When I was a young man and newly married, also being at the same time a poor college student, I did not want or need the burden of another child to raise. Our first had arrived just eleven months after the wedding. I did, however, want to have sex with my wife. The answer, of course, was contraception, and the most obvious solution was “rubbers,” as we called them then.
You may have noticed that there are tall tree-like things appearing all over the landscape these days. They are not trees although they sometimes stand among trees. They are towers that hold the electronics to transmit our various signals for telephones, cellphones, television, radio, and who knows what else. They are shiny metal and easy to identify. And one of them can grow up almost overnight in a place there never had been one before. Sometimes they grow up from the ground and also they can sprout from the tops of buildings. They are not attractive.
Nose hair is on a list of things we avoid mentioning in polite society. Most people think of it as an unneeded relic of our ancestory or as a defect in the design of our bodies. Medical people may tell us that hair in the nose protects us against environmental threats such as germs, fungus, and spores. But appearance usually trumps health concerns. The celebrities whose appearance we admire and emulate do not have nose hair showing.
It is the time of the falling leaves. Lots of them, mainly oak and maple around here. And self-respecting homeowners know there’s a moral obligation to deal with them. Montogomery County Maryland knows it too. We have giant leaf sucking collection machines that come around and gather them up in piles left by the curbs. There’s good use made of them too. The county mixes the leaves with ground up tree trimmings and sells a high quality mulch to farmers, gardeners, and landscapers.
The Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863) was issued as an executive order by President Lincoln during the course of the Civil War. It applied to 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves, but did not actually free most slaves because most were in states controlled by slaveholders. Also it did not apply to four slave-holding states that had not seceded from the Union. The order did not compensate slaveholders for the loss of their “property,” nor did it give citizenship to the freed slaves. In other words, it was a temporary and partial measure.
Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico, second only to Mexico City. It sits on a highland plateau at an altitude almost identical to that of Denver, making it Mexico’s “Mile High City.” As such, it is known for sunny days, cool nights, and a spring-like climate. You would think that a mile high city would be known for its clean, refreshing air. I used to think that about Denver until I learned differently. Like Denver, Guadalajara has an air pollution problem.
The office where I spend my days looks out across a restaurant parking lot to a major intersection in the Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C. The restaurant draws people who work in offices like mine, mostly well dressed and prosperous appearing. There are groups of men, groups of women, couples, arranged meetings, and a few singles. I am on the ground floor, so I have a good view of this activity. I also have a good view of the activity just beyond it where Nicholson Lane crosses Rockville Pike. All day long the cars and trucks travel there: slowing, waiting, signaling, turning, sometimes honking. There are usually lines of cars just sitting and waiting their turns. This is why the intersection draws homeless people seeking assistance in the form of cash. Quite often there are several of them, and quite often they are there for most of the day. I have watched them in the cold of winter, the heat of summer, and everything in between.
People have body language and so do cars. When you ride a bicycle, as I do, you notice the body language of cars. I noticed one yesterday. I was holding up his progress, and I could tell he was restless back behind me. As soon as it was clear up ahead, his engine roared and tires screeched and he was off to beat me up the road and show me who was boss. Although he had 200 or more horsepower and I am not as strong as even one horse. But this guy acts like it's something great that he can outrun a bicycle.
In the midst of all the current reminders of human failure, it may help us to experience an example of human achievement. The following is a dramatic example. Construction of this bridge began in 2005 and it was opened for traffice on October 19, 2010. It spans the Black Canyon south of Hoover Dam and connects Arizona and Nevada nearly 900 feet above the Colorado River. The author of this photo essay is listed in the credits, but I was unable to locate any further information about him.