few minutes of ooh'ing and ah'ing at the trappings of these gubernatorial digs, I said, "Hey Randy, sit behind the desk. Yes. Yes! Hurry. Just do it!!" By the time Randy had alighted his butt on that chair, I had already set my zone focus using the F-stop (Larry's training), and of course the flash was powered up and ready.


We both left the Governor's Office with a courteous "Thank You!" and very subtle smirks on our faces!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Raison d'être

"I'm really into something bigger than life, do you know what I mean? It's really hard to explain. I was once Crown Prince of Moldavia and the Menschiveks took power in '66. The whole royal family was exiled, save me. They were dispersed all over the globe and I, yes, I remained to rout the scoundrels from my land. Then when I sent notice to the rest of the fambly, they were nowhere to be found. They'd all changed their names to things like Gottleib and Starkwell and stuff like that. So I alone am now entrusted with the lore and legends of my people. The peasants, God bless'em, call me Papa Ike. It's a nickname, see. I remind them of the noble warrior/president that saved America from the Truman years. Now, since living in Arizona these past 14 months, I don't really want to go back, having found my true niche as spiritual advisor to the Lion of Cochise. But they dog me, the peasants, with hundreds, nay, thousands of telegrams daily. They plead for my return to free them from the fetters of serfdom. I know, the Thomas Wolfe book says "You Can't Go Home Again" but I feel that I must. It's that and the blond babe with the hourglass shape that call me hence. No, maybe it's just the blond." a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.

I’m sitting in a hospital waiting room and CNN is into the never-ending analysis of the death of Al-Zarqawi. He’s called the second most famous terrorist in the world today. This is, they say, an obviously huge psychological blow to world terrorism. What will be the final read? Right now it’s all conjecture, but, at this remove, the prevailing attitude is that Al-Quada won’t be sneaking home with their tails between their legs. No imminent surrender in sight. If there was a solution to suicide bombers, the Israelis would have figured that out long before now. So, in the long run, what’s the actual significance of his death? After all the debate, maybe there is no significance. But there’s no denying that at least he won’t be responsible for more deaths and it makes us feel a little better, even if only for a day or two.

I guess it really is better for man to eat, drink and be merry. As much as we try, the world really is out of our control. We want to scream a resounding no, like admitting lack of control is some sort of weakness. But it’s the essential, the unavoidable reality.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Always Surrounded

Photo by Leo
Ok. I don't get it. How's come I don't feel free any more? Seems like every turn I make is trailed. Damn hounds of hell on me. The corner I turn is never without a follower, a tail. Why is that?
How come things we took for granted for so long, like the 4th amendment, get lost? Guys fight for and cling like a babe to the breast for the 2nd amendment like it's the only one, except for that 5th one.
But what about the 4th?
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (U.S. Constitution, Amendment #4.
Ok folks. here's the whole thing in a nut. I just don't feel secure any more. No, I don't feel threatened. On the contrary, I feel no threat. I guess maybe that's the thing. Life seems sterile, neutral, pointless. These days, there is no real rumble, no struggle.
Damn. Not that I want to struggle or rumble. It's just...
Hell, I feel like we're all really fat, dumb, and happy. Don't misconstrue here. Happy is good. Fat may be inevitable. Dumb just might be the truth. It's just, like, all at once and complacency is the order of the day.
I don't want to speak for you, but the stuff seems all to evident to me. We get searched and subliminally seized on a regular basis. Phone records get pulled without warrant. Citizens get shook down because their skin is brown. Nobody wants to question reasonable cause because, well, that'd be un-patriotic. We are, after all, in a sort of war. But, jeeze, we are entitled to that right to feel secure and search and seizure should only be in exterme cases, right?
I'm just blowing steam and no one need respond. I know there's plenty who will say everything is ok and that the freedom lost stuff is for the miscreants to worry over. It's just plain frustrating though, this uncomfortable sense of security at the price of freedom. I can't help but worry. The anxiety overwhelms sometimes.
"Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come
and take you away."
-Stephen Stills, 1966

Monday, June 05, 2006

Back to Einstein

Back in the 1930's Einstein wanted to mathematically prove limits and boundaries to the universe. He was on a roll. Everything else up to that point pretty much resolved for him and he truly was the new mind, the person of the century. No matter that the century wasn't even half over.

Anyways, his quest for limits was unsuccessful and he knew it. Another good sign of an intellegent man. Stop when you're ahead. In the crap-shoot he was in there was no getting out unscathed. Say something stupid and the world'll be down your throat. Get out and do it quick.

So he started again, recognizing the imminent entropy in a closed system. See, in a closed system the first thing and the last thing are identical. The first thing to go is the energy that it takes to propel the system. As the system decays and declines and finally crashes, energy is the last thing. No more oomph. No getting to the next square. There's nothing to get you there. There's also nowhere to go.

A closed system is death, eventually. No change, no movement, no life.

So, I guess, the question is what does this possibly have to do with the rest of life? It's not all physics, is it?

Well, it probably is. Physical science, the study of things moving and why they move is the stuff of human basics. Right now, back to entropy.

I guess when we look at life and it's progression and regression we can't help but compare it to the physical world. There are those that would pursue an isolationist attitude towards the world, especially now in the neo-terrorist world we live in. There's no head burying and certainly no isolation allowed, at least not for long. In the world of the rugged individual we are stuck with each other more than ever before.

When I hear the clap-trap about illegal immigration and the idea comes up to build a wall along the southern border of the United States, I have to gag and giggle at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that illegal immigration isn't a problem. It's just that when people get that wild hair and want to erect something on the scale of the Great Wall of China rather than deal with human issues on a human level, things get weird.

Cut off the world. Retreat into your borders. Make the problem go away rather than deal with it creatively and humanely. Out of sight, eh? Yeah, right. Given the solidity of the entropy model (is that an oxymoron?), at the point of isolation begins the breakdown of energy and, eventually, the total breakdown and decay of society.

It's happened before and will happen again, but we Americans sometimes think that physical law doesn't apply to us because we're special. But how can we ignore or avoid the real things that happen around us? We can avoid or at least temper the crash if we pay attention and start thinking like we're real people instead of some wunderkind that the rules don't apply to.

Here, everyone is entitled to their opinion. A good thing, I guess. But the problem is that opinions and thoughts aren't equal. Maybe our rights make us somehow equal, but why should my opinion rate as high on something as that of the expert in the field?

Because I'm entitled, dammit. Can't nobody tell me I'm wrong, even if it's glaringly obvious. Prove it wrong and it don't matter. Wanna fight about it?

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