If there is a particular time of year when I miss Texas, it's at the beginning of spring when the Indian paintbrushes, the black-eyed Susans, and -- above all -- the bluebonnets make their resplendent entrance to the declivities of the Hill Country. The last blue norther having come and gone, families emerge from the shelter of their homes clutching cameras and little ones, bound to find the perfect patch in which to take pictures of their children either romping among the flowers or contemplating them peacefully. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.
Every spring, I'd drive home from work south down Austin's Mopac to the Barton Springs Road exit. I looked forward to the wall of bluebonnets populating the hillside just off the exit. Even knowing they were there, I'd do a couple of double-takes every year, thinking they were a sapphire pool of water. A psychiatrist once told me that something in our neural pathways and brain chemistry causes humans to respond favorably to the color blue. That's why we like clear days and why seasonal affective disorder is so prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. That's why for the first month of spring, it's hard for any of us who have been there to imagine that there is a prettier place than the Texas Hill Country.
For more, check out photographer Gary Regner's web site here.
We had a wonderful Easter dinner yesterday (menu here). Premium T. remains amazed by the gustatory capacities of college boys. This is hard to understand, as she has two of her own, neither of whom has a reputation for turning down seconds.
The Nation has a terrific chart that simply and graphically puts across the costs of the war. The chart isolates the costs to the city of Cleveland, and then shows what Cleveland could have bought with its share. This includes almost 50,000 homes with renewable electricity, almost 25,000 children with health care, 5400 college scholarships, and 1000 policeman. Oh, BTW, the average annual income of CEOs at the top thirty military contractors is $9,000,000 and change.
In the same issue, Victor Navasky and Christopher Cerf treat us to excerpts from their upcoming book quoting experts who were wrong about the war. A couple of the choicer tidbits:
"It is unimaginable that the United States will have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars."
Kenneth Pollack, former National Security Council director for Persian Gulf affairs, September 2002
"The costs of any intervention would be very small."
Glenn Hubbard, White House economic advisor, October 4, 2002
"When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community."
Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, March 27, 2o03