Monday, September 1, 2008

Ordinary Days

I was surprised to read a while back that Bill Gates does not watch television. Nothing. Zip. It may or may not be true but the story caught my attention. I had been aware for some time that I was getting up in the mornings to make coffee and turn on CNN and watch it for half an hour, then an hour, and then I saw that sometimes I was watching it for an hour and a half. This was three, four months ago. I kind of wondered what the hell was going on. But not seriously.

Then the local Mexican cable company cut CNN from its list of channels. I had been watching Jim Clancy as if he were a friend of mine. He reminded me of guys I grew up with in South Central. Now he was gone. I missed him. I missed CNN. You can see what a simple guy I am. Another example of how you don’t have to be some out-of-the-ordinary guy to publicly challenge such businesses as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, or any other part of that Industry. If you’re willing, that’s enough. I think that might be my message to the world. Just do it. Or was that the tennis shoe people?

About that time I was finding out about the lymphoma. I realized that I was watching television in the mornings, Jim Clancy or no Jim Clancy, because I was having a hard time waking up. I hadn’t been paying attention. Once I understood that my laziness had something real behind it and wasn’t just laziness, I understood that losing CNN was a wake-up call, literally. I decided I would not watch television in the mornings. I would make the bloody coffee and go to my office, which is a room facing the patio here at the house.

This morning is an example of my new routine. In the first half-hour of my life today I got up, put on my robe, went out to the patio which is inside the house so I don’t have to comb my hair, took the blanket off the six-foot high bird cage for our couple dozen parakeets, woke Paloma, went to the kitchen where I put on a pot of coffee, drank my glass of Blast, a glass of powdered greens, drew back the curtains and opened the venetian blinds, then waited in silence. When the coffee was ready I poured a cup and came in here to the office. I did everything in about twenty minutes. Bill Gates is a wise man.


I was to the VA hospital Thursday last to get an EKG, be interviewed by the surgical nurse, and then again by the anesthesiologist. This is for a surgical biopsy that I will have in a couple days. The anesthesiologist was an attractive, interesting lady. At one point she was reviewing the results of the EKG that had been taken an hour earlier and I asked her how it looked.

“Why do you want to know,” she asked?

“I’m curious. I want it to be perfect.”

“Are you worried that it might not be?”

“No. I think it will be perfect.”

She started asking me if I did not feel some anxiety about having the biopsy. It’s a long process, six to eight hours, but mostly laying around. I said no, I wasn’t worried. She said it would be normal for me to be worried about having cancer, worried about the surgery and so on. That if I felt some anxiety, that would be normal.

“I know it would normal," I said. “It's just that I think I’m too shallow to worry about it”

The lady got a good laugh from that one. That’s me. I like to keep ‘em relaxed.


I have an interesting message from UNESCO. I’m on their mailing list now. The release tells me that in October UNESCO is to hold International High Level Symposium on Freedom of Expression and Exhibition on Safety of Journalists. UNESCO is deeply committed to freedom of expression.

“UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right, through sensitization and monitoring activities. It also fosters media independence and pluralism as prerequisites and major factors of democratization by providing advisory services on media legislation and sensitizing governments, parliamentarians and other decision-makers.”

How's that? Pretty good, eh? I think I can work with these people. I’m only half horsing around about this.

Over the next couple weeks I’ll kick off the project for this academic year. I’ll tie together the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, UNESCO, and the UN General Assembly using my “Auschwitz Question” as a kind of intellectual lariat (Spanish for “lasso”). And I will rope in the mainline press and academics in our journalism departments. We’ll see where it goes. Who can predict? Correctly?


This will be my last post here for the next three, four days. I'll be on the other side to the VA where they will finally do the surgical biopsy. I suppose afterward I'll have a sore throat for a few days.

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