Tuesday, February 27, 2007


You know how there's always one person in your life you feel you can never surprise or impress? I just had one of those rare, delightful moments where I actually succeeded.

I was listening to CNN for about a minute in the kitchen at Elder Brother's company, NetCentral (the web design job I do once each month) and they said that the Dow had just plummeted over 300 points. So I walk past my brother Cy and his business partner Craig's offices and casually say "The stock market just dropped 300" and kept walking, at which point I was called back and asked for more details. I was able to confirm that it was a result of the activity in China overnight, and suggested that Greenspan's comments on the economy yesterday probably hadn't helped (also offering that he was making reference to Bernanke's recent comments).

18 months ago? I would not have known who Greenspan or Bernanke were. Thanks, American Economic Association! But the really great thing is that I knew something Cy didn't. For a change.

Aid and Comfort

I love this picture.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Call to Arms

[speedy recap: Eric Volz, son of my friend Maggie Anthony, has been tried and falsely convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend in Nicaragua. There are multiple eyewitness accounts of his whereabouts at the time of the murder as well as phone records, and no legitimate evidence was presented at his trial. The people of Nicaragua have been completely lied to by the press and the victim's mother, and their misguided hatred of Eric has turned them into a lynch mob on several occasions. His life is in great danger in prison. He's been sentenced to 30 years, but an appeal is in process.]

I contacted Eric Volz' dad last week to ask him if it's ok to try and bring Eric's situation to the attention of US media. He said to go ahead - initially they were reluctant to contact the media for fear of negative press that might anger the Nicaraguan people... but now Eric's life in prison is so perilous that it couldn't get worse.

So I appeal to all readers of this blog - if you know someone, anyone in the American media, please contact them and ask them to look into this story. The main website has specific details of all facts of the case (which have been almost completely overlooked in the handful of actual news stories on the case in the US) and the family is more than happy to share all information, affidavits, etc. proving his innocence.

Injustice in any form is the most horrible thing in the world to me - I can deal with terminal illness, and random violence... but the deliberate, politically motivated crucifixion of an innocent man whose only crime is that he is American, troubles and depresses me like nothing else. Please, contact your elected representatives, local media... anyone who is in a position to do something about this.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The crisis continues...

There's no news on Eric as of today; I did read a blog that said he'd been returned to prison. God help him.

What troubles me is that in the 3 actual news stories about Eric (The Tennessean, Nashville City Paper, and Time magazine), they made a negligible effort to present any of the plethora of facts about his alibi on the day of the murder! I cannot understand, with the media's delight in dramatic stories, why they haven't snapped this up?! Why are none of the media outlets reporting on this?! With the 24 hour cable news cycle, you'd think they'd spend some time on a story about an American being falsely charged.

I'm very frustrated.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Dreadful News

From Eric Volz's family:

Trial Update

With the heaviest heart we inform everyone that the judge just pronounced Eric “guilty”. We are in a state of total shock and disbelief. It is incomprehensible that we find ourselves dealing with what may come next.

Our understanding from the Embassy is that Eric will be remanded back into the penitentiary system. We are, as we were before, extremely, extremely worried about his safety.

Please contact your Congresspersons immediately!!!

Go to the Friends of Eric web site to “Congressional Contact” to find the link to your Congressman as soon as possible to register your outrage at this judgment.

The prosecution presented no evidence that Eric is any way connected to, or guilty, of this crime. We strongly believe this may be a politically-based decision.


Thank you for your prayers and hope – the vigil continues.

Eric’s family

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Those Things That Bring The Happy

You know, it's interesting how very small things can be enough to help get you out of The Sad. I have decided to refer to them as Bringing The Happy. Monday morning are hard for me; not because they are, essentially, Mondays and the beginning of the workweek, but because they are the necessity of re-entering the question of How Will I Live My Life.

Am I too sloppy?
Do I have too much stuff?
Am I supposed to keep working with computers, or am I supposed to be doing something else?
Am I working hard enough?
Is there really anything I can do to lose weight? Or is it pretty much a genetic curse?
Could I be saving more of my income?
Am I taking the easy way out of life and relationships?
Am I taking enough risks?

Understandably, this makes Mondays hard, since I tend to give myself a break from self-doubt over the weekend. So I rely on those small things that Bring The Happy to keep me from getting depressed. Here are two of them:

CuteOverload.com. I cannot overemphasize the power of this site to make my life a little better. Pictures of cute fuzzy animals are very therapeutic; the next best thing, of course, being swarmed over by an actual herd of bunnies, puppies, and kittens. But they are not always available for swarming.

The Polyjesters. I just found them by accident on a streaming folk music radio station, and their bouncy, eclectic, loungy, nostalgic music is a tonic. They're my new favorite band; I just go to their site and the Happy music pours out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Eric's trial begins...

taken directly from friendsofericvolz.com:

February 13, 2007
Today is the 84th day since Eric’s arrest, and the night before the long awaited trial.

Eric reported to us this evening that at the Pre-Trial Hearing the judge ruled that the trial would indeed take place. We were glad to hear from him that none of the key evidence for his defense was eliminated for use in the trial. The judge did eliminate several witnesses for the prosecution for reasons of irrelevance or redundancy.

Eric’s trial begins early Wednesday morning – 9a.m. (Central time) in Rivas, Nicaragua. This is the site of the mob scene in early December after his initial hearing. Due to the threats on Eric’s life over the course of this ordeal, we are very, very concerned about security.

The trial will take place over 3 days: ½ days on Wednesday & Thursday, and a full day Friday. This is a trial by judge (no jury). The judge will provide her ruling at the end of the day on Friday. One specific concern 3 days of trial creates is the 3 round trips in and out of Rivas that Eric and his witnesses will have to make. The logistics involved in this are immense and full of unknowns!

Specific prayer requests:

  • Safety of all involved in and surrounding the trial: Eric, witnesses, press, attorneys, bystanders, security, police
  • Health of one of Eric’s key defense team who is sick with the flu
  • Judge
  • Doris’ mother & family
  • That the trial is swift and that Eric will be free on Friday!

As you can imagine, my heart is in my throat!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Various and Sundry

Eric Volz's trial has been reset for the 3rd time; it's due to start tomorrow. Please pray for the safety of everyone involved, and that the victim's mom will not persist in spreading lies! I am hopinghopinghoping for an immediate acquittal. I'm hoping that next time I visit friendsofericvolz.com, the Updates page will say he is on a plane back to the States!

I'm melancholy today; I need to hang out with friends! Too much time alone lately.

I finally started a 3 day dietetic fast, as prescribed by my fantastic nutritionist, TI Bishop (
breathoflifeonline.com) I've been putting it off for a few weeks now, because I am scared I'll get sick or pass out. It's perfectly healthy - I'm taking all sorts of supplements and vile-tasting liquids - but I'm still scared that I'll pass out. See, despite all medical tests to the contrary, I think I'm hypoglycemic because I used to pass out a lot when I was young, and I can get light-headed if I wait too long to eat. So as you can imagine, I make a point of never skipping a meal if I can possibly help it! My dread of fainting is really strong. But I need a jump-start to lose some weight, so I'm trying to push on through my fear.

I think I had a window to skip out of town for a vacation last week and I missed it. Damn.

Valentine's Day is coming up, and despite my determination to not let it effect me, the sadness pokes me at every commercial, every sight of a shelf of heart-shaped chocolates. Valentine's Day sucks in all the obvious ways, because despite all the self-confidence in the world, you feel like a failure if you have no one to love or be loved by at this time. It's one of those percentage points in the 95/5 Theory I have developed. (If you're single, you're happy with your solitary state 95% of the time. The other 5% covers such miseries as car trouble, big bugs to be squished, weddings of much younger women, and Valentine's Day.)

Friday, February 09, 2007


Just read, by way of John Hodgman, the best smack-down on TV chefs by Anthony Bourdain... highly recommended!

Rachel Ray: Complain all you want. It’s like railing against the pounding surf. She only grows stronger and more powerful. Her ear-shattering tones louder and louder. We KNOW she can’t cook. She shrewdly tells us so. So...what is she selling us? Really? She’s selling us satisfaction, the smug reassurance that mediocrity is quite enough. She’s a friendly, familiar face who appears regularly on our screens to tell us that “Even your dumb, lazy ass can cook this!” Wallowing in your own crapulence on your Cheeto-littered couch you watch her and think, “Hell…I could do that. I ain’t gonna…but I could--if I wanted! Now where’s my damn jug a Diet Pepsi?” Where the saintly Julia Child sought to raise expectations, to enlighten us, make us better--teach us--and in fact, did, Rachael uses her strange and terrible powers to narcotize her public with her hypnotic mantra of Yummo and Evoo and Sammys. “You’re doing just fine. You don’t even have to chop an onion--you can buy it already chopped. Aspire to nothing…Just sit there. Have another Triscuit…Sleep….sleep….”

Tee hee!