Sunday, September 24, 2006

Vacation Pictures Group 2

Vacation Pictures Group 1...Finally

These are about 6 weeks late. Enjoy them nonetheless.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Random Parental Observations

While I enjoy some delicious stir-fry for lunch that my lovely wife made last night (even better as leftovers), I've been pondering what this fall and winter has in store for me being that my son, who is almost 15 months now, has a comprehension list of at least two dozen words. Those words range from "bottle" and "blankie" to "subacromial decompression". Everytime I ask Nathan what part of daddy was operated on last year with a procedure called Subacromial Decompression, he immediately points to my right shoulder. Amazing. By Halloween, he'll be beating mommy and daddy at Scrabble.

His level of comprehension and mobility certainly makes days very entertaining. You can interact with him more than ever before. He even has a favorite baseball bat picked out from my collection which he drags around the house.

But I believe that this fall and winter will be especially enjoyable. I can't wait to jump in piles of leaves in October to a hayride around halloween with my little bruiser. And how will he respond to the first snow? Who knows. Maybe he'll react like me when I was 11 when I tried to shovel the entire backyard in early November because of my immense disdain of frozan precipitation. That's a story for another time.

Nathan is even showing an interest in video games! You know, the basic ones like Tetris and Ms. Pac-Man.

He's also diving head first into mommy's purse no doubt looking to score some cash. Sure, now its coins that strike his fancy. From what I am told, kids' craving for money will only get worse as they get older as the denominations of the dollar they demand become larger.

Do you think my wife will mind if I buy the new Nintendo video game system which comes out on her birthday to "share" with our child?

You know what? Being a parent is and will continue to be the best thing ever!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Secondary Note on 911

I promised myself when I started this blog not to get political or show political viewpoints. For the last 10 months, I have adhered to this doctrine. If anything, it has become a Prime Directive of sorts in an effort to keep "Evening With Sabs" an oasis isolated from the daily grind that is the "real world". Where the dark, serious truths of domestic and international evils are left out. Where anyone could visit and be entertained by random anecdotes, self-deprecation, learn a little bit of science and witness the rapid development of my son.

Recently, I came across a transcript of a commentary from the news show Countdown with Keith Olbermann which airs on MSNBC which is of course political in nature. However, after I heard Keith's commentary on 911 and knowing his impeccable track record as a journalist, I felt it was worth sharing with all of you. Maybe it will raise your eyebrow as it did with me.


And lastly tonight a Special Comment on why we are here. Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space.

And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

And all the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and — as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul — two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for meÂ… this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.
And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft", or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here — is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante — and at worst, an idiot — whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However. Of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast — of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds… none of us could have predicted… this.

Five years later this spaceÂ… is still empty.

Five years later there is no Memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this countryÂ’s wound is still open.

Five yearsÂ… later this countryÂ’s mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years laterÂ… this is stillÂ… just a background for a photo-op.
It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial — barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field, Mr. Lincoln said "we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract." Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground." So we won’t.
Instead they bicker and buck-pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they’re doing — instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush… we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir — on these 16 empty acres, the terrorists… are clearly, still winning.
And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation. There is, its symbolism — of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution. The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it… was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party — tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election — ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications — forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government, by its critics.

It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nationÂ’s wounds, but to take political advantage. Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.
The President — and those around him — did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused; as appeasers; as those who, in the Vice PresidentÂ’s words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shakenÂ… a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated Al-Qaeda as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had Â’something to doÂ’ with 9/11, is "lying by implication." The impolite phrase, is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty spaceÂ… and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.
Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible — for anything — in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night? A mini-series, created, influenced — possibly financed by — the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.
How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless deathÂ… after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three electionsÂ… how dare you or those around youÂ… ever "spin" 9/11.

Just as the terrorists have succeeded — are still succeeding — as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero…

So too have they succeeded, and are still succeeding — as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as DisneyÂ’s continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street." In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm.
Suddenly his car — and only his car — starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man’s light go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An "alien" is shot — but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials areseen, manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there’s no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it’s themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight.

"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices - to be found only in the minds of men.
"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own — for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again — as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus — that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American…

When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"Â… look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President. You have.

May this country forgive you.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Where have we gone?

Contrary to popular belief among the blogging world, "eveningwithsabs" is not defunct. The chatrooms are filled with conspiracy theories speculating on the dormancy of our blog. Some claim that we are a secret government department--kind of like Area 51--whose job it is to do covert intelligence operations that will have political and socio-economic implications in third world countries and that Bono is really pissed. A few have even postulated that we have manipulated the universe on the quantum level creating a rift that has changed the alignment of the solar system and that we are responsible for Pluto being kicked out of our local planetary fraternity.

These erroneous rumors, bordering on apocalyptic need to be put to rest with some clarification.
One, we are not in the intelligence business although I'd love a tour of Area 51. (Does Will Smith live there with Tommy Lee Jones?)

We do not, nor does anyone else, have the capability of manipulating the fabric of the quantum world in interstellar space creating rifts that are felt on the planetary scale although that does seem kind of cool.

You know what the REAL reason for our blogging sabbaticle?...our hibernation from communication?

Truth be told, I've been a lazy bastard and frankly too busy!

However.......I now promise to rededicate myself and the rest of the team to produce fun, informative AND entertaining tidbits for you pleasure. The first of which will be later on this week with some badly overdue vacation picture from last month.

There. I got that off of my chest. Happy now?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Rapid Departure of Summer

I just finished a graphic illustrating the 6th named tropical storm of the season named Florence (which resides in the central Atlantic) when it hit me: Summer is basically over! I'm guessing this thought was coalescing inside my cerebral cortex ever since daytime temperatures fell to a pedestrian 73 with heavy cloud cover but it just took a week or so for it to surface.

Whatever the catalyst, September is here and I'm caught in the middle of being distraught at the loss of daylight and afternoon heat with the relaxing feel of cooler nights and mild days coupled with a fountain of colors spanning the entire spectrum which will soon blanket the leaves (due to the absence of chlorophyll) as autumn begins.

Honestly, I love summer but I love autumn even more. It reminds me of splitting wood with my dad, my mom taking all of kids to ball practice after school, playing football in the backyard in Hudson, the smell of the wet leaves on the ground as we raked them up after an afternoon rain, the Browns when they were know, the good things about the changing of the seasons.

Now the "not so good" things.....

We've already seen the emmergence of those dark, mid-level clouds on more than one occassion which foreshadows not only prolonged overcast days but yes, the return of lake effect snow.

The road construction on the interstates is either finished of winding down. This in and of itself is great but it also signifies the return of colder weather and eventually salt trucks.

The Indians are almost mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

The Browns have gone through 57 starting Centers and the season hasn't even begun yet.

So unless someone has invented a method of changing the tilt of the earth on it's axis, the warm of summer will soon be a distant memory the leaves will soon be a sea of brilliant colors and the snow will be flying.

I can't wait!