Friday, June 12, 2009


Summer is 'on,' and normally, June in Tucson is like being in an oven.
But the oven, surprisingly, hasn't been turned 'on' yet--
amazingly pleasant so far, this month;
truly chilly this morning, even, as I went for my jog...

--the title of a new Pixar computer-animated film;

Here's a review of the film, from the San Francisco Chronicle.
And here's the critic's opening sentence, which I wish I'd come up with:
There are scenes in "Up" of such beauty, economy and poetic wisdom that they belong in any anthology of great movie moments...
Seriously. Not an exaggeration. So...Go!
(...and it's really cool in 3-D!!!)

THROUGH in, 'how much can people go through?'
Tucson's small but tight and growing African refugee community was hit hard last week...a horrible accident: an overcrowded van rolling over on the freeway. One family we know--resettled refugees from Congo, with eight (!) children--was involved.

So, last Wednesday, a van-load of Africans--all either Burundian or Congolese, resettled here due to the ongoing violence in Central and East Africa (Remember "Hotel Rwanda?")--had gone to the town of Wilcox--about two hours away, in a farming region, to apply for jobs picking vegetables and sorting them in a greenhouse complex...The wife, oldest son and oldest daughter of our Congolese friend had gone. On the return trip in the afternoon, evidently a tire blew out in the van, and the van rolled over several times on I-10...there were 17 people in the van. (and who knows if there were seatbelts...) Five died at the scene; the rest were airlifted back to southern AZ's only level-1 trauma hospital all the way back in Tucson...

The oldest daughter was so severly injured, it seems she may have been brain-dead on arrival...but the hospital didn't formally declare her dead until Thursday afternoon. The mother had severe internal injuries and a multiply-fratured pelvis, but looks as if she will survive with no brain-injury. The oldest son is also severe-but-stable...hopefully his brain-injury/injuries won't be serious, but we're not sure yet. The father has been, understandably, overwhelmed...he's had health-problems of his own, for years's been over five years since they initially fled their region of eastern Congo due to war...and of course, there are the other SIX children at home, ranging in age from 16 down to 2 1/2.

As you can imagine, all those who know people in this community are busy. What complicates the issue, too, is that the families face multiple levels of language complication--most don't know English yet, some are fluent in French, but for many, due to years of living in refugee camps in Tanzania, Swahili is their 'better'2nd-language.

For example, in the family we know, the mother speaks no French; the father speaks basic French, the oldest daughter--who just died--spoke some as well, and the oldest son, severly injured, spoke pretty good French as well...The younger children speak either only Swahili, or are just beginning to learn English; they've only been here since December... The Burundian refugees know some Swahili, but for many of them, they are only truly conversant in Kirundi.

Imagine finding interpreters for those languages in southern Arizona.

And the father of the Congolese family has asked me to give the memorial/funeral discourse for his daughter, one of the six who've died...(I'm not sure yet how I'll get through that myself...that's tomorrow evening.)

...du coq à l'âne:

...a link to a column in the Washington Post from a few weeks ago.
re: freedom; minority rights; religion & politics...


OVER in 'all over the place.'
Boxes. All over the place, right now, as our moving-day is a week-and-a-day away.
So much left to do.
Absurdly, though, we've already decorated the fridge in the new place
with magnets to make it 'homey.'
Priorities, eh?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Applause (?) / Panoramas

In last month's Actualité, (a Newsweek-type magazine from Québec that I've subscribed to off and on over the years), this cartoon caught my eye:
...self-congratulatory tree-planting, (look! it's green!), a metaphor...

Now that it's summer, I've had a bit of time to try out some more photo-editting features...
Back in June 2001, my wife and I were able to visit the French Mediterranean island of Corsica.
Here's a 'stitched-together' panorama of a couple of photos--a 'land's-end' view of the Pointe de la Parata promontory, several miles west of the capital city Ajaccio.
(You're never allowed to forget, while in the scenically-situated-yet-somewhat-decrepit-city, that here is the birthplace of emperor Napoléon I.)

...and from June of fifteen years ago, another stitched-together panorama of a view that can, alas, no longer be had: looking from the rooftop observation deck of the World Trade Center in New York, east over the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge over Brooklyn Heights:

...and from the same now-inexistent platform, which stood 1300 feet above Lower Manhattan, looking north toward mid-town Manhattan and the Empire State building, which is, once again, the tallest structure in New York City:
(At the bottom center, you can see Washington Square Arch, the heart of the NYU neighborhood, and Fifth Avenue leading from it up to the right of the Empire State Building.)


...neither here nor there,

while running some errands this morning, I heard an interview on the radio with the author of an article that appeared in the NY Times a couple of weeks ago.
He's a motorcycle-repair-shop-guy-with-a-Ph.D.
A bit long, but well worth it...
As a teacher, I feel like his voice needs to be heard more clearly,
especially in school counseling offices...

...our upcoming move to the "javelina house," as a friend of ours (E.) put it,
is less than three weeks away; time to start packing!
My wife and I were realizing that this will be our tenth address.
(The process of getting ready to move to, moving to, then moving back from Nicaragua involved several addresses in just a couple-year period.)
And really (no, really) we don't even like moving...