Friday, May 30, 2003

my apartment is crammed with religious iconography. i mean, there are still places to sit, but there's a lot, more than at your house. statues, both cement and plastic. postcards and paintings. i don't go to mass anymore, but i can't let go of my attachment to the art. my mother worries, a little about the not going to mass part, but mostly about my views of religion which, if i had to check a box on a government form, it would read none. i used to be an altar boy. i went to sunday school. it was in a large room, divided in two by a wall of sliding wooden panels. our side had a hammond b3 which i would pound, despite any formal instruction, before and after class. so, yeah, if you want to see a painting of jesus on velvet, with his arms extended, watching over an 18 wheeler on a lonely stretch of blacktop, drop by.

last seen: no man stands so tall as when he stoops to offer his best julio iglesias with a straight face.
last heard: the smiths 'that joke isn't funny anymore'
last read: A UNESCO team had to leave a senior librarian out of a visit to Iraq this month because U.S. occupying forces denied him a visa. Jean-Marie Arnoult from the Bibliotheque National de France, the national library located in Paris, had been included in the UNESCO team that visited Baghdad earlier this month...The team went ahead with its inspection of libraries and archives without the expert they had enlisted to help them. [via jessamyn]

Thursday, May 29, 2003

i found this out in a note this morning...from the fertile mind of jean's childhood next door neighbor sprouted the green machine of yesterday's post. lucky girl. the army bases of my youth provided only rare examples of next door neighbors even remotely that cool. it wouldn't have taken much effort to be an eccentric grown-up in those stern and regimented environs. maybe the scarcity of such adults is what made it so easy for me to be captivated by the ones i found, like derek alexander's mom. her living room, as i remember it, dripped brown macrame crafts. she used to make us virgin blue hawaiis. when you're in elementary school, nothing is cooler than drinking something blue, except maybe getting to drink something blue out of a weird-shaped glass. there was a family who had a pachinko machine on their front porch. it worked only sometimes. a guy at the end of my building used to refurbish corvettes. riding my bike past his yard on saturdays, a litter of t-tops would be scattered in the grass. then there were the tiny tabasco bottles that a friend's father had culled from c-rations, each contained sand or dirt from some foreign land he had visited on his business trips.

last seen: biggie and tupac
last heard: dj shadow and cut chemist 'brainfreeze (part 1)'
last read: The good news for the Pentagon yesterday was that its investigators had finally unearthed evidence of weapons of mass destruction, including 100 vials of anthrax and other dangerous bacteria. The bad news was that the stash was found, not in Iraq, but fewer than 50 miles from Washington, near Fort Detrick in the Maryland countryside.
regrets...i've had a few: why didn't i plan my trip for july instead of june?

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

some of my friends have paired up. a few have started to make babies. those who haven't yet commenced with the making babies talk about the time, very soon, when they will start to make them. babies cost money. i don't have much money. i also don't have a person to make babies with; so, my concern is, admittedly, premature. nevertheless, i would, one day, like very much to make babies and so i've been thinking about how much they cost to feed and grow.

in addition to all of the things they require for basic upkeep, babies like gifts. maybe not so much when they are in the gnawing-on-things stage, but certainly as they get bigger. they like them on their birthdays and on whichever december holiday gets celebrated in your house. there are also many other days on which children like gifts. for me, these days included but were not limited to: first communion, high school and college graduations, the time my dad promised to buy me the millennium falcon if i stopped huffing paint.

i'm not sure how people afford children and their insatiable need for food and gifts. i was raised in a modest household. only now am i beginning to understand the sacrifices that my folks made to ensure that my sister and i received presents. here then, in rememberance, is a random list of some favorites:

jaws, the game: based on the movie jaws, you used a plastic hook to fish items like wheels and anchors out of jaws' mouth before it snapped shut.

snoopy sno-cone machine: featuring the flavors, blue and red.

the green machine: my favorite big wheel. my father had to fashion wood blocks on the pedals because my legs were not big enough to reach. he would later do the same for my ford escort.

evil knievel wind-up motorcycle: with evil knievel doll which could fly off during crashes.

two tickets for a public enemy show: my mother surprised me with these when i finished my first year of college. have i mentioned i love my mother?

last seen: ghost of a chance
last heard: aislers set 'alicia's song'
last read: My design for the Corcoran, with its prominent location across the street from the White House, has always been to me a statement about artistic freedom, about discovery and the ways in which contemporary ideas move the historic urban fabric forward over the decades if not centuries.
bonus: here's that list of movies featuring vintage motorcycles that you wanted

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

[editor's note: the following creative burst is a bit long. if you prefer a quick read, skip 42short today. go on, you won't hurt my feelings. go here instead.]

sanitized for your protection

last seen: bruce almighty, pumpkin, max, analyze that, lawrence of arabia, matrix reloaded, siddhartha
last heard: dear nora 'when the wind blows'
last read: The American people unfortunately are used to political shading, spin, and the usual chicanery they hear from public officials. They patiently tolerate it up to a point. But there is a line...Nothing is worth that kind of lie - - not oil, not revenge, not reelection, not somebody's grand pipedream of a democratic domino theory.

Friday, May 23, 2003

the parents arrive in a few hours. we have four days off and no definite plan aside from wandering around asheville tomorrow. the rain is letting up and the drive from DC is familiar, so i should see them in the late afternoon. until then, my time is spent crossing things like recycling, clean bathroom, and go to bank off of a very long to-do list. few things are more satisfying than crossing items off such a list. some folks like an envelope from an electric bill or a napkin with a coffee ring on it, but i find that shelflist cards work best. the heavier stock holds up better and i've managed to pocket stacks of old ones from various library jobs.

at the moment, i'm out in the country, at michael and christine's place doing laundry. mark should arrive in an hour and we'll crash the sonic. they just opened a new one out here and, if you've never been, [cue hulk hogan voice] lemme tell you something, brother, you don't know from good. pull up and order a grilled cheese on texas toast, some tater tots, and a 44-oz. coke; with each bite, you'll feel your life getting just a little shorter, but it will be well worth it.

last heard: dear nora 'since you went away'
last read: lemony snicket's the bad beginning
reading: w. somerset maugham's of human bondage

Thursday, May 22, 2003

wednesday evening was book club. the discussion of atonement was a success. one person sincerely loathed briony, the protagonist. i love it when that happens (and someone is vocal about it), because usually another reader is empathetic with the character and that always ensures lively, engaging conversation. there were two new faces in addition to my regulars.

we will have been meeting for one year come june and, at my library, where book clubs in the past have been short-lived and poorly attended, this is a gigantic achievement. i'm sure it is due in large part to some combination of the following: the group's witty repartee, my life-affirming social commentaries, or some rampant, twisted fetish that the local population has for watching short, bald men talk about literary fiction. in any case, i'll be bringing cake next month when we discuss of human bondage, then screen the movie.

last seen: serpico
last heard: sleater-kinney 'ironclad'
last read: The water feels like a very thin soup, like gruel, and with some training you can taste who has been swimming there. In Holland they rotate swimmers in a very ideological, politically-correct way — old people, retarded people, Turkish people. I have a sense that I can tell the whole pre-history of the water.
bonus: see.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

i was anxious to read the paper this morning, hungry for details about the proposed budget and how other agencies and departments would be affected. social services and mental health budgets are going to be gutted. the sheriff's office and the health department will also take a hit. the fact that public television and the arts council will have their funding cut in half was certainly no surprise. nor was it a shock that grants will be cut completely to various homeless and battered women's shelters. ah, have to expect as much from them.

no, what surprised me most about this morning's paper were not all of the cuts, but, rather the headline. what, you might ask, in this age of heightened terror alerts and eroding civil liberties, did our local paper choose to lead with in large print above the fold?star-making sing-off to climax in 2-hour finale- who'll take the 'idol' title?

last seen: 25th hour
last heard: eric b and rakim paid in full
last read: Although the Pentagon has offered frequent assurances that TIA (Total Information Awareness) would not be used to actively spy on Americans, the reprinted chart lists financial, education, travel, medical, housing, and other types of records as data targeted for monitoring. [editor's note: the program just had a name change, so it wouldn't sound so spooky.]

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

what? you want a long boring post about library budgets. well, ok.

the staff are huddled in groups of two or three, whispering to each other. others are already scanning the ads. strange things are indeed afoot at the Circle-K. we had a big meeting this morning. the recommended county budget comes out tonight and people are scared. in the last election, the county commission swung to the dark side and now it is majority republican by one vote. (see what happens when you don't vote in local elections. tsk. tsk.) last year, the library was forced to cut over 80 jobs. then, three weeks ago, the commission proposed a tax cut to the tune of $40 million; the library's share of that would be $1.8 million. the only way to do it is closing branches and, if the county budget is approved, six are on the chopping block. if that weren't bad enough, if the book budget gets reduced, we lose an additional $500,000 in matching funds for books from the state. the only thing we can hope for is public outrage when all of this hits the papers in the morning. the really bad news is that our library board is appointed by the county commission and four library board members' terms are up in january. guess which side of the fence the appointees are likely to be on?

they say californy's the place i oughta be.

[editor's note: hopefully, i won't get dooced for writing all of this. it is part of the public record, after all.]

last seen: my life as a dog
last heard: the zombies 'you make me feel good'
last read: The person congressman Lincoln had in mind when he said what he said was James Polk, our president at the time. Abraham Lincoln said of Polk, his president, our armed forces' commander-in-chief, "Trusting to escape scrutiny by fixing the public gaze upon the exceeding brightness of military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood – that serpent's eye, that charms to destroy, he plunged into war." Holy smokes! I almost said, "Holy shit!" And I thought I was a writer! -Vonnegut

Monday, May 19, 2003

from above, the way i imagine it, the rows look like a giant fingerprint. they curve over hills and blanket every recess, tracing each change to the horizon. the narrow channels of earth between each row are spongy and dark. my hand slides into the ground with little effort. my skin warms in patches as squares of yellow light filter through the tall rows and move slowly across my arm. the air swells with the whir of thousands of obedient machines and i can feel this rustling pass over me in waves. i've never been to the server farm, but it's better that way. all of my analogies can fit. and, so, last saturday in the shadow of one of those rows, as a make-believe man on a make-believe tractor tilled the make-believe soil, this tiny weblog quietly turned one.

last seen: his girl friday, the royal tenenbaums
last heard: saint etienne 'only love can break your heart'
last read: when giving chest compression...make sure you are not at the bottom of the sternum or you could break off the arrow-shaped bone at the end called the xiphoid process (cool name for a bone and the name i would use if i ever started a kraftwerk cover band).

Sunday, May 18, 2003

finding the right rock took some time. most had sharp edges. a few were entirely too heavy. the kid that i was with told me to pick one that was kind of big, but not so heavy that i couldn't lift it over my head and heave it. he was cradling his own rock in the crook of his left arm, patiently waiting for me to choose one.

when the flags were up, not the high surf flags, but the flags for man o' war, you couldn't swim. we were too old to play in the sand and not old enough to enjoy just sitting there with our parents, reading. we had to make our own fun, which brings me back to the rocks.

i went to the water and rinsed the dirt off of mine, then turned to catch up to the kid who had started walking down the beach. he moved carefully along the shoreline. hundreds of beached jellyfish dotted the wet sand around him. they were stranded now that the tide had gone back down. the kid would lift the rock high over his head, careful to hold it at the edges, then let it fall straight down in front of him.

the wind pushed his laughter away from me. the cackles that managed to fight through were muffled still, competing, as they did, with the sound of crashing waves. as i got closer, his giggling began to build. when i was finally upon him, i could hear each POP! as, one-by-one, the long-dead jellyfish were further humiliated.

last seen: band of outsiders
last heard: elvis costello 'secondary modern'
last read: "Toulouse-Lautrec and Thomas Hart Benton are just two of the acclaimed artists who designed movie posters."

Saturday, May 17, 2003

instead of sleeping in, making pancakes, and napping, my usual saturday routine, i was standing in a downtown park this morning, registering for hands on charlotte day. it was my first time as a team leader for the annual county-wide volunteer event. i stood in the park waiting for my rag-tag group of twelve librarians to arrive. when they finally made their way over from the parking lot, their asses were like a wad of cookie dough. when they left me this afternoon, they were carved out of wood.

we spent several hours, along with two other teams, doing trail maintenance at the carolina raptor center. an invasive species, russian olive, had taken over parts of the trail; so, armed only with shovels, pickaxes, and the uncontrollable brute strength of a dozen librarians, we set off pulling shrubs and ten foot trees out by the root.

having successfully avoided poison ivy (not everyone was so lucky) and worked every major muscle group, i will now watch movies and sleep.

last seen: part one of white teeth, my man godfrey, matrix reloaded
last heard: the beatles 'across the universe' [editor's note: limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns is one of my favorite lines in any song.]

Thursday, May 15, 2003

june carter cash is gone.

i knew that i could count on someone in my links stable to improve on the entry below. tom sent this message a few minutes ago:

the only detail you left out was the "Kountry Kitchen" restaurant logo, the letters had to be made up of little logs.

i have one of those jobs where you have to wear a shirt and tie. the get-up is supposed to make the public think we are more professional while we help them find the median income of belize or sign them up for the internet. on fridays, we can wear jeans and a t-shirt. mysteriously, the earth doesn't fly off of its axis when we aren't wearing ties and, even more mysteriously, we can still help people find the median income of belize. either way, the fact that we have to play dress up doesn't really trouble me if it makes the honchos happy; it is simply a part of the job.

so, yes, i have work clothes. when i bought a couple of shirts recently, i thought it might be a nice change to have a red gingham one in the rotation. i wore it today. the thing is, everytime i wear it, i look like a waiter at one of those restaurants with long picnic tables, a place with the word country somewhere in their name, only the C in country has actually been replaced by a K and, so it smacks of downhome authenticity, it is written backwards.

last seen: sixteen candles
last heard: shop assistants 'what a way to die'
last read: "and then the blue angels fly over with red, white, and blue exhaust." [editor's note: we are so going to hell.]

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

my sixth grade teacher wore muumuus everyday. that always made me smile for some reason. her name was mrs. yara and she was an old lady. she was frail. she walked kind of slowly. the skin on her arms was freckley and looked very soft. it hung loosely on her thin arms. i learned all of the words to if i had a hammer in mrs. yara's music class. she taught us how to play the recorder and would often jam with us on her autoharp. man, i love me some autoharp.

she handed out creative writing assignments every wednesday afternoon and that was my favorite part of sixth grade. five minutes before the final bell rang, she would stop whatever she was doing and hand out dittos. a sentence or two was written in purple ink on each half-sheet of paper, usually something like, no one was around. i opened the abandoned bookbag and saw... OR i woke up on the empty schoolbus... OR if there's one person God hates it's.... we had to use the sentence as a lead and write a whole page. thank you, mrs. yara.

last seen: citizen kane
last heard: nwa '8 ball'
last read: "To protect the redwoods the Kents donated the land to the United States Federal Government and, in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a national monument.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

[editor's note: the following long rant will be of interest to you if you (a) are a librarian, (b) like to read, or (c) are as anally-retentive as i am; otherwise, probably not so much.]

ok, so at work they started this thing where they are putting labels on african-american fiction. whether we should or should not start a labelling campaign is kind of an irrelevant argument since the powers-that-be have already decided that it is a good idea.

personally, i think it is a bad idea because it is only a matter of time before someone wants to know why their pet genre has no label, like, oh, for instance, the people who read inspirational fiction (which really is just a euphemism for christian fiction, since i don't think that tim lahaye books would be very inspirational if you were, say, jewish or muslim, but i digress). then there is the whole problem of authors like octavia butler. she is a female writer of african-american descent who writes science fiction. will the spine of her book one day have 3 labels? again, i digress, because the purpose of this rant is not about future problems. rather, this rant is about a problem right now.

the other day i was weeding in fiction. i found a book by oonya kempadoo that hadn't circulated in a long while. i checked the computer and noticed that several other branches had it labelled as african-american fiction which is curious since the author blurb on the jacket reads "born in london and grew up in golden grove, guyana, in the 1970s. she currently lives in grenada." so, i asked around to see if there was a list of authors that the labelling team was working from...sure enough, i got my hands on a list. the first name, chinua achebe. i flipped a couple of pages, zadie smith. nigerian and british, respectively.


i can only wonder if the list was created by someone who opened every book in the fiction area, found the author photo, and "if they look black, they're on the list." it seems that i'm the first person to find the glaring mistake. so begins the quest of one freshly-minted librarian to become the squeaky wheel. i'm only writing this here in case there is some library star chamber and i, mysteriously, turn up missing.


last seen: man bites dog
last heard: philip glass 'kyoko's house'
last read: "Atticus had long maintained that it was a sin to kill any animal whose sole purpose was to provide delight — his favorite example being the mockingbird. The rest, of course, were fair game."

Monday, May 12, 2003

it isn't often that i get a hankering for a crappy, hollywood, things-blowing-up-for-no-reason kind of movie, but, yesterday, i awoke with such a desire. i walked to visart to return two rentals and then proceeded to browse around for a suitable film of the aforementioned variety. the rock called out to me from the shelf. she reached for my shoulder and then, with the index finger of her right hand, started to play with the back of my neck the way i like. i couldn't move. i just listened to her whisper, you've never seen me before and i'm a criterion pick. how bad could i really be? come on, sailor boy. i caved. i had to. i rented her and we spent the evening together.

i don't often kiss and tell, but...
-one guy gets shot through a window by a rocket
-ed harris plays a highly-decorated general. he is a veteran of vietnam and grenada (???)
-to get into alcatraz, sean connery has to roll across the floor through a machine which belches fire and has randomly turning steel mechanisms...what does that machine do? my guess was 'makes everlasting gobstoppers' but the scriptwriters left out that little nugget.
-(warning: spoiler ahead) the good guys win at the end.

all i could do afterwards was sit in the shower, like elisabeth shue in leaving las vegas, with the water falling on me, crying. i felt so dirty.

last seen: adaptation, the rock
last heard: stereolab 'anamorphose'
last read: "Congress and the American taxpayer should know more about these contracts and Halliburton's relationship with Iran, Iraq, and Libya."

Sunday, May 11, 2003

the weather was perfect for the asian festival yesterday. area restaurants set up food booths. so much goodness, thai, indian, vietnamese, filipino, korean. jen and i stopped by to grab lunch and ended up watching some of the talent portion of the miss asian festival pageant. even after all of that, we still had an hour before our movie started, so we drove to borders to graze amongst the fresh periodicals.

when we pulled up, one of the local classic rock stations had their gigantic mobile station set up in front of the bookstore. we were, naturally, confused and wondered what was going on. it turns out that one of our nation's, nay the world's, greatest writers was going to be here at 3pm. that's right, friends...the nuge was signing books. imagine: front row seats for such a car crash of white trash and literature, all in the surreal environs of charlotte's posh south park neighborhood. could there be a more tailor-made james event? i think not. sadly, our movie started at 2:50, so we were unable to witness the spectacle.

last seen: devil's playground, a mighty wind, the believer
last heard: magnetic fields 'the luckiest guy on the lower east side'
last read: "Also in attendance was: UVA Debutant Girl, Could Be A Punk Rock Girl and Mr. Could Be A Punk Rock Girl,
Antebellum Manure Science Girl
, Tobacco Museum Girl, Too-Smart For You Texas Lady, and the Lady Who Would Have Graduated With Us But She Got Pregnant.

Friday, May 09, 2003

i know people who plan their vacations almost a year ahead of time. it becomes like a goal. it motivates them to save money. sometimes we'll go out and they're really good, only ordering water with their meal or refusing to pay full price for a movie. i sincerely envy their will power, especially when they return with pictures of themselves sitting on an angry-looking burro who is wearing a green felt hat with holes cut out for the ears.

for some reason that's not how it works with me. perhaps i lack that part of the brain which allows me to put gratification on hold for years at a time. at most, i plan things three months out. there is a good chance i won't be dead in three months. a year? i'm not so sure. besides, the work schedule is a little more concrete, i can see long weekends. i can plan extra time off. of course that means on a humble librarian's salary, i won't be running in pamplona anytime soon, but my method is better for creating many small memories instead of one big one.

the summer is upon us and my tiny excursions list is piling up. there is a trip to asheville with the parents over memorial day weekend. five days in san francisco in june. the trachtenburgs will be visiting next month. there's a folklife festival in DC over the fourth of july. so, if you see me walking down the road with a cane pole and all of my worldly possessions tied up in a red handkerchief, pull over and give me a ride.

last heard: the streets 'let's push things forward'
last read: "America has a history of interfering in others' affairs for the sake of its own interest. China is proving to be a big headache for them in Asia. They want to take on China and for that purpose they want to find a permanent hold in Kashmir." [editor's note: a nice primer can also be found here.]

Thursday, May 08, 2003

lights out, uh-huh. flash, flash, flash., OR
one of those times that i fainted

i was in elementary school. from what i can recall of the field day at fort bliss, it was hot outside. i can't remember the month. the heat doesn't help us, because it's texas, after all, so it could have been august or it could have been march. we are listening to some guy talk on a loudspeaker. i'm standing beside the paterfamilias in the shadow of some large machine. my memory isn't the best, but, at this point in my dad's career, it may have been this or this. soldiers are lined in rows and i'm standing at attention; my fourth-grade mind unfamiliar with the terms, parade rest or at-ease. just before the incident, my dad has warned me against standing with my knees locked for the duration of the speech.


i regain consciousness sitting beside a tree. my shirt has been untucked, my belt and the first button of my pants are undone. there is a young soldier attending to me. my father is crouched at right, fanning me with a hat, i think. i'm pretty sure this is when he started not to love me anymore.

[editor's note: my dad just emailed regarding the last line of the post above. he says that he didn't stop loving me until the following year, fifth-grade, when i threw my weight behind the mondale-ferarro ticket.]

last seen: an affair to remember
last heard: heavenly 'don't be fooled'
last read: ian mcewan's atonement
reading: jedediah purdy's being america: liberty, commerce, and violence in an american world

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

oh yeah, i forgot you were beggin' tonight. -mark, via phone

like the man said, i put in a couple of hours at the pledge drive yesterday evening. my shift was 6-8pm and i arrived a few minutes early. ten black plastic phones were ringing as i walked in and volunteers were stationed at each one. most of them were from the same office and had come to work a shift together. i wish i worked at a place that did things like that.

the two hours passed quickly and there was food like last year. unfortunately though, i arrived just in time to watch the last free dinner from some swanky local restaurant being handed out. i had to be content with a free drink and other munchies. (note to self: work 5-7 at the next pledge drive.) near the end of the evening, that group of volunteers from the same office left and the rest of us shuffled around to sit nearer to each other. there were brief lulls in the phone-answering, during which i spoke to my neighboring volunteers; on this side, a semi-retired community college instructor and, on this side, a hospice nurse. most of the time though i was busy taking names, addresses, and credit card numbers.

i walked out to my car a little after eight. the sun was setting in a clear sky, this after a day of solid rain. i drove away with a clear conscience having repaid the station for the last six months worth of my addiction.

last heard: a tribe called quest 'can i kick it?'
last read: "The news over the weekend—that Bennett's $50,000 sermons and best-selling moral instruction manuals have financed a multimillion dollar gambling habit—has lit a lamp of happiness in even the darkest hearts." [editor's note: since this news makes me practically giddy every time i think about it, you can see where the story originally broke here and read another editorial here.]

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

the jen(n)s helped me celebrate my 30th birthday a week early. the reason for last night's festivities was on account of jenn, our little jet setter, will be in scotland on the 16th...the actual anniversary of my birth. if i never said it here before, they are the best. not only did they have chicken 'n dumplings and collards from dish waiting for me when i walked in the door, but they also presented me with a professionally-made cake that looked exactly like this book cover. the titles of the plays had been altered to read happy birthday james, my sweet boy, and in the friscalating dusklight. the importance of having a friend who is as fanatical about that movie as i am is truly immeasurable. thankfully, i have two. it was the best cake that i ever got since i was a wee boy and my aunt made me one that looked like cookie monster. i would scan in the polaroid of me beaming and holding up my cake, but, alas, i have no scanner and i'm not all computer-y.

man, there was the visit from my little friend (see yesterday's post), then this early birthday thing...if every week that i skip my meds is like this one, i'll never go back to lithium and electroshock therapy again.

last heard: yeah yeah yeahs 'bang' [editor's note: singing along loudly with the chorus while driving will make you happy.]
last read: "The Dixie Chicks should leave the opinion-giving to the professionals. Like that guy with the 'boot up your ass' song."

Monday, May 05, 2003

most of my friends live in the tar heel state, but there is a scattershot group in louisiana and a few others flung at the coasts. this past weekend was memorable as a young lady from the second group stopped in for a visit. the wine and food and walks were good. discussions ambled as they are wont to do when catching up with friends. highlights from the conversational roadmap appear below:

-civil war-era facial hair (always a crowd-pleaser)
-marshmellow treasures: the poor man's lucky charms
-family vacations
-that waiter's american flag tie...isn't it troubling?
-troy's new baby
-reasons i should move to san francisco, the debate marches on!
-kiehl's grapefruit body cleanser
-point/counterpoint: the teal ford escort as a method of transport
-dogs + cats = james can't breathe
-why naming a child after a particular johnny cash tune would be a great idea

last seen: the sting, mostly martha, y tu mama tambien
last heard: gravy train 'sippin 40z'
last read: "President Bush has asked Congress for $75 billion to pay the initial costs of the war in Iraq...
1 minute of war in Iraq = Headstart Education for 115 children ($763,000 a minute)...
1 second of war in Iraq = Twice what U.S. spends per year, per child ($12,730 per second) in primary education ($6,043, Digest of Ed. Stats)

Saturday, May 03, 2003

in his most recent feature, michael talks about the birth of a project. it was our first collaboration in fact. a most unholy union to be sure, but while some have said that it "marked the beginning of the end of american innocence" (newsweek, july 7, 2002), we high-five each other and invoke john stuart mill just because.

fore, in truth, what began as a rather innocuous HTML homework assignment has, in the course of one short year, inexplicably, gotten us both lots of dates, toppled several CIA-backed puppet regimes, and stoked the glowing embers of an academic revolution which seeks to bring the little-known poetic works of john oates to all of humanity.

last seen: italianamerican, x-men 2, the matrix
last heard: dub narcotic sound system (feat. lois) 'ship to shore'
last read: "Bin Laden's estranged family, a sprawling, extraordinarily wealthy Saudi Arabian dynasty, is a substantial investor in a private equity firm founded by the Bechtel Group of San Francisco. Bechtel is also the global construction and engineering company to which the U.S. government recently awarded the first major multimillion-dollar contract to reconstruct war-ravaged Iraq. In a closed competitive bidding process, the United States Agency for International Development chose Bechtel to rebuild the major elements of Iraq's infrastructure, including its roads, railroads, airports, hospitals, and schools, and its water and electrical systems. In the first phase of the contract, the U.S. government will pay Bechtel nearly thirty-five million dollars, but experts say that the cost is likely to reach six hundred and eighty million during the next year and a half.