Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Glubya, Glubya

Sunday it was apparent that there were not even enough resources or planning to load people into the Superdome, and I wondered how in the world we would be able to respond to the type of emergency that was possible―that had been in fact predicted fairly correctly―in New Orleans.

I heard the Governor of Louisiana state that 4000 National Guard were mobilized in Natchez. At this point the possibility of this outcome had been steadily increasing for at least four or five days. I looked up the response to Andrew, a disaster of much less scope than this. 22,000 troops and 7,000 National Guard.

And now the worst case scenario is reality. As the waters rush in through levees the engineers have no resources to address, people who chose to stay, had no place to go or had no means to escape huddle at the cesspool that is the Superdome, cling to roofs or drown in petrochemical waste in the streets or in their attics.

Thousands more bake on the concrete pavement of Interstate 10, on a highway that has remained accessible from the west throughout. The Governor, Homeland Security and the Mayor have no idea where they would evacuate the people to even if they had the means to do it. Before long it will occur to the mobs that the only provisions left are located at the hotels in which reporters, valiant employees and stranded tourists sit and wonder if evacuation will come on time.

And there are no images of trucks rolling into town, no swarms of helicopters dropping supplies and addressing the dikes, no details of plans to deal with any of this. How can this be? How can people in America die of the elements on an interstate highway?

There is news as I write that overnight, on this 7th day since this hurricane was predicted to intensify before landing on the gulf coast, on this fifth day since the greatest likelihood was that Katrina would strike New Orleans as at least a Cat 4 or 5, there is word that some military response is being organized. We are sending the Navy, by slow boat.

As the survivors baked yesterday in high 90° temps and hung their asses over the rail of the Superdome to take a dump, where was our leader? In California, giving a war speech and pluckin' strings with some country singer. His words?
Our teams and equipment are in place and we're beginning to move in the help
that people need.
Really! Where is that place? It's not on Interstate 10. Fear not, though, for in Norfolk the freaking Navy is almost on the way.

Monday, August 29, 2005

My Mistake

Righties are pooh-poohing the notion that the guard may be too depleted to secure several major metropolitan areas.

3,000 are already "activated" with at least that many in reserve. Homeland security seems satisfied with that number, and therefore libbies like me just don't get it again.

For Hurricane Andrew, a much smaller storm, there were 22,000 troops and 7,000 national guard.

It amazes me how little we know about the scope of the damage, and how difficult it is to find a source of such knowledge. It looks not to be the catastrophe many feared, but certainly very, very bad and quite extensive.

I hope I'm wrong, but I have little faith in the current administration's ability to coordinate recovery from this disaster.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Vacation is Over

As I watch coverage of Katrina, the scenarios become more and more dire. This is what folks are saying:
  • Up to 50,000 dead. (perhaps eventually)
  • Most of the city of New Orleans inhabitable for perhaps months, as this saucer of a city fills with petro-chemical waste and sewage along with the 25' of flood water.
  • Up to a million homeless, five times that following Andrew.
  • Massive power outages over Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama of unknown duration.
  • Production responsible for 20 to 25 per cent of our oil consumption dead in the water―long term disruption of production, refining and distribution.
  • The Mississippi River closed to traffic.

But look at the waves and check out the wind bands.

And at the Superdome, a place that fills for a football game in two hours, poor black people who own no cars and have nowhere to go wait with their elderly relatives in the 40 MPH winds and increasing rain bands to be thoroughly screened before entering.

Because there are not enough National Guard left to do even this.

No one yet has pointed that out but, unless there is a miracle of miracles, this shortage is going to become very apparent as Katrina, shaping up to be the worst disaster of our history, continues her way.

It's not called the National Guard for nothing.

Intelligent Design, My Eye

I have to admit, I do have qualms accepting carte blanche evolution as it is described to me. Without my having given much deep thought to the algorithmic reality of such a process, intuition suggests that an awful lot seems to have gotten done in the way of species' development in a difficultly comprehended amount of time. If I, deeply agnostic, have a hard time with this, is it easy to see how readily believers can be turned from Darwin's "satanic" notion to alternative "theory", significantly to that of Intelligent Design.

It still a decently big leap, but if the self-appointed angels of the Lord call "jump!" it doesn't matter how far, the flock will do it. Religion has always led humanity off on some strange tangents, the happiest result of which is that such behavior remains harmless and the flock is well enough off the beaten path so as not to impede progress for the rest of us.

That's all fine and good, until a time when conservatism takes such a deep hold on society that fundamental religion becomes viable as a means of control.

And so your local angel on up to George II, the Crusader, clamor for the resurrection of the theory, "Adam beget Cain, who beget Gandhi, who beget Iggy Pop." Let us teach creationism and evolution side by side.

The evidence for creationism? A strangely convoluted text. And faith.

So knowledge is to be this strange synthesis of wisdom and faith, and if this seems loony to you just remember:

God created man in his own image. In God's image he created
him; male and female he created them.
Maybe God couldn't see so well, cuz these eyes he gave us are for crap. Eagles' eyes can zoom in and out with far greater field of vision. Octopuses' eyes have photoreceptors facing the light source while ours face backwards on a precariously placed retina, an arrangement that cost my little Hun's insurance company about $45,000 before the doctors basically gave up and welded the retina on with lasers.

I hit the golf ball farther than I can see it, but also need prismatic readers to focus at two feet, because at 45 the muscles that bend my eyes were already tiring. If I stand for too long my back gets sore, leading me to understand why this imaged God seems to be such a crabass.

Why hasn't God stepped in and done something about the fact that we have managed to figure out how to live much longer than our design seems to have been maximized for?

Maybe God got cancer and died.

Maybe he had Alzheimer's already when he created us.

At any rate, I'm not all that impressed with the design effort, which is, I guess, why they don't call it Supremely Intelligent Design. It doesn't seem like we're aiming all that high here, but hey, It's good enough for the masses.

Knock off all that science stuff, just gives people ideas. Keep it simple, stupid. Now off you go, proles.

Arbeit Macht Frei

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Égalité de Droit

Long about 1776 or so, there was a lot kicking around this continent and Europe about such heady concepts as freedom from oppression. The French revolutionaries quested for egality, brotherhood and liberty. We were deemed by the fathers to have been created equal. Égalité was a thing the French desired to achieve, but equality in our society was described as a starting point. This is an important distinction, and one about which more will follow, however both radical factions argued the concept of the equality of men principally as counterpoint to the monarchial system. Beyond the barest bones of political equality there is little egalitarianism in either society.

"Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness", Jefferson's catchy buzzwords, were lifted from Locke's "life, liberty and estates". Locke was more to the point, and likely Jefferson was himself or by committee intentionally vague in that the right of most concern in all of this tossing over of the old order was that of property. It would not do that the riff raff with whom the gentlemen of the American Revolution were disdainfully resigned to consort in order to fight the British might get a whiff of "meet the new boss". It would not do for the unwashed to get a sense of just who was going to be equal or not in the new order.

And so we let loose upon the American scene hordes of capitalists armed with the Creator endowed right to own property. They got really good at it. In fact, they own almost all of it. They amass wealth rightly as due of a portion of the value they contribute to a thing. The more the amassing, the more contribution they can exert on the values of things, and so on until the growth is phenomenal.

They throw us a bone now and then and we are uplifted from ourselves who had one less bone before, and therefore this is progress.

The logical conclusion of this process is that one person will own everything, and one has only to look at the Waltons of Wal Mart to see that this is not as preposterous as it might initially seem. The flow of wealth to the upper and upper middle classes is rapidly increasing. The rich are getting richer, quickly. Is this the outcome of capitalism, the unregulated and terminal accumulation of all wealth into a few hands? Did the designers of this system fail to imagine an end game? Did we miss something?

Enter Ross Zucker, with that dirtiest word to libertarians (and neo-cons/neo-liberals), egalitarianism. This concept is so foreign we continue to use the French root. Zucker's thesis, as put forth in Democratic Distributive Justice, is that some retooling of capitalism is necessary. Central to this theme is that the value of a thing is imparted by a far more complex and democratic process than the old school espouses. In browsing the mutual admiration society that is the libertarian web I am often struck by the audacity of those who view any shift of wealth downward as immoral. "As if they made their money in a vacuum," I think. As if they don't ask us for money every time me go to the mailbox, or turn on the TV. As if we don't contribute, if nothing else, a lion's share of their wealth merely by being willing, cooperative citizens. As if the creation of wealth were not a social process.

Zucker points out that in large part that the demand for a thing contributes mightily to it's value, and so consumers are due a greater portion of the income resulting from it's production. He does not deny that differences in talent, ambition and so forth lead to unequal contributions and that these differences should not be rewarded appropriately, however he thinks it wise that we begin to consider the possibility that the capitalist ethic of income due in consideration of contribution to value should encompass this broader social aspect:

Analysis of the immanent logic of community shows that membership in a community morally entitles individuals to an equal share of the ends of association.
Espousal of "equal share" will, of course, lead to commie baiting, but Zucker numerously and as vehemently as possible points out that he is not advocating the equalization of wealth, but a redistributive process designed to more equitably account for the contributions of citizens to the multiplication of wealth that drives capitalism. He methodically demonstrates that the very definition of capitalism demands (so to speak) such a process.

My parents use to ask, "Do you think the world owes you a living?" I would wonder, "Why not?" Perhaps, according to Zucker, I was right to wonder if, at least in part, this were true. Many capitalists have admitted the inequality of the system as practiced is a barrier to its ultimate success, but the difficulty of institutionalizing a more egalitarian system while maintaining the freedom of the individual to aspire within it―and the daunting task of wresting power from those who have hijacked the system―leave this barrier to refortify itself, as witnessed in a continuing, deepening rift between the upper and upper middle classes and the true middle class.

Is there a way to effectively compensate us collectively for the cooperative effort we exert, while still leaving room for the incentive of reward for individual achievement? Not at least until we see the wisdom in the fairness of it―of the democratic justice in it.

Friday, August 19, 2005

He Rook Firsty

Left this note stuck to the tee box on the Blue course 9th hole today:

The Japanese guys let me play through, maybe you should go over there and learn
some manners.
Stopped to play some twilight. My heel was a little sore (from too many golf swings) so I had a cart. One guy in a cart cuts along pretty well, so I would catch up to people from time to time. This is a big public layout and I can jump around between courses and holes, the guys there don't mind as long as you don't muck up the works or get in someone's way.

I started catching up to a threesome, and while I was on a green they were on the next tee box, from which I heard, "You want to pass?"

"Sure, be there in a minute!"

So I hustled over there, where they were buying beers from the beer girl person.

"How ya hittin' 'em," I offered. The universal language of this, the true world game.

"Rike hell," said the guy with his wallet open and the obvious leader of the pack.

Everyone laughed.

He said to the beer girl person, "He rook firsty, buy him Heinie."

"Naw, You don't have ta."

"You don't want?" and I knew he was expecting me to accept.

"Well, alrighty, then," and I took the beer.

Now, usually when a bunch of strangers are watching me hit a shot I get a little nervous, and golf, being what it is, can be very, very unforgiving of any such trepidation. All kinds of crazy things can happen, but this time I set the Heinie down on the yardage marker, grabbed the driver, took an easy practice swing, and then nailed it, 280 yards, high and right down the middle, settling on a narrow in the fairway between a large pond on the right and a small one on the left.

From the gallery I heard, "Ssssmokin!"

Everyone laughed, as it was undoubtedly the worst Jim Carrey anyone had ever heard.

I bagged the driver, picked up the Heinie, gave a little bow as I thanked them, and set off down the fairway.

From the next hole I could still hear them laughing.

Later I began catching up to a fivesome, Seeing a fivesome ahead of you is a lot like coming over a rise on the expressway and seeing a couple hundred brakes lights lit up ahead. It ain't even legal. It ain't even a word! I caught them on a shortish par four, and after a long wait I hit it on the green while they teed off very close by. While I putted there were nervous glances exchanged, but I was not the least surprised when they drove off while I walked off the green not more then twenty yards behind them.

The traffic was thinning, so I skipped the hole. I can do this there, but they had no idea that the ranger knows me and will let me bounce around. I would have waited 20 minutes for them to play this hole, a difficult par three that the five of them were playing as wide as it was long.

Then I left the note. While on the green of the next hole I heard a shout from behind me, "Eat shit and die!"

I'm sure there must be some rude Japanese, and there are plenty of considerate Americans. But today the score was: Fun, generous, social Japanese guys....3; crabby, selfish, ignorant Americans...5.

Well, maybe 5½.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Daisy, Daisy

So, I stopped in and asked if they had a Jessica Simpson or two to spare.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Why I'm Not a Conservative, Part Mille et un

You may have read in previous posts my belief that the attitudes of the mothers of America eventuated the end of the Vietnam War. It's possible we are seeing this process repeat in the choking dust of Crawford, Texas. Cindy Sheehan continues her vigil, and the fur is really beginning to fly.

This woman who lost her son is determined to make a stand. Because she lost her son she is uniquely qualified to be a symbol that cannot be erased. To drag her away in custody will send an image across the world about our leadership that is intolerable. To allow her to continue will bring the inevitable escalation from both sides. It's a quandary, to be sure. Cindy is using every chip of political collateral she has, as would those at the other end of the driveway. Her effort is well timed, determined, and the greatest threat to the flying "W" circus to have been launched to this date.

And so, of course, she is to be vilified. Scorned. Roundly accused of treason by the rightie blogsphere on up to the masters, the O'Reilly's and their ilk. Ferrets scurry about in the dark tonight searching for hints of college lesbian encounters or, to the horror of their Warrior God, the carnage of an abortion in her past. Moles work through the decaying mulch trying to dig up a scent of gayness in the life of her fallen son, anything to bend the ears and thus win favor of the Chancellor Rove and the Boy King.

Cindy Sheenan thus joins Hanoi Jane and Hanoi Kerry in the ranks of the treasonous. I won't describe the absurd path this reasoning necessitates. Rather my point here is of the enthusiasm this cadre of "true" Americans displays in attacking someone who remains, above all else, a victim. This is one of those times when I am reassured that I have chosen the correct philosophy to guide my political bent, or rather have successfully avoided an extremely unsatisfactory one.

In the famous climactic scene in The Graduate―not long before the escaping Ben and Elaine use the cross to keep the angry mob from escaping the church―Ben repeatedly screams Elaine's name from the balcony of her wedding chapel and a panicked Elaine looks for the faces in her life to find an answer to her dilemma. Everyone Elaine turns to―her father, her mother, her husband―is a picture of invective spewing hatred. She doesn't hear them. It matters little what they are saying, only that the ugliness of their mouthing is horrifying.

The right's America is looking a lot like that.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Unfit for the Masses

WPR's modus operandi is to bring on a guest for an entire hour, or perhaps two guests of opposing views, and devote as much time as possible to listeners' questions. This does necessitate a lot of listening to a lot of poorly thought out and ill-prepared comments and questions, but by the end of the hour a good collection of popular opinion is married to professional opinion and this turns out to be a decent reflection of what people are thinking.

Today one hour was devoted to sports and children, opportune after that last post.

Everyone weighed in, except the kids. First came the old grumps like me extolling the virtues of the bucolic 50's, when we made our own fun. The "expert" responded with that concept that creeps steadily into our collective consciousness―that pernicious, petrifying piece of pragmatism that feeds the darkness settling around us―that it's a new world somehow, and that we are suddenly not safe―our children are not safe. Children were never safe, but now the interviewee's child plays "on his own" and so develops ability to construct socially "on his own" in free play portions of practice, but for safety's sake within eyesight and earshot of five or six adults. Right.

And then came the "Why does everything have to be so competitive?" crowd, the extreme exercise in missing the point. "My son is eleven and says this is his last year," and "My daughter just doesn't seem to be enjoying herself, she spends most of her time on the bench because the coach is so intent on winning." Winning isn't everything, but doing something well is. Doing something well generally translates into winning. Isn't that a tough bit of logic? In a backhanded way, this is one of the things youth sports does well. "You suck, kid, don't waste any time looking for something you do do well!"

That's a lot of welling in do do.

Somewhere a high school school coach had the time in his bleak, underpaid and overworked existence to listen to the radio and chime in with the inevitable, "Sports build's character." There's no denying this. Leaders learn to shine, and followers learn to subordinate their ego for the common cause. This is fantastic experience to prepare one for organizational cooperation that will be expected in later life, and quite a learning one for those on the receiving end of such character―for those subject to its humiliating and sometimes violent ends. But very, very few will participate in these roles into their teens, these players at varsity levels will be populated heavily by fortunate children, for whom the transportation, equipment and interest needs for the extreme schedule they will be expected to maintain can only be met by a more leisurely parental lifestyle than most enjoy. Thus this character building, though heavily funded by everyone, is quite undemocratic..

And then, "They need the exercise." Youth sports isn't about exercise, certainly not as a mass movement (sorry). Sure, the swimming and cross country teams are in shape, all twenty of them. Exercise isn't about winning, exercise is just about exercise. You don't need a 4 million dollar sports center to get some some exercise. and you don't need four assistant coaches. You need self-awareness. You need encouragement. You need philosophy.

Fitness is an expression of the self, and will never be a widely successful result of a system that is designed to subjugate that awareness. The strong-bonding elitism inherent in organized sports serves to clear the gridiron of the masses and has nothing to do with the overall fitness of our youth.

For some, the local soccer field is best to be a competitive training ground, for others a serene playing field of socialization―so goes most of the argument.

What it will never be is about health.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

It's the Heat, the Humidy...and the Dust

Sunday, August 07, 2005

You Can Dress Them Up

There are times when I regret having to spend my Saturday mornings working―yesterday wasn't one of them. It could be so much worse. Stopping for a second tank car full of coffee yesterday, I happened upon this little scene.

A frantic woman frets at the counter, getting in the way of everyone's day as she, without much success, tries to absorb anything several people are telling her about the correct route to an Antioch park at which her son and two of his buddies, who didn't look over 9 years old or so, were to compete in a skateboard event.

I am so amused on so many levels I actually begin laughing out loud, much to the mortification and then anger of this suburban pedigreed bundle of nerves.

This was the same small town I grew up in. What were Saturday mornings like in 1960? We poured our own cereal, slugged a little Kool Aid (or generic version of) and out we went. We had our own paths to follow, our own fields to play ball in, our own games to play from the tops of the trees. We made our own push cars and raced them in the neighborhood streets and in the empty lots. We knew every square inch of the woods. We rode bikes, without helmets, and every one of the thousand in my elementary school survived the oversight. Come afternoon we fidgeted through a couple of innings of the Cubs and off we went again.

We tiptoed out, careful not to wake Mom and Dad. Wake them for a ride somewhere? Not on your life!

Now, this 30ish mom, no doubt having been chauffeured throughout her life, is utterly clueless how to get somewhere, as are the growingly impatient DVD-immersed passengers in the back seat. In the air conditioned, leathered luxury of a massive Suburban Assault Vehicle they're throwing a shit-fit, and mom's starting to look as frantic as a Shi Tzu in a thunderstorm.

Eventually she begins to realizes the ditz at the counter is similarly geographically challenged, and with some trepidation she slowly turns toward my evil self. "Do you know where this park is?" she asks.

I give it the Gary Cooper, "Yep."

"Could you PLEASE tell me how to get there?"

Well, there's please and there's please. This here please had the sound of "Will you PLEASE not talk during the movie?" or "Will you PLEASE park with all four wheels on the cart path. Eye to eye, I realize that my bemused little grin is making her all the more furious. I live by the Golden Rule as much as possible. Ninety-nine out of a hundred times I would give someone the directions they need, and damn good ones. I know how to get to this park, I know the entrances to each parking lot, and I know the side streets for those entrances.

And I know that in any other circumstance this blonde Duchess of the Conservancy of Hidden Pond by the Willows of Easterbrook by the Painted Lake of the Live Oak on the Pleasant Prairie Preserve would have nothing to do with me. In any other circumstance those green eyes would be averted, as such ne'er-do-wells like myself are to be summarily dispatched with affectations of confident disdain.

"Well?" she insists. Her anger and frustration have stripped away any such veneer.

"Don't those tanks come with navigation systems?" I'm still giggling.

Like one of those music video morphing montages, her face rotates from confused to angry to inquisitive and then pretty much lands on angry. For a bit she begins to explain how she doesn't get all that technology before she realizes that she's conversing with an untouchable, and that she has an urgent mission and she's getting nowhere. All exhaust and "Support our Troops" stickers she storms off, gets in the "car" and roars out of gas station―headed the wrong way at about four miles per gallon.

Like I said, normally I'm Mr. Helpful―and not just for the ladies, if that's what you're thinking. I guess I have my limits, and this little act was just too pathetic.

"Fuck her," I thought, "and the horse she rode in on!"

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Music of Sounds

My little Hun is quite organized, and this follows through to her sleep habits. At about 10:10 or so she goes through about a minute and a half of ritual, rolls over and boom, she's gone. I've no clue how people do this, but that's not the point of the present narrative.

As I said, she's down deep in no time, and I can go in and out of the room with little effect on her state. But this is what I find really strange. If I leave the door open a crack, and any light invades the bedroom, invariably she will wake up within five minutes, get up and close it.

We have this high tech fan in the room, a remote control job that oscillates, simulates surf, goes asleep, etc. In oscillating mode, just at the limit as the fan begins to reverse, there is this tiny plastic on plastic scrape. I have tried, I cannot sleep with this sound. Off it goes as my reaction to this nearly inaudible nuisance brings a barely perceptible shrug to the vamp(ire) wrapped in folds of utter darkness beside me.

I'm an aural person, an admission that's always good for a little snicker at a party. One day I had on a Discovery Channel hi-def and stereo presentation of a sunrise at Yosemite. It was pretty, no doubt, but after ten minutes I just closed my eyes and listened to the birds. At 6:15 this morning I was on the golf course, alone, with just the sounds of distant mowers, sprinklers and the birds. It looked the same as later in the day, but it just sounded so much better!

I came across a discussion on Fodor's travel site, people listing things seen in their travels that have simply made their jaws drop. I began to think to myself, "What about the places they have heard?"

Of course, a few favorites come to mind.

  • The surf. When I close my eyes to remember the sound of the surf I find myself on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This rolling surf is hypnotic in its apparent constancy, yet there is a subtle variation that fascinates the close listener, as no two waves hit the beach exactly the same. There are more exciting locales for surf. In Marblehead, Big Sur and such places the waves strike the rocks with percussive force one feels in the chest. These are fun to visit, but the rollers beg one to stay.
  • About midnight in the white pine forests of "up north". The whisper of the breezes through these trees is like no other, and one is surely to imagine the spirits of the ancients about. Toss in the hoots of the owls, a few coyotes, bullfrogs, and a far-off loon. Mix this all with the slow crackle of a dying campfire and one begins to grasp the world we left behind. If a loon gets too close, however, grand comedy replaces reflection.
  • If one camps just the right distance from a rushing steam or waterfall (or perhaps in Steven King's Maine backyard), a decent mix of the above two can be had.
  • Downtown. For me this is the Loop in Chicago. Sirens and cab horns and marching, charging feet. Planes and choppers overhead and the rush of the wind through the canyons. Jackhammers and somewhere progress measured in the tick tock of a pile driver. Here and there bits of music and wander over toward the Daley Center and maybe a crowd, a speech, chants or oohing and aahing to some derring-do of a street performer. Drums and saxophones under the el as an approaching train crescendos to a mighty roar above. Up the Mile with the posh and the whistles of the doormen reverberate with those of the traffic cops while the hacks meander along the side streets with clip clop anachronism. Intoxicating. Relentless.
  • This one is a far less obvious choice, but one I can remember quite vividly. On a hitchhiking trip along 'bout ' 74 or so, I spent the night under a billboard alongside a bridge over the Ohio River. On this close, humid night one could hear everything on the river. I stayed awake nearly the entire night listening to the barges, tugs and bargemen I couldn't see. I could hear the men call out, perhaps because of the haze there was more communication needed. I could hear the groan of the barges and the efforts of the tugs, interspersed with the occasional truck disappearing across the bridge.
  • Lying in the hammock garden next to the aviary at The Enchanted Garden―an unusual and defunct resort in the hills above Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This is as close to a tropical rain forest as I have been, and the conversation of these birds at six in the morning was astonishing.

I could go on but I think the point is made here that although it is rarely celebrated, the sound of a thing may be just as enthralling as the sight of it or another thing. I might ask in a discussion group, "What places have you heard that made your eyes close in wonder?"