-Harriet Beecher Stowe
Friday, March 28, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Samuel Johnson, Letter to Hester Thrale, Jun. 26, 1775.
I learned early in life which words I dreaded most to hear my father speak. They were words never spoken harshly or in raised voice, but whose force was such that you felt the air leave the room. “I am very disappointed in you.” If Dad ever followed up on those words with an “I hope you learned your lesson” or an “I expect more from you next time,” I never heard it. What mattered was that his state of being was “disappointed,” and that I knew that no artful dodge, no plaintiff wail or act of contrition could ever undo it. Oh, I knew that Dad’s disappointment in me was only temporary. He still loved me. He only he wished I wasn’t such a complete idiot sometimes. But my memory of the power those words prevents from uttering them aloud…at least to my own kids.
Life's disappointments are as varied as the landscape- the juvenile creek of “They promised it would snow last night!” winds through the vain woods of “the Smiths didn’t send us a Christmas card” to join the great river of broken hearts on its way to the sea of ... um... metaphors. Irrespective of its personal magnitude, however, every disappointment exposes two basic human flaws; the first being the reliance on our own expectations (“I screwed up, I trusted you”), and the second being the inability to correctly anticipate the expectations of others (“You screwed up, you trusted me”). Note that in both cases the blame cast is bi-directional. (The corollary to this is the equally human phenomena of being pleased. Both require the surprise that comes from misplaced expectations.)
It is this human capacity for misjudging expectation that sets disappointment apart from mere annoyance. Flies are annoying. Humans are disappointing. For example: Being served a cup of lousy coffee in a Waffle House is an annoyance, but it’s also not unexpected. The waitress at the Waffle House will probably get you another cup of coffee if you ask (nicely), but it will still taste like crap. No harm, no foul. Order some orange juice. Get that same lousy cup of coffee at the end of a four-figure meal, however, and you’re both annoyed and disappointed. You’re annoyed that the coffee tastes like sewage, but you’re disappointed that the restaurant would diminish the excellent meal you just enjoyed by serving you crappy coffee. The waitress will surely brew a new pot for you, and the manager may send over a free dessert, but your disappointment will linger because you expected better from the humans.
Why bother with disappointments? Why not? The name of this blog is “Heigh-ho,” after all. And I’m to blame (at least halfway) for every disappointment I’ve ever experienced. Plus, the only alternative is to lower my expectations. Where's the fun in that?
So, over the next few weeks and/or months, I am going to be collecting your Little Disappointments here at Heigh-ho, and letting you in on a few of my own. Don't be shy about it, friends. Share so that maybe we can all avoid a few unnecessary disappointments in our future. Or at least recognize them for what they are.....your fault.
Where to start?
How about with the letter “A?”
Monday, December 31, 2007
Happy New Year.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
and time for all things;
a time for great things,
and a time for small things.
-Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Don Quixote, Part ii. Chap. xxxv
Thank you, Father, for Thy blessings, great and small. And for those with whom I share Your heavenly bounty. Thank you for my time among Your children, and may You keep them in Your sight forever and ever. Amen.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The purpose of laws is to prevent the strong from always having their way.
He who would not be idle, let him fall in love.
Love is a thing that is full of cares and fears.
The wit of man has devised cruel statutes,
And nature oft permits what is by law forbid.
Passion persuades me one way, reason another.
I see the better and approve it, but I follow the worse.
She who resists as though she would not win,
By her own treason falls an easy prey.
If it never be unbent,
will lose its power.
Though strength be wanting,
the will to action
What we call birth
Is but a beginning to be something else
Than what we were before;
and when we cease
To be that something,
then we call it death.
When worse may yet befall, there’s room for prayer,
But when our fortune’s at its lowest ebb,
We trample fear beneath our feet, and live
Without a fear of evil yet to come.
Let others seek safety.
Nothing is safer than misfortune,
Where there’s no fear of greater ill to come.
Jove send me more such afternoons as this.
"Nobility lies in the man, my prince, not in the towel. "
-Richard Burton as Thomas a Beckett
Good show, counselors.
Bloody good show.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
You gotta wake right up in your dreams
You gotta jump, wheel and drive
Keep that feeling alive
You gotta kick, holler and shout
I'm gonna tell you what it's all about
You gotta tell me that you love me
Tell me that you're mine
We're putting on the dog tonight
We're putting on the dog tonight
We'll be p...putting on the dog tonight
Putting on, putting on the dog tonight
We'll be putting on the dog tonight
We'll be putting on the dog tonight
Putting on the dog
Putting on the dog
Hi folks! It's me, Fenway, the Official Black Dog of the Virginia Chapter of Insane Red Sox Fans. I was born back in April, just about the time the first pitch was thrown out on this glorious season. The first thing my owner did was hang a Red Sox collar around my neck and name me after a hot dog. I repaid the favor by chewing the visor off of his favorite Boston cap. Yeah, I'm Red Sox inside and out. When you think about it, for almost my entire life the Red Sox have led the league. Am I a lucky dog or what?
And unlike some other people my owner knows, I've ALWAYS been a Red Sox fan.
LET'S GO RED SOX!!!
LET'S GO RED SOX!!!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
In the Continental Congress, Philadelphia, October 13, 1775:
That a Committee of three be appointed to prepare an estimate of the expence, and lay the same before the Congress, and to contract with proper persons to fit out the vessel.
Resolved, that another vessel be fitted out for the same purposes, and that the said committee report their opinion of a proper vessel, and also an estimate of the expence."
May God bless and protect all who sail for Her.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Oh, my little soldier boy
I'll be true to you
You were my first love
And you'll be my last love
I will never make you blue
I'll be true to you
In the whole world
You can love but one girl
Let me be that one girl
For I'll be true to you
Wherever you go
My heart will follow
I love you so
I'll be true to you
Take my love with you
To any port or foreign shore
Darling you must feel for sure
I'll be true to you
Oh, my little soldier boy
I'll be true to you.
The Shirelles - 1962
I'll be true to you.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum qui nos praecesserunt cum signo fidei et dormiunt in somno pacis. Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen."
Friday, August 24, 2007
It was back in the early eighties, at the height of the boat people. And the sailor was hard at work on the carrier Midway, which was patrolling the South China Sea. The sailor, like most American servicemen, was young, smart, and fiercely observant. The crew spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America. The Midway sent a small launch to bring them to the ship and safety. As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck, and stood up, and called out to him. He yelled, 'Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.'
A small moment with a big meaning, a moment the sailor, who wrote it in a letter, couldn't get out of his mind. And, when I saw it, neither could I. (President Ronald Reagan's farewell speech from the Oval Office on January 11, 1989.)
It took but only a few Google searches to realize that my "feel good" video byte, courtesy of late night cable, had a dark underside that didn't paint a pretty picture for Iraqis working with the U.S. government.
I am the widow of Steven Vincent, the freelance journalist who was kidnapped and murdered in Basra, Iraq on August 2, 2005. Two days prior to his death, Steven had an op-ed piece published in the New York Times in which he broke the story of how the Iraqi police force was being systematically infiltrated by Iranian-backed fundamentalists and Shiite militiamen loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr rather than to the central government. He also wrote of the "death squads" that roamed Basra in police cars and trucks filled with uniformed men who snatched their victims off the streets and murdered them with utter impunity. When one of those vehicles came for him in broad daylight, his translator, fixer and friend Nour al-Khal bravely stood by him as five men in police uniforms descended on them and wrestled Steven into the truck to take him to his death. From what I was later told by the FBI, the thugs who targeted my husband had no interest whatsoever in Nour; they repeatedly pushed her away, telling her to leave. But she would not abandon Steven; she kept inserting herself into the struggle until they took her as well. She had no idea what her kidnappers planned to do, where they would be taken, what, ultimately, the end would be. For all she knew she was going to her death, yet she did not hesitate for a moment, this tiny, 5-foot-tall woman, to try and protect the man who had hired her to be his guide.
She and Vincent were gagged, beaten, thrown in the back of a truck, driven to the outskirts of town, set free, told to run - and shot from behind. Steven was hit at close range and in a final act of God's mercy died instantly; Nour, who had been let go first, was farther from the truck, so even though she was shot in the back three times, she survived.
But Nour's nightmare was not over. Hardly. Rescued by the "good police" she was handed over to the Green Zone for medical treatment, then held incommunicado for three months while she was "interrogated, mentally and emotionally bullied, threatened, [and] told she would never be given a visa to come to this country." Finally released into the Red Zone without papers, and unable to return safely to her home in Basra or to the family who no longer wanted anything to do with her, she spent the next 18 months on the lam fearing for her life while Vincent's widow doggedly sought to gain her asylum.
[i]n some small attempt to repay her for her dedication, bravery and selflessness, I have spent the last year trying to get Nour into America. I have dealt with officials at the Baghdad embassy and the State Department. I have filled out forms. I have made countless calls, sent innumerable emails. I have pledged to stand financial security for her. I have gotten a promise from the UN Bureau Chief of Al-Arabiya that he will hire her when - if - she gets here. And each path I have gone down has proven fruitless. I have been told she does not qualify for refugee or asylum status because Iraq is now a democracy, hence there should be no reason she would need to flee. I spent months working with embassy people who assured me they were extremely touched by her plight, would move heaven and earth to see she got "special treatment" and who then, in the end, told me she needed to go to Amman and apply for a visa like every other Iraqi. I was told the U.S. government was no longer accepting Iraq's S-passports because supposedly there are so many forgeries it's impossible to know who is really holding them, so we won't take any of them. The embassy in Amman is no longer accepting applications from Iraqis; the Jordanian government is beginning to crack down, stopping Iraqis on the streets who then run the risk of being deported; Egypt is now demanding that before Iraqis come they get a letter of invitation from a certain government official. The noose is tightening, and soon there will be no place in the region where Nour will be able to feel safe. She sits and waits, still hopeful, but the reality is her hope is dwindling, as is mine."
It wasn't until Vincent's widow was afforded the opportunity to provide the chilling details of Nour's plight in her testimony before a Senate hearing in January--and with the cameras running-- that the wheels of "make it happen" justice began to turn in her favor. Six months later, Nour, who had risked her life to save Steven Vincent's, stepped off the plane at Kennedy Airport, and into the arms of the woman who had saved hers.
Since the war in Iraq began 4 years ago, approximately 600 Iraqis have been granted amnesty in the US. In the first six months of 2007, the US admitted 63 Iraqi refugees, including Nour.
I am not naive enough to think that the US could--or should-- throw open its doors to large numbers of people who have been uprooted since the war began. I recognize that it is enormously more complicated and dangerous than relocating 130,000 South Vietnamese as we did in the first year after the Vietnam War ended. I am cognizant of the fine line the Administration walks between wanting to provide aid, and not wanting to encourage more flight. Nevertheless, I do think that we owe special consideration to the brave Iraqi citizens who are risking their lives because of their association with the United States military, its contractors or the
Moreover, beyond the obvious morale or humanitarian responsibilities that we face, there are far reaching geopolitical reasons to extend a lifeline to our Iraqi friends:
"If we screw this group of people, we're never going to make another friend in the Middle East as long as I'm alive," said Kirk W. Johnson, who served as regional reconstruction coordinator in Fallujah in 2005 for the U.S. Agency for International Development, who is advocating the resettlement of Iraqis who have worked for coalition forces. "The people in the Middle East are watching what happens to this group."
Last month, a bipartisan group of senators, including Gordon Smith and
Ted Kennedy another Senator introduced the “Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act” legislation that will create 5,000 special visas for Iraqis who work directly with the United States and are in imminent danger of death, and allow persecuted Iraqis with close work or family ties to the United States to apply directly for resettlement in the United States. In late July, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, called for issuing visas to all Iraqis who are employed by the U.S. government.
My "feel good" story is starting to feel...
* * * *
Beyond the 100,000 Iraqis who may be targeted as "collaborators" because of their work with the U.S -led coalition, there are an estimated 4 million Iraqis who have been uprooted by the Iraq conflict. Nearly 2 million (plus) Iraqis have fled to safety (?) in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen; another 2 million are displaced within their country's borders. Approximately 40,000-60,000 Iraqis are fleeing their homes every month. The daunting effect of this migration (which is worthy of its own future post)
should not can not not be minimized. The relocation of the Palestinians in 1948, alone, which is dwarfed by the size of the current migration, portends a similiar tipping point. You can read about more about this looming "crisis of historic proportions" here. You should. You. Really. Should.
Update: Here's the video clip of Nour's July '07 arrival at JFK.
(Posted by Portia)
Monday, August 20, 2007
But rather than simply soil ms. rdr's drapes, I thought instead that I'd give you a quiz.
What do Rosie O'Donnell, the Kremlin, David Duke, CNN, Waffle House, and the 2005 Philadelphia Eagles all have in common?
If your first answer is along the lines of them all being/having assholes, you're only partially right. In fact, all of the above are named as defendants in federal civil suits filed by one Jonathan Lee Riches©, a person aggrieved currently enjoying a federally-funded vacation.
Finding it necessary to defend his constitutionally-protected rights against the wanton abuses so prevalent in these dark days of the Bush administration, Mr. Riches© has brought suit against a host of people, places and things, (purportedly) to include the following:
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, John Snow, Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Google, Pope Benedict XVI, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Osama Bin Laden, Alan Greenspan, Jerry West, Accuweather.com, Bill Gates, John Deere, Saddam Hussein, Adolph Hitler, Def Jams, Jay-Z, the Queen of England, Stephen Spielberg, Tony Danza, Don King, Paris Hilton, the University of Miami, Marion Blakey, Matt Drudge, the State of Israel, the Salvation Army, CNN, tsunami victims, Sirius Satellite Radio, Jessica Alba, the Houston Chronicle, the ACLU, Donald Trump, Outback Steakhouse, the Vatican, Chris Berman, Vince McMahon, P-Diddy, John Grisham, Columbine High School, Richard Daley, UPS, BET, Jewish employees of NBC Universal, Brad Pitt and the son he adopted with Angelina Jolie, Elizabeth Smart, Charlie Sheen, George Pataki, Oliver North, Vladimir Putin, George Orwell, AskJeeves.com, the Kremlin, Kelly Clarkson, David Letterman, George Tenet, Plato, the Lincoln Memorial, Warren Buffett, Scooter Libby, Christina Applegate, Mein Kampf, John Walsh of America's Most Wanted, Venus Williams, Anna Nicole Smith, the U.S. Marines, Denny's, Larry King, Grace Jones, Rolling Stone magazine, Planet Hollywood, NASCAR, Eminem, the Screen Actors Guild, The Da Vinci Code, Mike Tyson, the Sears Tower, Holocaust survivors, Mt. Rushmore, Dennis Hopper, Barbara Walters, Lambeau Field, Pizza Hut, Ray Nagin, Barry Bonds, the Ming Dynasty, Jenna Bush, Tom Ridge, eBay, General Motors, Booker T. Washington, the NHL, Diane Sawyer, Comcast, Fidel Castro, Malcolm X, Phil Donahue, the Geneva Convention, the 2005 Philadelphia Eagles, Bill O'Reilly, Burt Reynolds, Paula Abdul, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, David Stern, Whoopi Golderg, the Olsen twins, the Roman Empire, Wolf Blitzer, Demi Moore, Michael J. Fox, Verizon, the Rose Bowl, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Vanna White, Ross Perot, Sugar Ray Leonard, Sammy Sosa, Rosie O'Donnell, Joey Buttafuoco, Marco Polo, the Eiffel Tower, USA Today, John Wayne Bobbitt, Yao Ming, WKRP In Cincinnati, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Kevin Bacon, the Humane Society, Fabio, Bono, The Home Depot, Geraldo, Russell Crowe, Ben Roethlisberger, Paul Revere, Michelangelo, the Boy Scouts of America, Viagra, Suge Knight, Randy Johnson, Anheuser-Busch, the widow of Peter Jennings, Jeb Bush, Julia Roberts, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Yahoo!, the Hoover Dam, Bob Villa, Tonya Harding, Harrison Ford, Jennifer Lopez, Pete Rose, Joe Lieberman, Sly Stallone, Patty Hearst, Ken Starr, Rush Limbaugh, Chandra Levy, Louis Farrakhan, The Waffle House, Gray Davis, Lucy Liu, the Black Panther Party, Elian Gonzalez, Bob Barker, Danny Glover, Chris Matthews, Wendy's, Drew Barrymore, Rudy Giuliani, Louis XV, Elton John, the planet Pluto, Lil Kim, Trent Lott, the Virgin Mary, the Golden Gate Bridge, Monica Lewinsky, Dennis Rodman, John Ashcroft, Noelle Bush, Jackie Chan, Colin Powell, John McCain, Michael Moore, the Boston Globe, the World Wide Web, the Academy Awards, Oprah, David Duke, Napoleon, Guantanamo Bay, Katie Couric, Sandra Bullock, Bob Saget, NCAA basketball, Sandra Day O'Connor, Boston Market, the Backstreet Boys website, Teri Hatcher, the Great Wall of China, George Clooney, Mariah Carey, Kiefer Sutherland, Burger King, Tina Turner, the Minnesota Vikings, Gene Hackman, Southwest Airlines, the Pentagon, the King of Prussia Mall, Tony Blair, the LAPD, Michael Irvin, Chubby Checker, the PGA, Super 8 Motels, Justin Timberlake, Madison Square Garden, Emeka Okafor, the World Anti-Doping Agency, Betty Crocker, Weird Al Yankovic, the Warsaw Pact, Barack Obama, the Doobie Brothers, Emilio Estevez, Cal Tech, Pat Roberts, YMCA, Ken Jennings, Mel Gibson, Jacques Chirac, Al Pacino, Martha Stewart, Skittles and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Far be it for me to judge whether Mr. Riches© 's claims are justiciable, but Word on the street is that the charges brought by Mr. Riches© against the Ming Dynasty are headed for Celestial Mediation.
Events of the day, however, have put Mr. Riches© 's claim for "63,000,000,000.00 Billion dollars backed by gold and silver" against Michael Vick into the Heigh-ho legal spotlight. As you are undoubtedly aware, Mr. Vick today plead guilty to being the stupidest human being on the planet. He also plead no contest to allegations that, t-shirt sales notwithstanding, he never really played up to his over-hyped potential as a NFL quarterback, anyway.
As a result of Mr. Vick's guilty pleas, his days as a professional football player are sooooo over- or at least until
Thanks to your faithful scribe's slight of hand and secret handshake, my assistant was able to procure a copy of Mr. Riches© 's latest legal assault on those who would trample his constitutional freedoms. I post Mr. Riches© 's Complaint here as a public service, and also as a warning to those who might dare to physically hurt Mr. Riches© 's feelings or attempt to dash his hopes.
Click for bigger. And consider yourselves warned.
Good to be back, folks.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
So I was invited to a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game tonight. It's not the Yankees (which may be a good thing...), it's not even the Mets--it's their farm team--but it's baseball, and it's baseball in Brooklyn (eat your heart out Dodgers' fans). Up close, and within spitting distance of always entertaining Coney Island. So why the heck not? Well, this is why the heck not....
Fans are invited to dress up as their favorite Stallone character, with the winning costume receiving a prize pack.Good grief. A whole night dedicated to Sylvester Stallone? Quick. Somebody. Anybody. Please remind me again why I love going to baseball games.
Anyone named "Sylvester" will be admitted to the ballpark at no charge.
In commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the 1987 movie Over The Top (in which Stallone plays a struggling trucker competing in a Las Vegas Arm Wrestling Championship, and sporting a New York City Arm Wrestling T-shirt), the New York Arm Wrestling Association (NYAWA) will host over 100 men and women competing that day for the 25th Annual White Castle ‘Kingsboro’ Golden Arm Wrestling titles, featuring a championship match taking place on the dugout during that night's game!
Don't get me wrong. I loved the original Rocky movie: The timeless story of the two-bit loser who gets the chance of a lifetime, "goes the distance" and gets the girl, to boot. What's not to like? Stallone was brilliant, the fight scenes a cinematic feat, and the writing gritty (
I've watched the movie at least a half dozen times, and it still makes me cheer and
Stallone has made 56 films and I can say
I've never, ever seen any of the Rambo movies save the trailers I was forced to watch in movie theaters or the night that PortiaMan hid the remote control, and I was exposed to 20 minutes or so of First Blood Part
As far as I'm concerned, Stallone's talent ended when the credits for Rocky I started rolling. Until this morning, that is, when I watched this very um...entertaining clip, and realized that I may have acted precipitously by dismissing Mr. Stallone's
Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that nowAnybody got a bandana I can borrow for tonight's game?
(posted by Portia)