February 6th, 2007

abstract butterfly

not to squander



After my morning raisin bran I sat at my computer, looking at pictures of dogs at local rescue centers. We do not plan to adopt a new dog any time soon, but I find both comfort and heart-break in reading of small friends grasped from dire circumstances and transformed into potential companions for others.
I like the chatty essays about dogs with newly-applied fanciful names. I like the way that some sites write about individual dogs with special needs in a winning, convincing way. I admire people who do this kind of volunteer work, as people work to avoid euthanasia of healthy animals. I also admire people who, when faced with the sad situation of a their own pet having to be adopted out, take the time to find that pet a good home. Pet transitions are not ideal, but compassion helps. People find ways to show love and ensure pets are loved.

It's so difficult, sometimes, looking at the prejudices we bring even to the things we love. One such prejudie arises from the extent we are willing to love this person versus that person. I remember looking a few years ago at one of those websites that discusses children looking for adoptive homes. As one might expect, those seeking infants sometimes waited quite a while for an infant (and let's skip over, as a broader topic, the problem of ethnicity and adoption). What struck me was the way that age mattered so much and so predictably as to the available children. In the infant class, up through young toddler, lots of the readily available kids had very special needs. Yet at age 11 or 12, a fair-ish number of relatively "fewer-special-needs" chldren needed homes. I remember one heart-breaking story of a 12 year old who was an honor student, and really wanted to find a good home so that he could be encouraged to pursue his education and perhaps go to college someday. Such things remind me how many advantages I had, growing up in a home where I was loved. I take such reminders as silent sermons--"use what you have, don't squander, help. I won't be adopting anyone, but I think I can help.
abstract butterfly

chatting over pancakes



February assumed a familiar shape today, as the cold weather "broke" and we found ourselves in nearly 70 degree balm. My wife and I took the dogs for a walk by the pond in the dark. Only a bit of breeze provided any discomfort on our way.

I finished reading Ken Emerson's "Always Magic in the Air", the fascinating discussion of the Brill Building and 1650 Broadway pop songwriters, which reads like a constant "I didn't know they wrote that". I enjoyed reading about the lives of a group of creative people. I think, on balance, that it's better to have a sequencer with a good freeware synthesizer rather than the Dixie Cups as one's musical instrument, but I will never sell 1,000,000 45s or write a Monkees song.

This morning I began Allen Shawn's book "Arnold Schoenberg's Journey", which should be read less as "he's really an avid music reader" and more as "that shelf at Half-Priced Books had some cool tomes". I like the Schoenberg book, although it strikes me that I ought to be sitting at a keyboard fingering out the snippets of sheet music in the book, and that such a thing is not going to happen.

I thought tonight about undergraduate days, and those deep two in the morning conversations one has over hot tea and hotcakes
in houses of pancakes and grills where reuben sandwiches are consumed. I think the weblog offers a lot of advantages of this arrangement, but fails to offer each and every such advantage. What would I discuss over hot mint tea, if tea and not "update journal" were the appropriate paraphernalia? I'm not sure. But I suspect a lively conversation might ensue. I can imagine a goodish many such discussions I"d be delighted to have. I'm sure that everyone is more charming over pancakes in a breakfast
restaurant.

I bought a computer game that plays bridge, so that I can learn to bid and win. I hope it offers opponents who are dinosaurs.

I am tired and a little down tonight, although an e mail I received from a kind fellow was a tonic for the troops. The funny thing is that I got this e mail days ago, and did not see it amid all the zillions of e mails in my in-box. I must go in and more assiduously clear out the spam.

This weekend I plan to rest, fish, and read in twelve tones.