Thursday, November 25, 2004

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The Professional

A photograph about photography ... and those people that get real uppity about how professional they are because they make money doing whatever it is that they do.
Random Thoughts

I started a "public blog" ... At least "public" in the sense that I've invited a bunch of other people to join in, post their thoughts and to comment on what others are saying. I'm hoping that it will extend on the dialogs that were going among these people during the recent election period. I have no idea where it will go now ... probably into the ground. I don't think I know a group of "virtually social" types. I guess we'll see.

NPR had a thing on writing today. "Do a page a day and after a year, you have a book" was the bottom line. Actually, that's a pretty good idea .. though I suspect a page is a lot more than it sounds. I know I have trouble putting a page of thought together for this blog.

I was sharing some of the old stories with Eric today. He said he was having a slow day, and it was certainly a slow news day for OPI. I told him the one about Marc Nelsen giving the cat a bath. It reminded me of the night Jim Fecke, W. David F. J and I rolled David's Renault trying to find a bar, first in Stockton .. then in Freeport ... but never arriving in either place. That puts me in mind of the set design I did for the production of "Under Milkwood". Free association through the ages.

All of these memories are important to me but I realize that they mean nothing to anyone else. I watched that happen when my father died. All those things that were so very important to him ... and to me and others around him as a consequence, suddenly meant nothing at all except for the $.25 per memory they'd get at a yard sale.

I was talking to Darlene on line. She's one of the very few people from the past that I have any contact with. It was an interesting exchange:

Darlene: And lots of us have survived traumatic events in childhood. Peggy's Mom used to say, "Lots of us make a living off our scars." You may remember she was a famous child psychologist.

Darlene is no longer idle at 11:38:17 AM.

Darlene is idle at 11:39:13 AM.

Me: as a matter of fact, I remember F. Michael inadvertantly spilling a drink down someone's back at Peggy's mom's place ... some kind of reception, I think

Me: not sure how I ended up there .. that's actually the only clear image I have of the event I think I was the only one who saw it ... and Michael, with a his puckish look, trying to brush the droplets off the back of the jacket

Darlene: Yes, I remember that party. Maria invited us all. We got into an argument about the game of "Go," and Peggy grabbed the phone and called the ultimate expert, Edward Teller, a family friend.

(10 minute silence in chat)

Darlene: You know, the guy who invented the atomic bomb?

Darlene: That Edward Teller.

Me: yup .. that guy

Me: also of the Larry Livermore Lab

Darlene: Where's that one?

Me: Lawrence Livermore ... I was using the familiar

I hope Darlene didn't think I was being sarcastic. Actually, I probably was being a little sarcastic. sometimes that streak gets the better of me.

I found the incident so amusing. It was also very nice to remember with someone. It was nice to have a common past. I don't know why I find that both amusing and touching ... maybe vindicating.

And still, chat remains a little bit of the thearter of the absurd when you read the transcript back.
Perspective and a History Lesson

For those who don't know, Dennis Miller is a comedian who has a show called Dennis Miller Live on HBO. He is not Jewish. He recently said the following about the Mideast situation:

"A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all Americans who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs, which is all you really need. Here we go:

"The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Before the Israelis won the land in the 1967 war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, the West Bank was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians."

"As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the "Palestinians," weeping for their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation."

"So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths until someone points out they're being taped. Instead, let's call them what they are: "Other Arabs Who Can't Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death."

"I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: "Adjacent Jew-Haters." Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing. No, they don't. They could've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David. But if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living.

"That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want: Israel. They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course--that's where the real fun is -- but mostly they want Israel.

"Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel - or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it -- for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God's Earth, and if you've ever been around God's Earth, you know that's really saying something.

"It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Mid east. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.

"Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five Million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches,Everyone will be pals.

"Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

"My friend Kevin Rooney made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the Numbers. Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not.

"Or marshaling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab State into the sea? Nonsense. Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents? Impossible. Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children?


"No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death After September 11th our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them. Beautiful.

"Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day) start to do the same thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint. If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan."

- Dennis Miller