Saturday, April 09, 2005

Gone to Carolina Archive: April 9, 2005

It was very sad yesterday morning to wake to NPR and hear the translator say (I'm paraphrasing) "...our dear Pope".

I'm not Catholic, but I did admire the Pope. I'm wishing he'd done a bit more to allow modern men and women, especially women, to feel comfortable in the church. While I personally divorce as a viable option, I've seen people's spiritual lives torn apart as they've been discarded from their church at one of the worst times of their lives. I've also seen people struggle with a church that does not condone birth control or abortion. Not being an abortion-rights advocate myself, I can see the church's point there. But no birth control seems downright irresponsible to me. Not only from the standpoint of preventing conception, but also for preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

But this pope, the only pope of my adulthood, had a special way of acknowledging everyone, even people of different faiths. He truly was "dear" to Catholics and even to many of us Protestants.

I know speculation is that the cardinals will choose someone older, who might not be a pope so long. And if they do, that pope might not travel as much as John Paul II. I hope that's not the case. In my outsider's opinion, the Catholic church needs someone who can continue to trot the globe and bring unity.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Gone to Carolina Archive: April 8, 2005

For the last two days I've just rested. Read books, walked around the neighborhood, watched movies. It's been nice. And it's made me feel a bit ambivalent about going back to the bus...even if it'd only be for 4 weeks or so.


Terminal Man by Michael Crichton. This is a pretty old book by now, and the technology Crichton writes about is no longer an issue, but it's still a fascinating read. A man suffers from epilepsy and assaults people to the point of almost killing them when he has a seizure. He undergoes an experimental procedure that wires a pacemaker-type device to his brain. When a seizure comes on, he gets a mild shock. Of course everything goes wrong. Otherwise there'd be no story. It's a good one and a quick read.

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve. I have never read anything by Shreve before. This is a really fast read and enjoyable. A father and daughter find a newborn in a sleeping bag in the woods. They take the infant to the local hospital and are subject to quite a bit of questioning from local authorities. The notoriety is disconcerting to the father, who moved himself and his daughter to this rural area after losing his wife and other daughter in a car accident. Their lives are further disrupted by the arrival of a stranger with a load of emotional baggage.


M.A.S.H. I'm sure I've seen this before, but I hadn't remembered much about it. I definitely hadn't remembered that the theme song was "Suicide is Painless". It's fun to go back to old movies every once in a while. This movie is funny but also very much "adult content".

The movie Sideways. I can't think of a single redeeming quality about this movie. A groom-to-be and his best man embark on a week-long tour of northern California wine country, with the intention of drinking their way up and down the state with a little golf in-between. But it becomes apparent that the groom-to-be intends to sow some wild oats along the way. The movie is vulgar and uncomfortable.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Gone to Carolina Archive: April 6, 2005

I think my Dad has a new hobby in his "golden years". It appears that he is collecting store discount cards wherever he goes. So far he's gotten cards from all 3 local grocery stores and yesterday he hit a pharmacy. None of these establishments have locations in Minnesota.

It should be noted that my Dad HATES these cards.

Yesterday we went rose shopping. We'd like to plant 3 rose bushes along the west side of the house, and put Soya's ashes in there with the the container underground. We went to Lowe's and Home Depot and stopped at Walmart because we were passing by. We found some nice-looking bushes at Walmart and hope to plant them on Friday when Mensa Boy is off. Eventually we may plant more bushes all down that side to sort of screen off the utility area we have back there...the hose reel, the water valve cover, etc. The bushes should get to about 3 feet tall, so we can see them well from inside and they won't block our view of the back yard.

The next shopping bit on our agenda is to find a picture for the family room. The "theme" in there, if you could call it a theme, is sort of "northwoods cabin". So I'm looking for a photo of something that reminds me of northern Minnesota. It'll have to be a big one. I was thinking we might try to go today but we've been very busy 2 days in a row now and I'm noticing this morning I woke up tired. So I may have to lay around today and hit the pavement again tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Gone to Carolina Archive: April 5, 2005

I've got to return a couple of books today and I need to tell you about them.

Michael Crichton's State of Fear: Don't. That's it. Just Don't.

State of Fear is about environmental terrorism and global warming. The story is actually good, but the academic discussions about global warming and whether it's really a threat or not just totally bog down the book. One of our heroes is an expert on the subject and he's an arrogant jerk. You just don't even care that he's an expert. If Crichton took out the discussions about climate and the charts and graphs(!) and just had the characters give us the "skinny" on the topic, we'd still learn and not feel like it's being rammed down our throats. It would definitely make a good movie, though. In fact, I'd probably even go see the movie, even though I've slogged through the book. The story is good.

The Broker by John Grisham. Do. Definitely Do. And you don't need a lot of time to do it. Joel Backman, high-powered attorney in Washington(nicknamed "The Broker"), currently in prison serving time, is pardoned by an outgoing puppet President. The CIA wants him pardoned and secreted away in Italy for a while, where they will keep him safe for a period of time before leaking his location to some other countries in hopes that one of them will assassinate him. Apparently Backman has knowledge of some special satellite technology that could compromise the national security of these countries. This is a great lagging along...clicks right along and you can finish it in about 10 hours.

Today I pick up Daniel Silva's latest, Prince of Fire. I've enjoyed every one of Silva's efforts and am looking forward to this one. I do see, however, that it's another "terrorism" novel.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Gone to Carolina Archive: April 4, 2005




The "pizza detector" outside my office door, which is also in the kitchen, started chirping at 8 am. These detectors are hard-wired into the house and have a battery backup. It's very hard to figure out how to change the batteries in these things. And with the 10 foot ceilings and the incision across my stomach, it's out of reach for me.