Saturday, August 11, 2007

The trouble with love is...*

The trouble with love is
It can tear you up inside
Make your heart believe a lie
Gets stronger then your pride
The trouble with love is
It doesn’t care how fast you fall
And you can’t refuse the call
See you’ve got no say at all

So I have rarely been writing about love lately, but I know most of those who visit here like those kinds of posts the most.

It's been a weird summer, wonderful, chaotic, very family-oriented. But, when all is said and done, we are each left alone with ourselves, and whatever we have learned from our past involvements.

My ex-girlfriend said she always loves anyone she has truly loved -- forever. I believe her, and I'm quite sure that in her way she still loves me. But, I am not at all sure I am like her.

I still love all of my former wives and lovers, yes. But, for me, there is a huge barrier between that kind of love, and the way I (always) feel about my current partner. I'm so myopic, perhaps, that I can focus only on one person at a time. My thoughts, feelings, desires all seem to be monogamous, although my fantasies often do range far afield.

Thus, I wonder whether we are truly wired to be faithful? Part of us seems opportunistic, and our immensely powerful sex drives seem to always be ready to push us toward betrayal of those who genuinely care about us, and depend on us.

This is perhaps the saddest thing about families -- that for all the moms and the dads it can be such a struggle to stay together, emotionally. I feel very, very sad for all six of my children when I contemplate what life has been for them, all kids of divorce.

For my part, all I can say is I never wanted it to turn out that way for them, and counter-intuitively, I didn't stop loving their moms when we broke up. It's just that neither of them knew what to do, nor did I.

And, so it goes for all of us. Tonight, I had dinner courtesy of my lovely friend Julie and her wonderful boyfriend Seth. Julie cooked us vegetarian Indian food, which I love. As I contemplated this young couple, so obviously in love, I felt happy for both of them. Not to mention Seth's 14-year-old dog, so clearly happy with his lot in life.

Love is truly all around. The movie, Love, Actually, remains the most hopeful statement of our time.

Yet, permeating all of this hopefulness, is the wisdom embodied in the lyrics of the lovely ballad republished at the top of this post.


*Kelly Clarkson - The Trouble With Love Is

Friday, August 10, 2007

Artifacts, gadgets, and the (possible) meaning of life

Okay, so what if all there is in this life is what we collect? We all know we can't take it with us, so why bother, anyway?

Visitors to my flat sometimes laugh at the various collections that are on display in this place. One recent guest observed to my flatmate, "He's really into color, isn't he?" But many, many more of my obsessions are not visible to the casual observer, because they remain sequestered in boxes stacked in my closets and laundry room.

There are coins, bottle caps, baseball cards, hockey cards, stamps, foreign money, various documents, books, posters, buttons, stones, shells, magazines, T-shirts, coffee mugs, stickers, IPO prospectuses, business cards, stationary pads, and so many slips of paper from here and there all over the world.

If only the Internet, and blogs, existed back in 1969, when I got started with my journaling. I have physical journals going back 38 years, with things taped inside them and words written in ink. Even if I devoted myself to the task, I could never read all of those words I have written over the decades before I die.

When I search for specific items, like funny quotes from my kids when they were young, I can find them. But, lost to me are all the details of my own history as an adult on this planet. I hope someone else, maybe one of my kids, find these old, hand-written journals useful.

Meanwhile, thanks to technology, since early April 2006, my journaling has migrated here, on the web. I can only hope these digital posts get preserved, because I have been pouring my heart out in this space, and I only have copies of a few of my posts.

As a collector, I feel I am no more than a typical human. Here are a few of the things lying around my flat tonight, including several with my kids...


In the latest of our occasional series of consumer guides for sexually enlightened adults, tonight we draw your attention to a product that is relatively new to the market in Japan and apparently not even purchasable here yet, at least I've not located where you can buy it.

This is, bluntly, a humping dog, which you can plug into your computer for the enjoyment of you and your colleagues. I highly recommend this product, plus it is cheap! And it comes in a variety of breeds.

Cute .

On a vaguely more serious note, scientists have succeeded in creating a female mouse that is so horny she acts like a male all the time, chasing other mice and jumping on them as if there is no tomorrow.

Female Humping Mouse .

Not me necessarily, mind you, but there have been males now and then who find the idea of uncontrollably horny women a real turn-on. So much so they are always trying to search out the latest aphrodisiac (remember "Spanish Fly") and more than a few have been known to try and slip a horny monkey into their female companion's drink when she wasn't looking.

Although this science is intriguing, I can't help wondering who exactly thought up this idea in the first place? And why.

(Hint) When it comes to making a real flesh-and-blood woman horny, it may be there are more effective means than altering her genetic structure.

Even though I am pro-science in most ways, God help us from these kinds of experiments. What possibly useful outcome can this research provide?

p.s. Don't misunderstand me, I like to "get lucky" as much as the next guy. It's just that, well, it really isn't all that complicated. Unless, of course, you're committed to being a jerk swilling beer and bragging loudly, and refusing to learn how to listen, connect, and empathize. Wait a minute, that's the average American male! No wonder some "scientists" are trying these things...

Let's hope it stops with mice.


Barry's Big Hit -- Live!

As shot by my son-in-law, Larry Tiglao, here is the moment that Barry Bonds connected with the pitch that he sent out of the deepest part of the ballpark the other night to set the all-time home run record of 756.

The following night, he broke his own record, sending #757 into the Bay. That makes 23 home runs, the most by someone his age (43) ever. Assuming he hits another ten or so this season, and he plays one more season next year, there's a chnace he will end up with ~800.

This guy has been the Greatest Show on Earth for baseball fans for a long time. Long after the controversies swirling around him fade from memory, his short, sweet swing, and the explosion it created will remain alive and well in the minds of those of us who truly love and appreciate this sport, and were privileged to watch him play for over 20 years in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.


Back in the U.S.S.A.*

Do you want to know what the American public think of media and why? Stay tuned.

Well, it may not be my favorite country, but it's the only one I (currently) hold a passport from. I've been told I might qualify for a second passport (European) due to my mother's having been born in Scotland. Doees anyone know whether that's true?

The reminders of Nice include sand and beach detritis of the sorts I collect.

Our backyard continues to yield colors and tastes that enliven our kitchen table. Here's a salad de la Mision, for example. Yummy and spicy.

Little James graced our flat for a day before returning home northward. He's getting ready to crawl.

He's a happy guy much of the time.

He loves to cuddle with his Mom, who was always a big cuddler herself as a little child. Both of them are sweet beyond words.

In other news, I have been told that I've developed a new habit -- speaking in complete sentences in French while asleep. This is curious because I don't speak any French beyond the occasional badly fractured phrase or greeting.

Amazing, isn't it, what our unconscious brains can do? On the other hand, my informant does not speak French, either, so what sounds like French to her may in fact be jibberish. Her own English is improving, which is impressive, given that Japanese and English simply do not translaate effectively at all. Following one of her interests, she's been watching Spike Lee's documentaries on Hurricane Katrina's devastation.

Last night, she asked me about the "leaves" that broke in New Orleans.


A: Poll .

* or, as they say in Boston, Back in the U.S.S.R.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Letter Four from Nice: The Beach

Sunday, August 5
Nice, France

Finally, I am posting the rest of the accumulated material, mainly photos, from my recent trip to France.

On Sunday, my last day there, we gathered on the beach.

These shots are how the beach and the people on it appeared to me. This is what I saw. The beaches are composed mainly of stones, as from a riverbed. Locals throw the stones here and there.

A pretty, dark-haired girl in a small bikini (pictured above) kept throwing (left-handed) stones at her handsome, blond boyfriend, who was in the water, throwing stones back at her, on her beach towel. With every throw, her body jiggled as only a woman's can do.

Meanwhile, my three oldest kids and my grandson are here with me.

The baby has grown to love swimming in the warm sea.

Our French relatives were there with us too, including Laila's darling nieces.

Nearby, several children hurled stones into the air and sea, rarely with pinpoint accuracy. My medical-student son-in-law became concerned, and wondered aloud whether to intervene. After all, a stone sharply thrown to the temple of an unwitting swimmer offshore could lead to disaster.

In the end, no one got hurt; the lovers stopped throwing stones, hugged, dressed, and escaped into the gathering evening. The children were rounded up and carted home by their parents.

We, too, left the beach at sunset, albeit reluctantly, and migrated southward along the boardwalk enroute to a yummy seafood dinner.

Thus, my visit to this lovely coast came to its end.

(p.s. I'll be back.)


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Baby in France

My grandson, James, has just completed his first tour abroad. This post is a sort of photo journal of his time there.

I wish I had some shots of him swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, but I don't seem to have any.

He traveled around between Nice, Cannes, VilleFranche, and Gilette, among other destinations, and as far as I could tell, he liked everything he saw.

It must be hard to be ~ 7 months old and find yourself shuttled place to place, surrounded by tons of new people.

On the other hand, it must also be exhilarating. James was the center of attention wherever he went.

To be honest, I was a bit jealous. I wish all of those gorgeous French women would have fussed over me as they did over James.

But, alas, the beauty of youth surpasses the wrinkled old in our eyes. I'm no different in this regard. The smooth skin and bright eyes of a child mesmerize. The ancient, wizened skin and puffy eyes of oldsters causes me to want to look away.

We are wired to appreciate the young humans, as they develop into those who can best reproduce and carry on our species. But in our age, we live way too long, way beyond when we are pretty and sexy. To grow old is to endure a long, slow, gradual decline into an asexual state that I, for one, would never choose to experience.

I easily comprehend those who choose to leave this life before their beauty begins to decline. Part of me is with them.

But the larger part wishes to hang around and see how it all turns out. There is nothing old about my eyes and what they see. The beauty of youth is as visible to me as to anyone else.

The smooth babies become the articulate children who become the distant teenagers who become the suddenly impressive 20-somethings who finally once again return your love. As they break, and suffer transitional crises, they only become more interesting and attractive.

As they develop, and move outside of themselves to embrace the possibilities for all of us, collectively, they reach a peak.

All of this is visible to me in a baby's eyes. I see in Baby James a potential Great Man, the kind of person who makes us all proud.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007


photos by Larry Tiglao

News Bulletin: History, baseball-style. Barry Bonds has hit his 22nd home run of this season, at age 43, and the 756th of his career, tonight in San Francisco. He is now the greatest home run hitter of all time. At the last moment, I inherited two great tickets to tonight's game, and I gave them to my daughter Sarah, her husband Larry (plus my grandson James), as they emerged from their plane from Europe.

It was James' first MLB game. (Thanks, Tom!)

Here, in my house, the five of us watching it on TV jumped and cheered, clapped and shrieked with happiness as the greatest baseball player we have ever seen achieved his ultimate goal.

It is a nice night to be a San Francisco Giant baseball fan. Congratulations, Barry Bonds. You deserved this one.


Letter Three from Nice

August 4

After the wedding ceremony up in Gilette, we retired to a beach front hotel, where the celebration of Laila and Loic's French wedding took place.

A trio of French gospel singers performed.

The wedding couple addressed the crowd.

The two little girls helped out with the ring exchange in this, the third of three wedding ceremonies for L&L.

Afterwards, they relaxed outside, on the white sand beach.

So cute.

The cakes were other-worldly.

The sea was calm as the sun descended.

And, then, the party began.


Lettre de Gilette

August 4
Gilette, France

Laila et Loic

Mr. & Mrs. Loic Comolli had their official French wedding today, two weeks after their U.S. ceremony.

Their French wedding took place here in this ancient village in the Alps above Nice, where Loic's ancestors have lived for centuries.

His Excellency, the Mayor of Gilette, performed the ceremony, with a great sense of dignity and pride.

The couple later toured the village, which is built, literally, out of the rock of the mountain, with olive trees and fig trees and tiny yards of flowers dotting the landscape.

An old castle sits atop Gilette.

The extremely proud mothers of the couple wore blue, which was the color for this wedding on the Meditteranean.

Me, I just want to disappear down one of these covered paths, into an old brick house, with a garden with olive and fig trees, a view of the valley, and a trunk of my favorite unread books...