Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Healthy Dose of Corn

Talk in Howard today was about corn, getting it out of the field and into bins or elevators or just into big piles of corn, the different varieties and brands visible in the differing bands of color as they spill out of the auger.
Here's a pic of corn piling up along the highway and JB next to his newly aquired corn hauling rig that lets him make one-third the number of trips to the elevator than his previous truck. He was east-bound and down until we caught up with him at Jake's and snapped this picture.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Motoring in My Mind

My motorcycle-mad brother and his long-suffering wife stopped by yesterday for a brief visit, and he called today with more commentary on motorcycles old and new. He's happy he's got his old Honda 550 up and running after it had sat (owned by some uncaring lout) for years, and he's looking forward to digging into an old Suzuki GT185 that he's just aquired. But when he mentioned that Kawasaki had a new Concours out, it stuck in my head. I had to take a few minutes out of my paper grading to check it out. Whoof. Here's a video. And here are some pics. It's a go machine. I wonder how those handlebars would fit me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Keeping a Keen Eye on the Moment

How do you get to be a poet the stature of Ted Kooser, whose poetry has garnered him the Pulitzer Prize and the Poet Laureate of the US? Listening to him last night at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux Falls, you might have heard an answer. You might try getting up early, every day, as he does, and write for a couple of hours, knowing that most of what you write is destined for the trash bin. You pay attention to the world around you, shutting off the voices that cry out in your head, "I should have . . ." and "I should . . ." and rather concentrate on the moment in front of you. Be here now, basically. Pay attention to what is here. Observe, and notice the small things others might not see. When you write, pay attention to how things sound. All that shouldn't be so tough, should it?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Office: Before and After

It got to be enough for me this morning, so I took the bull by the horns and cleaned much of my office. The first photo's a little blurry, which seems to be an issue with my learning to use the new little camera we bought in Pittsburgh, but the second one--the AFTER photo--is sharp and shows how nice my office can look when I have it clean and tidy.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Importance of Being There

Having just returned from Pittsburgh and the wedding of a friend there, I'm reminded of the importance of being there for the event. The happy couple had their families there in full, and I was glad for them. It's important to have witnesses there for the event, seeing the couple make their vows publicly, giving them your support. Some people couldn't make it; I'm glad the wife and I were able to be there.
A friend of mine got married just as I was getting ready to finish my undergraduate degree. He and I had been friends since kindergarten, we'd shared a house, and during our college days we went fishing and hiking together. He started going out with a woman that seemed to want to get rid me and his other friends, and soon they were married. I didn't know anyone who went to the wedding. They hadn't told anyone, and my friend disappeared from our lives; that's the way they wanted it. I tried to stay in touch, but he didn't, and I didn't see him for almost twenty years, though I tried stopping by his house and calling him. Finally, last fall, I found him nearby, happily married to a different woman, his first child a toddler. Maybe it was just the way he was.
But, to come back to my point, I think being there is important. There aren't many events that we mark by making oral statements. Getting married is one of them, and having the right people there to hear you state them is a big deal.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Todd and Lea's Wedding

We got it done. Here are some photos of the big event. Send them your best!

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Big Day in Pittsburgh

Sure, the Penguins played yesterday, and the Steelers face the Chiefs today, but a bigger news item in our world isn't in any sports field. Today's the big day for LB and TQ in Pittsburgh. We've had a good time and head back tomorrow, but not before we have seen some of this beautiful area and seen our two friends say their vows to each other today. Here are a few photos illustrating what there is to see here, down near Ohiopyle, PA, including Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece.
There's also a photo of the tour crew at the top of the Monongehela Incline, looking over the Three Rivers area. We're having a good time, and I get to read at the ceremony this afternoon Robert Frost's poem "The Master Speed." Read it here and offer up your best wishes to two good people as they join their lives.
No speed of wind or water rushing by
But you have speed far greater. You can climb
Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,
And back through history up the stream of time.
And you were given this swiftness, not for haste
Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,
But in the rush of everything to waste,
That you may have the power of standing still--
Off any still or moving thing you say.
Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Testing the Air

Tomorrow morning the wife and I will rise into the air again together as we've done numerous times since we've wed, rising and traveling over the country, over the Pacific, over the Atlantic, over mountains, over plains. This time no oceans are involved. We'll land, God willing, in Pittsburgh, PA, before noon in time for a wedding celebration, and we'll return, God willing, on Monday. There's always that moment when the airplane is hurtling down the runway toward the end of the pavement, and the nose lifts, the plane leaves the earth, and the passengers let go a sigh of relief, that one wonders that such an event can occur at all, the plane is such a massive thing, with a belly full of heavy luggage. Who could have known what Wilbur and Orville were cooking up, along with their French rivals?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Celebrating McGovern's Legacy

Saturday the wife and I went to Mitchell for the dedication of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership and Public Service. What a lineup of big-hitters they brought out for the ceremony, including Bill Clinton, Tom Daschle, Tim Johnson, Stephanie Herseth, and many others.
It was a delight to hear McGovern speak there and at the premier of the movie about the SD Senator's 1972 bid for the presidency. I was just a youngster in '72, but I remember how McGovern lit a fire under young people hoping for a change and an end to the conflict in Vietnam. That hope rose when McGovern became the Democratic candidate for the office, but it fell that summer and fall with the missteps and stumbing of an inexperienced campaign staff. McGovern's resounding defeat was a loss for the country, a point driven home by Nixon's resignation in disgrace soon after his election.
The resounding message of Saturday was that McGovern's life was dedicated to much more than seeking power; it is a life dedicated to doing as much good as he could, through public office or other efforts, especially in his program to provide a daily healthy meal to school children worldwide.
It made me proud to be a Democrat, knowing that people like George McGovern have worn that mantle. The voice he gave to the liberal tradition, the belief that the efforts of people at work--in government or otherwise--can make the world a better place, is one worth listening to.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Taste for Corn

Summer might be corn season, but the fall is the time for candy corn, the real stuff, preferably Brach's. It calls my name. I do like corn--popcorn, corn on the cob, frozen corn, creamed corn, corndogs, cornbread, corn pone, corn tortillas, corn chips, KORN radio station, rows of corn, corn shucks, corn shuck dolls, roasted corn, corn nuts, and corn-fed cattle. Even corny jokes are okay.
But candy corn stands apart, an addictive honey-sweetened handful of yellow, orange, and white corn-shaped treats. I do enjoy them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fall Settles in for the Season

My little camera got another outing this evening as I went out for a very short jog in the park to work out some of the kinks from yesterday's marathon. Yes, the body is sore, but the fall colors made up for that, and I took the little clunky digital camera out and took a few pictures. The photos gave me an opportunity to try out Picasa's new online photo album, and you can view all my evening's photos here.
One of my colleagues was out "catching the light" with a white door propped up in a field of wild yellow sunflowers, the bright red foliage of a tree standing behind. I envied him his camera. His resolution had to be better, but I like mine nonetheless.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Hunk of Tin and a Running Shirt

If you think the shirt and the medal are the only rewards to running a marathon, you should think again. Getting through the 26.2 miles without shedding a tear is a memory worth savoring. Who cares if you toddle in an hour and a half after Mbarak Hussein, who won the TCM this morning in 2:13, clipping along at a 5:06 per mile average pace. Yikes! I guess it gets you done quicker.
I had a great team with me on race morning, with CO the chief driver, AN the head navigator, and the wife as head cheerleader and organizer. CN was there for sweatband selection at the race expo.

It was a warm day, with temps in the 80's by the time it was all over. Not ideal for a marathon. But I survived another one, saw some of my favorite people, and enjoyed a good weekend. Here are some photos, including the race start, two key supporters, a Ford GT we spotted on Cedar Avenue, and the sunset to our good weekend.

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