May 25th, 2003

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plastic pineapples

Tonight we went to our friends Scott and Donna's place,and then to the Indian restaurant Clay Pit. To our surprise, Donna and Scott had had the staff place little artificial leis at our place settings, and serve us mango lemonade from a pineapple-shaped pitcher into little pineapple shaped plastic mugs, complete with green tufted tops. What a charming and thoughtful way to honor my wife's recent birthday! Donna had previously given my wife a birthday gift of a plate painted with our family name and our "adopted" coat of arms, a single pineapple on a white field. The supposed "actual" coat of arms for my surname is a blue background with a fesse between three leopards' faces. But in fact, I come from a long line of serfs, farmers and railway workers, so I doubt any three leopard crests stood ground at Agincourt. I'll take the single pineapple on a plain field as the emblem in which we'll ride to battle, our only weapon truth, our only goal to resolve conflict, oh, and find a good latte for my wife.

We had such a wonderful time. The restaurant did a great job, and then we adjourned to their place to discuss politics, religion, music, the fabled gurdonark and scottm collaboration, "Vibrating Electric Fields". As I'd told Scott my favorite song in the whole wide world is an old Be Bop Deluxe song called "Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape", he'd borrowed the "Axe Victim" version of it to learn to play it. Unfortunately, he instead learned the adjacent song, "Rocket Cathedrals", which is so wholly dissimilar that as we laughed, I questioned how one could mistake a Chuck Berryesque ditty about rocket cathedrals for a saunter in Yorkshire. Donna pointed out that they test-flew the Concorde in Yorkshire, so it all added up, somehow. Scott and I confirmed again that neiter of us have the range to sing "Helpless", and I tried to change the words to Coldplay's "Yellow" to cover a night eating tandoori. We lingered long over Scott's liner notes to "Vibrating Electric Fields". We make ourselves laugh when we read it, so at least we've shared humour with one another over it. I must figure out how to print on the jewel case inserts, as then I can share this work of maddening badness.

I love having people in our lives with whom we feel completely comfortable. That is the Kingdom of Heaven, the way, the truth, the life, the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
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miles away

Yesterday after moving boxes from one mini-storage site to a more convenient one, I hit the road up Highway 78 to the Park Hill Prairie. The Park Hill Prairie is a county park on one o the few remaining Texas portions of original blackland prairie. When the anglos first came to Texas, almost all the northern portion of the state was covered with tallgrass prairie. Most of it was broken up into tilled farmland, causing gorgeous prairie plants and vigorous prairie animals to lose habitat. A few farmers kept a little of the original prairie for hay-fodder purposes. This Park Hill Prairie is one such place. Now it's an oasis of natural Texas, with flowers, birds and grasses that do not grow in many other places. The Park Hill Prairie has few visitors, but I go there regularly to hike and to fish in what must be the best little sunfish ponds in America.

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before the Memorial

"Someone plumps down behind me, another. I wipe the goggles of my mask clear of the moist breath. It is Kat, Kropp, and someone else. All four of us lie there in heavy, watchful suspense and breathe as lightly as possible. These first minutes with the mask decide between life and death: is it tightly woven?"--Erich Maria Remarque

"Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning"--Wilfrid Owen

"War is one of the most evil things to which we sacrificed ourselves"--Franz Marc

"If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children"--Mohandas Gandhi

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