Monday, February 26, 2007

Three Amigos

Summer is coming. Here's proof:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Where I Like It Best

Last Saturday, Bobbers and I enjoyed seeing Rickie Lee Jones in concert at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre. It's a great venue, built in 1870 as a memorial to the Harvard students who lost their lives in the Civil War. In the lobby of the building, on marble tablets, you see lists of those killed at Gettysburg, Antietam, Vicksburg...as well as every war since then.

And yet the music created there is sublime. The acoustics are fabulous and its one of our favorite places to enjoy a show. Last weekend was no different.

Rickie Lee is on tour to support her newest album, "Sermon on Exposition Boulevard," reviewed quite well by Jetison himself. A bit of my favorite song (Where I Like It Best) is below.

"How do you pray in a world like this
You know, I see the people on TV
And they close their eyes and they bow their heads
And they say "Let us pray"
And it feels so cold and meaningless
And I wanted to pray
And I said
Tell me father
Tell me mother
Heavenly mother
And they said

When you pray
Pray alone by yourself
In the secret room of your heart
Don't go out into the church filled with people and pray
God hears every secret that you say
See all those people praying on TV and the churches
They like to make a big parade out of what they're doing
They think God hears them louder if they say it
Over and over and over and over and over again

But I say, God, but I say this
You are the prayer
Your eyes are the prayer
Your hand on your cheek
You are the prayer
Those words you want to speak
They are the prayer
That dance you make
When you're by yourself
Just before your mother calls you on the phone
You are the prayer
I tell you what
You gotta take it back from them
Because the prayers belong to you
All you gotta do is say hey hey
I'm down here too, I'm down here too
I'm down here too
And I hear you in the trees
And I hear you
And I'm near you
I wonder why there's so much suffering?

I want to say thank you, thank you
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you
I wanted to say thank you, thank you
I wanted to say
I wanted to say
You are where I like it best
You are where I like it best
You are where I like it best

That's the Lords' prayer
"You are where I want to be"
So, amen, just amen
Amen, all by myself, amen, amen
I'm so lonely, just amen
And I'm rising, rising, just amen
You can look through my eyes
Hear through my hear
Look through my eyes"

Perfect lyrics for a Sunday - my own personal moment of reflection.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Running?

I've never been a runner. For far too long in my life, I've lived by the mantra, "Why run when you could walk? Why walk when you could stand still? Why stand still when you could sit?"...You get the picture.

In spite of my sedentary adulthood, as a teenager I enjoyed participating in team sports: softball and volleyball (mostly because girls weren't given any other options). While I wasn't a gifted athlete, I was a great teammate, and was often elected team captain. In fact, the summer before I entered high school I played on three softball teams simultaneously: a town team, my school team and my church team. (Yes, I did attend church once upon a time.) As soon as I learned to drive, however, sports dried up for me.

Nowadays, I regret that I never kept up an active life and I am trying to make up for it. Initially exercise started as purely a health requirement - something to do because I must. But after a couple of years, I grudgingly must admit that I feel better after a workout and sometimes even like it (especially when I swim). It's not that I do a lot...but I do at least an hour of aerobic exercise three times a week, and do a Pilates class at work during my lunch hour once a week. Along with eating more healthy food, I'm gradually turning things around in spite of my aging body.

Every once in a while, you need a dose of inspiration to keep you moving, and I got one just when I needed it. Last week I was walking at a pretty good clip around the track when I noticed a woman running ahead of me. She wasn't young - I would guess late 60's, early 70s. But, she was running. *gulp*

It made me think: will I ever run again? Can I even run? I thought how sad it would be if I started to stop doing things. What other experiences have I given up, I wondered? And isn't it time to double-check that I'm not becoming totally decrepit? So, at some point, I've resolved to run again - even if it's for short spurts over short distances.

Here's my message for fellow middle-agers: it's time to stop stopping...and start living.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Most Unkind Cut of All

I've ranted and raved about the ridiculous Iraq War for the five or so years since this entered (or was forced upon?) entered our consciousness. And I certainly admit that there are some who honestly think the war was truly worth it.

But there is something that we will all agree on regardless of our political stripe. And this is it: those who serve in our armed forces should be treated well when they return from their tour of duty overseas, especially if they are wounded. Over the weekend The Washington Post ran a feature story about the deplorable conditions at the famous Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington.

From the story:

"Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

And I suppose it's one thing to have a crumby, rundown building. It's quite another to hear how the administrative arm of the hospital is failing these soldiers:

"On the worst days, soldiers say they feel like they are living a chapter of "Catch-22." The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.

Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs: feeding soldiers' families who are close to poverty, replacing a uniform ripped off by medics in the desert sand or helping a brain-damaged soldier remember his next appointment.

"We've done our duty. We fought the war. We came home wounded. Fine. But whoever the people are back here who are supposed to give us the easy transition should be doing it," said Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, 26, an amputee who lived at Walter Reed for 16 months. "We don't know what to do. The people who are supposed to know don't have the answers. It's a nonstop process of stalling."

What are the long-term implications for the soldiers and their families? Suicide. Overdoses. Anger. At the very least, frustration. Apparently, soldiers get the best possible care to keep them alive while they're in the war zone - in fact, more wounded soldiers are making it through alive by the expert - and even miraculous - care they receive when they are evacuated to a medical hospital. But afterwards? The soldiers are left to question why the military bothers to save them so heroically, when they are treated so poorly when they come home.

We are a better country than this. I clearly don't have an answer to how to solve this problem. The neglect of our veterans is a bi-partison issue with ALL the politicians in Washington DC responsible. Let's hope this journalistic breakthrough brings hope to these kids who didn't ask for anything except to be treated well by their government.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Joni Mitchell - A Case of You

I do believe this is one of my favorite songs; enjoy!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

For the Record

Hard to believe, but we finally got a chance to get the snow-blower out yesterday! Had about 8 inches of snow - no big deal by New England standards, but a real pain in the butt. The all-day event included rain, sleet, and awful little ice pellets. Today was no better, with temperatures not passing 20 degrees, but at least it was sunny..

This Cracked Me Up

I was driving home from work today and cruising through the radio channels. Passed through an NPR show ("The World") when I heard a guy singing hip-hop...






in French.

Hysterical. If you want to hear it, go here.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Secret Dick

If you haven't been reading about how the Scooter Libbey trial is shining a spotlight on the role of The Dick, you should be. Here's a really scarey story from today's Boston Globe that demonstrates the dangerous role of the VP. It kinda knocks your socks off to actually read it, especially considering that 90% of the country has no clue:

What didn't he touch? It's almost like there was almost nothing too trivial for the vice president to handle," said New York University professor Paul Light, an expert in the bureaucracy of the executive branch.

"The details suggest Cheney was almost a deputy president with a shadow operation. He had his own source of advice. He had his own source of access. He was making his own decisions," Light said.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Red Sox

As we anticipate spring training beginning later this week, I thought it might be nice to look backwards...it's amazing how many of the Sox have moved on. Time to bring home another championship, boys!

Monday, February 05, 2007

What a Face!



You gotta love this face, eh? In a little over 10 days from now, we'll get to see him in a Sox uniform. Can't come soon enough.

iPod Shuffling Along

One of my Christmas presents from Bobbers was an iPod Shuffle - this 1.5"-long machine holds about 240 songs and has been much more fun to have than I would ever have imagined. **geezer alert**

Another gift was the CD of last summer's documentary about Leonard Cohen called "I'm Your Man." In the CD, various young artists, most notably Rufus and Martha Wainwright, cover a bunch of Leonard's songs. This has inspired me to delve into some of the original albums of this rather iconoclastic singer/songwriter who is incredibly difficult to pigeonhole. You'd probably find his music filed under "folk" at the CD store (are there any of those any more?) Yet, his demeanor harkens back to the pre-Dylan folk music days. In fact, in my imagination, I think of him wearing a smoking jacket and sipping brandy before retiring to his bed each night.

I haven't listened to all 4 of the CDs as yet, but it's been a pleasant diversion during this (finally) cold winter season. Hence, the post from YouTube of one of his most famous songs..."Halleluia" below. Cohen's probably not for everyone, but I find his music to be unique and entertaining.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Happy 2nd Blogbirthday

In case anyone's interested, in late January I hit the two year mark for this here blog.

Whooooohoooo.

Quick and Easy Question for You

My few readers (if you're still out there) are likely not as interested in presidential politics as I am. (Although I do have to admit that this year its gotten way too early - even for me.)

Anyway, I have just one question for you: are any of you looking forward to voting for Hillary Clinton? If anyone answers this question, I'll post my theory. Well, hell, I'll probably post my thoughts anyway.

I'm genuinely interested in hearing from anyone who plans to vote for the Senator from New York.