Friday, September 16, 2005


Look, the final resting place of Checkers, the dog Richard Nixon was going to keep regardless of what they said.

Did you know I have the same birthday as Nixon?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Life unfolds

I had a wistful moment earlier this week when I dropped off my old futon frame at the thrift store. That old frame was nothing nice by now -- it was dilapidated, in fact, with coffee rings on the armrests. But it was the first piece of furniture I ever bought new, and it furnished the first apartment I rented on my own, after college. Giving it away felt like giving away a piece of my youth.

Futons seemed like a miracle to me when I bought that one, in 1992: cheap, simple, comfortable. But when Ereck and I moved into this place three years ago, the miraculous futon went into the basement, and there it sat.

Recently we had a purge: we resolved to rid ourselves of both of our futons, simultaneously. Ereck theorized that we had hung on to them as a kind of relationship insurance -- if things didn't work out with us, at least we'd still have beds to sleep on. So giving the futons to St. Vinnie's was, in some strange way, a kind of commitment ceremony.

Except my futon frame got cold feet. At first I couldn't find the peculiar, tiny bits of metal that hold everything together, and without them the frame is just so much useless pine. But in a frenzy of tidying I finally turned up the goods, and the frame left the house a complete package. I hope someone can use it.
Good word

"Clapping is a spontaneous thing, and we don't encourage it -- I would never ever ask an audience to clap along -- but when the spirit moves people to do it, you feel charmed and buoyed by it."

--Garrison Keillor

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Brave Tennessee

Sometimes I'm so proud of my confreres back home in the Volunteer State, I could just cry.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

When Google was just another scrappy startup, its slogan, Don't Be Evil, seemed like a mere spoof: a nerdy, whimsical swipe at giant Microsoft, whose bloated software and predatory business practices are indeed disquieting (whether they are the devil's bidding is between Bill Gates and his god).

Now that Google is itself a giant, though, with a market capitalization of $86 billion, the slogan isn't so amusing. Instead, what I take from it is that the company is setting a extremely low standard of behavior for itself. If the only practices Google rules out are the ones that are truly evil, doesn't that leave all kinds of room for business strategies that are questionable, objectionable, downright reprehensible? Even predatory?

Wait, doesn't Google own this blog? Uh oh...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Good word

"If it's good enough to take to your psychiatrist, it's good enough to make a song of."

--Paul McCartney
Out of the past

Do you believe in ghosts? Since college I have lived in city apartments, most of them built in the early part of the 20th century. That means my homes have been home to scores of other people, and sometimes I think they're all still with me.

It's not that I have sighted any actual ghosts, like the Confederate soldier my stepmother periodically spots in my Tennessee home. But sometimes I feel quietly overwhelmed by the fact that I make my abode amid layers of memory and experience.

I got to thinking about this today as I pondered artifacts previous residents left in my apartment. (I believe the place was built in the 1920s.) Most striking are the small holes in the bedroom doors where locks and latches were installed. These holes disturb me, as they bespeak discord: sometimes housemates do not trust each other, and so they lock their bedrooms.

But what house doesn't have discord? Still, I'm glad Ereck thoroughly smudged our home when we moved in. Out, bad spirits!