Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter's On Its Way

Good Friday is fast approaching, and I am so not ready. I need to practice with the CD player every chance I can between now and then. Maybe there will be a miracle, and I will do great. I'm definitely going to suck on Easter. We're doing a Vivaldi piece with lots of staggered "amens". I will never get this right in time. Fortunately, we in the chancel choir are doing only one Easter service. The early birds are getting a praise band. I suppose it will be all praise bands all the time within a few years.

Easter is on the first Sunday of the month, so I suppose we'll be having "communion". Or maybe we always have communion on Easter. I just don't remember. Our version of the Lord's Supper is not very memorable. We get a crouton and a thimble of grape juice that we ingest with great solemnity, and that's it. Most of the ceremony is taken up with the elders and deacons bringing the bread and juice to the congregation. The choir is singing throughout all this, but the congregation is just waiting to be served.

The church will be full with an overflow crowd in the fellowship hall watching everything on video. Who are these people? Where have they been since Christmas Eve?

At the end of the service, anyone who wants to is invited up to the choir to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. That's pretty fun.

This is the one Sunday where most people dress up, even the sullen teenagers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Still Suck

When I went to Montana, I took my music and a CD of the Cherubini Requiem that we're doing for Good Friday. It turned out that I had no time to listen to it or to look at the music, so I am way behind with Holy Week fast approaching. The other tenor better be ready.

I was also going to use the exercise room in the hotel every day. I didn't use it once. That's a setback in terms of my fitness program.

I was going to blog. I didn't.

I was going to eat right. I didn't.

If I had just admitted to myself from the get go that I was going to slack off from everything except the trial, I would be having a lot less self loathing right now. Or would I? I'd probably be full of self loathing for being the kind of person who could slack off without a second thought.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mom's House Struck by Lightning

My mother's house in Georgia, where I spent my teenage years, was struck by lightning about 10 days ago and was destroyed. Nobody was injured. The house was insured. Mom has a trailer that she used to rent out to live in while she rebuilds. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming.

It's Fracking Good to be Home

We lost the trial of the matter I had been working on for eight years. I don't have a personal stake in the outcome, but it was still a disappointment. The forces of evil prevailed. I worked a lot harder than I am used to doing over the last two weeks in Montana, and I'm glad it's over so I can get back to my normal routine.

On the plus side, I enjoyed seeing some headlines that dealt with 'fracking"

Wyoming is looking at stricter fracking rules. Some fracking legislation is getting attention. We don't talk so openly about fracking here in New York.

Speaking of fracking, I caught up on the episodes of Caprica that I missed while I was away.

Monday, March 15, 2010

No More Tribes, Please

Here in Montana, it's hard not to notice the circumstances of Indians on reservations. In a way, their circumstances are similar to those of non-Indians who are stuck in the disappearing small communities all over this state. Family farms give way to corporate farming, and jobs get scarcer and scarcer. In the dictionary, next to the word "bleak" there should be a picture of rural Montana.

In another way, the Indians have it even worse. Everything they have is tied up in the reservation and the tribe, and they are stranded in and tied to their remote and unproductive locations by a desire to maintain their cultural heritage.

I don't think it makes any sense to maintain the idea of tribal sovereignty in the 21st century. Congress has the power to abrogate every treaty with the Indians and ought to do so if it is in the interests of the US to do so. Let the US deed the reservations to the Indians or buy the land from them and put it into the BLM system. Let the US buy out of its treaty obligations and pay off individual Indian citizens and have done with it. Then they can move where they like and get jobs and maintain their culture, or not, as they see fit.

Let's face facts. There was a war, and the Indians lost. Let's not rub it in by maintaining a system of homelands for them that keeps them impoverished and in a perpetual state of dependency. Rather, let's assuage our collective consciences by throwing a lot of money at the Indians once and for all and treating them just like every other category of citizen. The federal and state governments can apologize for their sins and even hold truth and reconciliation commissions to air the grievances of Indian people and educate Americans about what bastards their ancestors were (unless they're immigrants). Existing casinos can be grandfathered in but transferred to corporations with Indian shareholders.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Wish I Had Become an Astronaut Instead of a Lawyer

After three days of this trial and dealing with legions of lawyers, I remember why I hate being a lawyer and am convinced that I have wasted my life. I don't usually feel this way in my non-litigation role, thank the gods.

The adversarial system is supposed to reveal the truth. That's like saying that combining two turds will make a chocolate bar.

Even though all the missions are lame ass shuttle trips, it would be better than being a lawyer.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

In Billings

I'm in Billings, MT and its sunny and in the fifties! The bad news is that I'm here for a two week trial in federal court and will be stuck with a flock of lawyers the whole time.

These civil trials are complex and expensive undertakings. The amount of paperwork boggles the mind. Nothing is more mind numbingly boring than working on these things, and I'm glad I'm a witness and face of the corporation rather than a litigator. There is a boxcar load of banker's boxes with files, and that's just on our side. We have a small army of lawyers and assistants to lawyers.

The worst part is that we are going to waste two weeks out of the lives of a dozen citizens who will be compelled to serve as jurors in our corporate squabble. How I pity them.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Why I Care

Folks sometimes ask me why I care about what happens to humanity in the far distant future. I don't even have children, so what do I care about posterity?

First let me address the idea that being childfree renders me less mindful of the future. The children of my siblings are as genetically related to me as my own grandchildren would have been if I had had any. In the vast scheme of things, this one generation difference is inconsequential. Even if my siblings didn't have offspring, I have enough relatives with shared genes to have a genetic stake in the future of my genus, assuming that this matters.

Secondly, I expect to upload into a computer when my meat body gives out and to live on as a machine for a very, very long time. I would like the environment and society to be pleasant and to support the advanced technology that I will need to occupy better and better machine forms.

Thirdly, if my robot plan does not pan out (and even if it does and my roobotic self wears out), I expect to be resurrected at the end of time, and I don't want to have to explain to folks who came after me why my generation was so shortsighted, selfish and douchey.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Away for Two Weeks

I drew the short straw. Montana for two weeks. Could be worse. Could be Texas.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Not Spacefarers?

By all accounts, it looks like the US has scrapped plans to go back to the moon. This probably means a Mars mission is off the agenda as well. Maybe the Chinese will pick up the slack and keep us on track as a spacefaring species. Maybe demand for Helium Three will inspire commercial space travel and exploration. I doubt it. What private entity would be that future oriented?

If the Chinese start going to space, the US will probably see this as a national security problem and get back in the space game. If space is going to be militarized, the US doesn't want to be on the earthside looking up. Maybe militarization would get space exploration jump started as each state competed to stake out extraterrestrial real estate.

What Tea Partiers Are

Tea Partiers are (a) dumbasses or (b) racists or (c) both. The orchestrators may be cynically using stupidity and racism for political purposes and may, in fact, be neither stupid nor racist (except in the sense that they have no scruples about stoking racist fires), just evil. In the end, does it matter if a problem is caused by stupidity versus evil?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Shark attacks plunge — thanks to economy? - Environment-

Shark attacks plunge — thanks to economy? - Environment-

Dr Lenny is Back!!!!!

Snow Story

The snowstorm knocked out our power for almost 48 hours from Thursday evening until Saturday evening. Our big hardships were the lack of running water and an inability to keep the fish tank at a high enough temperature to prevent fatalities. We have a wood stove that keeps the house about 50-55 degrees, and our cooker is propane and can be lit with matches. We have plenty of candles, torches and a lantern for light. But water stopped pumping from our well, and we had to melt snow to get water to flush the toilets. We bought drinking water and water to wash dishes and clean up at the store. There were no shortages or runs on things, but it was hellacious getting anywhere with all the downed tree branches and slippery roads.

We took showers at our gyms when they got power. I had a pit bull for a bed warmer, so we muddled through the inconvenience. We slept more than usual.

I realize that our forebears had no electricty and that they endured it quite well. But they didn't have quality cable programming and the internet to be deprived of. They didn't have to deal with Blackberries with low batteries and tropical fish. And they had facilities for getting along without power, such as hand pumps and outhouses and fireplaces and oil lamps. The better off ones had armies of servants who would provide the comforts we derive from our appliances and modern conveniences. So, really it was much worse for us who are not used to such privations.