Sunday, April 29, 2007

My iPod Shuffle Makes Me Crazy

The idea of an iPod Shuffle is so intriguing. I love the ability to carry around 250 or so songs in all kinds of unique combinations of playlists. Of course, it would be better if it actually worked. I received one as a gift for Christmas and I'm now on my FOURTH one - having returned three of them after they stopped working. Arggghhhhh.

So tomorrow I make another trek to the Apple story to visit my own person genius, Omar. Yes, they really call their techies geniuses. And, yes, his name is Omar. We're on a first name basis now, since my last visit was just last Monday.

I suppose I'll go back to my Zen MP3 player which isn't nearly as sexy looking, nor as small. But it has worked without a hitch for at least 3 years - and I've never had to return it - not once.

If anyone has had similar experiences, or can recommend another iPod that has better reliability, I'm all ears.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My Dinner With David

When I attended college (mostly spent in a pot-induced haze), I was a student member of the university's Speakers Bureau. Each student was asked to host a speaker during the course of the year. As luck would have it, I was assigned David Halbertstam, author of "The Best and the Brightest," a Pullitzer-prize winning book about the JFK/LBJ team that got us entangled in the Vietnam war.

So what did I do? I cooked the only thing I could afford and had experience with...a spaghetti dinner, and invited him to the ramshackle house I shared with three other students and a drunken sot named Scott (That's a story for another day.) This thrilling dinner date took place around 1976, after Mr. Halbertstam was already well-known, probably more regularly dining with major politicians and other hoi poloi. And here he was, stuck eating a cheaply made spaghetti dinner, surrounded by a bunch of semi-conscious students. As I think about it now, I don't recall having a lucid conversation with the man; didn't ask any questions, simply fed him and the friends I had coerced into joining us, and delivered him to the speech on time. Can't imagine what he must have thought, or how many dozens of these dinners he had to sit through. But I recall Mr. Halberstam as being friendly and relatively easy to be with as he sat in our messy house in his business suit.

It makes me sad to read that David Halberstam died in a car accident today. Since our dinner together I have often enjoyed his commentaries on some of the more erudite talks shows, like Charlie Rose or NPR. (A favorite quote from David was when he was going through a long story explaining how he had a 'small epiphany' about something and it's been a favorite phrase at our house for years. How the hell does one have a small epiphany?)

Recently, I discovered he was a huge baseball fan, and if I had only known that in 1975, we would have had more to say to each other. RIP, Mr. Halberstam, and sorry for being such a crappy hostess. Wish we could have a do-over.

BTW: THE RED SOX SWEPT THE WEEKEND SERIES WITH THE MFY's!!! Last night, they hit 4 freakin' home runs in a row. Way happy today. GO SOX!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Zimmers : Talkin' Bout My Generation

This is one of the most popular videos on YouTube this week. From what I've read, this is the grand finale to a documentary in the UK about the forgotten elderly. It renews your faith in the aging process - enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Human Kindness...Pass it On

I'm avoiding news programming since I saw the coverage last night of the "multi-media" manifesto of the Virginia Tech killer. That NBC saw fit to show the home-made video and images of that sad, lost soul is beyond me. We don't usually get so emotionally involved in the news that we feel the need to turn the TV off altogether, but we did.

So, today in my minimal web browsing today I tried to avoid anything related to the shooting, but a headline caught my eye: "Ex-classmates say gunman was bullied." How freakin' sad is it that something so simple as showing kindess and care for a young Korean immigrant might have prevented these senseless murders?

It reminds me, once again, that the casual, thoughtless comment ("nappy-headed hos" anyone?) is indeed hurtful and has the potential to do deep, significant harm. This world is hard enough to get through for those of us with decent mental health. But, we shouldn't compound the problems of others who could be less healthy by making their lives even more difficult through verbal abuse or taunting.

Could it be that all the money, anti-depressents and therapy matters less than simple, human kindess? Well, that's so easy we don't have any excuses not to comply then, do we? Do we?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

War Zones

Looking across the conference room today, I noticed a young colleague wearing a "Virginia Tech" sweatshirt. Since the company I work for employs a great many engineering types, I figured this was her alma mater. I asked her, "Did you know anyone who died?" She shook her head sadly, and said, "No, but my best friend did." It breaks my heart to know about the sadness enveloping that particular college campus this week.

At the same time, equally sad is the senseless violence going on in Iraq. Today, more than 180 innocent people, out and about doing their shopping, were killed. I truly am not minimizing the Virginia Tech incident. But imagine if this was happening EVERY day? This is what is going on in Iraq and it needs to stop.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Red Sox Pizza Party 4/16/07

The most fun I've ever had at the gym was watching this event unfold before my very eyes, while on the treadmill. Enjoy!

Friday, April 13, 2007

RIP, Kurt

Sadly, it's been years since I've read any Vonnegut novels, but his death this week reminded me that I really enjoyed them. Might have to move them up on my reading list. In the meantime, check out these quotes, as my homage to one of the greats.

  • Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.

  • Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.

  • I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.

  • If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don't need an enemy.

  • If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you're a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.

  • It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead.

  • Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

  • Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.

  • People don't come to church for preachments, of course, but to daydream about God.

  • Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.

  • The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.

  • True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

  • We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.

  • We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.

  • What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.

  • Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?
  • Lena Horne -- STORMY WEATHER

    I think this is probably the forecast for our weekend.


    Just When You Think It Can't Get More Bizzare...

    ...the National Security Advisor is looking for a war czar:

    WASHINGTON - President Bush's top national security adviser said Thursday that there is an urgent need to name a high-powered White House official to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    My reaction to this is to wonder which of our presidents is whirling faster in his grave: Lincoln? Eisenhower? FDR? LBJ? Call me crazy, but isn't this what being "Commander-in-Chief" means? Or,at the very least, isn't this what the Secretary of Defense does? Maybe they should give Cheney something to do so he doesn't have to lurk in the bushes doing his Peeping Tom act.

    Good Lord

    Monday, April 09, 2007

    A Most Remarkable Story

    Came across this story from the Washington Post, which I believe was published yesterday in their Sunday Magazine, that I found fascinating.

    Seems there was an experiment conducted this past January in the DC subway system during a normal weekday commute. What would happen when a world famous classical violinist, Joshua Bell, played for spare change in the subway station, using a Stradavarius violin, delivering some of the most beautiful classical music?

    Would people notice? Would a crowd gather? Would people stop in their morning commute to enjoy something of exquisite beauty? What do you think?

    Check it out here. And, if you go to this page, you can hear the performance from the subway tunnel, too.