Tuesday, February 28, 2006

emails from the other side

I was skimming my email archives a few days ago and ran across an email from my postdoc advisor at UTHSC in San Antonio. He passed away last year after a long battle with cancer. It was bizarre reading this email knowing that he was no longer here. Today, I found a paper published that referenced my first work from that lab. At the end, they thanked my previous advisor for his advice with the work. This must have been some of the last work that he was involved in. He and I butted heads a lot and weren't really all that close, but I think we did have a mutual respect for each other. After reading that paper today, I wished I could have picked up the phone and talked to him again...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom!

A happy birthday wish from all of us here to you. Wish we could be there to share another milestone with you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Baghdad Burning

When you think you have absolutely anything to bitch about, just have a look at this.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I did it!

I made it to the end of my iPod. A couple of weeks ago, I hit the "shuffle" function and started through my entire song library. Yesterday, for the first time, I made it to the end. Now, I didn't listen to every song along the way - sometimes you're just not in the mood for Ronnie James Dio. However, I did feel a sense of accomplishment whenever song #733 finished - Bruce Springsteen, "Better Days," and the iPod stopped and went back to the main menu.

Yeah, I'm a freak.

You know, this place would be more exciting if you people would be a little more interactive...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Spring Training

People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.
- Rogers Hornsby

Forget the groundhog. We all know spring really arrives on the day that pitchers and catchers report to spring training. That time has arrived and a young man's fancy turns not to love, but to whom will make the opening day roster of their favorite major league team. The one cliche that is true? Hope springs eternal. Yes, even Cubs fans think their team will make the World Series, even though they haven't since 1945. Soon, weekend afternoons will be spent in front of the radio listening to the first spring training games, not because they're so important, but because it's been 4+ months since the last time you heard the modern day equivalent of Tinker to Evers to Chance. But for now, the skies are still gray, the ground is still frozen, the grass is still sleeping, and the boys of summer are off in sunny Florida or Arizona fighting for the chance to step out on the diamond on opening day and live out the dreams of little boys all over the country.

So, for the next several weeks, we'll sit and watch. Will the rebuilt Red Sox staff be enough to win the pennant? Will a new star be born in Kevin Youkilis? Will Coco Crisp make Red Sox Nation forget about that rat bastard Johnny Damon? And of course, we have May 1 circled on the calendar, when the Evil Empire makes the first trip of the season to Fenway Park and we'll remember all over again just why we love baseball.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The War

The architect of the war in Iraq is out pretending to shoot birds but shooting old men instead. Is it any wonder the army gave this guy 5 deferments from Vietnam? He'd have shot more of our guys than the enemy. Meanwhile, old Dick gets on Faux News and tells rectangleheaded Brit Hume that it was one of "the worst days of his life." Well Mr. Vice-President, you can go to hell. I'm sure your day wasn't nearly as bad as the worst day of 2273 families of US soldiers who have died in your phony little war.

2000 funerals
2000 beats on a big bass drum
2000 funerals
2000 sounds like a nice round sum

but they're back on their own turf now
like they knew they would be some day
back on the old corral
where the deer and the antelope play
and i guess this time they're coming back to stay

2000 funerals
2000 rockets take to the sky
2000 funerals
there's another one gone in the blink of an eye

but he's back where he oughta be
where there's love and family
back on the old corral
back in the land of the free
just in time to push up the Christmas tree

2000 funerals
2000 tears somebody will cry
2000 funerals
there's another one gone in the blink of an eye
but they're back on their own turf now
where the sparkling rivers run
back on the old corral
where a mother waits for her son
to become two thousand and one (x2)

2000 funerals
-Graham Parker

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

For my valentine

i love you much(most beautiful darling)

more than anyone on the earth and i
like you better than everything in the sky

-sunlight and singing welcome your coming

although winter may be everywhere
with such a silence and such a darkness
noone can quite begin to guess

(except my life)the true time of year-

and if what calls itself a world should have
the luck to hear such singing(or glimpse such
sunlight as will leap higher than high
through gayer than gayest someone's heart at your each

nearness)everyone certainly would(my
most beautiful darling)believe in nothing but love

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin!

Today is Darwin's 197th birthday. Happy birthday, Chuck! In celebration, go read a bit of The Origin of Species online, or read the whole thing!

Friday, February 10, 2006

A new addition to Windows

From one of my LiveJournal friends

Yes, dammit, I want to flush every last one of the turds right down the toliet!!!

And, Russ Feingold is leading the charge to stop the renewal of the Patriot Act yet again. Here's why.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Election 2008

Back to your regularly scheduled politics...

I am so sick and tired of the incompetent jerks that are running the show now that 2008 can't get here fast enough for me. I know it's still 2+ years away, but I'm quickly deciding to whom I'll be giving my support.

Russ Feingold/John Edwards

Yesterday on the Senate Floor, Feingold took King George to task for breaking the law by spying on US citizens without a warrant.

"This goes way beyond party, and way beyond politics. What the President has done here is to break faith with the American people. In the State of the Union, he also said that “we must always be clear in our principles” to get support from friends and allies that we need to fight terrorism. So let’s be clear about a basic American principle: When someone breaks the law, when someone misleads the public in an attempt to justify his actions, he needs to be held accountable. The President of the United States has broken the law. The President of the United States is trying to mislead the American people. And he needs to be held accountable.
As the President said, we must always be clear in our principles. So let us be clear: We cherish the great and noble principle of freedom, we will fight to keep it, and we will hold this President – and anyone who violates those freedoms – accountable for their actions. In a nation built on freedom, the President is not a king, and no one is above the law."

Feingold/Edwards seems to be an ideal ticket. Midwestern Senator strong on foreign and domestic policy paired with a former Southern Senator who is strong on social issues seems like a hard combination to beat - once all the rednecks get past the idea of a single Jewish man leading the country.

So, starting today, I'm going to do all I can to make sure these patriots are sitting in the Oval Office in Jan. 2009.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Day the Music Died

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

Buddy Holly is the most famous person to come from my hometown of Lubbock, TX. I've been a fan and admirer of Buddy's since I was in jr. high school. As a teen, I couldn't believe that there wasn't a street in our town named after our most famous son. I wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper trying to make the case for changing a street name. It finally happened, but not until I had moved away. There is a larger than life statue downtown near where Buddy was born and it is surrounded by the West Texas Walk of Fame that honors local entertainers who have made it big. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with one of the guys who knew and played with Buddy, and became a pretty good songwriter in his own right, Sonny Curtis. I've also had the pleasure of meeting the original Crickets, Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin after a concert in Lubbock. One weekend back when I was in grad school, my cousin and a friend made the drive over to Clovis, New Mexico to see Norman Petty Studios where Buddy recorded his first hit records. It was quite amazing standing in the studio where those great rock and roll songs were recorded and seeing the equipment that was used by Buddy. Mrs. Petty was our tour guide and while we were in the studio, she played for us an unreleased tape of Buddy doing Heartbeat. Now, unless you've been on the tour, you haven't heard this tape. It was a bit intimidating standing there in that studio and hearing Buddy's voice on the tape as they talk a little before they break into the song. What a thrill that was.

I love Buddy Holly because he made some great rock and roll records - and with a little practice, you can actually play them on the guitar. But there's more to it than that. As a kid, I knew that Buddy was known all over the world. If you mentioned Lubbock, Texas to a stranger from anywhere else in the world, they were most likely to reply, "Buddy Holly!" For me, Buddy was the epitome of the local boy makes good. And I just knew that if he could do something that people would remember, then I could, too. I don't play rock and roll, but perhaps someday I'll create a drug that will save people's lives.

Whenever I lived back home, I used to make the trip to the local cemetery and leave a guitar pick on the grave of our hometown hero every February 3rd. He was one of us - a West Texas boy - who changed the world. The music died on February 3, 1959, but the dreams of lots of Lubbock boys live on because of Buddy Holly.

Rave on...