Monday, December 31, 2007

Year's End

Diane is cleaning out a closet; I'm putting together stuff to sell on ebay. Out with the old and in with the new. Hope each of you are having a good holiday season and that tonight and tomorrow will be everything you could have wished for.

Other stuff:

-Colts had better never lose Manning. Did not like watching them lose last night though Manning was impressive (14 of 16 passes completed) in his two series on the field.

-a few days of bitter cold weather heading our way. Good neighbor Jack says it's to be followed by 60 degree weather. I like that.

-Heading out to the golf course for a walk and to close the books for the year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lakeview Golfers Picture Album Online

Try this link to see some of the golfer photos taken at Lakeview Golf Course this year.

Sunday Funnies: Patriots, CIA Tapes,

Pats beat the Giants last night in a very good game. Good for the players and coaches in not believing all the words written that claimed this was a game that was meaningless and that went out and played their hearts out. Pats go 16 and 0 but won't have their season validated until they win the Super Bowl (Chris Collingsworth last night with Bryant Gumbel). Go Colts...

Good NYTimes article on the CIA tape destruction controversy. It shows that people at the CIA and the DoJ and the WH did consider what they were doing and recognized the iffy status of the tapes. Seems to me that such investigations should be taped not only for the value of that evidence but also as a way to keep the brute that is in each of us well under control. This taping should be part of investigations at every level - maybe it is already standard procedure in most police departments. If not, should be.

Guess I'll go get the rest of my day started. I hear the golf course calling if for nothing other than a walk in the windy cool of a late December day.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Movie: No End in Sight

From Netflix: No End in Sight, a documentary that deals primarily with the absolutely horrible decisions made after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Lots of interviews, lots of footage. Excellent though upsetting because the mistakes seem so elementary in retrospect. Three come to mind: the lack of civic control with the arrival of the victors (the looting of everything in sight by the Iraqi citizenry); the order to throw out the Bathists thus pretty much throwing out all the managers that ran the country; and the order to disband the military and thus throwing half a million armed men into the unemployed line. And that all after the stupid decision to go to war in the first place. Plenty of doofus awards to pass around. Super documentary; gave it a five.

Diane and I did make the decision to watch this while we sat down to dinner although each of us were aware that we might have trouble with digestion what with the nature of what we were about to see, the two of us being so absolutely opposed to the war from the get go.

Photo Sites: Vietnam at Pbase, Iran at Photo Activitists for Peace

Picture: Fresh bread!

Marty was the one who alerted me to, which led me to picture albums of Vietnam. And there are lots of them. For starters, try this one.

And it was firedoglake that sent me to photo activists for peace site. Isn't that a great idea! Here's one highlighted by firedoglake suggesting that Iranian women have it a whole bunch better than the recently 'liberated' Iraqi women.

Good stuff.

Diane's new loaf of bread just let us know that it was done. You know what that means: right-out-of-the-oven fresh bread! Better get in line. More later.

P.S. Anybody else out there besides me want the Giants to beat up on the Patriots tonight? And yes I want the Colts to win not only because I want them to win every week but also because with a Tennessee loss, Cleveland makes the post season. Wow!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Movie: Uner the Flag of the Rising Sun

Picture: Taken while walking at the park late this afternoon.

Netflix movie: Under the Flag of the Rising Sun, a 1972 antiwar movie out of Japan. Very good, very antiwar, and with a talk over that got in the way of the story line (subtitles) on occasion but for the most part provided information and insight that was very helpful in understanding the movie, the times, the temperament. Excellent. Gave it a five. Interesting note: the war action takes place in Papua New Guinea and includes a mention of Finchaven which is where Bob Norris was stationed during WWII. A second interesting note: Diane stayed for the whole bloody thing and also thought it was great.

A Heron, Poletops, Jim and Erin, and Ignatius on Bhutto

Pictures: The heron and the pole tops from yesterday's walk; Jim and Erin trying to catch the eye of Shirley Jeffers after breakfast at the Cabin this morning.

David Ignatius at WaPo writes of Benezir Bhutto, a woman he had met first at Harvard back in the 70's "...banging out stories about college sports teams with the passion of a cub reporter...." writes that "...Bhutto's killers targeted her because she was modern, liberal and unafraid....".

Rainy and cool at the moment though rain is supposed to be over by noon. Got books to read and the world to explore while waiting for the weather to clear. This afternoon I'm hoping for a long walk maybe with a club or two in my hand; if not, then a camera...

In the Blackwater book I'm reading, just finished a chapter on Fallujah which tells the story very differently than the one we were told through the American press. Blackwater security people were thought of as CIA operators and US Marines were thugs on a rampage killing innocents. Oh my.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Gallery at Lakeview Website

As noted at our Lakeview News blog:

Gallery New at Website

Added a gallery to our website and put some pictures up in it this afternoon. This is something that I started to do a year ago but then put on the back burner because of the great amount of time it took to load the pictures using a dial up connection. Now, with the new broadband internet connection, that restraint has been overcome. Will be adding and changing the pictures over time. Enjoy and comment, too!

This and That: Ron Paul's Idea, Boilers Win, Bhutto

Thursday notes to get a day started:

-Via Hullabaloo and tpm: Some discussion of the Ron Paul candidacy in the progressive blogosphere. He's the guy on the Republican side who wants to bring all our troops home, not only from Iraq but also from the rest of the world. Tim Russert asked him about this on Meet the Press and wondered if Paul knew how many that would be. He didn't but Tim did: 572,000. Hmmmm, that's a lot of our guys sitting in posts around the world. As one who served overseas, I for one thought it was a great experience and would love to do it again. But, hey, I can do that in some other capacity, a non-military one. So, what the heck, let's do as Ron Paul suggests and bring the boys and girls home and beef up the diplomacy and other gentler means of getting along with our fellow earth bound travelers.

-Purdue wins in Detroit last night in a game that was high scoring and decided with a last second field goal. The Boilers edged the Central Michigan Chippewas. Gotta love the parity in college football these days.

-Just saw the news that Bhutto was assassinated. That's a kick in the stomach. Makes everything else small and inconsequential at the moment.

Bhutto Assassinated

Bad, bad. bad news from Pakistan.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Geese a-dancing, Movie: Fracture, Krugman on Rose

Picture: On the thirteenth day of Christmas, thirty geese a-dancing.

Netflix gave us Fracture with Anthony Hopkins. Excellent thriller. Anthony Hopkins again plays a bad guy and does a superb job. He's is so good at being a bad guy I have a hard time appreciating him in other good guy roles. Good actor, good movie.

Neat coincidence: Paul Krugman on Charlie Rose right now. You remember him, he with the distinction between a liberal and a progressive.

Wednesday Notables: A Clock, Hillary, Mitt, Partianship, and Ethics

Some things I found notable as I caught up on the political news tonight:

-A clock which counts backwards till a new president takes office (or until our current president is out the window, so to speak... The clock itself, if you insist on giving it a name, is called The Official George W. Bush "Days Left In Office" Countdown Clock).

-A new ARG poll has Hillary leading big in Iowa: Hillary 34%, Edwards 20%, Obama 19%. Hmmm, what is one to think; just yesterday it was too close to call. One week to go and then we'll know for sure. I can wait. (Go, Hillary...)

-In that same poll, Huckabee leads Romney and McCain on the Republican side though I just finished reading here that Romney is the guy who will probably get the nomination. If it's Hillary and Mitt, that means an all East Coast presidential election which makes me wonder if the Midwest and the West and the South are going to give a hoot. Bet they will. (You remember the networks carrying the World Series always hoping for a team from the west and a team from the east so that ratings would be higher....)

-Paul Krugman making a case for continued partisanship while pointing out that the Nation is drifting left. Progressive is the term he uses and he does make a distinction between a progressive and a liberal:

...a word about terms—specifically, liberal vs. progressive. Everyone seems to have their own definitions; mine involves the distinction between values and action. If you think every American should be guaranteed health insurance, you're a liberal; if you're trying to make universal health care happen, you're a progressive....

Hmmmm, I think that makes me a liberal progressive although my action is currently limited to screaming and yelling that change needs to take place, like yesterday. Does that qualify as action?

-Top ten 2007 ethics scandals list released; Republicans avoid sweep though do capture eight of the ten. Of particular note: Senate Ethics Committee looking into Sen. Craig, but not Sen. Vitter. Personally, I'm much more inclined to read reports dealing with the heterosexual rather than homosexual antics of our elected officials.

Gotta stop and go do something worthwhile, like practice my putting and pay closer attention to the pbs special on Bob Newhart on over there in the corner with the television.

Word still turns. Good job.

You coulda played golf today...

Lovely December day here in southern Indiana. Several golfers took advantage of the nice weather and came out and wandered around the surprisingly dry greensward out here just north of town. Miss out today? Not so nice tomorrow but still might be aok for the passionate among us.

Diane has wondered into the kitchen and is taking out the just done bread. About time for dinner. I'll be back later after the news and maybe some offering from pbs.

Christmas Wednesday: Golfing Day! Books: Blackwater and Jesus

Should be able to get out and unbend, meaning play some golf, a little today with the temperatures getting into the high 40's. Might be a little wet but we don't care, it will be good to get out 'neath the blue sky and feel the wind on our cheeks and the good earth beneath our feet. Not to mention hit a ball or two.

Hope your Christmas was jim dandy. At our place, Diane was the only one to make it through the day unscathed by ill feelings, that would be in the literal sense of the phrase. Marty brought a cold down with him with hopes of feeling better; he did feel very good about being the agent of change with his mom and pop with the hook up of broadband; but his body failed to improve in any measurable way, felt worse in fact. And then I came down with what looks now as if it was a bit of food poisoning, a very uncomfortable headachy nauseous trembly condition that thankfully only lasted for about four hours. Fine now, thank you. Diane sailed on through the day, spending most of it taking advantage of the high speed internet connection.

Have started a new book (surprise there, right?), one which has done a pretty good job of keeping my hackles raised from the very get go. Blackwater: the rise of the world's most powerful army by Jeremy Scahill. It's the story of Eric Prince and Blackwater, that security firm which has received so much attention with it's wild and unruly actions in Iraq, the firm without oversight and seemingly operating outside the law of any country with zero oversight from its employer, currently the State Department. Briefly, if you're in need of a right thinking, God fearing, mercenary group of guys to go fight a crusade for you, this may be the out fit for you. Of course, at the moment it is busy putting down the infidels in their own back yard but am sure that some sort of arrangement could be worked out. But you had better have a lot of money; it's pricey getting a security force theses days especially with a blackwater name attached to it.

And then there is PBS News last night closing its report with an interview with Peter J. Gomes, the author of The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus. Among the questions: just who would Jesus be hanging out with if he were among us today? According to Gomes, it wouldn't be with the Christians but rather with the same people he hung out with 2000 some years ago, the Mary Magdalenes (read prostitutes), the poor, the downtrodden. Hmmmm... Food for thought, especially on a Christmas Wednesday.

Best hie myself hither and get ready to head to the piece of green up the road and around the corner. Guess it will be ok to leave the turning of the orb called Earth to others for the moment. (Which reminds me - caught the NOVA broadcast of the December 25th tsunami of 2004 again last night; one of the scientists said that that undersea earthquake that brought on the tsunami actually sped up Earth's race through the universe, what with the tectonic plates collapsing into each other a bit, getting closer to the core which resulted in an action similar to a skater doing a twirl with her arms extended and then dropping them to her side which, as you know, makes for a faster spin (which reminds me of Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and that marvelous spin I'm in, or going to be in if I ever get out of here...)).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Younger by half...

Marty hooked up the new broadband service here at our house yesterday. Wow! Let me say that again: Wow! What a difference it makes! Before the faster internet speed (and marty tells me this is half the speed that he has in Indy), we were traveling around the cyber world like strollers in a crowded department store. And now we soar with the eagles or, more accurately, the satellites circling the globe. A few examples: I visited Vietnam through these pictures which I wouldn't have even attempted to download with dial up. And just now I listened to Josh Marshall give his suggestions for the Golden Dukes awards while I practiced putting, again something which I would have automatically skipped two days ago. Zounds and kerjunkles! New worlds opening up to us'ins in this house on the hill. Younger by half? Heck yes as I speed around the world sampling first this and then that, spend time there and then race back to here so as not to miss anything. Of course, as we sat at the table this morning, Marty with his Mac laptop and me with his Dell laptop (sorry, Diane, he only brought two laptops with him), we multi tasked with email and national news while at the same time commenting and discussing stuff we see and are concerned about and drank coffee and nibbled at Christmas morning goodies.

Old hat for all of you who have been experiencing broadband, part of your every day life, no big deal. Hey, this is running water in the house and light after dark for us cabin dwellers who have spent time in the hills away from the amenities of 20th and 21st century life. It's license to drive and that first kiss and even a hole-in one! Yummmmm.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Night before Christmas and all through the house...

Picture: Wonder if Eric went out looking for a Christmas tree and found a horse? Nah... JaLo, Eric and Ian.

Christmas eve in our house as well. Marty met us in Bloomington about mid day as we did a little shopping and had a lunch and then wandered on back down to Loogootee. I stopped along the way and saw that Eric and Colleen and Sheryl and Lucas and Ian were just about ready for Santa. Colleen was all alone in the house making the last minute preparations for their family celebration, one which included the opening of a gift before heading off to bed to dream of sugar plums. Headed on home for more holiday cheer and goodies along with a phone call from Miki in New York where they had some snow fall during the day but nothing that stuck around. Looks as if Santa will have to use his wheeled sleigh this year both there and here in southern Indiana. Bells still okay though.

As many of you know by now, I take a lot of pictures with my digital camera and usually have it with me wherever I go. That was the case today and when I pulled it out and took a few shots at Applebees, Diane and Marty raised questions about the ethics and wisdom of taking pictures in a public place without consent in today's scary mad world. Hmmmm, I thought, as I snapped a picture of a young girl standing in the booth next to us and then another picture of an infant making a face peeking over a mom's shoulder. Hmmmm, I thought again, what really are the ethics in place now in the internet age, in a digital world? I thought of it on the way home and now, with Marty's help, did a little research at the google store. Here's a link that discusses some of the problems that we face, mostly of a moral nature since, as far as the author knows, it is not illegal to take decent pictures of people in public places. But then, who is to say what decency is? So, now I'm better educated about the question of taking pictures in public places and have seen some of the pros and cons. So, beware: when Mikey the Mad Photographer, is out there, whether that be at an Applebees or at a Lakeview Golf Course, be on guard: no telling when you too may get caught being yourself on that dastardly camera of his.

Update: Just finished reading a little something on photographers' rights - cool beans; from the comments section of the above link:

Here is a link to an attorney's site that has a .pdf you can print and carry in your wallet as a photographer in the United States.

Happy Holidays, you all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday: The English Patient

Finished The English Patient, another Michael Ondaatje humdinger. As he did in Divisadero, he has stories in stories but this time comes back and finishes the one he starts with, at least with two of the four main characters. And that would be Kip, the Indian Sikh, and Hana, the nurse from Canada. They were the youngsters, each right around twenty. Then there were the old guys, the English Patient himself; and Caravaggio, a friend of Hana's father, a thief by inclination. Each of them in their forties. Unlikely setting - a monastery in Italy in 1945. Kip is the sapper, a demolition man, who is in the area defusing unexploded bombs. A couple of love stories here; a bunch of periphery characters who are interesting; a little history of the '30s and the research going on in the deserts of North Africa. All terribly interesting. One of the interesting items: the English Patient and one of his associates would carry but one book with them as they headed off into a desert on some kind of trek. The books: the English Patient had Herodotus; and Madox, his associate and fellow researcher, took with him Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

From and the links above:

In The Histories, Herodotus chronicles the rise of the Persian Empire and its dramatic war with the Greek city-states. Within that story he includes rich veins of anthropology, ethnography, geology, and geography, pioneering these fields of study, and explores such universal themes as the nature of freedom, the role of religion, the human costs of war, and the dangers of absolute power.

Persian Empire - hmmm, that would be like Iran. Might have some insight for those dealing with problems in that area today. And

Married to a powerful government minister, Anna Karenina is a beautiful woman who falls deeply in love with a wealthy army officer, the elegant Count Vronsky. Desperate to find truth and meaning in her life, she rashly defies the conventions of Russian society and leaves her husband and son to live with her lover. Condemned and ostracized by her peers and prone to fits of jealousy that alienate Vronsky, Anna finds herself unable to escape an increasingly hopeless situation.

Have read Anna Karenina several times and can vouch for Madox's good taste. Herodotus received some of my time in college but not enough to remember. Might have to give Herodotus another try.

As for Michael Ondaatje. Two thumbs up on his story telling.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Golf and kids using up a day...

Picture: Lucas watching The Ghosts of Christmas Eve by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Warm day in the latter part of this December, warm enough for some of us to play golf. Dave and Doug and Short and Brian and I played eighteen, spending time together, trading good shots and barbs and commenting on times current and long past. Class basketball and the Lions last two games which saw them overpowered by the larger Hatchets, and in turn saw them overpower a team from a smaller school. And then life in the Sixties and the freeing of sex and drugs from their clandestine existence which led to the wide spread use of both in the seventies, outside of the bounds of marriage and the law. Or so it's been reported.

Others played before us and some played behind us. Eric and the boys arrived as we finished and I hied them off to Oma's house for games and drinks and eventually a dinner when Eric arrived and admitted to no set plans for them up north a piece. We broke bread together and ate ice cream with chocolate sauce and Ian got us started on very bad things that would get us sent to hell once we died - he didn't use that word, rather down, somewhere under the table and the house and even further. When pressed, he said a very bad thing, like killing your parents, that would for sure send you hither rather than yon, down rather than up. They filled their bellies with food and their heads with visions of I don't know what though we did speak of the contours of heaven a bit, the things we might find their, like video games and golf courses, limitless days (no having to go to bed) and no chores, of course. Didn't hear mention of songs and winged creatures or even the possibility of walking on clouds.

The boys tired and were ready to go home but then got distracted by a stray toy remembered from years ago when they were smaller and carted boxes of play things from the back room out to the living room. But Dad stopped that in a hurry with a big no and soon they were in their shoes and their coats and giving last hugs and a wave and a final good bye before disappearing into the dark of a December night.

Oma checked email and Opa cleaned up and before long we both settled with cups of coffee into easy chairs in the living room and let the television fill the room with sound and fury, or non fury as it turned out. So it went; so it goes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Picture of the Day

Taken between eleven and twelve this morning standing on the dam just above number nine green.

Romney and Sports, The English Patient, Comma Noting

Speaking of Republican candidates for president, this note seen at tpm:

For my money, the real time bomb for Mitt may be his comment last night about seeing "the Patriots win the World Series." Heck, they haven't won a Series since Yastrzemski was quarterback.

--Josh Marshall

Oh oh. Not good for the Romney man though I can understand getting a few details mixed up here and there. Anyway, he has lots bigger things to think about than sports figures and teams in a crazy-with-success sports metropolis.

Word of the day: Sapper (long answer). Kept coming across it in The English Patient and finally looked it up in the dictionary (short answer). Do you know 'sapper'?

Almost mid way through The English Patient and it has finally grabbed my attention. Funny the way it happened: Hana, the female character in the book, a twenty something nurse staying with and treating a badly burned pilot in an Italian monastery, is reading from a Kipling book, and at one point kind of runs through a paragraph. The pilot, the English patient, stops her and tells her how to read Kipling, slowly, with patience, noting every comma, thinking about him sitting there at his desk and looking up and watching the birds and then returning to his writing, writing done with ink and pen, slowly, deliberately. So, being one who pays attention to not so subtle suggestions from authors, I slowed my own reading down and paid attention to the words and the commas.

It's turned out to be a nice change in pace and maybe not such a bad suggestion for expansion outside the realm of reading. For instance, while playing golf or walking with a grandchild, or watching the antics of hungry birds of a morning. I can hear Rex and Jack encouraging me to get on with it as I stand on the tee box and remember one more thing I want to share with them, or even Diane hinting just a little that I could go just a little faster. Come to think of it, guess I have lived my life with that 'not-so-fast-johnny' attitude. Doesn't mean I can't slow down a little more, does it? Will have to remember to take the time to smell the flowers along the way; that's what they said back in the '70's. Or, as Michael Ondaatje would have it, pay attention to the commas. (What are the 'commas' in life? in your life? Commas: little marks that help establish rhythm and meaning?)

So it goes on a misty Friday morning in Loogootee, Indiana.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dinner and a Movie: CARWGBAW, Conejo en la Luna, Politics

Picture: Bucks in the back yard this morning.

That would be chicken and rice with green beans and wine along with the Mexican movie, Conejo en la Luna. Dinner was delicious; movie was horrific, good horrific. In a modern day thriller with police and governmental corruption and torture, the tension builds throughout the movie and in the end is not completely released. You come to hate the bad guys and want all sorts of despicable things to happen to them. I was very surprised by several of the reviews of the movie, some of which thought that the movie depicted real conditions in Mexico. Really? Wouldn't that be kinda like believing that the United States is depicted accurately in movies coming out of Hollywood and in our weekly television fare? (Is Las Vegas really as crime filled as depicted in CSI? Of course, I guess some people in far off lands do believe that what they see is really the way it is. Interesting. For now, I'll reserve judgment on conditions in Mexico - need more information from other sources.

Have you noticed that the presidential politics has heated up just a tad? Almost over, at least the primaries. Am assuming that decision date remains February 5th. My prediction: For the Democrats - Edwoba Clidod (Edwards, Clinton, Dodd or Obama). For the Republicans, looking for a dark horse to emerge, which means I don't have a clue. I do think that Richard Lugar would be a whole lot better choice than any of the ones now getting press time.

Tomorrow and Saturday look good for golfers, at least temperature wise.

This and That on a Thursday

Picture: Seen around town earlier today...

Golf Tip:

From, these suggestions on those using a 460 cc driver:
-use a longer tee
-move the ball forward even as far as in front of your left toe (for right handers)
-move back to ensure you are hitting the ball in the center of the face

First and third seem like no brainers. Second one surprised me and is something I'll have to try.


Supposed to be in the 50's tomorrow and Saturday. Golf course will be open around eleven.

Guess I'll head over there now for a little late afternoon golf in the middle of December in southern Indiana. Nice.

Oh, one other thing. We signed up for 21st century internet service this morning - Verizon broadband. What a concept. (We've been wanting it for over a decade now. Patience is our middle name...)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ping Eye 2's, Golf and a Movie: Heart and Minds

Picture: Rocking granddaughters, Naomi and Leah.

George Templin is moving up to a new set of Pings and I took over his clubs-with-character, a set of Ping Eye 2's. I came about the desire to get a set of these gems from the past by using an Eye 2 seven iron over the last several months and finding it more accurate than anything in my bag (and I had about a zillion different clubs there ever since my grandson Lucas got my KZG's some time this summer). Doug Denson brought them out this afternoon. And then he and Dave Wininger and I enjoyed a mid December round of golf. Managed a 34 with the new clubs, along with an occasional driver and a putter that did not disappoint. Big thanks to George for the great clubs.

Just finished watching Hearts and Minds, a documentary made in 1974 about the Vietnam War which I read about in Boom! It's graphic and terrible in its depiction of war, and is condemning of the US with its lies and distortions that went into the selling and continuation of the war. Right off the bat, Daniel Ellsberg is telling us that five presidents lied: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. You remember Ellsberg, he of the Pentagon Papers. The documentary also shows the good old USA as very militaristic with soldiers and soldiering playing a very big part in life here - the back part of the film is filled with shots of people, both very young and not so very young, in uniform and marching, with drummers and horn tooters and baton twirling cheerleaders and flag waving bystanders cheering and having a good old time. America, land of the soldier. Everybody loves a good parade here; of course, the parades around here are mostly peopled with high school bands, fire engines, horses and their riders, beauty queens, and floats from a wide variety of groups. Maybe a small group of veterans, a flag or two.

So it goes. Earth continues on its journey through space.

Question of the day: Would you climb in your car or get on a train or a bus or a ship without some destination in mind? Us Earthlings have no idea where we're headed, except for maybe six foot under the ground. But the bigger picture, please - where in God's heaven is this planet headed? Somebody please call the captain...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Wrap: West Baden Springs, Ralph Nader, etc.

Picture: Heron visiting with geese out at the lake yesterday.

Down to West Baden and French Lick today with Tom and Mary Holt. Lunch at the Grand Colonnade Buffet at the French Lick Resort, all you can eat with great variety served in elegant setting with equally elegant silver and china ware. And then over to the big domed building, the West Baden Springs Hotel, once called the eighth wonder of the world, for a tour of this renewed elegance. Impressive. If you haven't been down to this area since the renewal and renovation, take a day and head on down and just wander around. Of course, lots of different eating places along with the casino and golf as well. I would expect the little towns of French Lick and West Baden to go through a ten or twenty year renewal as well. Good deal though one wonders at the manner in which we are reconstituting our local economies - by the creation of gambling meccas.

On PBS right now: Independent Lens and the story of Ralph Nader, An Unreasonable Man. As a young man, maybe ten years old, he came home from school one day to be asked by his father: "Did you learn how to believe or did you learn how to think?" Good question, Dad Nader. He also gave his children problems at the breakfast table which they would discuss at dinner. Marvelous. The program started off with the idea that good old Ralphie would be remembered for his critical draining off of Democratic votes in the 2000 presidential election that resulted in the White House going to George W. Bush instead of Nobel Laureate Al Gore. And we all know the history of the past several years with George in charge.

Hey, I have another conjecture which I thought of as I was reading Boom! Ronnie Reagan was going for the presidency as early as 1968. Nixon beat him down but that leads to the question, what would it all be like if Reagan had become president then rather than twelve years later?

Here's something else from Boom! Jackie Kennedy Onassis commenting on the Vietnam War years after it was over - too bad we had three presidents who thought they had to prove their manhood down in that far off country.

One last comment: during our lunch today, we conducted a mini poll on our next president, or our preference for president at this time. Among the four of us, we had two dedicated Democrats, one long time Republican, and one non voter. Results of the poll: three for HRC with the non voter remaining a non voter. Go, Hillary.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Meanderings of a Monday: Pictures, Boom!

Pictures: A variety.

Finished Boom! I recommend it if you are at all interested in wandering down memory lane or even visiting some of the major events and personages of the Sixties, the Sixties being defined by the author Tom Brokaw as the period from JFK's assassination to RMN's resignation. Interesting times we lived through. Brokaw ends his tome with James Lovell, one of the astronauts who circled the moon in December of 1968, which mission sent back some startling pictures of Earth, one of which was used by Stewart Brand and his Whole Earth Catalog. Remember that wondrous and extremely instructional book that guided those of us who were part of the 'back to the land movement'? Those raised in the country or on farms would think this as just a collection of stuff of everyday life. For the likes of me, it was an education and an entry to a world of self sufficiency. But I digress since it is reaction to the moon mission on which I wanted to remark - that being messages to Lovell and the other astronauts that thanked them for 'saving 1968', the year of the assassinations of MLK and RFK. Indeed.

Miki on my mind...

That would be Number One Daughter, Michele. Pictures taken during her home renovation of a few years back.

Out and about today with Dr. Weir's office first (found out the correct spelling of one of his assistants is Moira, not Meira as I had thought). Then up to Bloomington and a little shopping (Sams and Walmart - I ended up getting what was on the list and nothing else - I have to be one of the world's worst shoppers...). On the way back, stopped at the golf course where geese were dallying back by #6 green; had a heron visiting with them.

Dinner time at our house. Then the evening with all its wonders.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Few Days of Winter

Pictures: A little winter in our neighborhood.

Watching Tiger stumble and catch himself: seven shot lead reduced to two and now back up to four. They are on the back nine; sure looks nice out there in Southern California. Switched over to see the Colts stumble in the red zone and settle for three out in Oakland.

Continuing with Boom! The author is running through a series of brief discussions with and about many figures from the Sixties from a variety of lifestyles and perspectives. For instance, Bob Kerry, maverick Vietnam vet who has served as both a governor and a senator from Nebraska, and now as a college president in New York City. Dick Cheney makes an appearance and is substantially rounded out for me by the additional information that Brokaw provides including the fact that many people wonder what happened to him after 911 - a very different individual has emerged and not in a necessarily positive one - remember, he's the guy who said we would have to visit the dark side now that our homeland had been visited by terrorists. Also John McCain, notable because once released from his POW status in 1973, he was given several binders of news clips to help him catch up on some of the things that had happened during his imprisonment and forced ignorance of what was going on in the world. That would be from October of 1967 to sometime in 1973. He spent a long time catching up and trying to figure out what had happened (still got people trying to do that...).

Am enjoying it.

World turns. Looking forward to the middle of the week and the warmer temperatures. Golf weather? Maybe. In the meantime, more Brokaw.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Done with Follow the Money and Back to Boom!

Picture: Snow scene early this morning.

Finished John Anderson's Follow the Money earlier today and yes the bad guys, at least some of them, have seen some sort of justice come their way. Mostly about Delay, who ends up jobless and facing lots of time in court, and Abramoff, whose high living came to a sudden halt and who now finds himself in prison.

Back to Brokaw's Boom! where I found out that Donald Segretti, who spent time in prison after being convicted of conspiracy and dirty tricks in the Watergate mess back in the early '70's, had someone working with him during the 1972 campaign who found fame and fortune in years to come plying his own dirty tricks in a number of elections both local and national. That would be that rascal, Karl Rove, Bush Brain, now also out of a job though a voluntary decision on his part (or so we are led to believe).

Snow and rain today. Tiger and others on television this afternoon. Tiger doing well; others not so well. Colts playing Oakland tomorrow and should do well as they are doing well these past several weeks.

So it goes...

Oh, almost forgot. Bill Clinton on Charlie Rose last night. The former president impressive as usual. Catch a recap from Editor & Publisher.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Movies: Battle Royale and Dreamgirls

Last night it was a Japanese movie, Battle Royale, that pitted a high school class of students against itself: all of the students were taken to a small island and given three days to determine who would be the last one standing. That would mean all the rest must die. Each of the students was given a backpack or satchel filled with survival tools and supplies including some kind of weapon, those varying from a seemingly useless gps unit which told of the location of others to some sort of rapid fire machine gun. Lots of violence along with courage, despair, resoluteness, courage and, in the end, even love. Diane walked out on it after fifteen minutes; I enjoyed the whole thing and give it a four.

Tonight it was Dreamgirls, a Marty recommended movie, and one which we both enjoyed a whole bunch. Lots of music and dancing and a story surrounding the success of a female singing group of three and a fourth who was left behind, at least for a while. Give it a four also.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Books: I shoulda stuck with the older ones...

Picture: Neighborhood roller coaster road. Recognize it?

I read something from a favorite blog, probably Firedoglake, about a book that struck a chord somewhere in my psyche and to which I responded by putting the book on a list of 'lets-read-these-over-the-winter'. I thought at the time that that was probably a mistake since this was recent history, something which I avoid as such history, to my way of thinking, has not had sufficient time to age, to become objective with the cooling of passions that more often than not befuddle us. Not only did it go on the list, it went to the top along with The English Patient. Good Mary at the Loogootee library requested and received the two books and I started reading Follow the Money the next day, that would be yesterday, putting aside Boom! for the time being (though I did return to it before going to bed last night, wanting something to settle my thoughts after 'struggling' through another gray December day). The book, with the subtitle How George W. Bush and the Texas Republicans Hog-Tied America, examines the grab for money and power of the last several years at the national level, one which was preceded by a similar grab for money and power in Texas during the '90's. Leading the list of characters (scoundrels) are Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Dick Cheney, and of course, the innocent pawn (!) of the rascals, George Bush. From a review at

"Follow the Money" is, as John Anderson writes, a "first pass at history," an effort to chronicle a "vast web of intrigue." He might well have said a vast web of corruption, as intricate as a Mark Lombardi diagram, for that is the book's subject -- the barely concealed but highly complex efforts of Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff, and a host of others, most with close ties to Texas, in their bald pursuit of money and power. Abramoff's story is particularly appalling -- for example, Anderson explains how Abramoff manipulated the anti-gambling Christian right in the service of his pro-gambling Native American clients who wished to crush competing tribes in nearby states, and then turned around to represent those same competing tribes in their efforts to legalize gambling -- but it is only one strand in Anderson's fascinating story.

Anderson's account is thoroughly documented and fair minded, acknowledging honesty and integrity on either side of the aisle whenever it presents itself. Witness the examples of Paul O'Neill, James Comey, and even John Ashcroft, all of whom come out quite well in Anderson's account.

Although George W. Bush is certainly an actor in this tale, his relative absence, compared to others, is telling in and of itself. Bush is not a prime mover in his own universe. That role falls to others, such as Dick Cheney and Karl Rove (yet another Texan).

Anderson's story, exposing the naked power grab of the Republicans in Washington, D.C. (and particularly in Congress), as well as in Texas, is a shocker. We can only hope the Democrats in Congress, and perhaps soon the White House, do a better job.

What I find most disturbing in my reading is how roiled and ruffled I get at once again seeing the events of the recent past replayed. Of course, we know what damage has been done over the last several years and that makes it hurt all the more. (I just finished a section which went over the Florida fiasco in 2000 where, as Bill Clinton said when he heard that the recount case was going to the Supreme Court, something totally unexpected since this was a states right case through and through (?): "The fix is in, this thing stinks". The author quotes a couple of comments made by Sandra Day O'Connor at the time that belie her independence and objectivity as a Supreme Court justice and place her squarely on the political right.)

In the telling of this story, the author, John Anderson, makes mention of the historical parallel of Bush and Rove with McKinley and Hanna, something which I have heard before (go here for more on that comparison and how Rove has failed to meet Hanna's success in holding power and winning the White House over several decades for Republicans). And that brings me to my point: even though I'm going to continue the reading of the Anderson book, and more than likely continue on that roller coaster ride with more roiling and ruffling, and then hopefully the bringing of the bad guys to justice, I do so with the full awareness that I should have ordered a book on McKinley and Hanna and buried myself in something that is well over a century old. Keeping the peace, stilling the waters, lowering the temperatures, maintaining cool. Desirable activities even on a slow day in December.

Heading out for a walk and thankful that all the bad weather of our near neighbors has slipped on by. At least for the moment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Goats and Past Times

Picture: Goat at Eric's place.

Once upon a time we had goats, lots of goats. Out next to the Lost River in the woods, in a small structure we had built ourselves, we had a large garden, goats and chickens, and at different times, rabbits, pigs and cattle too. It was our way of returning to the land after several years of life in the military and the corporate world. A respite in which the four kids grew up and went out on their own and one from which we too eventually drifted. It wasn't just yesterday but for some reason it feels like that tonight. Maybe a side effect of reading Boom! with its reminders of the years leading up to our landing in Martin County. Time past. So it goes and so it is...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday's Surprise: Warm Weather, etc.

Pictures: Sunset at the golf course a little earlier.

Unlike so much of the rest of the country that has suffered from sleet and ice and snow and much disruption of normal life, we here in Loogootee had a very pleasant reprieve from the inclement weather of the last three weeks. That would be inclement weather for the golfers among us. Today was dry and a little windy and very mild with temperatures getting into the high sixties. I spent the day at the golf course doing this and that while also playing nine holes first with Ken Hudson and then nine more with Doug Denson, the day's highlight being a driver-sandwedge eagle for me on hole #5 with Doug. What unexpected and welcome fun.

Darin Clements, our neighbor and a Cambodian missionary who is on furlough, was also out for a walk not necessarily spoiled by a little golf. He and his wife Diana do mission work in Phnom Penh, a city of a million inhabitants.

Seems like the weather pushed Washington news to page two. Stories like torture and torture tapes destruction. And how about the report that torture worked? Froomkin at WaPo has more on that along with a little skepticism.

And then there is this CNN report on the impact of Oprah and Bubba (Bill) on Barack and Hillary's campaigns: big advantage to the little lady...

World turns whether we like it or not. That's a good thing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sex and Lucia, Boom!, Title IX

Netflix movie tonight, a honey: Sex and Lucia, a story set in Madrid and a nearby island. Spanish, subtitles, lots of nudity of all kinds (nice but not all that necessary - just part of life and love, you know; still nice...), and a really great, convoluted story that centers around Lucia, a dark haired, lovely waitress who gets the man she wants by going up to him and telling him that she's in love with him. And that is where the story starts, kinda. Lots of twists and turns and even a little confusion along the way to a great ending. A good one. Give it a five.

Boom! Continuing to read Brokaw's tome on the Sixties. There are so many stories that it has to be hard for any of them to receive the attention that they deserve - that was my fear when I picked up this book and the main reason I returned, without reading, his bestseller, Greatest Generation. With that said, I find myself enjoying the retelling of many of the stories in Boom! Just finished a section on Vietnam and I thought he leaned over backwards to be evenhanded although he makes it plain that he himself was opposed to the war and still thinks it was one of those wrong wars at a wrong time. His Jim Webb, now Senator Jim Webb, section had this remarkable moment for me: the two of them, along with Webb's wife, a Vietnam born woman who was born in 1968 and fled along with others in 1975, were in Vietnam in one of the areas where Webb had served and fought. He was interested in developing some sort of center that would memorialize the actions of both the Americans and the Vietnamese soldiers who fought and died in the area and was trying to convince the local authorities to approve the project. His ideas were received rather coldly and he told Brokaw that he didn't think he was going to make much progress there. Hmmm. I would think not. Makes me wonder if there are any memorials in Boston to the English who fell during our revolutionary war; or maybe memorials to the Mexicans who died at the Alamo? Webb was also affronted by the heavy handed way in which Americans were depicted in a Vietnam War Museum in Saigon. Jeesh, Webb, don't you remember what we Americans did to that tiny country? How many of their people died and were mutilated by boys from the good old USA? Or the devastation done to their country in the name of freedom? Or the cold shoulder we gave them for thirty years after they took control of their own destiny by kicking the foreigners out?

Title IX, that law that has made such a difference for women for quite some time now, was signed into law by what president. Give yourself ten points if you come up with the correct answer. Life has its surprises...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Late Sunday Funnies: More Black and White, Torture, Rain

Pictures: views at the lake and in town...

WaPo's top story has to do with the supposed briefing of Congress on the way we have tortured enemy combatants in our search for intelligence. Way back in 2002. Four members of Congress. Under oath never to whisper a word that they had heard. No notes. No advisers or assistants. I think this is old news and its reemergence certainly comes at a propitious time, what with the recent revelations of the CIA's destruction of tapes of interrogation sessions (more here on that story). Hmmmm.

Lots of rain today. Diane and I cannot remember the last time it rained like it did earlier today - waves of fairly heavy downpours. It's good - our water tables have to be pretty low.

Steelers and Pats playing now; Colts and Ravens later. Go Colts.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saturday's This and That

Pictures: Diane, Danielle, Naomi and Phil in Palm Springs. And a couple of shots from the golf course earlier this year: Opa, Ian and Lucas.

Daughter Number Two Danielle celebrated her 39th birthday on St. Nick's Day. She passed on this from her oldest, an almost four year old: "Naomi asked me “What number are you?” and when I told her she said “That’s a very big number!” eeek"

Started Tom Brokaw's Boom! Voices of the Sixties last night. So far, so good. He quotes Bill Clinton early on as saying, and this is a generalization from Clinton and a paraphrase from me: if you think something good came out of the '60's then you're probably a Democrat; if bad, then a Republican. Certainly there were very bad things (think assassinations and Vietnam for starters) that happened during that time. Btw, Brokaw is defining the Sixties as starting with November 22, 1963 and ending on August 9, 1974. But overall, I think of the Sixties as a time of liberation and a great leap forward. It is also the years of my early adulthood which means graduation, marriage, service, career start, and the beginning of a family, a pretty momentous period of time for anyone in any decade or century.

Also saw King Kong, a loaner from Colleen, last night. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, especially the first part where all the guys along with the one gal end up on Skull Island doing battle with giant representatives from our distant past - raptors and dinosaurs and creepy crawly things which are nightmarishly hugh and all of whom want to do dastardly things to the humans. Should have ended with the capture of Kong but it didn't.

Heading to the golf course for a walk and maybe some golf - if the wind isn't so terribly chilling...

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Piano Tuner

Finished The Piano Tuner. It ends with a sudden burst of action and high drama after meandering about in a lazy way up to that point. The Piano Tuner does tune a piano and does play for a group of locals; he does fall in love with the seemingly timeless nature of the country; he does fall in love in a kind of British way with the sole female character of the book; and he does end up being tested as to what he really wants and believes. As I read, I was reminded on occasion of the Haggard adventure books where white men played adventurers in darkest Africa. But the author makes an overt reference late in the book that is more appropriate as an adventure story reference: The Odyssey by Homer, where Odysseus takes ten years and a variety of adventures, including a visit to the land of the Lotus Eaters, to find his way home.

And then there is the Kipling poem of the other day which helped me to see my own yearnings to revisit a long ago time in a far away place, something which Edgar Drake, the piano tuner, actually does, not a revisit though, but rather a first time adventure as a forty-one year old and after eighteen years of marriage:

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea,
There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say;
"Come you back, you British Soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"
mandalay imagesCome you back to Mandalay,
mandalay imagesWhere the old Flotilla lay;
mandalay imagesCan't you 'ear their paddles clunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?
mandalay imagesOn the road to Mandalay,
mandalay imagesWhere the flyin'-fishes play,
mandalay imagesAn' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

There's several more verses here...

It's late afternoon; gotta go walk in the rest of the light...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Catching up on Politics. Oh groan...

Picture: White River rafting conditions for teeny tiny people with teeny tiny rafts termed excellent at Lakeview Golf Course as sluice gates opened over night.

Diane off to pick up the boys with Eric off to Terre Haute, make that West Lafayette, for some work related workshopping.

Lots of stuff going on in the world of politics:

-Bush lies about when he knew about Iran and its nuclear weapons program. No surprise there.
-Huckabee apparently wanted and pushed for the release of a rapist down in Arkansas who then went out and , guess what, raped and then murdered some more. Poor judgment? He also is being charged with saying that gay marriage will end civilization. Not looking for friends in the Gay/Lesbian community?
-Romney giving a faith and religion speech which he hopes will do for him what JFK's did for him way back in Houston in 1960 (or was it '59?). I know of at least one Progressive blogger who thinks the speech stunk and is royally p**sed.
-Obama trending up, Clinton trending down in NH (here's a graph showing trend lines and polling data for several polls in the NH race); he is apparently ahead of her in Iowa. Edwards back there somewhere. And Chris Dodd. Who is it going to be? Won't be long and we'll know... Hard to believe that the candidates will be all but chosen within sixty days. Do I remember that February 5th is the blockbuster primary date when several biggies take place? (Just googled it and February 5th is a monster primary date!)
-haven't looked at any of the senate and representative numbers in a while. About the same? That would be trending up for the Democrats and down for the Republicans. But Republicans should have heart since there is plenty of time between now and next November. Of course that's a two edged sword since, what with recent Republican history, Murphy's Law is sure to be in effect.

Will this next election make a difference in Washington? You bet it will. Just think how much things changed when the Bushies took over seven years ago!

Along with all that, I think it's time for change in the weather: need a day or two of golf, real bad. Going out to eat with the boys and Diane. Treat.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Au Revoir Les Enfants, Mandalay, Kipling

Netflix movie: Au Revoir Les Enfants. French movie made in 1987. Subtitles. Good, sad, seemingly made up of several separate incidents that makes one wonder why this or where is this going. Set in a Catholic boys school in 1944. One of the main characters is a Jew who is being hidden from the bad guys. Bad guys are the Germans, the Nazis. Give it a four.

In The Piano Tuner, we have arrived in Mandalay in Burma. Edgar Drake is presently enjoying some night street theater with a British officer and a lovely Burmese woman. Still a ways from his destination and the piano he is traveling around the world to tune. As I read this, I try to remember the heat of the tropics, the discomfort. No memory there, yet.

Rudyard Kipling wrote of Mandalay in this poem of a hankering for a remembered time in a far away place, something we all share on occasion.

No golf today though did run into a several golfers down at the VFW late this afternoon.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ruby Tuesday: Traffic, Iran, The Piano Tuner, The Red Sea

Picture: Quiet crossroads in Loogootee shortly after noon today. Siesta time?

Ruby Tuesday: And what came to mind when you saw 'Ruby Tuesday'? This (google rank #4) or this (google rank #1)? Or something else?

Netflix movie this afternoon: Traffic. Michael Douglas stars in this movie dealing with drugs and drug traffic. Lots of action and meaningful stuff on this side of the Mexican border and on the other side, even including subtitles on occasion (when in Mexico). Not a message of hope by any means. Gave it a four - we both enjoyed it.

From WAPO: Iran shut down a suspected effort to build nuclear weapons four years ago. Sure am glad to hear that. Sorry to see our president again getting the intelligence wrong. Glad the CIA is speaking up. Even gladder that the Press is picking it up and reporting it. And now the Press wants to know when the president knew what he knew, like maybe he knew before all the saber rattling about the real danger that we are all in because of Iran's growing nuclear capability. Good for them. I'm interested too though I already know the answer.

Update: Via tpm, Seymour Hersh on CNN saying that WH has know for over a year and that they tried to keep it out of the NIE. My oh my. Doesn't that beat all...

Started a new book, another one of Diane's which she thought I might enjoy as it has a setting in Burma: The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason. So far have traveled around London, across the English Channel to Paris and then by rail to Marseille; from there back on the water to the Suez Canal and down into the Red Sea and onto Bombay and then via rail to Calcutta. Destination: Burma.

It was as I was steaming down the Red Sea with the hero of the book, Edgar Drake, that I wondered how much of Africa to the east and Arabia to the west he was getting to see. Now my thinking was conditioned by the narrowness of the Suez Canal so I was thinking maybe Africa and Arabia weren't all that far apart. Well, just how far is it from one side of the Red Sea to the other? Have any idea? I had a rough idea after looking at a globe and eyeballing the distance between South Bend and Chicago; thought maybe it was comparable, about ninety miles, not a distance very easily spanned by the human eye thus making the Africa on my right and Arabia on my left not a very good construct. But the ninety miles happens to be way off. According to Wikipedia, it's widest point is a hundred and ninety miles. Wow.

So it goes. World turns.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Woodward's State of Denial

Picture: Lucas with Naomi and Leah and friends at the Children's Discovery Museum near Palm Springs last week.

Finished Bob Woodward's State of Denial: Bush at War, Part 111. Found it enlightening as I was able to see much more of the little things that go on, the daily meetings, the infighting, the delays, the different personalities, all of which make up the daily life of our leaders and runners of our government. I found that those twin attributes that have been hallmarks of this administration, incompetence and arrogance, are displayed over and over again although the incompetence is much more prevalent that the arrogance. The biggest bad guy in this telling is Rumsfeld though Rice comes in a close second. Bush himself is aloof and incurious. Chaney is pretty much a non entity, something which I find rather amazing since I see him as a dark force ever present; maybe Woodward is hinting at that with keeping him in the background. In the latter part of the book, the wrap up, the author admits that he has pretty much been cut off by the principles (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Hadley) since sometime in 2003 - book takes us up to the summer of 2006. Worth reading if you are at all interested in what's happening at the top of our government as it tries to win a war that is believed to be critical for the safety of the United States in the years to come. Note: it is about the war and little else - just about zip on politics and domestic stuff.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday Wrap: Movie: The Tiger and the Snow, Colts Win, etc.

Picture: Lucas out in Palm Springs: the law has arrived!

Movie time tonight: The Tiger and the Snow, a very good Italian comedy that will make you laugh. In the end a love story. The main character is a goof and a poet with a passion for life. Well done, time well spent. Gets a five from me.

Colts win in a game that was a goodie. Had to sit on the edge of the chair right up to the last minute. Colts did get one pick, snapping Gerrard's zero interceptions for the season; another one was canceled because of a Colt penalty.

OSU and LSU for the college football championship. Could be that OSU gets skunked again. It is a rebuilding year after all.

Sunday Funnies: College Football Chaos, Wolverine Woes, etc.

Picture: Little Darling Leah yesterday morning before Oma and Lucas' leave taking.

Diane stumbled in just before 2 am this morning, tired...

-College football: Watched LSU win yesterday afternoon; watched Oklahoma win last night. I'ld put them in the championship bout but looks like OSU, who never played a top 20 team all year, will get one spot. Crazy year, right? Right. cbssports has a summary of the chaos.

-Michigan basketball team falls to Harvard and Amaker (MI's former coach). Not on the scale of the football's team loss to Appalachian State last fall, but nice for Tommy Amaker. Get this: they played at the Ivy League school's gym, a sell out crowd of 2050, that's two thousand and fifty, ended up chanting "We got Tommy! We got Tommy!" That's cool. Of course, there's also the public announcement by the LSU coach just before his team went on the field yesterday, that he was staying at LSU, scotching rumors that he was taking over the Michigan post. Bad day for Wolverine fans.

-Go Colts, stomp Jaguars. Jag QB Garrard hasn't had an interception in a long time, none this year yet in fact. Time to put a stop to that kind of stuff. Let's pick two just for the heck of it.

-Warm, misty and windy up here on the hill. Too bad about the mist - would be a golfing type day; still may head over there in a bit, at least for a walk.

World turns. Iraqi War still on; global warming still on; presidential politicking still on. Oh my.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Birds Breaking Bread and Birds on the Wing

Picture of a few of our feathered friends breaking bread together. Camera smarts: using a lowered numbered aperture setting allows for the focus to come forward and be on the birds; notice the fuzzed background. (Focus on Aperture)

Note on other birds: Diane and Lucas are in the air somewhere (or will be shortly), winging their way east after the conclusion of their stay in the wild west. Glad we have some good old Hoosier weather to greet them. Due in after 11 tonight up in Indy.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Just spent an hour watching and listening to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra do the Ghosts of Christmas Eve. Lee Wininger clued us in on these musicians who put on stunning light and sound shows. From Wikipedia:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra (often abbreviated as TSO) is a rock orchestra founded by Paul O'Neill, Robert Kinkel, and Jon Oliva in 1996. The band's musical style is often described in different terms, incorporating progressive rock, symphonic metal, and heavy metal, with influences from classical music. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is well known for its renditions of traditional Christmas songs.

Nice way to spend an hour on a cool Saturday morning.

PBS: Bill Moyers' Buying the War: Cudos to Knight-Ridder

As I mentioned last night, PBS was doing a fund raiser. Along with the special Johnny Cash clips from the 60's, they also ran Bill Moyers' Buying the War, a devasting critique of the Press and its role in selling the Iraq War to the Public in the months before March of 2003. It is clear that the Press, with the exception of Knight-Ridder, became propaganda tools of the Bush administration. They rolled over and practically begged to participate in the sham that was the run up to the war. They completely abdicated their role in keeping the Public informed, in asking the right questions, in being skeptical at every turn. They allowed the administration to lie, over and over.

From the link:

How did the mainstream press get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported? "What the conservative media did was easy to fathom; they had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President — no questions asked. How mainstream journalists suspended skepticism and scrutiny remains an issue of significance that the media has not satisfactorily explored," says Moyers. "How the administration marketed the war to the American people has been well covered, but critical questions remain: How and why did the press buy it, and what does it say about the role of journalists in helping the public sort out fact from propaganda?"

Moyers gives credit to the Knight-Ridder news organization for getting it right, for being skeptical, for doing the leg work that uncovered the facts and revealed the lies. Alas, the Knight-Ridder voice was drowned out by the roar of the right wing noise machine and the mis information blared from every available outlet, whether news print or television or radio.

Guess this program was originally aired sometime last spring. I missed it the first time.