Saturday, October 17, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, the schools gave out $10 coupons for the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo. I must admit this was an act of marketing genius. Jono came home very excited about going to the fair, riding the rides, and especially walking through the "mirror maze", or hall of mirrors. "Papa, can we go to the fair today? No? How about tomorrow? No? How about the next day?" Eventually I caved.

I don't really like the fair. It's kinda creepy and crowded and expensive. Taken together, these three characteristics put it near the bottom of my list of favorite things to do: right there between go to the dentist and contract dysentery. But Jono really wanted to go, and I thought it might be a nice chance for the two of us to spend some father/son time together. Perhaps make a memory. It turned out to be wonderful.

First things first, he had to do the mirror maze a few times. Then he drove the bumper cars and then we both did the super slide together. After getting off the super slide he said it made his "innards go up and down". Innards? While we stood in the lines together we would talk about all kinds of things from how the rides worked, to what he did in school, to how there was no way we were getting on the scary rides. I could tell he was enjoying my attention. I frequently knelt or squatted so I could be face to face with him. He was affectionate and at one point he told me I was "made of preciousness". Wow.

This is a picture I took of us with my phone. Sorry about the quality. We're riding the Tilt-A-Whirl which was about as rambunctious as we got that night. He liked what this one did to his innards too. By the end of the ride I was getting a little woozy, so I was glad he didn't want to ride anything wilder. Who gets woozy on the Tilt-A-Whirl? Are you kidding me? For me, it should be called it Lilt-And-Hurl.

One of the last things he did was a bungee trampoline thingy. As we waited in line he watched the other kids bouncing and enjoying themselves. He told me matter-of-factly that he was going to go higher than they were going. And man, did he! I was surprised how vigorously he went for it. We had such a great time together. I drew the arrow on the picture to help you see him at the apex of his sproingatude. The kid was flying.

And so was I.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

70,000 fans sing along

I shot this video at the U2 concert Monday night. You can see Bono quiet the band as you watch him on the giant screen. It was one of my favorite parts of the concert.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

After Being a Fan for 23 Years... I Saw U2 Live

The mothership: the new Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The day was drizzly and overcast and humid: Beautiful Day.

These big trusses are used to retract the roof. Cool! And I say to you, if anyone looks upon big trusses lustfully, he has already committed structural engineering in heart: Desire.

As I came into the stadium and saw the set, all I could say was wow. They say there are three of these stage sets that tour with the band because it takes several days to set them up and take them down. It was huge and even with the power off it was cool and formidable. "Justified till we die, you and I will magnify The Magnificent": Magnificent.

October 12, 2009. "Kingdoms rise, and kingdoms fall, but you go on and on": October.

"I believe you can loose these chains, I believe you can dance with me, dance with me": A Celebration.

Two bridges came out from the stage to a 360 degree sidewalk that circled the stage. The bridges moved back and forth two and the band members would walk out over the fans to the sidewalk. "I'm across the road from hope, I'm under a bridge in a rip tide": One Step Closer.

This pictures shows the motion of the crowd's arms. Bono had them waving back and forth and you can see the blur of their arems and his.

This is my best shot of the evening. It's about the only time Bono sat still enough for me to focus on him. The lights in the foreground are the displays from people's cameras.

The two bridges came together and Bono and The Edge had a "battle" across the gap. They were quite the showmen.

Two encores and 70,000 fans: Exit.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A New Kind of Old

This afternoon The M and I had company. Aimie, one of my students and travelling companions from Honduras, came over for dinner and conversation. We put her to work painting furniture with us. Later I'm going to have her work on my car's transmission.

It looks like they're racing. It's like NASCAR on the DIY channel.

Recently, The M's mother moved from our town to Houston. She left behind a dresser that The M wants to make into something new. Actually, she wants it to look old, not new. I told her it looked old already, but she said it was the wrong kind of old. She wants a new kind of old that men can't understand. It's the style, she says.

I think I might be the wrong kind of old.

The style has a name: Shabby Chic. The Chic is pronounced "sheek" and it means something good but undefinable like "hip" or "cool". Imagine an old table made of weathered wood with peeling paint and rusty nails. I think we have the shabby part down pat. At any rate, The M and I (and now Aimie) have been working on sprucing up (or down) the place with select garage sale lamps, worn out tables, and the like. To my surprise, the house looks pretty good in a bad kinda way. Or maybe it looks bad in a good kinda way. Maybe I too can be shabby chic; with effort I could look so bad I look good. Or something.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

More Insight from Mary O'Grady

Excerpts from: "Honduras Just Wants an Election"
September 30, 2009
Mary O'Grady of the Wall Street Journal

"Last week Tegucigalpa was under attack by zelayistas. They burned tires in the streets, vandalized property, looted businesses and blocked roads. But the U.S. repeated its support for Mr. Zelaya. Without producing any legal review, Washington decreed once again that a president who tried to trash the constitution must be reinstated or it will not recognize the November presidential election.

Why does the U.S. threaten to undermine a free election that would very likely restore peace and security? Venezuela's Hugo Chávez may have answered that in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last Thursday. Taking the podium, Mr. Chávez told his audience that he didn't smell "sulfur" the way he did last year. This was a reference to his last U.N. tirade, when he called George W. Bush a devil who had left behind a sulfuric odor. This year, Mr. Chávez said, there was a smell of "hope."

Mr. Obama clearly has won acceptance from the Latin American tyrant and the U.S.'s Honduras policy has been helpful. But will this great honor last longer than a hiccup and yield any return? Probably not. Beyond sparing Mr. Obama the verbal barbs he delivered to Mr. Bush, Mr. Chávez shows no inclination toward being a good neighbor. He's engaged in a massive military buildup and he's even talking about his own nuclear ambitions.

The Obama administration's position on the Honduran election is embarrassing. Can anyone imagine that if Fidel Castro declared tomorrow that he would hold free elections and invite the whole world to come as observers, the U.S. would reject the idea because Cuba is a military dictatorship? It would be absurd."

"A transparent election is the path to political stability endorsed by the Free World. It is unseemly and churlish for the U.S. to threaten that process. Does Mr. Obama treasure kind words from Hugo Chávez that much? If so, we're all in trouble."