Tuesday, July 25, 2006

blog what you know

Why blog just for the sake of blogging? I've always been told to write what I know. So I'll be back when I have something good -- OK, really anything beyond my everyday routine -- to say.

Monday, July 17, 2006

... there's a reason for the world ...

This is the song I keep hoping to hear on the radio. OK, so I'm listening to it on the Internet right now, but, still, there's something to be said for the surprise element the radio continues to offer.

There was a man back in '95
Whose heart ran out of summers
But before he died, I asked him

Wait, what's the sense in life
Come over me, come over me

He said

Son why you got to sing that tune
Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon
Let an angel swing and make you swoon
Then you will see
You will see

Then he said,

Here's a riddle for you
Find the answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I

Picked up my kid from school today

Did you learn anything cause in the world today
You can't live in a castle far away
Now talk to me, come talk to me

He said

Dad I'm big but we're smaller than small
In the scheme of things, well we're nothing at all
Still every mother's child sings a lonely song
So play with me, come play with me

And Hey Dad
Here's a riddle for you
Find the answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I

I said

Son for all I've told you
When you get right down to the
Reason for the world
Who am I?

There are secrets that we still have left to find
There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
There are answers we're not wise enough to see

He said

You looking for a clue I love you free

The batter swings and the summer flies
As I look into my angel's eyes
A song plays on while the moon is hiding over me
Something comes over me

I guess we're big and I guess we're small
If you think about it man you know we got it all
Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
And I love you free
I love you freely

Here's a riddle for you
Find the answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I

--Five for Fighting
"The Riddle"

On the Lake, At the Game

And, to think, we were worried about rain.

College friend Jeff came to visit this weekend. In anticipation of his visit, I rented a pontoon boat at Kentucky Lake for Saturday. Well, the days leading up to the outing were filled with worries (especially from a couple of other friends) about whether the weather would cooperate with us. Early in the week, storms were in the weekend forecast. Well, let me just tell you, the worries proved silly. Thankfully.

We spent the day on Kentucky Lake. PERFECT LAKE WEATHER. It was hot but breezy enough on the water. A few fluffy clouds added to the scenary but never blocked the sun. And we came back with proof. Particularly, my forehead and shoulders turned a lovely shade of pink.

Then yesterday Greg and I went to St. Louis for the last of four Cardinals for which we had tickets. For some reason we thought our seats were mostly in the shade ... I guess mostly is the key word. They were in the shade for the first four or so innings. Then they were most definitely in the sun. My thighs and face got a little pinker. (Red is so harsh ...) Despite the sweat, the game was fun. Cardinals 11, Dodgers 3. (In other words: My decision to bench Brad Penny in fantasy baseball proved to be a good one.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Worth 1,000 words? Here's 5,000 ...

Finally, some pictures from my trip.

Watkins Glen featured lots of waterfalls along a beautiful gorge. We could walk under some of them and were "splashed" plenty of times, which kept us cool as we walked up 800-some-odd steps. Truthfully, the steps were that bad because there were some level areas; it wasn't 832 steps straight up.

Among the most impressive waterfalls was Luficer Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park.

Ithaca Falls was my favorite. Although impressive, it wasn't the biggest waterfall we saw. But it's situated just off a main road with a house nearby and a school just across the street. I just loved how this natural treasure was not quite hidden from the man-made hussle.

There are many others. A scrapbooking is in the works (so far only in my head), for those of you who I'll see in the coming months.

Sweet summertime

A few thoughts from the top tier of LP Field (formerly Adelpha Coliseum) in Nashville, where I went to see Kenny Chensey in concert.

It was a good time.

Keith Urban was definitely the best surprise. (Kenny called him one of his best friends, and they proceeded to perform Urban's "Somebody Like You.") Uncle Kracker was expected but still entertaining. (Kenny is pretty much keep his "career" -- if it can be called that -- afloat, as evident by a stadium full of country music fans singing "Follow Me.")

The opening acts went as expected: Little Big Town was OK but nothing special. Dierks Bentley was entertaining. Big & Rich is crazy but definitely entertaining. Their song "Holy Water" sounded amazing and I enjoyed hearing "8th of November" for the first time. I walked around when Gretchen Wilson came on. (Let's just nicely say, she didn't wow me.) Her best performance was when she came back out with Kenny for "Hurt So Good."

And Kenny is just Kenny. Great sing-a-long concert. An entertainer, to say the least.

Thursday, July 6, 2006


Even crime novels have lessons on life:

"I keep having this dream," Rainie said. "... This baby elephant is running across the desert. His mother is dead; he's all alone and desperate for water. Then these other elephants come, except instead of helping him, they beat him into the ground because he's a threat to their own survival. He gets up though. He fights to live and staggers after them. Finally they find water. I relax. In my dream, I think they baby is going to be all right. His struggle has now paid off. He will live happily every after. Then the jackals come and tear him apart. And I wake up with little baby screams still echoing in my head. I don't know why I can't stop dreaming it."

... "He's following instinct. It's everyone's instinct to be part of something. In evolutionary terms, we are stronger together than alone."

"But not in my story. In my story, the baby elephant's desire to be with other elephants kills him."

"No, Rainie. In your story, the baby elephant's desire for companionship keeps him alive. What's he running across the desert for? Why does he get up each and every time? He's not fighting to live simply to live. He's a herd animal. He's fighting to join the other elephants, he's living off the hope that if he keeps on fighting, he will get to belong. The drought will end and they will accept him. Or he'll prove his mettle and they will accept him. Either way, he'll end up with his herd. ..."

... And she finally got it. All of it. The enormity of it. Whey people sought each other out and formed families. Why baby elephants stumbled relentlessly through drought-striken deserts. Why people fought and laughed and raged and loved. Why people, at the end of it all, stayed."

--From "The Next Accident" by Lisa Gardner

spel wurdz

(Despite quirks in the language, I don't think spellings can just change that drastically. Yes, and this comes from someone who left the "i" out of a-c-c-i-d-e-n-t in fourth grade and still writes on a supposed eighth-grade reading level. Spelling is still not my strong suit, but thank God for www.m-w.com and other readily available resources. Anyway, read on ...)

When "say," "they" and "weigh" rhyme, but "bomb," "comb" and "tomb" don't, wuudn't it maek mor sens to spel wurdz the wae thae sound?

Those in favor of simplified spelling say children would learn faster and illiteracy rates would drop. Opponents say a new system would make spelling even more confusing.

Eether wae, the consept has yet to capcher th publix imajinaeshun.

It's been 100 years since Andrew Carnegie helped create the Simplified Spelling Board to promote a retooling of written English and President Theodore Roosevelt tried to force the government to use simplified spelling in its publications. But advocates aren't giving up.

They even picket the national spelling bee finals, held every year in Washington, costumed as bumble bees and hoisting signs that say "Enuf is enuf but enough is too much" or "I'm thru with through."

Thae sae th bee selebraets th ability of a fue stoodents to master a dificult sistem that stumps meny utherz hoo cuud do just as wel if speling were simpler.

"It's a very difficult thing to get something accepted like this," says Alan Mole, president of the American Literacy Council, which favors an end to "illogical spelling." The group says English has 42 sounds spelled in a bewildering 400 ways.

Americans doen't aulwaez go for whut's eezy — witnes th faeluer of th metric sistem to cach on. But propoenents of simpler speling noet that a smatering of aulterd spelingz hav maed th leep into evrydae ues.

Doughnut also is donut; colour, honour and labour long ago lost the British "u" and the similarly derived theatre and centre have been replaced by the easier-to-sound-out theater and center.

"The kinds of progress that we're seeing are that someone will spell night 'nite' and someone will spell through 'thru,'" Mole said. "We try to show where these spellings are used and to show dictionary makers that they are used so they will include them as alternate spellings."

"Great changes have been made in the past. Systems can change," a hopeful Mole said.

Lurning English reqierz roet memory rather than lojic, he sed.

In languages with phonetically spelled words, like German or Spanish, children learn to spell in weeks instead of months or years as is sometimes the case with English, Mole said.

But education professor Donald Bear said to simplify spelling would probably make it more difficult because words get meaning from their prefixes, suffixes and roots.

"Students come to understand how meaning is preserved in the way words are spelled," said Bear, director of the E.L. Cord Foundation Center for Learning and Literacy at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Th cuntry's larjest teecherz uennyon, wuns a suporter, aulso objects.

Michael Marks, a member of the National Education Association's executive committee, said learning would be disrupted if children had to switch to a different spelling system. "It may be more trouble than it's worth," said Marks, a debate and theater teacher at Hattiesburg High School in Mississippi.

E-mail and text messages are exerting a similar tug on the language, sharing some elements with the simplified spelling movement while differing in other ways. Electronic communications stress shortcuts like "u" more than phonetics. Simplified spelling is not always shorter than regular spelling — sistem instead of system, hoep instead of hope.

Carnegie tried to moov thingz along in 1906 when he helpt establish and fund th speling bord. He aulso uezd simplified speling in his correspondens, and askt enywun hoo reported to him to do the saem.

A filanthropist, he becaem pashunet about th ishoo after speeking with Melvil Dewey, a speling reform activist and Dewey Desimal sistem inventor hoo simplified his furst naem bi droping "le" frum Melville.

Roosevelt tried to get the government to adopt simpler spellings for 300 words but Congress blocked him. He used simple spellings in all White House memos, pressing forward his effort to "make our spelling a little less foolish and fantastic."

The Chicago Tribune aulso got into th act, uezing simpler spelingz in th nuezpaeper for about 40 years, ending in 1975. Plae-riet George Bernard Shaw, hoo roet moest of his mateerial in shorthand, left muny in his wil for th development of a nue English alfabet.

Carnegie, Dewey, Roosevelt and Shaw's work followed attempts by Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Webster and Mark Twain to advance simpler spelling. Twain lobbied The Associated Press at its 1906 annual meeting to "adopt and use our simplified forms and spread them to the ends of the earth." AP declined.

But for aul th hi-proefiel and skolarly eforts, the iedeea of funy-luuking but simpler spelingz didn't captivaet the masez then — or now.

"I think that the average person simply did not see this as a needed change or a necessary change or something that was ... going to change their lives for the better," said Marilyn Cocchiola Holt, manager of the Pennsylvania department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie, hoo embraest teknolojy, died in 1919, wel befor sel foenz. Had he livd, he probably wuud hav bin pleezd to no that milyonz of peepl send text and instant mesejez evry dae uezing thair oen formz of simplified speling: "Hav a gr8 day!"
-- The Associated Press

va•ca•tion a scheduled period during which activity (such as life and work) is suspended

(TAKE TWO: My Internet crashed as I was posting my first draft.)

We drove 2,335 miles -- give or take a few -- on our 10-day vacation. Don't cringe. It was refreshing, probably be the pace was just right. Not too rushed. Enough stuff planned. And rest was included on the agenda.

We started out visiting Katy and Chad in DuBois, Pa. Then it was on to Oneonta, N.Y., where we visited the National Soccer Hall of Fame and stayed in a significantly-cheaper hotel as we anticipated our trip to nearby Cooperstown, N.Y., the next day. We could have spent days in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, reading and learning.

Strolling the streets of Cooperstown was the day the rains came ... and came and came ... in the Northeast. But we were bound for three-plus days in Ithaca, N.Y., and the surrounding Finger Lakes area, where the sun kept shining for us. We did have to take the damaged interstate to get there, but that was before it was damaged. The rain made the waterfalls in and around Ithaca amazing, to say the least. Among our favorites was nearby Watkins Glen State Park -- all 832 steps in the 1.5-mile walk.

We spent the last weekend of our road trip in Rochester, N.Y., where Greg's cousin Alyssa got married. The weather was nice there too, and seeing Lake Ontario was among the highlights.

Stay tuned for pictures. They'll describe the beauty better than my words or all these links.