Monday, September 18, 2006

I wonder....

You know those wealthy people who spend many thousands of dollars cloning their beloved pets?

I wonder if they are disappointed?

A cloned pet might look exactly like their old pet, but it would have a different personality. Personality and reactions are built by experiences in life. You can't clone a personality.

It seems like it would be a sad thing to have a pet that looked exactly like Rover but acted nothing like Rover.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Ongoing Melton Circus

A grand jury has now indicted Mayor Frank Melton on 5 felony charges. I expect they could have found more things to charge him with, had they added the incident at the bar into their investigations.

In one notable incident, the mayor appears to have directed a bunch of "youths" who travel with him to attack the house of a man who had been arrested on charges of drug paraphernalia. The destroyed the front of the rented duplex (its literally gone), broke things inside, broke out windows, etc. Neighbors agree this is what happened. Melton when asked about it did not deny it.

Outside his Jackson home the mayor was asked it he felt sorry for the destruction of Evans Welch's homes.

"No," said Melton. "Not if they are selling drugs out of it. And if we find some more people who are selling drugs out of their house there is no telling what will happen."

I find Mayor Melton's remarks to be rather chilling. No telling what will happen? The man thinks he is judge, jury, and executioner - and we need to get him in hand.

Now, don't get me wrong. This guy who was arrested - the one whose rented home was destroyed is no angel. He has a long rap sheet, and 20 or 30 arrests. However, that is not the point. Do we want the mayor to be able to decide, on his own, who is guilty of what, and what the punishment needs to be? Do we want him running around with a large group of men in their teens and early 20's - most if not all also have rap sheets. The group as a whole reminds me eerily of the sort of groups that participated in Germany's "Kristallnacht". If you don't know what that is, google it. People should know.

Many, Councilman Stokes is an example, defend the mayor, saying that he is doing what needs to be done to clean up drugs and crime. But I say it is NOT right to clean up crime by becoming a criminal. It is NOT right to use the police force as your own personal security team. It is NOT right to encourage minors to commit felonies. And it is NOT right to run the city with a campaign of fear and intimidation. And if you think it *is* right, you had better hope that the mayor doesn't get the idea that you are a problem. Right or wrong, no telling what might happen.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hymn 661 in The Hymnal 1982

"They cast their nets in Galilee,
just off the hills of brown;
Such happy, simple fisherfolk,
before the Lord came down.

Contented, peaceful fishermen,
before they ever knew
The peace of God that filled their hearts brimful,
and broke them too.

Young John who trimmed the flapping sail,
homeless in Patmos died.
Peter, who hauled the teeming net,
head-down was crucified.

The peace of God, it is no peace,
but strife closed in the sod;
Yet, brothers, pray for but one thing --
the marvelous peace of God.
William Alexander Percy, 1924

Monday, September 11, 2006

The 2,996 Project

The 2,996 project's site exceeded bandwidth and got shut down (today of all days!). The site is being mirrored here. What a shame that the main site would go down today, when people need to be able to access it.

A Tribute to Karen Klitzman

It seems presumptuous to attempt to write a tribute to a woman I never met. How will I do her justice? What gives me the right to even try? My only hope is to write something that will begin to live up to the task, and hopefully not distress those who knew her.

I felt very fortunate to receive a Karen to honor. Karen was the name of one of my sisters, who died in infancy. Karen is the name of my youngest daughter (a twin like Karen Klitzman). And, Karen is the name of my coworker. Doesn't that begin to reflect the sort of web of interconnections that we each weave during our lifetimes?

Karen and her twin sister Donna (whom Karen nicknamed Babinga) have always been close. They, naturally, shared a room together growing up, and later co-captained their high school tennis team. Donna told the New York Times that her twin sister was “Like having a built-in best friend.” This is not to say that she was not close with her brother Robert and sister Susan – everyone seems to agree that Karen was fiercely loyal and devoted to those she loved.

Karen is remembered by one of her schoolmates as a young woman who was always friendly and sought to excel in anything she did. And boy did she. She graduated from Princeton with a B.A. in Russian studies and sociology. After Princeton she taught English in Macao, then Beijing. She later graduated from the Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in 1988, then began working as an intern at the New York Mercantile Exchange. She rose to the position of vice president of research, and is credited with the design of several new trading instruments – which included electricity futures and options. As a respected energy specialist she gave talks on weather futures and environmental data in financial markets, and participated in conferences on scientific and technical data. “Karen worked for me for 12 years,” said Robert Levin, senior vice president of planning and development at NYMEX. “Karen absolutely loved work, and she showed that with a commitment that may not have been matched by anyone else. She was bright and energetic and incurably curious, which probably is what motivated her to work so hard.” In 2000 Karen joined eSpeed (a division of Cantor Fitzgerald) as vice president of product development.

Lest you get the idea that Karen was all work and no adventure, just look at her Hebrew name, Chaya, which means “life”. Chaya seems to have been an inspired name; Karen led an exciting life by anyone’s standards! During her time teaching in Macao, she lived in a house located between a pig farm and a brothel and visited Hong Kong on weekends. Later while teaching in Beijing, she lived with a suspicious landlady and counted bike rides to the public bathhouse as a luxury. Her brother Robert was able to visit her in Beijing and remembers her sleeping on a beanbag bed in a dorm room with gray concrete walls, and having her mail read by government censors. He also recalls the two of them travelling to the Great wall, seeing Chinese opera and eating at restaurants that served nothing but mushrooms. After returning home, she continued to travel with business trips and vacations to places such as Siberia, the Middle East, Greece and Turkey. On such trips her friends remember her as having “ants in her pants", as she would be the first one up in the morning, dragging them out to sight-see and explore. As her one of her former classmates put it, “Whenever we were together, there was always much laughter and adventure.”

At home, family continued to mean a great deal to her, and each year she hosted Chanukah and “break the fast” after Yom Kippur for her family at her home. Her brother remembers “For Chanukah, Karen would make potato latkes, piling colanders and bowls high with mounds of grated-up brown potatoes, as oil splattered, smoke billowed, and bits of potato covered everything.” She and her brother also drove to see their cousins in New Jersey each year for Thanksgiving and Passover. Robert wrote, “Holidays will never be the same without her.”

When the plane hit One World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, Karen was probably in her office on the 105th floor. Cantor Fitzgerald lost 685 employees that morning, many more than any other employer. Someone who watched the attack of the World Trade Center from his rooftop in Greenwich Village said that he envisioned a long stream of spirits flying off to a better place as the buildings collapsed. Robert Klitzman is sure that his sister was among them.

Karen’s family, determined to find a ray of hope in their sorrow, arranged the creation of a fellowship at Columbia, to support studies devoted to the elimination of terrorism and the resolution of conflict. According to her family and friends, Karen’s entire background of international travel and work, her interest in international affairs, and her commitment to understanding make this a meaningful tribute to her memory. The School for International and Public Affairs plans to award this fellowship to a student each year, who honors Karen’s values buy choosing a study which focuses on eradicating terrorism and resolving conflict peacefully.

Any act of murder rips a hole in the interconnected web of life that joins us. The murder of nearly 3,000 innocent souls surely left a hole that is there to this day. I can't imagine all the bright lives which were cut short, the dreams that will never be realized, the possibilities that were suddenly ended. The only thing we can do is honor them by keeping them alive in our hearts and memories.

Her mother, Joan Klitzman, her brother, Robert and her sisters Donna and Susan survive Karen. I’m certain they are very proud of her memory, as are we all.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mr Morris, some more

I ordered prints of the ice company pictures for Mr Morris, as a thank-you for him letting me in the building. I wasn't 100% happy with the cropping dont by flickr, but they came out well enough, I suppose.

I thought I would stop by the building and put the pictures in the mailbox after work on friday - and there was Mr Morris. I hadn't actually expected him to be there.

He seemed quite pleased to receive the pictures - it was sweet :)

He said if I come back by some day, he will show me his historical pictures of Jackson that are in his office. I may take him up on that. I warned him I may photograph his photographs!

In any event, I am glad that I got prints made and took them by - it seemed like a big deal to him.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

serendipity in the form of Mr Morris


Today I went downtown to take pictures - I was a bit snarky because I couldn't find anyone to go with me. But thats neither here or there. I had meant to go to Capitol Street and putter around the King Edward. But, then i remembered that Kristin had asked for a photo of Jack's Tamale Shop, so I thought I would go there first. Took a few pictures there, then turned around.

Coming back over the bridge on Silas Brown, I saw an old empty warehouse office that I had always found interesting. So I parked at Mardi Gras and walked over and photographed the building. That had me facing S. Commerce Street. I remembered some talk of some possible revitilization of Commerce St, so I thought I'd walk up that way and see if I could find some interesting buildings.

I was walking along the unused rail spur, when I saw an interesting old building sort of tucked in behind some pecan trees. Most of the buildings in this area are abandoned warehouses, and this seemed to look about the same...but for the beautiful flower beds. Riots of marigolds, zinnias, wild climbing roses, and window boxes of vinca (I think).

I photographed the outside of the building, and peered through the windows at machinery still sitting inside. Then I headed further down the streen taking pictures.

On my way back up the street, I saw that an older gentleman had arrived at the building with the flowers, and he was watering. I crossed over to tell him that I had taken pictures of the building, and how much I had enjoyed his pretty flowers. It seemed like a good thing to do - someone had obviously put a lot of work in on those flowers.


It turned out that he was Mr Morris, whose family had owned the Morris Ice Company (which is what the building was). Mr Morris showed me his Burpee Marigolds, and his Zinnias, and various flowers. And then, by golly, he let me into the building to take pictures! I was pretty excited, that is an amazing stroke of good luck (or possibly a little good karma even, from my trip to compliment a gardener on his flowers)


Mr Morris told me that this was the second Morris Ice building. The first had been a bit further to the south, but still on Commerce Street. It was next to a lumber yard that was owned by the people who built the Kind Edward Hotel. The steam engines in the ice plant were fueled by wood chips from the lumber yard. In 1923 the lumber yard caught fire, and the ice plant went along with it. The Morris Ice Company rebuilt a bit further up the street, and reopened in 1924.


The compressors are from 1924, but the back up generators went in later - 1934. Morris Ice Company's biggest customer was the railroad (remember the now unused rail spur in the front that I mentioned earlier?) - in the 20's there wasn't a highway system in Mississippi, and most food was shipped by rail. The railroads bought ice to refrigerate their perishable food shipments - fruits, vegetables, meats.


With the advent of the interstate highway system, areas that depeneded on railroads like Commerce St started to go into decline. The ice company finally shut its machines down and closed its doors in 1988.

Mr Morris keeps an office upstairs, and he has some real-estate to look after. He also has his flowers to care for. We discovered that we both attend St. A's - small world! When I left, Mr Morris send me away with a bouquet of his Burpee marigolds. What a great guy! And what a wonderful treat, to get to photograph the interior of the building and hear his stories.


all photos from the Morris Ice Company can be found here