How To Save The World And Look Hot Hot Hot

I went to the luncheon today just to see. It shames me to admit it because it’s oh so shallow, but I did. I went to the luncheon today just to see what it was like to be in the presence of such outlandish hotness.

It wasn’t bad. It didn’t kill me. I didn’t have to avert my eyes. And yes, good people, Angelina Jolie is every bit as beautiful as she looks on that little box in your living room. As you might expect, she’s also rather interesting.

She was at the Press Club today to speak about her work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She said that she always thought she was a rather well-educated human being until she filmed in Cambodia, and they told her not to wander around over there because of the landmines, and they told her about the refugees. She eventually adopted one of those refugees.

When you grow up in this country, you do make certain assumptions, one of which is that children are always safe and shielded from horrible things. Jolie has created a second career for herself in reminding people that it ain’t always true, that sometimes, refugee children in the United States face tribunals, large rooms full of strangers, and are expected to recount stories of violence and persecution to them. There are an estimated 5,000 kids like this per year in the United States. One of UNHCR’s aims is to find pro bono legal help for these youngsters, through the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children.

Hearing Jolie speak about these things made me consider my first interests in global politics, which came from reading about Stephen Biko. It’s easy these days to think that the world’s only tragedy is happening in Bush’s Mess O’ Potamia, but it’s good to be reminded that the world is much bigger than that and that there are places like Darfour and Cambodia and…um…Detroit.

Someone asked Jolie if she’d ever consider parlaying her acting career into a job in politics. Her reply was amusing: “I think I have too many skeletons in my closet for politics.” Interestingly enough, she thinks Colin Powell would be a good choice to head the World Bank. And, I don’t know how many Americans can casually say, “We have a home in Cambodia.” Interesting woman. And, yes, I am pleased to report: She is hot.

Well, back to my study of iMIS Content Manager. :: Snort :: > : )

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Yeah…um…sorry about that…

On the first day of Black History Month, Sen. George Allen (R-VA) will introduce a Senate resolution apologizing for the Senate’s filibustering of House-passed anti-lynching laws in the 20th century. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will join in offering the resolution. This will be the first time Congress has apologized to African-Americans for past atrocities.

Thanks Giving

I am not very good at the game some call “Balderdash.” I can’t help it.

My baser instinct to go for the laugh rather than for the strategically realistic fake definition always kick in. I’m glad for that because my definitions can usually take a crowded room down in laugher.

The word was “elasmobranch.”

My definition was: “What you get when you put a tree into a supercollider.”

Anyway.

I love Thanksgiving. I adore it, for many reasons. It happens during my favorite time of the year. It is a reasonably secular holiday. And, best of all, it involves gorging yourself on meat and sides of starch and wine.

As per usual, I was in charge of the green bean casserole, and of picking up the Gonfalon contingent at Dulles. This was an oddly special Thanksgiving because not only did my Dad come down, but my Mom drove over. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen the two of them in a room for a long time. It wasn’t even weird, not attall. Actually, it was nice.

I like the sentiment of Thanksgiving, too: Counting your blessings. It may sound trite, but many of my blessings were sitting down at the dining table with me tonight. I have many other things I’d count asblessings, job, home, people, and other stuff I don’t need to bore you with. It’s been a good day to take it all in and let it drive me a little.

I am full of food. And that is excellent.

Might As Well Face It…

Johnny’s always running around trying to find certainty. He needs all the world to confirm that he ain’t lonely. Mary counts the walls. Knows he tires easily. Johnny thinks the world would be right if it could buy truth from him. Mary says he changes his mind more than a woman. But she made her bed, even when the chance was slim. Johnny says he’s willing to learn, when he decides he’s a fool. Johnny says he’ll live anywhere, when he earns time to. Mary combs her hair. Says she should be used to it. Mary always hedges her bets. She never knows what to think. She says that he still acts like he is being discovered—scared that he’ll be caught, without a second thought. Running around. Johnny feels he’s wasting his breath trying to talk sense to her. Mary says he’s lacking a real sense of proportion. So, she combs her hair. Knows he tires easily.

Bye-bye, Mr. Smooth

Obligiatory “Death Of Domestic Canine Companion” Post, or “Farm Purchase Eyed By Dog”

Obligiatory “Death Of Domestic Canine Companion” Post, or “Farm Purchase Eyed By Dog”
Many many years ago, my father remarried, built a new house, and settled in for the rest of his life. He and his new wife soon adopted a short-legged, charasmatic little pooch they’d noticed wandering around the neighborhood?er, more specifically, they adopted him when they noticed him wandering around Lee Highway.

They named him “Marion Barry.” Quoth my Dad: …we named him for the Mayor of Washington D.C. whose nocturnal peregrinations were not unlike those of this small black dog who enjoyed visiting the group house behind us in search of smoke. Some might take offense at the name, but with this dog in this city at that time, the name was perfect.

Today is Marion Barry’s last day with us. He is in most everybody’s estimation too sick to keep going. He is approximately 17 years old, damned ancient for a dog, and he’s arthritic and blind and his liver doesn’t work. It is, sadly, time to put him down.

Marion has spent his last years rather happily on a large farm estate in Rochester, N.Y. Though he bore the rather obvious signs of a dog going unhealthy with age, the cloudy eyes, the greasy coat, the little mole growing on his snout. As I recall, however, he never lost his personality and always seemed to refute his advanced age. I will genuinely miss seeing the old boy when I go up to Gonfalon Farm.

Good doggie.

Edinboro

I always forget how beautiful it is, Edinboro, Pa., how the lake is just the right size, how the little narrow Lakeside Drive is but a ribbon wrapping it all up, how good it smells, and how wonderfully life slows down there.

My Grandmother is quite the trendsetter in Edinboro. Always has been. Many years ago, she and her husband Bernard came to this little place that at the time was, I believe, pretty much just a hole with water in it surrounded by some land. They bought a lot and just camped on it for a few years before they started building the Cottage. The little place, built with strictly non-union labor (read: they pretty much built the place themselves), was where I would spend a large part of every summer as a kid. There are few places better to sleep when you’re that age then in the top bunk of a small room that is lined exclusively in knotty pine. I can still smell that house just by thinking about it.

In the mid ’80s, Grandma and Grandpa decided it just wasn’t enough room for them anymore. They swapped a lot they owned across the lake for the one adjacent to the Cottage and built their dream Edinboro home, palacial for Edinboro standards at the time. Here, the first Edinboro settlers became among the first to build a full-fledged residential dwelling. Now, of course, everyone’s doin’ it.

My Grandpa died in ’86. He rests across the lake from the house at Edinboro Cemetery. His plot was among our stops on this visit, a final footnote to an eye-opening weekend. It’s easy in one’s 20s, I think, to forget, ignore, or take for granted one’s roots. How valuable it is that my elders found this little spot, fell in love with it, and dug in. How extraordinary it is that I was offered such an ideal and happy place to play and learn my way to adulthood. How enormous it is that everywhere I go and everything I do, I carry millions of minutes of life experience with me earned at this little lake.

It is mind-boggling, and I thank my Grandparents profusely for giving it to me.

Say Cheese

I spent a year thinking about what I’d say to him.

He had this old bit on SNL called “the Al Franken Decade.” I’d ask him, “When exactly was the Al Franken Decade, and how did that work out for you?” And then he’d think I was really cool for knowing this old obscure bit of his and would invite me out for a beer.

It didn’t work out that way.

“When exactly was the Al Franken Decade, and how did that work out for you?” “The eighties.” “The eighties?” “Yes, the eighties. That’s when my kids were born.” “Oh.” CLICK