Home | Links | Weblog


exhalations
Wednesday, October 31, 2001
  
Today's Washington Post contains an article on how easily Saudis can get visas to the U.S.


(0) comments
Tuesday, October 30, 2001
  
It's cold and the crickets have stopped chirping.


(0) comments
  
The New York Times has a good article on U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia. There's an especially good anecdote about ambassador Hume Horan back in 1988. "What the Saudis didn't like about him, though, was that he was the best Arabic speaker in the State Department, and had used his language skills to engage all kinds of Saudis, including the kingdom's conservative religious leaders who were critical of the ruling family. The Saudis didn't want someone so adroit at penetrating their society, so of course we withdrew Mr. Horan."


(0) comments
Monday, October 29, 2001
  
For some reason the word Homeland, as in the Office of Homeland Security, bothers me. In the past it seems that I've only noticed it used as a place for those who are displaced and need a home. It's ironic that Neil Young uses the word in the song Pocahontas to refer to the lost Native American homeland:
"Aurora borealis 
The icy sky at night
Paddles cut the water
In a long and hurried flight
From the white man to the fields of green
And the homeland we've never seen"


(0) comments
  
I'm not the only person to notice the bad driving habits of some motorists with flags.

The New York Times has an article on Muslim Organizations Call for End to Bombing, suggesting that a more long-term policy be developed to combat terrorism. I think it's a good sign that American Muslims feel free to criticize the bombing, while condemning the Sept. 11 attacks.


(0) comments
Sunday, October 28, 2001
  
Saw a free showing of the film Pollack starring and directed by Ed Harris. It was a good film that could have been a lot better had the microphone not been visible in about half of the scenes. At first it was funny, then annoying, then hilarious. The average age of the audience was about 60. Since the World Series game 2 was on tv, there probably weren't many baseball fans there.


(0) comments
Thursday, October 25, 2001
  
In the battle for the hearts and minds of the Afghanis, we should be making a bigger deal of the fact that several of the Sept. 11 terrorists, who were killing people in the name of Allah, were drinking and gambling the night before the attacks, activities that are strictly forbidden for Muslims.


(0) comments
  
I wonder why it is that many of the motorists that I see speeding or driving recklessly have those American flags attached to their vehicles.


(0) comments
Wednesday, October 24, 2001
  
A while back I was thinking about defining moments in my life, such as the Kennedy assasinations, the Cuban missle crisis, the Vietnam War, and Martin Luther King's assasination. I realized that the only other time I've felt threatened at home besides now was during the standoff with the Soviet Union over Cuba. I was very young and have a vague memory of that being a very dangerous time. After watching Thirteen Days last night, I now realize how close we came to nuclear war. And got a better feeling for how much pressure a President is under from the military establishment during a conflict. I hope Bush has what it takes to properly deal with the current military leaders.


(0) comments
Tuesday, October 23, 2001
  
Finally finished the Utah trip report on the Bryce/Zion bike trip that we took earlier this month. I sometimes wonder why I put so much time into these reports, but one of the benefits is being able to review them years later and remember the experience a bit more vividly. Having a cold helped to keep me at home and focused enough to complete it.


(0) comments
Monday, October 22, 2001
  
lgf posted a reference to Matt Welch's recommended web logs. I've only read a few and look forward to exploring the others. With so much to read on the web it's a wonder that books and magazines are still selling so well.


(0) comments
  
The Washington Post Book World, one of my favorite publications, included a good overview of references on Terrorism and the Middle East.


(0) comments
  
While in Staunton (pronounced stanton by the locals), we were walking around town on Friday night after dinner. I wanted to see the new Blackfriars Playhouse, "an authentic indoor Elizabethan playhouse modeled after Shakespeare's Blackfriars". We weren't allowed to check it out, so we decided to see the night's production. While it wasn't a Shakespeare play, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, was very entertaining although a bit confusing at times. Somehow I've avoided learning anything about the popular play and movie before now.

The playhouse is beautiful, with polished wooden bench seats with exposed wooden beams and a very simple stage. The audience is close to the action, which makes for a very intimate setting. I hope the theater can survive in this small (about 25,000 pop.) Virginia town.


(0) comments
  
Back from a beautiful weekend in Staunton, VA after attending the Shenandoah Fall Festival bike rides. We've gone for several years and each time we return it's like discovering the area all over again. Met some fellow bicycle advocates and it's encouraging to hear about their work around the state. The downside was the sore throat and cold that developed over the weekend, and today I'm wasted. So I sit around and watch reports of more exposures to Anthrax, wondering whether what I have is really a cold, or something worse.


(0) comments
Tuesday, October 16, 2001
  
Isn't this a good time to be discussing ways in which the U.S. can figure out how to be less dependant on Middle Eastern oil? Especially in light of how vulnerable the Saudi oil reserves appear to be, according to this article in the New Yorker on the Saudi royal family. I haven't heard anyone in Congress or the White House talking about the need for energy conservation, and it will be too late to do much once the oil stops flowing.


(0) comments
  
I never thought I would need it, but now it's hard to imagine living without Caller ID. Not answering Out of Area calls screens about 99% of the junk calls that used to take up so much time and psychic energy. Now I need to work on email, since I get a ratio of about 8 to 1 junk vs. real email these days. The past 6 months have really gotten bad, enough so that I'm thinking of changing my email address.


(0) comments
  
There is something very satisfying about throwing a well-centered pot. It is especially so after having toiled away in several beginner classes not able to really get the technique down. And when I did throw a good pot it was usually just by chance and it couldn't be repeated. During yesterday's class things seemed to come together. I had initially been frustrated that the class was very unstructured, but there is a lot to be said for just playing with the clay and watching how it reacts without thinking that each throw has to be perfect.


(0) comments
Sunday, October 14, 2001
  
On a beautiful Saturday we spent most of the day in the basement putting it back together after a termite scare, then put our travel bikes together and generally cleaned up. It was a shame not to take advantage of the great, insect-free weather, but it was one of those things that had to get done before driving us nuts. Then we watched "Oh Bother Where Art Thou" which was much funnier than I thought it would be, and it gave me a chance to check out the music I'd been hearing about. I normally can't take much of George Clooney, but he was actually a rather likeable character. And it was fun to hear some good old bluegrass for a change.


(0) comments
Friday, October 12, 2001
  
Interesting article at the Judicial Watch web site, quoting a Wall Street Journal article, about senior George Bush's ties to the Bin Laden family.


(0) comments
Thursday, October 11, 2001
  
Organizing photos from the Utah trip. For the first time, I took only digital photos using the Canon PowerShot A5. With 8MB and 16MB flash cards (1 ea.), I was able to take about 110 photos at 1024x768 resolution.


(0) comments
  
Nokia has introduced a pretty cool new cell phone, the Nokia 5510. "Every now and then it is crucial that you turn your thinking around. This time we took a phone, turned it sideways, added a full keyboard, music, and some fun! "

Jeff and Joan Masters are riding their bikes across the U.S., using nearly the same route that my Adventure Cycling group took 2 years ago. They are headed west to east and are now in Arizona.


(0) comments
Monday, October 08, 2001
  
Back from a bike trip to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. We had beautiful weather and some excellent cycling. Plan to write more later, possibly a trip report as well.

Had some time to read most of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, an excellent book by Michael Chabon about coming of age in the 70's.


(0) comments