Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Scary Boss Woes Continue

The big chief encountered me at a university meeting today, where I was planning to take some notes and stay a little while -- part of my job, long story.

Boss assumed I was there simply to take a few Public Relations pictures and be on my way.

Therefore, scarcely had I put a cookie on my plate, at the invitation of the event sponsors, when the boss clamped a hand on my shoulder.

"You're not here to eat. You're here to work," he said under his breath.

Sulfur stinking breath of Satan, who does this guy think he is, Lord Chesterfield? And am I his stable boy, not fit to eat a scone with the royalty?

Later he told us all at some other meeting: "The world is very cruel to those who aren't prepared."

Yes, boss, I'm aware of that. But thanks for the reminder.

I'm sorry I haven't visited or commented on many blogs tonight. Just trying to keep my head above water.

Another world

Those of us raised in the West to hate and fear Islam, to see only the perversion of it that puts angry men on our tv screens with spittle in their beards and hate in their eyes, have a lot to learn.

Last night I read about classic Portuguese poetry -- a medieval genre of great beauty called "cancioneiro."

It had connections to the poetry of Provencal France -- but also to a surprising source from far away -- Islam.

"Spanish Muslims developed and cultivated ... a type of lyric which undoubtedly was diseminated into Romance-speaking territory ... The influence of the Arabic poetic art on cancionero can be debated only in respect to degree," says my source.

The great works of Arabic literature are an unknown country to me -- and one that I can't wait to explore, once I get through ancient Rome. I have several of them, waiting patiently upon my shelf for me to finish with Phaedrus, Juvenal, Tacitus and the Early Church Fathers.

There is a soft, beautiful, even romantic aspect of classic Islamic culture that is worth the time of an educated person.

Ain't it the truth?

From comics.com

Grape Harvest -- sort of

Unlike Carmen's splendid harvest, my grape gleanings are far too pitiful to post photos.

I've got Concord grapes growing, but this east coast of mine is too hot and humid for them to do much more than suffer. Every spring, beautiful green globe-lettes burst forth but by July, some fungus has turned half of them into hard little inedible lumps. Not raisins, more like driveway gravel.

And the ones that survive don't ripen together in one big lovely purple bunch, but here and there amongst stubbornly green siblings. It's a guessing game as to which one is just sweet enough and which still has the flavor of a little purple lemon.

The first year that the vines were mature, I had to battle a million hornets for them. I finally grabbed a hose and blasted away angry clouds of the bugs. That hasn't happened again. Who can figure?

But this year, as I plucked my hopeful harvest, I noticed something special: an empty bird nest near the top of the arbor. I hope its former occupants fledged safely and are off preparing nests of their own now.

Her hair

Quick first-of-the-morning post for now, will add to tonight:

No less than Paul the Christian apostle praised it in scripture.

Tossed flirtatiously, it's an irresistable lure to any sentient man.

Biologists believe that men are wired to gauge a Woman's long-term health and vitality by the state of Her hair.

Any study of Woman, from top to bottom, must begin here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A new name?

Adena thinks I am a weird little crumpet.

I shall henceforth be "ECD, aka (also known as) Weird Little Crumpet." Or WLC for short.

The addict whines

I survived my first blog-free day, barely.

I am like a wino without his paper-sack libation, a stoner without his bag of weed.

I have realized during this difficult day that there are three kinds of bloggers in the world.

First are sane bloggers, who post regularly and answer comments that come their way but can take it or leave it. They are like social smokers who enjoy the indulgence but are not slaves to it.

Second are oddballs who post a blog for reasons known only to themselves, since they either never respond to comments, have no links to anyone else nor apparent communication with anyone else, have completely disabled the comment option and don't seem to care.

Third are poor fools like me who have sunk hopelessly into blog addiction. We are obvious by our absurdly long link lists, because we can't resist a blog friend. We salivate over comments like a dog over a bone. We punch the refresh button repeatedly hoping that a new one has been enetered since five seconds ago or so.

I see that a whole pile of comments have come in over the course of the day, from Adena, Empress, Leslie and maybe some others. I promise to answer them all tonight, because I appreciate you all taking the time to comment. And I have some blogs to visit, and one or two blog topics that have come to mind as I squirmed and suffered blogless today.

Plus, I owe Empress a smoodle blog and I fear that a month of turtle-watching will be my punishment if I delay.

But first I have to run an errand for a friend. Yes, people, I do have friends beyond this computer screen. And they don't even have to get frisked or adhere to Visiting Hours. Believe it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gotta cut back on blogging

I blogged like crazy this weekend.

But I also harvested more potatoes and carrots, worked some unpaid overtime, cleaned the house, went to two birthday parties, did some shopping and went to church.

So no, I'm not completely pathetic.

I must cut back on blogging though. I have a new boss, an insane, workaholic boss and I'm going to have to sweat to stay in his good graces. So, no more blogging except at night and on weekends. Not even at lunch, because then lunch break gets streeeetched a little longer than it should be -- blogging is so much fun, such a sweet addiction.

If I get fired, I'll have all kinds of time to blog but it won't pay the mortgage or my DSL bill.

Just for fun

I've mentioned before that blogworld can be approached two ways: By becoming the friend of a friend -- borrowing friends from other people's link lists. Or one can do the equivalent of tapping complete strangers on the shoulder in a crowd and inviting them to lunch -- just picking out a blog at random and exploring it.

I did that tonight. I hit a couple of stupid ad blogs and one porno site (ick) before I landed on: gonetothedog.blogspot.com. Another dog-lover, Dawn, whaddyathink?

I've invited Her to visit this blog and see if She likes it. Wouldn't it be cool to bring in someone who none of us know and share this fun little blog community of ours with Her?

Columbus slept here

Having finished with "canals" in my encyclopedia, I have now reached the Canary Islands.

There's a whole lot that I found interesting about these Spanish-owned islets off the African coast.

They were Christopher Columbus' last stop in the Old World before he sailed for America. A church stands on one of the islands in which he supposedly prayed before he left. (Though my web searching found info only about the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, which dates to 1516 and thus 24 years after Capt. Columbus first passed through. That's the photo that I have included, sadly, not of my own taking. Maybe someday.)

How about this from Wikipedia: The Gomerans (natives of one of the islands) have a unique way of communicating across the barrancos (valleys) by an amazing kind of whistled speech called Silbo. Silbo Gomero language, a whistled language, is an indigenous language, whose existence was known since Roman times. Invented by the original inhabitants of the island, the Guanches, Silbo was adopted by the Spanish settlers in the 16th century and survived after the extinction of the Guanches. When this unique medium of communication was about to die out early in the 21st century, the local government required all children to learn it in school.

And this:
Columbus stopped at Gomera for wine and water, intending to stay only four days. He became romantically involved with Beatrice de Bobadilla, Governor of Gomera, and he stayed a month. When he finally sailed she gave him cuttings of sugarcane, which became the first to reach the New World. The house in San Sebastián in which he stayed is now a tourist attraction.

This was going to be a blogpost about the "Columbian exchange." I'll get to that in a later post.

Welcome, to Wanderlust

I'd like to welcome Scarlett to this bloglist. She's a traveler, a setter-forth-of-fun-activities, a thinker -- and one of those great bloggers who attempts to answer all comments.

Long live the lion!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Southern Summer Night

Perhaps somewhere in the South
the myth is real: People sip
mint juleps and watch
the sun set and the night
brings peace.

In my South
someone's music throbs
like a headache
down the street and
the katydids scream all night
in the trees.

Mosquitoes seek to suck
any bare flesh
and no cold drink can drive away
this damned humidity
which lingers all night
and all day again
and forever
at least until fall.

Zinsser the Wise

"In our day, all kinds of people can read. They all have the same ideal of the happy ending of a dull day -- a comfortable couch, a bed lamp, and something to read.

"And there must, in consequence, be writers to supply this need -- literature for the intelligent as for the moron -- a book for every brain, like a motor car for every purse."

-- Hans Zinsser, Rats, Lice and History.

Generation Gap Overblown? Of Mothers and Daughters

Carmen has recently posted a couple of beautiful photos of Her angel Daughter on Her blog.

They seem to get along well and be quite happy together.

According to popular culture, that's not supposed to happen.

A Girl is supposed to turn 12 or 13 and suddenly hate Her mother with all the fury of a frustrated rattlesnake, until She turns 30 or so. Or so goes the myth.

It seems to me that if a Woman is psychologically healthy, with a love of life and a sense of self-confidence, and She has raised Her Daughter to be that way, that the teen years don't have to be the hurricane and hell scenario that tv sets forth.

This is just based on observations of the very few people I know who actually fit that description.

Any Mothers out there agree with me? Disagree?

The scent of insolence

Guerlain has created a new perfume for Women called "Insolence."

If you're in the mood, they have a website, http://www.insolence.com/.

I'm really surprised that someone else hasn't grabbed that domain name long ago.

Insolence, according to these people, is the "sparkle in the eye of a carefree spirit."

Hmmm. My dictionary defines it as being "disrespectful of custom or authority."

To me, the word is negative; it implies childish disrespect for rules that should be followed, as opposed to rules that are unjust or merely confining. I don't think of some happy hippie dancing in a daisy field but of a bratling who won't give up his seat on the bus for a senior citizen.

This Ortega doesn't taste good to me

In my country, the name "Ortega" means Mexican food.

Browse http://www.ortega.com/ for a little while and if you don't start to salivate, then you're either dead or insane.

But there is another Ortega in the world, and he's not a relative, to my knowledge, of those food-making folks, and he tastes foul, to me.

I recently cut out a column from the paper by Mary Anastasia OGrady.

Her bio: http://www.opinionjournal.com/bios/bio_ogrady.html.

The first part of the column: "Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega wants to party like it's 1979. And why not? He's back at the helm of his country, which is once again prime real estate for enemies of the U.S.
Three decades ago it was the Soviets who financed Mr. Ortega's fiesta, in which he and his closest commanders executed the famous "pinata" property grab and ran the country into the ground. His backers this time are a new bunch: Iran and Venezuela. But his hungering for another power trip looks very much the same. After a visit to Tehran last week where he denounced the Yankee imperialists, so too does the threat he presents to U.S. security interests."

The whole thing: http://www.hacer.org/current/Nica25.php

I'm not going to get too much into politics in this blog. I have readers from all over the world, who are going to be of differing political backgrounds. I don't expect them to wave American flags or agree with me all the time or even ever, at all. And I am capable of recognizing that my country has made many mistakes in its history.

But I think any rational person is disturbed by the global problem of Islamic fundamentalism. And this article reveals a disturbing new front in its battle to overthrow modern civilization.

Castro, Chavez and now Ortega-redux. A scary alliance if ever there was one. Granted, there is terrible poverty in these lands below my nation's borders. Granted, the machinations of the US over the years have done a lot of harm down there. But since when have these populist caudillos ever accomplished anything except to enrich themselves? And now, courting terrorists?

Not good at all.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My Heroine of the day

No, not heroin. That is an opiate distilled from poppy flowers. I'm not into inducing hallucinations. A spicy pizza just before bed will do that to me without the risk of addiction, hep c or jail time.

Heroine. As in, an extraordinary Lady.

Dawn has blogged today about an experience that She had during an ordinary drive. Please spend a minute in Her dog house and tell Her how awesome She is.

She stopped to help some cops save a dog's life, a dog that was running on a highway. A strange dog, possibly not even a friendly dog. To paraphrase hip lingo: Freakin' awesome, dude!

I think about the times that I have stopped to help and the times that I have rationalized and kept going. "It's on the shoulder, it'll probably get home safe, blah, blah, blah."

Once or twice, I've stopped to move an errant turtle, too. Once, I was trying desperately to save a grouchy old snapping turtle near the coast -- hey, they have their place in nature too -- when some bonehead in a UPS truck rolled right past me and ran it over. May that jerk be cursed with irritable bowel syndrome and bad breath for the rest of his thoughtless life.

Perhaps the most uplifting experience I had in this sort of thing was when I pulled into a turn lane on a busy highway and realized that a baby bird was floundering around on the asphalt. I whipped open the door while the light was red and scooped it up and took it to a wildlife rescuer. I hope that it is soaring the skies today as it was meant to do.

Bad for Her, good for me?

I do not need another book in my house.

I have no more room for books in my house. Every room, even the shed outside, even my car, overflows with books I scarcely have time to read.

I brought "Constantine's Sword" with me when I went to get the car's oil changed today, but I only read one page, because I shared the waiting room with a friendly Lady who was watching Emeril Live and who wanted to talk about it. And I like talking to friendly people.

Then, I was in the dollar store when I encountered "The Opposite of Fate, a Book of Musings," by Amy Tan. You know, "Joy Luck Club," etc.

Hardback. Suggested retail $24.95. And I got it for a buck. Which means Ms. Tan probably made little to nothing from this transaction.

Did this book not sell well when it was first published in 2003? Did Her attempt to write an autobiography not measure up to Her works of fiction?

I guess I will find out eventually, if I ever get to read it. I already promised Chase March that I would read a certain book that he recommended. And I really ought to finish Phaedrus and Constantine's Sword and read the National Geographics that are piling up on the floor of my study room.

I shall be an insane old man, unshaven and poorly dressed, clutching a book in my hand and screaming at passers-by: Read, damn you all, read! The end is near!

How quickly it all happens

I was southbound on the freeway this morning when I heard an odd noise.

To my right, a truck was losing its load -- a huge, metal drum-thing.

I don't know how many seconds passed -- maybe just one.

The drum bounced off into the road and across the lanes of traffic towards me.

I had to decide whether to speed up and get past it before it reached my lane or slow down and hope that it might stop bouncing before we met.

I sped up, which was a good thing, because it kept going across my lane and onto the center strip.

Who knows what could have happened? Thank God there was no one in the middle lane -- they would have had no chance to escape.

Life is fragile and can end in a moment.

Please be careful out there people.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rebecca is right

On Her blog today, Rebecca P. discussed littering, which is a disgusting, environmentally damaging behavior.

I told Her that I agreed. But I also stated that I find an inexplicable attraction in seeing Women litter. I had a post, one little post about that earlier this year on this blog.

Rebecca, quite rightly, stated that She finds me to be confusing, for "enjoying Women engaging in marginal or unacceptable behaviors" while I claim to esteem Women so highly.

All the way home, Her words have bothered me, because I sense Her discomfort, perhaps even Her revulsion. I value Her contributions to this blog and I also value Her opinion about me.

I am choosing to have this discussion on this blog, because I initiated the discussion uninvited with my post to Her blog, and I don't want to track any mud, so to speak, into Her house. In other words, She or may not want to see the word capnolagnia, whatever, on Her site or to have this discussion there and I utterly respect that.

As this blog of mine has progressed, I have posted less and less about those things from my hidden closet. Lance, the first blogger to discuss this with me, would probably call that lamentable. It's as if this blog is beginning more and more to become as I am in real life -- a nice, ordinary guy with an odd but harmless secret -- and less and less a confessional.

Believe me, Rebecca, my closet troubles me. I hasten to add that I would be even more disturbed and conflicted if I enjoyed the possible consequences of the two fetishes that I have -- a Woman suffering smoking-related health consequences or a fine for being caught littering.But such things bring me absolutely no enjoyment.

Perhaps my ... confusing closet simply reflects an extreme version of the very common male attraction to "bad Girls," which rarely if ever encompasses the consequences of such behavior. It is as if the brain sets that aside. When You smoked in Your past, Rebecca, did You not, at least temporarily, set aside all the possible consequences of Your smoking and live in the moment, as irrational as such behavior might be?

And You Ladies know that You tend to like bad boys, too.

Rebecca, perhaps these personal conflicts or inconsistencies are more common than some people realize. There are pious believers out there who every now and then doubt the existence of God, for example.

Please know that I respect You very much and I hope that this blog of mine, as it continues to develop and mature, will be valuable to You, not a source of discomfort.

Blogger frustration

How dare Google Blogger dangle this addiction before me, hook me firmly like a catfish writhing on a line, then deny me the fix of seeing my posts go up!

We are experiencing technical difficulties, I presume.

Fix it, Google, fix it! An addict is a dangerous beast to annoy.

India makes history

Perhaps I haven't been paying enough attention to the news this week. In fact, if my eyes hadn't caught the small paragraph on some back page of the metro paper, I wouldn' t have known that India has inaugurated its first Female president this week, Pratibha Patil.

The article states that Her post is largely ceremonial and that Her election "has elicited only a lukewarm response from many women who ... don't feel that she represents them."

Still, it's history and it's something to celebrate. How many Women did this reporter query to come up with that line?

Pres. Patil vows to empower Women and to end the practice of aborting Female fetuses.

My baby oak

A friend of mine just sent me a picture of an oak tree.

Of course there's more to it than that.

I raised this oak tree, literally, from an acorn.

I rescued the sprouting acorn from beneath its parent tree on a university lawn many thousands of miles from where I now live. I think I had to use a spoon to pry it out of the ground. Most college kids don't keep shovels handy.
Mowers would surely have cut it down within a few days. I kept it in a pot of soil until I graduated college, then brought it back with me to the East Coast.

Years later, the opportunity arose to give it to a local university where I had developed some friendships.

Now, the fragile sprout has become a healthy and strong young tree and I looked at the picture that my dear friend sent me and smiled. Barring some awful storm or the caprice of university officials, this tree, now taller than I am, will continue to grow, providing sustenance and shelter for birds and squirrels and such, many decades after I am gone and forgotten.

It just feels good to do a little good thing for our Earth!

Isis continued

So this is the continued vision for this site, keeping in mind of course Chase's advice not to make it the exclusive subject:

Also noting that I am not so conceited as to think this blog will be the biggest or the best or the be-all, end-all, as the saying goes.

But what I want to do is to provide links, in a special section, to every possible health concern that Women have, from Their hair to Their toenails; in another section, to provide links to various groups of, and for, Women such as N.O.W.; in another section, to focus on business and career links that specialize in assisting Women around the world, such as the microbusiness concept.

Your related blog comments (please keep sending them!) on these subjects will also be bookmarked and highlighted.

Quake in Indonesia

Perhaps it is just that I am paying more attention, having people that I care about now in various parts of Asia, but I heard about the recent earthquake in Indonesia, right on the heels of the one in Japan, and I hope that it is not a new and frightening trend.

I know that eastern Asia has always been subject to such phenomena, but is this much this soon a new thing?

I hope that all my blog friends are okay. I wish everyone could be okay.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First Women's Physical Health Post -- Your thyroid & the headache connection

Submitted by blogger Amarpreet:

"On a priority I would suggest women have their thyroid levels checked and also have full physicals done. As some women may experience headaches/migraines related to monthly hormone fluctuations it is important to get the thyroid gland tested regularly including checking the dosage of any birth control pill as it may simply be a matter of taking a pill a day/adjusting the dosage to relieve their pain.

For others who experience migraines due to it also being genetic I recommend being prescribed the appropriate type of migraine medication; for example, beta blockers may be right for some and not others. There are different types of migraine medications so it is very important to be on the right one. A lot of women can't relieve the pain b/c they may be prescribed the incorrect type. Taking the over-the-counter meds is okay for some if it's minor and it helps, others need more intense therapy.

Other avenues of pain-relief like acupuncture are also a good idea. Seeing a chiropractor is all what some may need, so it is really important to get a full physical done. My migraines may be related to what showed up on my last CT, not confirmed yet but I do urge women to fight to get a CT/MRI done to rule out any serious factors. I can't stress how important it is to find out the cause first before treating the symptoms b/c taking meds that may not be right for the type of migraine a woman has can do more damage than good (voice of experience)."

ECD suggests: Check out this site for a good explanation of thyroid function and concerns and a photo (copyrighted or I would have posted it here) of what your thyroid looks like (butterfly-shaped) and where it is located (in your neck).


Please, dear heaven-sent Ladies, keep up with Your health, get Your regular tests, examine Yourselves -- You know what I mean. Don't deprive Yourselves of one precious moment of life because of something that could have been prevented! You are beautiful and urgently needed in this world!

In Search of Isis

Dear readers:

I am so excited, so full of joy today that I can barely contain myself. In a small way, I feel as if I have been enlightened – and it is thanks to you!

I began this blog as “thoughts-a-spinning.” I was distracted and diffused, to quote Simon and Garfunkel.

No more. My thoughts are settled, my purpose clear. I know what this blog is meant to be. And it was right in front of me from the beginning, but the more I talked with you readers, the more it began to grow, until now, the clouds have burst and the rain comes down upon thirsty ground.

Let’s start with Isis, the header to my blog. Why am I in search of Her, so to speak?

Isis was a Goddess in the Egyptian pantheon. From the writings that I have quoted, She once stood with Thoth, god of wisdom and together they spread that gift to humanity.

But Isis is now a lost Goddess. Thus She is a symbol of all that has been lost of Woman’s contribution to humanity, of the role that Woman is meant to carry out – all the books burned because Woman wrote them and all the books that Woman was meant to write but which oppression kept bottled up inside of Her. Not just books, but contributions in every field – science, business, too.

Isis and Thoth may be ancient myths but they represent a beautiful ideal, a healthy, productive partnership between men and Women that has for too many centuries been corrupted or wholly lost. Humanity has paid the price.

This blog exists as one small place devoted to changing that.

I believe that this page should have room for the pious, too. Strip away the corruptions and accretions, read the sacred writings for yourselves and you find Woman there as She is meant to be.

In the Jewish Tanakh, wisdom is personified as Woman, and flesh-and-blood Women of Israel led when men faltered. In the Christian New Testament, Jesus the Messiah made of Women his close companions, talked to them, taught them, respected them. To a Woman, He said, “Where are now thine accusers?” and bid Her begin Her life anew. To a Woman, He first revealed His resurrected presence in glory – the very heart of Christianity.

Islam at its inception acknowledged (I do not say “granted,” for human rights are not something that anyone has the authority to give out, they are natural and inalienable) rights of Women that were unprecedented at the time.

When man respects Woman, when he stands beside Her, when he lifts Her up, when he loves Her, never is he more strong, never is he more admirable, never is he more a man.

When man demeans Woman, when he pushes Her down, when he holds Her back, never is he more contemptible, never is he more a filthy, despicable, disgusting wretched animal, a stinking carcass not fit for buzzards and maggots to eat.

So, what is this blog? It will still contain my musings on other subjects but it will earn its keep in the blogworld as a place where I hope that I can collect resources to help Women; where a Woman can visit to be reminded of Her precious Feminine birthright and the beauty and power that EVERY Woman is born with.

It is a place, I hope, that will help, in its own small way to end the flesh cutting, the anorexia, the guilt, the doubt, the victimization and the oppression of Woman in this world.

It is a place where She will be reminded that She is beautiful whether She closes deals on Wall Street or cleans toilets in Calcutta. It is a place where links will be found to others who feel as I do.

It does not matter if She weighs 90 pounds or 200; whether She has large breasts or small breasts or has had a double masectomy. It does not matter if She is 18 or 81.
I am thus ever, in search of Isis.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Two more wonderful people to meet

I spent some time today roaming through another great blog, replete with smart commentary and beautiful art. Leslie has also visited my blog and shared some thoughtful comments. I hope that She will become a regular here and I have linked Her blog, with great pleasure.

Tonight, thanks to Jeane Michelle, I found another blog that joins the growing ranks of those celebrating the greatest creation in the universe, that beautiful Being whom we call Woman. If my blog does nothing else, it will always be a nexus of such Great Minds and hopefully a light to any other Women out there who are still unaware of Their indescribable worth.

How could I not link a blogger confident enough and smart enough to declare: "I am [W]oman and I am worthy!" It's a Woman's World appears to be a very promising site.

Memorize these lines!

This is probably the only Internet warning that I have ever received that I found worth passing on.

Most of the time, well-meaning friends send me scary stuff that a quick trip to snopes.com immediately invalidates.

But this is different. I've kept it around a while. This blog of mine being devoted to Women, and read regularly by several wonderful Women, is as good a place as any to post these tips. The only one that seems more spooky than real is that last one about babies crying. The rest simply make sense. And may God grant that none of You ever need to put any of these tips into practice. And may we someday have a world where this sort of thing is ancient, horrible history and Woman have nothing in the world to ever fear again. -- ECD

Refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation...
This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, everyone you know.
After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about.
It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/orpurse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit(doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.)DON'T DO THIS!
The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go.
If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot.
This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN!
The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ! RUN!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help"into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted
his next victim.

9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch
the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird.
The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door."
The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby.
DO NOT open the door for a crying baby.

Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Remembering a long-lost friend

I knew him for one brief season. He was messy, somewhat moody, often mysterious.

But I could not have had a more suitable roommate to begin my university life.

I was an angry kid who had left behind, with no regrets, an unfriendly town of mostly wealthy people who looked down on people like me.

I was so naïve about so many things. I was still such a child.

D. seemed so wise. Yet he seemed to think I was intelligent, too, and he drew out my intellect with many a long, fascinating conversation.

He wasn’t rich, either. He got a crummy job like I did, in one of the university’s cafeterias.

He laid on his messy bed and played his red electric guitar, which of course I thought was the coolest thing in the world.

He knew everything there was to know about the Beatles – but a whole lot about Bach, too.

Once, he invited me to a classical concert on campus and pointed out, to my amazement, that one of the players was slightly out of tune and would soon be adjusting their instrument.

We commiserated together about the juvenile idiots, the in-crowd that made noise all day and most of the night beyond the doorway of our dorm room.

Today, I heard “his” music again – Handel’s “Water Music” – which he always listened to in order to get to sleep.

He never slept well. He wore earmuffs, played a “white noise” machine, and sometimes just gave up and went out walking, long into the night.

I knew him so briefly. I heard from his parents later. He had vanished. To this day, no one knows exactly what happened. Drugs may have been involved – he’d been into heroin, I learned then, although I don’t know how often.
It is amazing how much of who I am is based on who he was, that young man so briefly known, so long ago.

When writers trip over their words

Sometimes, as a lover of words, one pushes the envelope, one tests one's limits -- and sometimes, that leads to mistakes.

I recently wrote a bit of verse (In a Dusty City), in which I concluded with a stanza about a hospitable shopkeeper "repining." My intent was to use a synonym for rest or slumber that followed the flow of the words.

Something about that somewhat archaic word, which lies at the far edge of my verbal comprehension, bothered me and I finally broke down and checked it in the dictionary.


"Repine" means to complain -- not what I intended at all. "Repose" was what I had meant to say.

So all of you who were wondering why the shopkeeper spent the night complaining instead of sleeping, now know the answer: his writer made him do it.

Whatever floats your boat

Lone Grey Squirrel has been contemplating canals this week, so I thought I'd mention a canaly factoid that I have discovered, too.

The Grand Canal of China is 1000 miles long -- the longest canal in the world. The famous Erie Canal of the U.S. is but a muddy ditch in comparison. The GC runs from Tungchow to Hangchow. Work on it began in 540 BC (!!!) and was completed in 1320 AD. That's 1,860 years!

Of course, these fascinating details were only mentioned in a footnote of the encyclopedia entry on canals, which had almost an entire page devoted to Erie and close to that on the Suez. No wonder China has an inferiority complex!

Monday, July 23, 2007

New link to start the week -- Alexis

Already quite familiar to many of you in this part of blog world is a smart young Lady, Alexis, who came to my attention as a blog friend of Chase March's. (BTW, Chase March has a great new post today about hip hop, if you're into that. Too good to languish with only my pitiful comments attached to it.)

I am honored to have Alexis' permission to link Her blog here. Mind you, She actually has three blogs, one of which is devoted specifically to Her creative writing, so check all of them out.

Enjoy another Great Mind among us, another Beautiful Lady sharing our world.

In a dusty city

She tipped a glass of water
Cold, clear water
To her lips
And drank.

She wiped the stray droplets
Like a child from her mouth
With the back of her hand
And he pitied the moisture rubbed away
Envied the draught
that now nourished her within.

She smiled and thanked
Him – just a shopkeeper
He was and she a stranger
A traveler passing
A beautiful traveler bravely alone.

He took back the glass
And kissed to his lips
where hers had just pressed
She smiled softly to see it.

She spoke a strange language
Sweet, soft like a bird’s call
He brought her warm yoghurt
and a dish of couscous
seasoned with lamb

She ate and he knew that
She’d hungered quite long
Like a young lion she devoured it
And licked her fingers when done

He brought in a basin
Warm rose water and cloth
And she protested but a moment
As he undid her sandals
And washed the dust from her feet
And then like a pilgrim he kissed them.

And she saw tears in his eyes
And wondered what brought them
But she felt no fear with him
Nothing but peace.

She awoke hours later
In the dark of his shop
Her hands flew to her robe
Had he – no, certainly not!

But he’d laid her on a heaven-soft rug
Surely a priceless treasure from Persia’s own looms
And drawn over her a piece of the finest of silk
And left her to sleep while he reposed chastely
somewhere else in his place.

Adena's back!

Adena’s back!

All my new blogger chums should take a few minutes to visit Her sassy, thought-provoking blog, and all you old-timers should mosey on back over again until it’s a habit once more.

She’s an absolutely beautiful, determined young Woman from Singapore with a sharp mind and a curious nature -- and I’m blessed to know Her, if but in blogworld.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Reflections on Judaism

I listened tonight to a tape I bought about 15 years ago in Hungary, of authentic Jewish music.

It is sobering to realize that some of these songs were probably sung when Julius Caesar was still a boy in the Alban hills, before there was a Europe as we know it.

That they were sung again when Jerusalem's zealots battled against the might of the entire Roman Empire.

That they were sung in Jewish ghettos through the long medieval night, from Spain to Moscow; and then as the Shoah unfolded in all its horror in our supposedly modern age.

I walked through the burned-out shell of a synagogue in one little Hungarian city, left that way still 50 years after the Nazis had rampaged through it. I have never forgotten that experience.

What will the future hold for this ancient people? Disappearance by assimilation? A judenrein Middle East via nuclear missiles from Iran? Or once again, survival against all odds?

King of weird dreams

I am the king of weird dreams. I challenge anyone to best me.

Last night's specialty, perhaps encouraged by a hearty German repast earlier in the evening:

I dreamt that Little Brother Number 1 and I robbed a bank. We knew the dye pack would explode in the bag but we were not concerned and even laughed about it. (I must note at this point that in real life, neither one of us are the bank-robbing type. Just in case you wondered.)

To get the cops off our trail, I threw the sack of money onto the top of a building and then calmly proceeded to some family get-together we were having across the street.

Later, I regretted what I had done and racked my dreamland-brain trying to figure out how to get the money bag down from the building-top without being seen.

I awoke briefly and then returned to the dream sequence. In this Part II, the money bag had changed into a peppermint candy, which apparently still urgently needed to be disposed of before the cops arrived. I tossed it hurriedly to some kid who was rolling in a wheelchair down a bridge towards me and he caught it in his mouth but then spit it out, meaning I still had to figure out how to get rid of it.

Mercifully, I woke up at this point.

What was She thinking?


Out of France today comes this strange story of a Woman being arrested for kissing a famous painting. The kiss left a lipstick smudge behind, which was not considered an improvement to the original.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What my Sister knew

When I was a kid, the family took a trip to Disneyland and my Sister annoyed me for weeks afterward singing "It's a Small World After All."

She got Her musical ammo from a ride there in which little mannequins dressed like people from all over the world sang that song and danced.

Tonight I attended the 75th birthday party of a family friend who lives out here, all done in a German theme, as that is his favorite country from all the ones that he has visited.

My belly is full of saurbraten, schnitzel and red cabbage; my head still full of the feisty dance music. Maybe I will learn some German this week.

And I am thinking it truly is a small world after all and it is a damned shame that we spend so much time hating each other, brandishing weapons, building walls.

I, an American, should be able to walk the streets of Tehran without fear and buy a bag of dates from a market stall. I should be able to feel the cold breeze whip against my jacket in Pyongyang and invite a new friend there to come visit me in my east coast home sometime.

Shiite, Sunni, Orthodox Christian, Jew, agnostic, Bushman, Pakistani, Australian, Han Chinese, black, white, brown, male, female -- we are all part of the human family. Disease and poverty should be the only enemy we have left to face, not each other.

Joy in the kitchen

"I don't cook," said a certain relative of mine, by way of turning down a proffered bag of potatoes from my garden yesterday.

I can't imagine that. I love going out to eat as much as anyone, but I also love fooling around in my kitchen, baking the ocassional loaf of bread or making a steamy pot of soup from scratch.

And I have enough cookbooks to make Emeril Lagasse turn green.

My carrot cake yesterday stuck to the Bundt pan and thus looked awful, but it tasted like heaven. It was so much fun to make.

I can understand the distaste of people who have to cook under pressure, every day, for a big, whiny family - my poor Mother was that way.

But I don't, thankfully.

I love food and I love making it.

One of my earliest jobs was working in a deli, and to this day, I still remember with pleasure the aroma of the spices we mixed into big tubs of ground pork to make sausage from scratch. There I also learned the exquisite joy of a Reuben on rye and how to make a pizza all by myself.

She doesn't cook, this relative of mine. Why on earth not?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Rebecca joins the party

I waited about 24 hours and couldn't stand to wait any longer before adding another Beautiful Mind to the blog-link list. I realize I do have to slow down with all this linking, but Rebecca (RP) has already posted several comments here, one of which was so profound that I just had to give it front page prominence. I hope that She doesn't mind.

She has a great blog, well worth your time. And I hope that She will be a regular visitor here.

More Latin learning

I glanced over at the Latin side of the page in Phaedrus this morning and made another discovery. Not quite as fun as last night's, though.

"Columbae" is "dove" in Latin.

Could it be, could it be -- yes, columbine means dove-like, my dictionary assures me. As in the flower. And thus, too, the Colorado city where so much sadness happened a few years ago.

"Galamb" is dove in Hungarian -- did the Magyar folk borrow the word from the Catholic priests who settled among them after their conversion to Christianity?

And in Spanish today, the word is "paloma." As in the city in California. Same Latin derivation, of course.

Man Stuff

There are two things in my life that make me feel like a manly man.

One is of course paying the attention and respect to a Woman that She deserves.

The other is getting covered with dirt and sweat out in my yard.

I dug up about 20 lbs. of potatoes this morning and hauled about 5 wheelbarrow loads of weeds out into the woods.

I felt rough and tough and masculine as I sauntered over to a certain neighbor's house to offer them a sack of the potatoes. I felt as if I had the equivalent of a dragon tatoo on my biceps and a fresh flat-top haircut.

Stupid, perhaps. But such is me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The risque world of etymology

We all know that English is just mutant German with a crust of Latin and a little spice tossed in from other languages of the world.

In many cases, perfectly good old English words were eventually replaced by Latin ones for reasons known today only to etymologists. Winston Churchill famously hated this phenomenon.

I discovered an odd example of such a transfer tonight. In a staid old book of Roman fables -- you can't get much more academic than the Loeb Classical Library -- I had no expectation of such a discovery, but there it was, and a dictionary confirmed it.

It seems that the word "yard" once served as a standard, English male, umm, anatomical term, one which we have replaced today with a Latin word that began, most oddly, as the term for "tail."

Gives painful new meaning to the title of that recent movie, Stomp the Yard.

The truth

Gold is precious not just because it is rare but because it possesses certain desirable qualities. It does not tarnish, it is lustrous, etc.

Things do not have to be rare to be precious. Every half-decent parent knows that their son or daughter is precious beyond compare, regardless of the millions of other sons and daughters of other people out romping in the world. And even if one family has a dozen children, each child in it is special and precious to them.

So is it possible to believe and declare that the vast majority of Women in the world are beautiful, without cheapening the word? Could I even dare to push it to 100 percent?

I think so.

As WGM's writers have said, there is a beauty in, and something to love about, every Woman who lives and breathes on this Earth of ours.

Carmen's blog today thrills me, absolutely thrills me. It is one thing for a guy like me or the guys of WGM (I know that they do have a Woman on their team) to tell the Women in our lives that They are beautiful. It is another thing entirely for a Woman to know it and to declare it Herself -- and to positively rejoice in the divinely granted honor of being a Woman.

It is truth. It is precious, glorious, wonderful truth. I am close to tears, genuinely, truly, in reading Her words.

If You are a Woman, seize this truth, possess it, make it Yours! You are beautiful! You exist because a man and a Woman came together in impassioned desire for each other and thus created a living combination of the things they loved about each other.

Every nugget of gold, every sparkling diamond, every bar of platinum, every ruby, every amethyst, every crystal -- everything to which we attach value, pales and is but dust before the simple miracle of You living and breathing upon our planet.

Pocket lint

I've blogged in the past about the supernal human invention of the book. Five hundred years from now, a book of my day found in some dusty attic will still be readable, albeit perhaps with the help of a translator. By contrast, a CD-rom in that same attic would probably be absolutely useless, an utter mystery.

"Look, Bill -- I think I found some ancient earrings!"

"From what, Homer? Bigfoot's girlfriend?"

Now allow me to pontificate on another common item that people have tried to improve: the hum-drum little door-key.

I have good, old-fashioned metal keys in my pocket that have lasted a decade or more. My grandparents have keys to their house and outbuildings that are more than 50 years old.

In contrast, somewhere, hopefully not in the wrong hands by now, is a damnable little plastic lump that was given to me when I accepted my current job barely three years ago. It serves, or served, the purpose of a key, by some technological miracle of silent communication with a computer in the building when I held it in front of the door.

But being mere plastic, it succumbed to the rough and tumble of life in my pocket and eventually broke its plastic hinge, falling away somewhere. I'm amazed that it perished thusly, not in the washing machine where my wallet and cell phone periodically go swimming.

Which means now that in 98-degree East Coast heat and 1000 percent humidity, I have to walk all the way to the front of the building, not the employee door, and wait for the secretary to buzz me inside. This unpleasant ritual will continue for some time, as our overworked facilities guy averages about a year to replace things like this.

Last link for a while, I promise

Blog-buddies, I just had to add Lone Grey Squirrel to the blog list. I won't add anyone else for a while as I need some time to get to know all the new folk that I have met this week. Blogworld is like a great all-you-can-eat buffet and if you don't pace yourself, you'll explode trying to swallow down too much juicy steak, salad and sweet dessert.

LGS - what an amazing guy. Rarely do I feel inclined to say that about a man. But as I commented to him, his awesomeness is no doubt due in part to having spent much of his life in the company of Women.

Plus, I like squirrels, too.

One more link added

I found another great blog a few days ago, prettylady21@blogspot.com. Her real name is Carmen. Any Woman who is confident enough of Her personal beauty to give Herself such a screen name, deserves to be applauded, IMHO.

But I've had trouble making the link work. Hopefully, it's a temporary problem, as I'd love for my readers to visit Her blog.

Maybe the link below will work in the meantime.


P.S: The above link does work. Her blog is Strawberries and Champagne, BTW. I have outsmarted the Blogger bug! And I note as well, that Pretty Lady Carmen has the dubious honor of being the subject of my 150th post.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Helpful writing link added

I've just added a link to the theme blog section at the bottom of this page -- Laura's very useful collection of tips for writers. Check it out if writing is your thing!

Fine Print

Many years ago, when I was a fresh young U.S. Coast Guardsman stationed at a certain port for the summer, I hung a picture of a Woman on the wall of my room.

She was beautiful. She was also clothed. I think it was an ad for perfume or jeans or something. This perturbed my roommate, who couldn't see the point in posting such a photo if its subject wasn't naked or groping Herself or something.

I have never liked porn. The contrived cacaphony, the absurd bodily fakery, the typical presence of some guy revealing parts of himself that I'd rather not see, and of course, its demeaning effect upon Women, just doesn't heat my wires.

A Woman in beautiful clothing or in my presence sweetly and simply without any, now that has the effect on me that nature intended.

So it intrigued me when I read the fine print a few days ago on my DSL contract with Verizon, the provider. I am not to access anything pornographic, it said. That's unusual, for an Internet provider, I would think, but really not a concern for me. It goes on to state that I may also not access anything obscene, cruel or, if I remember right, racist.


Who defines cruel?

And what if I go to some white supremacist website for legitimate research, the sort of thing that a writer must do every now and then?

Will Verizon agents show up at my door with a warning or will my service suddenly just vanish?

Who sits back in their home office to do the judging? To whom might I appeal if accused?

Are they aware of capnolagnia and will I see my screen go blank if I click on old Virginia Slims ads?

Breaking Through

Lunch Break Post:

Yesterday, I was frustrated. My mind seemed cloudy, my brain unable to focus.

Today I awoke tired but unusually excited.

The projects at work that have confounded me suddenly seem to be coming together. I feel as if I have made a mental breakthrough. It is a good feeling. I cannot determine what has made the difference. Perhaps the sardine sandwich from earlier this week finally having the salutatory effect on the brain (brain food, you know).

It's mysterious but wonderful.

Perhaps I require being confronted with great challenges in order to stretch my little mind to reach higher levels of ability. And I must recognize that part of that process is the uncomfortable, frustrating, floundering, spinning my wheels sensation that indicates that such change, such happy progress, is actually on the way.

On George Washington

"It is now no more
that toleration is spoken of,
as if was by the indulgence of one class of people,
that another enjoyed the exercise
of their inherent natural rights."

-- George Washington, letter to the Hebrew congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, USA.

Where do people find these gems? Eve Sugar, a syndicated columnist, reported this one. I had to read it over several times before I could comprehend, through the archaic syntax, what he meant.

In the young nation of which he spoke, Washington was confident that a new day had dawned, that people now recognized that others had a natural, irrevocable right to think, worship or simply be different. Not by the whims or sufferance of one group did another hope for tolerance, ever fearing a revocation of some Edict of Nantes-like situation.

There have been great statesmen and states-Women in world history -- Churchill, Bolivar, Gandhi, Nagy Imre, Lech Walesa, etc. -- but I have yet to find any who rivaled this man Washington in their absolute indifference to power and their greatness of soul.

And this is all I can blog until tonight, for I have a huge project at work today.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Power of Schmooze

After agonized deliberation, I have made my 5 choices for recipients/victims of the Power of Schmooze blog award.

I understand that this is not supposed to be a mere popularity/friends list, but rather to reflect wide-ranging blogs and bloggers who reach out to the blog community.

Thank goodness several of my would-be choices have already received the award, so I don't have to worry about leaving them off. Thus JMC, The Ladies Way (aka Story Fairy) and of course, Heart.

I award this honor first to: Woman Gods Masterpiece (womangodsmasterpiece.blogspot.com), a team of bloggers with a great community and a sublime message to share.

Then, in random order, I select Adena (ilovesquishingants.blogspot.com), who is young but bright, and whose blog now and then delves into philosophy and various matters of science. Be prepared for a little rage and salty language, but toknow Her is to respect Her. She's recently expanded Her blog output and deserves credit for that.

Lance (toughmindwarmheart) also deserves this award as a propounder of deep philosophical treatises but also one who answers every comment to his blog and deserves wider recognition. I can't keep up with him intellectually.

Chase March is a compassionate school teacher who intends to see his writing published and will surely achieve that goal. His link list is small but he is very dedicated to and thoughtful of its members. Check him out at chasemarch.blogspot.com.

Amarpreet (aka Empress) writes passionately of social injustice, without being dreary -- indeed, She has a gift for disguising truth beneath light banter. Another worthy recipient.

Dawn loves dogs, as the best people always do. She also has built up quite a following on Her site, which is an indication of a blogger whose messages are worth reading. (http://www.dawnsdoghouse.com/b2evolution/index.php)

Certainly, there are other worthy recipients on my radar screen, but people who are better at math than I am, will already have realized that I have exceeded my limit. Stick around in blogworld and your turn will surely come.
I'm also supposed to post these links, for those folks curious as to the origin of all this:

What you can learn from your dog

Dawn should like this:

Being a grown-up human is like being a dog, in more ways than one. You seem to spend your days gnawing endlessly on the same old bone or pile of bones -- in people terms, worrying at the same old problems which defy speedy or tidy resolution. Once in a great while, you break through to the tasty marrow and finally finish off the bone. In people terms, you achieve a measure of success.

My book list is back

For those of you not already convinced that I am insane, the following post should clinch it:

My book list is back.

Lovingly and carefully transferred from Crappy Computer Number One to slightly less Crappy Computer Number Two and now to Very Nice Secondhand Computer Number Three, it is my inventory of my personal library, every last precious book, by category.

Because it also includes information about the books, such as where and when I got them and in what notebook I've scribbled my reviews of the ones I've found the time to read, it now runs to 78 pages long. And that's in 10-point font.

It's a mental disease. It's pointless. Nobody else in the world gives a darn and when I die, my lovingly gathered lifetime collection will probably be tossed into dumpsters or doled out in some garage sale.

For two months, I had no home computer and the book list sat on an email of my work computer. Last night, I finally had a few minutes to put it on the new computer. And to add the six or seven books that I have acquired in the interim, my book addiction being utterly incurable.

I feel like myself again. All is well with the world. Except for war, disease, poverty and oppression of Women.

A blog award

Heart in San Francisco has bequeathed to me the Power of Schmooze Award, which is quite a blog honor.

It is supposed to be given to a blogger with wide interests who is active in the blog world.

But as the Grateful Dead pithily noted, every silver lining has a touch of grey.

I am now tasked to choose five other bloggers who deserve this award.

Being relatively new to the blogworld, that may be harder than it sounds.

Some of my favorite blogs are perhaps too specialized to qualify.

Some of my favorite bloggers may be offended if they aren't chosen.

I need some time to think about this. I'll work it out tonight.

I do appreciate the honor though, Heart.

On the recent quake in Japan

To any of my blog readers who have family or friends hurt, or property damaged, in the recent earthquake in Japan, I offer my condolences, and hope that such a thing will not happen again any time soon.

We live on a restless planet.

I have never been to Japan but I would love to visit someday.

(Photo from carto.net).

Teen Talk a Bad Thing?

I don't have time at the moment to post a link, but there's a report at abc.com of a study showing that talking excessively about Their problems may aggravate anxiety in teenage Girls.

I wonder if blogging falls into that category.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Losing my hero

If there were any chance that this blog were identifiable, I wouldn't write this entry. But I could be one of 100 million people, anywhere from Maine to Miami, just a young male who likes to write. I could be Bob Bazinko or Hector Hacker or Fringin Fragglefark III of Newark, N.J.

My hero is falling, my dad is becoming revealed suddenly as a man of great and disturbing flaws. I am learning things I don't want to learn about a man for whom I have had the greatest respect for so very long. I want to plug up my ears. I want to tell the informant, my own brother, to stop, to let me have my ignorance back.

I know my own flaws, no hero am I. And so I cry out to cyberspace: Are there any real heroes left out there?

The Red Menace Redux

Curve ball.


New wrinkle.

Wrench in the gears.

After ten years of writing a weekly column for the local paper on whatever came to mind, and building -- if I may be allowed to brag a little -- a nice following of fans, I have been given a new demand, by a new editor, J. Dzhugashvili I think they said is his name.

Every column henceforth must have a specific, local focus.


If I were the artistic type, I would throw up my hands angry-French-chef style and figuratively stomp out of the kitchen. But I need the money, and will cravenly, if sullenly, attempt to comply.

Damnable Soviet wannabees, demanding that my art serve the good of the state!

Perhaps I shall write my columns as always but throw in a gratuitous, awkward and obvious reference at the end that has no real connection to the rest of the column – like the porno mag editors who slide in a page about classic cars to avoid their work being classed as of no redeeming social value.

Perhaps I shall write a column about how stupid and leftist this new demand is.
No, I won’t. I need the damned money too much.

The Looney Tunes lie

As duly noted to your right and below on this page, I’m an average guy. Which should mean that I care about football, but I don’t. So sue me. Which also should mean that I don’t care about highbrow pastimes such as opera. Which is true. Or was, til very recently.

I have been fooled by the cartoon stereotype of some largish blonde topped by a Viking helmet cracking windows with Her vocals; or some largish guy with a huge moustache and an even huger ego – the sort of character that Bugs Bunny used to torment.

But last week, I was treated to a snippet of music that shattered all those myths. It was as lovely, sweet and plaintive as any ballad – and I do love a good ballad, even if that means I must turn over my Manliness Club Membership Card.

No theatrics. No shattered glass.

I did some internet research based on the title and author of the piece – and that is when I discovered that said piece, “Pangione,” is a part of that once-dreaded genre, an opera.
Specifically, Handel’s “Julius Caesar.”

In the venue that I visited, the lovely soprano Sarah M. sung the role in said opera of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, at the moment in history when Cleopatra was told (falsely, of course) that Julius Caesar, Her beloved, had drowned.

I learned much about Handel this morning, much about opera (such as the once fashionable concept of castratos – yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like, talk about suffering for your art!) and maybe a little about myself.
Can I still be an average guy, though?


That is my word for the day.


The quality or state of being nowhere.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Letting a link go ...

How long do the rest of you bloggers wait before you drop a link?

One of my links hasn't updated since May. But his blog is very informative and unique.

Should I let it go, make room for a more active poster?

I've dropped two previous links, a nice Chinese Lady who didn't update and a German guy who also became inactive. Perhaps I am too impatient.

Balut and Hatshepsut

Two things are flitting through my head tonight.

I want to eat balut.

And I want to learn of Hatshepsut.

I was almost born in the Phillipines, where balut (fermented duck egg) is a favorite treat. Is it served in the U.S., on this east coast of mine? I must find out.

And Evelyn Wells has written a great book on Hatshepsut, a Woman of ancient Egypt who dared to rule as Pharoah. For too long, it has waited unread upon my shelf.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thank you, Mom and Dad

... For teaching me to appreciate classical music when I was a boy.

Because you played the music of the masters in our home, because you loved it, I learned to love it.

That is why I drove thirty miles tonight of my own volition to be swallowed up in the great old architecture of a church, rich with history, gorgeous with stained glass windows, and listen to soprano Sarah M. render Handel, DuParc, Schumann, Strauss and Purcel.

She sang with an angel's voice and it was worth the traffic and worth skipping dinner to get there on time.

The Big Bang

I picked up a book today humbly titled "Rock and Gem" and it's worth every penny of the six dollars that it cost me. Fittingly, it opens with a description of the formation of the universe:

"It is hard for us to imagine a time ... even before there were chemical elements, the building blocks from which rocks and minerals [and us, too, I might add!] are made. Yet between 13 billion and 15 billion years ago, the entire universe consisted of one tiny dot of primordial energy. Then, in an instant, the Big Bang set in motion a chain of events that resulted in the creation of atoms and, over millions of years, the formation of galaxies and stars."

It is in these metaphysical scientific theories that science and religion seem to share a certain common ground, I think. The same skepticism that torments me when I try to make my head believe what my heart wants to believe, about a loving God somewhere out there and a life beyond -- this skepticism crops up when someone tells me that our vast universe was once a tiny speck of energy, etc., etc. It is so utterly fantastic.

The scientist will note, however, that E. Hubble famously first observed the expansion of galaxies -- proved that the universe is expanding, something that any human being can now see for themselves with the proper telescope or other equipment.

And the nature of expansion is that the matter in question had to change from an initial, unexpanded state.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The best blog on the Web

I am humbled. Very humbled. I found a blog today that does everything I dream of this blog of mine doing and better, so much better. It's at the top of my link list now.

It breathes a beautiful spirit of respect and uplift of Women, and goes beyond mere contemplations to actual interviews of real-life Women. In other words, it presents solid proof of its hypothesis.

Judging from the comments, it is achieving its goal, of helping Women to appreciate Their own worth and exalted position in the universe. Miracle of precious miracles, a Woman Herself has joined their team.

There is hope for the universe.

I say that because trying to help Women understand Their natural beauty, Their absolute glory, often seems so futile. Find me a Woman who actually realizes that She is beautiful, who radiates self-confidence, who is comfortable and happy with Her Femininity -- and I will show you a rare Person indeed.

I am capable ...

... Of now and then, noticing the good that is done by men, not just Women, and to find that a few of them actually have a little class and intelligence.

Please adjust your defibrillators, swallow your heart medicine, climb back into your chairs.

For example, I was quite pleased to see that a certain city official, imprisoned beside me in a horrendous meeting last night, had a copy of the classic "Crime and Punishment" tucked among his possessions.

The title was a propos to the situation, rather ironically.

I like to see people reading good books for pleasure, not by compulsion.

Blog Plugging Part II

Every so often, I feel inclined to publicly thank the people who put up with my blogging and who add their wit and wisdom to it via commentary.

I so appreciate:

The mystique and metaphors of Jeane Michelle Culp;

The sharp wit of pretty Adena, with a sweet heart behind Her shield of rage and profundity behind Her profanity;

The teasing banter of The ever-lovely Empress;

The cool commentary of Chase March;

The photographic sharings of Ildiko and Bhatnagar;

Lance's explorations of philosophy, though over my head they usually go;

The dog-gnawed delightful discourses of Dawn;

Heart in San Francisco and Liliapilia's wide-ranging commentaries;

My newest blog friend Ladybird;

and tropical Laura's zest for life.

Others have chimed in once or twice and I hope that they will continue to do so.

On Beauty

Only one thing kept me sane through last night’s intensely boring work meeting: the unexpected presence in the row before me of two Fair Maidens, representing a certain non-profit organization.

I found it absolutely intriguing that two Women so very different could both serve as the textbook definition of beautiful: one, a Nordic blonde, small of features, with Her hair pulled up tightly into a bun; the other, a Woman of apparent Mediterranean extraction with a darker complexion, larger features and beautiful black hair that She wore in long curls.

An amethyst can be every bit as lovely as a diamond; a Luna moth and a Monarch butterfly are different but exquisite in their own way; and so it is with the marvel of nature that is Woman.

Whether She be an ebony goddess, tall and graceful of limb from Africa; or a Celtic redhead from Ireland; or a feisty Filipina – planet Earth is glorified by Her presence and sanctified by Her every footstep.

Whether She be a fresh-faced teen or a Woman touched by many seasons, She is beautiful.

What if my sight were stripped away and I could no longer look upon the perfection of creation/evolution that is Woman’s form – the eyes, the lips, the splendor from head to toe?

Then I would still hear Her voice: the dignified phraseology of a Queen Elizabeth; the tenderness of a mother’s lullaby; the achingly gorgeous tones of a Sarah McLaughlin or an Allison Kraus.

What if my ears were to fail, all my auditory perceptions to cease?

I would still savor the scent of Her as She breezes through a room; and Her hair, warmed by the sun.

What if my olfactory senses faltered?

I would still rejoice to share the world with Her and I would still sense and be grateful for, until cold death closed over me, Her gifts to humanity, the golden thread that Woman weaves through the tapestry of life.

What if all this went away?

I had a disturbing thought last night, in between spasms of concealed rage and the fervent longing for a sack of rotten fruit to cast at the interminable speakers wasting my precious life in the course of a mandatory meeting.

Blogspot.com has been acting funny lately. I'm not the only one who's noticed. What if I were to wake up some morning and find that it had completely and permanently crashed?

All my posts may be so much cyber-rubbish but some truly intelligent people have made comments here that I never want to lose. And I believe that I have made some life-long friends through blog world, people whom I genuinely care about. How would I ever connect with them again if blogspot were to suddenly vanish?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Some surprising facts about human nature

Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature
by Alan S. Miller, Ph. D., and Satoshi Kanazawa, Ph. D.

Why most suicide bombers are Muslim, beautiful people have more daughters, humans are naturally polygamous, sexual harassment isn't sexist, and blonds are more attractive.


I, ECD, am apparently an anomaly, as far as this study goes: I honestly and truly don't give a darn about a Woman's chest size; I much prefer brunettes, redheads or ravenhaired Ladies over blondes; and my poor parents had only one Daughter and a heap of sons.

She's goin' to Kathmandu!

Ah, how this attempt to retain anonymity chafes and confines! But I have no one to blame but myself.

I have a friend, who for the reasons above I cannot mention by name, who has earned a certain, very prestigious scholarship, which I also cannot name for the same reason. How I would love to praise Her publicly, beyond the mention that She has had in our local paper.

I can say that because of this scholarship, She is going to Nepal and will do a world of good there. She is an intelligent Woman (please pardon the redundancy), as well as friendly, compassionate and curious.

Not an American native, She retains a delightful Eastern European accent but navigates English quite well.

I am so happy for Her and I am excited about what I hope to learn from Her in emails when She arrives in that country about which I and most Americans know so very little.

What I do know about Nepal – home of a sometimes violent Maoist insurgency that has only recently reached a peace agreement with the government – makes me realize that my friend, in addition to the above-noted qualities, is also brave.
Much has changed since Bob Seger sang about “going to Kathmandu” to escape problems in the U.S.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Three thoughts about gender issues

1. If anyone still subscribes to that tired stereotype about Women outgabbing men, science is not on your side. An Associated Press article, quoting the journal Science http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070705152953.htm

notes that in at least one study, men actually talk more. In other studies, the genders gab equally as much.

"The idea that women use nearly three times as many words a day as men has taken on the status of an urban legend," the article notes.

2. Other scientists, trying to understand the phenomena of Women smoking and Their lower quitting rates as compared to men, now hypothesize that smoking, for Women, may be a specific attempt to calm the frustrations and irritations of a Woman's daily life.

3. Lovely blogger Adena believes that a world of only Women would be one big catfight. But recent research has found that in the realm of humor at least, Women don't get Their kicks out of watching others suffer.

According to a Family Features article published in my local paper, "men [have been found to] like to laugh "at" others, while women are more comfortable laughing with others."

Continuing, "Women also tend to be more inclusive with their choice of humor so as not to offend anyone unnecessarily."

"Most men love physical comedy and simple Three Stooges-like gags ... while most women don't find that type of humor funny at all," according to Beth Murdoch, Director of Funny Cards for American Greetings.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Growing up so fast!

My niece was crying on a bed the other day – had fled there to escape rough words spoken in another room prior to my arrival. I tickled Her bare little brown toes and convinced Her to sit up and be read a story. Soon all was well again and She put those toes into sparkly sandals and we went out and sat on the front steps. She found ants to stomp on and butterflies to chase, and all was well in Her world again.

She is growing so fast. As She lay sprawled across that bed, I marveled that She is no longer a tiny pearl swallowed up in the soft shell of the quilt but a lengthening child who can touch the headboard with Her feet almost dangling off the back of the bed.

I remember when the odds and ends of Her childhood debris – Popsicle sticks, candy wrappers and such -- slipped innocently out of Her baby hands and drifted to the ground as She finished with them. Then came the “hand everything properly to the accompanying grown-up” stage. Yesterday, as we sat on the steps, She tossed Her ice cream sandwich wrapper playfully my direction and then tightly balled up Her gum wrapper and flicked it into the grass in the casual manner of Schoolgirls everywhere.
She is growing, so fast.

Delilah, a bit of poetry

“And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.” – Judges 16:4

In the valley of Sorek
on the banks of the Sorek
she knelt to draw water
she gracefully knelt.

The waters flowed before her
the river cooled her toes, her small ankles
as she stepped,
as she left prints in the sand.

Philistia’s daughter
Caphtor’s grandchild
drawing water now in desert land
in the valley of Sorek

She grew to catch
a wild man’s eye
she grew to snare
Sampson of Manoah.


She must have been beautiful.
She must have been brilliant.
Lives now only in the book of her enemies
Lost soul, byword, beautiful detail

And the Sorek flows on
Through the valley of Sorek.

Women who write

Credit for the first novel to be written in North America goes to Frances Brooke, the wife of a British officer stationed in Quebec. “The History of Emily Montague” was published in 1769.

As with “The Tale of Genji,” by Japan’s Murasaki Shikibu, described as possibly the first true novel in the history of the world, it demonstrates the primacy of Women in the development of literature.

Why did I not learn about Shikibu in school? And why did I have to discover Brooke, just yesterday, in an obscure encyclopedia article about Canadian authors? (Yes, I read encyclopedias for my bedtime story. Deal with it.)

Screaming in silence

I feel as if I have been in a coma all day. Something's wrong with our office computer network. Every now and then it will let me online to read your comments, other times not, and I haven't been able to access any of your blogs. Not until now has it finally allowed me to respond.

I can't wait to get home where the phone guy tells me my DSL is FINALLY working.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Family nightmare

To you, little blog, I will turn with my sorrow. I cannot express it to anyone else.

What I thought would be a relaxing week with my family turned into a nightmare, and today the horror continues.

I have a sibling with long-established social llproblems, which we’ve always blamed on a certain emotional disorder which runs in our family, and in his case, a little bit more, which I cannot reveal here. During my visit home, he and his wife were at the epicenter of family quarrel after family quarrel – a scene of tears, tantrums and even cursing such as I have never seen there.

I was bewildered by his behavior, by his wife’s behavior, by my grandmother’s response, by my mother’s response.

Today, talking to another sibling, let’s call him X, a horrible possibility emerges.

My late paternal grandfather was a hard man and my father rarely speaks of him. We’ve long known of said grandfather’s alcoholism and suspected that he was abusive. We’ve been proud of my father for giving up the bottle early in his marriage and for striving mightily to break the cycle. Today, he is a sweet, lovable man with only rare bursts of temper that lead to nothing physical, so far as I know. But this afternoon, Sibling X, who has lived with, and closer to, the family for much longer than I have, made a suggestion: that my father’s effort to overcome his upbringing took longer than I believed, and that his rages over the years have been more terrible than I knew, that they crossed the line at least once into genuine physical and emotional abuse.

This would explain the strange behavior and apparent emotional instability of my mother. She has been abused – not ever to the point of black eyes or broken bones – not even at his angriest could I suspect my father of such – but by harsh names, by slaps, by hands around her throat at least once. These things I vaguely remember witnessing in childhood – only a few times but could there have been more?

Sibling X and I, I learned today, independently vowed never to hit a Woman and we have both kept our promise to ourselves. I have made the protection and uplift of Women one of my life concerns. But what of the other sibling? I hesitate to be more specific, I need to keep this blog anonymous, maybe I shouldn’t have written any of this. Let’s just say that this sibling is an instable, explosive person – and he is married, with a baby. Could he have inculcated lessons of anger learned in childhood, could he be continuing the cycle that my dad struggled so hard to break? Could this explain the nightmare of this week?

Could some of my own peculiarities – my difficulties in responding properly to authority figures, for example – be traced to a childhood that was rougher than I actually remember it?

My dad could be so tender and caring. There was a certain time when I probably deserved a whipping and he put me over his knee but couldn’t go through with it. There were other times when he rapped me on the head and called me names, or went into a rage because I didn’t agree with certain petty things, but I remember nothing worse than that. I don’t believe I have any of those infamous, so-called repressed memories. But could things have been different, worse, for my mother, my other siblings? The thought makes me sick.

And if my mother is a classic abuse victim, even if my dad has finally purged his own demons, is my grown sibling now manipulating her – and if so, what can I do? How can I help him, and her? From the thousands of miles away that I live from them?

It’s easy to simply and utterly hate a stranger who hurts a Woman, to wish him a slow, pitiless and painful death crushed in heavy machinery – but when the possibility rears up within your own family, with men whom you dearly love, it is not so black and white, it is not so cut-and-dried.