Wednesday, November 30, 2005

So His Smugness is going to announce "Mission Accomplished" again, right? Then we'll begin withdrawing our forces over the next couple of years, so that the issue of Iraq won't adversely effect the Republicans in the mid-term elections. Am I correct here, or am I just being overly cynical?

Also, as a Progressive, how am I supposed to feel about this? I was against this war in the first place and certainly feel that we should not have invaded Iraq, especially with no plan once we got to Baghdad. Now, sadly, you have to wonder if just cutting the troops by a certain percentage is doing the right thing. What about those remaining behind? What about the destruction of the infrastructure of an entire nation?

Oh, and I see that Christopher Hitchens thinks we should remain as we have in Afghanistan. There's another reason to back an immediate withdrawal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Can a book feed your own mental tics or does it simply remind you of what is already going on? Generally, when I read fiction it doesn’t cause me to stop and consider whether or not I have similar traits.

I’ve been diagnosed with a mild form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which tends to get a bit more noticeable when I get tired or nervous. If you’ve ever seen the film AS GOOD AS IT GETS or the television show MONK, you’ll have an idea of what extreme OCD can be. Of course, in both the movie and program the OCD is played mostly for laughs and many sufferers don’t find their own symptoms particularly funny.

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem features a hero with Tourette’s syndrome.
Brilliantly written and capturing the spirit of working class Brooklyn, as seen through the eyes of one Lionel Essrog. An orphan, Lionel (known to his friends as the Free Human Freakshow, or simply Freakshow) grows up suffering from a disorder he cannot explain or understand. It’s only when he becomes involved with low-level wiseguys Frank & Gerard Mina, that he discovers that his symptoms have a name and he’s not the only individual who suffers from this disorder. Lionel, along with fellow orphans Tony, Danny & Gilbert become the “Minna Men”, the errand boys for the two brothers, especially Frank. When Frank is murdered Lionel decides it is his mission to solve the mystery and avenge Frank if he can.

Lionel, of course, has both OCD and Tourette’s to an extreme degree, making ordinary conversation and social interaction difficult enough. Toss in a mysterious Japanese organization, a giant Polish hitman and assorted mob wannabes and you can imagine what poor Freakshow has to deal with as he seeks redemption and a form of justice.

Winner of a National Book Critic’s Award when it was published in 1999, Lethem also had a New York Times bestseller with his FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE a couple of years ago. As in that book, Lethem tosses in comic book, television and movie references in odd moments. At one point he actually digresses during a tender and romantic scene to talk about MAD magazine artist Don Martin’s drawing style and humor.

Not to everyone’s taste, but I think that this book is something that might just interest those with seeking something a little different.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Just in case she's reading this today, I want to wish a very joyous Happy 6th Anniversary to my wife Donna Lee.

We've certainly gone through a lot during these last couple of years, haven't we?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Certainly hope that you all had a Happy & healthy Thanksgiving yesterday. We had about fifteen family members at the house yesterday, a decent sized crowd and 10 less than we had last year.

I generally don't talk about work much here, but I just received a promotion and feel pretty good about it. Of course, it means that I'll be transferred to another library shortly, and will miss the staff here at Forest Hills. Still, a few extra dollars and added responsiblity might not be such a bad thing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I close my eyes and it’s 1972. I’m 21 years old and sitting with my friend Rick, who is a fellow crew member on the U.S.S. Shreveport. On an off-duty weekend we scored tickets to a concert by the band Chicago. The band was good though not visually exciting. The music was exactly as it sounded on their records, which is more than some bands at the time could claim. We are seated behind and above the band, sitting in the balcony of the coliseum for the show.

I open my eyes and I’m sitting across from my friend Pete. It’s 2005 and we’re watching the current incarnation of Chicago performing at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City. The band seems much more comfortable on stage, with the horn section now up front as they perform. The band now has thirty years of material from which to choose, easily switching from ‘classic’ stuff to new as the evening progresses.

In between the two events there have been another four years in the Navy, six years of college, three marriages and two divorces. There have also been a few other events along the line but that’s a pretty good summary of the changes.

I only mention this since that was what I was thinking about during the concert itself. Just how much my life has changed and where the paths have led me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'm going to mention them here once and promise never to do so in this Blog again.

Are the Hilton Sisters this generation's Gabor Sisters? I mean here are two people with no identifiable talent or skills who have become famous for being famous. Or am I missing something?

Just had to get that off my chest. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I've added my e-mail address to my profile, since I've had several people try and contact me via the reply posts. Apparently I never okayed Blogger showing my address when I set up my profile. Fingers crossed this doesn't open the floodgate to more spam.

Still too busy at home and at work to do much regular blogging, so I apologize to those folks who drop by here more than once a week or so. Don't expect to see me ranting on unless something major catches my attention.

Today's newspaper coverage of the Senate actually standing up to the Bush Administration on the failed policies in Iraq are certainly worth a mention, but we can expect the House to water anything down to almost worthless. Then again, it looks like some moderate Republicans are trying to put a bit of distance between themselves and His Smugness before next year's elections. This may change if something brings the Presidential ratings back up over 40%, but we can be hopeful.

Also noteworthy, is the discovery of tortured prisoners being held by our Iraqi allies in 'secret prisons'. Maybe that's covered somewhere in the new Constitution and is okay.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Unlike some folks, I generally don't speak about my job here at the blog. Generally, it's just boring samo-samo stuff, so wouldn't be of interest to anyone. Also, I know at least a couple of folks I work with who will occasionally peek in here, so it's best if I keep a lot of stuff to myself. :-)

Anyway, it looks as if I didn't get the promotion I interviewed for the other week, but I can't say I'm surprised. The position probably should have gone to someone with experience running a smaller agency before stepping up. I did a stint as 'acting' Branch Librarian back in Brooklyn years ago, but the way things are run here in Queens are different enough so that that might not have qualified me for the move up. If nothing else, submitting my name will make Human Resources aware of my interest in a jump.

At this point it's probably best to wait until after the New Year, since not only is Forest Hills being scheduled for a renovation but I have my Annual Leave set for January. Donna and I are taking another cruise together with friends, so I'd rather not have any problems with those particular dates.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Well, I can't say that I'm surprised Mayor Bloomberg won re-election, but I am disappointed. I guess Ferrer should be happy that his percentage of the vote was better than some earlier predictions. Sadly, his campaign never really picked up any sort of momentum and his laid back persona couldn't motivate enough Dems to actually vote.

I don't believe that people think that Bloomberg is that great, but rather he was there immediately after 9/11 and many folks feel comfortable with him. I think he gets credit for things which would have happened no matter who was NYC mayor over the past four years, but he's not the first politician to take credit for just being there.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A quick update here on the new babies. The girl is Megan Eleanor (5 lbs 12 oz/18 in.) and the boy is Daniel George (6 lbs 1 oz/19 in) As you can imagine everyone is very happy. Mom says that this is IT!! Hey, she got both the first time out, so who can complain?

Uncle Steve will have to practice his baby skills, which are a bit rusty at this point. :-)
A quick congratulations to Donna's younger sister, Marilyn & her husband, Douglas, on the birth of healthy twins, one boy & one girl. Don't have the names or other info yet as the proud parents didn't want to know the sex of the children before hand. Since they had to assume there might be twins of the same sex several names were in contention. I'll let you know later, if I can, which ones were chosen.

Mother and the twins (not identical) are doing fine and that's the most important thing.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It will be interesting to see if anything really comes of yesterday’s Senate action. We can assume that the GOP members will do their best to stone-wall any ‘real’ investigation and that the White House will claim Executive Privilege & national security to deny the members any access to reports or material. In other words, same s***, different day.

What might be surprising is to see if today’s Washington Post story on secret CIA prisons leads to anything. We would probably be better off checking out the European press on any follow up, since “senior U.S. officials.”

I haven't been posting recently more for reasons of laziness and being distracted by other things. Namely, the passing last week of our friend Bella and next week the due date of Donna's sister, Marilyn. Life does have a way of getting in the way of the important things like blogging.