Friday, August 27, 2004

Calm & Collected
Now that the oldest offspring is (presumeably) safe, sound, & back at his respective Institute of Higher Learning, availibility of timely information from him is akin to the obtention of the proverbial water from a stone. That's why the Internet is so helpful, especially if the local papers are willing to publish at least a few of their articles online. Perusing The Newark Advocate, an article on the local farming scene jumped out. It was refreshing to see that the small farmer is still around and thriving (or was thriving). In the economic boom that our Prez says we're supposed to be enjoying, it's good to see that there's a fellow American actually enjoying it. Well, maybe it's not a boom but a ba-boom; can't hear too well since my hearing aid was knocked out by the economice explosion.
Since farming is one of the cornerstones of our success and our identity, a story of agricultural thriving is always a welcome read. I do wonder, however, how difficult it must be to be succesful in the field if there are hovering helicopters keeping an eye on your endeavours. "In this case, the helicopter was looking for marijuana plants, which (Mrs.)Tufts soon found out when she saw three sheriff's cruisers pull up to Kern's home on Beecher Road. Tufts said a neighbor told her that deputies were charging someone for allegedly growing marijuana plants in the field.

The news came as a shock to Tufts.

"I've never seen a drug problem out here at all," she said. "All the farmers I know out here are
calm, collected, good citizens." ". Wonder how this calm and collected farming community came to be? Testing of the crop? You have to believe these agricultural artisans noticed a certain the air. And now another small farmer has bit the dust. The entire article is available here.

Monday, August 23, 2004

New Bird in Town Been a while since I last spewed; the annual Carting of Stuff occurred last week. Thank God there are no tariffs between states. Otherwise, the bills for college would be sorely increased due to the college bound youth we ship out to Ohio. "Less is more" is a battlecry gone the way of "Tippicanoe & Tyler, too". I must admit that it is easier hauling cd's than albums; my college days saw me getting helper springs attached to the underside of my car on my own annual carting. So the reduction of albums to cd's should logically mean less physical space being used. Or so I was thinking as I was hauling another box of stuff into the car. It must be the expanding universe I was packing into the Honda,then. While out in the wilds of mid-America, I missed the latest bit of news regarding those loveable Orioles. Aside from their having (another)lousy year in Camden Yards and their owner backing an Olympic team seemingly cursed by Hydra, what with their bad luck, it turns out they screwed up a great opportunity to add utility fielder E. Van Halen . So, instead of having an aging but energetic rock star playing in their infield (well.....o.k...playing a their infield..when the O's themselves are not playing..well, not playing a scheduled game), they'll be forking over a bunch of money that they could have used to bolster their sad pitching staff. Oh where are the O's of Memorial Park?

Friday, August 13, 2004

Preview of Nov. 2000's National Sucker Punch
From Tom Tomorrow's Aug 8, 2004 posting, the history of the Bush sucker punch is now well-documented. So, if you're still feeling dazed from the 11/2000 sock, don't feel you were an easy target. He's been practicing this move at the best schools and over quite a few years. For additional info, please pay a visit to Tom Tomorrow's sight. The piece quoted was written by Bob Harris.

Think I'll be donning protective headgear this fall. Where did I put my CCM helmet? Nov. 2004? We should be prepared this time around.

Where I've been At
Crumbs of comments I've made have elicited queries as to how/why I'd make certain statements without ever having been there/here. So, here's a short itinerary of where I've been moving water. Let's face it, for the majority of us that's basically all we do in our lifetime. Water is our king/queen/god. It asks us to take It in and then It asks us to move it to another locale. I hear. I obey.
My water carrying days started in Zagreb, Croatia, (although it was known as Yugoslavia at that time). I then served for about 11 years in the state of New Jersey. I think I've heard about all of the (usually) boring and lazy-thinking comments one can hear about Jersey..and most of those I heard in my first year or two while living there. While some have a smidgen, a mote of truth, the majority are generalizations made by people who've sat entranced in front of a tv instead of pioneering out there and actually experiencing the state. A shame, because it really offers a lot for just a little adventuring.
Next, my college days, well undergraduate years at least, were spent in the beauty that is Quebec and Montreal. Aside from getting my undergrad degree @ McGill U., this is where the obsessions of music and book buying (and reading) took off. From the apartments I'd lived in, it was usually a short walk or subway ride to great venues for live music. Food was cheap and tasty. Blvd St. Laurent was a hop, skip, @ jump away (Yes, living in Montreal does make you hop and skip), so Greek, Polish, Jewish, Chinese, Thai, & French-Canadian meals were readily available. Plus! There were brasseries and taverns where you could always drop in on a Saturday for "Hockey Night in Canada", the nationally telecast religious ceremony. Who knows, sometimes a retired hockey player like Jean Belliveau or Maurice Richard would drop in. I worked there for a while as well, until the economy went did I.
A 4 year stint in the Chapel Hill area of NC followed my college days in Montreal.
Sandwiched in between Montreal & Chapel Hill was the obligatory 4 month backpacking in Europe escapades with short stays in Iceland, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, and a very long stay in Greece, specifically some of the less touristy (at that time) islands. Somewhere over that time frame were vacation trips to Alaska, Lake of the Woods (Kenora, Ontario), Maine, cross-country to Wyoming (Grand Tetons & Yellowstone), and countless trips to Ohio.
I'm currently sequestered in Delaware, Home of tax-free shopping. Just like Jersey, there are your usual disparaging jokes. With age, I hope, comes tolerance and forgetfulness; the latter usually promotes the former. If the jokes keep coming, I just hope the people don't come with them. Beach property prices are climbing steeply. Perhaps the put-downs of Delaware will reduce the stream of incoming residents.
So, that's the short of it. As with all travel and extended life in other places, you are affected in, at least, some small way. My blog spews definitely come tinted with the colors of my movements.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Crawford Hillbilly
Stuck in your car/cubicle/ER waiting room? Radio/cd player/cassette player on the blink? Need something to sing or think about? Herewith, from Chazzy G's Philly tunes' blog, we have the following (hummed to the "Beverly Hillbillies" theme song,

Come & listen to my story 'bout a boy name Bush.
His lQ was zero & his head was up his tush.
He drank like a fish while he drove all about.
But that didn't matter 'cuz his daddy bailed him out.
DUI, that is. Criminal record. Cover-up.

Well, the first thing you know little Georgie goes to Yale.
He can't spell his name but they never let him fail.
He spends all his time hangin' out w/ student folk.
And that's when he learns how to snort a line of coke.
Blow, that is. White gold. Nose candy.

The next thing you know there's a war in Vietnam.
Kin folks say, "George, stay @ home w/ Mom."
Let the common people get maimed & scarred.
We'll buy you a spot in the Texas Air Guard.
Cushy, that is. Country clubs. Nose candy.

Twenty years later Georgie gets a little bored.
He trades in the booze, says that Jesus is his Lord.
He said, "Now the White House is the place I wanna be."
So he called his daddy's friends & they called the GOP.
Republicans, that is. Falwell. Jesse Helms.

Come November 7, the election ran late.
Kin folks said "Jeb, give the boy your state!"
"Don't let those colored folks get into the polls."
So they put up barricades so they couldn't punch their holes.
Chads, that is. Duval County. Miami-Dade.

Before the votes were counted, five Supremes stepped in.
Told all the voters "Hey, we want George to win."
"Stop counting votes!" was their solemn invocation.
And that's how George finally got his coronation.
Rigged, that is. Illegitimate. No moral authority.

Y'all come VOTE now!!!! Ya hear?

Things I did & (almost) did on my Vacation

Last week, while vacating my office for a full five days, I struggled through a cycle of 7 days of no work. Well, no work in the office, at least. It had been a while since I had gone through this experience (through no one's fault but my own), so "Vacation" was like "Senegalese" to me, a foreign language that seemed enticing, but how the heck are you going to learn it in just one week! The fam, most specifically my ever-loving wife, was very conscious of this as well; my week off must have been hell for them, partially due to the level of stress oozed by yours truly.
In order to systematically enjoy my vacation, a list was necessary.
Vacation To-Do's
1) Go to the beach/shore. Determination of the ultimate destination was done via the formula
Z = d/t * Q + (S + D - R), where
Z=Ultimate destination
t=time to get to Z
Q=# of traffic jams to get to Z
S=Qty of snacks needed to get to Z
D=Gallons of beverages needed to get to Z
R=# of rest stops needed to get to Z, after consuming S & D

2) Eat at a good restaurant. The "good" is determined as a post-dining exercise and is un-appologetically subjective yours-truly type deal. This determination naturally requires a large sample size, for comparative purposes.

3) Read 1-3 books...completely. None of those well-intentioned arrangements where a plethora of books, with inserted bookmarks blowing like seagrass, is piled in the book shelves.

4) See (at least) one movie, that's unavailable for viewing in da 'burbs, in a theatre. Life-changing is preferred, but one with a kernel of uniqueness will also do.

So, How'd I do?
Combined #1 and #2, by heading down to Lewes, DE for a few days and eating at Striper Bites. Quiet beach (on the bayside) combined with a state park (Cape Henlopen with bike trails, frisbee golf course, a modicum of adequate body-surfing waves topped off with a fine easy-dining meal at a local tavern made the 2 days a relaxing but packed respite from the pressures of 'burb life.

A day in Philly satisfying #2 (again) at a Belgian style ale house, Euology restaurant and #4 was Hi Fab type of day. Visited the new Constitution Center in old Philly, a must-see for all turistas and Philadelphians. Well-executed, highly interactive, and architecturally pleasing to the eye, both inside and outside. A highlight was a recreation of the Declaration of Independence signing, where all of the attendees (including those men not signing) are recreated as life size bronze statues. If height is truly power, standing in that room you could understand how Washington was selected to be our first president. The Eulogy Tavern was a surprise find. Very small in size, huge in beer selection. And the Belgian style fries (with the secret mustard/mayo dipping sauce) were perfect company with the beer.
#3? Plowed through Mil Miilington's two novels, Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About and A Certain Chemistry. Mr. Millington, the author of the absolutely hilarious blog, Thngs My Girlfriend.., is a dry wit in the British style. While I love his blog entries, both of the novels, while of the good summer read category, were rather limp in comparison with his blog. Aside from the main character's obsessive concern with his "performace piece" (in both novels), his breakout from the blog was a tame venture. Here's hoping his next outing borrows the tightly drawn short stories' characteristice so amply displayed in his blogging entries.
While the movie, #4, that I had a chance to see in Philly (after loading up/imbibing with tasty/mind soothing carbs @ Eulogy Tavern), was not life-changing, it left an aftertaste of pleasantries (just like the Belgian mayo dipped fries). The French-Canadian film, La Grande Seduction, (English titled as "The Seduction of Dr. Lewis") has been compared to Waking Ned Devine. Granted, both picture are somewhat lightweight, but the photography and the regional taste that both exhibit is marvelous. Personally, I'd compare Seduction to another Canadian film, Rare Birds. Personalities, faces, Canadian island life, and small unexpected twists makes it an enjoyable picture to see.

With a bit of spare time, I added activity #5, How I almost killed my wife. That explanation will soon as I can cull some humour out of a fairly scary event.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Spooked What is it about this guy that has the press and the Dems tip-toeing around? The big news out of the Boston Party last week was the backroom planning on how to hold down the attacks on Dubya's Excellent Adventure @ the White House the past four years. Fear of an overpowering media attack by the 'Pubs at any (major) verbal assault against Bush was prevelant. Now that Kerry successfully showed he was capable of a bit of fire and emotion by way of his acceptance speech, we are collectively holding our breath to see what the 'Pubs launch on us at their grazing fest in NYC. Mention of justified protests in NYC by the police and fire departments is causing some consternation among the folks who do not want to wake the beast that is today's Republican Religous Party.
Here's a thoughtful suggestion by Mr. J.P. Barlow, once a Republican and a Grateful Dead lyricist (What a Combo!??!) Take not to the barricades; take toDancing in the Streets. Come on! Maybe the B-52's will show up. Bring your dancing shoes to NYC!

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