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|Sunday, June 15th, 2008|
I've just been looking over a map of the electoral college and some polls, after I keep hearing people talk about Obama being "a sure thing" and "certain to be the next president." While this SHOULD be true, with 4 dollar gasoline, the mortgage crisis and two wars going on that are sucking money into a vortex never to return...
Remember what country this is.
They voted for Bush.
We need to work harder, or we're sure to lose. Current Mood: Frightened
|Saturday, June 14th, 2008|
|More from '1491'
More from Charles Mann's book "1491":
*The oldest city in the world could have been in Peru.
*Three-fifths of all the crops grown today in the world originated in South or Mesoamerica.
*With the discovery of the Monte Verde site in Southern Chile, which is approximately 30,000 years old, and the reflection that people only came to the island of Great Britain 12,500 years ago, (because it was covered in glaciers) why the heck is Europe called the "Old World"? Current Mood: curious
Stormy, my intrepid Korean cat who had to stay behind in Asia when I left is doing very well. Cara, her new owner in Anjung is having a birthday party for her today, (Stormy's birthday is June 14th) with roast chicken, chicken broth, presents and guests, and the celebration continues here at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem with "STORMYVERSARY 2008". The schedule for today:
11 a.m. - A large, black and white papier mache cat is carried down Commercial Street here in Salem, accompanied by area high school marching bands.
12 p.m. - Barbecued salmon fish fry; face painting, carnival.
1 p.m. - Fleetwood Mac reunion concert, at Redwood Plaza.
2 p.m. - Stormy look-alike contest, Fairgrounds East Pavilion.
3-6 p.m. - Meet TWO of the surviving actors from the Paul Lynde movie, "That Darn Cat" (1964)
6-9:30 p.m. - Carnival rides, cat petting zoo (NO DOGS ALLOWED), the Bean and Zelda Stormy Roast, FOOD, FOOD, FOOD!! Autographs with Stevie Nicks, (West Gazebo) Tethered balloon rides and LeBron James Basketball Exhibition. Robert Plant performs at Redwood Pavilion.
9:30 p.m. - FIREWORKS.
HAPPY STORMYVERSARY 2008! BUY AN ALL DAY FUN PACK FOR THE KIDS!!! Current Mood: bouncy
|Friday, June 13th, 2008|
|Guilty or Not Guilty?
More stuff I gleaned from Charles Mann's book, "1491":
Although the statistics are doubted by some, the estimate is that there were 25.2 million people in Central Mexico when Hernan Cortez landed on the coast in 1519; by 1625 there were approximately 730,000 left, a decline of 97%. Smallpox, measles and the flu killed just about the entire native population of the Americas. Who needs a Zombie apocalypse? An entire world was destroyed. The pre-Columbian world of the Native Americans. Are the Spanish guilty of genocide? Why or why not? Current Mood: curious
|Little squirrely germs...
I was very sorry to hear that Tim Russert died. He was a nice man, and too young to go...
I'm reading the most fascinating book about the Indians in the New World. "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles Mann talks about how there were probably more people in the Americas than Europe before the Spanish came to the New World. This brings to mind "some" of the stuff that Graham Hancock has written about, (he has since sort of lost his mind) about "lost histories" and civilizations from pre-history that have yet to be uncovered. Although some of the figures are in dispute, it appears that up to 95% of the Indians in the New World died of disease between 1492 and 1622. It's a brilliant book and prehistory of the Americas is continually being rewritten. Even cultures in the rainforest are being uncovered, (unfortunately due to deforestation) that are thousands of years old. Not just tribes with no contact with the modern world, but monumental earthworks, canals, foundations... Mann challenges some of the traditional assertions about the Spanish Conquest of Peru. It seems possible that smallpox reached the Incas before the Spanish did. One chapter talks about Hernan De Soto's weird greedy ramblings through the American South and Southwest in 1539-42, looking for El Dorado. De Soto (a murdering, raping plunderer) and his Conquistadors found huge Indian towns full of thousands and thousands of people along the Mississippi River. De Soto died of fever and his expedition ended in failure. The next Europeans to pass through the area came in 1682. The found nothing. Only the remains of long abandoned villages, bones, etc. Terrible. Current Mood: calm
|More at home...
There are more clothes here at my parent's home than in a department store. Buying clothes for my father for Father's day or his birthday is useless, since they possess every garment ever made--er, that is, for a man over 65. I have alot of clothes to choose from, (since I didn't bring any) but they aren't exactly appropriate. It's like:
ME: I...I can't wear this golf shirt...
MOTHER: Why not? It's a very nice shirt.
ME: Because it makes me look like Gerald Ford.
On the other hand, I look kind of country club snazzy. Today is my father's 80th birthday, and nothing is planned except ice cream. This is because my nephews can't come until tomorrow.
And there is a Zombie Apocalypse happening, which is fitting, since it IS Friday the 13th, and the likelihood that John McCain will be the next president makes 2009 the end of civilization anyway. So, why not today instead? Someone said we could easily get away from the Zombies by driving somewhere. With gas at these prices?
Finally, my mother removed all of my Asian stuff from my old bedroom and put it away in storage, (inexplicably--too "Foreign" I guess) and replaced Korean masks with a large oil painting of a Paris street with a shop that reads "VINS-FROMAGE". I said, "Oh, you know what fromage means, right?" MOM: "No, what?" ME: "Brothel."
Heh, heh. Current Mood: cranky
|Thursday, June 12th, 2008|
My hometown seems "foreign", like a place I've never been to. It's fancier than it was growing up. Booming. The air seems different out here than in New York. The light seems different. I can't place my finger on it. My parents have aged 1,000 years in the last five. Or ten. How long have I been gone? It's like they're my grandparents now. I had to drive my mother around today and help her in and out of the car. It's terribly disconcerting.
How is Oregon different than Central New York? No Italians, for one thing. Towns are twenty or thirty miles apart, rather than two or three.
Tomorrow is my father's 80th birthday. We should hire some llamas and a clown. Current Mood: confused
I'm in Oregon. I miss Ami's beautiful cat face... Current Mood: calm
|Wednesday, June 11th, 2008|
|Heading West Again...
The Star of Empire
Makes its Way.
--Inscription on the pioneer monument at the Oregon State Capitol Current Mood: Good
|Tuesday, June 10th, 2008|
I've been to alot of cities, but San Francisco is the finest, I think. I love the houses and the cablecars and the hills. We were able to hang out at Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 a bit, (with the sea lions) go up Coit Tower, (and see a hummingbird) tour around on the MUNI, go to Castro Street, (there is a big rainbow flag at the Harvey Milk Cultural Center and a branch of U.S. Bank right next to the Castro Theater; my father worked for U.S. Bank for 42 years and would be appropriately horrified to learn that there is one on Castro Street, er, that is if he knew Castro Street existed, that is!)
Ami was surprised at how many Italians there were in San Francisco. North Beach is heavily Italian and there are tons of restaurants. We went to Caffe Trieste, just a block north of our hotel on Broadway several times for capuccino. We bought books at City Lights, had pizza and burgers and seafood. Golden Gate Park on a warm, sunny day is amazing. The botanical gardens there is one of the best I've ever seen, and all open air. The trees! The plants from all over the world! The Japanese Tea Garden! The quaintness!
The prices! We're poor now.
Haight-Ashbury is pretty tourist-ruined and a big disappointment overall, but we did find a great bookstore and Amoeba Music is absolutely wonderful. If I lived in San Francisco, (oh if I lived in San Francisco!) I'd be in there for days. Current Mood: Hot
|Leaving on a jet plane, don't know when...
Ami in a top hat...
Ami in her red, backless blouse...
Ami with Bean...
Ami moving the box with Zelda in it closer to her...
Ami on a tractor...
Ami at Turning Stone Casino in her Snow Goose outfit...
Ami lifting up the top of the record player to play a record...
Ami teaching Morgan the violin...
Ami planting things on a farm...
Ami on a skateboard...
Ami showing off her tattoo...
Ami wearing a Greek fisherman's hat in San Francisco...
Ami with a salamander...
Ami reading "The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy"...
Ami driving the car while fiddling with the radio...
Ami looking at me over her glasses...
Ami touching my bum...
Ami telling me I'm handsome, even when I don't believe it...
Ami singing along to a song on the computer...
Ami playing the guitar...
Ami walking away at the airport gate and me getting on a plane. Current Mood: Sorrowful
|Sunday, June 8th, 2008|
We're back from San Francisco. My favorite city in the world. But, it's nice to be home. I'm going to Oregon on Wednesday. Another cross-country trip.
Hillary finally concedes. Was that a concession? In other news, the New England Patriots have finally conceded the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. Current Mood: Tired
|Monday, June 2nd, 2008|
We're off to the West Coast! I'll be offline all week! See ya! Current Mood: Off
|Sunday, June 1st, 2008|
Ami and I went to her cousins' graduation party yesterday. I was the only non-Italian there. I haven't seen that much food since...
I've never seen that much food.
We're going to San Francisco tomorrow! Current Mood: full
|Saturday, May 31st, 2008|
Yesterday evening we went to Chittenango (near Syracuse) to attend the first night of the "Ozfest" which commemorates the fact that L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz books was born there in 1856. The sidewalks through the small downtown are painted yellow, several businesses have names like "The Emerald City Cafe" and there are fireworks every night.
We were excited to see the petting zoo set in the middle of the quaint little town's main park, but found it sort of disappointing. Well, that's an understatement: the petting zoo SUCKED. A few nibbly goats, a shy tortoise that wouldn't give anyone the time of day, two aloof llamas, skittish emus that would assault anyone who came near them, (out of fear) a small bull that kept trying to lay a goat, two rabbits that nobody could touch because they were in a wire enclosure, a wallaby that bites and a rather disheveled zebra. The petting zoo was over in seconds.
There was also a hideously overpriced carnival with about four rides, $4 cotton candy, $3 slices of pizza, and a stand that sold Confederate flags (and a banner that read SOUTHERN BORN BY THE GRACE OF GOD. Err, I thought we WON the war?). I'm still overcoming culture shock at being in America and was a little shocked to see 13 and 14 year old girls wearing short-shorts and tank tops trying to hook up with the local 14 year old versions of Sk8ter Boy, (while screaming "WHERE THE FUCK IS JASON?!!..." into cellphones.
Somewhat depressed by all of this, we drove to Chittenango Falls State Park which is pretty awesome, and a few miles from town. It's about 60 meters high, and cascades over a very impressive rock face into a white river. There is a trail that leads from the top of the falls down to a wooden bridge across the river down below. So, American culture disappoints at times, but nature rarely does.
I was curious as to whether anyone besides Ami and I had actually ever READ any of the Oz books. Shouldn't the Oz Fest have something vaguely to do with L. Frank Baum? To be fair, they were selling some of the books, (along with other stuff, including wooden plaques that read WORLD'S GREATEST RETIREE and mood stabilizing rings, shark teeth, desert rose quartz and hippie jewelry).
To cap the evening, we went on a tethered hot air balloon. I don't know how far we were off the ground, but we saw Chittenango from the air. The hot air valve where the fire comes out scared the shite out of me and I was kind of glad when it was over. Then they had 20 minutes of pretty cool fireworks. There were apparently some of the surviving Munchkins there earlier in the evening, but we missed them. It continues today with a parade, but it's rainy... Current Mood: Ozzed
|Friday, May 30th, 2008|
Ami and I walk in to the doctor's office for her appointment and the nurse asks about me, "Oh is that your dad?"
(I'm 41 and she's 26) Current Mood: Old
|Franz Kunstler, (1900-2008)
Eighty-nine years and six months after the armistice of November 11th, 1918, the last World War I veteran of Austria-Hungary has died in Germany. Franz Kunstler, 107, was born in the Kingdom of Hungary, (in a part of eastern Hungary now in Romania) which was part of the Hapsburg's Austrian Empire. He was in an artillery unit that saw action on the Italian front from February 1918 until the end of the war. He also served in the Ukraine in the German Army during World War II. In 1946, ethnic Germans were expelled from Hungary and Romania and he took up residence in West Germany where he was a museum guide.
Currently there is one known American veteran of the First World War left alive, and one in Great Britain. Current Mood: Amazed
|The Aging Indiana Jones, Space Aliens, a Weird Plastic Skull and the Indians...
I saw the new Indiana Jones movie, and thought the concept was kind of interesting but was annoyed that the Russians were turned into the cartoonish villains of the week, (what's next? Arabs? Somebody needed to replace the Nazis). Also, why is it that anyone with even a hint of pigment in their skin is turned into an ultra-violent, primitive, sadistic murderer who kills all outsiders on sight? It's like:
INDIANA JONES: Jeepers! Natives!
NATIVES: ABBAGOOGOO BAGHSHHTHTHTYH!!! AIEEEEE! [Kill them!]
Then a jungle wide chase ensues usually ending on a cliff where all the natives die or are driven off in hysterics at the concept of the flashlight or the sneaker. I will say, though, that I liked the general plot. I dig aliens, South America, skulls and lost cities. The Crystal Skull seemed to be a conglomerate of the crystal skull found in Mexico in the 1920s and the weirdly shaped Star Child Skull that some say is of an alien but is probably from a child suffering from some kind of bone deformity. Keeping to the pattern of the Indiana Jones Suspension of Belief to Watch This Movie Plan, we are presented with Cate Blanchett dressed up as the cartoon character Natasha, minus Boris, a grizzled, long-haired John Hurt, seeming to reprise his role as the spaced out incarcerated hippie in "Midnight Express", a Marlon Brando stereotype with motorcycle, (since this is the 1950s) two trenchcoat wearing KGB agents in a smalltown American malt shop, and fully uniformed Russian soldiers waltzing around the Peruvian jungle with trucks and other military vehicles.
And ants! AND SNAKES!
There are also alot of Cold War stereotypes. But: oh, go see it anyway! Current Mood: O.K.