Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Oh, boy. Here's a darned good reason for being late to the office.

The icy road got the better of my good intentions this morning. Fortunately the oncoming traffic on this little two lane road was far enough away to avoid any problem. The tree that creased the bumper, grill, radiator and hood will live to kill again.

Fully half of the people who drove past slowed down - some even stopped - to see if I needed help.

Then there were others who just walked over to take a look. These critters apparently live across the street from the accident site and are frequently treated to the sight of cars or trucks sliding into the woods. They seem very familiar with, and not at all timid about, accident victims.

As kind and gentle as the llamas were, they provided no real assistance. I was sort of hoping that they'd scamper back to the stable or manger or where ever they spend the night to fetch a thermos of coffee. No such luck.

Don't they look nice and warm in their Andes-capable furs? Not so well prepared, myself, I had started thinking about how to unzip one of these beasts from its coat.

Before too long Hiroko came along and chatted with the llamas. I don't know what they were saying, but I bet it had something to do with "man drivers." Eventually their little gabfest ended and Hiroko took me home.

Insurance Related Update: On the day after the crash the insurance claim adjuster called, telling me that the car was officially totaled. This was not surprising news.

There was no significant damage to the tree, nor was there any to me. So one less Explorer on the road is the only lasting outcome of this bit of off-roading.

Note to Impressionable Readers: If you read my profile all the way to the end you will see my tribute to the high-speed work of Mario Andretti. I truely respect his work on the track. And I understand that driving with Andretti-like speed is meant only for the track, not for snowy two-lane roads. Rather than excessive speed, a snow covered stretch of ice did me in this morning. No matter how fast you might wish you could drive, always keep road conditions (surface, weather, traffic, pedestrians, deer, and llamas) on your mind. In other words, don't speed on the public roads.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Expelled" for a good reason

I just saw the "supertrailer" for "Expelled" (Ben Stein's soon-to-be-released documentary) and a followup presentation by Todd Norquist.  I did not find this impressive in the least.  Mr Norquist was a very engaging, entertaining speaker, but not convincing at all.  That he garnered applause as his presentation ended was a function of the bias and fundamentalist leaning of the audience rather than of the quality of his comments.

In his comments and the slide presentation (each slide was labeled "Discovery Institute", which is Mr. Norquist's employer) there was an implication that scientists who accept the general notions underlying evolutionary theory are related in some sympathetic way with German National Socialism and the Stalinist purges in Russia and the Ukraine.  As a Christian with a scientific approach to studying the natural world I find such innuendoes very insulting.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

They're At It Again

The politics of fear has once again taken center stage in Loudoun and Prince William counties. Prince William's board's recent vote to withhold as many services as possible from those who cannot prove they are "legal" residents of the county reflects a growing willingness to put a mean face on Uncle Sam. However, a scared and cowering face would be more appropriate.

As our nation staggers across the world stage in a rampage of fury we claim the right to change governments and plant democracy where ever we wish. We assert that as the last superpower (an assertion I will dispute at a later time) it is our responsibility to lead the world into battle for the sake of making the world safe for the United States ~ and as an afterthought, for the rest of the freedom loving people of the world. We're a superpower that is afraid of littler countries.

Here at home, the biggest economic engine in the world - willing to squander 12 Billion dollars per month on the twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan according to Bush's most recent request - is frightened of the economic drain caused by about 12 million people who are here illegally (a distinction that I will dispute at a later time.) No one knows how many of this supposed 12 million are in Prince William County, but you'd think from the words of the politicians they are accountable for most of the problems in the county.

Here in Loudoun County one of the candidates for Sheriff in the upcoming election claims that illegal immigration is the biggest problem we face. Mr. Ahlermann, a former Loudoun County deputy, runs largely on an anti-immigrant platform. Ahlermann might protest that he is not against immigration as long as it is legal immigration. But can we really believe that if a sheriff runs on a platform of combatting illegal immigrants and all the problems they bring (poorly substantiated at best) his duputies will not treat anyone they encounter who has that south-of-the-border look as a potential illegal immigrant?

Immigration issues facing the Unites States cannot be solved by preventing non-citizens without visas from using our libraries. The issues are complex and largely the result of our generally selfish foreign and economic policies. When we citizens decide to look for true solutions instead of political slight of hand we will have to confront the degree to which this is a situation of our own making.

The only scary thing about solving our immigration issues is that manditory look in the mirror.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Two Plays

This weekend I saw two plays, each a mystery.

  • Aurora Studio Theatre put on Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap".

  • Wayside Theatre presented the world premier of "Shadow of the Raven".

Reviews should be coming out in the Purcellville Gazette on October 19.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lee Deal
Today I learned that an acquaintance, a collaborator from long ago, died in May.

I met Lee Deal when we were both in a production of "Murder Among Friends" twenty-five years ago. At that time Lee was a young red haired exuberant. He would have been a difficult man to hide - large of body and loud of laugh. Perhaps if he didn't laugh so much you could have hidden him, but he probably would have found the idea laughable. He was not to be hidden. He belonged on stage.

Lee had been on stage many times before that production. It was my first. People in Huntsville knew him, and would come to see him in a play. No one knew me. Yet Lee helped me feel welcome on his stage, helped me feel that my lines were as important as his, helped me feel that the people sitting in the dark wanted to hear my voice as much as his.

In the twenty-five years since that show closed Lee has done many more turns on stage. I have done none. Lee became a fixture in the theatre life of Huntsville, and I have wandered widely. From time to time during my travels I have met others who have, like Lee, allowed me to feel welcome, important, and wanted.

To all of those, and especially to Lee, I tender my gratitude for the generous way in which you have shared your stage with a stranger.

Perhaps there is yet another stage we may share. Until then, Goodbye, Lee.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Missed Opportunity At Virginia Tech

I cannot fathom how news delivery is any more meaningful when the overpaid anchor of a network news program leaves the well equipped studio in New York to do a remote broadcast. I know for a fact that there are lots of able field reporters already mobile, ready to cover any story anywhere in the world.

Our only hope is that a great number of the news people would register for a journalism refresher course while they are on campus. Those hopes will be dashed, I'm sure.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quick and to the Point

A lot of people were killed at Virginia Tech today. They weren't killed with pornography. They weren't killed by the Quran. They weren't killed with condoms. They weren't killed by an open and free exchange of ideas. They were not killed by hearing a dissenting voice. They weren't killed by hiphop music.

They were killed by guns.

When will we learn that freedom and guns do not play well together?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

On a Warmer Day
Because it is so darned cold out today I was wandering through my scrapbook of warmer days and found this scene from along life's highway.
It was one of those days when you don't get a chance to open up the old V-8.
But at least it was warmer.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Whooeeee! It's Super-Bowl Sunday!

In truth I don't get quite that excited about Super-Bowl Sunday. I like watching the game, even when it is not a good game. The commercials almost always have my attention.

But the all-day hoopla is way over the top. Does anyone have any real need to know how the players slept? Or where they slept? I don't think so.

We have a lot of things going on in the world besides football. There is a lot of healing and cleaning up that we need to get busy with where the big storms hit Friday just a short distance from where the Super-Bowl players either slept or didn't sleep. We still have lots of trouble to straighten out in the mid-east.

And I still have to figure out how to review "Gem of the Ocean."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

More Web Wackiness

How can I thank the people at, or Google - whichever outfit runs this thing now - for giving me another way to compose and publish my Round Hill View posts.
This particular post, for instance, will get to the Round Hill View by way of email.
The brevity of the post derives from the fact that I'm about to leave the computer to join Hiroko in the enjoyment of a late snack.
A Bit of Relief

Our friend, His Excellency William Clarke, has been in hospitals or treatment facilities of one sort or another for almost one continuous month. He was home for about five days a week or so after having back surgery. For most of this time he has been looking pretty sick - pale, listless, drowsy.

When we visited him today at the Kerner Orthopeadic Hospital he looked much better and had much more energy than previously. To our untrained eyes it seems as though he has turned a corner and will be recovering swiftly now.

Allah be praised.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Not Much of a January
I am aghast that here it is nearly the end of January and I've posted not a word!
Where did the month go? At least there is no record here of a New Years Resolution committing me to daily posts.
Will next month find me more prolific? No doubt I'll begin to lose my loyal readers if I don't pick up the pace. That alone will spur me on to greater production.
Don't give up on me. Check back again in a few days - maybe Friday night.