Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year’s Eve

Stony Point - December 31, 1972

Stony Point – December 31, 1972

I took this picture at Northport Point, Michigan, forty-one years ago with my then-new Yashica TL-E SLR and a roll of Tri-X Pan film that I had bummed off a friend. I was hurrying home in the late afternoon — it gets dark really early up there this time of year — and it was really cold, so I just pointed and clicked.  I was surprised how well it turned out, and still am.

Anyway, other than my usual ALNM post later tonight, this is my last post for the year.  I’m planning a very quiet night at home with the Engstrom family (the subject of my current novel-in-progress) and I’m going to avoid the outdoors because people have a nasty habit of shooting off fireworks and firearms to celebrate, and you never know where they – neither the ordnance or the people — will land.  So I’ll say it now: Happy New Year, Friends.  Stay safe and warm and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mazel Tov

Greg Louganis got married last weekend.

Louganis, 53, married paralegal Johnny Chaillot, 52, Saturday evening at Geoffrey’s in Malibu. “It was amazing because I have so many people from all facets of my life here tonight and they are all here and celebrating it is all wonderful,” Louganis told PEOPLE immediately following the sunset ceremony. “I already feel different. The ceremony was so reflective and representative of who we are.” The recent Splash coach and Chaillot began dating in 2012 after finding each other on the online dating site Match.com and became engaged almost exactly a year later on April 8.

Best wishes to the happy couple.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shock Absorption

So once again we are plunged into it.  Another news flash, another banner of “BREAKING NEWS” across the TV screens, another series of jumpy videos from the scene, another ceaseless round of eyewitness reports, rumors, speculation, and instant deep analysis of the psyche of America: who would do such a thing at such a time and place?

You would think that by now we would be used to it, but we never are.  We can anticipate the reactions on a general scale, but there is always something jarring about the realization that once again one or more among us has done something deliberately horrible to other people.  There will be vapid attempts by good people to explain the why, but it’s never the real answer, and when we don’t know who, we reach for the simple one: it must be this other group that hates us, or it must have been a loner with a tormented soul who could never explain why and didn’t survive to give us an answer.  We can never accept that it is someone among us, someone who stood behind us to buy a donut or passed on the street while we walked the dog, not ever noticing them because neither of us is particularly noticeable.

The realization can make us paranoid; we can’t trust each other any more, we can’t feel safe.  So we dump our soda bottles at the airport, we wonder about the guy with the beard and the hat, we try to come up with some way to rationalize our fear and shake our heads and remember when it was okay to run down the airport concourse to meet a passenger or ride the bus and not feel queasy about the person muttering to himself as he reads a book written in a script we can’t read.  But it’s only the weakest among us who have the strength to carry that hopelessness.  Most of us have the will and the determination not to let that terror overwhelm us.

No one speaking on TV or writing on a blog yet knows why a spring afternoon on a street in Boston was turned from a sporting event to a war zone.  We trust the people we’ve entrusted our safety to — the police and their agencies — to find the clues that will lead us to an answer, and while we wait we speculate and muse and listen to others, we should know that while all the answers may never be found, we’ll find enough of them to absorb the shock and go on.

As Harry Chapin sang, there are planes to catch and bills to pay.  We are a resilient people, and while we hurt and grieve and our step may falter for a moment, we go on, safe in the knowledge that we are safe and cared for; that yesterday people ran to the carnage on Boylston Street, not away; that hundreds of people gave something of themselves — literally gave blood and treasure — to help others who yesterday morning they did not know existed.  This is how we absorb the shock: by seeing that in the reflection of the flash of horror, there we are giving and helping and searching to save the ones who need us.

Keep calm and carry on.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Short Takes

The Senate confirmed John Kerry to be Secretary of State.

President Obama pushes immigration reform in Las Vegas.

Things are still chaotic in Egypt.

Australia cleans up after floods.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stepping down.

Miami New Times says clinic supplied A-Rod and others with drugs.

Mazel tov to Jim Nabors and his husband on their marriage.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hillary Clinton Recovering

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still in a New York hospital being treated for a blood clot in her head after suffering a concussion in December.

“It did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage,” Dr. Lisa Bardack of Mt. Kisco Medical Group in New York and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi of George Washington University said in a joint statement released Monday.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to make a full recovery after spending a fourth day in a New York City hospital for a blood clot in her head that developed following a fall and concussion she suffered last month. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

“To help dissolve this clot, her medical team began treating the secretary with blood thinners. She will be released once the medication dose has been established.”

This is a standard and safe therapy for such a blood clot, according to a review published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005. Dr. Jan Stam of the University of Amsterdam said the clots are rare – affecting 3 to 4 people out of a million every year. Some doctors fear that blood thinners for a clot near the brain could be dangerous, but it’s the best way to dissolve the clot. “More than 80 percent of all patients now have a good neurologic outcome,” Stam wrote.

Meanwhile, the vultures on the right are saying it’s either a conspiracy to keep her from testifying about Benghazi or that President Obama ordered a hit on her so she would never testify (I’m not making that up but I refuse to link to the site that’s saying that because my mom taught me better than that).  They’re also saying that it proves she’s too old or too frail to run for president in 2016 when she’ll be the same age as Ronald Reagan was when he ran in 1980.

I also don’t remember anyone on the right bringing up the fact that when he was nominated to be vice president in 2000, Dick Cheney had a long history of heart attacks (going back to the 1970′s), or suggesting that he resign or leave the ticket in 2004 because of continued heart problems.  That’s probably because he’s a man and men are stronger and can take the rigors of politics even if you have a heart problem… just walk it off.  But a woman?  Pshaw!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Technically the U.S. government went over the cliff at midnight, but at the last minute the White House and Republicans worked out a compromise deal on taxes and sequestration.  The Senate whooped it through 89-8, and the House will vote on it later today, which means it could still blow up and we’ll be back where we started.

Hillary Clinton is still recovering in at hospital in New York from a blood clot near her brain.  This development is not necessarily life-threatening, and doctors say she should make a full recovery.  But it does make the right-wingers who said she was faking her illness to get out of testifying before Congress about the incident in Benghazi look like churlish asshats.  But then again, they already were, so no news there.  Two years from today I expect us to be chattering about her standing in the Iowa polls, a year out from the Iowa caucuses.

Marriage equality comes to Maryland today.  It was one of three states that voted by public referendum to legalize the unions over the objections of such ironically-named hate groups like Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage, and One Million Moms.  They had claimed that judges and legislatures had no business overturning the will of the people and no state would allow same-sex marriage if the the people got to vote on it.  Maryland and two other states, Maine and Washington, made that point moot, and now those groups are trying to figure out a way to overturn the elections.  Best wishes to the happy couples.

The last two Cuban day workers at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base have retired, but there’s no legal way for the U.S. to pay their hard-earned Defense Department pension without violating the embargo.  It’s long past time the embargo itself was retired, and without a pension.

Today marks Marty’s thirteenth birthday.  She’s been my friend Brian’s faithful companion since she was a pup, and she’s still going strong.  Best wishes.

And today marks a milestone for my 1988 Pontiac 6000 LE Safari station wagon, which I have also had since it was a pup.  It is now officially 25 years old, thus making it an antique car.

That’s what it looked like when it was twenty years old.  I’ll have more pictures of it later this week when it comes back from the body shop where it’s getting some nips and tucks done to make it ready for its first national AACA show in February.

Happy new year, everyone, and may this one be better than the last one.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Short Takes

It’s snowing up north.

Egypt’s President Morsi admits to “mistakes” in the new constitution.

Hawai’is Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz (D) is named to fill out the term of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Former President George H.W. Bush is in “guarded condition” in a Houston hospital.

Nelson Mandela has been released from a hospital in South Africa.

The U.S. Treasury is taking steps to avoid hitting the debt ceiling.

The Supreme Court declines to rule on contraception provision in the healthcare law.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best Wishes

One of my first and most loyal blog friends has been Steve Bates at The Yellow Doggerel Democrat.  He was here at the beginning and he’s been around ever since.

This week he’s undergoing major surgery that involves amputation of a limb; one of his feet, to be exact.

I will leave it to Steve to make all the foot jokes he can, knowing it’s a part of his recovery, but I hope you’ll join me in wishing him a speedy and uneventful recovery, and that soon he’ll be able to rejoin us here in pixel form and good health.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Short Takes

Syrian helicopter reportedly shot down by rebels.

China’s economic growth is slowing.

Man arrested in plot to blow up the New York Federal Reserve.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and challenger Connie Mack (R) had a contentious debate.

Former Sen. George McGovern is in hospice care.

Tropical Update: Rafael has gone post-tropical as it heads east.

The Tigers and Yankees got rained out.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Wedding Day at McCormick’s Creek

It’s cool and damp here in the middle of McCormick’s Creek State Park in Spencer, Indiana, but it’s the perfect setting for the couple that met near here while working on AmeriCorps and where the bride spent many happy days as a child on family vacations.

The wedding will take place later today among the trees and nature and with friends, family, and the spirit of those who aren’t with us surrounding and supporting them.

Best wishes and a long and happy marriage to Parker and Molly as they start their life together.

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I’ll be back later with some photos, but for now, that’s it for blogging today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Short Takes

Mandatory evacuations are underway in areas outside New Orleans in preparation for Isaac.

Oil companies and refineries brace for the arrival of Tropical Storm Isaac.

The death toll has risen in the Venezuelan refinery explosion.

Six soldiers were punished for the burning of the Quran in Afghanistan.

Pianist Van Cliburn has bone cancer.

The daughter of Cuba’s vice president defected to Tampa earlier this month.

The Tigers had the night off.

Short Takes

Mandatory evacuations are underway in areas outside New Orleans in preparation for Isaac.

Oil companies and refineries brace for the arrival of Tropical Storm Isaac.

The death toll has risen in the Venezuelan refinery explosion.

Six soldiers were punished for the burning of the Quran in Afghanistan.

Pianist Van Cliburn has bone cancer.

The daughter of Cuba’s vice president defected to Tampa earlier this month.

The Tigers had the night off.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Short Takes

Egypt goes on the offensive in the Sinai.

President Obama authorizes more drought relief.

The shooter in the Sikh temple massacre died by killing himself.

President Obama doesn’t like the Boy Scouts’ ban on gays.

Olympics: Local Miami boy comes home with bronze.

Get Well Soon — Neil Armstrong is recovering from heart surgery.

Tropical Update: Ernesto is back to being a tropical storm as it crosses Mexico; Invest 92L is still moving west.

The Tigers‘ win streak ends as they lose to the Yankees.