Daily Archives: January 19, 2012

Good and Bad News in One Hour…

Sometimes the telephone can bring both good and bad news calls within minutes of each other. It is life, after all, and things happen that you look forward to and that you dread.


First the good. Elly called to say that the word had come up from Texas and they accepted the offer we put in on the house and 4 acres I spoke about on this blog yesterday. Now we can start planning our move and the future with chickens and goats.


Unfortunately the bad news overshadows the good.

My mother called to tell me that my Uncle Peter had died in Connecticut. Peter had been in a nursing home for the last couple of years, but we kept in touch through e-mail (he was a reader and commenter on this blog and, until last August, had a blog of hos own… As I understand it he used to completely take over the community computer in the Home to live on the Internet.)

He was my favorite Uncle, my father’s second youngest brother, a Yale PhD in English Literature ( his dissertation can still be read today : Epic prolepsis and repetition as structural devices in Milton’s Paradise Lost.)

In a family full of Republicans, he was the Democrat, and served as my guide as I became a lifelong liberal.

It was as a writer that he excelled… for many years at the Hartford Courant where he did columns and obituaries and local news… retiring early when they cut down on their staffs. For a while he worked with Elly and me at U-Design (actually that’s where he took up the computer.)

You might like to see a sample of his work, witty and wonderful and very provocative. This was on his blog last August:


Politics – I Won’t Dance
by Pete Tchakirides
No! No! I won’t do it! I refuse to throw my hat into the ring. Today, I am announcing publicly, officially and categorically, that I will not be a candidate for the presidency of the United Startles in 2012. I will not run in a Democratic primary against President Barack Hussein Obama. I will not register as a Republican and seek the GOP nomination for that high post. As Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman said concerning the presidential election of 1884: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” Why, you ask? Why? Because I have no experience of elective office, especially one that requires knowledge of the legislative process, from the time of classical Greece’s democracy and the workings of the Roman Senate to the formation and development of the English Parliament. I do not have the political or oratorical skills of a Marcus Tullius Cicero, or the depth of historical knowledge of an Edward Gibbon. I have no experience, or appetite, for the commanding of men and women, especially those I might have to send to their deaths in combat. No, I am no Caesar, nor Cicero. You remember what happened to both of them? Yes, assassinated. You still press me to run? Nay, I am getting on in years, and see no need to trouble my old age with more headaches, and heartaches. What? You say that I am as qualified as anyone seeking the nomination for president today? That, as Henry David Thoreau tells us, “No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America”? That most of the candidates are fools, and the rest both fools and knaves? That they represent the interests of political factions and special interests? Perhaps you are right. There are no wise men or women who would be president. I alone, like Socrates, know only I am wise, because I know I do not know anything. But, like Socrates, I would rather drink hemlock than to pretend that I am wise enough to be president.

Lately I’ve been rewatching a Canadian television series from 6 or 7 years ago, Slings and Arrows, about a professional Shakespeare Festival. There is an artistic Director who dies and comes back as a ghost that can be seen by only one person. If I have the opportunity of having a ghost that could talk with me, I would hope it was my Uncle Pete, who I will miss tremendously.


Good news and bad news. Tomorrow is another day.

Primary Poem

Today’s the day that Perry quit.

His backing goes to Newt, not Mitt.

And Newt’s ex-wife may crash his carriage…

She says he wanted Open Marriage.

Now Iowa has changed its score

and Rick leaves Mitt upon the floor.

Ron Paul takes all this at its face…

Ignoring his past views on Race.

So four are left in fume and smoke

And Saturday will be a joke.

And you think you have problems…

Looking at commuter problems in this country pale when we look elsewhere. This from All Hat, No Cattle (one of my all-time favorite blogs):

People ride on top of a commuter train in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Indonesia has gone to imaginative extremes to try to stop commuters from illegally riding the roofs of trains, hosing down the scofflaws with red paint, threatening them with dogs and appealing for help from religious leaders. Now the authorities have an intimidating and possibly even deadly new tactic: Suspending rows of grapefruit-sized concrete balls to rake over the top of trains as they pull out of stations, or when they go through rail crossings. Photo/Dita Alangkara