May 23rd, 2003

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Escaping for a three day weekend

This Memorial Day we have modest plans, staying in town, and spending time with friends. But the idea of a weekend break got me thinking about finding peace with oneself and heroes to remember.

To begin my three day weekend, I submit for your possible participation a simple three question poll. As always, I'm grateful for responses, from which I learn more about my friends. I see that I've managed to make a typo in my poll, which should read "a bit less stress about material things". But otherwise, it's more or less ready to take.

Poll #137720 Escape, Improve and Remember

If you could choose a brief escape, what would it be?

A quiet hike in a deep, cool forest, with aromatic trees
a brisk browse through inexpensive ramshackle antique and book shops in a safe neighborhood that has seen better days
A peaceful afternoon on a screened back porch, under a ceiling fan, with a wonderful novel I've never read
A sci fi double feature with double popcorn at the dollar theater
A brisk swim in warm Gulf seawater

What changes would most reduce your stress?

A more satisfying job/career
A more pleasant home environment
A better sense of peace with myself
A bit more less stress about material things
A better sense of what it all means

During Memorial Day, folks remember those who served our country. But not all who serve are soldiers. What heroes would you remember on Memorial Day? They can be living or dead, known or unknown, but please do elaborate.

I hope everyone has a fine weekend.
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Radio Freed of Europe

Last night I listened to Radio Netherlands on my little shortwave radio. The announcer said that first they'd do half an hour of news. Then they'd do a radio play. I listened only to the news. I got sleepy and turned it off before the radio play. But the preview for the radio play stayed with me--an African retelling of the story of Oedipus Rex, while the news, which I largely heard, ran through my ears like water, all forgotten now.

On another station, the Bachman Turner Overdrive sang "Taking Care of Business". I love that song. I never appreciated until last night what a very charmingly Canadian accent the singer has on that song. I'll have to google whether Bachman or Burton Cummings did the singing on that one. I believe that the music was support for a program of the Reverend Gene Scott's televangelist missions, which seem to take up dozens of shortwave channels, but that seemed odd to me, because Reverend Scott usually goes for cocktail jazz. When fund-raising efforts do not yield the properly blessed fruits of his saintly labors, he has been known to instruct his staff to "play the damn music", apparently on the theory that cocktail jazz saves souls by inducing contributions. As the Be Bop Deluxe song goes "Blazing Apostles, thieves in the night....". I wish I were more saintly, though.

Tomorrow first thing I and my partner's two sons move boxes from one storage place to another one place nearer to our offices. I hope also to sneak out to Park Hill Prairie and drop in a fishing hook. Tomorrow night we have dinner with our friends Donna and Scott, and then Sunday we attend a barbecue at that charming vet whom my wife befriended. I feel almost a social butterfly somehow.

Today the local radio featured virtually moment by moment coverage of golfer Annika Sorenstam's play in a men's tournament in Fort Worth. She's amazing--I'm so glad she did this. But I wish that more stories about the incredible Babe Didricksen Zaharias, from Beaumont, TX, the last woman to play in the men's golf tournaments, sprang from this historical moment. Babe was really something. A basketball star, track and field star, swimmer, tennis player, baseball player, and billiard player, she married a pro wrestler. She conquered so much, but cancer conquered her at age 42, three years before I was born.

My wife's recent birthday reminds me (speaking satirically) how she and I, though five months apart in age, stand across a glacial divide. I was born in 1959--think Eisenhower, beat poets and Buddy Holly. She was born in 1960--think Kennedy, Ferlinghetti, and the Beatles. What a difference 270 days make. My own theory is that the 1950s actually lasted from 1952 to 1965 or so, while the 70s began in 1972, when Ziggy Stardust came out. The 70s ended in 1979, when Unknown Pleasures came out. The 80s nearly ended when "unforgettable fire" came out in 1984 (and what band, having achieved Grace, could continue recording for so long thereafter?), but actually soldiered on into 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down. The 90s ended on September 11, 2001. Each year seems another decade now. When Annika Sorenstam finished her 18th hole today, playing two respectable round but failing to survive "the cut", she shed a tear.