Thursday, January 31, 2008

One liners, Internet Disruption and Darkness

Some funnies meant to be closing statements in your emails or online bios, from Bill over at Daily Kos and they include one liners from people past and present. How about this one from H.L. Mencken:
"In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." ~H.L.Mencken (PoliSigh)

You think he was just kidding?

Ever wonder how internet service is provided around the world? And what would happen if something disrupted that service? Here's a real life disruption: cut cables off the coast of Egypt in the Mediterranean. Big slow down in service - that doesn't seem so bad. Wonder if the terrorists have considered stopping the world by stopping the internet? Imagine they have. It would be kinda like the other night when we lost electricity for several hours - didn't take either of us very long to cash it all in and go to bed. Can you imagine what the cave dwellers did with all their night time hours? Lay around in the dark and dream up monsters of one kind or another, I guess. Of course, around the world right now a lot of people live with no or little electricity. What do they do?

Time for me to go get a bite to eat. Already been on a long walk in the wind and the cold.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Painted Lady

Netflix movie last night and this morning - interrupted by that rascally wind that Eric said got up to 83 mph out at his place. The movie, Painted Lady, is a Masterpiece Theater production, is very long (208 minutes and I would have watched even more!), is super and stars that simply wonderful actress (actor?) Helen Mirren. Has multiple things to recommend it including art history, WWII shenanigans, mysterious buildings with long, dark corridors deep within their bowels, love (of course), violence, humor, a sisterly love that was enchanting, country estates in grand British fashion, art auctions, thugs and thieves and other very bad men, sex, jazz and blues music. But most of all it has Helen Mirren. She's a love, plays a 50 something woman, has multiple lovers, is daring, timid, courageous, fragile, and many other things as well. Did I say I love her? Gave it a rating of five.

We had weather: Lights Out...

Picture: Diane in candlelight last night. least for a little while. Overnight, in fact. We lost electricity with the big blow last night around seven. We were in the dark and the cold throughout the night. Went to bed way early. Woke to 12 degrees but no wind and still no electricity. Off to The Cabin for coffee and breakfast and when we returned: sun was up, electricity was back.

Eric had a scare: he, Colleen and the boys all found a bed to crawl under with the howling of the winds sounding both ominous and threatening. When they finally came out from their hiding place, trees were down all around him but nothing on the house or the outbuildings. He called us shortly to let us know they were all okay - told him neither of us had been afraid for them but were now trembling, a little anyway...

Gotta go catch up on the news. Peeked at it before coming here: Clinton and McCain win in Florida; Edwards to drop out. My oh my...

p.s. was enjoying golf in balmy 55 degree weather at the golf course at 4 yesterday afternoon. Went to bed at 21 degrees. Woke up to 12 degrees. Interesting.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ask the Dust, Drugs and Profiteering, Dome Dollars

Picture: Yesterday's sunrise from the north side of the house.

Finished a whale of a book last night: Ask the Dust by John Fante. Learned of the author for the first time about a year ago from a pbs program about him. Put the request on Diane's paperback book swap club and it eventually got sent her way by another individual who had read it. Small, sparten, set in the late 30's in Los Angeles; young wannabe writer in from Colorado falls in love with a waitress who in turn loves another. Lots of Catholic references and allusions - someone even called it a 'Catholic' book. Great read; pick it up.

Not too much golfing yesterday, like zero. Do want you to know that it did get up to 50 degrees around here - about 10 pm. Pointed that out to Diane; her comment: 'golf weather'.

From the Indy Star: Has to be something ironic about the fact that during these not so good economic times Eli Lilly is reporting fantastic 4th quarter earnings. Reason: "...solid sales of its antidepressant Cymbalta..."

Also from the Indy Star, word that it is going to cost 3.5 million dollars to tear down the Dome. Wow! Wonder if I can get someone to pay me for tearing down some buildings that are no longer useful?

Time for breakfast with Diane and then maybe a trip up to the golf course.

Monday, January 28, 2008

FISA and Spying and Photos

Daily Kos - dkos - put me onto this stop the spying photo and video opportunity. Take a peek. And contact Evan Bayh about how he can help.

Monday, Monday... Etcetera and Military Spending

Supposed to be warm and sunny? Not by a long shot. It's cool with the wind from the south by coming across cold ground. And the sun is hiding behind a thick layer of clouds. Darn. Did get out to the course and walked around for an hour; and Kenny Hudson did load up his pull cart with his clubs and was all set to play then decided against it as it was much colder than he anticipated. Me too. Darn again.

Guess I'll work on the taxes.

World turns.

Oh, one other thing. Watched a little more of the Story of Stuff over Diane's shoulder. Missed this statistic: 50% of our tax dollars go to the Military. Say not so; certainly not; can't be. Can it? Guess what. I googled it and the top entry was this. Shows 51% goes to current military (31%) and past military (20%). The data is provided by an outfit called the War Resisters League. Which means they do have an agenda: make Defense spending appear to be gargantuan and way out of proportion to the need. So, for the moment, I take it with a grain of salt while I do some more research. But not at the moment.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yes to Golf in Loogootee, Yes for Tiger, Yes to the Story of Stuff.

Yes we did some golfing at Lakeview today. Though we didn't have 45 degrees at noon, we did have lots of sun and fast melting snow. By three o'clock, not two but seven of the greens were free of the white stuff, gone for now. The 'over 40 degree boys' (pictured) were down from up north a piece; Curt and Kevin Johnson (pictured) came out and limbered up; Caleb and Montana, too. I went out and tried to make solid contact and not dip into the frozen tundra of Martin County too often. Expect much softer ground tomorrow with the continued thaw; probably be a whole bunch more muddy as well. Give a little, take a little.

Diane took advantage of the nice weather and headed down to Jasper to see if there were any shoppers out and about. Must not have been too many as she was still smiling when she got back home a little after I did.

Did you notice that Tiger did win out at Torrey Pines? The surprise was not that he won but rather that they were able to play with the rains indeed falling into the ocean and maybe elsewhere in sunny California. Beautiful at Torrey Pines though at the end looked like the weather was moving in. Tiger tied Arnie in career wins at 62. Pretty impressive.

Change of pace here: Noticed this at dkos while at the golf course after my walk but before I went out and did some golfing: The Story of Stuff. Since it was a video, I didn't even attempt to watch it with the dial up connection at the club house. However, did download it here at home and watched it. A twenty minute lesson on stuff, where it comes from, where it goes, who has it, who wants it, what we should do with it, what place it has in our continued well being. Did you know in our consumer-throw away society how much of the stuff we consume is still around in six months? If you guessed about one percent, you would be on the money. Wow. Do you remember what President Bush told us to do right after 9/11? The lady in the Stuff video says he told us to go shopping. I remember he told us to get on with the things we normally did; guess for many that is shopping. Not a shopper man myself, nor is Diane a shopper lady (yes, I know what it says up above about her going down to Jasper today...). However, I did see us in the video when she talked about 'perceived obsolescence', also known as fashion or keeping up with the Jones: as one of her examples, she uses an imaginary co worker who has all the latest including a flat screen monitor and how she looked very spiffy with all her high tech and space age stuff having the latest design. She, on the other hand, had the old style monitor, you know, the big and fat and clunky thing that has been part of her life for maybe three years and was wearing last year's shoes. Very unfashionable indeed.

But I go on and on. Let me summarize by saying that this is not anything new - it's a message Diane and I heard back in the 60's and '70's and to a degree heeded: we are a consumer society; we are wasteful; we could do better by buying less and making more, by living a more simple and sustainable life. Of course, things have worsened and sped up in the forty some years since then: resources are disappearing at a more rapid pace, global warming is changing the environment at a more rapid pace, the world is shrinking at a more rapid pace. Jeesh, I think we need a time out. In any case, go check it out. It's an easy watch and listen reminder of who we are and what we are doing and what we maybe should do. I downloaded it first since I can't stand the continual buffering that takes place way too many times during the twenty minutes. (And that means I have it on cd for any of you who still have dial up and want to see it without downloading 54mb of video.)

Here's something very concrete you can do to reduce your own consuming: come out and play some golf with us tomorrow, take in the fresh air and move your body around. Refresh yourself. Sounds like a winner to me. I'll be there at that green place just north of town.

Sun, Tiger, Obama, Irish, and Hoosiers

Just posted a note over at Lakeview News that I'll be at the golf course if the weatherman is half way right: 45 degrees and sunny by 1 o'clock today.

Obama wins big in South Carolina; Clinton gets early flight to Tennessee. Edwards again finishes a disappointing third. On Edwards: why should he drop out? Not only are there lots of primaries to be held, there is also the very strong possibility of a brokered convention, meaning no decision till the convention. On the nastiness of the SC race: hope it's run its course and the candidates return to a more positive campaigning style. That said, any candidate had better be ready for the 'nasties' in the battle with the Republicans just down the road a little bit. No holds barred and all that stuff then.

Woods winning big at Torrey Pines. He was a joy to watch yesterday afternoon. With today's expected deluge, Steve Elling at suggests calling the final round and handing the trophy to Woods. He makes sense but lets hope the rain falls into the ocean and they complete the tournament as scheduled. Expect Tiger in cruise control if they play, being happy with pars and letting the competition make the birdies if they can. Let me see, that would mean that Cink would have to shoot 8 under to tie. Hmmm, chances of that happening against Tiger? in the rain? If I were playing, I'ld still want my shot; nothing's over till some lady sings, you know.

In college basketball yesterday, caught a little of the ND-Nova game won by the Irish against the ranked Nova team on their court. Caught some of the IU-UCON game won by the Huskies on the Hoosiers home court against the 7th ranked team in the nation. What's going on here? Hurray for the Irish in any case. Was hoping to see Zeller play but no such luck.

Sun's up and warming this part of the world. Best get ready to get out of here...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tiger and Dems and Photo Project

This and that:

-Tiger has a 4 stroke lead going into the weekend at Torrey Pines. His partners later today include Stewart Cink and Kevin Streelman. Streelman, the last alternate to make it, calls his girlfriend on the way to the tee box and she drops everything down in Arizona and arrives to catch up with him by the 13th hole. Very cool.

-Dems going to polls in SC; again low expectations for Senator Clinton and big expectations for Senator Obama. I like the way John Edwards ("the candidate from the grown up wing of the party") keeps hanging around and hanging around. All this could very well end with a brokered convention. Of course, could be all over in ten days with the hugh February 5th primaries. What's your druthers?

-Still got snow on the greens at the golf course. Be gone today, snow-on-greens; golfers want to play tomorrow and Monday and Tuesday.

-Here's something else that is cool that will be going on for a while: The Photo Place Polling Project which asks that people all over America take photos of their polling place and send them in
The Polling Place Photo Project is a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism that encourages voters to capture, post and share photographs of this year’s primaries, caucuses and general election. By documenting local voting experiences, participants can contribute to an archive of photographs that captures the richness and complexity of voting in America.
Very cool - take your cameras to your polling place and become part of the project! Makes me want to head down to South Carolina right now and take some pictures. Can't do it though - got warming weather coming into the area which means get-out-the-clubs time. Let me see now, Indiana primary is... Here's a site with all the primary dates and what's up for grabs. May 6th here in Indiana.

Time for a little breakfast and maybe a little more of my new read: John Fante's Ask the Dust. Of course, that may be just a little difficult since there's a bundle of radical energy bouncing around the house in the person of Ian; he's constantly reacting to something.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Wrap: Ian and George and JLo

Picture: Ian with the new remote doing a self picture.

Ian is over to spend the night. Two things he found really interesting: my new camera and Google Earth.

George and JLo would be George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez who starred in Out of Sight, our Netflix movie for the night. It was easy viewing, especially when JLo was front and center.

Friday Follies

-Number One Son reports from Indy that it's been 30 years since the big blizzard of 1978. He remembers an ambulance coming out our way - that would be deep in the hills of Martin County out along the Lost River - and wondered if it was 'bringing oreo cookies and donuts'.

-NYTimes editorial makes the case for HRC and then throws its support her way.

-Tiger on the prowl at Torrey Pines. Press making a big deal of the Rory thingee. Are the two of them paired together today?

-Note from Ping Eye2 golf clubs are at the top of the search for clubs (Top Ten Club Searches PGA Value Guide). You remember George Templin moved up to Ping G10's last month and sold his Ping Eye2's to me - I like them. Second on the list are the Callaway X-20 irons.

-a second note on the weather: we're heading back into the 40's the next several days; low 40's on the weekend and then into the high 40's the first part of next week. Might be a good time to unbend and try out that golf swing that has been resting for way too long.

Let me see now; that covers the weather, politics, sports. Anything else before I go have breakfast with Diane? Would have been a good morning to head to The Cabin and mix with the Catholics coming from their Friday morning Mass. But too late for that now. And we got the boys this evening and tomorrow morning which will be excitement enough all by itself. Better check the WaPo's front page to see if I'm missing anything. Hmmm, tax break plans, GOP debate, Egypt and the Wall; here's something cute:

President Hillary Clinton: Three words that cause Republicans to forget their differences and join together.

Hmmm, sounds both cute and interesting and it's one way for Senator Clinton to claim she's running on a unity theme. Might be something Senator Obama wants to pursue as a way to attract more Democrats...

Gotta stop, at least for now. Friday follies, indeed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mr. Brooks from Netflix

Mr. Brooks: Pretty good psychological thriller with some heavy weight actors: Kevin Costner, William Hurt and Demi Moore. Haven't seen any of them in a movie in probably a decade. Did a good job here. Very entertaining with a fair bit of violence and a goodly amount of suspense. Oh, also had Marg Helgenberger, from CSI and China Beach, playing the wife of the serial killer. Shortly after finishing the movie, we went to CSI and enjoyed a reprise of Marg and her buddies - CSI being one of the very few network programs we watch, maybe one of two with the other being 60 Minutes. (Neither Diane or I have much like for all the commercial breaks that interrupt network programming.)

David Halberstam

Was reading some commentary in reaction to this posting by Kevin Drum:

January 24, 2008

WHAM! BOOM!....Did Barack Obama have a "testy" exchange with a reporter on Tuesday? No. Did Hillary Clinton almost let loose with a "Dean scream" on Wednesday? No. Do reporters routinely inflate minor campaign trail incidents in an effort inject color and conflict into their coverage? Yes indeed. The lesson of the day is: Always remember to take conflict stories with a great big shaker of salt until you see the video, the full exchange, or corroborating testimony yourself. There will be a quiz tomorrow.

Kevin Drum 3:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

when I came across this suggestion to read David Halberstam's last book,
The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. You remember, he died last April 24th in an automobile accident at the age of 73. I remembered that I had meant to put that on a list of must reads since Halberstam is one of my all time favorite authors but then promptly forgot. Not today though. I immediately called Mary at the Loogootee Public Library (great place!) and had her oder the book for me. She is doing just that which is just great. Then I went back and read some of the commentary on the book at and found this really touching remembrance of Halberstam by Anna Quindlen. To quote just some of it but do go read the whole thing; Halberstam was apparently not only a very good writer but also a very good human being. From the remembrance:

Much has been made of the fact that he was on one last reporting trip when he died. But he was also on one of his patented David-Halberstam-explains-it-all-to-you tours. I got an email from a woman who heard him speak at Berkeley on that trip. She wrote: "I wasn't prepared for the degree of grace and kindness he exhibited. He would listen intently as the question-cum-statement rolled on, then pause, take an extra step, and deliver, in its brevity and precision, the most generous response possible. I just couldn't help smiling while saying to myself--Mary K, remember this lesson in human kindness and practice it."

And another note: The tone of the comments at The Washington Monthly, Kevin Drum's blog, is so much more humane that it is at dkos and tpm. Bicker, bicker, bicker - gets old real fast. Digby at Hullabaloo must of felt the same way the other day when she had everybody take a breather and shut down the comments section. In the end, a hat tip to 'cleve' who took the time to suggest a good read by a good writer and a good man.

It's a cold, sunny day up here on the hill. I've been for a walk int he cold, have did a little work on the taxes and even finished a book. Asne Seierstad's The Bookseller of Kabul is a pretty good primer on Afghanistan as it exists these last several years. Lots of information but the real fascination is the description of the male-female dynamic in the Afghani culture. Think I have mentioned this before as Diane read this book and had quite a few comments to make, out loud, about the way the women were being treated by the *#%@&* men. And, my oh my, those poor women over there do live a life comparable to a slave's. Completely under the thumb of the male, the husband, the father; and when he's not around, number one son is the authority. Things are changing now, maybe. Taliban has been sent packing. Of course, a lot of the warlords and tribal leaders really don't want things to change that much. At least the burqa, the clothing that covered the women from head to toe with but a slit for the eyes to see and worn whenever the women left the sanctuary of their home, has been put back on the hook for the time being. (Go here for a strongly worded condemnation of the use of the burqa.) Did you know that Afghanistan was once a desirable destination for backpackers and the like? Did you know that Afghani hash was once considered the best? Back in the '60's and 70's....

Time to go get ready for the rest of the day. The Bookseller of Kabul is an excellent read. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Krugman on Reagan and Obama and Democrats

Paul Krugman at the NYTimes writes on the importance of political narrative and why it is important for the Democrats to say over and over that Reagonmics failed and is failing again. Reagonomics: lets stimulate the economy by giving massive tax cuts to the rich. Here's another editorial, also from the NYTimes, that suggests that we spur our floundering economy right now by repealing the Bush tax cuts two years early - in effect pushing the very rich on a spending spree because of the extra cash they would have by taking advantage of the soon to disappear lower capital gains tax. I have also heard of the suggested tax rebate of $800 for individuals, $1600 for couples; I like that though don't know what we would spend it on - ah, just thought of something - make a down payment on one of those properties that have been foreclosed with the predator mortgaging. Let me see now, where would be a good place - maybe out in the Seattle area, a little closer to Danielle and her girls. Here are two suggestions for you if you are going to be traveling back in time: buy Google stock and also gold - I remember when gold was going for around $400 an ounce; now it's over $800. Buy lots. Retire early. And go golf, of course.

Oh oh, somebody up on my right shoulder just reminded me that money is the source of all evil...

And one other thing: wouldn't want to be filthy rich and hating the idea of the Democrats and especially Hillary running the country for the next however many years. That would be pure misery.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why We Fight

Netflix offering tonight: Why We Fight. That would be why do we Americans engage in war. Hmmm, let me think now; we fight for freedom, liberty, democracy, the rights of man (and woman); we fight to put down aggressors and terrorists and mean guys who want to destroy our way of life; we fight for the spread of our way of life, for the protection of our interests, for the safety of our kids and grandkids. Let me see now, there might be other reasons, or at least an expansion of the 'protection of our interests' answer. Like we need to protect the oil that runs our air planes and our tanks. Or maybe we need to protect the profits of our arms merchants, you know, one of the arms of the military-industrial complex that Ike (you remember him?) warned us about just before leaving office to the next generation in the person of JFK. That complex has now grown to include a government arm and some would even include a fourth arm, as suggested in the documentary, that being K Street with all it's lobbyists.

This documentary, created in 2005 and inspired by the Iraq fiasco, pretty much goes with the Eisenhower warning and builds the case that all that Ike feared has come to pass with a vengeance. It makes sense and it directs us to a viable reason for engaging in war: we have the means to go to war and we have the moral duty to help our fellow man and we really do need some kind of excuse to use up, not to mention test in real life situations, all these goodies we have spent billions of dollars creating.

In the documentary, one retired military officer who helped in creating and justifying and defending Pentagon policy, wraps it all up in the end by suggesting that we engage in war because there are not enough people out there saying "we aren't going to do this anymore". Guess that kinda puts it right back in our laps, doesn't it? It is our country after all; those guys in the halls of Congress and the WH are our servants, just folk we put there to run things for us.

A couple of times during the film, Crane and it's employees came to my mind. An employee on the bomb line (not Crane) was interviewed about her role in bombing Iraq. She knew what was happening with those bombs, of the people they were killing, the destruction wrought in far off lands. Some times she wishes she were doing something else. Diane came to mind as well: back in 1980 when she went back to work, she decided she was not going to work at Crane cause she did not want to be any part of the production of death dealing machinery. She ended up at National Gypsum and helped make house and home materials: sheetrock and gypsum board. She, in effect, did say "I'm not going to do this anymore".

Gave the documentary a rating of four.

Why Caucus and the Electability Issue

This and that as I wonder around the morning's cyberspace offerings:

-from Digby's Hullabaloo: dday writes this on why a political party might want to causus rather than have a primary (paraphrase): 2004 primary in Nevada generated enough interest to get 9000 Democrats to vote; 2007 caucus had 115800 Democrats participating. Wow...

-from Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly on electability:

So this argument appeals to me. Hillary will draw fewer independents than Obama. She'll probably also draw fewer men. And the fever swamp will go absolutely nuts. (Though whether, in the end, that helps or hurts, is hard to say.)

But in the real world, there are lots of other demographic and constituency issues than that. Hillary's strengths are considerable: She'll draw more women than Obama would. She'll draw more Hispanics. Unless things go way off the rails in the next few weeks, she'll draw 90% of the black vote, the same as Obama. She'll appeal more to blue collar workers and union members. She'll draw more of the white vote. She'll appeal more to moderate hawks. She'll be more immune to attacks based on experience.

Senator Clinton is electable. Don't think we have to worry about that. Obama is as well along with Edwards and Dodd (yes, I know, he's dropped out of the race).

Breakfast time...

Golf Boom in China - New Facility Serves 300 Million

Well, that new facility, Mission Hills Golf Club, a complex of twelve courses, has 300 million people within four hours distance. Hugh population center, wouldn't you say? This news is from an article that talks about the new courses opening up in China, something that has been going on a a pretty good clip over the last ten years though one that is expected to slow with the land use question. One of the more desired jobs at the golf course? Caddy. And filled mostly by Chinese girls. Article doesn't say a thing about long lines of golfers waiting to play.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Golf with Jack Lents, Eric's course doctoring, etc.

Picture: Jack Lents braving the cold to try out his lengthened club. After looking at the photo, can you suggest three things that would help Jack improve his swing?

Good neighbor Jack Lents came out to the golf course to try out a driver which he had extended by two inches. Over the winter, Jack has used some of the time on his hands to discover the ins and outs of putting together a club and has become somewhat of an expert in putting on and taking off a club's grip.

While Jack was hitting balls, Eric was out on the course doctoring that black cherry tree between #4 and #5 fairways. That particular tree was blasted by some lightning this past year or maybe it was two years ago. Primary doctoring tool was the chain saw which ran into a bit of trouble of its own when pinched tight in its run through a hefty branch. Eric had to resort to a chain and his pick up truck to drag the two of them apart. No biggie. Doctoring continued.

In other news: The weather warmed a bit for Martin Luther King Day. I wandered around the golf course and around the corner up by #4 green - the lake is way down and the exposed shoreline allows for some extended walking. Although the lake has been dropped over the winter during the past several years, it is the first time that I have gone around the corner - new territory - lots of drift wood and tree stumps and exposed roots, along with an eagle or two and a pileated woodpecker. Lake itself is frozen over with ice for the most part - Jack's golf balls, the ones he hit out into the lake, landed on the ice with a thunk and then bounded off with lesser thunks turning into skids and slithers and eventually stops.

World turns. Good thing, right?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Manning going to super bowl

But it's Eli, not Payton. That's cool.

Couple of pretty darn good championship games today in absolutely miserable conditions. Thought the guys in Green Bay handled the colder but less windy (?) clime a whole bunch better the the boys in Boston.

Lunch in Jasper...

...with Jim and Wilma at China's Best - it was right there when we got to deciding on which Chinese restaurant to eat at. Good time was had by all - guess we were all ready to trade barbs and laughter, which is good stuff on a cold winter Sunday. Food was delicious; company was extraordinary. Diane did the driving in her little gray Yaris, something we found more than roomy enough and with plenty of pep. Of course, we all had fun with Diane's driving; Jim and I sat in the back seat and tried on the 'back-seat-driver's caps which were handy. On the way over, I tried out the roominess of the back seat by riding, guess where now, in the back seat. Enjoyed it so much that I did the same on the way home. Gives one an entirely different perspective on the business of traveling, more laid back, more the Greyhound mentality of leaving the driving to the the other guy. Worth doing again.

Patriots and Chargers are on in the corner (go Chargers). Guess I'll go for a walk.

p.s. picture: Jim at the eatery - I think he is quietly chuckling at something Wilma said.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

John Foddrill Memorial

Did go down to Washington earlier today and joined with a lot of John's friends and relatives and co-workers. From the back of the handout entitled "A Service of Witness to the Resurrection and a Celebration of the Life of John Franklin Foddrill":

...Taken, with permission, from the journal of Anna Barnett, age 8

"Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Today is a sad day. My uncle John just died.
We don't know any details, but we may soon.

In a few days we will be going to Washington
for a funeral.

Uncle John died at the age of 42.

He was a nice, loving and funny man. I hope
he has peace in Heaven.

He will always be in my heart."

Rest easy, John.

Saturday: Hillary wins another, Obama kinda too

Well, I read the headline - Clinton and Romney win, and then didn't see the sub title till I came back from perusing other news: Obama actually gets more of the delegates by one. From the WaPo:

Clinton, Romney Win Nev. Vote

Romney secures second win in last five days; Clinton wins caucus, but state party rules give Obama narrow edge in delegates.

Hmmm... So, who would you rather be, Hillary or Barack? She gets the big headline, he gets the extra delagate. Would expect that the popular vote and the big headline mean more. But that's just conjecture on my part. And I do have a bias. Still, big turnout for the Dems, not so big for the repubs.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Wrap

Pictures: New desk and a fender bender in Bloomington today.

Did get to Bloomington. Did get inside several stores to look at desks and computer tables. Did decide on one, a new black glass topped computer desk with lots of leg and knee room. From Sams, of all places. Not meant to be my last stop but turned out it was. Oh, except for the stop over at Eric's north of Odon - he was gone but his dog Sandy greeted me with plenty of bluster. Got home in plenty of time to get the desk out of the packing and start the assemble, something which was finished after dinner (a scrumptious lasagna).

Diane did get to town where she caught up with Wilma and did a spot of shopping.

One other thing about the new desk: going to try real hard to become a paperless kind of guy. Certainly have enough going on inside the computer to make that a reality: calendars, emails, news and punditry, sports. Paper, on the other hand, has been a pretty steady companion over the years. Have given up print magazines for the most part; daily print newspapers as well. Get an occasional bill in the mail but for the most part they are just telling me that an automatic withdrawal is going to take place. Lots of catalogs but I'm finding that there too I'm finding things easier online; so away with them as well (Diane has been steadily contacting the catalog people to stop their delivery - another way to be green...). So, less paper, less clutter. Lets give it a go. (Sounds soemthing like a resolution, doesn't it? Oh well...)

Gotta go to bed, day has been too full and too long. Good thing about it all - should sleep verrrry well.

Reminder: John Foddrill memorial service 1 pm Saturday at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Washington.

Friday Follies: Weather, Politics and Sports

Picture: At the golf course a few days ago before the snow and cold arrived.

It's sunny and not all that cold up here on the hill. Day stretches out before us. Diane's going out, down to town for food stuff and things; I might head on east and north, Bedford and Bloomington. I'm still looking for a computer/writing desk and, while I'm doing that, might as well keep an eye out for a scooter of some sort to get me down the road and around the corner and up to the golf course without going through a gallon of gas. And then on to Sams for a few essentials. No Christmas shopping today.

No pressing news from the political world though I did see some pretty catty cartoons (here's one; more at Fromkin's cartoon watch at the bottom of this link) dealing with our leader's search for goodies (oil, peace, democracy) in his travels in the Middle East. You gotta feel bad for the guy, don't you?

And in sports, IU beat Minn last night with the non-gordonites doing the heavy work as Eric was experiencing an off night. And speaking of off nights, Butler's A.J. Graves was colder than the weather in the Bulldogs' loss to Cleveland State - and yes the IU loss to that school was mentioned in the article. Remember? From the article:
It's been 21 years since Cleveland State made its memorable NCAA tourney run when guard Kenny "Mouse" McFadden and cast of unknowns upset Bobby Knight's Hoosiers and Saint Joseph's before losing in a regional semifinal to David Robinson and Navy.

Twenty-one years! Say it isn't so. Seems like just yesterday. Time, where go'eth thee?

World turns; sun's getting higher in the sky; and it's breakfast time.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Energy audits and crazy old men

Diane did a Vectren home energy audit earlier today (Joe Allen would be proud of her...) and of course the results came up with ways that we could save on energy costs. What I was particulary interested in was whether or not they suggested solar and or wind power as an alternative. And maybe threw in some kind of sweetner for us to pursue it. No was the answer from Diane. But in bringing up wind power, that brought to mind windmills and Don Quixote and Sancho Panza and of course the fair maiden, Dolcinea. Remember? I would bet that the big song of the musical, The Impossible Dream, is racing around in her head right now - in fact, I'm surprised she's not singing it. Maybe later after it's driven her bonkers for a couple of hours.

Have always liked Don Quixote, that crazy old man who wandered around and tried to convince other people of his rather unusual vision of the world. Diane and Eric and maybe Danielle loved the musical.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

John Foddrill and Friends at Lakeview in 2007

Obit: John Foddrill

Just learned that John Foddrill passed yesterday morning. Great sadness as John was a very positive and welcome member of our golfing family and the larger Loogootee community. Already missed. Our condolences to Jackie and Grace.

Where have all the boats gone...

Picture: Out at the park earlier today where the water and the boats are gone. Bleak.

Just saw a bit of the debate tonight - online - difficult. Guess the candidates were being nice and the news guys were trying to rile them up - without success. Did notice that Hillary sat in the middle; wonder if they drew lots to see who got that commanding position?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Health Insurance, Zetia, Skepticism

Tuesday This and That:

-found at firedoglake, this cautionary tale on dealing with insurance companies. Briefly, claim is sent in and is rejected not once but twice. Claimee informs insurance company that he is a doctor and that the reasons given for the rejection are completely off the chart. Insurance company relents and pays claim. Guess we've all been in those shoes before and the blogger wraps it up nicely by calling the policy of continual rejection of claims as "profit by attrition". That would happen, and no doubt does happen, because many claimants just give up and toss the claim and pay the bill themselves. Fortunately at our house Diane spent years learning and dealing with insurance claims while working at National Gypsum and consequently knows exactly how to shepard a claim through the intentionally diffult corridors of the insurance industry. For those of you without an at home insurance whiz, suggest you bone up on your policy, keep filing a claim and never take no for an answer and find an advocate if necessary. Need I suggest that we might seriously consider and make law universal health care?

-from the NYTimes, bad news for the makers of Zetia, that cholesterol reducing drug that has generated billions of dollars of profits in recent years. No medical benefit. Oh oh...

-the cries of racism leveled at Hillary and Bill these last several days have pretty much been quieted and rejected. From a lot of stuff I heard and read, this was a brush fire created by news people (some of them). Idiots (some of them...). One lesson learned, again: be skeptical and go to the source if you can - taken nothing for granted and think before opening your mouth.

Sunny out there. Heading to town; Diane's going to Odon to take care of the boys (Ian and Lucas) with Eric and Colleen finding themselves tied up this afternoon. Tax work and league updates continue.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Granddaughters as Cuties

Picture: the one on the right is the artist who inspired me...

update: photo credit to Danielle.

Grandkids and Art and Opa

Picture: Refrigerator art at our house with the top one being one from Naomi a few weeks ago and the bottom one being something created by Opa just a few minutes ago. To appreciate what I put together and how tickled your grandchild would be to get something like this from you, go here. It really is cool and I bet you will be tickled pink. Diane and I were.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Holy Mama! Colts Lose...

Did you check out the ten day forecast for the Boston area before watching the game today? I did. Supposed to be sunny with a high of 16 degrees next Sunday there. Brrrr. And then we watched the Colts lose to the Chargers (Bolts?). Plenty of blame to go around but Manning certainly had his chances; defense couldn't stop the passing of the other team; Colt receivers dropped passes; Harrison fumbles his first catch in ten games as Colts are driving for a score early. Oh boy...

No vested emotional interest in the other teams so the NFL season is over for me; can go on to other things in the sports world: golf, college basketball, horseshoes, bowling... Oh, and taxes, too, which I got started just the other day.

I remember what one of my younger brothers used to say all the time: what goes around, comes around. You remember Tuesday night, don't you? Hillary's surprise victory in New Hampshire. Remember how sweet it was? That apparently was the go around. The come around just arrived. Darn.

(In the things-that-matter column, I would weight the Tuesday competition just a tad more important that today's. Yeh, I know, a lot of you would disagree.)

Darn again.

p.s. Hope the Hoosiers don't make matters worse by loosing to Illinois up in Bloomington. Were doing just that the last time I looked (30-34 at half time).

Update: Here's a good article from on the meltdown of a whole bunch of Colts but not Manning who actually was exceptional.

And, btw, the Hoosiers did win...

Another Saturday picture...

Here's a bridge some of us have taken a time or two...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Movie with Miki and Kevin: The Reaping, Golf

Picture: golf course from across the highway.

Miki and Kevin down from Bloomington for dinner and a movie. The movie: Hillary Swank in The Reaping. Wasn't exactly what I was thinking it would be, rather a horror film. Pretty good job and Hillary was good too. Gave it a four though it might be a while before I'm ready for another horror film. Expected more of something on the line of Million Dollar Baby. Oh well.

Spent the afternoon at the golf course. Had several golfers, practiced some and got in two forty minute walks around the course and the neighborhood - first time I've actually gone across the highway and on that short stretch of road populated by LaMars and Toys and Fryes and Coles and Crays and Swartzentrubers. Nice walking area.

In case you missed it:
-Packers in a 'walk' after spotting the Seahawks an early 14 point lead. Wonder if Danielle and Naomi and Leah and Phil were watching out in Kirkland just across the lake from Seattle? I kinda doubt it...
-Pats beat Jags in a Boston that looked like an area blessed with some pretty good weather. Got some more of that for next weekend? (I know, don't be counting chickens; Colts have a game to play tomorrow.)
-K.J. Choi in a walk at the Sony in Hawaii? Up by four going into the last round. No Michelle Wie this year for anybody to kick around. I did read recently that she is sitting out the Spring semester at Stanford to play more golf - can't find a google reference for that so it may just be a rumor.

So it goes. Looks like we're going to get some winter around here. Darn.

Saturday Open by 11am

Hoping the weather is nice enough for a round of golf. Golf course will be open by 11 am.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Follies: Marion Jones, Hillary and Bill

Of note:

-from the NY Times: Marion Jones to serve six months in prison and to do 400 hours of community service. I would think increasing her community service time would be much better since then she could spend more time helping educate the young in playing without cheating.

-lots of chatter on the Clintons and racism (tpm has several comments and links; try this one for Bill and his 'fairy tale' comment). Both Hillary and Bill having to clarify their statements which, to my way of thinking, have been misquoted and intentionally misrepresented.

Diane is saying 'five minutes'. That means finish up and get my butt out to the dining table. I'ld better do that...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The use of first names such as Hillary

Addressing the Professional

Forms of address indicate attitudes about status and/or worth. Children often go by first names while calling adults by surname and title. Whenever males are referred to by title, use the appropriate title for female professionals (Ms., Dr., Professor), rather than their first names.

Eric was over this morning and strongly disagreed with my contention (in a previous post) that the use of a first name, like Hillary, was denigrating when others were given their more formal titles, for instance Mr. Obama. He cited the one name-first name stars of our current culture: Michael (Jordan), Tiger, Magic. Good point but that refers to sports figures where such usage is common and definitely a mark of distinction. Diane raises the question of using Hillary along with the last names of her fellow contenders, Edwards and Obama. I would think that the above reference would then apply.

This is short and leaves much to be said but I really want to get over to the golf course and do some walking before the rains come. Got something to add? Feel free...

Update: more from a fellow blogger:

–MSNBC’s bizarre insistence on calling Senator Clinton by her first name. This may well be happening on the other 24-hour news channels, too, but the repeated use of “Hillary” to describe a major presidential candidate while still calling the candidates with dangly genitalia by their last names is dismissive, infantilizing, and insulting, and it just plain needs to stop. The woman has a last name–in fact, she has two. Pick one and use it, but stop calling her by her first name unless you intend to start talking about how Mike and Mitt are duking it out. Studies have shown that the tendency to refer to female athletes by their first names while persisting in using surnames for male athletes reinforces the privilege accorded to the “dominant” group–it’s hard not to think of that being an even more appalling state when dealing with reporting on American democracy. At least Keith Olbermann had the grace to notice this discrepancy on a graphic in his own show and seem upset by it.

Hmmm. The blogger updates her piece with this note:

I have been paying such close attention to election season that I just now noticed that Clinton is perpetuating the “Hillary” thing by using her first name on all her campaign materials. Boo.

Hmmm squared.

The rains came before I made it away from the computer. Boo.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Current and Recent Readings List from 2007

Enjoyed them all and was surprised to see how many fiction books I read. Diane's influence.

Current and Recent Readings

La Vie En Rose, The City of Joy, and Golf

Enjoyed a very good movie tonight: La Vie En Rose, a story of Edith Piaf, a French singer from my Mom's generation and who died young at 47 in 1963. Worth your time; get it. Gets a five star rating from me; from Diane, a six, no, a ten... I think she liked it.

Also finished my first book of the new year, one which took my breath away. The City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre. All about life in a section of Calcutta that is home to the poor and the destitute. Made me tear up more than once.

At the golf course for the afternoon and did play nine holes with Doug Denson. A couple of 36's - pretty good for a January day with ground that was very wet. Doug is a very good putter and more instinctive than analytical in his approach to putting. He does use a couple of 2x4's to groove his putting stroke when it gets out of whack on him. Expect the 2x4's serve the same purpose as this putting track system, making sure that one's stroke is on a line both backwards and forwards.

Alan Swayze pulled up as I was leaving to enquire about the start of the Senior League. His partner last year, Charlie Sheetz, wanted to make sure Alan was on board. Alan is a brand new grandpa and enjoying his new status though would love to see the new granddaughter more than he does - she's way down south in Atlanta.

Pretty mild winter so far - knock on wood. Think we've had more playable days here in January in the first nine days than we had in the entire month of December. Please knock on wood again. And yes we would love to have some more.

So it goes.

Mrs. Clinton, Health Care

And yes I still am reading about all the goings on in NH last night. And yes I really do think 'how sweet it is' for Mrs Clinton (she now has a new name, did you notice? not Hillary, but Mrs. Clinton).

Was planning on watching the west coast version of pbs news last night that comes on at 10 pm to catch all the NH stuff but something happened to the HD system not only on the Southern Illinois University station but also up at Bloomington and Vincennes.

Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly makes several good points and also apologies to the people of NH for a Sunday post that chided them just a little prematurely.

I like Hillary telling the world that she found her voice and that the 'tearing up' moment seems to have played an important role in the vote swing. And that the women voted for her in large numbers. And that dkos has declared he isn't going to watch MSNBC until Chris Matthews is gone.

In other news, this also from Kevin Drum on US health care ranking 19th out of 19 among industrialized countries in what is called "amenable mortality":

BEST HEALTHCARE IN THE WORLD, BABY....A pair of researchers has just published an update that compares various countries on their rates of "amenable mortality," defined as deaths that are "potentially preventable with timely and effective health care." In 1997, the United States ranked 15th out of 19 industrialized countries. So how are we doing now?

Answer: we're now 19th out of 19. The rest of the countries have improved their performance by an average of 16%, while the U.S., that well-known engine of healthcare innovation, has improved by only 4%. So now we're in last place.

But there's a bright side: at least our healthcare isn't funded by the government, like it is in France. Keep that in mind if someone you know dies of preventable causes. Their odds would have been a whole lot better in Paris, but who'd want to live in a socialist hellhole like that anyway?

Hmmm... I really do think we can do better. Do we care? Yes...

Sun is up. Guess that means the world still turns. Good.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Holy Moses! Hillary declared winner!

Wow oh wow oh wow.

Finding Hillary Support, the Goose

This and That on a Rainy Day:

-from the NY Times: Gloria Steinem writes well in her support of Hillary Clinton and wonders at the sexism that is ever present in our society. She wants Hillary to win the nomination but if Barack does she will volunteer for his election. She also says that it might take eight years with Hillary as president and then eight more with Barack as president to clean up the mess left by you know who. Good read - take a minute and go read the whole thing.

-also from the NY Times: Elliot Spitzer agrees with me here in believing that the Clinton campaign is far from dead - way too much of the primary process still to develop after today's NH voting.

-Goose Gossage elected to the baseball Hall of Fame. Remember him? The linked article says he is the fifth relief pitcher to be elected. Know the other four? I don't though two are probably the Cubbie who made relief pitching important and then the Oakland Athletic star who went from starting to relieving and did well in both areas. (Bruce Sutter is the Cubbie. Is Rollie Fingers the Athletic? Hoyt Wilhelm is another from way long ago. And the other? Expect Marty will know...)

-Update: No, it wasn't Rollie Fingers I was thinking about, it was Dennis Eckersley!

-it's raining hard here on the hill just north of Loogootee. Time for a movie, Diane says. From Netflix: Winged Migration, one suggested by Marty. Oops - the bloody disc is broken. Ain't that the pits...
It's a Tuesday morning in January with the temperature at 60 degrees and the wind a-howling. People are voting in NH - go Hillary - come in 2nd within ten points of Obama and we'll consider it a win. Pundits are talking about dropping out if she loses today and I find that really strange since there are so many primaries and voters still out there. Lock for Obama after today? No way.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Stuff: Naomi's artwork, politicking

Pictures: grandaughter Naomi's rendition of her Oma and Opa - that would be Diane and me. I'm the one with the mustache and the long legs and the little head (not so much hair); a very blue sky at sunset this evening as I was leaving the golf course.

The news tonight was full of New Hampshire politicking. Obama definitely on a roll. Expect tomorrow's results to be Obama on one side and McCain, the resurrected one, on the other. Still like Hillary and have been told that that is apparently a generational thing: over forty and for Hillary, under forty and for Barack. Oh well.

Spent the day at the golf course. Windy and warm. Hopefully more tomorrow.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday Wrap: Golf, football, etc.

Pictures: Buggies from Saturday afternoon, trees and things from this afternoon.

Today an unusually warm January day and one given over to golfing by some of us. Joined Dave and Doug and Short for eighteen holes of six, six and six. That would be Dave and I taking on Doug and Short in six holes scramble, six holes alternate shot, and then six holes of best ball. This one ended up in a draw, dang it all.

More golfing tomorrow with temperatures in the 60's if not 70's. That is if the rains hold off. Our fingers are crossed.

NFL: Giants won earlier; looks like Chargers are going to beat the Titans. That means the Chargers come to Indy and the Jaguars go to Boston. That's jim dandy. (btw, who is this fellow 'jim dandy'?)

In Women's college basketball, watched a little of the ND-Tenn match yesterday. The Irish were soundly beaten. Caught a little of the UCON-Purdue game this afternoon. The Boilers were lapped with the final score being 100-50. Not a good weekend for Hoosier women.

Edwards not polling well in NH. Obama still hot. Clinton still very much in the race, at least I think she is. What fun.

Sunday funnies: North Korea opening, Dems, Impeachment, NFL, Movie

-Read this the other night and then forgot to post it: From the NY Times: This is good news about North Korea: opening up its borders and allowing tourists in for a peek. Some of the tourists, born and raised in one of the cities being visited, have not seen the place in over six decades.

-Obama: 12% bump with win in Iowa. Wow! Watched the Dems debate on ABC late last night. Several good laughs, way too many I's, and that other moderator, not Charlie Gibson, was excellent in that he asked very good questions and then followed up on them with equally tough questions. Hillary was good; Edwards doing everything including body language, to try and exclude her and make it a two person race (not gonna happen, big guy). Here's the NY Times write up of the debate - lots of Hillary in it.

-From WaPo: George McGovern wants to impeach both Bush and Cheney. It's the right thing to do though improbable.

-Watched Jacksonville come back and beat Pittsburgh last night. That late fourth quarter run by Garrard was a thing of beauty. I would just as soon have whoever goes to Boston next week, probably Jacksonville if the Chargers do what everybody expects them to do later today, knock off the Pats so that the Colts, after their win, will play at home in two weeks. Expect most of you feel about the same.

Movie last night from Netflix: The Kingdom. Set in Saudi Arabia, and FBI crew goes over to do a crime scene investigation and gets into all sorts of trouble. Kinda like CSI though with an international flavor and tons more violence. Good peek at the Arab world and the last scene, when a characters from each side reveal what dying heroes from each side had whispered in their ears, is priceless. Gave it a three because it reminded me too much of CSI.

Time to go get myself ready for the golf course.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Notes on a cool, windy Saturday: Innocent in Texas, Tough vs compassion

-This story, via dkos and the NY Times, tells of the release of a wrongfully convicted man who has spent the last 27 years in a jail in Texas. Apparently, many jurisdictions around the country, spurred on by private groups, are looking at past convictions. That's the good news. The not so good news is that we failed to get it right in so many cases. Pretty good argument against capital punishment.

-Along the same vein, in listening to the news last night, I was appalled to hear that Huckabee and Romney were arguing about who was toughest on crime and then giving statistics on who was able to put people away the longest. May I suggest we be right on crime and compassionate to all who are in straightened circumstances, or any other circumstances as well.

-Was out at the golf course for a walk and then I shut it down because of the inclement weather. Maybe more clement weather tomorrow.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday night at the auction

Pictures: At Dinky's Auction House earlier this evening.

On pbs right now, Now has a program on dirty tricks in South Carolina. Mudslinging and smearing they call it. Despicable.

Big win for Obama and Democrats

In Iowa last night, big win for Obama and the Democrats with Edwards and especially Hillary being gracious and excited about the turnout. I heard in the comments on pbs last night that Hillary expected to win by getting out 50000; 70000 got out for her and she was still swamped. Apparently a whole lot of young people showed up and voted for Obama, along with a whole lot of not so young people - guess I would fall into that category, several times over. The big turnout, 212000 which is up from 125000 in 2004, shows lots of enthusiasm for change. Everybody surprised by the numbers. Momentum definitely on the Obama side. New Hampshire just around the corner. (The tpm scoreboard with percentages arrayed for the candidates.)

Also via tpm, McCain said that it would be fine with him if we are in Iraq for 100 years? Pax Americana.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Movie: Before Night Falls; Iowa: Obama and Huckabee

We did watch that movie as the good people in Iowa were doing their thing. The movie: Before Night Falls. The title is from an autobiography by Renaldo Arenas, a Cuban writer who fled from Cuba in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift and ended up in NYC where he took his own life in 1990 at the age of 47 (he didn't have long to live as he was in the final stages of AIDS, completely listless). A strange movie that goes all over the place, from small country dwellings to massive stone prisons to NYC, from Castro's revolutionaries to fellow prison mates who wanted love letters written to a drained and listless Arenas in his final stage of demise. At times hard to follow, not unlike life. Give it a rating of three.

Iowa gives Obama and Huckabee top spots in caucusing. With a whole bunch of the precincts reporting, looks like 37% for Obama and 30% for both Edwards and Clinton. Congrats to Obama and now on to New Hampshire. Haven't read (yet) any spin from the candidates or analysis from the pundits. Expect there will be some on the west coast version of pbs news hour which will be coming on here in about two minutes.

Good news: the warm up is on its way. In the 40's here tomorrow, 50's the next day. Expect to be at the golf course.

Crunch time in Iowa has arrived - hurray!

Well we finally get to see how some people will vote and then it's on to New Hampshire. Hurray. Again, my prediction: three Democratic front runners , Clinton, Edwards and Obama, will survive and head on over to the northeast section of the country. Any one of the three is an A-1 candidate. My preference remains the lone woman of the three. (And still like Chris Dodd.)

You wondering how the candidates are feeling about now? Probably exhausted but also hopeful and excited and also aware that the next lap gets started with tomorrow's dawn. Kind of like the first eighteen holes of a seventy-two hole tournament, each eighteen holes played on a different day. So tonight we find out who the leaders are after the first eighteen holes. Great.

Diane and Eric and I met and discussed golf course stuff and then went on down to the Cabin for lunch way past lunch time. Still plenty of good food and Debbie there to help us. Nick, Neal and Tyler as well.

Maybe a movie tonight - got another one in the mail: Before Night Falls. Expect we will both have had enough politics during the news hour to last us till much later.

World turns. Hope you're pleased with the results tonight.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Movie: Zhou Yu's Train

Another Gong Li movie which was simply wonderful. A love story that was spare and poetic with beautiful settings and people and great music. Yes, a love story. And yes it had subtitles. But the poetry of the film was remarkable. Beautiful and touching. Gong Li plays a very strong woman, Zhou Yu, who is elusive and seemingly always heading some place. We both loved it. Gets a five from me. (The critics at the link didn't like it at all. Too bad, guys.)

Iowa Caucus Insanity, Hillary, Bill and his sax, Mukasey,

On Politics:

-Somebody agrees with me in the insanity of the Iowa caucus system:

Iowa: What a crappy way to pick a winner

That would be over at dkos. Read more here for the details. Of course, it's a little late to be screaming about the method. Put that scream on hold for another month or year and then get busy about changing it. Ok?

-Great picture of a smiling Hillary over at tpm which also includes the news that she will be a surprise guest on Letterman tonight. Where was it that hubby Bill tooted his sax back in the early 90's? Go here to see Bill doing a pretty good job of it! About the video>>>

The occasion was the 40th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, held in a tent on the lawn of the White House. A host of jazz legends played, and at the conclusion Clinton called them all up on stage for a bow. He said a little speech, thanks for coming and goodnight, and then... almost as soon as he finished talking, people in the audience started yelling for him to play. And then the musicians all started asking him to play. He said no at first... but they eventually convinced him.

-Also at tpm, Mukasey getting a special (oops, not special as it turns out) prosecutor to investigate the CIA tape destruction. That's great news. Now how about some of those other things worthy of a special prosecutor, like the attorney packing attempted by the WH? or the secret surveillance of American citizens? or the torture of innocents around the world?

Just about dinner time and we have a Gong Li movie tonight. I'm off, at least for now.

The second day of the new year

The sun is trying to heat its way through a cold morning haze and I have just spent an hour catching up on this and that in the world around me, at least the world given to me via the internet. Of note:

-Number One Son Marty sends a note about Kiva, a pretty cool organization in the business of helping get money to individuals around the world. The internet allows for a peak into their lives and what it is they are doing. Marty's helping people in Peru and Azerbaijan. Very cool.

-Iowa caucusing takes place verrrry soon. My prediction: Clinton, Edwards and Obama get enough support to carry on with their campaigns. Nothing gets decided in Iowa other than some of the lesser lights fade into oblivion. Would like to see Chris Dodd continue though his demise, along with that of Joe Biden, would throw more support to Hillary, me thinks. I do have a suggestion: why not a national primary day where everybody gets to vote? and what is this allowing Republicans to vote in a Democratic primary? Never did understand that.

-Didn't watch much football yesterday, less than a minute's worth. That was plenty. Did see that the Hawaii team failed to win against Georgia and thus missed out on a perfect season. Also saw that IU failed in its bowl game as well. Darn.

-We are getting some cold weather but only for a few days. And then a fairly major warm up for an extended period of time, a week anyway. Holy Cow! That means that you don't have to go down to the local gym to lose all those extra pounds you found over the holidays; you can come walk them off at the golf course. Great idea. Count me in though that does remind me that I really should go have some breakfast. Later...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

It happened again, another year has slipped through our fingers and all of a sudden it's 2008. My oh my.

Did end the old year in good fashion with a nine hole game of golf with Tracy Rayhill as a partner in a match play scramble with Kevin and Curt Johnson. Curt showed off his recently renovated swing which has improved his game at least ten fold (he says the pictures of his swing that showed up here were an incentive); of course, every now and then the old Curt shows up, something that happens to all of us. Kevin, recently finishing up his schooling at the PGA in Orlando, was impressive with his driving, his approach shots, his chipping and his putting. He did admit to being a tad cold what with the slightly different playing conditions - Florida sunshine versus Indiana wind and cool. We all agreed that it was super being able to play on the last day of the year.

Diane and I rang in the new year with the folks in Sydney and also in London, way early in other words. Around this neck of the woods, the winds were howling and whooshing last night, kicking out the old year, bringing in the new and a bit of real winter to boot.

On resolutions: Not a resolution kind of guy other than to get on with it. That's enough for me. Day will bring what it will bring. Expect a smile and a laugh and a good game of golf every now and then.

World turns. So it goes. Enjoy your day.