Thursday, November 27, 2008


Take an alien's aerial view of this American holiday. Once a solar year, everyone in a geographic part of the world gets busy. They fly, drive, walk, or take a bus to some other location where they stop, eat turkey, turn around, and go home again, at which point they resume their regular life. What's it all about?

If aliens apply the method we use to explain everything we don't understand from the past, they will say it's a religious event ... maybe we eat turkey to ward off evil spirits but the magic protection is only potent if we consume turkey with the people we trust most. But, truth be told, Thanksgiving is one of the few American holidays that's not about religion or the consumer index. While the travel industry may benefit from Thanksgiving - and turkeys clearly do not - there are no cards to buy, gifts to give, or expections to meet. The United States economy is not measured by how much we spend at Thanksgiving. Such a lovely holiday. It's all about food, family, being appreciative, and sharing.

So in the spirit of my upcoming trip to Cairo, I post today a photo taken in Khan el-Khalili earlier this year. If I'm correct, Egypt's word for bread also means life. Today is about being thankful for both.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

June 17, 1930

Dear Katherine,

May the Saints preserve our happy home! I just saw Ned - I'm just no account - And he said he was going to call me. If he only does - I guarantee you I'll be bad off - I went around in a daze over Pee Wee - But I'll be in a daze of happiness - (oh fool, quit your raving). Yes, I will.

Guess I'll give the town the once over - leave here at 3 o'clock or thereabouts. As for plans, don't ask me for any - they just ain't. I'm hoping for lots of luck - guess the logical thing to do would be down to come and come back on the bus with him, that seems to work.

If you find you are about to forget thrillling events just make a little memorandum, (in short hand of course) for future reference.

Don't mind this letter, I not responsible - hope you can patch together some sense out of it.

Love, Cile.

P.S. Just don't plan any swimming. I'm due to have the curse - which means I might and again I might not.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Proud to be an American

Today, for the first time, I am proud to be an American.

Many gave Michelle Obama a difficult time when she made a statement to that effect, but I understood exactly what she meant. She and I are close in age. The devotion she has for her children reminds me of my very own sister’s dedication to her children. We are of the same generation and while we would not give up our citizenship, we have not always felt as if our country represents our view of the world.

I am so very emotionally proud that my country has elected Barack Obama as President of the United States of America. He represents change in a number of ways.

The fact that he’s a black man and not a white man is the most obvious change and what that means for my country’s growth as a social nation is awesome.

The fact that he’s a Democrat and not a Republican has political implications that will change my country’s agenda in terms of how we handle the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, how we approach global warming issues, the economy, and health care.

The fact that he’s an intelligent, articulate man is a welcome change from the last eight years of George Bush. But he’s also an inspirational man, a leader, and from what I have heard someone who can take in enormous amounts of information within a short period of time. He has an extraordinary mind and is using it for good, as superhero as that may sound.

The most important change for me, however, is that we will begin to interact with the world in a more respectful manner. Barack Obama is an inclusive man, as evidenced by his victory speech last night when he spoke to “young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled.” He also acknowledged those “beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world.”

Barack Obama is a man of the world. He understands we are a great nation but not the “greatest country in the world.” He knows we do not need to be aggressive in order to speak. We are a part of this world and we will not become weaker, we will indeed become stronger, when we begin to show respect for all cultures and all peoples within our nation and throughout the world.

Today, I am proud to be an American.

Yes, yes we can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Leslie in Blue Virginia

If my vote helps make Virginia blue,
it will have been worth leaving Adams Morgan.