Rest in peace, Mr. President.
Addendum: Tim Lee wrote an exceptional post on Reagan's legacy as an effective and eloquent articulator of libertarian themes. Definitely check it out.
If I only had his brain...
I go through phases where I obsess over cooking and dream of becoming a master chef. Then something sparkles in the distance and I find myself flittering away from the kitchen. However, if medical technology could transfer the contents of someone else's brain into mine, I would kidnap Alton Brown in a heartbeat. In my secret, underground lair, on a dark and stormy night, I would perform the knowledge extraction procedure, which would grant me access to all of his culinary secrets!
Umm. What I mean to say is that Alton Brown is one of my culinary idols.
Anyway, he has a blog where he seems to enjoy bashing Dr. Phil on a regular basis. I'm quite excited about this.
I Could Go For Sushi
The title of this post shocked me this evening. Why? Because those words came out of my mouth. Never before had I uttered them with any seriousness.
The more shocking part of this experience was that I actually went and had sushi. I didn't quibble about what was in the sushi, I just ate it. It was good too. Rainbow rolls, crab, salmon, eel...I ate it all, and it was all exceedingly yummy.
What's happening to me? This is not normal.
I blame Senegal.
Outstanding Music (But I'm a Bit Biased)
I've known Joseph Hathaway since I was around three years old. I could probably write pages about our history together and what kind of a man I think he is, but I'll just say this: He's simply one of the most talented, creative and intelligent people I've ever met. I feel honored to call him my friend.
He just posted his first recorded solo work, which he's named the "Why Do You Keep Trying (To Break My Heart In Two) EP" and I urge you to give it a listen. The title track happens to be my favorite song, despite its title's attempt to remind one of an old Country song.
All four tracks are quiet, intimate and perfect for late night contemplations or lazy Sunday morning lounging, readily evoking comparisons to Sufjan Stevens, Elliott Smith, Leonard Cohen and many other modern day troubadours. His guitar playing is delicate and understated, with a myriad of timely, beautiful embellishments. His voice, which I know he's worked hard on, projects the emotion of his words exceedingly well, as it ranges from whispers to bellows (and doesn't sound like anyone else I've heard lately).
So go, listen, and then leave a comment for him on his website. I love his music, but I'm totally biased. Right now, he needs some honest feedback from people with more objective ears. Please help him out.
Son of Inspirational Quotes
One of my coworkers has taken a great interest in my well-being. She worries that my life is lacking in fun. She thinks I'm miserable. Her reasoning? I don't like to get drunk and I don't like dancing. Clearly, I'm not having any fun at all.
However, she was also concerned that after dropping my Catholic faith (which I did sometime around my Senior year of high school) I had yet to pick up another religion. She said something that sounded like, "a person needs to have direction in their life so they can continue growing." Err...it was something like that.
Anyway, while walking around D.C. yesterday, questions about my spiritual well-being were tumbling about in my head. As I sat in Tryst, reading The Masked Rider, by Neil Peart, I came across a section where he was wrestling with the same questions. His response to these questions I found particularly relevant to my own situation.
"I can worship Nature, and that fulfills my need for miracles and beauty. Art gives a spiritual depth to existence -- I can find worlds bigger and deeper than my own in music, paintings, and books. And from my friends and family I receive the highest benediction, emotional contact and personal affirmation. I can bow before the works of Man, from buildings to babies, and that fulfills my need for wonder. I can believe in the sanctity of Life, and that becomes the Revealed Word, to live my life as I believe it should be, not as I'm told to by self-appointed guides.
There are holy virtues too in this Life-worship: artistry, integrity, love, ideas, and discovery. Yes, even laughter. And no other system permits the one instinctive first cause: your own existence. You'll never be asked to die for Life. At least not for a while."
So as I made the walk home yesterday, I felt good about myself and my outlook on life. I'm doing okay, I think. Do you think she has any need to worry? I don't.
Umm, so I promised pictures and stories and whatnot, and I haven't delivered anything yet. Instead of making excuses (I have plenty, a hurt thumb, a friend's website in distress, a inoperable desktop computer and jet lag), let me just prepare you for what's to come.
All of my writing about my trip will be located in the ramblings area. For the next couple of weeks, I'll try to add something new every single day or at least every other day. I'm not going to chronicle every moment of my trip, but I hope to capture most of the remarkable sights, sounds, smells and experiences that caught my attention.
Keep in mind that I was only in Senegal for a week. Many of my perceptions, observations and conclusions may be totally naive or just plain wrong on some or all levels. If I'm lucky, someone might find my writing entertaining at the very least.
In the meantime, here is a picture of me in front of a HUGE FRICKIN' TREE that Rachel and I found in the Casamance region of southern Senegal.
...back in D.C. I'm alive. I'm in one piece. I didn't get crushed in Paris, fortunately; although I was at the airport when the accident happened.
My trip, in a word, was amazing. It could have been a disaster, given that I gave myself about three weeks to prepare for it and had no grasp of any of the languages spoken in Senegal. But luckily, a kind woman, for whom I have the deepest and most profound respect and admiration, took me by the hand and made sure I didn't get into any trouble. My trip was amazing almost entirely due to her effort. Thank you Rachel.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'm hoping to write a bunch of individual pieces that will capture different parts of my trip. I also hope to get some of the pictures I took up for viewing. All of this has been complicated by my desktop computer, which has decided to pick this time to crash with a corrupted hard drive. Ugh.
For now though, my body thinks it is somewhere around 3 in the morning. I'm going to head to bed.
So I'm in Senegal...
...and I'm writing on a very annoying and slightly defective French-style keyboard. So this will be brief.
I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy I made this trip. I have so much to write about and even more to think about.
And, I want to express again how AWESOME this woman is. She's the biggest reason this trip has been such a wonderful experience.
More from me soon!
Up, Up and Away!
Remember last year when I said I wanted an adventure? Well, I found one. I'm heading to Africa tonight to see the beautiful country of Senegal and to visit my favorite person currently residing on the African continent (actually, she's pretty swell on any continent...but that's beside the point).
Anyway, I'll be back (if everything goes well) on the 23rd. I can take about 600 pictures on my digital camera, and if any of them turn out well, I'll put up a slideshow when I get back.
Well, while I'm gone, stay frosty!
The Sux0r and the R0x0r
It looks like my 2004 softball season has been cut short. I may have a tear in my rotator cuff. That's just a guess on my part, but I'd put money on it. When I try to throw a softball, my shoulder feels like I'm grinding metal pieces together. Not good, my friends, not good.
So, I'll have a little more free time, which I can actually put to good use. I'm learning to play the guitar (and the harmonica) at the moment, keeping true to part of the list that I made last year. So far, I've had my Martin DX-1 for a week and a half. I can play a G, C, and D chord (although I can't switch between them yet). I can also go VERY slowly through the A major scale. Next week, I'll be starting lessons with a guy who includes voice lessons along with his guitar instruction.
I'm going to be a troubador.
I was actually able to sit at a drum kit and play with a band for the first time in, god knows, how long. I really suck now...I'm out of time, uncoordinated, and completely unsure of what to do with the kit. But DAMN that was fun. I really, really, really want to play the drums again. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how I can go about doing just that.
I need a soundproof room. That's all there is to it.
D.C. is getting a baseball team. Why will the city get the Montreal Expos?
"City officials have prepared a new plan they say offers Major League Baseball exactly what it has requested -- 100 percent public financing for a new ballpark if the Expos are moved to the nation's capital."
Oh joy. So, where are they going to get the money?
"The money would be raised through a new tax on large Washington businesses and taxes on tickets, concessions, merchandise, parking and other stadium-related sales."
Well, that's a good way to help the economy of D.C. Lord knows, the businesses in D.C. aren't taxed enough. Not to mention that a losing franchise easily sells tickets and merchandise no matter how expensive it all is after adding on the taxes.
Some people say that once you smell the Potomac River that it gives you a fever that makes you never want to leave D.C. I'm thinking it just helps to generate dumb ideas.
Punk Rock Girl
I figured out why I like punk rock girls so much. It's due to all of them reminding me of her.
She looks better in person...she has the tats, the piercings, the attitude, and she plays guitar. No matter which way you cut it, she's hot.
Someday, I'll give you the list of things that will raise someone on my scale of attractiveness, but for now I have to run and eat some Mongolian Bar-B-Que.
So Much to Say
I'm okay. No, really, I am. I went to Florida for a week, took in a couple of concerts, and subjected my body to a myriad of abuses on the athletic fields of Virginia.
My mood has rapidly improved with the coming of Spring. I get to frolic on the grass again, and curse on the golf course. Good times, good times.
And hopefully, I'll play a little Calvin Ball.
(This was simply a post telling the two people that read here that I am still alive and kicking. It served no other purpose)
I'm not going to write any more about Corinne after this post. However, I wrote the following text to my friend, and I thought the text appropriate for the rest of the world to read. It's not everything I'd like to say. Though, maybe you will get an idea of why I'm distraught today, why I'll be melancholy tomorrow, and why my smile will be a bit forced for some time.
"I'm okay. But I don't know if a day will pass here where I won't think of her. She sat in my office too many times, she got candy from the candy bowl too many times, I hung out by her desk too many times, got gumballs from her gumball machine too many times, squeezed the squishy kidney on her desk too many times, teased her too many times, walked to the metro with her too many times, talked about life, the universe and everything with her too many times, saw her laugh too many times or smile or say something kind or catty or sad. She surprised me constantly. She always exceeded my expectations. She looked to me for help, guidance and counsel. When I needed to see a kind face or needed sympathy, I looked to her.
She was a rock. She was happy. She was smart. She was kind. She was my friend."
Baltimore Water Taxi Accident
I've tried to think of an eloquent way to express this, but I don't have the capacity to be poetic right now.
There was a water taxi accident in Baltimore on Saturday. One of the women I work most closely with at my organization was with her fiance, her parents and her fiance's parents. She and her fiance are still missing.
My head can't really comprehend this yet. Some of you, when you read this, are going to ask if I'm okay. I am okay. I'm just upset and frustrated and angry and sad. I want to rage against the injustice in the world.
Corinne was one of my favorite people. She was one of the few reasons I still liked coming into work. I'm going to miss her...to say the least.