Monday, August 23, 2010

Reason #342 Why I Love My Job

Walking through the hall today, a colleague casually introduced me to Mike Barratt. That would be the same Mike Barratt who was the lead crew surgeon for the International Space Station and more recently spent 199 days in space as a NASA Mission Specialist.

Chatting with him on the elevator, he mentioned his five children, ranging in age from 9 to 23. He also gave me the best quote of the day: "Space flight is easy. Raising that's hard."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Best Quote of the Week

Coworker on the phone with an angry listener...

"So you're still mad at me?"

"I'm extremely mad at you. But you do have a nice voice."


Friday, August 13, 2010

On my mind

I've been thinking a lot lately about the girls and women rescued and ministered to by the people at Charasia. For those of you who haven't heard about them, they are an India-based ministry that rescues young girls from the red light districts. Check out their website and see the many girls who now live in safety, surrounded by love, at the Charasia home.

Today in the news, Houston police arrested a mother and grandmother for forcing a 14-year-old girl into prostitution. Child prostitution is a global problem, not just a third-world issue. In fact, Houston is one of the worst cities in the United States for human and sex trafficking. Our geography close to the border and aligned along I-10 and I-45 positions us perfectly for the purposes of the evil people who devote their lives to the devastation of women and children.

I've long enjoyed the band Delta Spirit and every time I listen to their music I'm reminded of one of their most powerful songs, Streetwalker. It's on a mostly happy, mellow album called Ode to Sunshine.
Take a listen and read the lyrics. I hope you find it disturbing and uncomfortable. We all should.

Streetwalker ~ Delta Spirit

Streetwalker knows how to strut right
She knows the truth
Bad boys walking through the corridor
God knows what they're gonna do

Darkness paraded across the headlines:
'Little girl stolen from her bedroom'
Homeless, beat to death or put out
Hopeless, greedy and cruel

Oh why can't I feel for you?
My heart is so blind to you

Her head was spinning like a hurricane
Tina was singing her name
Old men like to rape her in the red light
She's too young and numb to complain

Little boy, bought at the age of six
Down the street, he's wearing a dress
Look at his face, you won't see no innocence
He's got so much experience

Oh why can't I feel for you?
They lie. What can I do?

Oh Love, set me free!
Set me free!
Come on and set me free!

Oh Lord, set me free!
Set me free!
Come on and set me free!

Underground...the German Casanova
Underground...the Panamanian Queen
He whispers: 'Down here the law will never find you.
Down here I'm your god and king.'

It's a sin to sit and just do nothing
There's a special place in hell for me
Oh God I just gotta do something
I swear to God this is happening

Oh Lord, set me free!
Set me free!
It could've been me!

Oh Lord, set them free!
Set them free!
Oh it could have been me...

Monday, August 09, 2010

Meet the Neighbors

Some new neighbors moved into the townhouse directly behind ours. We're all for meeting the new neighbors, but we weren't expecting to happen in quite the way it did.

The new guy backed out of his garage...directly into ours.

Our garage is now leaning. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

From Our Moscow Bureau

I just found an old Moscow update that I somehow forgot to post. My apologies to the Moscow Correspondent for leaving this one unpublished for so long. It's a little hard to empathize with the story in Houston's August heat, but hopefully the QQ readers will enjoy the mental escape.

Winter is a wonderful time. It makes most folks think of snow, warm coats, funny looking ski hats, and hot chocolate (or tea depending which side of the pond you were born). What it should make you think about is falling on the ice.

I've fallen down more times in the past two months than I've fallen in the last 15 years. Last month I fell on the street and literally did the Nestea plunge flat on my back on the hard iced over concrete. The only thing that broke my fall was my coworker's laptop that I had offered to carry home in my backpack (he'll never ask me to do that again).

I've also fallen on the cold frozen granite steps that lead down into the subway. The icing on the cake (get it! Icing!) from that experience was landing on the broken beer bottle that some bum had discarded at the end of the stairwell. I ended up getting glass in my shoe and had to remove both my shoes and socks so that I could get the shards out of my foot (how would you like to have been sitting next to me on the train for that little medical procedure?).

But the best so far was when I fell while walking to the grocery store near my flat. I tried to grab a light pole to keep from falling but it too was iced over. In a last ditch effort I flung my leg around the pole and slid down it until I ended up sitting on my butt in the middle of the busy sidewalk. One guy actually stopped and looked at me and snickered. I like to think he was considering stuffing a dollar bill in my…you get the picture.

I've decided now that the best way to confront my ineptness on the ice is to go to ice skating rinks and practice falling in a controlled environment. I've already been a couple of times this year to the ice skating rinks around town and I believe that it is helping hone my skills for navigating my way to/from the office each day. Don't get me wrong. I still fall occasionally. Come to think of it, I still fall a lot. Maybe if I wore a sequin-covered unitard while walking on this glacier that they call a city I would have more agility. Maybe…

-Chaz Michael Michaels aka The Moscow Correspondent