Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bicycle Accidents Across the Decades

Today, my Mom opened up the Daily Urinal to find the following piece in the "100 Years Ago" section of the "Old Home Town" feature.
From the Lawrence Daily World for Sept. 30, 1907: “As Claire H**** was going to school this afternoon on his bicycle he collided on the corner between the city library and Central Hotel with W.W. Everett’s automobile. Claire was badly bruised but probably escaped death by catching hold of the car. …
Clair H**** (note the misspelling of his first name) was my grandfather. In 1907, he would have been sixteen. Dad says he never mentioned the incident, but it has to be him. There just aren't that many male "Clair H****'s out there."

OK, but here's the creepy part. MY bicycle accident in which a car "buzzed" me, causing me to fall with my full weight onto my left elbow and beginning an excruciating year of surgery, physical therapy, and insurance headaches--that happend in 1997, ten years ago this past June. So Grandpa and I were three months shy of 90 years apart in our encounters with horseless carriages. How weird is that?

All I have to say to the W.W. Everetts of the world is above and to the left. OK, that's about not opening your door when a cyclist is going by, but the spirit's there. I am happy to report that ten years after my own accident, I have full flexion and extension in the left elbow. If my grandfather had been similarly hurt, I expect he would have had a stiff arm all his life. Although traumatic, the injury might have kept him out of World War I. Funny how these things work out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Laughing to Keep from Crying

What a hilariously sad irony. There is a website devoted to the Good News from Iraq. That's right, these are dedicated citizens trying to cut through the mainstream media drumbeat of gloom with news all the victories and handovers and infrastructure projects that just don't make it to ordinary Americans. They have a number of topic sections, and when you click on infrastructure, this is what you get.

Don't believe me? Try it yourself!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Seeing Cowboy Hats

In a recent forum on immigration held to the north of us in Greeley, the county's District Attorney whipped a crowd of some 600 mostly white citizens into a fury by flashing a slide show with mug shots of ethnic Mexican men convicted of crimes. The Weld County Sheriff's Color Guard also did a presentation. Even the relatively conservative Denver Post felt compelled to condemn this nativist race-baiting and urge the white citizens to look for common ground with their neighbors.
Rather than point out how much different "they" are, as Assistant U.S. Attorney Cliff Stricklin coyly did when he said he was glad to see so many "cowboy hats, boots and American flags" in the largely white audience, it would be far more productive to highlight the things we have in common. We want safe neighborhoods. We want our children to be well-educated. We want friendly communities.
I guess the scene at left, from a Texas dancing site, is not what the Assistant U.S. Attorney had in mind when he complimented the audience on its attire and flags. The Denver Post wants long-term citizens of Greeley to "highlight the things" they "have in common" with their new ethnic Mexican neighbors. I say, why go further than the hats? And the boots? Those Mexicans, so unlike us. So alien in every possible way. Why I hear the eat barbecued beef! Whatever will we do in the face of such cultural incompatibility?

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Sonneteering notwithstanding, the CT process is rarely all that much fun. I have to skip lunch (on tamale day this time, insult to injury), drink barium, and be injected with luminescent dyes. All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia. While being pelted with monkey poo.
But, fortunately, there is good news from the latest scan: there is no longer any sign of lymphadenopathy anywhere in my chest. I'll still be in chemo for two years, but all signs point to the fact that my chemo is working.
Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me, and thank you for your thoughts and prayers,

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dude, I said I was Sorry...

I have a massive cold today. Apparently, my immune system is taking John Donne's side on this.

Monday, September 10, 2007

In Which we make beautiful music

First, Lo:
(With apologies to John Donne in particular and the English language in general):

Batter my palate, banana flavored barium for thee:
A refreshing yet mellow nectar of luminous splendor!
Let no earthly fruit sully thy chalky radioactivity,
Nor paltry luncheon interrupt thy furious temblor!

No lesion, tumor, nor button half-digested
Can hide itself before thy god-like brightness;
Thy savor like the dust from tin roofs crested,
Illuminate my colon with thy clear whiteness!

O, potassium-free seeker! Thou fruit-free pathfinder!
Let me not sojourn without tamales in vain!
Behold me and murmur: Her gullets I'll wander,
For the flavor of nanners always beats plain!

Nine weeks without barium face me, tra-la
What about next time: perchance, vanilla?

[enter Pete] OK, so that was Lola's creative outpouring. Here's mine, which came to me all at once as I was cleaning cat-sick off her blue suede shoes (no joke!). This is, of course, what husbands are for.

I'm cleaning vomit off your shoe
Because I care for you.
I'm cleaning vomit off your shoe.
It's what I like to do.
I'm cleaning vomit off your shoe
Because our love is true.
And when the vomit's off your shoe,
Your shoe will once again be blue.

Give me a call, and I'll sing it for you. I could transcribe the tune, but wouldn't you rather hear me sing? You can call me any time, because I'm quitting my day job to be a crooner.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Goodbye to Mary Douglas

Dame Mary Douglas has joined Freddy Fender and Clifford Geertz in the great beyond. She passed away back in May, and I can't believe I didn't hear about it. I am guessing that other than Jennifer, few of our readers know Mary Douglas's work directly. We've all been touched by it, though. If you found Monty's analysis of the Anglo belief that "Mexicans are Dirty" compelling, or if you took the Director's suggestion that the sexual and scatological jokes of working class mexicano men express anxiety in the face of an encompassing, alien social order, you are in dialogue with the Dame. The AAA news seemed to take a long time to get Geertz's obituary out last year, and it has repeated this pattern with Douglas. At least Geertz got decent copy-editing. In the obit for Douglas, arguably the most influential British anthropologist of the late Twentieth Century, we get this howler.
When her mother died at the age of 12, she was sent to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in South London where she found security in the hierarchical and relatively secluded world of the boarding school and the Catholic faith.
So was Douglas born to a woman younger than twelve whose corpse found solace in religion, or did somebody have a problem with their antecedents here? Come on, AAA, you can do better than that! All this is no big deal for the Dame, of course. Her body is in Dirt. May she rest in System. And for the rest of us, let's hope Heaven has more grid than group.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Mysterious Professor Zero

Thanks to Professor Zero for supportive and insightful comments.
We're waiting to hear from General Halftrack.