Sunday, August 31, 2008

August and everything after...

OK so I am still a bit envious that my daughter saw the Counting Crows do a “special’ performance of the above title earlier this month but the title does indeed fit this piece.

As summer draws to a close, many folks I have talked to are pondering how fast time flies when you are having fun.. a curious comment from people whose summer started off in flood recovery mode.

I have been thinking about this month and what I have done and left undone.

I have traveled home twice. This involved driving to Chicago and getting a non-stop from Midway to Albany each time. It is a 4 hour drive to Chicago. I lost most of a day each trip to being plain tuckered out.

Last weekend when I was home was a whirlwind. My wife’s 60th birthday party and a ballgame at the Joe with Abby, Irene, Shawn and of course my granddaughter Angeline.

I had a great time. Angeline and I played let’s take Grandpa’s baseball cap off and laugh at his big head every time for about 4 innings. It was good to know I can still get the ladies to laugh.

Being away from home 23 of the 31 days of August – is a record I guess for my wife and I to be apart. It has given me time to reflect some, probably too much but here goes..

I have this lyric from Tim O’Brien stuck in my head:

“I've been up and down the road a time or two I guess
Now it's time to travel around with less and less”

I changed hotels 4 times in August. Nothing can get you more tired of your stuff than to have to pack it up and load it into your Chevy so often only to have to unload and unpack it again..

Today as I drove around this city trying hard to get back to normal from its flood (downtown is still a ghost town), hearing that they are evacuating the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav and hearing of the devastation of monsoon season in India and the need to rescue several hundred thousand people cut off by the resulting flood waters I kept hearing this Gordon Lightfoot lyric

“Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours”

I found it interesting that a song played at the Devotional gathering this morning was based off this verse:

Build ye for yourselves such houses as the rain and floods can never destroy, which shall protect you from the changes and chances of this life. This is the instruction of Him Whom the world hath wronged and forsaken.

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 261)

I saw the movie Babylon A.D. yesterday – great story, bad movie. It was a great statement on the relationship of Science and Religion. The scientists tried to create a genuine miracle to give their “religion” substance and meaning. This will be lost on most folks due to all the bang bang shoot em up stuff – but it was a very good story line.

This morning I read a short story called “Bulletproof” by T.C. Boyle (this month’s Best Life magazine) which tackled a school district labeling the Biology text book with a sticker that says that Evolution is a theory and should not be construed as fact. It quickly touched the creationist argument and told a tale of a 15 year old girls powerful statement of belief. The sense of ill ease and the out of balance nature of the adults who smugly dismiss simple belief and anything non-scientific. It made you think. I recommend it.

The movie and the short story make me wonder if God might not be making a comeback in our cultural circles. (I mean I know He never left – but you could not tell that from what generally passes for art.)

So I am in a hotel room on a really beautiful morning on the cusp of September thinking deep thoughts. I hope one or two of them take hold and move me forward.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

some reading and viewing....

While as a Baha'i I do not participate in partisan politics - I am still called to be anxiously concerned over the matters of my day. Generally I am not a fan Glen Beck's stuff but this article will definitely get you thinking.

A hearty thank you to my friend Fardin for pointing out this video pointing out the plight of the Baha'i's in Iran by the Director of the film Persepolis: this is well worth the watch.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Today's doings

Happy Birthday to Shawn a day late, and happy birthday to Dawn and Amy. August is quite the busy month with birthdays.

Slept late. Then after my free breakfast at the hotel - I went out and fetched in some food for my room for the week.

Today I argued with my very old personal laptop - and the computer won. Not a good sign for a computer professional. I am watching the Olympics as I type this - maybe they will have discus tonight so I can get some pointers on form. (See my sales background teaches me that if you want to get people to buy you have to create a need!!)

I also went to Outback Steakhouse and had an outrageously good rib eye steak with grilled asparagus and sweet potato's cooked with vanilla and shaved almonds. Twas worth every penny of the investment!

I was at the Mall but passed on going to see Tropic Thunder - seemed like a good idea up until I had to pony up the cash and then I walked away and went to Starbucks for dessert. Life is too short to waste your time on sub-par entertainment.

Saturday's away are the hardest day of the week. But this one too has passed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The true Olympics

While I have enjoyed watching the Olympics so far - from the outtakes of the Opening Ceremony I viewed on-line, to everybody who dives in the pool breaking a world record, I ran track in high school. For me the true Olympics start Friday when the Track & Field competition finally starts.

It's always nice to know one is not alone. This is a quote from the reporter who covers Track & Field for Sports Illustrated:

Customarily, in the Olympic realm, I am a track and field writer, but these are the Olympic Games, where versatility is required, and besides, the track meet does not begin until Friday morning in Beijing. I covered road cycling on the weekend for Sports Illustrated (cycling is track on bikes) and on Monday morning in Beijing I was in attendance at the Cube (swimming is track in the water). I also cover horse racing (which is track on horseback). But enough.

Tim Layden

Sports Illustrated

Well said!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Third times the charm...

Working away from home can be difficult - especially on the weekends. There just aren't many folks (in towns you are not from) - to tell you just how funny, or good looking you are.

I have been in Cedar Rapids for 4 weeks now and I have visited the Baha'i Center twice previous to today's visit. Each time there was a very small crowd for the weekly devotional gathering. I was not going to go today... even said as much in an email to my wife last night - but decided to go anyway (there was just so many other things to do!!!). Needless to say the place was packed. About 17 folks came, babies, college students, and some mature flowers in the garden of the was a great gathering and indeed what was necessary to remind me who I am..

Thank you Lord!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Today's Quotes

just some er..wisdom from stuff I have read on line today

"James Madison, the father of our Constitution, who said, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."

Sure looks like the founders of our country intended a welfare state and nationalized healthcare - yep sure do!

"To expect innovation without support is hallucination."

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.
- Charles Mackay

"The Mets have set an all-time franchise ticket sales record of 3,863,542 for the final season at Shea Stadium, marking the third consecutive year the club has broken its previous mark....

The Mets this year are averaging 50,671 fans through 53 home games, for a total attendance of 2,685,582. That puts them on pace to eclipse the 4-million mark for the first time in team history.

The Mets drew 3,853,949 fans to Shea last year. They will begin play in new Citi Field starting next season."

"Squarely in the winners column in the aftermath of the Brett Favre trade is SNY, which offers plenty of Jets-related programming but last season was stuck with an awful, eventually irrelevant team.

Not anymore! Well, the Jets still might be awful, but they're not irrelevant.

SNY staffers plan to take a break from celebratory dancing in the newsroom to produce a special edition of "Jets Nation" to be seen at 6:30 p.m. today.

Earlier this afternoon the station will be busy with some sort of baseball game. They still play baseball in New York? Who knew? We're a football town now! Sort of."

well that's all the remaining functioning brain cell can handle - good night!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The's only up from here...for a while

OK so someone has got to be brave enough to do it...
today was the start of the recovery from this bear market.
Time to watch the Olympics- and remember just how good and strong America is. Time for the Presidential Conventions and hopes for a better future.
This year will end up on a positive economic note.. because in the end to be an American is to be a dreamer.

After all:

¿Qué es la vida?
Un frenesi.

¿Qué es la vida?
Una ilusion,
una sombra,
una ficcion.

Y el mayor bien
es pequeño,
que toda la vida es sueño,
y los sueños sueños son."

by Don Pedro Calderón de la Barca ... 1600-1681

Bonnie Noches folks!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Home Report..

Well for the current 6 month contract being home is going to be a rarer event.
Today is the last full day of this visit that does not involve regularly scheduled working hours.
So far, my wife still recognized me, I have gotten a chance to visit with both my daughters and to play with both my grandchildren. A successful weekend by any standard.

I also saw The Dark Knight - and while probably the best of all the Batman films - it was not my cup of tea. Heath Ledger did a fine job as the joker - but I do not believe it is Oscar worthy. Iron Man is still the best comic book to movie - movie of the year.

The Met's are dysfunctional. I must admit that I do not believe anyone from the NL East is worthy of the World Series this year.

Hosted Feast last night - it was my first Feast back home since March.

I am concerned about the Baha'i's in Iran - the string of arson's this year directed at members of the Faith, the 7 leaders still under arrest. I applaud the House of Representatives for passing their 10th resolution condemning the Iranian government for their mistreatment of the Baha'i Community in their country. I pray this comes to an end soon.

But for now - it is onward and upward - I am thankful to be working in this troubled economy.. even if it is a thousand miles away.