Saturday, April 28, 2007


One of the nicest things that happened at my installation, besides seeing family and friends, and hearing inspiring words, and singing inspiring music (including two pieces written expressly for the event!), was the gift of a trombone:

Actually, it has been lent to me, for the summer, so I can march with the local community band at the Cherry Festival. I am tickled to be back playing music and marching again.

Thank you, all!

Friday, April 20, 2007

horrific lesson

First, a moment of silence for all those affected by the shootings in Blacksburg, Virginia. {silence}
Next, a reflection on the refrain uttered by many newscasters and their interviewees, "this kind of thing doesn't happen here!" We humans expend a great deal of energy denying that we will ever die, or get sick, or experience tragedy of some other kind. I'm trying to adopt a more Buddhist understanding: it will and it does happen to us, and accepting that frees up all that energy we've been using in denial, which is then available for work in the moment, and appreciation of the good things we are able to enjoy.
If we *really* want to honor the victims of the Virginia Tech slayings, we will use this opportunity to wake up from our trance, and engage more deeply the practice of living, fully, in each moment.
So may we be.

Friday, April 13, 2007

our prejudices, ourselves

Harvey Fierstein writes in the New York Times op-ed page today about the Imus brouhaha, and wonders how we choose which hate speech we will tolerate, and which we'll protest until the speaker is fired. He notes that "hate speech against homosexuals is as common as spam."
He finishes: "I urge you to look around, or better yet, listen around and become aware of the prejudice in everyday life. We are so surrounded by expressions of intolerance that I am in shock and awe that anyone noticed all these recent high-profile instances. Still, I’m gladdened because our no longer being deaf to them may signal their eventual eradication.
The real point is that you cannot harbor malice toward others and then cry foul when someone displays intolerance against you. Prejudice tolerated is intolerance encouraged. Rise up in righteousness when you witness the words and deeds of hate, but only if you are willing to rise up against them all, including your own. Otherwise suffer the slings and arrows of disrespect silently."

I am glad that Harvey noted the inconsistency / hypocrisy in some of this, but I wish he'd stopped before writing that last paragraph. Suffering in silence won't help anyone. Virtually all of us have at least one prejudice stuck in our heads. I prefer to stick with Harvey's penultimate paragraph: if we are no longer deaf to some of these epithets, maybe we are one small step closer to their eradication. Let us acknowledge (and address) our own prejudices, but let us not be silent as we do so.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

a legal "perfect storm"

Dahlia Lithwick, on, writes that the the Duke rape case and the Gonzales / fired US attorneys controversy are linked. The Duke case demonstrates the immense power (and fallibility) of prosecutors, which shows why they should be as free as possible from political coercion.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

b.c. r.i.p.

Johnny Hart died yesterday (07 April). The creator of the "B.C." comic strip, he died at his storyboard. His overt Christianity sometimes got him in trouble, but I really liked a lot of his strips. Perhaps my favorite (paraphrased): one character asks another, "for what will human kind be most remembered?" The other replies: "Accidental survival."

Rest in peace, Johnny. Thank you for all the laughs.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

thin kyle keeper

This is our front room, in the midst of Becky tearing out the carpet. Notice the lovely wood underneath. We make a good team--I handle the everyday stuff, bills, laundry, dishes...and she tackles the larger projects. I am a lucky man.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

violets are pink

Not that I'm competing with J or anything, but here is a picture of our flowers (indoor, of course).