One Reporter's Opinion

Proud sponsor of The Partnership for an Idiot-Free America. Andy's random observations -- a potluck of politics, a mix of music musings, and whatever else transcends the transom. (Unless otherwise specified, all pictures are copyright of this blogger. Some rights reserved, subject to the terms and conditions specified under the Creative Commons license.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Friday Bird Blogging

Add another to the life bird list...

Polioptila caerulea, the blue-gray gnatcatcher.

The bird is a little bit bigger than a hummingbird -- I think this is a breeding female. Well, in fact, I'm pretty certain it is, because my wife & I stumbled upon its nest...

(Note the beak of the nestling. There were three by my count.)

Gear: Nikon D2H with 70-200VR AF-S, 1.7x teleconverter, on Sandisk digital film.


A downy woodpecker, cropped and coverted to B&W:

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sit Down & Stay Awhile!

I doubt that this was the sort of courtesy for which the South is so famous, but there are big doin's over at Capitol Hill today. See Sharon Cobb's running account. She's even nabbed the attention of Michael Moore, who's working on a documentary about healthcare, so I imagine Governor Bredesen is understandably worried.

Hey, speaking of which, I ran into him on Sunday at the Green Hills McDonalds, lookin' a little peaked. Ironic that his 2-cheeseburger combo was brought to him and prepared by people about to be hard hit by his proposals, but then, I suspect that he knows that his constituents don't necessarily know what their best interests are nor who best represents them. Fact o' business, I think that's how he figures to stay in office.

Anyway, I recall ol' Phil is not a Nashville native. Neither am I, but I have been learning gradually about its rich history.

He might do well to remember...

...Nashville pretty well invented the sit-in right here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Terms of Endurance

Wow, is this ever rich:

Condi Rice, on Fox News Sunday, June 19, 2005:

"The administration, I think, has said to the American people that it is a generational commitment to Iraq.

And this little nugget:

From the ashes of abandoned Iraqi army bases, U.S. military engineers are overseeing the building of an enhanced system of American bases designed to last for years.

Last year, as troops poured over the Kuwait border to invade Iraq, the U.S. military set up at least 120 forward operating bases. Then came hundreds of expeditionary and temporary bases that were to last between six months and a year for tactical operations while providing soldiers with such comforts as e-mail and Internet access.

Now U.S. engineers are focusing on constructing 14 "enduring bases," long-term encampments for the thousands of American troops expected to serve in Iraq for at least two years. The bases also would be key outposts for Bush administration policy advisers.

Generational commitment? Enduring bases? Whuuuuuuuuuuuuuh???

What happened to...:

George W. Bush, May 1, 2003:

What happened to elections being an important precursor to the transfer of power to the Iraqi people? What happened to that civilian police force that was coming along so well?

Oh, right. They weren't being honest.

They lied us into getting involved in a war, and now they're lying to us about getting us out.

No small coincidence, I think, that they use the word "enduring" to refer to the major combat operation itself and their new plan to build 14 permanent bases on Iraqi soil.

Don't bother talking about democratization anymore. It's just bullshit. Democracy does not exist at the point of a gun.

Monday, June 20, 2005

That Which Makes Music City Worthwhile, Vol. I:

Outside the Bound'ry…

The Rose Pepper Cantina (1907 Eastland Ave., 615-227-4777).  The lynchpin in the redevelopment of commerce along the Eastland corridor, the Rose Pepper sports an ample outdoor covered deck, quirky yet authentic southwestern recipes, and a Mexican martini which is about the best this side of Austin, TX.  You get a selection of three salsas as you're seated (mild, spicy, and verde), and all of the concoctions on the menu which my wife & I have tried are excellent -- both for value and for whallop.  The d├ęcor is tasteful and modern, with understated lighting and ample seating throughout.  Live bands appear occasionally, and its state is normally best described as "packed," especially on weekends.  Long-time Nashvillagers will remember this location as Joe's Diner, but it's come a long way since (as has the neighborhood).  I believe that the restaurant is the upscaled counterpart to Inglewood dive Es Fernandos (4704 Gallatin Pk., 615-227-3060), which is always worth a stop for massive portions at minimal price. 

While you're around East Nashville, and you're in the mood for bar-hopping, check out the Family Wash (2038 Greenwood Ave., 615-226-6070) for excellent crudites and a good, unpretentious selection of beverages.  I have yet to visit the 3 Crow Bar (1024 Woodland St., 615-262-3345), as it supplanted the legendary Slow Bar, but it gets a lot of buzz.  I don't know if it's well deserved.  The buzz about Margot (1017 Woodland St., 615-227-4668), however, is richly deserved.  Intimate, upscale, and -- yes -- a bit pretentious, but nothing that they can't back with the menu.  Creative, sumptuous specials always available, but expect to spend some money.  It ain't food; it's COO-zine.  Reservations strongly recommended.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Celebrating Father's Day

From an article my dad penned the Thanksgiving after he'd been diagnosed with the cancer which would eventually take his life two years later:

Robert H. Wilson, (c) Danville Commercial-News, Nov. (?) 1988:


Life has never seemed sweeter.

You see, I wasn't supposed to be alive this Thanksgiving -- much less be looking forward to Thanksgivings, Christmases, birthdays and other anniversaries yet to come.

So what if I have to walk around with a tube strung through my chest and medicine trickling into me from a battery-powered pump? It beats dying.

So what if the medical bills are piling up? They'll get paid -- eventually.

"Eventually" was a word that dropped from my vocabulary for a while. It feels so good to have it back again.

Five months ago, my death sentence was delivered by the surgeon who opened up my innards to see what was going on in there.

"Your husband is full of cancer," he told my wife in the surgery waiting room. "If I were you, I'd get in the car and take a long vacation."

The exploratory surgery found a mess of small tumors all through my abdominal area and a bigger one partially blocking my colon.

How long did I have? The surgeon said anywhere from days to weeks. (To borrow an old vaudeville line, "Doctor, you've got to be kidding!")

The surgeon's prognosis scared even him -- seelng that he was about my age.

My wife and I -- to say the least -- were devastated. We had so much going for us up until then.

We were expecting our second child in about six weeks. Now the doctor couldn't guarantee I would live to see it born.

Our first child was about to turn two. I was shattered by the thought that this light of my life would grow up without her dad -- without having any memories of me except old pictures.

My first-born son was finishing his freshman year in college. My oldest daughter had just graduated from high school. Now I wasn't likely going to be around to see them finish college, start their own lives.

I had always planned on spoiling grandchildren of my own someday. Oh well, so much for that.

To top it off, my wife and I were in the process of buying a new house -- an old house, that is, that we fell in love with as soon as we saw it.

Everything had seemed so bright. Then life for me fluttered away like a house of cards in a hurricane.

Forty-one is not a ripe, old age -- especially when it's you who is 41. I cried a lot -- especially when I thought of leaving my wife and kids behind.

But then the good things started to happen. Enter my oncologist, Dr. Ken Rowland of Carle Hospital, the first person to cast a little optimism over the gloom. He told to me to ignore what the surgeon said and to keep in mind that people a lot sicker than I was have survived. He talked me into going on chemotherapy.

Enter my parents, who headed for the hospital as soon u they heard and who convinced me they were not about to outlive any of their children.

Enter my siblings, who phoned, wrote, visited from their far-flung homes and offered their moral support. One brother even sent me not one but two copies of Dr. Bernie Segal's book, "Love, Medicine and Miracles," which extols the importance of attitude in surviving so-called "terminal" illness. (I guess my brother thought if one copy would help, two would help even more.)

Enter my in-laws, uncles, aunts, other relatives, friends and colleagues -- who urged me to get well, brought over meals for us after I got out of the hospital, helped us move into that new old house.

Enter those fellow cancer patients -- some of whom have died since then -- who told me I could make it.

All these people helped me remind myself that we are all in this together -- that, indeed, no man is an island even in the depths of despair.

And, of course, enter that new daughter, Emma, who is now almost four months old. Not only did I live long enough to find out if No. 4 was a boy or girl; I was right there in the delivery room to snap her picture as she joined the human race.

I have stared down the gullet of The Beast, and I'm still here.

I'm back on my feet, back to work and back in the swing.

I have always been a big fan of wildflowers, autumn leaves and the other beauties of nature. But never have they seemed so beautiful as this year. Never have I taken them less for granted.

The sunrises and sunsets have never been more awe-inspiring. The rivers and lakes have never sparkled more brightly, piggybacking a child at bedtime has never been more comforting. Thanksgiving has never seemed so aptly named.

I can't just stop and smell the roses anymore. I revel in them.


One of the few articles I kept.

You know, those things never seem really important when you're aged 20 years, but knowing now what I know then, I'd sure enough have collected a lot more than I did.

That said, hope everyone had a good Father's Day. I celebrate with my memories.