Wednesday, February 22, 2006

...going to the candidate's debate...

Texas Governor Rick Perry

Yesterday was the first day of early voting for the Texas primary and I am planning on getting out there to vote sometime this week. Go Repubs!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The country I come from is called the midwest . . .

So I was talking to a friend today, who shall remain unnamed, who comes from up around Indiana, but now lives here in the Lone Star State. She was immensely surprised to discover that I and most Texans generally consider her as coming from a different cultural background than what we have down here, and even more surprised that I thought that there were more of these cultural differences than just between the north and the South. What do y'all think? Is regionalism dead?

(And go easy on the value judgements, we all know where the best place to live is . . .) : )

Monday, February 13, 2006

...I don't want to straight-face you...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

How should I presume?

Forgive the length, but do read all of one of the most beautiful poems in the English language . . . This is for Evan, who has not yet experienced it-- I hope you're old enough to appreciate it.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
T. S. Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!"]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!"]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: "That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all."

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
"That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all."
. . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown. I want to live in a wooden house...

Friday, February 10, 2006

...and ticking clocks...

Here's that other one I was telling you about, Eric . . .

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Countin' the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike...

This was a significant day for me-- for the first time, I believe, in my life, I actually heard and was helped by an applicable traffic report. I was astonished. For me, traffic reports never have anything to do with where you are trying to go, and are a good time to switch to the other station. But today, as I was sitting in traffic on I-30 and moving along at a snail's pace, I decided to turn on the radio to pass the time. I heard the last verse of a song, (I think it was Every Once in a While), and then Michael Scott came on. And before I could push the #3 button for the Wolf, he actually started talking about my very own traffic jam. He informed me that there was a wreck right in front of the exit to which I was trying to get, and that I was in the middle of an hour long delay that stretched far behind me and a good way in front of me. He also very helpfully declared that the accident was in the right lane, enabling me to make the wise choice of staying in the center. It was great. Gave me such a kick. You know you hear these things all the time, but to actually use one-- it's cool.

Then I finally got up there and had another thought-- why the heck do we have traffic jams anyway? It seems like such a silly waste of time, to crawl all that way just so you can speed up once you've passed the accident. I suppose it's all the fault of the first car that passes after the wreck. He slows down, which makes the car behind him slow down, which just causes a chain reaction all the way down the highway. And then there's no way to stop it! (Does any school offer a class in the physics of highway traffic? Cause I'd sure take it. This stuff bothers me exceedingly.)

Then there's the question of whether those buttons on street corners really have any effect on the traffic lights . . .

she laughs like the flowers...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Found a blurb in World Magazine today--

Hollywood-- Walt Disney Co. and Walden Media announced that they have started preproduction on Prince Caspian, a sequel to this year's blockbuster hit The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, with the goal of a Christmas 2007 release. The new Narnia film will feature the same four child actors as the Pevensie siblings, as well as the same screenwriters and the same director, Andrew Adamson.

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise...

I don't remember where I got this, but I found it on my computer today. I don't know what kind of crazy people think this stuff up, but it's funny. It could almost be a real script . . .

If Dr. Seuss wrote for Star Trek: the Next Generation...

Picard: Sigma Indri, that's the star,
So, Data, please, how far? How far?
Data: Our ship can get there very fast
But still the trip will last and last
We'll have two days til we arrive
But can the Indrans there survive?
Picard: LaForge, please give us factor nine.
LaForge: But, sir, the engines are offline!
Picard: Offline! But why? I want to go!
Please make it so, please make it so!
Riker: But sir, if Geordi says we can't,
We can't, we mustn't, and we shan't,
The danger here is far too great!
Picard: But surely we must not be late!
Troi: I'm sensing anger and great ire.
Computer: Alert! Alert! The ship's on fire!
Picard: The ship's on fire? How could this be?
Who lit the fire?
Riker: Not me.
Worf: Not me.
Picard: Computer, how long til we die?
Computer: Eight minutes left to say goodbye.
Data: May I suggest a course to take?
We could, I think, quite safely make
Extinguishers from tractor beams
And stop the fire, or so it seems...
Geordi: Hurray! Hurray! You've saved the day!
Again I say, Hurray! Hurray!
Picard: Mr. Data, thank you much.
You've saved our lives, our ship, and such.
Troi: We still must save the Indran planet --
Data: Which (by the way) is made of granite...
Picard: Enough, you android. Please desist.
We understand -- we get your gist.
But can we get our ship to go?
Please, make it so, PLEASE make it so.
Geordi: There's sabotage among the wires
And that's what started all the fires.
Riker: We have a saboteur? Oh, no!
We need to go! We need to go!
Troi: We must seek out the traitor spy
And lock him up and ask him why?
Worf: Ask him why? How sentimental.
I say give him problems dental.
Troi: Are any Romulan ships around?
Have scanners said that they've been found?
Or is it Borg or some new threat
We haven't even heard of yet?
I sense no malice in this crew.
Now what are we supposed to do?
Crusher: Captain, please, the Indrans need us.
They cry out, "Help us, clothe us, feed us!"
I can't just sit and let them die!
A doctor MUST attempt -- MUST try!
Picard: Doctor, please, we'll get there soon.
Crusher: They may be dead by Tuesday noon.


Worf: The saboteur is in the brig.
He's very strong and very big.
I had my phaser set on stun --
A zzzip! A zzzap! Another one!
He would not budge, he would not fall,
He would not stun, no, not at all!
He changed into a stranger form
All soft and purple, round and warm.
Picard: Did you see this, Mr. Worf?
Did you see this creature morph?
Worf: I did and then I beat him fairly.
Hit him on the jaw -- quite squarely.
Riker: My commendations, Klingon friend!
Our troubles now are at an end!
Crusher: Now let's get our ship to fly
And orbit yonder Indran sky!
Picard: LaForge, please tell me we can go...?
Geordi: Yes, sir, we can.
Picard: Then make it so!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

They say it's your birthday

Happy Birthday to Mama!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

oh, baby

From our baby brother (4 years old), at lunchtime the other day--

"Mama, I want Confederate cheese on my sandwich, not American."