Letters to Holly

Tuesday, April 25

Making Plans

I woke up early Monday at 4:30 and this morning at 5:30. Your Sister claims I never needed much sleep, and now I’m determined to just get up and draw until I got to work. For a week now, I haven’t had a full night’s sleep. I’ve been simply rolling over and trying to get more sleep, but it leaves me dragging the rest of the day.

Because she’s got a conference Thursday night and Friday, I’m going to Friday night’s They Might Be Giants concert with her, but now I might be taking Travis. He needs to get back to me about it. He alone came over last night to watch rasslin’ as Kathy and Tonia were too pooped to watch the show. I went to the TMBG site and found they have a series of songs inspired by the names of the venues they are playing on the tour. It’s fun stuff and a nice introduction to their skill. But Your Sister also set up a dinner date for me Thursday night with Angela and Dan, another couple we hang out with. They’re the family that lends me the Harry Potter books. A local eatery is hosting an HIV charity night with 20% of the each order’s proceeds go to at least one Western North Carolina HIV agency.

I measured the wall space for the planned landscape painting. And when I say “landscape,” keep in mind that the land will comprise only a tenth of the painting scene. The rest will be sky and clouds. Because the wall is white, I can’t use a very light blue sky because it will blend in at a distance. Unless we put a strong border around it. Hmm. I have to think about this. Anyway, the space and location will determine the look of the painting.

Picture of the Day

The cockpit of the new Airbus A380. I think it’s an 841. Note the keyboard stations in front of both seats.

In the news
There’s some wailing and gnashing of teeth over an Internet communications bill that would allow the larger telecommunications companies to create a filtered version of the Internet for broadband users. The fear is that they will charge you extra to either access the whole Internet or charge you to get their filtered version. AOL already offers this filter by providing zones in which you can access sponsored or sanitized Internet content. Some AOL customers never leave the AOL version of the Internet for fear of viruses and porn.

The fear is that these big companies will dominate the ISP market and ruin the chaotic nature of the web. To that, I suggest one simply buy access through another provider, like DirecTV’s ISP (HughesNet as it’s now called). Here in Mayberry, you can get fast-access service through only one company because the market is too small for a big name to compete against the local phone company, and their charges are insane. If I gamed online, broadband might be enticing. Our neighbor has offered to hook us up onto his DSL account, an offer that, while very neighborly, makes me a mite nervous. If his account goes down, so does our access, and there’s no way of knowing how much of our online activity he might be privy too. I don’t access anything that dial-up can’t give me in a reasonable time.

Anyway, this internet bill is only in the committee stages and has yet to go to the congressional bodies for a vote. The panic seems premature. There’s also another answer: cough up the dough for the Internet you want. Buy extra stamps to mail another check to another company. Stop buying $4 coffees every morning and use that $120 a month to get the access you demand. We’re not wealthy, but we can budget to get what we want. Seems other people can too, especially if they use subways to move around town. I’ll stop before I sound like I’m railing against city folk.

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Bush is quoted as saying about the immigration debate, “I know this is an emotional debate, and I can understand it’s emotional, but one thing we cannot lose sight of is that we’re talking about human beings, decent human beings.” That’s exactly the right tone to take. Maybe the new chief of staff knows what he’s doing. Unfortunately, this comes about two weeks too late. Bush eased environmental regulations for gas refinement today and ceased purchases of oil for the strategic reserves. This is a good start. But yesterday, Bush said the following: I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true. One, I believe there's an Almighty. And, secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free. When we’re dealing with Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, maybe we shouldn’t make any comments that sound like a Crusade. Just saying.

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