Monday, July 23, 2007

Democrat Debate With Video Questions

Tonight's CNN debate, with questions submitted by video via YouTube was interesting. The videos selected were seemingly representative of people not normally involved in the political process. I think it was a great way to get people to participate. I liked the collage of the questions about healthcare and some of the clever ones, particularly the snowman asking Kucinich a question.
I know that I will be volunteering on at least one of the campaigns as the November 2008 election nears. Each candidate has something that is unique, and several have the ability to manage the job. I mean, GWB has for the past 8 years. But I cannot say who my choice would be at this point out of the Democrats on that podium. I like Biden for his direct nature; Hilary has a great deal of experience with her and the First Husband; Obama is the voice of change for the disenfranchised; Edwards has a heart for those in need that cannot speak for themselves.
Time will tell for me. But it did make clear to me that I need to minimize other obligations so that I can jump right in to help when the time is right.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and The Incredible Relay Delivery

My daughter likes the Harry Potter books and movies; I don't get it. In fact, I would tell secrets of great importance (if I knew any!) in lieu of being forced to watch a Harry Potter movie or read one of the books. Who cares about anything enough to read 800 pages of made-up stuff in eight books or so? But, in preparation for the last book which came out today, my daughter re-read all the previous books and watched all the movies before leaving for camp. I admire that some people are so interested in the Harry Potter lore, but it does not capture my imagination.
Since my daughter was anxious for the next book, I pre-ordered it on Amazon for guaranteed delivery on launch day. They showed it was shipped UPS. At 10:30 am I did the tracking of my package and it showed delivery at 10:20 am, signed for by Donald. I ran up and down the street in my nightgown to make sure it was not accidentally left at a neighbors. And I knew none were named Donald.
Since I was frantic, my husband called UPS. They told him the delivery address, which was the nearest post office, as they were to deliver it. I checked the door and mailbox every few minutes, until, at 2 pm, I ran outside, still in my nightgown, to find the mail carrier JUST putting it in the mailbox. FYI, her vehicle was full of books.
I admire that Amazon made such a great effort to deliver it -- hence, the incredible relay delivery trick, with a series of time-sensitive handoffs.
It is on my daughter's bed, awaiting her return home tomorrow. The package says "Dear Muggles, Do Not Open Before July 21." I don't know what a muggle is, nor do I care, but no worries, I will not be opening it. That did not prevent me from reading the last two pages of the book, which we happened to see at Best Buy and Costco. I often read the end of books first.
So, now I know who dies, --- not that I intend to find out more about it, but it was just the fact I had to know since everyone was making such a big deal about it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

38 Years Ago Today

It was a pleasant summer night in Bellevue, Washington 38 years ago today. We had a tv set up in the "carport", out by the pool, so we could watch the first moon landing. Yes, it was a giant step for man, and I remember that night so vividly as we got chills when seeing the moon's surface. People gathered their friends and families for that momentous event and it was all people were talking about, in person and in the media.
Later, in college, I had a chance to work for NASA as a tour guide for a traveling exhibit of previous space capsules and related stuff. The school kids always asked the same question first --- "how do the astronauts go to the bathroom?" But, as years went by, interest in watching the blastoffs or landings dwindled. I remember being the only one getting up in the middle of the night at my sorority to watch a moonwalk; I was also the only one that got up to make sure Ted Bundy was executed as he had terrorized us on our campus.
It was costly, and I cannot dispute that there are many needed uses for the large amount of resources expended on the Space Program. It is important to see where we (us, on our planet) fit into the grander universe, like the line describing Grover's Corners place in scheme of things in "Our Town," -- something like our house, our town.....expanding into the great unknown.
Perhaps the moon landings were a part of the'60's -- a time we look back on and can remember fondly, trying to explain those "old days" to our kids who only think of "The Beatles," hippies, anti-war protests and tie-dye clothing. Maybe that fascination with how our planet fit into the solar system and beyond sparked my interest in preserving the planet and environmentalism. Never thought of that connection before...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Beware: "Hot" Drivers

When I got in my car today, the temperature read 118 degrees. Yes, you expect it to be hot and you just want to get where you are going. But the hot weather brought out the worst in the all the drivers on I-10 today. There was honking for no reason; people did not let you in merge lanes and there was more than one obscene gesture flashed in a short distance.
So, the hot weather and the hot-tempered drivers helped me decide to stay in tonight. I was told that over 60% of the drivers in Arizona are armed. In my mind, that statistic, and the hot weather, combine to stay off the road, even if it means missing a potentially fun birthday party.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Love and War at Dylan Concert

The setting for the Bob Dylan concert last weekend in Cleveland was very urban and unusual -- it was a tent-like outdoor venue, set along the Cuyahoga River, with night views of the skyline, various bridges with passing trains and a variety of boats gliding behind the stage. The opening act was fantastic -- Jimmie Vaughan doing Texas Roadhouse blues. It was contagious and confirmed our desire to go to Austin to hear more music.
Dylan himself played many of his old songs, some of which we knew, some we didn't -- but the crowd surely did. The crowd was a distraction from the event, in our section, at least. People were standing up in front of the boxes, some of which were disabled seating. When asked to sit down so others could see, angry words flew, tickets were waved, obscene gestures were made, and people just became ugly. Mellow-looking middle aged people were screaming at ushers to eject the offending people. It was not the mood Dylan would have wanted and it took away from the sheer magic of the event.
As the final song of the encore began ("Blowin' In The Wind"), the wife of a wheelchair-bound man who had obviously had a stroke and could no longer talk or stand, braced herself on a bar and pulled her husband up to see Dylan sing the song, over the heads of the standing crowd. I wept, as I told my husband that these people had obviously been together a long time and this song must have been part of their memories. Towards the end of the song, Dylan changed to playing it on the harmonica. She managed to hoist him up again, and hugged him, gently kissing his neck while he got to see Dylan play that song on his harmonica. It was a moment never to forget. I whispered to my husband that you never know how much you love somone until it is tested by an ultimate challenge.
As we walked out into the light rain after the concert, we were lucky enough to see Dylan's bus caravan drive away from the back of the arena. Fans, including us, clapped and waved, hoping for one last sight of Dylan. I cannot help but thinking, as he drove through the rainy night, that he was headed to another city, another concert, and, yet another set of memories revisited.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Live Earth -- From A Distance

It would have been great to be at one of the concerts held around the world on July 7, 2007 for Live Earth. I am thrilled that there was an event calling attention to the climate crisis. Though we observed it from our home, via radio and computer, it is remarkable that people are talking about the topic of stopping global warming -- and best of all, what they can do themselves to make a difference.
The fact that the energy saved in recycling one can could allow enough power to watch tv for three hours should strike home with lots of the two billion participants. But, as I learned when working in rural Georgia in 1973, people that do not have food, water, health care or a job don't care that much about saving the planet. Their focus is more on themselves and their families. Certainly there are people who had no electricity or the means to participate in this awareness event.
But, perhaps, baby steps is better than nothing.
I applaud the organizers, the participating musicians and all the people that watched their favorite performers. If each of those people made some changes in their livestyle, it will have an immediate impact.
I noted that Al Gore, the originator of the Live Earth idea, travelled by train between the two events in the US. I guess it would have been hypocritical to drive, or, in his case, be driven.