12 December 2011

Fear

An interesting emotion. It can save lives (authentic) or destroy them (inauthentic). It can be in your face or attack so subtly that you don't realize it for weeks, months, even years.

08 December 2011

Disappointment

Disappointment comes in many shapes and forms. The most hurtful may well be when a friend turns on you. Are you ever able to let go? How do you move on when you still have to share with this person? When you have mutual friends? Do you divide them up like books? Are there any answers?

06 December 2011

Bentley

I wish you could meet Bentley. he's one of the big reasons I still enjoy putting pen to paper. He's sleek and just glides across the paper leaving a trail of ink. He's not any louder than the clicking of keys, but he's not quiet either. There's a soft scratching sound that he makes when he's in action...It reminds me of my Dad's office.

Maybe part of my adoration for him is nostalgia. No matter. He's still my Bentley. Is it strange that my favorite pen has a name? I don't seem to mind that he's high maintenance--cleaning, rinsing, refilling--he's worth it. Every time I clean him out I go through a period where I just have to write with him. My journal is filled with

"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country,"

and

"The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs."

05 December 2011

Time

Time. Why is it that there never seems to be enough of it? Are our lives really too busy? Or do we just have time management issues? Until recently, I would have said the later, but lately, I'm starting to wonder. I find myself these days with "extra" time on my hands. As I've set about taking on some projects to fill that time, I find myself not having enough. Am I overextended? Have I become so accustomed to not having enough that I can't function unless I feel that I'm crunched for time? My to-do list keeps getting shorter, but I don't have any more time. What is this mysterious concept? Why do I feel enslaved to it? How do I make it stop?

03 December 2011

Hopes and Shattered Dreams: Remembering Dallas

Eerie...this event that I've heard people talk about my entire life and now I'm here in the place where it happened. Forty-five years and there are still no answers. Some of the road signs are gone, others have changed, but overall Dealey Plaza is essentially the same as it was in November of 1963, the collonades, built by the WPA between 1938 and 1940, the wooden fence on the top of the grassy knoll, and overlooking it all, the old Texas School Book Depository. Some of the views have become obscured, the trees are 45 years older after all, but many remain. The 6th floor sniper's nest, now part of the Sixth Floor Museum, has been plexied off and stacked with boxes to give you the illusion that it is a place frozen in time.

Floors 5-7,Texas School Book Depository
Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll
There are X's painted on the street meant to represent where the car was when the President was shot. People, a large number of whom either weren't old enough to remember or were too young to really understand, wander out to the X's to touch them and/or have their picture taken. This is still a busy street and it's banked; cars come flying through the stoplight and down the hill.

Is this the event that shattered our innocence? Why this assassination? Three other presidents had been gunned down before him. How would the people's outlook on Vietnam and Watergate have been different had Dallas not happened? Would 9/11 have become the event that shattered our idealistic approach to government? Would the US have survived 9/11 without already knowing it could come through such a huge, collectively personal tragedy and still function? How can the next generations be made to understand the life changing impact caused by the death of one man?
The old Texas School Book Depository, home to the Sixth Floor Museum. You can see the open window in the sniper's nest, second floor from the top on the far right hand side.
 
Sidebar: The Sixth Floor Museum is worth a visit if you're ever in Dallas. They've done a nice job of setting the scene and taking you through the assassination and the aftermath. Prepare yourself before viewing the Zapruder film; there is a reason you can't just stumble upon it. Even though I knew what was coming and have seen edited versions countless times, I was still unprepared for the violence.

01 December 2011

Bittersweet Reunion

I was nervous about going back to the place I had left under difficult circumstances and a lot of hurt feelings--mainly mine. The place just isn't the same for me now. Knowing what goes on behind the scenes seems to have spoiled some of the magic. Or maybe I'm still hurt, even though I am very happy in my "new" job--it's a much better fit. I've still got a lot of mixed feelings about the "old" place. I guess only time will tell. I did enjoy my visit. Things just look very different to me now.

30 November 2011

What is it about a college town?

It's still evident, maybe not as much so now that it's turned cold, but when I first started working in Evanston there was definitley something in the air--a vibe, an energy, a feeling--that announced "You are in a college town!" Was it fall? That's when I tend to get sentimental for my college days--hanging out on the diag or those sunny, cool, crisp Saturday afternoons at the Big House.Whatever it is. There is definitely something different in the air in communities where colleges play a significant role.

04 March 2011

I'm reading - The President's House by Margaret Truman

If you're enamored of the White House and like trivia, you'll enjoy The President's House. Former first daughter Margaret Truman takes readers on an entertaining tour of the people's house. She tackles everything from the evolution of the house itself, to the West Wing, the grounds, weddings and special events, presidential pets, the press and of course, the families and personalities who have called the place home.

Do you know how the White House Easter Egg Roll got started? Congress threw the kids off the Capitol grounds. The upset youngsters trekked down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House and the Rutherfords opened the south lawn to them.

Did you know that President Coolidge had a pet raccoon? Her name was Rebecca.

Which White House groom couldn't get into his own wedding? President Wilson's daughter Jesse almost didn't get married. The security staff had been given instructions to admit no one without an invitation and while her intended remembered the ring, he forgot his invitation.

It's well worth the time for any history buff.

25 February 2011

Worth the Price of Admission - Gone with the Wind

Ok, so it's not a new movie and it doesn't appear in a "regular" theater all that often, but it's still a great movie. Turner Classic Movies is celebrating Oscar these days and last night aired "Gone with the Wind." Most of the characters are strictly characters of their era, Scarlett, Mammy, Melanie, Ashley. What would they make of the 21st century world? And then there's Rhett, a character for the ages, can't you just see him as a modern day mogul? A good story, well told, well acted, with rich, textured sets...it just doesn't get much better. Watching "Gone with the Wind" on television just doesn't do the movie justice. This was a flick that was designed for the really big screen so if you ever get the chance to see it on the big screen. GO! It will blow you away.

18 February 2011

I'm reading - The Countess by Rebecca Johns

This book was a delightful surprise. It is not the type of fare that I typically go for, but I'm glad that someone asked me to read it. The Countess tells the fictional story of what may perhaps be the first female serial killer.  I'll admit I had my doubts in the beginning. There was one particularly graphic scene that left me wondering what I had a agreed to. But I was able to put that behind me, and found myself becoming increasingly mesmerized by the Countess's journey from young girl, to wife, mother, widow, prisoner. Set in the late 16th and early 17th century, Johns paints a vivid picture of how difficult life was then, even for the upper class and the pressure put on very young girls in part because of the passive role they were forced to play.

I think I'm going to have to go check out Rebecca Johns other work.

25 January 2011

The State of the Union - An Independent Response to a Constitutional Crisis

The State of the Union...a misnomer if ever there was one. When did we drop the state of the union from the State of the Union address? I don't think that any President since I've become politically aware has really talked about the state of the union. Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution states, "He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;" It's seems to have become a more pep rally, feel good about being an American speech with a little goal setting thrown in for good measure. Talk about a constitutional crisis! Not that any of that is a bad thing. We put a man on the moon in response to a challenge issued during a State of the Union address. And we all need a certain amount of rah-rah to keep us pumped up and moving forward. Sidebar: As a person who doesn't fly, I'm excited about the prospect of high-speed rail. But I digress.

The Republican response wasn't really a response at all. Perhaps they should consider calling it something else, or waiting until they have actually developed a response to deliver it. Representative Ryan of Wisconsin was well spoken, if a bit pedagogic, but he didn't deliver a response to the State of the Union and came off looking a little foolish. For example, the President asked for suggestions as to making changes to the health care reform law to make it better; the Republican response, we are committed to repealing it because it doesn't work. It was a childish response and not very constructive. The Republican response went on to say that they are for lower taxes. Wait. I'm confused. Aren't these the same people who not so very long ago, vowed to repeal the tax cuts implemented by a former....Republican.....president. So are they for lower taxes or aren't they? And for smaller government. Wait. How much did the Executive Branch grow when the alien and sedition act was passed in 2001 at the behest of a Republican president? So are they for smaller government or aren't they?

Both parties would do well to take a stroll down the National Mall and re-read the four pages of parchment dated September 17, 1787. Yes, that's right, just four pages set in motion this almost 225-year experiment in democracy. How long was the health care reform bill? A couple of thousand pages?

May we have James, Alex and company back please?