Sunday, October 31, 2010
... and it's Jerry's favorite place in the world.
He leaves Tuesday for a month of R & R there. I follow in a couple weeks to spend the last two weeks with him.
But planning and packing for a month away is no easy chore. Meanwhile, he's cooking an elaborate dinner for our friends Diane and Tony, who are coming over to watch the Vikings-Patriots game that starts in a few minutes, and dealing with work stuff that keeps his phone ringing even on a Sunday afternoon.
"I'm overwhelmed!" he just said.
He needs to be on that plane waiting for take-off.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The health care law is of course mostly hated by the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, who have the power and the resources to sponsor these office-holders and candidates and television ads, and, by repeating supposedly vicious buzz words like "socialistic" over and over until they become distorted truths, they know how to fool the under-educated American public into voting against their own best interests.
We hear that tens of millions of Americans have had no health insurance, but the plain fact is that most Americans do have health insurance in percentages that probably lead to the large percentages (in polls, at least) that are against "Obamacare". To repeal this law is to go back to the disgraceful health insurance policies that denied coverage to the people that really need it but are a definite voting minority. The Obama law is flawed and needs to be improved, but it is a major step in the right direction.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
We generally fly non-stop, Philly to Minneapolis, but this time we were using frequent-flyer last-minute tickets and beggars can't be choosers, so these tickets had us changing planes at JFK Airport in New York. It's kind of a weird, non-user friendly airport to make a connection but it all worked out well. Made us want to stay in New York for a few days.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
There were probably 400 people at the viewing, long lines out the door of the funeral home. Today is the funeral and the burial. It is a gloomy rainy day, which seems appropriate as we say goodbye to our beloved brother-in-law John.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
For my sister Mary, who is remarkably brave and strong, this is a surreal time, this time between his death Friday morning and the services that are to come. The viewing is tonight and the funeral is tomorrow, and many people are expected from all aspects of John's whole life. It's not easy for her to face all that, I'm sure, while she is still in shock from the loss of her mate.
Rather than just sitting around waiting for the viewing tonight, Mary asked if we could go to the shore today, so we drove down to the boardwalk in Ocean City, where it was gray and breezy and beautiful. And familiar. It was exactly the right thing to do.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
For me, it's one of those "worst of times, best of times". The family is so far-flung geographically that it's a happy occasion to see everybody coming together, since it doesn't happen often, yet the mourning takes over our emotions now and then, sometimes unexpectedly and out of the blue.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Racquetball was a passion of mine back in the first half of the '80s, and even though I could never get above a B level of play, I had matches or leagues three or four times a week. I loved the game, and during that time I was definitely in the best shape I've ever been in in my life. That was also, I think, the heyday of racquetball nationwide. It doesn't seem nearly as popular these days, and the people who were playing back then had their knees give out eventually. I still get into a court and hit the ball around a little now and then, but the days of hard-core playing are well over. Watching is still fun, though.
So if you're thinking of trying racquetball sometime, I say Go Ahead. Your knees one day will give out from something else anyway, probably something a lot less fun.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
If the government's logic is that 'the people' should be making decisions, then here is an example of inconsistency: California has a referendum on the November ballot to legalize marijuana in that state. The U.S. Attorney General has already announced that, if the referendum passes, the federal government will fight it.
First of all, marijuana is almost legal in California anyway. Second, legalizing pot would not infringe on people's rights like 'don't ask, don't tell' does; in fact, it would make a lot more people 'non-criminals' while at the same time raising tax revenues.
So 'the people' have to approve a minority's rights but can't vote to undo illogical laws?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
There are several problems with the Administration's thinking. First, the "people" have not voted up to now to overturn the policy, and it's been in place for 17 years. Second, whether a group of people should have rights is not something to be decided by a majority and therefore subject to its prejudices -- this is why we HAVE a judicial system. Third, President Obama (whom I still support, of course) should stop trying to cater to the conservatives who will never vote for him anyway and consider his political base instead.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Since nobody complained about the Olivia Newton-John video last Monday, I'm going to stick my neck out and try to put a video on every Monday for a while (until I get tired of doing so): Mostly music videos, from the sublime to the ridiculous, inspiring or silly... Here we go....
Sunday, October 17, 2010
"Wow," I say to the young woman behind the counter, "I've heard that song like five times in the past week, and before that I hadn't heard it in ages!"
"That's how it is with me and David Bowie," she says. "I go for months without hearing him at all, and then suddenly I hear him everywhere!"
"Maybe it's just a phase of the moon," I reply, and we agree that yep, that must be it.
This afternoon, I don my Randy Moss #84 jersey and head to the Vikings-Cowboys game. This is Moss's first home game since being back on the Vikings team, and the 65,000 fans there will go crazy seeing him again. Probably a quarter of those 65,000 fans will be wearing #84 Moss jerseys, which like me they kept hanging in the back of their closets since he was traded a few years ago. The ones who in the intervening years dropped their Moss jerseys off at Goodwill have regrets.
Hanging like a dark cloud over my normal activities these days are continuous thoughts of my brother-in-law John, in intensive-care in a hospital in New Jersey, his condition grave. I hate feeling helpless. I want him all well again......
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Just saw on TV where one of the Chilean miners was a die-hard Elvis
fan. He requested Elvis music sent down in the mine and would lead the
miners in Elvis sing-a-longs. Elvis Presley Enterprises has offered him
and a loved one an all expenses paid trip to Graceland. Remarkable how the
love of Elvis gets people through some rough times in their lives. I know
this is true.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
What an ordeal it must have been, in large part because at the beginning their rescue appeared doubtful.
But beyond that, wow, can you imagine spending 70 days underground, in a very confined space, with your co-workers?! I asked my co-worker Theresa, who has worked with me for 21 years this month, what that might be like. Let's just say, her response was not positive and pointed out some of the ickier sides of the situation: 70 days almost naked, with no shower, no deodorant, no toilet facilities.
And I wonder how soon you'd run out of things to talk about. Would you get in heated arguments, just to ease the boredom? Would you come up above ground being better friends or hating each other forever? Maybe the Chilean miners will give us some insight.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Today I had to go over to St. Paul to testify in a client's divorce trial. I was sort of nervous about that -- it's kind of a contentious divorce -- but I stayed remarkably calm and relatively articulate, and, on some perverse level, I ended up enjoying being up there on the stand. Before I went to the courthouse, though, I had some time to kill and walked through the skyways and reminisced. Or maybe I just was missing being seven to twenty-seven years younger.
Stopped for lunch at a cajun fast-food place where I used to go there in the skyway (they have great bourbon-chicken), and the same people are still working there, and the lady was happy to see me.. "Long time no see!"... Then after lunch, I was walking by the security desk at our old office building, and the security person, a wonderful woman named Sabrina, called out to me and seemed excited to see me again.
There are times when it's nice to be anonymous in an urban setting, but it also feels kinda special to be recognized and remembered.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
As I was heading to the coffee shop this morning and feeling perfect temperatures and seeing fallen leaves everywhere but with a lot of colorful leaves still on the trees and as I enjoyed the autumn moment, I was thinking, Why can't we just freeze time right here and stay like this forever (Although I hesitate to use the word "freeze")?
Instead the moment passed, and now I'm in my office catching up on work (on a Sunday morning) and taking a couple minutes to blog with you fine folks.
Jerry is in San Juan, Puerto Rico for three days, for three reasons: To re-visit Puerto Rico now and then because he lived there for a year a couple decades ago and all of his memories of it aren't bad; to visit his good friend Jose; and mostly because he needed the frequent-flyer miles to keep his Delta Silver Medallion status (And fares to Puerto Rico are apparently cheap).
and uh-oh, I see on an Internet website that Brett Favre is in trouble. I need to get back to work and get the heck out of here.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
And I guess a lot of people do get flu shots. I know this because I always seem to hear about it when they have a reaction to the shots and are under the weather for a day or so. But I haven't had a flu shot since 1976 (one of those swine-flu years), and I don't think I've had the flu in a couple decades. This makes me highly unmotivated to stand in line for a flu shot. And who knows what they put in those vaccines? Plus, it's 83 degrees outside: who can think about cold-and-flu weather?
Tempting fate? Falling into one of those "over-60" categories of people who should be getting flu shots but ignoring the warnings? The heck with it, I'll take my chances for another year. And if in a couple months, I'm blogging about being sick as a dog or coughing my brains out, try not to remind me.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Football: The New England Patriots traded wide-receiver Randy Moss back to the Vikings, and this has caused tremendous excitement here in Minnesota (except, of course, for those few contrarians who can't stand Randy Moss). What quarterback Brett Favre has lacked this season is an excellent pass receiver to throw to, and, in my humble opinion at least, Moss is the best. Let's hope that they have perfect chemistry together and can make the rest of this season entertaining at least and maybe even of champion caliber!
Baseball (2 days in a row!): The excitement from the Moss trade helped to offset the Twins' disappointing loss in the first playoff game with the Yankees. Everybody here is thinking, Oh no, here we go again, probably not getting past the first round of the playoffs.
But, for me, a Phillies fan, it was also a good day because the Phillies not only won their first playoff game, but their pitcher Roy Halladay threw for a no-hitter. There has not been a no-hitter in a post-season game since 1956! An amazing accomplishment.
And I won't blog again about sports tomorrow unless some other spectacular thing happens. :-)
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A couple nights ago, I was able to drag Jerry away from his laptop and Facebook to go see the new movie about the founding of Facebook, The Social Network (see my blog post on September 16).
This film has opened to critical acclaim and box-office success. It is sort of a fictionalized/non-fiction story of how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook in his Harvard dorm a few short years ago and how it has developed into a company worth billions.
I liked it. The film is very face-paced and engaging, and Jesse Eisenberg as Mark is totally convincing. Jerry liked it not quite as much, and I think that my sister Joan didn't like it much at all, finding the story not all that interesting. But for those of us who have made Facebook a part of our everyday lives, I guess that it's just a film to see.
Meanwhile, real-life Facebook dramas continue. People get happy with it for a while, and people sometimes get offended by thoughtless Facebook "friends", even to the point of dropping out of Facebook altogether. And then you miss them when they're gone and you hope they come back.
Monday, October 4, 2010
And it was billed as "an old-fashioned hymn-sing", held at our church yesterday afternoon, led by Garrison Keillor, author and host of the radio program A Prairie Home Companion. I guess it was sort of a tip of the hat to "the evangelicals" in this decidely non-evangelical church.
Garrison grew up in a fundamentalist evangelical church, as did I and as did the music director of our church, and we're apparently still all "in recovery" from those days. Yet it felt sort of good to hear some familiar songs (I knew them all by heart), even though they are full of "blood" and "sin" and all the buzz words related to guilt. "If any of you grew up hearing rough preaching," Garrison told the audience, "this may be emotional for you." And maybe it was, a little, even though there is for me a total dis-connect theologically between me and these hymns. I think for most of the people there, though, these 150ish-year-old gospel songs were brand new.
Garrison Keillor seemed a lot older and more feeble than the last time I saw him, four years ago, by the way. I wonder if he would think the same about me!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
A little blip on the radar now and then reminds us that these days are fleeting. Last night, the temperatures fell into the upper 30s, and, even though the next week will bring us temps back into the 60s and 70s, a killer frost can't be far behind.
Our 23-story condo building has either air conditioning or heat available to be turned on in the individual units, never both at once. This morning, there was a notice in the elevators: The heat has been turned on. Which means that, unless a freak heat-wave turns up anytime soon, we don't have an air-conditioning option until next spring. Ominous.
No reason to turn on heat yet for us, though. Let's open some windows and let the breeze flow through.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
And why Hawaii, you ask? Well, first of all, Hawaii is Hawaii, and everybody should see Hawaii sometime. But also because Hawaii was one of the seven states that Davy had never been in, and I'm realizing that he and I are suddenly in a competition to see who visits all 50 states first. I have three to go, and now he will be down to six, and later this month he is coming to visit us in Minnesota with the intent of taking road trips from here to North Dakota and Iowa, which will bring him down to four.
So do I start booking flights to Oklahoma City and San Antonio and Portland, or let him win? Am I as competitive as he is? :-)
Friday, October 1, 2010
What is most appalling about them is how they have become totally devoid of substance. There is zero intelligent discussion of any issues. It's just negativity and distortion. And I say this about the campaigns even of the candidates that I support and will vote for.
The problem, other than of course that this is no way to operate an effective democracy, is that it turns off so many potential voters by Election Day that they don't go vote. Or is that part of the reason for the disgusting ads, to keep voter turnout down?