Monday, September 29, 2008

One Sixty-Three

After a grand slam by rookie Alexei Ramirez, capitalizing on some poor pitching decisions on the part of the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox have forced a tie-break. Tomorrow the White Sox will take on the Minnesota Twins in game one sixty-three of the regular season. Is a tie breaker considered part of the regular season? Who knows. Should make for interesting, albeit dramatic, baseball.

What's at stake? Everything. The end of the season. Playoff hopes. The taste of success for veterans like Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jim Thome. The American League Central.

Tomorrow's winner, whether it be the slumping (before today) Chicago White Sox or the Minnesota Twins, will be reigning champs of the AL Central and will head right into the American League Division Series against the hot as hell Tampa Bay Rays on that bizarre field in St. Petersburg.

Beginning Wednesday, in addition to whatever transpires tomorrow, we will see the first round of the playoffs ensue with the Brewers at the Phillies (Gallardo against Cole Hamels on the mound), Dodgers at the Cubs (Dempster v. Lowe, eat your heart out), and the Red Sox at the Angels (Lester v. Lackey, talk about a pitcher's duel).

I said yesterday that I may be rooting for the Angels and I must admit I hesitated a bit when I realized the Red Sox are in that first series. But how can I not get excited about a lineup deep with power hitters and the famous K-Rod? It's like saying the Rays aren't anything special this year...

Nothing about the 2008 season is what I expected. The Tigers with the off-season trade to end all trades couldn't get their bullpen together. The Mets with guys all over the leader boards (think Reyes and Santana, National League leaders in hits and ERA respectively) couldn't compete past the fifth inning. And, the Yankees, perennial playoff participants, are having a long winter. I'm beginning to expect the unexpected.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One Sixty-Two

It has been a long time since game one sixty-two, the final game of the regular major league baseball season, meant as much or brought as much suspense. I have been glued to televised baseball this weekend and have checked the standings online more times than I can count. Not that the television commentators haven't told me exactly where things stand plenty enough...

Why is the last game of the regular season so exciting? Because as it stands at this moment the American League Central has yet to be decided. The White Sox and the Twins are battling it out to the end. The American League East is sitting undecided. Either the Rays or Red Sox will be the division winner. The loser will be the American League Wild Card. And, perhaps the most exciting is the National League Wild Card race. It comes down to the Brewers and the Mets. If they both win (or lose) today they will have a tie break game tomorrow. If one wins and the other doesn't, there's your winner.

It is absolute craziness!

Where are my loyalties? Well, I don't really have any. The Braves are ending their second season of rebuilding. Second rough season in a row for a team that won their division fourteen years in a row. I am a paradox as a baseball fan. Instead of hating the teams that rival my team in the National League East, I mostly like them all. Love the Nats, love the Phillies, and manage to like the Marlins and Mets most of the time.

There are of course other National League teams outside of the Eastern division that are worth watching. I admire Cubs fans. Admire their loyalty more than anything. It takes a lot to stick with a team that hasn't won a World Series in one hundred years. In the NL Central I don't mind the Astros, less so since Biggio and Beltran left, the Brewers aren't bad, but I can't stand the damn Cardinals. The West is kind of a wash or at least it has been since the Diamondbacks won the World Series. The Rockies had a great run last year, the Dodgers are moving and shaking this season, the Giants were my team for awhile when Will Clark was there, and the Padres are a team I like from time to time.

Whatever indecisiveness (not quite the word to describe it) lies in my loyalties in the National League, I have very certain feelings about the American League.

In the American League East, I can't stand the Yankees. Can't stand Yankees fans. I should like the Red Sox because they are the major rival of the Yanks, but I can't get past the ego of the Red Sox. The Rays haven't been around long enough, the Blue Jays aren't worth watching, and the Orioles are really the only redeemable franchise in that division.

I don't particularly care for anyone in the American League Central. Don't like the White Sox, don't care for the Indians or Twins, haven't ever paid much attention to the Royals, and liked the Tigers as long as Pudge Rodriguez was there.

The American League West presents an interesting conundrum for me this season. I can't help but love the Angels. I've loved Vladimir Guerrero since his days in Montreal and that 502 foot homer he pounded there (I was a huge Montreal Expos fan), so watching him play for the Angels is a pleasure. With the addition of Mark Teixeira to the Angels line-up, despite him leaving my Braves, the Angels have been a power hitting team and one I'd watch as often as possible. Pitching staff is also superb. Add Torii Hunter to the mix and it is, in my opinion, the best team in baseball right now. Never paid much attention to the Rangers or A's. And the Mariners haven't been the same since Mike Cameron and Griffey left, despite what has been an unbelievable career for Ichiro. So, depending on how things look after today, I may be rooting for an American League team in the playoffs. Go figure.

On the final day, with game one sixty-two playing, the only thing we know for certain is the playoffs will be an interesting mix of young and old, fast and powerful. We'll see the Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Rays, Red Sox, and the Phillies for sure. Will it be the Brewers or Mets? Twins or White Sox?

Update 4:32 p.m. (MST): The Mets collapsed, AGAIN. The Brewers beat the Cubs. Your National League Wild Card winner is the Brew Crew. The Twins and White Sox won. Tomorrow's make-up game against Detroit will determine the AL Central winner. And I'm still not sure what the standings are in the American League East.

When I realized I was rooting for the Brewers for the simple fact that I'd like to see Jason Kendall and Mike Cameron in the playoffs--two guys with limited playing time in their careers left--I decided I should be rooting for the White Sox over the Twins for similar reasons. Wouldn't it be great to see Ken Griffey in the playoffs?

Now, none of what I have said about the Brewers is to discredit the true story here--C.C. Sabathia. The Brewers brought in Sabathia long before the trade deadline to move them into the post season. They spent the cash for a guy they won't have for more than this season. And they spent it well. It's super-human really. He's come out on three days rest for several starts, today's start he also closed, and has given everything he's got. Best trade this season? Certainly the smartest. Manny gave the Dodgers the boost they needed, Bay filled the gap for Boston, and Teixeira energized an entire team, but it is Sabathia who actually carried his team.

Last, but not least in this marathon final day of the regular season post is what ends today. The Yanks, having not secured a place in the playoffs, say goodbye to Yankee Stadium. A whole lot of history there for sure--the first Yankee homer off the bat of the great Babe Ruth, the last off a Yank came from a Molina, Jose to be exact. The Mets say so long to Shea Stadium. I love Shea. I love Shea for the very reasons Chipper Jones (your NL batting champion) loves Shea. Which players are done? A whole bunch of pitchers. I'm guessing Roger Clemens is done for real this time. Quite possibly Curt Schilling, Orlando Hernandez, and even maybe Mike Mussina or Randy Johnson. Will Smoltz be back? How about Maddux? Todd Jones is also gone. J.T. Snow signed a one day contract with the Giants so he could retire at the bay. The Big Hurt, Mr. Frank Thomas, is surely done. For good, for good. Paul Lo Duca probably should retire. Same with Omar Vizquel, though I enjoy watching him.

That's it, folks. The 2008 Major League Baseball regular season has now ended. Bring on the post season!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The fact is that change is always an exchange, and there is often great fear in exchanging the security of the familiar, no matter how constricting, for the risks of the unknown." -- Howard Halpern, Cutting Loose (1976)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Continued Progress

Minus what must be withdrawals from pain medication, muscle relaxers, and whatever else they pumped me full of in order to cut me open and remove pieces of my spinal column, I am doing very well. No more waddling like a duck.

Slow and steady wins the race, as they say.

I'm hoping to have a substantial smorgasbord on Saturday. Thank you for your patience.

To Suspend or Not To Suspend

I'm glad to hear Mr. Letterman is as confused as I am about the suspension of the McCain campaign...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Surgical Update

It has now been a week since my laminectomy & discectomy. Don't ask me where the week has gone. I hardly know what day it is! With fifteen staples to show for it, the surgery was a success. Came out of surgery immediately with more sensation and less pain than I went in with.

Now comes the recovery. I've been fairly groggy since I got home from the surgery center Wednesday and I'm accomplishing little more than showering and feeding myself, but all in all I have no complaints. Hopefully the staples will come out (and I can get out of the house) on Monday the 29th. Until then I just get to lay low and take it easy. Two things I'm not very good at.

My brain function--i.e. the amount of time I am awake, coherent, and semi-alert--is improving as I cut back on the number of pain pills, muscle relaxers, and steroids they sent me home on. However, I haven't put much of a dent in the stack of reading material next to my bed.

I will attempt a better and more informative update later in the week.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Surgical Hiatus

This blog will be on hiatus for a bit while I recover from back surgery. I have scheduled a TGIF Tunes post to be published in my absence on Friday, but I doubt I will be returning to real-time blogging until next week at the earliest.

Let this keep you entertained while I'm under the knife:
  • "Face it: Your minions will threaten and harass people whose personal information you release": From f-words comes this story of a radio shock jock in Alaska and what came of his rants. Funny, this thing is happening four days a week in the Magic Valley and goes mostly unnoticed.
  • "Yost relieved of managerial post": Yes, the slumping Milwaukee Brewers who are still in contention for the National League Wild Card let Ned Yost go. I don't understand why this is Ned Yost's fault. But then again, I didn't understand what Willie Randolph had to do with the mess that was the New York Mets' clubhouse either...
  • "Rangel to Hire Forensic Accountant to Investigate His Finances": After all the talk about Rangel's real estate holdings in Harlem, doesn't it seem odd that he has to hire his own forensic accountant when his opponents are the ones that wanted the investigation?
  • "West Wing writer tackles Facebook": Aaron Sorkin is back!! This time he will be making a film about the creators of Facebook. I don't use Facebook, wouldn't know how if it was put in front of me, but I do love all things Sorkin and am happy for this new project.
  • Constitution Day Activities: Don't forget that Wednesday September 17th is Constitution Day! Yes, that's right, my favorite day of the year and I won't be around to post about it. Visit the National Constitution Center website to find listings of activities near you or to learn more about our governing document.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Still Laughing

"...And I can see Russia from my house."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

TDIH: Presidential Medal of Freedom

One of the better decisions of Lyndon Johnson's administration was the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the great American poet Carl Sandburg. On this day in 1964, three years before his death, Carl August Sandburg was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution as both poet and historian.

Perhaps my favorite of Sandburg's poems, "To a Poet":
You said I would go alone, I would find my way.
But you were the strongest person I had known.
You were the morning wind, and you were stone.
You said: I know that you will go your own way.

Whatever horse you want to ride is yours.
And night is yours,
And the evening gleams, and day.
I can tell you nothing you have not known.
I said: I go with you; I am your own.
But I went alone.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom, first established by executive order in 1945 for war-connected services to the nation, was renamed by another executive order (E.O. 11085) in 1963. The Presidential Medal of Freedom, as it came to be known, was signed into law by President Kennedy as a way of honoring those who have contributed to "the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

Sandburg probably would not have introduced himself as either a poet or an historian. He was, first and foremost, a writer. He wrote poems, he wrote prose, and he wrote songs. Yes, songs. Carl Sandburg wrote and performed folk songs. He never served as poet laureate of the United States. He never even served as Consultant in Poetry, an appointed position created in 1937, long before the position of poet laureate existed in the United States. However, Carl Sandburg won the Pulitzer Prize, not once, but twice. Entry for Sandburg from the officially listing of Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients:
Son of the prairie, he has helped the Nation and the world to comprehend and share in the great affirmation of American life, asserting always, and in the face of disaster no less than triumph, The People.
Sandburg's contributions range from his historically-accurate portrayals of Chicago in poem to his arduous biographical volumes on the life and service of President Abraham Lincoln. His contribution on paper was nearly rivaled by his ideological contribution through his support of the civil rights movement and his monetary support of the NAACP.

Carl Sandburg was born fifteen years after President Lincoln was assassinated, but having never known the power of Lincoln's voice, he could appreciate the power of Lincoln's words. He read everything of Lincoln's he possibly could and became one of the greatest biographers as well as admirers of Lincoln. In an interview with the New York Times in 1964, speaking of his work on the Lincoln biography, Sandburg said, "I was up day and night with Lincoln for years. I couldn’t have picked a better companion." I have felt similarly about two of my research subjects. I suppose this is why I've had hanging on my wall a photo of Carl Sandburg admiring a bust of Abraham Lincoln throughout my college career.

Sandburg was a veteran and a college drop-out. He served his country nobly in the Spanish-American War, like many of his contemporaries such as Ambrose Bierce, he became disillusioned with the traditional political opinion of the time. Though far less extreme in comparison to Bierce, Sandburg was associated with socialists of the day as a member of the Socialist Democratic Party.

Despite their rivalry as American poets, Sandburg and Robert Frost became friends, meeting for the first time in 1954 and staying in touch until Frost's death in 1963. The similarities in their writings may not always be obvious, but the themes at times are nearly identical. What I once considered to be Sandburg's darker version of Frost's "The Road Less Traveled," here is "The Road and the End":
I shall foot it
Down the roadway in the dusk,
Where shapes of hunger wander
And the fugitives of pain go by.
I shall foot it
In the silence of the morning,
See the night slur into dawn,
Hear the slow great winds arise
Where tall trees flank the way
And shoulder toward the sky.

The broken boulders by the road
Shall not commemorate my ruin.
Regret shall be the gravel under foot.
I shall watch for
Slim birds swift of wing
That go where wind and ranks of thunder
Drive the wild processionals of rain.

The dust of the traveled road
Shall touch my hands and face.
Sandburg and Frost are now known as two of the greatest American poets of the twentieth century. And like Maya Angelou, Frost and Sandburg are connected to presidential history. Frost having been an inspiration to President Kennedy and speaking at his inaugural; Sandburg as Lincoln's biographer, introducing generation after generation to Lincoln's writing and legacy; and, Maya Angelou as a speaker at the inaugural of President Clinton.

I will forever admire Sandburg's sense of history as well as his dedication to it. And I will continue to harbor the belief that on this day in 1964, Lyndon Johnson made one of the better decisions of his presidency.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us
--T.S. Eliot,
Ash-Wednesday (1930)

Today is not a day for politics.

Today is not a day to point out the failures of politicians who used this day for the past seven years for their own political gain.

Today has nothing to do with voting.

Today is not a day to remind the American people that they were led into a war in a country with no known connection to the attacks that took place on our own soil on this day seven years ago. Today is not a day to point out that either candidate supported or opposed that war.

Those who use this day for any of these purposes are indeed making this a political day and they are as guilty as the men and women who have pointed to this day and said they will protect us from it ever happening again.

Those who do not recognize that we all lost something that day seven years ago, that we are all Americans facing the same fears and realities, regardless of our leadership and our political views, are so immersed in partisanship and veiled in cynicism that they have lost touch with the very ideals of this nation.

Today is but a reminder of our darkest day. A day, that in the years that pass, is still lurking in the shadows of our collective memory.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Google Books

Last night I had the sudden need to read Austen. Yes, Jane Austen. I swore off Ms. Austen after reading Pride & Prejudice for the second time. I came away just as annoyed and disappointed as I had the first time. Elizabeth Bennet was never my idea of a heroine. Yes, I should have given up on that title and not everything Austen.

Several months ago I discovered a brilliantly written film, The Jane Austen Book Club. Somehow, someway, that film gave me the push I needed to revisit Austen. Granted, it has been several months of pushing, but last night it pushed me right into reading Austen.

Of course there was a problem. I don't own any Austen. Okay, I own a compilation of Austen novels, but not a readable copy, not one that I can lift or anything. So, after considering a trip out to Walden Books, my least favorite bookstore, I had a thought: When was Austen's Persuasion published?

The publishing date? You want to read Austen and you're wondering about the publication date? Yes. Why? Because I was recently introduced to Google Books. The very entity so many claim is "dumbing down" America offers a wide selection of electronic books. They offer excerpts of current titles and in many cases entire publications that are no longer restricted by copyright or have been released by copyright holders.

Lucky for me Austen's Persuasion was published posthumously in 1818. Lucky for me Google Books offers this particular title to view on their website or to download in pdf format. After a simple search and a less than a minute download, I have in my possession a readable copy of Austen's Persuasion. And yes, reading it on my laptop is much easier than reading the copy I had.

So, I read Persuasion, found it much more enjoyable than Austen's other five novels, and was reminded of why I liked Anne Elliot over Elizabeth Bennet (from Pride & Prejudice) or even Fanny Price (from Mansfield Park). From chapter eleven:
"She thought it was the misfortune of poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly."
If you're like me and decide on a whim at midnight that you need to read a literary classic, give Google Books a chance.

Google Books has a vast inventory as part of their digitization process and they are constantly updating that inventory and notifying Google users via their blog. Now that I've used it for a lengthy title like Persuasion, I feel I can responsibly promote and suggest its use. It has been an excellent source for my continued project that includes reading as many short stories as I can manage in an effort to understand why the art of the short story is so difficult for many readers to appreciate/grasp. And, I must admit I've used Google Books to read various essays of political philosophy for classes--I don't feel the need to actually own Thomas Hobbes or John Locke.

Google Book is almost like having your own private library, accessible 24/7. Except, with Google Books you're guaranteed only the best books, you don't have to get out of your pajamas, and there are free downloads. You still need to support your public library...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Time for a Mental Health Czar?

The editorial board of the Times-News has issued their position on mental health care in Idaho. Making note that many mentally ill offenders (many of whom are incarcerated for drug offenses) will continue to offend without treatment, the editorial board has this advice for Governor Otter:
Shortly after he took office, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter appointed an energy czar, Paul Kjellander, to coordinate the state's approach to all energy issues. It's time the governor named a mental health czar as well.
There seems to be a consensus among members of the Idaho legislature that not enough is being done to overhaul the mental health system in this state. However, as the editorial board points out, this hasn't resulted in more funding from the legislature.

Idaho is ranked 47th in mental health spending. The legislature apparently has no problem with that status.

Kennedy Center Honors

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced this morning that its 2008 honorees will include veteran actor, brilliant if you ask me, Morgan Freeman. This comes on the heels of Freeman's car accident, news of divorce, and, oh, there was that box office success The Dark Knight. A well deserved honor, indeed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

ABC News

What do you get when you throw softball questions at the Democratic candidates for the presidency and make a mockery of the very definition of debate? The first interview with Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Smorgasbord Saturday Addendum

A couple of things I failed to mention in my Saturday post:
  • Long-time CBS reporter Ike Pappas died last week. Pappas had, as they say, an historic "view to the kill." He was in the basement of the Dallas Police HQ when Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby while being transported following his assassination of President Kennedy. Pappas was the voice in the live radio broadcast.
  • Though this technically doesn't qualify because it was posted Sunday, I make the rules, and I say: Go read this piece at dailyKos from mcjoan! Few writers have a perspective on the West and politics out here like this.
  • Occasionally I find Dooce so poignant I have to share her writing with friends. Her post on the state of the politics in the United States right now is both fitting and true. Go read it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Smorgasbord Saturday

With all the airtime that went to the Beijing games, it is amazing to me that very little is said about the paralympic games that are taking place until the 17th of September. As I was reading about the games, I noticed that one of the performances at the opening games was by a blind Chinese pianist. If you haven't heard of Yuanhui Jin (as I hadn't), you should check him out. Unbelievable talent.

Last night I watched a fabulous telethon on CBS organized by Katie Couric for the Stand Up 2 Cancer organization. You may have noticed I have had a link to this group on the side bar (under 'Issues I Support') for awhile now. I don't usually watch telethons, but this one contained some very touching stories from cancer survivors and families of those impacted most by cancer. Celebrities united to support this telethon. Having lost two friends this summer to cancer and having watched two others fight the battle of their lives, one has had her jaw removed and undergone chemo and radiation therapy, I feel obliged to support SU2C however I can. If you missed the telethon, please watch this short film by Errol Morris about the survivors of cancer. And, to my surprise, Sheryl Crow and James Taylor (two of my favorite songwriters) teamed up to perform Taylor's "Fire and Rain," here's the video of that performance.

I will be the first to admit that I like boy bands. I've always liked boy bands. But the return of the trail blazing New Kids on the Block is frightening. I watched them perform on one of the morning shows recently and I wanted to puke. They're no longer the teenagers they were when they came onto the music scene in the late 80's. They're all now close to forty, they don't play any instruments, their audiences don't remember the words to their songs, and they seriously are attempting to dance the same as they did twenty years ago. Like I said, frightening. Most boy bands, if they attempt to return (like the Backstreet Boys) make adjustments to make themselves more appealing to a wide variety of audiences. Nope, not the New Kids. They don't appear to have changed anything--including Jordan Knight's hair! Yes, I'm saying this. I love Hanson, liked O-Town prior to Lou Pearlman going to jail, and I did like the idea of the Jonas Brothers before they went all Disney. But New Kids back? No. Please don't.

With no avail I've been searching for any solid proof I can find about Sarah Palin, as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, wanting to ban books. The ISU library has a substantial collection of rare books that were once banned and the FOOLs (Friends of the Oboler Library) group tends to pay special attention to censorship. If I do come across proof, I'll be posting that. Until then, I'm doing my research.

Don't forget September's new music Tuesday releases: Darius Rucker, Josh Rouse, The Verve , Buckcherry, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and Ben Folds in stores near you!

Friday, September 5, 2008

What We Didn't Hear

Does anybody else find it ironic that Joe Biden is the angriest of the four top-of-the-ticket candidates on the heels of the RNC?

We have a man who has to be aware of the "angry black man" complex. We have his wife who has been called by some unpatriotic (insert the title of Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman here). His opponent has been known to lose his temper on occasion, often referred to as a hot head. His running mate, a self-proclaimed hockey mom, has no qualms when it comes to being feisty, going so far as to say that the only difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull is lipstick. And yet, it is Joe Biden, the man more likely to put his foot in his mouth for being crass, than angry, that is on the campaign trail lighting fires under American voters.

Whichever campaign strategist came up with the "fired up, ready to go" mantra for the Obama campaign must have had a crystal ball that showed exactly this:

It is refreshing to see somebody fired up and truly angry about this ridiculous election. Somewhere between here and New Hampshire we lost substance in the debate. We're reduced to talking about Sarah Palin's hair, the horrific details of John McCain's captivity (as if this makes him any more or less qualified to lead this nation), and the cost of Cindy McCain and Laura Bush's clothes.

Enough already. And don't tell me the Republicans are at fault--the Democrats have had a damn heyday with Sarah Palin this week. Equal responsibility for absolutely irresponsible and ridiculous behavior. Go get 'em, Joe!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Yeah, What He Said

Political conventions have always fascinated me. That said, I am at a loss for words. Yes, this comes on the heels of the Republican convention, not the convention of my own party. Be sure that this night and the two weeks prior will spawn many a post. There is the issue of music. Who chooses these things? There is the issue of signs. You know, the cardboard kind. There is the issue of parading what one diarist at dailyKos called "war porn" on the major stations. And yet, among all those things I am still sitting here in disbelief with only this to say: Yeah, what he said.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

While I Listen to G'pa Fred...

The Republican speechifying is on and they've sent out their big guns (i.e. Fred Thompson and Laura Bush). Granted, their big guns aren't much anymore, but they can't send out their pro-choice comrades so they're left with the First Lady because the President can't show his face at the convention of his own party and they've sent out Grandpa Fred because, well, I'm not sure.

Believe it or not, I'm not posting tonight to rant about the RNC. I'm actually posting to give some what of an update on me. About time, I know.

I received a few emails today from readers, slightly mesmerized by my Labor Day linkfest, acquiring about my health. And then, low and behold I got a visit from Serephin himself. I am happy to report that the Kennedy sign d2 snagged for me last week in Denver is nestled in my nerdy abode. Not sure where it will live permanently, but you better believe I am keeping my eye on it!

So, to answer the email questioning and to repeat what I told Serephin, I am still at home, still without a mended back. Tomorrow I will be having a small procedure to correct a hangup that's been keeping me out of the operating room. Next week I will meet with the surgeon again and hopefully, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, will be having back surgery before the end of next week. Until then, I'm taking it easy, watching my blood pressure, and trying to not go insane.

It's beginning to look like it will be week five or six of the fall semester before I can return to campus for classes and my continued effort to complete the Stallings Collection. This certainly wasn't the plan, but what can I do about it?

My productiveness is measured in inches rather than miles. I'll take what I can get. I'll admit today my greatest accomplishment was stripping my bedding and hauling out clean sheets from the closet (I have yet to complete the feat). My sanity is in tact, though sometimes I wonder. I'm thankful for a tv lineup that has kept me entertained (Olympics, baseball, and both political conventions). Even more thankful for friends who drop in from time to time bringing smiles, reading material, and most of all human interaction.

I greatly appreciate all of the emails and phone calls asking about my health. Your well wishes are keeping me smiling as my patience is tried and my attitude tested.

I'll be around from time to time until the surgery FINALLY happens. And I'll try and keep you "posted." Now, if you haven't taken advantage of the completely random list of links below, please have at it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Linkfest