Thursday, March 31, 2005

Rest, Terri

Maya Bell, Orlando Sentinel, writes about the death of Terri Schiavo:

For three years, Michael Schiavo kept vigil at her side, seeking aggressive rehabilitative therapy. He took her to California for experimental surgery, admitted her to a brain injury center in Bradenton and hired an aide to take her to parks, to museums, to the beauty shop -- anything to stimulate her. Later, he even became a critical care nurse so he could tend to her many needs.

But nothing drew Terri out of her cocoon and, by 1994, her husband accepted her doctors' prognosis. Her cerebral cortex was all but gone. She could not think, feel, reason or communicate and never would again. He decided it was time to let her go.

In 1998, he asked Pinellas County Circuit Judge George W. Greer to end his wife's artificial feedings and, over the objections of her parents, Greer agreed in 2000 that her husband had presented "clear and convincing evidence" she would not choose to subsist in a void, unaware of her environment, always dependent on others for her most basic needs.

The public may think that Michael Schiavo is a heartless bastard. I don't. In fact, I think he sets the bar very high for spouses. I wouldn't expect my wife to go through this for me. I wouldn't want her to go through this for me.

Before we villify Michael Schiavo, let's walk in his shoes. Eight years is a long time to wait for a miracle. What more could he have done? Wait? And wait?

I feel so sorry for everyone involved in this.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Shameless plug from a shameless guy

I'm known artist James Plakovic for over 20 years. I can't take credit for his talent, but I may have been in the room when a bolt of lightening hit him and he envisioned MusicArt.

Although he has created several wonderful portraits as MusicArt (including a truly inspiring John Lennon, which I kick myself for not purchasing), the man has a family to feed, so he also sells high quality prints of his work through Wild About Music, an Austin-based gallery (opening a branch in Santa Monica soon).

You can see his work by visiting . The folks at WAM also sell a T-shirt (yes, artists don't like to be hungry, and neither do gallery owners).

Recently, he was approached about creating a special print just for the folks at Signals, a fancy schmancy catalog. Go see and purchase at:

This print utilizes music that we composed many years ago. That's the extent of my involvement. All aspects of the work are hand-drawn, pen and ink. The precision is amazing; sadly, to keep it "pirate-proof", the various websites you can visit to see it purposely keep it fuzzy.

His own website/webstore is in the works at


All proceeds go to feed James and his wonderful family. And to buy more ink.

My compensation is vicarious in nature only.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


My heart goes out to Jessica Lunsford's father. Even though I'm weary of seeing him on TV, I would be happy to lend him the money to purchase an assault rifle. Hell, call it a gift.

There was a very brief moment when her murderer could be bailed out on $905 for his probation violation. I can envision the long line of people who would have liked to post that bail and take him on a one-way fishing trip to the Everglades.

"Gee, with the excitement of catchin' all those fish, we sorta lost track of him when that 'gator jumped into the boat and ate him. Yeah, well, we did cut him up is pieces so the 'gator wouldn't gag."

And here is the difficult question: Does a guy like Couhey deserve life in prison? Would I really lose sleep if he were put to death? Would some injustice occur because he got the needle?


Did I mention that I'm Catholic? Has it occurred to anyone that I'm more Republican than Democrat?

How is it that the party of State's Rights has intervened in this matter? While I may be a "Bush Guy" (on many levels -- har har) how does he reconcile sending all those prisoners to the gurney in Huntsville and then signing this piece of legislative pornography?

In my opinion, dying with dignity doesn't include having a feeding tube prolong you life by 12-15 years. Our parish priest spoke about the issue on Sunday, saying that we, as humans, do not have the right to choose the time of our death. However, hasn't the Lord been waiting for Mrs. Schiavo long enough? Forty years ago, she would have died in a number of weeks.

Five years ago, less than a week after my mom passed away (after several months of the most cruel suffering) my wife's grandfather had a sudden stroke. He just turned 81, and was a vibrant, energenic man until that moment. He was flown to the nearest large hospital, where the doctor told my wife's grandmother that while there was a slight chance that with heroic efforts, he would survive, but he would never recover. He wouldn't be able to communicate. He wouldn't be able to have his great grandchildren sit on his lap and make him smile.

Grandma told the doctor "Well, we talked about this. What we wanted to do if something like this happened. He would never want to live that way; not after the way he was so active." No one asked for a document to prove anything. They wheeled him upstairs to ICU and that is where he died 8 hours later. We miss him; but our memories of him are better because we never saw him like we're seeing Terri Schiavo now.

Selfish, perhaps.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wrong, Cardinal

With all due respect.,1,2549424.story

I'm a Catholic. I "converted" 6 years ago. I listened to The Da Vinci Code on CD and loved it. Historical fiction is great. Was it Anti-Catholic? Maybe. Was I offended? No. Did I feel the urge to leave the Church? No. Did I do some research into the organization the book talks about? Sure.

What's the harm?

The Cardinal asks what would happen if someone wrote a novel that was Anti-Islam. Ask Salman Rushdie how that has worked out for him.

What a great opportunity for Catholics (and/or others) to inquire about their faith. Read the book, and then ask your priest about it. Have your priest read it, and then ask him lead some discussion groups about the genesis of these ideas, and explore where they came from and where they deviate from doctrine.

This isn't heresy; this isn't blaspheme.

The Avatar Meher Baba once stated that it is important to question your faith. If you truly believe, the questioning will only make it stronger.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ides of March

note to faithful reader James:

Baaaa ba da bap ba daaaaa

Monday, March 14, 2005

Going, going, gone!

Two days on the market, 5 showings. Sold the house for more than we expected. Not bad for a few days of hectic cleaning, decluttering, and anxiety attacks. Once we get through the inspections, attorney's approval, and mortgage process, I may actually get excited about this move.

We took the kids over to see the new house. My daughter is thrilled. My son was hoping for something larger. He's 5. I envision walking down to the river and teaching my son to fish. Just the way that I had always dreamed it would be with my dad. The great news for my son is that we're actually going to do it. I sorta get misty just thinking about it.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Bunco Night

Well, it's Bunco Night (see earlier post about self-examination and materialism) (oh, there's more than one? sorry), and we did not buy a new house just to host the festivities.

We have, however, decided to buy a house.

A street in our neighborhood backs up to our community river. The houses there are modest, the lots smallish, but the view, quiet, and privacy afforded by the location are wonderful. It's a 3 bedroom house with a walkout basement, a deck, a nice den/office, open floorplan, etc. Just like all the others.

I wasn't that knocked out by the house. It is okay. My wife absolutely loves it. When I stepped out on the deck and looked over the backyard and saw the river flowing quietly 200 feet away, I fell in love. The property between the lot line and the river will never be built on. The City has advised the residents that as long as they don't build anything, they can "squat" on that property, using it for gardens, additional play area, etc.

Now we have to sell our house. We priced it to sell, and we think we'll pull this off.

The next time my wife hosts Bunco, she'll do it in the house of her dreams.

I'm that kind of guy.

Big Crime Solved

I'm not sure which is scarier, that white supremacists weren't involved in the Lefkow murders, or that it was a lone delusional psycho.

I think most people found it a reasonable assumption that a Hate Group was involved. And most people were wrong (myself included).

Now the Hate Groups want an apology. They say we were prejudiced to think they were involved.

Keep waiting, guys. You won't hear an apology from me. Especially after the way some of your groups celebrated the murders.

I read the letter that the murderer wrote to a local TV station explaining why and how he commited the crimes. It is frightening how far off the deep end a person can get. Is anyone safe?

The murderer took his life a few blocks away from my brother-in-law's house. The West Allis neighborhood where this happened is a quiet place, tree-lined streets with quaint bungalows. Working class families all getting along. You just never know when bad things are going to happen.

And no doubt, some schmuck running for mayor of West Allis will point to this and tell voters that the police aren't doing enough to keep the community safe.

Friday, March 04, 2005

About the train

This will be a two-part story. The second part will be written after I find a photo that will make it all sensible.

We were living in St Louis (Crestwood, to be exact) in 1964 in a neat brick ranch with a walk-out basement that had a driveway that went downhill around the house to the garage. Our backyard had a small, flat area to play in and then went precipitously downhill to a creek. I remember that some hornets lived in the hillside...and suffered my first sting as a result of that discovery.

For Xmas that year, I received a bunch of neat toys (a list of which I have courtesy of my Mom, who was still not too busy to make note of such things in my "baby book") including this train. I rode it all winter long in the basement, and when it was warm enough to play outside, I would ride it in the street (this was in the 60's, when you could play in the street without fear) and also ride it down the steep driveway. This bugged my Mom, not because I was in any danger (which I probably was, but this was the '60's when you could do all sorts of foolhardy stunts and not get hurt) but as a child, I always wore nicely polished shoes, either white or black, and when I would zoom down the driveway, I would drag the toes of my shoes along the pavement, scuffing them terribly. Poor Mom would have to polish my shoes all the time. My Dad sold shoes back then (actually, he was the shoe department manager) and didn't believe in sneakers for his kids.

The train was made of plastic, with a wooden steering handle, a metal bell, and a plastic horn that you could push to make a whistling sound. It was a glorious toy, and in my mind, I was riding that train all around St Louis, to the department store to visit my Dad, and to Nebraska to visit my grandparents.

I rode that train until, as Mom would later tell me, "the wheels were squared off". I had graduated to tricycles (my buddy Dave and I would lash them together to play Batman and Robin -- another skinned-knee waiting to happen) and the last time I saw my beloved train, it was being loaded into a Goodwill Truck. I recall feeling sad about seeing it go, but in those days bad feelings were soon forgotten.
1964 Favorite Toy of All Time Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Today is my daughter's birthday (as mentioned in a recent post). Yes, I have a wife, a son, and a dog; but my daughter is the reason I bother to work. It's not that I don't love the others as much, but I really want to be "The Best Damn Father in the Universe" because of her. The Firstborn always sets the tone.

I think she deserves "The Best Damn Father in the Universe". So many of us didn't have one of those.