November 29, 2008
Charlene and I drove down to the Abby of Gesthemani today to shop in their visitor center and walk around the grounds of the Abby, which was founded in 1848. Gesthemani is located about fifty miles south of Louisville, just south of Bardstown.
As you arrive at Gethsemani you can feel the peace and holiness of the area. Gethsemani is where Thomas Merton (his given name at the Abby was Friar Louis Merton) lived and wrote his many works.
Gethsemani supports itself (as all Trappist Monasteries do) by their own work. They make fruitcake, fudge, and cheeses. The fruitcake is out of this world delicious. They sell all their goods world wide through the Gesthemani Farms websight.
November 28, 2008
November 26, 2008
While the water is coming to a boil let me tell you about the coffee. Buy whole bean coffee and grind it as you need it. It makes a huge difference to make coffee with fresh grounds and I always grind the beans to a literal dust consistency. As far as brand of coffee to buy, that’s up to what you prefer. We buy our coffee from the local Fresh Market. They used to carry Tip Of The Andes coffee, a delicate heavenly brew, but they don’t carry it anymore for whatever reason. I’ve found Tip Of The Andes online. Currently we usually buy the Fresh Market Blend which has a nice balance of light and dark beans.
Ok, the water is just starting to boil. Don’t boil it to death. Put the coffee pot on a stove burner on low. Put seven or eight scoops of coffee dust in the filter and slowly pour the water over it until it reaches near the top of the cone. After the first few sips of the coffee you’re magically transformed into a coffee snob and you might not ever go back to Mrs. Olsen and her swill again.
November 25, 2008
Brisk as text messages.
Time only for the executive summary.
The Dummies’ Guide.
The abridged audio download.
The Dow-Jones average.
The brief diversion
of the Breaking News.
The quick synopsis.
The cursory look.
The no-frills stats.
Reading on a need-to-know basis.
The World at a Glance
in the commuter freesheet.
History a volley of bullet points.
by Dennis O’Driscoll
November 24, 2008
November 21, 2008
The best concert I remember attending was when Crosby, Stills, and Nash blew into Lexington’s Rupp Arena around 1977. It was a sell-out and the crowd was mellow. I remember that Stephen Stills said something like this was one of the best crowds they had ever performed in front of. The crowd and the band were in synch and as I recall they did three or four encores. As huge as Rupp Arena is, it felt cozy that night. Walking back to our apartment we came to the corner of High and Stone streets. The street signs were missing as usual. As fast as city government could replace them, they would be ripped off the post by some student. Those were the signs of the times, so to speak. I once went to a party close to campus and in the living room, hung on the wall, was the corner of High and Stone. The last concert I went to was to see Chris Whitley around ’02.
This guy at work has a Apple iPhone and there is a free application you can download called Shazam. You hold the iPhone up to a speaker and it can identify the artist, the song, and the CD title within ten seconds. It’s pretty slick. He said he’s been trying to stump it but hasn’t been successful yet. I can’t decide what I want for Christmas, a blue ray player or an iPhone. Charlene will probably give me clothes but I’m still a little kid at heart when it comes to Christmas gifts. My grandmother would buy us underwear.
My sister Janet and her room-mate had a costume party on Halloween; It may have been 1977 also. I rented a gorilla outfit and rode to the party on the back of a motorcycle. We were coming up to the local McDonalds which at the time were selling banana milkshakes. Of course I told Tim to stop and I went in and order a banana shake in full gorilla regalia.
Tim Donovan was a high school friend who moved to Louisville from Chicago. His father would beat him from time to time. He would confide with us and show us his bruises whenever it happened. He died in a motorcycle accident in Bowling Green, KY. Some believed it wasn’t an accident but suicide which, sadly, I think it was.
November 20, 2008
November 19, 2008
Back in the seventies I was a tennis playing fool and for a few years was a linesman for the Louisville Tennis Classic which was held every hot steamy August. I got to meet Ilie Năstase, Jimmy Connors, Vitas Gerulaitis, Guillermo Vilas, and Authur Ashe. One day Authur Ashe was waiting for his practice partner. I asked if he wanted to hit a few while he was waiting. He agreed, so we knocked the ball around for about twenty minutes. He wasn’t a half bad player. I still play on occasion. My best shot is the slice backhand which confounds the average player. My drop shot has aged nicely.
I had a mild heart attack back in February ’05 and had a couple of stents place in my ticker which has since re-occluded. I take a hand full of pills every day. Heart bypass surgery might be in my future, hopefully the very distant future. My father survived a heart attack running down a drop shot.
The hardest thing I’ve ever done was earn my Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification. Through blood, sweat, and tears I got ’er done. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
I attend, am Deacon and Stewardship Chairman of Simpsonville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This is one of the friendliest churches in Kentucky, or at least this is what we hear from visitors. I still have an occasional adult beverage and have been known to cuss like a sailor.
One of my biggest passions is music. When I was a little kid, I used to listen to my parents classical music albums on their big honking stereo console. Remember those? They were so big they looked like a sideboard that might have belonged to Cornelius Vanderbilt. I listened to music that was encoded onto wax platters where the sounds were picked up on a needled tone arm which glided across the platter. No ones or zeroes were involved. The crackle and pop sounds gave me the warm fuzzies. I was introduced to jazz by a roomie of mine at U of K, who played drums in the UK jazz band. Joe Ringold was his name and he had four orange crates of nothing but jazz.
I used to be a hippie. Peace man. I have no tattoos.
My older sister, Janet, passed away in June of ’07 after a long battle with melanoma. She was fifty-three years old, which is my present age. At her visitation, it was like all the ghosts of the past were there. It’s too bad that the only time you see friends you haven’t seen in forever is at a funeral visitation. Ever since her death I think more about the shortness of life and reminisce about the past. I figure I’ll snap out of it any day now.
My field is Information Systems and I work for Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC). KHESLC is a quasi-governmental state organization, whatever that means. Our Vice President can’t explain it either. I work in the Network Services Branch. When ask what I did for a living, I told my cardiologist that I was a network analyst. He asked if that involved watching a lot of TV. I thought he was trying to be funny but he was dead serious.
November 18, 2008
November 15, 2008
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
- Albert Camus
I've been walking on
These streets so long
I don't know
Calling me anymore
But I think
I must have seen a ghost
I don't know
If it's my illusions
That keep me alive
I don't know what I see
Was it all an illusion?
Or a mirage gone bad?
I'm tired of evil
And all the things
That I don't know
And I've been drifting
On this wave so long
I don't know
If it's already
Crashed on the shore
And I've been riding
On this train so long
I can't tell
If it's you or me
Who is driving us
Into the ground
I don't know
If I'm sane
But there's a ghost
In my heart
To see in the dark
I'm tired of people
Who only want
To be pleased
But I still want
To please you
And I heard
Of that Japanese girl
Into The Volcano
Was she trying
To make it back
Back into the womb
Of the world?
I've been drinking
All these tears so long
All I've got left
Is the taste of salt
In my mouth
I don't know
Where I've been
But I know
Where I'm going
To that volcano
I don't want
To fall in though
So I want my bones
On the firing line
November 13, 2008
I feel uptight when I walk in the city
I feel so cold when I’m at home
Feels like everything’s starting to hit me
I lost my bearings ten minutes ago
Modern guilt, I’m stranded with nothing
Modern guilt, I’m under lock and key
Misapprehension is turning in convention
Don’t know what I’ve done but I feel ashamed
Standing outside the glass on the sidewalk
These people talk about impossible things
And I’m falling out of the conversation
Like a pawn piece in a human shield
Modern guilt is all in our hands
Modern guilt won’t get me to bed
Say what you will smoke your last cigarette
Don’t know what I’ve done but I feel afraid
November 12, 2008
I happened to be off work the day Charlene hosted a women's luncheon. I took these pics beforehand. When the time came I was banned from home. I got revenge by eating a Wendy's baconator. After that I went browsing for music to buy. I got Beck's latest CD "Modern Guilt". I'll post some music from it later.
November 7, 2008
Charlene told me not to order it yet and that it would be a fun drive to Trappist, KY and buy fruitcake from their shop right there at the monastery. I wondered how the monks, who take a vow of silence, would communicate with the visitors. Are the monks required to carry a Magic 8-Ball with them?
Q. “Is your fruitcake considered the best?” (The monk turns the 8-Ball towards the visitor)
A. ‘It is decidedly so’
Q. “Do you find peace of mind living here as a monk?”
A. ‘Reply hazy, try again’
Q. “Do you find it frustrating communicating in this way?”
A. ‘Concentrate and ask again’
The Gethsemi Monastery is fifty miles south of Louisville and was home to Thomas Merton, the famed author of “Seven Story Mountain”. There is a plaque in downtown Louisville where he often visited and where he had a spiritual epiphany while watching the pedestrians at the corner of Fourth and Walnut Street (which is now Mohammad Ali Blvd.)
From Thomas Merton's private journal, March 19, 1958:
Yesterday, in Louisville, at the corner of 4th and Walnut, suddenly realized that I loved all the people and that none of them were, or, could be totally alien to me. As if waking from a dream — the dream of separateness, of the “special” vocation to be different. My vocation does not really make me different from the rest of men or put me is a special category except artificially, juridically. I am still a member of the human race — and what more glorious destiny is there for man, since the Word was made flesh and became, too, a member of the Human Race!
Thank God! Thank God! I am only another member of the human race, like all the rest of them. I have the immense joy of being a man! As if the sorrows of our condition could really matter, once we begin to realize who and what we are — as if we could ever begin to realize it on earth.
It is not a question of proving to myself that I either dislike or like the women one sees on the street. The fact of having a vow of chastity does not oblige one to argument on this point — no special question arises. I am keenly conscious, not of their beauty (I hardly think I saw anyone really beautiful by special standards) but of their humanity, their woman-ness. But what incomprehensible beauty is there, what secret beauty that would perhaps be inaccessible to me if I were not dedicated to a different way of life. It [is] as though by chastity I had come to be married to what is most pure in all the women of the world and to taste and sense the secret beauty of their girl’s hearts as they walked in the sunlight — each one secret and good and lovely in the sight of God — never touched by anyone, nor by me, nor by anyone, as good as and even more beautiful than the light itself. For the woman-ness that is in each of them is a once original and inexhaustibly fruitful bringing the image of God into the world. In this each one is Wisdom and Sophia and Our Lady — (my delights are to be with the children of men!).