Wednesday, April 29, 2009

America, 60 years later

My first overseas trip for the newspaper was to Luxembourg, which, world traveler that I was, I had to look up on a map. There, at age 24 or 25, I stood in the vast grand hall of a genuine and humongous castle and looked down at the most verdant valley I've ever seen while an elderly man described a day when tanks rolled through but could not overtake the castle because of its position on the steep hill.
It was on that trip that I heard the stories of how younger Jewish families were "sold" the idea that their elderly loved ones needed to be moved to a safer location where they'd be safe from the Nazis. They were loaded, along with their treasures, into trains .... you can figure out the rest of the story. Although many Jews from Luxembourg would ultimately get away without being sent to concentration camps, only 36 of those who were sent to such death traps came out alive.
In this tiny country, I knelt in a chapel below a stained-glass window that depicted Jesus in a garden with his disciples -- and an American soldier. The American soldier, in fact, was everywhere in stories of the country's history. Someone had cut an American soldier into another stained-glass window among the 12 disciples at the Last Supper. It was jarring. And charming.
It was the American soldier who brought me there, to spend July 4 celebrating America, in a land across the sea. Americans liberated Luxembourg in World War II and they had not forgotten that debt. I heard so many tales from elderly Luxembourg residents of what young American soldiers had done for them.
Not long before that, I'd huddled in a doorway in a commercial district in Athens, Greece, while angry young men marched the street protesting American capitalist policy. It was scary, but I was "saved" by Greek shopkeepers more than willing to invite this capitalist inside to buy souvenirs while the demonstration raged outside.
It was never easier to be an American than in Luxembourg as they celebrated our independence day.
Amidst the horrors of World War II, there really was no better time to be an American, although there were certainly grave challenges. Our role in the war could not be second-guessed. There was a rightness and purity and unity of purpose that America in wartime has never since achieved.
We represented freedom and justice and that old cliche, the American way back then, some 60 years ago.
As I see the stories of road rage and celebrity stupidity and corporate malfeasance and greed and plain stupidity (watched any TV lately?), I'm not sure what we look like to outsiders -- or even to ourselves -- these days. But I think it's worth giving some serious thought.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Then Aly drew a name....

Kath wins the giveaway. And your $15 certificate is quite literally in the mail.
Thanks for playing, kids.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A bigger, better giveaway. Jewelry, anyone?

My new friend Lorrie Veasey, the funny chick at and creator of Our Name Is Mud pottery, is always generous about directing traffic to other cool blogs and giveaways. To that end, she published a pre-Mama Day note about a friend's jewelry creations. They're handsome and original and could be yours. You just have to visit Lorrie's blog here by Wednesday morning and leave a comment. Go get yourself some really cool bling.
And come back here Wednesday morning to see who gets the Amazon gift card, as well. There's still time to post a caption. Pretty please?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The picture says it all

Words fail me. But if you can come up with the perfect caption, you'll be well rewarded in the first-ever Miscellany giveaway. So comment away and see what delights await. Here's a hint: Gift certificate to
-- Lo

Friday, April 17, 2009

Whaddya know?

Today I feel a little like the paranoid guy who figured out that everyone really WAS out to get him.
For at least three years, I've said I'm a little off my game. Not breathing right. Exhausted. And all the allergy meds, antibiotics for sinus infection and miscellaneous other attempts to get ahead of it have done nothing.
Turns out that task belonged to a strong-stomached surgeon willing to put a variety of creepy little tools in my nose and pull out entire walls of tissue that were completely blocking six out of eight sinus cavities.
Bless him, he even provided me with a stunning little DVD that documents the mess. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall. He held one particularly lovely piece of tissue against the base of my nose so that I could see it was bigger than my nose.
So today, I'm miserable because there's a lot of swelling. But even with the swelling, more air is getting through. And I know that I'm just a few days away from feeling better than I have in years.
I'm also being watched over by my 23-year-old buddy, Oscar. Me and my shadow.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dude, this both sucks and blows

Unfortunately, it's not my nose. These days, that marvelous orifice of aromatic attraction does neither. That baby is clogged.
Next Wednesday, though, it's going to be a different matter entirely. I'm having a nasty little outpatient procedure at Intermountain Medical Center whereby a nice white coat will clip some scar tissue and polyps and flush out what are supposed to resemble donut holes (empty) and instead look like a toxic bog.
They assure me it will hurt like hell. And I can hardly wait.
Increasingly, I feel like I'm wading through marshmallow cream, bogged down in slime and muck so thick I cannot think. I am slow and sluggish and want nothing so much as a good nap.
That's apparently the result of the sludge in my head.
When it's gone, I'm gonna find Me again.
Bring it!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Creepiest Thing About Coraline

Was the guy sitting next to Aly. We're hunkered in the dark, watching this odd little animated film about the girl who longs for attention but can only get it by trading in her eyes for a pair of buttons. And the guy next to Aly (also known as Burt, Bertie and Albert) absent-mindedly wipes his hands on her legs to get rid of the popcorn grease.
Seriously. Weird. And. Creepy.
I didn't get the impression he was a perv. Just an idiot. I know I certainly have trouble telling my own leg from someone else's. But I think he's one of those slobs who just wipes their hands on the furniture and thought Al was the seat next door.
Had he done it a third time, though, I was winding up to clock him -- because I was getting ticked off, if you'll excuse the pun.