Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Humans: They can't be trusted

Last night, as the quiche was baking and I was settling in to the Dodgers game, Fitzgerald became afflicted with a planet-crushing case of the hiccups. Dave, thusly, was freaked out of his gourd. At one point, we both thought that the poor kid had eaten something heinous, which could be the only explanation for his bizarre behavior -- after watching him casually ingest one of our misbegotten dustbunnies, it was a likely possibility.

So, Dave lurched for the Yellow Pages and began frantically thumbing through the V's, searching for an after-hours veterinary hospital, as I cradled the afflicted child to the kitchen, and alternated between massaging his convulsing little abdomen and gingerly probing his throat with my forefinger. Minutes later, the lad was cured. I heralded to the front room that Fitzgerald was fine. Like nothing had happened, Dave cast the phone book aside and resigned himself to the ballgame.

Now, by this time, the quiche's crust had come to resemble the charred remains of the Arcadia Theater, yet, it was still surprisingly edible. We sat down in our cool living room and watched baseball as the animals hovered about us, waiting for the first clumsy scrap to fall from our plates.


I was reading PostSecret today. One of the postcards expressed that the writer was doubtful about achieving world peace in their lifetime. It made me wonder if, since the existence of man, there ever was a time of world peace. It became a desperate search this morning, trying to find some kind of validation, and explanation that humans are not the innately violent, passionately murderous creatures that we see so often in the newspaper, in magazines, on television and occaisionally (or unfortunately) in person.

I found this.

It's so depressing to learn that this world, since our recorded beginning, has not been at peace. We have been motivated by one reason or another to kill, maim and extinguish our fellow man over religion, territory and virtue. The world, left to the charge of man, can never be at peace because man, in his nature, is not peaceful. We are opportunists. We hate passionately, we love passionately and we die for those passions. We martyr ourselves for reasons that evade logic. We murder others for reasons that defy our own beliefs. God, Himself, said that killing is against His laws, yet the most religiously fervent endorse wars despite these fundamental teachings to the contrary.

Arguably the greatest leader America ever knew, one of the most outstanding, reluctant hawks, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said this about man and his violent proclivities:

Peace can endure only so long as humanity really insists upon it, and is willing to work for it and sacrifice for it. Twenty- five years ago American fighting men looked to the statesmen of the world to finish the work of peace for which they fought and suffered; we failed them, we failed them then, we cannot fail them again and expect the world to survive again. -1945

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Empty streets act as open arms

Dallas after 5 p.m. is depressing. The streets are left in a vacuum, nothing but panhandlers and workaholics remain. The loud hum of commuting cars, the whistle of buses passing through and the occaisional yelp from a nearby train station are the remaining voices, ringing from the pavement, echoing and reporting from the buildings once the downtown crowd clocks out.

It has been a priority for some time that downtown have a 24-hour population. People speculate that if more residential properties were delivered downtown, crime would decrease and tax revenues for the city would skyrocket. They're almost right. It's not enough that there be just any residential property downtown -- there must be affordable residential properties. The luxury tower bubble has burst, there's just no more demand in the city for pricey downtown highrises. What Dallas really needs is residential property downtown that folks who live in North Dallas, Old East Dallas, Cedar Springs and Irving can afford, not just the Turtle Creek crowd or the Preston Hollow residents. Downtown does not need to be another place for the Highland Park people -- downtown needs to be for everyone.

There are plenty of worthwhile people who would benefit the city by living downtown that can't afford the 2,000-plus monthly rents that some of these developers are asking. These are the same people that would give Urban Market its much-needed business infusion. These are the same people that have been the crux of communities throughout Dallas for years. They are voters, they are middle-class and they are educated. Why should we exclude them?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hurricane Distortion

Our curry took a while to put together last night, so instead of whiling away the hours before dinner, Dave and I decided to watch the Spike Lee documentary "When the Levees Broke," about Hurricane Katrina while the potatoes got to boiling.

This film is an emotional rollercoaster, and the ride is only halfway done. At somepoints I was saddened, remembering the terrible rumors that were firing across the bow of humanity; rape, murder and government ineptitude. The whole spectrum is there, in your face, unavoidable. However, those who think that the topping, and subsequent breaches of the levees in New Orleans was a clandestine government plot to rid the country of scores of black citizens, are nothing more than demented, lost in a web of speculation and self-made conspiracy.

This isn't the first time that the Ninth Ward of New Orleans has involuntarily flooded; in fact, it is the third. And every single time, every time, the Ninth Ward's black inhabitants have cried foul at the government for sabotage. The truth is, the feds never built those levees strong enough; period. The engineer behind the design of the levees underestimated the force of a Category 3 Hurricane slamming into the Gulf Coast, which caused the catastrophic storm surge that inundated the below-sea-level city.

And then, in the aftermath, Lee was interviewing those that stayed behind. Mind you, a mandatory evacuation had been ordered by Mayor Ray Nagin two days before landfall. Every able-bodied citizen was supposed to be out of the city. But that didn't happen. There were those who had ridden out Hurricanes before, those who feared looting and the welfare of their assets, those who had stayed put during 1965's Hurricane Betsy, the last big storm to raze the levees. There were the stubborn, there were those without transportation and then, there were the elderly, disabled and infirm. So many people stayed behind, causing a logistical problem for which no level of government was prepared.

Speaking of government; Lee's intricate analysis of the debacle between Nagin, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Lieutenant Gov. Mitch Landrieu shed light on the political aspects of the aftermath, how Blanco, once spurned by Nagin, still held bitterness and a lust for control that delayed critical federal response. And Nagin, just after being warned of the impending doom by top meteorologists, consulted with the business community before taking heed, maybe feeling that if he screwed this up, the cashflow rupture wouldn't be easy to patch. And then there was the president. At first, President Bush was attesting that he had no idea that the levees could breach, but video proof later surfaced showing just the opposite; showing Bush in a video conference with NOAA Meteorologist Max Mayfield, a hurricane expert. The whole breakdown showed such conflict, derision and haplessness. And don't get me started with FEMA...

Later, Lee interviewed those who stayed behind or returned just after the storm, just after reports of violence were passed through the media like the plague, heightening paranoia and fear. Just after the looting started and the police force threw their hands up in the air. Lee talked to a man that returned to his New Orleans home just after the waters started to recede. He was afraid for his safety, his property and his family. And so, he carried with him a shotgun and a .9mm semi-automatic handgun. Spike Lee then asked something to the effect of, "Were you getting ready to face al Qaeda?" That burned me up -- it angered me to know that because a member of the gun owning public isn't afraid to carry a weapon in a state of emergency to defend his property, his life and his way of it, he automatically was overreacting. This is untrue, and from what I understand, it is still a Constitutional provision to bear arms, and this situation warranted it.

I was distraught, then, to be reminded of the police that had barracaded a bridge, keeping those seeking refuge form the devastation in New Orleans from finding it. The police pointed guns and rifles at them, turning evacuees away from what could have been safety, what, in some cases was life instead of an unpleasant death.

Surmise it to say, this film will make you feel so many things. For Americans, it will remind us that even on our own soil, we will never be safe.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I have Hispanic friends

I have never really been a fan of LULAC. I have really never liked the idea of illegal immigration. I don't think that LULAC or illegal immigrants are the sole reasons that the U.S. is mired in economic, political and cultural problems, but LULAC's far-left outcry is really too much. Illegal immigration is a serious problem; LULAC thinks it's just dandy.

So, when I read that former national LULAC President Hector Flores said that a local suburb of Dallas would become a "city of hate," I immediately checked in with reality. Reality says, "Hector Who? Nuh Uh, bro!"

You see, Farmers Branch, the suburb in question, is having a hard time dealing with an influx of illegal immigrants. Property values are suppressed, retail outlets are moving out and so are citizens. The city has decided to act, and they're taking a lesson from the city of Hazelton, Pa., where it is against the law to lease rental properties to illegal immigrants, hire illegal immigrants or subsidizing services for illegal immigrants.

Is it racist? No. There is no racially discriminatory mandate, what they are doing is making municipal ordinances to enforce federal laws. It is a federal crime to cross the border and reside in the U.S. without documentation. That's true if you're white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific-Islander, Indian or any other race or ethnicity. Nowhere does it say that Latin Americans, exclusively, are targeted.

So, Hector Flores is full of shit. If Flower Mound wants to invest the time and money to draft municipal laws that enforce federal ones, that's their prerogative. And illegal immigration will remain just that: illegal.

Rufus Shaw removes head from posterior...

... and then promptly re-inserts it.

That's right. One brief moment of sense, clarity or unmistakeable dilusion from Mr. Shaw:

Blacks and Hispanics can’t even agree on what to call the illegal immigration movement. Latinos refer to the movement as a civil rights movement while most African-Americans consider the illegal immigration issue a law and order problem that has disingenuously linked itself to the civil rights movement.

I thought to myself, "Is he coming around? Is he going to start making sense instead of inflating the political know-how of the average South Dallas resident?"

And then he said this:

In my humble opinion, until the leadership of both political communities can come up with an agenda that shows how a Hispanic mayor can benefit the African-American community; it makes no sense for the Black electorate to help elect a Hispanic mayor.

Uh... Yeah it does, Rufus. They both ain't "Whitey." The black electorate of South Dallas would elect a dog, preferably yellow, before they'd take a chance on getting screwed by anyone north of the Trinity.

Besides, there's going to be a black candidate in 2007. Period. We all know it. In fact, I'll be willing to wager that there'll be a white, a black and a Hispanic candidate on the 2007 Dallas Mayoral ballot.

The big question is whether or not that black candidate will be under the scrutiny of the FBI. We shall see.

Same sad goodbyes

When my mom was pulling out of our driveway yesterday, tears started to well up in my eyes and I was looking for any opportunity to stall her, to keep her with me for just a few moments more. Did she know how to get back to the interstate? QUICK! Stop her! She needs directions!

And just seconds later, she was gone.

I wish that there hadn't been so many things that needed to get done. I wanted to spend some time with her, just Mom and Bubba, just the way it used to be.

My mother and I have a very unique relationship, mostly because I wanted it to be that way. I never resented her, or my father, because there is so much about them I admire. They lent me their pragmatism, and I try to foster their dreams.

My mother is miles away, tending to her everyday life, and I'm here at my desk, tears welling in my eyes, just wishing that we had done a few things different as we whittled down our weekend.

We shopped until we dropped, literally. To most girls, this would be heaven. To us, this was penury, torture, purgatory nearing the gates of Hell. After we left NorthPark Center, I never wanted to see another off-the-rack article of clothing, ever, in my life. We went to so many women's clothing boutiques. Felt like we went to almost every one of the suckers. We were looking for a wrap to go over my top for our wedding, but we couldn't find what we wanted under $100. Shoes? Easy. Everything else? OHMYGODHOMICIDAL!

Instead of putting ourselves through any more shopping, my mother succumbed to her ambition: she was going to make that damn wrap! So, we went to the fabric store, got several yards and I became amazed at what my mom had the potential to do. She used to make our clothes, and now, I envy her. I bought that sewing machine so I could learn to design and make my own clothes. I will learn, dammit. And I think she just might be able to teach me.

That evening we had a great dinner with Dave's parents. Everyone got along pretty well!

Vicki and E.J.

But, when we were leaving the restaurant, my mother spotted this:

Gay Bingo?

And we all guffawed at the thought of 'gay bingo,' well, everyone except Vicki. She didn't think it was too funny...

But they all got an eyefull of our neighborhood:

Lakewood Theater

Mom liked the chimney

Mom liked the way the fence was built around the trees!

Mom liked that fence a lot, mostly because it was constructed around the trees, keeping the gristled mesquite along their property line. That house on the far left has a chimney that resembles Coit Tower in San Francisco! She loved all of the cute houses, and she was just as frustrated as I was to see all the McMansions towering over the quaint bungalows.

And then our short visit ended. If time flies when you're having fun, then it takes off, faster than the speed of light, when I'm with my mother.

We'll be visiting Labor Day weekend, and it can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Must. Resist. Urge!

If I post about work I could be canned. Fired. Let go. Out the door. Sent packing. Booted. Dooced.

But I want to. I want to post something about work soooooooo bad. It's been hard resisting the urge to blab about the very tense goings on in my office. Things are changing, rapidly, too. I have no idea what's going to happen in the next few months here, and I want to post about it. But, I can't. I have to pay rent, yanno?

I'm on a knitting hiatus. I'm at the point where it's time to start a new skein of black worsted-weight yarn, and I'm anxious about tying the knot to join them. I know that if I tie the knot, I'll have to weave the ends, and I hate doing that. I'd rather have loose ends. Let someone else deal with them.

New Skein Anxiety

In the mean time, while I'm not knitting, I'm reading. When Dave was in Austin, he picked up a copy of Lord Vishnu's Love Handles, by Will Clarke. The guy's from Dallas, and most of the novel takes place there (so far). But it really bugs me that instead of being accurate and using proper names for some of the scenes, locations and groups, he fabricates similar sounding names for them, although the references are obvious to Dallasites, even the neophyte at that.

Instead of referring to the Hare Krishna, he uses the "Holy Vishnus." Instead of referring to their temple and restaurant, Kalachandji's, which he describes in great, accurate detail, he uses "Chumba Wumba's." And instead of referring to Kalachandji, the Bhoddisatva that the temple is a shrine for, he calls him "Holy Vishnu."

I've read at D Mag's blog, FrontBurner, that Clarke used the fabricated names because at press time for the novel, one of the editors somewhat snarkily suggested that, because of raw wounds from a sex abuse scandal (GASP! A cultish group? With a sex abuse scandal? What a phenomenon!), that Clarke not use the Hare Krishna in his text.

Clarke, at the detriment of the novel, obliged.

I want to go back through the whole thing and take a red pen to every incorrect reference. Hell, if you're going to refer to Eatzi's, White Rock Lake and Patrizio, why give the Hare Krishna at Kalachandji's a break?

Anyway, except for that mind-numbingly irritating issue, it's an all right book. I mean, it's a wild ride, with psychic spies and godlike apparitions, CIA conspiracies and government plots, but the overall book will reel you in.

Damn. I still want to post about work.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Last night I came home to find a sweaty, ill-looking, thin black man on my porch with a rake, standing next to Dave. What was I supposed to think? I pulled up the driveway, just returning for a post-gym grocery run when I find the pair on my porch.

I'll admit, since I moved to the city, I have become much less trusting than I was while in Madisonville, or College Station. I didn't have to worry about break-ins or vagabonds as long as I was relatively watchful, but here you have to really keep your eyes open, you have to be alert. People jade me to a certain degree, other times, they astound me.

Which is what Dave did. I was astounded that this seasoned urban male was paying this man $20 to rake a few leaves in our front yard at 9 p.m. That's strange, if not rediculous. I had my purse knife out as I exited the car and approached the porch, concealed at my side. When Dave told me what was going on, no lie, I thought I wet my drawers.

Dave told me in detail about the whole episode once the man left. He said that he had come by a couple of days ago while we were at work and wanted to do our lawn for a few dollars so he could make rent for his shanty. His landlord had locked him out, and if he didn't come up with $35 he would be evicted.

Dave is not known for his bleeding heart, compassion or sympathy. Dave does not do charity unless he is certain about the cause. So, I was puzzled to find that not only had he agreed to deal with this somewhat confounding situation, but he had agreed to allow the man to come back the next day and finishe the job for an additional $40 if he only received $20 that night. According to Dave, the man (I wonder if Dave even got the man's name. He looked like an Ernest.) would return at 8 a.m. and finish the job. Dave would pay him during his lunch break.

Well, Dave just called to tell me that several piles of leaves still remain on our front lawn. Duped!

And yet Dave is still giving the man the benefit of the doubt.

Where did this hope, this naivete come from???

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Good Lord! Where've you been?

That is what, I'm sure all of you, have been asking. Did anyone really even notice my absence? Didn't think so. I'm SO unloved.

Dallas, you've been quite the busy girl lately, haven't you? The city is readying for my pending nuptials. Wedding shower here, flight off to California, and when I return there will be a blowout. We'll have the reception at the Sons of Hermann Hall, which will be awesome. It's an old house converted into a bar and concert venue that was once a masonic lodge. Cool, eh?

For the reception, we're on a very tight budget. VERY tight. Good thing we were able to rent the hall for a great price. Dave, in his "salad days," once spent several nights a week out at the local bars, drowning his misery in scotch and water, or vodka if the beer was decent. In doing so, he made friends with bar keeps and bar owners, and I guess it's finally paid off.

I got this crazy notion that I might cater the reception myself (GASP!). I know what you're thinking, but I could do it. It's just going to be some music, lots of booze, wedding cake and appetizers. So, it's more of a cocktail party than a legit reception. I think it's better that way, and that means that we won't have to worry with renting place settings or linens. I might even be so daring as to make our wedding cake. Ehhhh... maybe not.

My mother and father are planning to come visit in a couple of weeks. I think this is still a little surreal to them. They're three hours away in Houston, which, for all intents and purposes, is like going from Bordeaux to Paris, only with much, much crappier scenery. I'm really excited, though. My mom and I will do brunch and go shopping for my wedding dress. We'll get them booked with a flight and hotel, if they haven't already, for the wedding. And they'll get to meet Dave's parents. That's what I'm most excited about. Dave's parents are so sweet. I mean, Vicki and Bobby are so happy for us. I think they're mostly happy that Dave's getting hitched to one smart cookie.

Yeah, all you wiseacres, I'm that cookie!!! :)

Friday evening we had dinner with the Gianadas. David and Christine are none other than a certified good time.

Dave and Christine

Christine is an awesome cook, but because my stomach wasn't agreening with me, I couldn't eat that much dinner, but from what I had, it was awesome. There was wine aplenty, and then someone let the cat out of the bag.

Ignatius in the bag

On Saturday night we went to the Will Johnson acoustic set with Jay and Ann Marie at Bend Studio, which is this yoga studio/intimate concert settting. It was a very cool experience, mostly because everyone had to take their shoes off to take your seat, since the chairs were set up on the yoga practice floor. It was unifying; we all had two things in common: we were there to listen and we were sans shoes.

Will Johnson @ Bend Studio

Sunday was restful. Dave and I worked out together, Fitzgerald got a bath and we talked guest lists for the upcoming parties. It's funny, because we're really excited abou this part of our lives, but we kind of want things to go back to normal. It was nice having no guests and lazy weekends (albeit weekends with ceiling fans falling from ceilings). But, we'll be much happier as husband and wife, I think. For starters, I won't have to pay for my expensive health insurance at my job anymore. That's awesome!

This weekend, though, I am going the ambitious route. I want to have the dining room painted by Sunday. We'll see how that works out!

Over and out, readers!

(I'll post pictures in an edit later. For some reason, Blogger won't let me upload 'em now. What a bastard!)

(UPDATE: Photos are still a no go with Blogger. I wonder what the deal is???)

(UPDATE 2: Still no photos from Blogger (WTF?) So I started a flickr account. I know you guys are thrilled now!)