Friday, April 28, 2006

Our next adventure

We spent a lot of time this winter searching for a house to buy here in Southern Illinois. We saw dozens of places that all failed to inspire in one way or another. Now we have found a place that we think can be a very special home. When our college freshman son saw it, his comment was, “awesome, dad!” We're equally excited.

Who'd have guessed: a 1980s fixer-upper. There is about an acre of fuschia-colored carpet that must be dealt with immediately. Not to mention the original 80s decor that must be banished with a dazzling array of current colors. (Was it really that long ago we actually liked mauve and gray and peach?) I can see the need for a new roof right around the corner. The HVAC is original and that means it will probably need to be replaced in the next couple of years.

Those are the minuses. There are some definite plusses. 7 acres. Lakefront. No other house in view. Hot tub. 4 bedrooms, 3.75 baths. 2 fireplaces. Contemporary, clean architecture with decks and walls of (insulated) windows.

Our new address is 1 River Rock Road, Murphysboro, IL. We envison this place as a retreat for us and for our family and friends. Plan to come visit. There's plenty of room.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dubya’s last bet

One of my very favorite writers, Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle has a mighty fine column today. As usual, it’s very funny, and also very dark. Here’s just one paragraph:

“Now, here he is, sitting right next to all the other countries at the Big Table, representing America, it's little Dubya Bush, stewing in his own juices, his poll numbers hovering right near Nixon levels, mumbling to himself, smelling vaguely of sawdust and horse manure and dead Social Security overhaul plans.”

The jist of the column is that Dubya’s last bet is to spend what remains of his dwindling political capital and nuke Iran. I suggest you read it yourself; it’s chilling.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It’s no accident...

“...we've got $20-million houses offering spectacular views down the hill and into the Third World. If not for the fact that it takes forever to get anywhere on the bus, we'd have a revolution on our hands.” This statement comes from an article by Steve Lopez in today’s Los Angeles Times headlined “Income Gap More Like a Chasm.” Though he’s talking about Southern California, the claim could be made about any place in the U.S. Obviously, under the benign rule of Bu$hco, the phenomenon is more pronounced than ever, what with offshoring jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy and other class-warfare policies.

This is the saddest thing going on in America today, and its going to destroy our country. John Edwards earns my respect because he’s working to address the problem. While Americans rush off to Wal-Mart to buy a gross of tube socks for $4.99, people who work there try to make a living for themselves and their families on subsistence wages. I'm waiting for the revolution; I’m waiting for the burgeoning lower class to rise up and say, “enough is enough.”


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The cottage takes shape

One of my readers requested that I post a picture of the New Jersey cottage I've been working on for more than a year and a half. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

What you can't see here are the two giant oak trees, the garden and landscaping yet-to-come, the IKEA kitchen or the killer stained concrete floor in the living room. You'll just have to use your imagination about those.

This whole project has been about using my imagination.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Take a long last look

Last week I read a disturbing story in the Philadelphia Inquirer telling of a huge die-off of coral reefs in the Caribbean. As much as 30% has died, some reefs as old as 800 years. Because coral only grows the thickness of a dime in a year, it would take centuries to replace even part of what's gone—if what's causing the coral to die could be stopped. Why is the coral dying? The temperature of the sea has heated up a few degrees.

This weekend I picked up a copy of Time magazine. The cover story was about the fact that global warming is no longer seen as a controversial theory, and what's worse, its effects are hitting us faster than anyone anticipated. The earth has reached a tipping point, according to Time, and now glaciers are melting fast, polar bears are drowning as ice floes break up, sea levels are rising, and hurricanes like Katrina are happening more frequently.

This morning I went online and saw stories about how intense thunderstorms and winds tore through several Midwestern states yesterday, demolishing a town in Tennessee, and sending glass from a high-rise building into the streets of Indianapolis while the Final Four tournament was taking place there. Do you suppose there's a connection to global warming?

For a long time we've been told—but few believed—that the Earth is a fragile ecosystem. Big energy companies spent a lot of money to dismiss warnings about global warming as the rantings of quacks. Pro-business government leaders blew off the Kyoto treaty and haven't done a thing to try and wean our country's dependence on oil. The complacency is a form of denial that makes the denial about Iraq seem like small potatoes.

What kind of a world will we leave our children?