Wednesday, May 25

In the Gnus

The poor little rabbits are hopping mad at the latest news about their kind carrot-growing benefactors on Bully Bear Hill. At least the rabbits that wear bow ties and shine their rabbit's feet are.

"Shameful" is what they're saying.

"Outrageous," says Mr. Big Tooth. His wife twitches her nose in approval. "How can they be so jackass dumb?" he adds, thinking he hears thunder in the distance. His wife's ears lay back. "Well, if not jackass, then pretty close to it. Snakish. That's what I say. They'll get no more carrot seed from me."

Lightning flashes in the distance as Mr. and Mrs. Big Tooth hurriedly hop home to Holeville, hoping against hope.

Wednesday, May 18

Lemony Lemons

Like, let's get excited about things huge and extraordinary!

She huffs and puffs her way into the bedroom, all the while praising the virtues of an elephantine lemon she found in the backyard. One lemon. One lemon leaf. One excited 4 year old.

It was camera time again to capture the moment.

When was the last time you really got really excited about anything? I think that's what I miss so very much about those spongey years --- all the firsts.

Now we face the lasts. But faith makes them much more exciting.

Tuesday, May 17

When Corey Went Berzerkeley

Corey at Work in 1994

Armed with the intellectual weapons of small city life and culture, my friend, Corey, attended a recent English Department graduation ceremony for his niece --- in Berkeley. Surrounded by a Greek amphitheater and hillside amenities, it was time to soak in some big city campus culture with other families and friends (and graduates) who had come to hear those rare jewels of wisdom so often heard in major commencement speeches.

Expecting to hear encouraging thoughts and down-to-earth, kick-in-the-pants elocution, poor Corey had to endure (without laughing, mind you) the most miserable keynote speakers' prattle imagined. The main agenda topic was Bash America, with subtopics that included "It's all about ME!" and "I'm published, but I'm an idiot and I don't know what I'm talking about!"

Hoping the worst was behind, it was finally the Valedictorian's turn. He stumbled, bumbled and crumbled through his valedictory. So much for saving grace.

The moral of the story: Get your degree on the Internet, then listen to an old Bill Cosby record for the kick-in-the-pants acumen.

Saturday, May 14

Broad Road to Jerusalem

Another curiosity satisfied. The Kingdom of Heaven wends its way into theaters across the country with yet another historical drama. Laden with accuracy, the main themes were penance to earn God's forgiveness of sin, the depravity of man and hero worship. At least I can agree to the middle one.

Please don't see this film if you abhor bloody violence. Please don't see this film if you want to feel good at the end. Please don't see this film if you're seeking some great spiritual truth. Just read a good history book on the subject, preferably one written in the 1800's, like John Lord's Beacon Lights of History.

The popcorn was good.

Sunday, May 8

Pulitzer Prize Photo Exhibit

Saturday's visit to the local museum included hall browsing to see 100 of the world's greatest photographs by Pulitzer Prize winning photographers. Wonderfully displayed and lighted, each photo came with a background blurb that told the story behind the picture. Truthfully, some of the shots would be meaningless otherwise. Most impressive pictures don't need a story, but their impact can be greater if we view them with a wider perspective.

This exhibit is busy. Lots of viewers. People have sent letters to the editor praising the quality and importance of the event. People have shared about the emotional significance of the event. One spoke of tears.

Sorry, no tears from this guy. My stoic machismo prevents such embarrassing moments. I'd rather take pictures of the folks staring, reading and trying to restrain their tears. But after sneaking two shots and almost being confronted by a security guard, I saw a "NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED" sticker on the wall. This was off limits to bloggers like me who like a good story. So those red X's are there so I won't go to jail.

More good stories happened at 2:30 in another room in the museum (the reason I had gone in the first place). Three local photogaphers for the newspaper were going to speak about their work and answer questions. It was great seeing a slideshow of various photos and enjoying a session of Q & A afterward. There were about 50 people there. I asked the most questions and learned a few things.

Next week three of the Pulitzer Prize Photo photographers will be here from the S.F. Chronicle. Their pictures are on display. One of them is a local.

All of this to say: There is something wonderful, jaw-dropping and instructive about good photography. A great shot will bring a flood of emotions as we relate to the pathos, humor or beauty we see and feel. These are snapshots of our souls in a real sense. And our reactions are God-given appreciations that grow with time, I think. Our vision matures. We listen more closely. We feel more intently.

Now, go buy a good photography coffee table book.

Wednesday, May 4

Poora Laura

The unusual collection of President-crunching quips from the First Lady at the recent White House Press Correspondents' Association bash has left some of us dazed. Not confused, just dazed. But enough time has passed now to make a sensible evaluation.

For those of you who missed it (including the mainline media news), Mrs. Bush interrupted the President while he was in the middle of a joke, saying she'd sat silently for the past few years during this event and now felt it was her turn to tell the jokes.

It was your usual put-your-husband-down-in-public fare, and most of it was hilarious. But only most. The usual tongue-in-cheek jabs at a spouse are usually laughable because there's a bit of truth in them. And lowering yourself to the level of the audience is okay within certain boundaries. Unfortunately, Mrs. Bush all too eagerly spied the forbidden fruit and took a big bite.

She first admits that she's more sexually starved than Susan and Gabrielle on Desperate Housewives. Then she confesses that she and the Second Lady slipped away to enjoy the bikinied Chippendale boys teasing them. Lastly, she told one about the President's ignorance of ranching. He "tried to milk the horse. What's worse, it was a male horse."

Of course, this audience roared in spite of any shock value coming from the podium. They couldn't believe what they were hearing. And it was just what they wanted, fodder for their next party.

The evangelical Christians are taking the First Lady to task, as is talk show host Michael Savage. Shocked that such gutter talk should come from the mouth of the wife of the free world's leader, they call for an apology. They say this is beneath the dignity of Laura Bush and the office of the Presidency. They say it dishonored her husband in the extreme.

Okay . . . here's my take. I can either say, "Laura, you should be ashamed of yourself, wash your mouth out with soap, buy a full page for an apology in the Washington Post, and ask God and your husband for forgiveness," or "Laura, I'm pretty certain that you've never seen Desperate Housewives, don't have a clue about what the guys at Chippendale's do, and don't understand the anatomy of a horse or the sexual nature of your description. One of your Democrat friends probably wrote these jokes for you and you didn't have a clue about how crude they were."

I think I'll have to go with tar and feathering, but really wish Laura was just plain too dumb to know what she was doing.