i blame them
the longest mile
my affair with a greek woman
a night on the town
my old intro: an introduction
christening naze.net: i am naze
february 27, 2003
democracy is a verb
I've been studying and teaching U.S. History. And I'm just now beginning to really understand the hardships that people suffered through in the Revolutionary War. The Continental Army demonstrated a resilience and tenacity that awes me. The Rebels were taking a tremendous chance when they took on the British. Hundreds, if not thousands, could have been expected to hang for treason if they had lost.
Portland's school funding troubles, which have become infamous, do not compare with that suffering, yet they are very serious. When your school district is faced with slashing one quarter of the year and the majority of the state says, no, I can't spare $10 a month to prevent it, what do you do?
Same as the Colonists -- you get mad as hell. Portland teachers, who have been taking it on the chops for a decade, got together and said, no, this is unacceptable. We'll strike. Portland parents (me included) organized and bombarded City Hall and the Multnomah County Commission with letters, calls and protests.
Guess what? Sometimes democracy works. It looks like we'll take care of it with additional local taxes. Funding isn't anywhere close to where it should be, but we'll have a "full" school year. And we have many, many fine teachers here who do valiant work amidst the chaos.
Benjamin Franklin, stepping out of the Constitutional Convention in 1797, was asked by the wife of the mayor of Philadelphia what kind of government America would have. He replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."
Will we make the effort?
a beautiful day in the neighborhood
Mr. Rogers began his PBS show in 1968. I was four years old. I loved how he entered his home singing: "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood / A beautiful day for a neighbor / Would you be mine?" I didn't know anyone who changed shoes and sweaters after walking in the door, but that was part of his charm. I watched a lot, almost like a meditation. The quiet piano jazz chords, the short films of something being made, the bell-languaged Trolly, and the gentle and respectful philosphy all created a peaceful and quiet space.
He said, "There's only one person in the whole world like you", and I know that to be true. Mr. Rogers is one reason why I share my stories with you here. Last night, Mr. Rogers completed a long life -- one which profoundly influenced tens of millions of people around the world.
We are a better planet because of him. Bless you, Mr. Rogers.
february 26, 2003
long distance call
"What are the perks of a being an astronaut?", a Silverton, Oregon eighth grader wanted to know. So he called up Donald Pettit, who was born and raised in the small town south of Portland, and happened to be orbiting 240 miles above on the International Space Station.
february 24, 2003
economic theory, part 2
David: Mom, what are you going to get me?
Cathy: A new pair of pants, and maybe a treat. What are you going to get me?
David: I'm not married to *you*!
economic theory, part 1
David (6 yrs old): I don't like play money -- it's just made of paper. Real money is made out of luck.
So, my mom (who I love very much) took me and my 3 children out to a fabulous dim sum lunch (tried the seaweed roll for the first time and loved it) and then puppet theater (dude, this is art). As Mom drove south up Broadway (Portland), I heard a familiar tune filtering into my ear from the street. We stopped at the light and there she was right on the corner: a woman in her mid-twenties that looked remarkably like Margaret Berry, playing the Cruella Deville theme song on a saxophone *while* hula-hooping.
I leapt out the car and tossed a nice tip into the sax case. Without losing a note or the hoola hoop, she got out a grateful, "thanks!".
You know that driver that slows down almost to a stop when executing any kind of turn? I'm going to stop cursing at that driver, because it's my mom.
february 20, 2003
it's tv, so you know it's important
Growing up in the 70's (that's 1970's for you young 'ens), one of the common themes in the culture was that women are just morally superior to men. I guess to a certain degree that is a persistent notion throughout history. Using the ever highly reliable tv networks as a scientific data point, we find that it ain't necessarily so. Joanna of the women's tribe on Survivor-The Amazon goes atomic when she overhears a tribe member calling Joanna's tantrum about the immunity idol being an offense to her fundamentalist Christianity "stupid". The two disputes on Survivor shows that have come closest to violence have involved women. The guys on this Survivor may not be the greatest people ever, but these women nearly sink to the Salem Witch trials when a granola bar is found. The ridiculous part is that the producers almost certainly planted it to start the fight. Christy, adventure guide with the hearing impairment, tries to actually build a shelter to protect them from the Amazon downpour while her tribe mates lounge. She is, of course, rebuked.
So, there you have it.
In other news, I saw the rebroadcast of the Michael Jackson interview on ABC. I hate to say it, but Michael becomes a lot more human when you hear his story.
The Hunted will be the first major motion picture release to feature Portland as a backdrop since the ill-fated Madonna vehicle, Body of Evidence. Shooting for The Hunted was halted when Benicio del Toro broke his arm. I figured that would be it, but they came back and wrapped it about a year and a half ago. I was surprised to see it being hyped during ER. I hope it's decent. Portland hasn't starred in a quality flick since Drugstore Cowboy and my personal favorite Portland film (no, I'm not kidding), Breaking In -- probably the last good movie that Burt Reynolds ever made.
february 17, 2003
things i want to do on my pc
Revisit the golden age of the arcade: Klax, Star Castle, Renegade, Rampart. A couple of years ago, I spent 6+ frustrating hours trying to get the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) to work to no avail. I'm revisiting that disaster with no better results. It is purposely cryptic to avoid copyright infringement, but it just seems almost unusable to anyone who is not a programmer.
Get a real digital camera along with quality photo album software. We have a ridiculous number of prints scattered around the house. The chance of finding a particular image is near nil. Browsing through them isn't practical either.
Fix the broken stuff on naze.net and implement cascading style sheets on all of the pages.
Set up the hardware necessary to digitize my 20 most prized audiocassettes before they disintegrate.
Write about 10 new essays.
Create short films from family home video.
Most of this stuff can be done on my existing 5.6 year old system, but nearly all of it could be done or done better with a new system. I've got a serious jones. If I stick with my old 17" monitor, I should be able to build a very solid box for about $600...
I just lost an entry that took me about a half an hour to create due to a Blogger error . I've also had to sign in to Blogger multiple times, where normally it remembers my username and password. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come under the new google ownership...
february 13, 2003
things to undo
"...every word I write carries with it meanings imbued by the light of past loves, that every word I write about a lover is both a mirror and a hammer."
Tarin Towers is fearless and wields metaphor like six-guns. I really enjoyed her story "things to undo" in the new fray collection: "the things we do for love".
february 12, 2003
Lone Wolf and Cub - Volume 20: A Taste of Poison. In this chapter of the epic graphic novel tale, the ronin protagonist, Ogami Itto, draws his blade only once and then it is only as a token of apology for refusing a "favor".
Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech. Abandoned fraternal twins, who have been badly treated in foster homes, meet a married couple whose children have grown up and moved away. Each pair shares an inseparable bond, but none of them are sure exactly who they are outside of their pairing. In the course of their adventures all together, they begin to find out. Sharon Creech writes children's literature so well that it hardly matters who the intended audience is. It's just a damn good book.
Chambo: the great big cat with the little tiny squeak.
february 7, 2003
My Launchcast radio station kicks ass. The last six tracks: Missy Elliott, Roy Rogers, Steve Earle, The Smiths, Neil Diamond, Belly. Mmmm...Belly.
super-sized feline prize
New cats seem to be appearing all over. And one of them showed up in my living room last week.
Two weeks ago, Cathy and I were picking up the kids from my mother-in-law's house. Very relaxed from a nice dinner and drinks, I lounged on her couch. On an ottoman, inches from my knees posed a magnificent cat: large framed, rich gray tabby fur and a broad male face with white whiskers. Meet Mr. Merry, named by David, my 6 year old. I was seized by the presence of this cat. I stroked his fur and he actually liked it!
Our two female cats, Strawberry and Pikachu, have been at each other lately, engaging in late night skirmishes that involve chasing, growling, and yowling. Reach for Strawberry and half the time she'll run from you as if you've beaten her daily, in spite of the fact that we've had her for four years and raised her from a kitten. My experience is that female cats are twitchy, solitary, good hunters and unsatisfying pets. Cathy and I have had wonderful cats, including the legendary Jack's I and II, as well as Hans von Troutman -- all male.
I usually don't like surprises. I have never enjoyed a pet surprise. And when Cathy showed up last week with her pet gift from the Human Society, I was not surprised. Because she had accidentally left a piece of paper from the Human Society with the cat's name on it, laying around earlier that day. Generally, I don't think it's very good to be thrown into a relationship with a creature that you very well may hate. And yet, here was another extraordinary creature: massive compared with our two cats, yet beautifully proportioned. Recently rescued from the street and, ahem, fixed.
"He's your new cat!" And so I had to name him. Which is a good thing. Naming is a natural activity for me. From the place where free association, onomatopeia and word jazz meet in my mind, a name coalesces. It took about a day before "Chambo" (say CHOM-bo) popped out. It fits him. Sort of like "jumbo" but more exotic and mysterious. Cats are all about that.
february 4, 2003
left brain: space elevator? wtf?!
right brain: it's gonna be beautiful.
left brain: this is just not right... somebody has screwed up big time on the analysis.
right brain: think of the view you'll have at 2000 meters...
left brain: oh god. i feel a haiku coming. (holding metaphorical ears) LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!
february 2, 2003
Weird. I'm just looking at videotape of an astronaut on the International Space Station. In the zero-g environment, he's twirling the exact brand of baby bottle we use for Elizabeth right in front of the camera. They must drink their liquids out of those things. It's bizarre to see something I am so intimately familiar with inside a spacecraft...
february 1, 2003
My mother-in-law called us to turn on the news. As I did so, I felt my stomach drop yet again as it has done too many times over the last 2 years.
Space Shuttle Columbia, and her various crews, served our nation and the world for 22 years, which seems an extraordinarily long life for a space craft. It was the first shuttle to reach Earth orbit. Columbia was named after Captain Robert Gray's ship. In this vessel in 1792 (just 3 years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified), Gray braved one of the most treacherous confluences of water in the world and entered the mouth of a mighty river in the Pacific Northwest that is now named after his ship.
christopher at naze.net
when you are doing
what you said,
but they will never forget
-Carl W. Buehner