Singing like a caged bird

Wednesday, October 29, 2003



The local election for Saratoga Springs city government is turning into a hotly contested, close, who-knows-what-will-happen-affair.  Highly unusual for this locale.  Most elections are ho-hum with everyone knowing the outcome by the end of the Summer Racing season.  The major issues are:

  • what kind of expansion for our water system (if at all), 

  • whether it was wise to opt out of the
    county sales tax scheme to conduct our own city sales tax and

  • a continuation of the development vs.
    preserving open space controversy.  

Well I come squarely down on the side of no county run water system tapping the Hudson river, lets keep control of our own sales tax and of course how about continuing our "smart growth".  I still enjoy being able to walk downtown to all the things  I need in the town.   And yet having the rural countryside just a short walk in the opposite direction.  Being able to enjoy forested glades, lonely wetlands, and all kinds of peace and solitude only  interrupted by the critters chattering away and an occasional 2 legged critter ambling along.


Been there...done that....The Bush
administration is continuing its policy of "Iraquification".  Unfortunately, it is not because it will work , but rather because the two alternatives are impossible.  The rest of the world is sitting on its hands and withholding their troops since they do not like the idiotic, arrogant treatment they have been getting from this west Texas deputy sheriff type.  And we do not have enough troops, (or is it political will to send more boys over who will come back in body bags or otherwise scarred for life).  Rumsfeld's solution is "to stay the course...only faster".  this reminds me of Werner Von Braun's definition of a "crash program" during the race for space days... "Get nine women pregnant in hopes of getting one baby in one month".
  Is it just me or is this the best time to invoke Yogi's famous saying..."it's like deja vu all over again". Does this remind you of the other quagmire of times not too distant?

Well we have a beauty of an excess of
unfettered capitalism trial going on.  It's the "Tyco Toga Party" trial.  Seems as if the CEO, L. Dennis Kozlowski,  and CFO, Mark H. Swartz, of Tyco were having quite the bash on the isle of Sardinia while looting their corporation.  Complete with bikini clad maidens, Hercules type male models, an ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David pissing cold vodka,  and of all thing Jimmy Buffet doing a live cover of  Van Morrison's "Brown
Eyed Girl
" and Karen M. Kozlowski's birthday cake in the shape of a reclining nude woman.  Maybe MasterCard can make this into a great TV spot....Hercules and shapely bikini's....$10,000..... shapely cakes.....$2,000.....Jimmy Buffet live....$250,000.......a pissing Michelangelo......Priceless.

To me the worst part is having Buffet covering Van Morrison....maybe Van has more integrity.  Take a sample listen to bring you back to those years and events that seem to be coming 'round again.


Forty years and 3 days have passed since our president spoke at Amherst College.  Do these words ring as true to your ears as much as to mine?  Can you imagine our current Commander In Chief uttering such words?  So much has changed in the world, so much that it has come round the circle.  These words from that day are sadly haunting me today: "And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well"---JFK

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Last night it was raining buckets, as I waited at the bus
stop.  It was late and dreary as I had been late at the office again.  The air was filled with the rain and billowing masses of gray mist blew across the sky.  These were low flying clouds, barely able to clear the Corning tower of the Empire State Plaza...these gray ghosts seemed ominous as they were lit by the floodlights of the numerous government buildings.  The streets were deserted, the usual homeless and other assorted night dwellers were sheltering somewhere out of the rain.  My eyes were drawn to the glare and reflections of the occasional passing vehicle as well as the buildingalights.  This light gave a shiny overcoat to the dull black asphalt andaspeckled it with random diamonds all sparkly.

Just in front of me ran a rivulet in the gutter.  As the rain had been steady all day and heavy at times, this was a significant torrent .  I started thinking of this little temporary river as a study in
microcosm about the ways of water.  I began to observe closer and my mind began to contemplate the myriad things that my little feeder stream of the mighty Hudson could demonstrate.  Just in the span of a few short feet, I could see a model for flood plain management.  Where the newly fallen red and yellow and orange leaves had begun to gather and clog the waterway and try to defy the effects of gravity, small pools of languid water began to collect and to expand.  I then could picture Lilliputian fly fishermen casting into the head of these pools perhaps seeking the fall runs of salmon that no longer run the once mighty Hudson and its tributaries.  Then I noticed a beautiful yellow maple leaf with tinges of red.  It was perfectly outfitted for a run down the rapids. Its shape was slightly curled and cupped giving it a good buoyancy and it firm stem was curved gracefully into the torrent and acting as nice little rudder.  I could just picture two little beings, yelping with ecstasy as they rode the class IV rapids of the north branch of the Washington Avenue gutter and shot the gorge thru the wilderness of capitol park. Careful of those hydraulics, and watch out for the #10 bus carrying its few pitiful passengers to the Crossgates Mall.  Soon the little leaf was spun into a whirl and then righted its self as it passed into the darkness, down the hill past the State Capitol and City Hall making its way to the Hudson tidal estuary just like a little Half Moon of 300+ years ago.  

Soon the distinctive lights of the bus made its way slowly up the hill and its wheels came to rest right in the middle of my imagined hydraulic engineering project and snapped my mind back to reality.  I got on the bus realizing neither the driver nor any of the  passengers had nary an inkling of the wonders of miniature white water rafting.  In only a month or two my minds imagination will replace the river runners with bobsledders and ski jumpers and down hill racers.


Another wonderful story from Bill Moyer's NOW.  This program really speaks to my ideology.  Last Fridays episode had a segment on Joseph C. Hough from the Union Theological Seminary.  His bio
should impress the true believer type of Christian who think they know all the
answers. For all of those people out there who never quite know how to combat the spewings of the Christian right wing zealots.....the Rev. Hough sure passed out some
for a more fair and balanced approach to reality and to religious teachings and morality.  This is about the best words I have heard from a bible toting pastor since MLK.

When I told a friend of this program, she told me to check out Forrest Church. Sure glad I listened.  I now have some sermons to read over the next few days/weeks.  I like what I have read so far.  Will also have to check out his books.


Julie Krone rode Funny Cide in the Breeder's Cup
"Classic" for the 3 year old championship. Coming off a 3 month
lay-off and the flu, the pride of Saratoga came in next to last.  Saratoga still loves its wonderful horse , the only NY bred to win the Kentucky Derby and his improbable owners. 

Saturday, October 25, 2003


So far I have had one comment, and maybe only one visitor to this
site.  It is making me a little sad.  But then again it has only been
up for a few days.  I didn't realize I would crave attention so much. 
I guess I need validation.  Time will tell.  Must look inward and see
the real important focal point of where I should be looking.  Must practice
what I preach to others.  Need to get able to write more inner feelings
rather than impress other.  Life long battle for me.  Just another
step along the way.

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single



"The Crisis of Human Capital in Central Asia"
is the title of the Fourteenth Annual Nava'i Lecture, to be presented by
Dr. Laura Adams on November 19 at Georgetown University. Dr. Adams
received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1999
and has since published and lectured widely, in the U.S. and abroad, on
the cultures and societies of Central Asia, with particular reference to
Uzbekistan. She spent the month of June this year in Bishkek doing
research on the intellectual life of Kyrgyzstan, and is currently a
postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown's Center for Eurasian, Russian and
East European Studies (CERES).

The annual Nava'i Lecture is jointly sponsored by CERES and the Alfred
Friendly Foundation. It is designed to give recognition to outstanding
young scholars entering the field of Central Asian studies.

This year's lecture
program will convene at 5:30 pm, Wednesday, November 19

in the Riggs Library (Healy Hall) on the University's main campus in

Washington, DC. A
reception will follow the lecture.

Space is limited.
Please RSVP, acceptances only, to 202-687-6080 or
by Friday November 14.



"The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he's in business." --John Berryman

Friday, October 24, 2003


Listen! the wind is rising,

and the air is wild with leaves,

We have had our summer evenings,

now for October eves

-Humbert Wolfe


What is your battle cry? Hey check this out...go to
a Scandinavian
site.  This generated my battle cry as:

Zang! Who is that, rampaging across the icy wasteland! It is Bert, hands clutching a vorpal blade! He howls gutterally:

"I'm seriously going to beat you
until you have puppies!!!"

I would be interested in what this generates for any of you readers out there, if there are any?


The inane robot on "Lost in Space would be going--"Danger, Danger, Solar Storm Approaching".......Holy Cow Batman......we are getting bombarded by a solar blast!!!!! Where will the coronal mass ejection (CME) hit and when? Dang, that almost sounds pornographic. Check out the aurora gallery on that page. Any of you in the northern latitudes be on the lookout for some possibly fantastic light shows. Report any sightings here please!!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2003


As the autumn leaves are turning and some have begun dropping, my eyes keep looking for that next sign of the season changes. And my ears keep listening for that far away faint sound that turns my eyes upward and northward...the unmistakable honk of the migrating geese. For years I have witnessed the change of season with the V's of geese winging their way to the sun drenched tropics. The Hudson river must be a major landmark in their genetic code as it is a major flyway. Multitudes of geese pass over and many stop at the harvested corn fields and marsh lands that are so abundant in this area. The corn fields are like the truck stops on the Interstates, where the drivers refuel for the next part of the journey, and the honking geese resemble the drivers exchanging news of the road, porn mags and bad jokes and whatever other gossip they have gleaned from their CB's.

It was in a clear, October sky two fall seasons ago that I witnessed what I think may be a once in a life time event. The cool, crisp morning had just begun, and the early morning fog had burned off when I heard the faint honks above the car noise. So I pulled off on a back road near the crest of a hill with an extensive view of the Hudson River valley. And when I first could focus my eyes on the source of the distinctive sound , there was something different about these geese. They were far higher up in the air. These surely were on an express route, not going to stop for any food. And they were white. And there were many of them. I gazed at them as they flew over, probably 10 V's in a line across the sky. They looked like a string of pearls strung across the deepest blue sky. But wait, there is another string coming behind them, and another and another. They just kept coming. Interspersed were a few other geese who were dark, almost like specks of onyx spaced at odd intervals within the strings of pearls. What I would learn later that this was the mass migration of the "Snow" geese. And also, that within the flocks of the Snow geese mass events, a few "Blue" geese have chosen to live in a diversified, integrated neighborhood. But my eyes were seeing things that I could hardly believe...more and more strings appeared in the sky. As I tracked the first geese I had seen reaching the southern horizon, they were followed by legions of their fellow travelers. So many that the entire sky from the northern to southern horizons was filled with strings of geese. Quickly I did the math calculations, 10 geese to a V, 10 V's to a string....I stopped counting when I reached 100 strings...that's 10,000 of these beauties. I continued to watch slack jawed, checked my watch and started to estimate the time it took for the entire flock to fly must have been 20 mins. I have never witnessed such a flight before or since. It was an awesome sight, that will forever be etched into my memory.

Since then I have learned that they gather in groups of 20,000 to 30,000 or more and can fly non-stop for 1500 miles. But also that they are over abundant in the Arctic now. And the fragile Attic environment is being damaged by their eating habits. But they sure were a wonder of nature that fine October morning. At this time of the year, I always listen for the faint honks of the high flying snow geese and search the clear blue sky for "the string of pearls".


I have been known to get on a rant about how the current administration is taking us down a road or perhaps a slippery slope to a government and economy that may be harmful to the average persons' well being. The following is not to diminish fears that we are on that well traveled path, but rather to contemplate how far this road to ruin goes. Destination: Ukraine. And there are more horror stories out there about the states of the former Soviet Union. It is a long way to Kiev, but I certainly hope the future generations of Americans do not get anywhere near there.


Recently saw and heard a native american story teller at the Adirondack Park Interpretive Center. He is fantastic. Particularly I loved his stories of "How Bird Got His Song" and "How Chipmunk Got His Stripes". Recently Dervala told us of the gaelic equivalent called a Seanchaí . Do other cultures have such "occupations" and what are they called?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Yippeee, going on a field trip today. Feel like a kid in elementary school. No, not the parish school mentioned below...rather the public school with the ever so nice Mrs. Teverbault. My colleagues and I are getting a tutorial on the NY State Library. Its a fun place, really!!!! Their are so many treasures in its research collection. The archival collection of NY newpapers and other documents is overwhelming. But today we get the latest on the on-line capabilitities. But it still feels like going on a field phones, no faxes, no emails, no urgents.......just time to get an update and soak in some of the history of the Empire state. Since my colleagues, the librarians and I are all actually part of the same agency, the NYS Education Department, I am expecting a very cordial reception. And the librarians aren't the stereotypical curmudgeons that pop into your mind. Make sure you scroll down to "The Library". Don't you just love Sarah Stewart's books, so nicely illustrated by David Small? Another favorite by Stewart is "The Money Tree", I think this story is Sarah's yin to Martha's yang. Can't you just picture Martha interacting with s bunch of yuppie designer kids!

School memories are definitley in the head today and it truly is a day of returning to the thrilling days of yesteryear. The staff were getting our annual flu shots today. Felt like going to the school nurse, jokin' and foolin' in line, the false bravado of the males, checking out the cute nurse. Only thing that was missing was a lollipop at the end of the ordeal.


I had an amazing episode of the visual kind, this one man-made. I went to see the film, "Magdalene Sisters". This was one of the most disturbing films I have seen in recent years. I put it in the class dark films such as "Schindlers List" ,"The Red Cherry", "The Mission" and "Black Robe". I think in part it was disturbing to me because I could see and feel the searing image of my chief nemesis, my first grade teacher, in the face of Sister Bridget. She, Sister Mary Zita, terrified me so badly I used to pee in my pants(literally). This film reinforces why I no longer go thru the rituals of my childhood brainwashing. I do admit saying a few Hail Mary's when in extreme circumstances...sort of my hedge fund of spiritual investment!!!!! And do attend the obligatory catholic weddings and funerals of my family. I reacted to this film much the same way I reacted to the book "Angela's Ashes". First a feeling of how this hits close to home, and then feeling shame to be an American of Irish catholic heritage. But then that subsides and I realize the ordeal strengthens my connection to my roots. In a more mature and realistic way. I never was one for the green bowler hats, the green beer, and the kiss me I'm Irish hokum that is so prevalent in the northeast of the USA. And my travels in Ireland skipped the tourists traps and truly was more about being among the people...especially in the rural areas. But I do feel there is a connection to its people and their homeland......


Where is Bill Lee when Red Sox nation needs a dose of him? My all time favorite ball player, (who else would a southpaw, geek, zen reading, recovering catholic, lefty idolize as the epitome of the art of baseball?) has come to our rescue. The "Spaceman" returns in glory.

Fifi - Françoise Demulder, is in need. Perhaps you can help, and purchase some fine photography.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


More about Tim O'Brien and his discussion of July,July. Tim was asked about having difficulty writing about women...the piece he read was about breast cancer and a womans life. This piece had been excerpted in the New Yorker. In answer, he said that he had always written about men, particualrly soldiers within the context of his life, and it took a while for him to get into a "woman's skin". The questioner asked if he had recieved any feed back about this piece in the New Yorker. Surprisingly, he said he had gotten tons of mail on it, from fact he had gotten more mail about it than any other piece he has written. Which when you think about the subject of "Things They Carried" and the many who were effected by that is truly amazing that his writing had that effect on this other subset of humanity. And he indicated that it was a very positive response and that it effected him deeply.


Continuing on the theme from yesterdays blog about Red Square, the more thing change the more the stay the same.....for instance in La Paz. The indiginous peoples have been exploited by and fighting with outsiders since the time of the Incas. The Aymara Indians are among the poorest people in all of South America. And they are tired of having their mineral wealth stolen. And they do not trust the ruling elite who they know will take the lion's well of some of the lambs' share as many of them are shepherds. They seem to remember the treachery and butchery of Pizarro and also the methods of Francisco de Toledo, who subverted the preColumbian mita to extract forced labor for the silver mines. Adult males could be required to spend every sixth year working in the mines. Silver declined, then tin was exploited and declined, then it was Standard Oil with its trickery, and now they got the discomfort and bloating of gas. So I guess they must have a "PR" problem down in La Paz, cause the Aymarra indians living up the hill in El Alto don't believe them anymore. Maybe the white house spin masters can teach the new Bolivian ministers the use of smoke and mirrors. Christ the indio people don't even have Al Franken to help set them straight. Oh wait, they don't need no stinking gringo......they already know the scoop, errr, poop. And took matter into their own hands. Things have been the same for a long long time....1500's in this case.

But wait, we have movement in an even longer conflict over exploitation......the Brits have decided to hold an election in the north of Ireland...when you get to that site, click on the "Troubles" and then on the "Timeline before 1970" one going back 800 years. Have things changed in todays world?


The Kyoto accords have been ratified by 119 countries by the end of last month. But since the USA had not, only 44.2% of worldwide emmissions are covered by the accord. But hey, Chile and Argentina are on board.....guess they can see the ice sheets melting just to their south. How long will the american people be asleep at the wheel of their SUV's? Who knows...maybe Haliburton is planning to rent out offshore oil rigs to the elite as vacation hideaways when the oceans cover enough land. Now that is global positioning!!!! And maybe Pat Robertson has bought up the rigths to Water World

Monday, October 20, 2003


Last week, I listened to Anne Garrels speak over in Manchester, Vermont sponsored by the Northshire Bookstore. She was doing a book tour thing for her new book, "Naked in Baghdad"and was in tiny Manchester, I think because her college roommate works/manages "The Vermont Country Store". It was interesting to learn that it was only her Vermont friend that was giving her resonance on how her dispatches were playing back in America on NPR. Gee, it seems little old Vermont is having an inordinate influence on the rest of the country lately.

I came away from the presentation appreciating more and more the importance of freedom of the press. And how much is owed to the many journalists who put themselves in difficult and dangerous positions to help preserve this precious part of our democracy. The importance should be recognized now, so we never have to say....."don't know what we got till it is gone". During her talk, Ms. Garrels, compared the Iraqi's feelings about Saddam and his aftermath to the feelings of the Russian people about Stalin and his aftermath upon his death. Sort of a love-hate thing...with a longing for stability of a tyrant and fear of what comes next vs. a loathing of the police state and the atrocities he placed on them.


Bill Moyers program on PBS continues to amaze me.....finally, a programs of intellectual honesty that speaks to my ideals of government. The latest episode boosting my morale was the one with Samantha Powers
Can you believe it.... Irish, human rights journalist and a Red Sox fan.


Do you have a favorite folkloric method for predicting seasonal climatic conditions? Is it strange to be infatuated with weather?

As I dip my toe into this pool of potentially toxic stew, my INFP is doing the tango in my guts. But the excitement of breaking out of my self constructed box, cage, caccoon, eutopia, hell, playroom, stage, pushing me deeper into this new world. My finger is looking to find the delete key, but my mind keeps saying...... "go for the gusto!" Ok, in to at least my ankle tops.

Last saturday attended reading and book signing of Tom O'Brien at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Vermont. Wasn't sure what to expect. What a gifted speaker, as well as writer. His reading from July, July had me enraptured, waiting for more, amazed at his gift of words. And the question and answer was just as entertaining. Part of this was because of the insightful and probing questions from the audience. The answers were detailed and articulated with a careful cadence and art of a master word crafter. The Northshire is a wonderful place, bringing great contemporary authors to a small audience in an intimate setting....just like the town meetings of Vermont. Thank goodness for Vermont and the cagy, old yankees who have inspired many of the the newcomers from "away". Maybe some of this spirit is what is driving a new generation to respond to Vermonts' Dean?

Thanks has to go out to Dervala for getting me this far. And Christiane too for encouraging me, yet warning me of its addictive nature. And to MO who is doing wonders for a free press in a far-off land, but must remain hidden for good reasons. Note to self = I must remember to not get so link happy. Well here is another one, inspiration also came from the new sight of Halley and her affiliation with bloggercon.

The USA Eagles defeated the New Zealand All-Blacks in a david and goliath remake.

Did you catch the "Paul McCartney in Red Square" Broadcast? Did it give you goose bumps...about how the world is so fundamentally changed, yet how it is still the same? How does one record music on an x-ray negative? Is the resourcefullness of the soviet people, coping with the stifling planned economy, as honed/effective as the creativity of unfettered capitalism and market economy which is so ballyhooed in the west?

And a question of all you fellow memebers of Red Sox Nation, especially those also dwelling in Pataki's kingdom, do you feel as proud as I, that our favorite team, and the Cubbies, energized so many people to the excitement that baseball can generate and tie generations of fans together? As all true Bosox fans know how to say and truly believe....."Wait till next year!!!!"