No Context

Scenes from a movie that I only saw a few minutes of:

Various founding father-types are sprawled around a big room. Ben Franklin is leaning against a window frame, staring outside. It’s a meeting of the Continental Congress.

James Adams is arguing that the Constitution should ban slavery. Someone points out that Adams owns slaves himself. “But I’m going to free them,” he explains.

Another founding father stands up and counters in a twisted voice, “Slavery is a matter of commerce, not liberty.”

Adams has plenty to say about this. His opponent, whose name we learn is Rutledge, ups the ante by breaking into song. It turns out that this movie is a musical.
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There was a mosquito buzzing around me last night. When its high whine first woke me, the logic of the dream that I was escaping made me certain that I could get rid of it by downloading some new fonts onto my computer. The mosquito kept me up for a few hours. The buzzing would get louder and higher as the mosquito wandered close to my ear. I had to draw my arm out from under the covers before I could take a blind swipe at it. By the time I’d get my arm free, the buzzing would be more distant and I wouldn’t know where to aim my slap. The refrigerator started humming across the apartment and I listened for the mosquito sound through the refrigerator sound. I was scratching at ghost bites before getting in the shower this morning.


Then I was writing an email to Amazon’s customer service. My order had been mishandled in a couple of different ways. So I layed out what needed to happen to resolve the situation, then I closed the email by explaining that I’d worked at Amazon for four years and was embarrassed that such a thing could happen. What was I trying to do – raise some sense of shame in a customer service rep? The best I deserve for that line is a touch of contempt. I’m embarrassed for having resorted to that line.

I had never dialed 9-1-1 before today. I was working at my computer and I heard arguing outside. I assumed I was hearing a disagreement between people from the building next door. The noise persisted, so I turned down my music. There were actually several voices I went down the hall and had a look at the street, there was a mob of teenagers milling around, gesturing aggresively at each other. I ran back to my apartment and dialed the phone, carrying the cordless into the hall so I could peek out the door. The arguing started to die down while I was giving the operator the address. So I stepped outside, people were strutting off in a couple of different directions still chattering aggressively. A police car came around the corner and “whoop”-ed it’s siren once. The operator asked me, “Did you see anyone with a weapon?” “No.” Later I walked down to Broadway and saw part of the group of teenagers assembled outside of Jack in the Box. They were still making a scene, but not really guilty of much more than being stupid teenagers. I may have over-reacted by calling the police.

No harm done in either case. But I’m disappointed that I over reacted like that.


A loud thump above me, the window pulses and I sit up alert, expecting a rain of shattering glass. The window doesn’t break, there’s another thump and the window shudders again. I jump and look up. There’s a pigeon flying around inside, bumping up against the glass, trying to get out. A sprinkling of dust and feathers falls around me. The panicked pigeon reels away and tries to fly through a window across the room. It manages to get itself cornered, flapping nervously behind the propped-open door. One brave soul walks purposely over and reaches for the bird. It flaps wildly, feathers fly loose. He achieves a firm two-handed grasp on the bird and carries it outside to a round of applause.



These fast little Coast Guard boats have been zipping around Elliot Bay off and on for the last week – since the country was put on a high threat level. They pace back and forth, patrol along the docks, and ride alongside ferries as they pull in and out of docks. Those appear to be machine guns mounted up front.

I don’t have any commentary, it just seems like something worth noting.

Fingerprints on a Glazed Donut

Start with the grocery stores. Safeway was the only real show in town at first. Reynold’s was a couple of blocks east of Safeway, it was kind of dingy. I enjoyed going there though, because there was a giant swordfish mounted above the exit. The fish was removed when Reynold’s became Olmstead’s.
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“In the first day or two the flags were plastered everywhere, seeing them was heartening because they indicated that we’re all in this sorrow together. The flags were purely emotional. Once we went to war, once the president announced that we were going to retaliate against the “evildoers,” then the flag again represented what it usually represents, the government. I think that’s when the flags started making me nervous. The true American patriot is by definition skeptical of the government. Skepticism of the government was actually one of the platforms the current figurehead of the government ran on. How many times in the campaign did President Bush proclaim of his opponent, the then vice president, “He trusts the federal government and I trust the people”? This deep suspicion of Washington is one of the most American emotions an American can have. So by the begininning of October, the ubiquity of the flag came to feel like peer pressure to always stand behind policies one might not necessarily agree with. And, like any normal citizen, I prefer to make up my mind about the issues of the day on a case by case basis at 3:00 A.M. when I wake up from my Nightline-inspired nightmares.”
-Sarah Vowell, The Partly Cloudy Patriot

On Mullberry Street

Witnessed while walking home late last night:

A taxi pulled into the Paramount’s parking lot. The driver got out and walked around beside the front of his car where he stood and peed into the pool of light made by his car’s headlights.

Two women at a hot dog stand trying to force something out of under-filled Heinz mustard bottles. The first woman – Hot dog in her left hand, mustard in the right, jerked the bottle down toward the bun and squeezed so the outlet made a weak splattering noise. The second woman – making the same motions as the first, perfectly out of synch. The first girl’s mustard phhftt-ing on the downbeat, the second girl’s phhftt-ing on the up-beat.

Heads Up

At the Doug Martsch solo show last night, I’m disenchanted, not sure if I’m more annoyed and frustrated by the low rumble of people chattering behind me or the over-done distortion effect on Martsch’s microphone. I head off to a corner to sit down. All is forgiven when he plays “Twin Falls, Idaho” and I hear people around me singing along quietly with the chorus. I monotone along a bit.

“Seven-up, I touched her thumb and she knew it was me
Although she couldn’t see, unless of course she peeked”

And years after first hearing the song, I realize that this line is quite obviously about Seven-up, the old classroom game we played in elementary school.