Life in Omaha (in Scottsdale)

daily existence away from chicago

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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

NPR : A San Francisco Bookshop Shows Its Colors

Now this is cool. Adobe Book Shop in San Francisco has organized all its books by color. I'm going to organize all my students by color today. Dark chocolate to mocha to brownberry to russet to eggshell to green (that Antonio, he's odd).

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Overprotective parents

Overprotective parents

Ciela, shortly after exiting the cockpit of a 1999 Honda Civic, announced "Mission Accomplished. I've ceased major infancy operations." Of course, winning the toddler years would take far longer than anyone expected.

Daddy likes the goofy hats

Daddy likes the goofy hats

A shout out to all my homies

A shout out to all my homies

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What happens in my pants

My boxer shorts have a button fly.  A needless accoutrement, but apparently fashionable.  Many of my shirts contain the not-quite-so-needless accoutrement of extra buttons appended to the flaps.  In  my shirt-wearing life, I have never availed myself of these lagniappes, but nevertheless, there they are.

As happens during the day, I must occasionally use certain facilities; choosing to remain as fully clothed as possible while doing so.  Of course, this entails a slight but sometimes confusing rearranging of garments.  In the multiple cloth folds and creases within my fully dressed self, I have inadvertently selected the wrong button, fastening my shirt to my undergarment.  Provided I have need to use a urinal again, this is no large matter.  I’m just as likely to select the correct button on the second go-around and remain blissfully ignorant of my former shackles.

However, if my business is more elaborate and. . . urgent, shall we say, I run the risk of franticly undoing my belt, yanking down my trousers and subsequently slamming my forehead against the tissue dispenser.  I fear my colleagues will one morning find me unconscious, curled in an awkward C on the cold tile floor.

The obverse of this earthy scenario:  I arrive home, anxious to shed the costume of a plebian world. I exuberantly rip my shirt over my head—and see God in the ensuing sensations.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Rhetoric and identities

Let me just say something quickly about identities and the tone of postings. Life in Omaha isn't exactly a public blog. Those of you reading can pretty much count on the majority of people posting are either friends or relatives of mine. I certainly don't care if you use your real names or not though props to Bryan signing his name to such views. I certainly would never admit I voted for Bush, and I perfectly understand Tater being ashamed to own up to his vote : ). However, please be aware that when you come out with both guns blazing against a comment, you could be calling my dear, sainted grandmother a bitch.

addendum: I noticed that the above could be construed as directed toward the right-leaning commenters. Be assured, it was a bi-partisan comment.

Further Comments

I finally have the time to comment on the dialogue going on down at the Black Day post below. Both sides have made good points, and if it were simply a case of black and white, we wouldn’t be having such a discussion. However, I firmly and always will come down on the side of the left.

I’ll not address particular points because they have been articulately discussed by those commenting. But let me say something about the reaction of the left to the election. Many people—both here and in the media that I still manage to read—have commented on the “poor loser” ethos of liberal responses to Bush winning a second term. They, like one of the comments at “Black Day,” point out that they reacted much better during the Clinton years, and why can’t we be more like our candidate who offered a nice concession speech and departed quietly.

Here is why we will not just accept what happened. For a great many of the left, this administration does not merely represent a different path toward the future, but a full scale turn toward disaster (or not merely a turn but now fully in the car wreck). For us, voting Republican in the 2004 the national election was the equivalent of voting Democrat in 1856. We see the actions of the past four years as clearly bad for the country. And I do mean clearly. In so many categories—environmental, international relations, energy policies, civil rights, social programs, the very structure of government—this administration has taken a divisive, exploitive and manipulative stance. In many ways, the decisions of the populace baffles us because so many things do not seem points on which reasonable people would disagree.

Similarly, the stakes are remarkably high. Certainly putting soldiers at risk, unnecessarily, was a terrible move. But as I’ve mentioned before, I can see why people might believe that the end result of Iraq II could be for the betterment of humanity.

{digression: worth noting is that nearly every frickin’ justification for the Iraq war now given by the right relies upon the notion that the Iraq people are free and they have a shot—maybe a long shot—but a shot at democracy. I might value these justifications if that had been the STATED reason for going after Hussein. If Bush et. al. had said, “This is a tyranny that is an affront to all that is universally good, and we must act and act now to prevent the further abuse of the Iraqi people.” Instead, we were sold a lie that we were in immanent danger of attack. Now that that justification has been obliterated, the right marches out the flag of democracy and waves it even more vigorously than the bloody shirt. Such blatantly political—I’ll say it, sure—flip-flopping by the right will make it damn difficult to convince me that this wasn’t a cynical drive to an unneeded war.}

But the loss of our rights, the even more rapid widening of the gap between rich and poor, and the absolute devastating attacks on the environment put our world, our country, our communities and our persons at risk. To further my analogy of the country at ante-bellum, the left should and hopefully will find our Thoreau, our Garrison, our Stowe, and hopefully it doesn’t come down to finding our John Brown.

{Another digression: During the Clinton years, I was fond of quoting Thomas Frank that we had entered a new Gilded Age. I hope my analogy to ante-bellum America isn’t quite so accurate as his about the end of the 19th century. Those who fail to study the past are doomed to repeat it.}

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Closeup

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Roll 42 - 3

Roll 42 - 3

Ciela in the Rain Forest

Ciela in the Rain Forest

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Baby in Blue

Baby in Blue

Mommy and Ciela at Fontenelle Forest

Mommy and Ciela at Fontenelle Forest

Election result maps

More accurate Election result maps

We get letters

You guys have made reading my own blog enjoyable.

Note to other visitors: If you aren't reading the comments to Black Day and Recent Posts, you are missing out on a enjoyable give and take between a bunch of people in masks.

Apparently I have right wing friends--or at least one--that goes by the name Tater Salad. B. Denham has never been shy about his rightist leanings, but if anyone can make the claim of a compassionate conservative it would be him. I have no clue who Tater Salad is. Unless Ron White is actually reading my blog.

And who do I know that went to London over the summer? And who likes Shakespeare that much? And cares what I think about them to the point they won't reveal their names so they can speak more freely? And can write that well? Should I be embarrassed that I'm the worst writer on my own blog?

----

Yesterday, I killed a bird driving into work. My laptop computer--my second child--has collapsed and been evacuated to a hospital in Omaha. Status uncertain and expected not to rejoin combat operations. A colleague passed on the correlation between average state IQ and voting tendency for the recent election. 17 of the top 20 states went for Kerry (Nebraska came in at 29, KY at 37, and IL at 9). I forgot to eat lunch. The auspicious omens are piling up.

But Ashcroft resigned.

Could he possibly find someone worse? I bet he tries.

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A thousand cranes to B.D. jo(e), nanny mouse, the Tater and all the brands of anonymous that kept the blog interesting for the last few days. At this rate, life in omaha will be more entertaining than my contemporary fiction class.

Monday, November 08, 2004

one fast baby

one fast baby

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Recent postings

Odd, but in the last few days, a number of people have left anonymous messages to "A Black Day." So I've been thinking about why they are all anonymous.

One: most people who would read this are friends and relatives who really just want to see pictures of Ciela, so they don't have blogger ids and don't feel compelled to leave their names. But then again, they are probably annoyed that there are no new pictures and wouldn't bother posting on other matters. Just leave in disgust.

Two: These are students and would feel awkward saying these things to my face. And to be fair to them, I hold all the cards in the classroom. So if they want to take potshots (at least intellectual potshots) at me from behind a mask, fair play to them.

Three: Most of the postings seem very intellectual and educated (beyond the typical undergraduate level) so they are probably people who are friends but who just forget to leave a name behind. See especially those posts supporting my views.

It's one of the odd things about blogging--that people will care enough about my opinion to write, but not enough to let me know who they are.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Map is not the Territory

This is a better way to see the country, not a binary case of red or blue as the electoral system makes us look, but as a continuum of political views. Like all maps, the red/blue break down is a distortion that looks like fact. See for example this map at USATODAY.com. Take a look at a globe and see just how big Africa really is compared to Europe and the US. It's worth noting just how often the distortion of a map seems to favor the status quo.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

How we vote

Tom Coburn

Jim Bunning

Strom Thurmond

Alan Keyes

You got a crazy, right-wing republican running? Sure, we'll vote for him...unless he's black.

A Black Day

I woke to the weather forecast this morning: a dense fog over Omaha. Perfect. We had our first real frost of the season, and when I left for work, I couldn't see out my car windows. The drivers of Omaha can't see more than three feet in front of our faces.

But tell us that we will be safe, that we will be rich, that we can have whatever we want, and that we need not worry because god is our co-pilot...

And we will drive that speeding car right over a Ponca Hills cliff.

Sumus Quod Sumus
-----------------

DeLay turned Texas into his playground.

My home state of Kentucky elected a man who by all appearances has lost his faculties.

Oklahoma elected a racist, hate-mongering bigot. A man who claimed the lesbianism was so rampant in OK that they let only one girl go to the bathroom at a time. (Incidently, the man--Tom Coburn--was also named by Bush to chair his Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS. A perfect choice)

And eleven states--again, Kentucky among them-- found that homophobia makes for good political hay.

As we sat and tried to parse out the semiotics of fear, hate, the pinstriped suit, god and the cowboy gunslinger, none of it added up. After four years of greed, incompetence, arrogance and hypocrisy the majority of people decided that hitting themselves in the face with a shovel might still make the headache go away. With a nation this dumb, I'm glad I'm not in the majority.

I want my America back.

Monday, November 01, 2004

MSNBC - Forget the rush: QB throws record 101 times

My tiny little college in Nebraska is the talk of the nation this morning. Our quarterback set an all-division (that's for all schools: from U of Michigan down to us) record by attempting 101 passes.MSNBC - Forget the rush: QB throws record 101 times

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