February, 2005

Feb 05

Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami

Murakami is one of my favorite authors, even though he writes in Japanese. I’ve read him now through three different translators (Philip Gabriel is the latest, Alfred Birnbaum was my favorite), and his unique writing style always provides enjoyment for me. Most of his books deal with the lost — that is, in every book, characters are missing something, and ultimately go off looking for it. While this wasn’t my favorite book of his (I think The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is his best, and A Wild Sheep Chase is the most fun), I think it’s his best in a while — it’s a return to big, weighty books (his last couple have been very short). Like most all of his books, there’s a lot there, and a lot to think about, and not so many answers. A good novel for me — but not a masterpiece like Wind-up.

Feb 05


While I’m at home, I keep thinking of the children’s book What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry. A lot, I’ll tell you. Big trucks today — here’s what we saw directly in front of the house…

The view from our front door.

The shovel. Neato. Very loud. Posted by Hello

Feb 05


As they’re unwinding our house, I feel like we’re peering back into time a little bit. Take off the paint, reveal multiple coatings of stucco, applied over decades. Under the stucco, mostly redwood beams, because there were so many redwoods here in 1957, when the house was built (and they thought that termites might not have much taste for it). A little bit like a housing anatomy lesson, seeing everything laid bare. At this moment, they’re working on the big plate glass windows in our living room — having a tough time getting the glass out — 50 years of glue, I suppose. Anyway, led me to think about what was happening in 1957 when the house was built. A few items that I came up with:

American Bandstand, Leave It To Beaver, Perry Mason premier
– Steve Allen was the host of “The Tonight Show”
– Dwight Eisenhower was president; the Cold War was getting colder
– Mao Tse Tung was in control in China
– 1st US attempt to launch a satellite fails: Vanguard rocket blows up
– Sputnik I & II were launched
– 1st electric portable typewriter placed on sale (Syracuse NY)
– 3 B-52s leave Calif for 1st non-stop round the world flights
– B-52 bombers begin full-time flying alert in case of USSR attack
– Althea Gibson became 1st black tennis player to win Wimbledon
– Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1957
– Little Rock HS integration happens; US Army is called in
– Buddy Holly & Crickets record “That’ll Be the Day”
– Hank Aaron was the NL MVP
– Giants move to SF; Dodgers move to Brooklyn. Everyone continues to hate the Yankees
– Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat; Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged
– The transistor was only 10 years old
– Ford introduced the Edsel; everyone was driving their ’57 Chevy anyway
– John & Kathy’s house was built

And a bunch of other stuff, including, you guessed it, turmoil in the Middle East, centered around Sinai. Here’s a piece of the Eisenhower Doctrine, announced in 1957:

The Middle East has abruptly reached a new and critical stage in its long and important history. In past decades many of the countries in that area were not fully self-governing. Other nations exercised considerable authority in the area and the security of the region was largely built around their power. But since the First World War there has been a steady evolution toward self-government and independence. This development the United States has welcomed and has encouraged. Our country supports without reservation the full sovereignty and independence of each and every nation of the Middle East.

The occasion has come for us to manifest again our national unity in support of freedom and to show our deep respect for the rights and independance of every nation – however great, however small. We seek, not violence, but peace. To this purpose we must now devote our energies, our determination, ourselves.

Everything old is new again.

Feb 05

“Before” from the inside. What

“Before” from the inside.

What happens next: they hammer the stucco away, then get rid of the chicken-wire and flashing that the stucco is, um, “stuccoed” to. Very hard to watch someone do this to your house.

Then they take your door away. It’s a little bit chilly at night in this particular configuration.

And here’s that same shot from the inside. More pictures tomorrow on the bedroom. Posted by Hello

Feb 05

our bedroom door “before”

our bedroom door “before” the window work. Posted by Hello