Friday, September 29, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Moveable Feast

I have the overwhelming desire to post lyrics again today. If I were to post lyrics I would go with James Blunt's "Tears & Rain."

Unfortunately, I can't remember the last time I had a truly political thought in my brain. It's been awhile to be quite honest.

I could quote Oscar Wilde for hours on end as well. Clearly not a political undertaking, though possibly controversial as everything with Mr. Wilde tends to be. I could bring your attention to page 20 of The Picture of Dorian Gray instead, but that would require one having the exact edition of the book that I have. Supposedly the greatest wisdom of the entire book resounds in one sentence: "Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them." How true.

Again, nothing political here.

I was asked a question today pertaining to a Hemingway book and I was wrong. I was wrong about Hemingway. I suppose I should receive credit for spelling Hemingway correctly. Only one person in the world will appreciate that--and for this I am so glad. Glad, the word is horribly simple. Is there anything as mundane?

The English language in all its perplexities...not political. Unless you speak Spanish.

I miss the Expos. The Nationals are great, but they aren't the Expos. I miss other things as well: wins in the Braves' column, wondering if Ted Williams' final homer (and hit) was #519 or #521, and of course there is the ever present absence of my own concern for which game I may miss if I choose one meeting or another. It just hasn't been the most memorable baseball season, has it?

There is not even a feasible way to blame this on Iran, Iraq, or anything political for that matter.

Clearly I have had much on my plate this week (and in weeks prior) that has prevented any truly political commentary. Similar to how Hemingway referred to Paris, I have encountered a personal roadblock, perhaps life lesson, that will remain with me for awhile. Like Paris, "wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you."

Politics can wait.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Smorgasbord Saturday

I had a great idea for a TDIH post the other day, but by the time the thought came back to me it was too late. So, maybe next year I'll remember to comment on the assassination attempt on President Ford.

My life has been, well, upside down. Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day and somehow all of the things I need to get accomplished aren't getting accomplished, much less the things like posting that I want to accomplish, but can't even get to. I'm beginning to wonder about the literal meaning of the word "fall" in connection with the season.

I do have a post in the works--a more history related post--regarding the importance of oral history. I'll get to that soon. As soon as the homework is done of course...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Lyrics Today, Explanation Tomorrow

Slow Motion
By David Gray

While I was watching you did a slow dissolve
While I was watching you did a slow dissolve
While I was watching you did a slow dissolve

Did I imagine or do the walls have eyes
Did I imagine they held us hypnotized
Did I imagine or do the walls have eyes

Life in slow motion somehow it don't feel real
Life in slow motion somehow it don't feel real
Life in slow motion somehow it don't feel real

Snowflakes are falling I'll catch them in my hands
Snowflakes are falling I'll catch them in my hands
Snowflakes are falling now you're my long lost friend

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Stallings Collection

Stallings, Richard Howard
(1940 - )
Dates of Service: 1985-1993
Party: Democrat

Idaho State University
Eli M. Oboler Library
Pocatello, Idaho

Papers: 1984-1992. 266 boxes. Congressional papers, casework, and correspondence; photographs; videos; newspaper clippings; Government publications; and memorabilia, with special emphasis on agricultural issues, the Idaho National Laboratory, and Idaho politics and politicians. Open for research in January 2008.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Still Waiting

In twenty-one years I can count on one hand the times I have known without a doubt that life is a test of our faith, courage, and inner-strength. In those times I have often reflected on a quote by C.S. Lewis: "Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." I suppose this is one of those times in my life that Mr. Lewis is on my mind daily. There are obstacles we never want to encounter, there are circumstances beyond our control, and there are only certain paths we can take to overcome these obstacles.

I can't tell you why C.S. Lewis is on my mind these days, but maybe Rose Kennedy said it best when she said: "It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, (protecting its sanity), covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But, it is never gone."

This many all seem a little perplexing and non-political, however it is leading somewhere--this blog is going to take on a new role or structure for awhile and I thought I would address the reasons why and what you all should expect.

First, there are some amazing political blogs for those interested in Idaho politics and campaigns that I cannot even give enough credit to--Red State Rebels, Ridenbaugh Press, 43rd State Blues, and many others. There are great campaign pages for Larry Grant and Jim Hansen. Not to mention all the other wonderful and insightful Idaho blogs that don't always concentrate strictly on politics.

Second, I am JFK-centric. I do enjoy writing about off the wall things, sharing song lyrics, and taking random pictures on Saturdays. I'm not your typical political blogger, though I did begin with every intention of writing on strictly political issues. My love for history is undeniable. I love poetry, literature, and the United States Constitution. I am not your average political blogger.

From here on out, similar to "Let Bartlet be Bartlet" on The West Wing, I'm just going to be me. I can give you an update on the processing of the Stallings' congressional collection. I may post whatever lyrics are on my mind. Smorgasbord Saturday is going to stick around. TDIH isn't going anywhere. And though I'd like to run far, far away, I'm not going anywhere either. I've readjusted my life a little, resigned as president of the College Democrats, and have tried to pinpoint my priorities. I spent ten hours in the basement of the library working on the Stallings collection today and someone brought me flowers...I'm happy with that. If we are happy with and appreciate the little things, the big things that scare us the most will take care of themselves. I believe that as firmly as I believe anything.

There are a lot of things that I've had to do that I didn't want to do. I'm not going to post about the political things just because that is what everyone expects of me. I'm going to post about the things that are important to me--I'm not going to worry about what people think when I say I love Robert Byrd because he loves the Constitution. I'm not going to worry what people think about me listening to Big & Rich or Elvis Costello. I'm not going to worry if anyone cares that I mention Pat Kennedy Lawford died, but Eunice was/is my favorite. Or if people comment on my random commentary on the World Series. It doesn't matter to me if anyone else likes Orson Scott Card as much as I do or even for the same reasons. This is my blog, this is my life, and it only matters what I expect of myself.

Yes, I'm Posting Lyrics, and No, I'm Not Separating Sentences

Two Beds and A Coffee Machine ------Savage GardenAnd she takes another stepSlowly she opens the doorCheck that he is sleepingPick up all the broken glass and furniture on the floorBeen up half the night screaming now it's time to get awayPack up the kids in the carAnother bruise to try and hideAnother alibi to writeAnother ditch in the roadYou keep movingAnother stop signYou keep moving onAnd the years go by so fastWonder how I ever made it throughAnd there are children to think ofBaby's asleep in the backseatWonder how they'll ever make it through this living nightmareBut the mind is an amazing thingFull of candy dreams and new toys and another cheap hotelTwo beds and a coffee machineBut there are groceries to buyAnd she knows she'll have to go homeAnother ditch in the roadYou keep movingAnother stop signYou keep moving onAnd the years go by so fastWonder how I ever made it throughAnother bruise to try and hideAnother alibi to writeAnother lonely highway in the black of nightBut there's hope in the darknessYou know you're going to make itAnother ditch in the roadKeep movingAnother stop signYou keep moving onAnd the years go by so fastSilent fortress built to lastWonder how I ever made it

Sunday, September 17, 2006

TDIH: U.S. Constitution

**Editor's Note: Either Blogger is experiencing delays or it has a personal vendetta against my love for the Constitution.

On this day in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was adopted by the Philadelphia Convention.

I agree with the previous statement suggesting that it doesn't matter how many copies of the Constitution a person owns, but rather how much knowledge of the Constitution that person possesses. However, for me, I love the various copies of the Constitution. Of my own copies I have a favorite--it is a simple hardbound blue copy that was given to me by a professor several years ago when I visited Dallas, Texas. He was impressed that I mentioned my favorite amendment is the twenty-fifth and that I am perplexed by the mention of treason in Article III due to the very fact that the signers of the Constitution were committing treason against the British throne.

This leads to the previous question of how many copies of this beautiful document I own. The answer is: I'm not entirely sure. Months ago I counted and reached a number nearing ten copies, but that was without the copies within reference books and text books. I suppose if you counted those the number would be between fifteen and twenty. And since I last counted, I have acquired three new copies, not to mention a book I received last night with the story of each of the signers of the Constitution.

Why does a person need this many copies of the Constitution? Well, I suppose the average person doesn't, but I do. Why? Like Senator Robert C. Byrd, I have an overwhelming respect and reverence for this founding document. In his book, Senator Byrd says he carries a copy in his shirt pocket. I don't carry a copy in my shirt pocket, but have a copy in my backpack, my car, and my wallet. Not because I need to refer to the Constitution on a regular basis or that I don't feel secure in my knowledge of the Constitution, but rather because it is comforting to know that as a free-citizen of the United States I am protected by numerous rights regardless of where I am--in my car, at school, at the store, in my home, or while traveling. It is the beauty and brilliance of the document that causes me to invest in having so many copies.

In celebration of Constitution Week at ISU we had a team trivia competition. The College Democrats came in 2nd place behind the Law Club. I must admit to missing a question--one that asked for the youngest signer of the Constitution. It was apparent to me the second after I said "Rutledge" that he was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence and that Dayton was the correct answer. Trivia is trivia. I did know that Article III addresses the act of treason and had I not been too embarrassed to do so, I could have easily recited the Preamble.

I hope you all have taken a moment to reflect on the U.S. Constitution this day among others.

Smorgasbord Saturday (Sort Of)

The answer to how many copies of the Constitution I own will appear in the next post--the more Constitution-related post.

There was a great article by Molly Ivins of the Star-Telegram in the ISJ about Ann Richards. I would highly recommend surfing on over to the article if you want a good laugh. The last sentence of the article alone is worth reading...

As I'm sure you all have heard, Ford Motor Company is laying off a large number of employees. Why do I care? Well, honestly, it isn't high on my list of things to be bothered by right now, but let me just say when I get up in the morning and read the Washington Post online, my heart stops for a split-second when I see "Ford" in the headline of any article because I'm so worried about the poor health of former President Ford. Really, there has got to be something better for me to spend my time concerned over!

On a completely different topic, this week I purchased a new CD. Be prepared to poke fun--I bought Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True. It's a wonderful 2 CD set that I just can't stop listening to. And I didn't even know I was an Elvis Costello fan. Who knew?

At this time of the day that's really all the news I can come up with.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Guesses Anyone? How Many Copies of the Constitution Do I Own?

Ann Richards Dies

The woman to whom I attribute the best George H. W. Bush quote ever, has passed away. Ann Richards, the former Democratic Governor of Texas passed away last night after a battle with cancer.

Ann Richards once said: "Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

Monday, September 11, 2006

TDIH: 9/11

It is hard for me to consider the 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as a TDIH-worthy post. It is even harder for me to put into words the way I feel about what has happened to America since 9/11. So I will instead leave you with the words of Senator Robert C. Byrd:
...In the months and years following the collapse of those twin towers, another sort of abandonment has commenced. In our horror and shock over the bizarre and unexpected attacks in New York and Washington and the thwarted attempt in Pennsylvania on September 11, a slow unraveling of the people's liberties has begun. From the ambivalence of the Congress, to the pandering nature of media coverage, to the passive attitude of too many of our citizens, we are--all of us--guilty of aiding and abetting a heinous process. ---Robert C. Byrd, in Losing America, 2004.
In the five years since 9/11, no longer the aiding and abetting of terrorists is forefront, but rather the daily aiding of hate and submissiveness by the American people.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Where Was I Going With This?

Recently I was given a copy of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Now, I may not agree with the man 100% on tough issues, but I certainly respect his straight-forward attitude. Ender's Game has been a decent read thus far--I haven't had the time to finish it and have been distracted by much larger tasks. I won't bore you with a book review tonight, I only want to direct your attention to Orson's latest post.

Unrelated to politics, I know. There seems to be a pattern emerging in my recent posts. No longer is my head (or heart for that matter) in the realm of politics or history, it is residing in that realm of pure survival. The survival instinct is odd. It makes me read Orson Scott Card and eat Pop Tarts ®. Not that either are a totally bad idea, just not like me. The major pattern is that of education. My own education has and continues to get me through obstacle after obstacle. In times when I am really struggling my attention turns toward the importance of education.

Directing your attention to Orson came about because of something I read earlier today that I found particularly interesting: "When I was a kid, I loved school. Because I was good at it, and so were my teachers." I suppose I'm not too bad of a student, so I connected with what he was saying, but what I really connected with was his statement about his teachers. So were mine, Orson. So are mine.

Occasionally things come up in my life that just blow my mind and I am forced into this realization that I have had unbelievable support and guidance from amazing teachers--that support and guidance has done wonders and continues to do wonders for me. There is more to being a teacher than giving a lecture every day and sending a kid home with a stack of homework. Being a teacher is shaping the lives of those who need shaping the very most. Being a teacher means always being a mentor, at times a guidance counselor, when needed a disciplinarian, often a friend, and potentially a hero.

I have had four teachers in just about 16 years of formal education that I can say have been for me a mentor when I needed a mentor, have offered guidance when I felt quite alone, have taught me discipline as well as have gotten after me when I needed it most, they are/were friends and I hope they realize that, and all four of them are my heroes. They deserve just as much, if not more, to be on my list of heroes with Rosa Parks, Adlai Stevenson, Ray Charles, Carl Sandburg, and my little brother.

Each of them have been on my mind lately, some more than others, and all of them have turned up as the topic or at least the inspiration for many of my posts. I don't know where this was going or if I even had a point to make, but Orson Scott Card's post really hit home with me today (at least that one part).

If we can't write about what we really love and feel comfortable with it, then what is the point in writing or having a blog? Politics isn't everything.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Growing Up

At an international conference in August of 1976, President Gerald Ford stated:
There are no adequate substitutes for father, mother, and children bound together in a loving commitment to nurture and protect. No government, no matter how well-intentioned, can take the place of the family in the scheme of things.
For most of my life or at least the time in which I have been aware of who Gerald Ford is I have believed his statement. I have spent the majority of my life believing that nothing replaces the family. I also deeply believed a statement from a former president of the Mormon Church: "No success can compensate for failure in the home." True, to a certain extent, but let me tell you why I no longer believe these two statements to be completely true...the public education system.

I wish I could explain how deeply I believe this, but this is not the proper medium nor is a political blog with readership that looks specifically for political analysis and critique the place for such a deep discussion.

These quotes are part of a much larger theme in my life. In the last little while I feel as if I have done a whole lot of growing up. I no longer get mad about yellow ribbons plastered on cars and feel the overwhelming need to post about it. I no longer have the need (or I suppose the time) to post pictures of whatever I have rearranged in my apartment, though the rearranging continues. I no longer really care what people think of me when I say that I listen to Big & Rich because they are plain crazy or that really nerdy books make me happy. I'll sob when Gerald Ford dies and everyone will just have to deal with it. I'll tell you that I love Arlen Specter and Robert Byrd because I have a greater appreciation for history than I ever have had for politics and everyone will just have to get over it, no matter how senile Senator Byrd becomes. And I'm going to continue to say how much I love public education because I can and because it is the reason I am where I am today.

If this is growing up, maybe it is a good thing.