Thursday, July 29, 2010

Conversation with Eli

Eli: It's fun being sick. You get to stay home and play and watch movies and stuff.

Me: But you're sick. You feel yucky.

Eli (matter-of-factly): And I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Speak a Little Spanish

And so, the LTR and I are studying Spanish, each of us working through Pimsleur's audio course on our iPods. I'm on lesson 8.

So far they are fixated on teaching me how to ask where the restaurant and hotel are. Over and over, "Donde esta el restaurante Colon?" And to ask for money: Quiero muchas dollares!

So when we are in Honduras in December, if I ever find someone who knows where the damn hotel and restaurant are I can beg for enough pesos to eat and stay there.

The title of this post comes from Steve Martin's act, in the late 70s. He tells how a couple invite him to an S&M party, which he thinks means Spaniards and Mexicans. So after the show he says he will go to their house and "speak a little Spanish." A little precursor to today's "Hike the Appalachian Trail." I tried to find a clip of this on Youtube but it's not there.

Monday, July 05, 2010


I guess the self parody started with the name of the band.

A self-styled "80s hair band" that is, who performed at my campground last weekend. Okay, seriously, we left the city to get away from crowds and noise, to find that our cabin was on the perimeter of the camp's outdoor "stage" and the band Saturday night was this freak show.

I mean Freakshow. That was the name of the band. To give you an idea, here's a video I took with my iPhone. The lead singer thought I was snapping pix so he gave me some quality poses.

Now, I was in high school and college when 80s Hair Bands were not nostalgia but the thing. And I suppose in each generation some of the girls go dance together while we guys watch. Almost 30 years later it's still happening that way, except the girls are 75 pounds heavier. As in the tail end of this video:

I Don't Think July 4th is Supposed to be about the Military

Is it just me, or is the Fourth getting to be a bit jingoistic?

I camped at a public campground this weekend and was struck by how many patriotic displays had a military theme. In fact, the camp decoration contest was won by a trailer that looked like a shrine to the U.S. Marines. Perhaps this is natural in war time, but it doesn't seem to me like the Fourth was always this bombs-bursting-in-airish.

Don't get me wrong, I don't slight the men and women who sacrifce for our freedoms. It just seems to me the Fourth of July is about something bigger. It's one thing to die for your country. It's another to have a country worth dying for.

The words of the Declaration of Independence are still revolutionary: All men are created equal. We still haven't delivered on the "all" part of that equation and in fact our history is the tale of trying to live up to that revolutionary "all." Talking about the Declaration on July 4 may seem quaint but when you consider the current struggle for LGBT equality or the popularity of certain politicians who proclaim America as a Christain nation who's laws, presumably, favor only Christians, then the words "All men are created equal" retain their revolutionary power.

It's hard standing up for equal treatment for people who aren't like us, and our nation and even we as individuals have failed at times living up to that principle. But it's our nation's founding principle. As long as we don't abandon that principle in favor of security alone or the rights of the majority, our nation will be worth fighting and dying for.

That's what we should celebrate on July 4th. Yes, we should honor the men and women in uniform who died in defense of our founding principle, but to stop there and not get to the Declaration is to forget what it means to be American.