General Chaos

a mighty wind

Kurt wrote a morning verse about the wind today. I guess we're getting that wind here now.

This afternoon, here in Baltimore, the wind is blowing so hard my front door has opened for it to come in about a half-dozen times so far, and the trees are bowing to each other like they're at a squaredance. I'm watching the 60-foot sycamore out my office window, noting the direction of the wind and calculating the direction the boughs will fall if they snap off in the gusts. The wind doesn't so much whistle past my window as much as it moans, like tearing cloth.

The flapper in the skylight to our bathroom is doing its best imitation of Tito Puente.

I was considering a bike ride today, since the rain put me off yesterday. But there's no way; I'd end up in Delaware.

General Chaos, Headline Haiku


Front porch swing, November night. inky blue sky, twinkling stars
A Chevy van idles, its pistons cry for an oil change
a leaf drops across the street, swoops and glides
my daughter curls against my chest for warmth

I want a few quiet minutes
but tractor trailers and buses won't yield their time
A white Monte Carlo rolls by, music blasting
low-rider pickups and teenage foot-draggers

Back stoop, daughter's in bed
the full moon shines like a police chopper spotlight
neighbor's windows flicker with TV light like bug-zappers
something rustles in the leaves

Back in my daughter's room
banishing monsters with my guitar
the quiet is within the chords
the strings create solitude

Front porch, November night
my Washburn blocks the woman cursing at her dog
the chuckleheads wandering the streets
Chords as a prayer, a rosary for stillness

General Chaos

Attention Democrats: Your domestic stick just got smaller.

“Unemployment Continued to Fall in October.
The jobless rate dropped to 6 percent as payrolls grew by 126,000 last
month, significantly more than the 50,000 new jobs that economists had
predicted. By The Associated Press.” [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

So, despite his best efforts, Dubya now has real positive economic
numbers to brag about.  Sure, some of this is seasonal (retailers
are gearing up for Christmas early this year, etc.).  Sure,
hundreds of thousands–perhaps millions–of people have dropped off the
unemployment radar by becoming self-employed or underemployed, or by
giving up entirely on the job search for now.  But statistics, as
decieving as they can be, tend to be pointing toward a strengthening

Now. just watch–there will be a major military victory in October of
next year.  And all will be forgiven by the American people. 

The Dems need a new point of leverage on Bush. 

General Chaos

Two wheels on dead leaves

Going uphill, head down, I see every leaf. I'm pedaling through the back of Druid Hill Park, on the gloriously hilly closed roads along the east face overlooking (through the trees, that is) the Jones Falls Expressway, the Falls themeselves, the old mills along the falls. The road is closed, the leaves are thick on the road and wet, the traction is iffy, the hills are steep.


I see every ridge, every vein, every fold of each leaf as I ride over them, upward. Then I crest a hill, and as I roll downward, my breaks chattering like the squirrels I'm chasing off the road, the leaves are only recognizable by color. Brown (oak), yellow (maple), red (is that poplar?) and the black of the underlying asphalt fly by as I focus on keeping on my two wheels and not on my back in a muddy pile or bouncing on my yellow helmet over the handlebars. BrownYellowBlackRed. Then at the bottom, runoff from last night's rain in a deep puddle across the pavement; I part it like Moses with my two tires, drenching my shoes and my back.

Then up again.

Forty-five minutes on my bike at lunch feels like a day off. As I crest the final hill on Druid Hill's backstretch, time stretches; what took twenty minutes feels like a weekend. I slow, roll around the end of the yellow traffic gate, and pedal on.

I have started to depend on The Bike for my endorphin rush of the day. My daily rides are no more than 6 to 8 miles–there's no telling, really, since I have no odometer and I can't drive the route to clock it off–but they are battles with Baltimore's hills and terrain, journeys off the beaten path and back to it. I know I'm getting better because I spend an increasingly smaller amount of the ride in “granny gear”, keeping it in mid-range even on most of the uphills.

God and snow willing, I will get my bike fix all the way through the winter. There's nowhere in our little rowhouse to set up a stationary bike for the offseason, and that matters little–you can't name the passing leaves on a stationary.