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June 30, 2004

linkage + caption contest = lazy yet fruitful blogging

* Baseball Crank is on a roll. Just start at the top and scroll down. Don't miss the Clinton post. * Sharp Marbles opens up John Kerry's divorce papers. * Dodd talks about how no one talks about Statement #15. * Cam is putting together a weekly Blogger Roundtable for his radio show. * Gratutious link to Bill for linking to the hypnotoad. * Gratutious link to Meryl because she has been consistently spectacular of late. Re Gmail invites: Everyone who donated should get their invite by tonight. If you don't, please email me in the morning. Thank you once again to everyone who donated either money to the Eggers family or their own Gmail invites. Speaking of Gmail, users might want ot check this out: Gtray (via Bill) And now, for your amusement, Cheney's blank slate: cheneyblank.jpg Fill in yourself or just provide a caption in the comments.

milking the cheney thing for all it's worth

cheney2.jpg Reference.

Acid Rain: Fighting Against the Black Cloud of the Left

Every morning I wake up with the intention of writing something positive here; something non-war, non-politics related. But no sooner do I start thinking about movies or comic books or home repair stories when it all disappears. I read my mail, read some blog posts, check the news and other sites. The negativity crawls back. Not my negativity, but that of others, whose black cloud vibes seep out of their web pages, filter out of my monitor and do a slow crawl above my head, where the cloud will perch most of the day. Most days, I try to dispel the cloud, make it go away. I try to poke holes in it, but this only serves to let the acid rain flow and I'm left feeling a bit radioactive. Glowing with the power of ire, you could say. It's becoming impossible to stave off the negativity. Even if I hold off on reading the news and blogs, it's everywhere. I see it on bumper stickers, I overhear it at the pharmacy, I'm confronted with it on the radio. Today, I am thinking about Maha Alattar, who I listened to on WABC radio yesterday as John Gambling filled in for Sean Hannity. Maha was born and raised in Iraq. She left that country for the United States in 1983. You can read her story here. Yesterday, she spoke about her hopes for Iraq and all her relatives that are still there. She mentioned that she lost cousins in this war, but that she still finds the war necessary in order to preserve Iraq's future. She talked about young girls with a chance to have a life like her own. She talked about life under Saddam, about young men stolen away in the middle of the night, about children never heard from again. Maha is filled with hope. She already sees changes and even the simple ones, like young Iraqis using the internet to communicate with the world is something that she feels bodes well for the future of her homeland. It's a freedom she never had as a teenager. It's a step forward. But others, who have never been in Maha's shoes, would pour cold water on her hopes and dreams. They will speak only of death and destruction, only of darkness and hopelessness. They never see the silver lining because their cloud is always, only black. And the acid rain falls. Today I am thinking about three Iraqi brothers; Omar, Mohammed and Ali. They talk about Iraqi freedom, about things going on in their country that you don't see in the mainstream media. Then I think about those who doubt the veracity of these three brothers, all of whom have lived under Saddam's reign. I read words that cause my blood pressure to rise, doubts that the brothers exists, or that if they do, their words don't really matter. It is the voice of denial coming from the left. If it does not fit their agenda, it cannot be true. And more rain falls. Today I am thinking about the presidential campaign. Not the official campaign, but those being run by the supporters of either candidate. There's a line from a favorite song of mine by Bill Nelson that says build on hope, hope lasts forever. That's what I'm looking for. Hope. And then I read about an ad being run in The Nation. That image is the first thing you see when you go to this site. I cringe and watch the black cloud loom larger. Another drop of acid rain falls, and I'm feeling radioactive. I think of the soldiers who are fighting this war for us, the soldiers who believe in what they are doing and are proud do to it, the soldiers who see the good things in Iraq. And then I think of those who oppose these soldiers, those who try to tell the soldiers what they are doing wrong, those who cry for them to desert, to run away, those who call them baby killers. The black cloud hovers, sways in the breeze and drops some more rain. I think about September 11, 2001. I remember the terror, the fear, the overwhelming grief, some of which is still with me today. Two and half years later, there has not been another attack on US soil. Our homeland has not been attacked since that day. I feel confident that future attempts at attacks will be foiled. I feel confident that the war on terrorism will be won. Yet there are those who spew venom on a daily basis in the form of tall tales. Bush planned 9/11. Bush made it happen. These are the same people who practically wish for another attack to happen, just so Bush can be blamed and lose the election. Of course, in the same breath these people will tell you that Bush is actually planning another attack on our country, so people will rally behind him again. A lie is a lie is a theory. Either side of the mouth talks as fast as the other. Here comes that rain again. I think about my country. United we stand, divided we fall. I heard that a lot in my youth and it was a sentiment I truly believed in. I still do. Unfortunately, that sense of unity I once felt is gone. We truly are a nation divided. It's not a fringe thing, because I see and hear on a daily basis words from moderates and mainstream liberals that used to be used only by the fringe elements of their political parties. Perhaps the far right is engaging in these tactics as well. I don't know because I don't pay any attention to them. But I do pay attention to the left if only for the very fact that they hate me. And if you think like me, they hate you, too. They have declared themselves my enemy and, as such, I am obligated to pay attention to them. I imagine them as anger personified; a massive swarm of bad feelings and bitterness, all shouts and shrill screeches and phasers set on stun. They come at me (and when I say me, I mean anyone who is planning on voting for Bush) every day and no matter how I try to repel them, they will not back off. They are immune to facts, to truth, to reasoning. They beat you back with the only weapons they have: denial and distorted truth. No matter how many Iraqis you throw at them, they won't believe a word spoken by them. No matter how many statistics you hit them with, they will deny each one to the very end. No matter how much good news you give them, they will search out any tidbit of bad news to fight back with. They don't want to hear good news. It defeats their purpose. Give them a soldier telling them the truth and they will stick their fingers in their ears. What makes me so different from them, you ask? Well, while they are totally negative, I'm not totally positive. I recognize flaws within my party. I recognize the faults of George Bush. I don't deny that there are some days the news out of Iraq is disheartening. They won't say anything that strays from the basic tenet of their movement, which is: If it's good for Bush, it's bad for us. Their chants and mantras are nothing but bashing; their fight songs are funeral dirges. They are like goth teens gone wild. Death, despair, life sucks because you made it that way. What also makes me different is my hope. I think of the future of Iraq and I envision thousands of Maha Alattars, girls becoming doctors, lawyers, equals and not having to sneak out of their country to do it. I think of Omar, Mohammed and Ali and how many young Iraqi men will follow in their footsteps, but do so without fear of being kidnapped in the middle of the night. It gives me hope not only for the people of Iraq, but for the people of America and the rest of the world as well. Start with one country, let the other willingly follow. Some day we might see a free world. If we don't, perhaps our children or grandchildren will. It is not fair of us to sit here and think only of us and our time on this planet. We must set the pace for the future. Obviously, I think George W. Bush is the person who can help us set that pace for the future. I think he's the only who has the vision to look forward; a vision that includes the rest of the world, not just the U.S. It would be wrong to not consider the entire world, as the fate of the world is our fate as well. I'm starting my own campaign for George W. Bush and it will have no black clouds. I'm going to build on hope, because hope lasts forever. So can pessimism, if you let it. Don't let it.

remember lisa

13231959.jpe Please remember Lisa Steinberg Launders as her murderer Joel Steinberg walks out of jail as a free man today. Previously: I wish him nothing but the worst fate possible I still wish him nothing but the worst fate possible Other articles about Lisa Steinberg Launders and the man who called himself her father but was her prisoner and murderer. A Child Not Breathing The murder of Lisa Steinberg Launders To New Yorkers: bq. Joel Steinberg doesn't like to be stared at. That rattles him. That's why he broke apart a baby girl with his bare hands. She was staring at him, he thought.
So stare at him.
Do not touch him. Do not do him harm. Do not spit on him. Do not curse him aloud. Say nothing. Just stare.
Just stand back, give him room, and stare at Joel Steinberg, every hour of every day.
Let him never forget how much he is despised, forever. I Wish You Didn't Know My Name: The Story of Michele Launders and Her Daughter Lisa. Remember Lisa today as her killer goes free.

New Yorkers Boo a Politician!! Breaking! Amazing!

Another morning that I'm working on something a bit long that won't be done for a while yet. Meanwhile, here's something amusing: Cheney was booed at the Yankee game last night. The DU people think this is HUGE news. A political figure booed at a sporting event? Wow. Will wonders never cease? I don't think I've ever seen a politician at a sporting event who wasn't booed. And in New York? Not exactly a Bush state, so I wasn't expecting cheers and accolades for Mr. Cheney. But, hey. If this is what makes the DU folks wet their pants, then I'll just sit back and laugh at them. This is not HUGE news, as they put it. It's typical, it's expected and it's been going on for years and years, no matter who the politician shown on the big screen is. It is to laugh. Ok, nevermind that. Go read this lengthy, but excellent piece by Ed Moltzen: More Than Just Digital Brownshorts.

June 29, 2004

Cheney in the hizzouse!

cheneyfuck.jpg [Yahoo Photo: Cheney at Yanks/Sox game]

Gmail Update

Still answering mail and hooking up people who made donations with their Gmail benefactors. Sit tight, I'll get back to work on that tonight and you should all be set up.

is that a threat?

This is the second time today someone posted my personal info (which has now been changed at Whois). At Pandagon, some cretin named Kate suggested that they look up my info and post it. [big portion of post deleted] Update: Kate has apologized both in email and at Pandagon. End of story.

Game On: Flaming Voodoo Time

soxbuddy.jpgIt's Game Day. Which means it's time to work the voodoo that I do on days such as this. This is my Red Sox Buddy. I take him with me wherever I go on days that the Yanks are playing the Sox. I actually have many copies of him, as we often like to set him on fire. Tonight, as a special treat, we are going to barbecue. Not the doll, silly. Just regular hamburgers. But we are going to make Boston baked beans. And then we will light our farts on fire and use that fire to enflame our Red Sox Buddy. Maybe later I'll let you catch a glimpse of my Headless Ted doll. If I don't feel the good voodoo vibes coming on strong before game time, I'll have to whip out the cleavage hex. Game Time: 7:05 p.m. EST. I'll be in my backyard using nature's flamethrower to light the passion of the Sox/Yankee rivalry. You're welcome to join us. Just bring a can of Glade air freshener. You think I'm kidding, don't you?

Three Moore Posts in One!

Out today. Coming soon. Steal F911, with Moore's blessing. Bonus poetry. Update: I swear, this was totally random. I did not choose this result. I swear, this was totally random.
michael moore is poisonous! Induce vomitting if ingested.
N
POISON

Username:
From Go-Quiz.com [stolen from evil Red Sox fan Jim]

When The Truth is Found Made out to be Lies

Or, alternately titled, When the truth does not coincide with your world view, call it lie. Last night I posted some thoughts from Iraqi bloggers on the handover. They were positive, joyful thoughts. Someone in the comments wanted to know how I knew these people were really Iraqi bloggers. This is how the left deals with any kind of news that does not fit in with their perspective: it must be a lie. Oliver says: bq. If I was in the Bush administration's communications department, and I knew that things were not going well in Iraq, and I wanted to spin the message my way -- I would set up a number of "Iraqi blogs" and use the information within to sway influential American opinionmakers. However, when I mention in his comments about the typical lefty response being the one where they yell LIE!, he says: bq. Michele, I'm not saying those blogs are lies or anything. I'm just saying that people who can afford to be online in Iraq and writing blogs probably aren't the best representative sample. And if I were running a disinfo campaign, that would be one avenue I would go down. His post and his comment say two entirely different things. I wonder why some people have a hard time believing that there could possibly be any Iraqis pleased with the handover. I know it's not some magic panacea that just cured Iraq of all its ills, but some Iraqis do see it as a step - if a symbolic one - towards their ultimate freedom. Also, the naysayers seem to forget one thing: Saddam is gone. You can bet that most Iraqis are pretty damn happy about that. But that's not enough for those who want to throw cold water on any good news from Iraq. The fact that the torturing, murdering, evil dictator no longer runs their country through fear and intimidation is not enough. And who are they to speak? Who are they to say what Iraqis should or should not be happy with? They add their but onto every sentence (Saddam is gone, but....), never stopping to fully appreciate the enormity of that one part of the sentence. Saddam is gone. That means a lot to the people who lived under his rule. It doesn't take much to figure that out. The new Iraq has a long way to go. I'm not a Pollyana who thinks that yesterday marked the beginning of some wonderful world where everyone in Iraq is safe and prosperous. But it is a beginning. It's more than they had before. It's better than what they had before. So why is it so hard to believe that some Iraqis would treasure that moment, or that some Iraqis are truly thankful to the United States for ridding them of Saddam? This is the kind of thing that happened under Iraq's previous government: bq. "This is when they brought out his wife, who was five months pregnant. One of the guards said that if he refused to talk he would get 12 guards to rape his wife until she lost the baby. Amer said nothing. So they did. We were forced to watch. Whenever one of us cast down his eyes, they would beat us."

"Amer's wife didn't lose the baby. So the guard took a knife, cut her belly open and took the baby out with his hands. The woman and child died minutes later. Then the guard used the same knife to cut Amer's throat." (Read the rest here) This is what the coalition is taking away from Iraq. What they are giving to them is a chance to live in a place where an incident like that would be unheard of. We have sacrificed the blood of our sons and daughters for that, yes. I know that is what some of you are thinking. But doesn't a peaceful Iraq bode well for our own future? Or were we to let them suffer, die and be buried in mass graves for all of eternity, while their leader plotted and planned to kill us as well? It is interesting to juxtapose the left's feelings about Iraq with their feelings about Sudan. After reading through this DU thread about the genocide taking place in Sudan, I was struck by this post: bq. I've always wished that Africa could deal with its own problems. But since it can't(or won't), we have no choice but to intervene here in some manner. I would personally threaten the Sudanese government with war unless they stopped. Threaten them with war? For the crime of killing their own people? But isn't that what Saddam was doing? Remember those mass graves? But the left will turn that around and say, we went to war over WMD and we haven't found those stockpiles yet. So, because we didn't go to war over what you thought was a good reason, the fact that we stopped Saddam from committing even more genocide doesn't matter? Yet, it matters in Sudan. Why? Why make this about your agenda? Why are the tortured, murderered people of Iraq any less important to you than the dying people of Sudan? And if we do go to war with the Sudanese government and our soldiers die in the process, who will you blame? And what about Iran? They are pushing their limits with the U.S., flaunting their disregard for international law and human rights. You can read about the suppression, oppression, murders, tortures and blatant disregard for human life here. That's not even counting the stories about Iran wanting to build up its nukes. But the people reporting and writing those stories are students and activists. Is someone going to ask how we know they are real? How soon before some loony left site comes up with the theory that activistchat.com is just a big lie, run by some Bush cronies in order to build up a war effort against Iran, which is just part of the Bush administration strategy of wanting to be the ruling overlords of the entire world? Oh, I bet it's out there already. Everything that does not fit their agenda is a lie. Find a happy Iraqi, he must be made up. Find some chemical weapons? They were planted. Saddam captured? Nah, got him in a deal ages ago - that whole capture thing was a set up. Yea, just like the moon landing. It's very easy to get discouraged when you post something positive and the negativity soars through the comments like a freewheeling electric current. Perhaps they have no other recourse. I'm not sure why they do it. I am not here to give you all the news that makes the rounds. If, for a day, a moment or the rest of my blogging life - choose to just pick out the good news and good quotes and put them here, that's my perogative. Enjoy it or don't. I just think it's awfully juvenile of someone to come in here and stomp on the joys and hopes of Iraqis by implying that a) they don't really exist and/or b) their joy is stupid, their hope childish. I want to see what happens if/when we intervene in Sudan and/or Iran. I want to see how the left reacts because it seems to me that they pick and choose the beneficiaries of their "good will" at random. The Iraqi people, their lives and freedom don't matter because it is Bush's war. The people of Sudan matter. I have yet to see the left weigh in on Iran, specifically on the way the mullahs are cracking down on any form of dissent. Honestly, I'm not sure what matters to the left anymore. I'm not sure what they stand for, if anything except Get Bush Out of Office. It's interesting to note how they have embraced Michael Moore when just a year ago, they were calling him a fringe element. Anytime I would mention the left and Moore in the same sentence, I would be taken to task for lumping the loonies in with the more moderate lefties. Suddenly, they are all Moore fans and he is their hero. How did he go from being a fringe moonbat to being embraced by mainstream Democrats, even running politicians? And therein lies the answer to my question on what the left stands for. They don't stand for anything, really. They stand against Bush. Moore gave them F911 and it became ok to call Moore one of their own. And even though the Iraqis are walking towards freedom now, the left won't accept that as good because it is not good for them. Remember that quote from Metafilter I highlighted yesterday? Ugh. Now every time Bush refers to the handover, he'll be able to say "accomplished ahead of schedule." Yea. That about sums it up. The hell with everyone else, we just want to see Bush lose. It's a selfish goal, really. I once was on the left, you know. But back then the left was mostly selfless. It's strange to see what they've come to be.

Early Morning Required Reading

Regular blogging will be a little late today. Meanwhile, please read this article by Robert Stewart about the Iraq handover. Today Iraqis, not a dictator or outside force, are in charge of Iraq. It is a significant day for a nation and a region in need of, and yearning for, self-governance and an unshackling from dictatorships and oppression. I'll have more on this later. Also, please note that Robert Stewart's sister, Jen, who blogs here, will be participating in the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk in July. If you are so inclined, you can still sponsor her. (I also posted about Jen before, here). I'm really, really annoyed about some of the comments here and some other blog reactions to it. Wait for it.

June 28, 2004

Words From Iraqis on This Day

1 bq. Hail our true friends, the Great People of the United States of America; The Freedom giving Republic, the nation of Liberators. Never has the world known such a nation, willing to spill the blood of her children and spend the treasure of her land even for the sake of the freedom and well being of erstwhile enemies. The tree of friendship is going to grow and grow and bear fruit as sure as day follows night. And the people deep down at the bottom of their hearts, they appreciate. Make no mistake about that. The people have voted today, the pulse of the street is clear, without any hesitation I would give 90% of all Iraqis are hopeful and supportive of the new government, and this is a tacit indirect yes to the U.S. which has been the prime mover of all these events. This is what the foolish fail to understand. Why is this a different situation from that for example of a Vietnam? The answer is very simple: Because, the U.S. has achieved something very popular around here; which is the removal of the Saddam regime. Those who are really against the U.S. from amongst the Iraqis have been and remain a small minority; all other forms of resentment are simply disappointment and disgruntlement resulting from the discomfiture of the present situation and will simply disappear with progress and gradual improvement. -- Aala Read the rest. 2 bq. Our hope and our goal is to see the day when we can elect our representatives freely and more important is to be aware that the process is moving as we wish and there will be no room for those who dream of bringing back the past.
I can see only one bright road and I believe that going to the end is worth the sacrifice and we’ll never be discouraged by the dark pictures shown by the evil propaganda machines.
To me, we didn’t get rid of a military occupation today as I never considered the coalition’s presence as an occupation even if the whole world told me that I’m wrong.
Today we were freed for ever from the fear that a man and his family might once again control Iraq. -- Mohammed Read the rest. 3 bq. Thank you united state of America for your great Job you done here . Thank you coalitions forces for you brave work and supporting good. Thank you all Brave mans ,who lost there life here ,your bloods will be the river of hope for us.
Thank you all good friends out there ,thank you for being with us all the way , minute by minute ,day by day ,living our sadness and happiness ,standing beside us ,encouraging us Supporting us ,worry about us ,we always felt that you are there beside us ,with us .
Thank you all brave Iraqis who stand out there to fight for better future and freedom. I will go now to celebrate with all people for this happy moments ,it has been long time since we celebrate . -- Sarmad Read the rest. 4 bq. I hold high hopes in Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and his courageous team. Yes, you could say every negative thing about them. But, those people wake up every morning to go to work not knowing if they'll be alive be end of the day. Cowards don't do that.
Thank you to everyone who helped Iraq since the collapse of Saddam's regime. Thank you to everyone who encouraged the Iraqi bloggers to write their thoughts even when everyone felt down. No, I'm not going to stop blogging. I'm just thankful to the people who read these amateur Iraqi blogs, which represent the new Iraq and its newborn democracy. -- Fayrouz Read the rest. 5 bq. Today is new day and it is a great day for all Iraqis and for freedom lovers. I have been waiting for a day like today for the last twenty two years I have lived here in the states. I as well as so many Iraqis thought we would never see a day like today. However, the day the coalitions decide to proceed toward Baghdad, I thought that is the beginning to a new era. Anyway that is that and we have to look forward and toward the future of Iraq. There are so much potential for Iraq as a country not to mention the people of Iraq. Now they have tasted some freedom they will never let go of it, I am certain of that. I am extremely optimistic about the new government and the new Iraq -- Baghdadi Read the rest.

More Gmail for a Worthy Cause

Come on, you know you want that Gmail account. Gmail is the new black! Having a Gmail account will make you prettier, smarter and get you more booty than Wilt Chamberlain on Viagra. Honest. That's why you need one now. What's that? You can only get one with an invite? Well, then. You are in-vi-ted! All you have to do to score one of these preciousssss invites is donate five dollars or more to the family of Dan Eggers. Full information is on this earlier post. Chris O'Donnell already gave away six. I gave away two. Faith gave out her last invite for this cause. Mary Pat has two to offer. (Mary Pat's invites have been taken) Charlie has a couple to give away. Reader Cobby would like to give you a Gmail account in exchange for you donation, as would Zomby boy. Update: Zomby Boy gave away two of his four invites to donaters. Like I said, it's a very worthy cause. Just go look at the picture of Dan Eggers' son. Bill is keeping his fund drive open until he raises $3,000 for the Eggers family. He's halfway there. Let's help him out. And you can get a cool, hip, sexy Gmail account in return. If you are interested in getting one of the Gmail accounts in return for a donation, just go to Bill's site, hit the donation button and forward your receipt to me. I'll then hook you up with one of the wonderful people who are offering up their invites. Thanks.

Vroom

Don't really know what it's off topic off, as this is a new post and the topic can really be whatever I want it to be. That said, the topic right now is how much I enjoy those motorcycle building shows. All of them. I suppose it's too late in life to become a biker chick, but I don't think biker chick is what I would go for, anyhow. I'm more like the chick who sits home on the couch eating a gallon of ice cream and drinking a bottle of cheap wine while watching guys on tv work on a motorcycle. It's a lot safer than actually being the biker chick as I don't actually have to ride on the bike. Also, you don't need a helmet to eat ice cream. Plus, I really don't look that great in a sleeveless denim jacket, tattoos and leather pants. But I'm real handy with a switchblade. Yea, it's too late to be the biker chick. Which is why I'll just watch tv.

How France Describes One Who Decaptitates Innocent People

If you're one of those people who hate when the words insurgents or resistance fighters is used to describe terrorists, you're gonna love this: From Reuters France, first in French, then translated: A trois jours du transfert officiel de souveraineté, la situation restait très tendue dimanche en Irak, où des activistes menacent de décapiter trois otages turcs... At three days of the official transfer of sovereignty, the situation remained very tended Sunday in Iraq, where activists threaten to decapitate three hostages Turkish... Activists. Activists. I wonder how they will report it when these "activists" take hold of a French soldier in Iraq, I bet..... Oh. Nevermind. via LGF

Gmail Give Away Update

Chris still has four Gmails to give away in exchange for your donation to the Eggers family. Update: Chris only has one none left! Thanks, Chris and all who donated through him. Faith is also offering her last invite in return for a donation. (Update, Faith's offer has been taken. Thank you, anonymous generous person). See here for details. Mary Pat has two Gmail accounts to offer. Charlie also has a few to give away. Please drop a note in the comments or email me if you want to take any of these people up on their generous offers. It's for a good cause.

The Bush Campaign and the Fence Sitters

Maybe in a different year 8% of the people being undecided about who to vote for in a presidential election wouldn't be a big deal. But Rasmussen's latest numbers look like this: That 8% looms large. If the Bush campaign plans on winning this thing, they better start concentrating on those undecided voters. Right now, the Bush ads sing to the choir. They are talking to people who already understand, follow and probably donate to the Bush campaign. The 8% of available voters out there are somewhat different than undecided voters in other elections. The 2004 election seems larger than life simply because we are at war. We are at war in Iraq and we are fighting the war against terrorism. These are the issues that are being addressed every day, in every newspaper, on every talk radio station, on every news channel. We are bombarded with images, sound bites and story upon story and we get it from all sides; war, anti-war, conservative, liberal and everything in between. So who are these undecided voters and why haven't they decided yet, given all the information available to them? They are, of course, the fence sitters and there two different kinds of people that sit on that fence. The first kind - we'll call him Type A- could be swayed to jump off the fence with just a slight push. Even a small breeze could tilt them off to one side. This person is easily swayed by imagery and sound bites; they need no facts, they don't do any research on their own. Words and pictures are presented to them and they take them as fact because they are too lazy or unknowledgeable or gullible to do the work on their own. They want someone to make all their choices for them, so they just sit on the fence and wait to be told what to do. You know this type. They believe all the chain mail they receive. They are often talked into buying things they don't need. These are the people that F911 will sucker in. They will be dragged to the movie by well meaning friends and relatives and they will gasp in all the right parts and come out of the theater believing that George Bush is the devil and Michael Moore is a god, and they most likely will take that to the voting booth with them in November. Notice something missing there? Why, it's John Kerry! Here, we have a voter who is being swayed against a candidate rather than towards a candidate. This voter, who just minutes ago was sitting on that fence, is now standing on the ground where he believes the grass is greener, even though that grass is maybe just painted green. Ask this voter why the other side of the fence is so bad and he'll reiterate everything he just saw and heard. Ask him why the grass is so green on his side and he will only be able to say because it's not the other side. The problem with the Type A fence sitter is that she is fickle. Anything can change her mind. Perhaps one week after seeing F911, she goes out to lunch with a friend who is a staunch Republican. By dessert, the friend has convinced her that Bush is a god and Michael Moore is the devil. Now, she wants to hop onto the other side, because she's sure the grass is just a shade greener over there. And so it will go with Type A until the election. Who gets her vote depends on who she last spoke to before she headed into the booth. It makes no sense to go after their vote. You will never be assured of it, anyhow. The people the Bush campaign should be going after is the Type B fence sitter. This guy needs to be pushed or dragged off the fence. He wants fact and figures, not flashy films or staged press conferences. He gets his news from fifteen different sources. He reads, he digests, he thinks. And right now, he hates both sides. He thinks Bush isn't great with the economy and Kerry isn't great with security. He knows he has to make a decision and it's not going to be Nader. He's not going to be swayed by a negative campaign ad because he already knows what he doesn't like about each candidate. And he's going to wait as long as possible to make his decision. This is the guy Bush needs to talk to. This is who the Bush ads should speak to. Not the fence sitter who changes his mind every ten seconds, depending on who he's having lunch with. Not the fence sitter who can be pushed over the wall by a small touch. He doesn't need to speak to Humpty Dumpty. No, he needs to speak to the guy whose butt is so firmly placed on that wall that it may as well be glued down. The Bush campaign staff needs to find a way to dissolve that glue and get him over the fence. The thing is, this guy is not going to listen if this is what you're saying. And he's certainly not going to be swayed by this: [click for larger image] That's a screenshot of the official Bush campaign site. I see Kerry's name at least four times. I see his face three times. I see six points of negativity towards Kerry. This is a big turnoff for Fence Sitter Type B. This is not going to win him over. The campaign site speaks to those already on the campaign trail. If Bush wants to win over this guy, he needs to choose positive over negative. His campaign staff should be emphasizing Bush's qualitites instead of Kerry's detriments. Like I said, Type B isn't swayed by images or sound bites, but he can be turned away by too many of those things if they are all negative. I think the Bush campaign is speaking to the wrong people. They are speaking to those who already made up their minds. They should regroup, focus on that 8% and the focus even more on those in the 8% undecided group that make up the Type B voters. They have got to sell Bush as a someone to follow over to the other side of the fence rather than selling Kerry as someone to run away from. So far, this looks like it will be a very close election. If the Bush people don't start focusing on the fence sitters, they're all going to be trampling on Kerry's grass come November. These people feel alone and they need someone to cling to. By concentrating on Kerry's negative aspects, Bush and his staff are making this yet another lesser of two evils election. The Type B guy wants a leader, not a lesser devil.

More GMail Invites

eggers.jpg



Chris O'Donnell, in his usual kind and generous manner, has offered up his six remaining Gmail invites to continue with today's offer. Same as before. Donate five dollars or more to the family of Dan Eggers. Forward your receipt to Chris: chrisod@gmail.com. Then Chris will send your Gmail invite. The photo is of Dan Eggers' son, at his father's funeral. Am I tugging at your heartstrings? Damn straight, I am.

[If you have Gmail invites to give away and you want to do it this way, please email me (use the enevlope icon to the left)]

Gmail Invite (Update: All Gone)

Working on a post that may take a while. Meanwhile, I have two Gmail invites left. If you want one of my invites, this is all I ask of you: Give at least five dollars to the family of Dan Eggers. Forward the receipt to me. First two to do so get the Gmail invite. Also, please go over and read this at Silent Running. It's a great post that Wind Rider wrote while he was at my house, so I'll take partial credit for it, just because I gave him the Guinness and Wendy's that fueled his brain power. Seriously, go read it. It's good stuff. Update: The Gmail invites are gone. Thanks to Angie and Matt for making generous donations to the Eggers family. If I happen to get a hold of more Gmail invites, I'll let you know.

Iraqis Control "Their Own Destiny"

bq. At a small ceremony Monday morning inside the heavily guarded Green Zone area of Baghdad, Iraq’s chief American administrator, Paul Bremer, reading a statement, turned over legal documents to interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, officially giving Iraqis long-awaited sovereignty.
“We welcome Iraq’s steps to take its rightful place with equality and honor among the free nations of the world,” said Mr. Bremer. Why wait? Two days early, the handover happens. Congratulations, Iraqis. Update: The moonbats would like to thank Michael Moore and F911 for making today's ceremony happen. Really. Oh, people of Iraq? The liberals over at that link don't seem very happy for you. In fact, they think your freedom is a joke. Isn't that sweet of them? Update: My favorite line so far comes from the Metafilter thread on the subject: Ugh. Now every time Bush refers to the handover, he'll be able to say "accomplished ahead of schedule." posted by scarabic at 12:50 AM PST on June 28 Translate: The hell with you Iraqi people and your damn freedom. If it helps Bush, it disgusts me! Also, it seems pretty clear that the early handover was meant to pre-empt Michael Moore's big news week. Right. Turn the screws on that foil a bitter tighter, guys. It's not working.

June 27, 2004

Things that make you go hmm...

Ok, so let me get this straight. The top selling film at the box office - a film which has made 20 million dollars already - is a purported documentary whose sole purpose is to discredit, disgrace and oust the sitting president. Who is paying to see this film? Why, the very people who cry that America is now a police state where dissent is crushed and our civil liberties have been taken away. Strange, that.

Marine Taken Hostage

I'm covering this at Command Post.

Farenheit 72 over here.

The new found enjoyment of having my own backyard combined with incredibly pleasant weather has kept me from my appointed blog rounds. And so shall it be as long as the weather cooperates. However, I had to stop in to direct you to an astounding review of Farenheit 9/11. Three words: Deep. Fried. Mink. Oh, yea: Matsui!!

Yankee/Met Game: My Just Punishment

Yea, yea. So the Mets won. Listen, I told you that I would probably regret my boasting and goading, but the boasting and goading is half the fun of a rivalry. Anyhow, I was dutifly punished for my sins of arrogance. Witness this short movie from my cousin's graduation party yesterday. This is what I was subjected to for about four straight hours. The ringleader is my father. My sister says I should title this movie Dad and His Mental Equals. Two games today. Bring it, beeyotches.

Sunday prelude (WR)

Yes it's Sunday Morning. No, the free ice cream isn't ready yet. Hey, we're talkin here! I'll let her start posting in a little bit. [posted by Wind Rider] ed note: A reminder: Captain Dan Eggers, Rest in Peace Read Bill's memories of his friend Dan. Then open your hearts and wallets and give to the Eggers family.

June 26, 2004

company's coming!

Hey, I'd love to sit and chat with you about the Yankee game, but I just found out that Mr. Wind Rider is on his way to my little abode right now. Time to break out the whips and chains. No, no. I meant for the kids. To whip them into cleaning the house before WR gets here.

Bush Ad Part 2: Critique

The first post on this subject dealt with Kerry's dishonest reaction to the Bush/Hitler ad. So I get emails asking if I really thought the ad was good enough to defend. I wasn't defending the ad. In fact, I said I didn't like it. I was merely responding to Kerry's response to it. However, I do feel the ad needs critiquing. I've never been a big fan of negative campaign ads. And let's be honest; the Bush is, despite its theme of Kerry supporters being negative while Bush stays optimistic, is, in the end, a negative ad. Campaign ads should focus on the person running for office. They should not focus on opponents. Whenever an candidate issues an ad - be it a presidential race right down to your local school board - that highlights how bad his/her opponent is, it makes me think that the candidate's campaign team cannot present their candidate in a positive light. Why would you spend money to say how bad your opponent is when that money would be better spent telling everyone how wonderful you are? Say we have Candidate A and Candidate B. Candidate A's ad should note even mention B. If Candidate A is running on a theme of positivity and optimism, then that's what the ad should reflect, not Candidate B's negativity. Extoll your own virtues. Share your hopes and dreams for your constituents and tell us how you are going to realize those hopes. Show us your smile, your warm personality. Don't show us Candidate B's scowl. Run on your record. Don't run on your opponent's surliness. Back to the Bush ad: It does little to show me why I should vote for Bush. Using images of Kerry's supporters berating Bush only tells me that Kerry's supporters hate Bush. We know that already. It lends nothing to new to the campaign. And, as if those images of Michael Moore and Al Gore weren't enough, the Hitler imagery is a bit disconcerting. I don't see what this ad accomplishes, except to hammer down an idea that's already beened hammered to death. The ad could be fixed in a few ways. Cut the Hitler images. Splice the images of Kerry supporters with those of Bush supporters saying and doing positive things. After the image of Kerry, show one of Bush being positive and optimistic. A smile on top of some rousing music isn't enough. Show me the money. Let me see Bush being positive right after you show Kerry being negative. Better yet, forget all the negativity. If you want to run a positive and optimistic campaing, can the ads that only serve to show how "bad" the other side is. Don't show the other side at all. Let's see a montage of Bush's positive messages to this country. Let's see him talking about resolve, democracy, peace and prosperity. Let's see him smilikng and shaking hands and being warmy greeted by crowds. Show him giving hope. Show him telling us that he's going to help our dreams be realized. The best ad would be that which never mentioned Kerry or his supporters at all. A candidate should be able to wage a campaign by just showing what he's done and what he's going to do. Don't tell me what Candidate B hasn't done or won't do. Tell me what you are going to do for me. Tell me why I should vote for you, not why I shouldn't vote for the other guy. The fence sitters - and there are plenty of them in this election - will not be swayed by negativity. They will be won over with optimism and postiive messages. The ad gets a D.

Reminder

Just a standard reminder to those who think their puny rebel alliance can do any harm to us. We are the dark empire. We will crush you.

Ridiculous Item of the Day #2: Let's Not Offend Our Enemies!

bq. Israeli-made bullets bought by the U.S. Army to plug a shortfall should be used for training only, not to fight Muslim guerrillas in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. lawmakers told Army generals on Thursday.
Since the Army has other stockpiled ammunition, "by no means, under any circumstances should a round (from Israel) be utilized," said Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, the top Democrat on a House of Representatives Armed Services subcommittee with jurisdiction over land forces. Got that? No Jew bullets! bq. Although the Army should not have to worry about "political correctness," Abercrombie was making a valid point about the propaganda pitfalls of using Israeli rounds in the U.S.-declared war on terror, said Rep. Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces.
"There's a sensitivity that I think all of us recognize," Weldon told the Army witnesses, including Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, who led the U.S. Third Infantry Division that captured Baghdad in April 2003. Yes, we must be sensitive towards the people who are trying to kill our soldiers and the people who are trying to kill innocent Iraqis. It is imperitave that we not offend them with Jew bullets. So, is it ok for the terrorists and insurgents to be shot by Jewish soldiers, or should we put them all in non-combat positions? Just asking.


Spoons has more. So does Allah, who has two great posters to go with the story, including the one pictured right. Silent Running also weighs in. Update: As always, Jeff brings something interesting to the conversation table.


Ridiculous Item of the Day #1: Kerry Hates Hitler!

My daily email from the Bush campaign:
On Thursday, the campaign launched a web video titled Kerry's Coalition of the Wild-eyed. The video featured Democrats who support John Kerry making negative and baseless attacks against the President. Interspersed in the video were segments of two ads that appeared on a website sponsored by MoveOn.org - a group campaigning for Kerry - in January. On Friday night, John Kerry's campaign denounced our use of these ads, and called that use "disgusting." The Kerry campaign says, "The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong."
This can't be right. It's almost funny, it's so disturbing. The Bush people use images of liberals basically associated with the Kerry campaign comparing Bush to Hitler, and Kerry goes off on them for using Hitler images. Does anyone see the dishonesty here? Oh, it gets better. I see now that the Kerry campaign took this to their people in an email, as reported at Oxblog. bq. Yesterday, the Bush-Cheney campaign, losing any last sense of decency, placed a disgusting ad called "The Faces of John Kerry's Democratic Party" as the main feature on its website. Bizarrely, and without explanation, the ad places Adolf Hitler among those faces.
The Bush-Cheney campaign must pull this ad off of its website. The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong. I suppose that included Al Gore and his brownshirts remarks? Everyone knows that one of the main mantras of Kerry supporters is the whole Bush/Hitler comparison. For them to send out this email and feign indignation make both Kerry and his staff look incredibly - and knowingly - dishonest. The fact that they end the email to supporters by asking for money just makes it all the more ridiculous: Hey, Bush said something about Hitler, quick, send us some money! If Kerry truly wants to denounce the use of Hitler imagery, if he truly believes that The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong, then he will denounce those who are even unofficially campaigning for him who have used such images or words. Al Gore. Michael Moore. George Soros. He would also direct his campaign staff to remove the link to Democratic Undeground from his official site, as they folks at DU are some of the most prolific usurpers of the Hitler image in regards to Bush - and most of them are Kerry supporters, using Kerry buttons, stickers and images in their signature lines on those message boards. And let's not forget that Kerry hired Zach Exley to his staff. Zach was formerly head of special projects for MoveOn.org. You know, those people who helped get those Bush=Hitler ads out there. On the Kerry blog, campaign spokesperson Phil Singer issues this statement: bq. The fact that George Bush thinks it’s appropriate to use images of Adolph Hitler in his campaign raises serious questions about his fitness to spend another four years in the White House. Adolph Hitler slaughtered millions of innocent people and has no place in a campaign that is supposed to be about the future and hope of this nation. The President’s use of these images during a month that evoked the memory of World War II is remarkably insensitive to the sacrifices of the millions of people who lost their lives during Hitler’s reign of terror.
“The Bush Campaign should immediately remove these hateful images from its website and apologize for using them. The use of Adolph Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong.” Either they don't get it or, in their rush to smear Bush with something terrible, have eschewed honesty for a quick stab at Bush's campaign. I think I will send an email to Phil Singer explaining to him in as simple terms as I can just what is going on: Kerry supporters liken Bush to Hitler. Bush ad shows Kerry supporters likening Bush to Hitler, to show that Kerry supporters are from the dark side. What part of this do you not get? Hey, but don't forget to send your money to Kerry, kids. Because he vows to keep Hitler out of the campaign! So I'll just sit here and wait for him to denounce every single one of his supporters who have used the image/idea of Hitler and Nazi Germany in describing George Bush and his adminstrations. Waiting..... As far as the Bush ad goes, I don't think it's a very good ad. I see what they were trying to convey, but I think it would have come out better and sent the message in a clearer way if the negativity of the Kerry supporters was interspersed with shots of Bush being positive.

June 25, 2004

link o rama

Moe found out that a local umm....adult establishment is running a voter registration drive. And it looks like some of those dancers are just crazy for Kerry! So Moe is looking for a few slogans that will help Kerry cash in on the new voting niche. Double D's for Democracy! Now, it's time for the 'rama part of link o rama. Want to whore yourself in my comments? Now is the time. Go for it. Any post on any topic. Link away. Hey, wear your digital brown shirt proudly! Make Al Gore smile! bshirt.bmp Update: My pet link of the day: Give to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, via Bill.

Mr. Met, Mr. Vet (and a note to Devil Ray fans)

A note to Devil Ray fans: Your team is only five behind the Red Sox. It would be very smart of you to cheer on the Yanks when they face the Sox this week. If we put all of our good vibes together, we can double whammy Boston with our nefarious groupthink. Meanwhile, Allah sends proof that Mr. Met was indeed Mr. Vet. MrVet.jpg I'm not buying it. Looks to me like he was trying to do the YMCA, not plant a flag. I mean, he might have served, I'm not doubting that. But in what capacity? Entertainment director? And just how old is that deranged bobblehead, anyhow? Update: Those are not the Devil Rays! It's Farenheit 1918!

Rival Week

beatthemet.jpgThus begins quite a week for Yankee fans. Subway Series this weekend and the Red Sox during the week. Will the House that Ruth Built still be left standing at the end of these two series?

I’ve explained the difference between the Yankee/Met rivalry and the Yankee/Boston rivalry before. Or at least my take on it. I hate the Mets with a broad, sweeping hatred that knows no depth nor width. It is endless, black and unforgiving. I hate the Red Sox with a vague sense of loyalty to my team and a certain yawning complacency that comes with having the upper hand in a rivalry for so long.

I do prefer to rumble with Sox fans rather than their Met counterparts. Met fans are like little children. They stick their fingers in their ears when you confront them and they can often be seem having ugly tantrums. They are also less likely to give an inch when discussing baseball. Boston fans will grudgingly admit to the greatness of one Yankee or another. Met fans will chant Jeter Sucks for as long and hard as New York Ranger fans yell chants about retired-ages-ago Denis Potvin. Two peas in a pod, those Met and Ranger fans. Sucks is about as good as their insults get.

Sox fans are good to argue with. They come right at you, they are relentless. And they know how to throw down. I always enjoy a good spar with a Boston fan. A spar with a Met fan just leaves me feeling like I kicked an infant.

So here I begin my ten days (The Yanks head to Shea the weekend after this to finish off the Subway series) of antagonizing Met and Red Sox fans. Sure, the results of either series may cause be a bit of regret in being so obnoxious, but I’m a firm believer in having fun while you can. And this is fun.

  • standard talking shit about the mets disclaimer: This is meant as no offense to two of my favorite Mets fans. There are exceptions to every rule.
  • second disclaimer: Yea, I know that Mr. Met is a vet and fought for this country. Let's try to separate the man from his ugly ass costume, ok? It's a dumb, funny looking mascot.

Something Nice

Now I actually feel good about all the money I've dumped into the Home Depot cash registers since we bought the house. bq. Retailer Home Depot Inc. is donating $1 million in tools and materials to support the U.S. military in Iraq.
The company said it is sending eight truck trailers to the military, filled with 100,000 tools and materials, including shovels, table saws, concrete mixers, safety scaffolding, power generators, light bulbs and jackhammers. The donated goods left San Diego on Thursday.
Earlier this year, the company also donated $1 million, as well as a million volunteer hours by its employees, to help military families repair and maintain their homes while a family member is deployed. The company said it has more than 1,800 employees currently serving in the military effort. It has about 300,000 employees nationwide. Thank you, Home Depot and emplyees.

Our Kids Are Alright. What About Theirs?

Let me tug on your heart strings briefly with some lyrics: You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains; You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas; I am strong, when I am on your shoulders; You raise me up: To more than I can be. (c) Josh Groban [ten second movie of shaky crowd scenes as the class sings the song] As far as pop lyrics go, those are incredibly sappy, the kind of lyrics that make you retch unless you're really drunk or really PMS. But when those words are heard as sung by a choir of 100 fifth grade boys and girls who have dedicated the song to their parents and grandparents and you can actually feel the sincerity flowing out from their voices, I dare you not to cry. Each of the fifth grade teachers yesterday gave a short speech before handing the certificates to each of their students. The principal and vice-principal gave a speech as well. And they each said the same thing, in essence: They are so hopeful for the future of this world because of the potential they see in our children. Their character, thirst for knowledge, respect for each other and work ethic made these teachers and administrators so proud that each of them actually beamed as they glanced out at the children. And the kids beamed back. When those boys and girls stood up to sing the closing song, I had this overwhelming sense of hope. The kids are alright. Like any parent, I worry about the world we are raising our children in. I worry about the future, about safety and terrorism and war. Our kids are growing up with a fear we never knew. Sure, I had the shadow of the cold war hanging over my childhood, but it was almost like fiction. It was a what if scenario, a boogey-man. My kids have seen the towers fall. They have seen a gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon. Fear isn't a mysterious shadow that follows them around. It is a solid, living, breathing monster. Of course, they don't think about it all the time, but it's there. It's there on cloudy days when the planes fly too close for comfort. It's there when the breaking news sound chimes on the television. It's there in their dreams sometimes, and it's there in the poetry and fiction they write. But the fear does not cripple our children. I look at the kids I know and I see a determination to move on, to make things better, to figure out how to make this world work. When I was their age, everyone wanted to be either a fireman or a teacher. These kids want to be leaders. They want to take charge of the world so they can make it peaceful and safe. Being fifth graders, they still have the lofty goals of dreamers; they want to be president. They won't settle for much less. Ask my daughter's peers, the fourteen year old kids, what they want to be and they talk about becoming senators and congressmen. They want to be policy makers. See, the children are our future. Whitney Houston was right about one thing, at least. We have to let them lead us but in order to do that, we have to teach them how to lead. We have to teach them what is important. We have to show them the way. After spending the day yesterday reflecting on those sentiments and resolving to strengthen the ways in which I lead my kids to be honest, caring individuals, I came across this. It appears to be a video of Arab children re-enacting the Nick Berg beheading. This is not the firs time I've seen young Arab children being taught to hate and kill Americans and/or Jews with glee. It won't be the last. But it horrified me so much that took away every ounce of good feeling I had left from the day. Those children are the future. Will they eventually become the adults who go after my own children? Will they one day come to America to fly planes into buildings or set off dirty bombs? So, I am raising my children to want peace, hope and prosperity for all nations, but there are children of other nations being raised to kill, kill, kill. How do we combat that? How can we still have hope for our future generations when our enemies are teaching their own kids to only hope for death to the infidels? Perhaps we cannot win. Not if the bloodlust and violence is handed down like that. Not if it is taught in schools - which was evident in pre-war Iraq, among other places - not if it is taught at Palestinian day camps, not if children are being taught to kill the Jews, kill the Americans, slice their heads off their necks. How do we instill hope in our own kids when it just might be a false sense of hope? What if we manage to take out al-Qaeda, take out al-Sadr's martyrs and instill a beautiful wonderful democracy in both Afghanistan and Iraq, only to have it all undone by the children of those martyrs and killers, who were educated by would-be suicide bombers and hateful murderers? Is this a war that we are destined to fight forever? You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains; You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas; I am strong, when I am on your shoulders; You raise me up: To more than I can be. Perhaps this is all a matter of interpretation. One parent's mountain is another parent's jihad. I raise my children to hope and dream and work for a world where everyone just gets along, as liberal as that sounds. Another parent raises their kid to hope and dream and work for a world where only people like them exist, all others must die. Yes, the children are the future. Not just ours, but these children and these children who are smiling and hopeful and no longer being taught to hate. At this point, I can only hope that there are more like you and I than there are like the others, that our children's dreams will somehow outweigh the nightmare visions of children indoctrinated with murderous lessons. Peace. Prosperity. Hope. Of course that's what we all want for our kids. So how do we reconcile that with what they want for their kids? Or are we destined to fight this war of ideas and civilizations forever? a few end notes, below end notes:
1. Pre-emptive arguments, to keep the trolls at bay: I am not saying all Arab children are raised like that. I know that's what some of you will take out of this, because you tend to leap before you look. It should be pretty apparent that I am talking about those being raised jihad-style.
2. I am well aware that their are children right here in America being taught to hate. It makes me sick to see kids raised in KKK style families. The fact that they at least aren't being schooled in how to behead a Jew doesn't really make their lifestyle any more palatable.
However, I am also saddened to see there are people raising their kids to hate their own country, before they have even had a chance to make up their own mind about it. Let your children live their own lives, let them decide for themselves whether or not our country is comparable to Hitler's Germany or old school Russia. Teaching them hatred for their own country and its president and to hate conservatives and Republicans and, in some cases, soldiers, at such an early age really makes you no better than the folks raising their kids to hate blacks or Jews.
I've got two kids. One is a vegetarian liberal who will probably join PETA some day. The other has a Bush-Cheney pin on his backpack. Kids are able to form their own opinions without your indoctrination, which is really dishonest to your children's best interest. Which is all just my opinion.

June 24, 2004

Have A Drink On Me

algorebitter.jpg Blah blah blah viaJeff

The ASV Clip Show

What a busy week. I was going to apologize for the lack of posting, but Treacher told me to never apologize for not blogging and I generally find it good practice to listen to him.

So I was going through my archives from the wayback machine. Thank jeebus for that thing. There's so much from this site (pre-asv domain) that I just didn't have. I'm trying to copy everything from archive.org over to Notepad so I can finally have full, complete archives.

In the process, I came across a few things I had been looking for, and some I had forgotten about. There are a lot of you who weren't around in the early days, so maybe you'll enjoy these. Let's face it, I have zero blogging mojo tonight. Hey, it can be like a clip show! If The Simpsons can do it, so can I. So welcome to the first ASV clip show/flashback episode.

The first is a conversation I overheard a few years ago (and the post I was specifically looking for), brought to mind when Lileks penned this column at the Backfence. He wanted to know the things that "get your goat."

So I poked around trying to find this post, which I did not find, but did now. Anyhow.

(Sept 2001) Overheard at the PTA conference today:

lady1: man, that really gets my goat.
lady 2: you don't have a goat
lady 1: what?
lady 2: you said it gets your goat. you don't have one. and even if you did, why would anyone want it?
lady 1: christ, it's a figure of speech
lady 2: yea i know. But..goats. you know?
long pause
lady 1: man, that really gets my tits

Speaking of overheard conversations, this is one of my favorites:

(Oct 2001)

Conversation overheard between a kindergarten boy and his father, while waiting for DJ to come out of school:

Dad: What did you do today?
Boy: The same. Looked out the window.
Dad: What did you see?
Boy: The same. Giraffes.
Dad: What were they doing?
Boy: The same. Eating the clouds.
Dad: (silence)
Boy: That's why it was nice out today. I made them eat all the clouds.
Dad: Good boy.

And this conversations:

woman 1: this coffee is giving me a stomach ache
woman 2: go poop. you'll feel better
woman 1: yea. I'm gonna go drop some bombs on Afganhistan. Be back in a few.

Ah, I found the Price Club episode called Killing the Queen. I added it to the Best of ASV by posting it as a backdated entry. Oh. Lightbulb. I can do that with all of them!

Ok, I was just kidding about the clip show. This is all I'm going to subject you to.

A Word of Thanks to the Blogosphere On My Son's Graduation Day

It's a big day in the ASV household. DJ graduates from elementary school today. Now, you might not think that graduating from fifth grade is all that big a deal, but it is to us, because DJ is putting behind him a lot of bad experiences when he walks out the door of his school today. Most of you went through DJ's experience with him. The Bully. The big problems came last year and the beginning of this year, but there were a lot of smaller instances in the years before leading up to the fourth and fifth grade battles. So, on this day, I would like to thank all of you for your assistance during the bully era. It was through your advice and support that I was able to tackle the problem with the school in a way that resulted in the situation being resolved in the best manner. There was personal advice, legal advice and the imporant advice of those who had been through the same situation themselves. When I confronted the principal, I was armed with enough information to not feel intimidated into letting the problem go. But you helped me with more than that. Those of you with stories of your own to tell taught me how to help DJ handle the situation. Your advice was invaluable. The retelling of your bad experiences (and I appreciate how hard it was for some of you to write those memories down) helped a young child get through his own bad times. Oh, yes, it helped his mother as well. An update is in order, I suppose. Fifth grade started out horribly, but ended up on a good note. DJ learned not only how to face his bully, but how to turn him into a friend instead of an ememy. That did wonders for his self confidence and he was able to form more friendships instead of shying away from the other boys in his class. He finished the year by being voted the MVP Athlete by his classmates. He has dozens of friends, most of whom, in a wonderful coincidence, live on our new block. I don't know how this all would have turned out if it were not for the amazing support I received from the blogging community. Thank you for making my son's year turn out so well and thank you for helping me turn him from a small, scared boy into a happy, self confident one. When DJ heads up to the stage today to collect his diploma, I'll be applauding not just my son and all the hard work he put into making this year work for him, but you all as well, for giving me the groundwork to help him make that happen. Thank you. Some of the entries about the bully: How to grow a bully The Bully Returns

June 23, 2004

request: rock and roll lullabyes

Remember Dave from Sketches of Strain? Dave doesn't blog anymore because he he's been busy making music. And now his old label has been talking to him about doing an album of lullabyes. He says every band has at least one great lullyabye. bq. me about doing an album of great lullabies. Every rock band has one. We're not looking for classics like, "Hush little baby/Don't say a word/Blah Blah Blah..." It would be a song of lullabies Moms we know would like to sing, like "MLK" by U2" or "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan. So he's asked me to ask you: What are some great rock and roll lullabyes (or is that lullabies?) I told him that you would supply many answers to this question. Because you will. By the way, Dave says hi to those who wonder about him. He's doing great; singing, writing songs and getting ready for grad school. He sends his love along with this request.

here, there, everywhere

Middle School Graduation Day - 2004 - Nat (right) and friend Kayla. One down, one to go. Tomorrow DJ leaves elementary school behind and in September I'll have to deal with a double bout of new school trepidation. But for now, summer awaits us. Glorious summer with its long days and sweltering temperatures and 5 million species of bugs. Yay. Interesting aside about the AP article (you know, the one that stated my age as 31!!): I've received several emails from virtual strangers who saw the article at one place or another. One person grew up in my town back in the 40's and wants to know how the town is doing. Another went to high school with me. Another thinks we may be related. I'm just wondering if Dave the Van Man is going to call. It's been very cool to get most of these emails. I guess that the ridiculousness of writing about a site in an online article but not linking the site doesn't stop some people from using good old Google to find the site in question. I have some blog catching up to do so this post was just supposed to be a quickie to say congrats to my getting-older-by-the-minute daughter. But I'm kind and caring, so I'll share with you the two things I did get around to reading today, both of them brilliant in their own way. Bill gives another course in Moonbattery 101. It features two other bloggers, burritos, Peter Fonda and some classic moonbat scenarios. Gerard Vanderleun is a must read today. Sample from his biting piece of satire, Berners-Lee: Internet 2 Will Deploy Ahead of Schedule, Winer to Own 1: bq. In the second announcement, and more exciting announcement, Tim Berners-Lee said that the old Internet was being given to Dave Winer, of Userland fame. "From this day forward," Berners-Lee said, "Dave will own Internet 1, and all sites therein. Dave will immediately be granted root access to all servers, and will be allowed to decide who can be on his Internet, and what they will be allowed to say. As a provision of this grant, Dave understands that he not be allowed on Internet 2 at all." The next sentence is killer. I'm pretty behind in my blog reading this week. If you've got a good link, drop it in the (now perma-linkable) comments. Oh. Analog Mouse lead me to this great link: Heavy metal wear for babies. My favorite: Two Minutes to Bedtime. Update: Rather Biased (which should be on your list of reads) confirms a scoop: bq. In an interview, CBSNews.com sales director David Ghiraldini verified the existence of the relationship but declined to discuss the partnership or its ethical ramifications for a news organization profiting from the sale of controversial political books, especially since CBS News isn't known for being particularly friendly with conservative authors. Also: Pop-Up Jihad.

More Than a Feeling

Allah said in the comments last night (see how handy the new comment permalink has become already!):

I've always pictured you that way. Late 1970s, beat-up car, proto-Benatar haircut, maybe a cigarette between your lips -- and "More Than a Feeling" coming through so damn sweetly on the 8-track.
Sometimes I imagine you're wearing a baseball shirt with a decal of the Boston album cover on it. It depends.

bostonshirt.jpgWell, I didn't drive until 1980 (didn't turn 18 until summer after graduation), but Allah sort of sums it up.

First car: 1973 Oldsmobile Omega. Beat up, dented and a hideous shade of space-age blue. I think I did a pass on the Benatar haircut, as she had that frizzy/curly Flashdance thing going on in 1980 (three years before Flashance even came out. Trendsetter!). What I was going for was pure Joan Jett, which was really like a feminine version of the Joey Ramone cut. I guess it worked because people often told me I looked just like Joan Jett. Although if they were really drunk, they mistook me for Joey Ramone.

Damn, I was so cool with those bangs plastered down to my face, cemented there by virtue of hair gel or, when the hair gel was empty, toothpaste. Yes, toothpaste. Did wonders for that sleeked down look. Interestingly enough, in the mid 80's toothpaste would be used to spike up hair, ala Billy Idol. Such a versatile product. Did you know that you could use white toothpaste to remove green ice pop stains from your kitchen counter? I kid you not.

Big digression. Sorry.

Anyhow. I was a big fan of the baseball jersey band tees. They made up about 90% of my wardrobe. I loved the way the iron-on pictures would crack after two or three washing, giving the shirt that lived-in look so no one would ever guess that you were a new (poser) fan of a band; the cracks in the shirt made it seem like you were there from the early days. You know, back when Joan Jett was a Runaway. Even though the only thing you knew about the Runaways was from the gossip you read about them in Cream Magazine, because there wasn't a record store within forty miles that sold that kind of music. Heavy metal? Yep. Disco? Sure. Bleach blonde tough chicks? Think of the children!! Damn. Cherrie Curry, Joan Jett and Lita Ford. I know some men who would give up their lives for a few minutes alone with that trio.

Where was I? Oh, the car. Granted, the Omega wasn't such a "cool" car but that's ok, because it didn't last long. When I was teaching my younger sister how to drive, she obviously forgot that a red light means you should stop, so she did not stop. Unfortunately, the woman coming at us from the right knew very well that her green light meant go and go she did. Right into us. We held a dignified memorial service for the Omega and I held a grudge against my sister for years.

Oh, I was wearing a ZZ Top baseball jersey the day the Omega was murdered.

I actually did have a jersey with the Boston album cover on it. It was one of those thick, cumbersome iron-on decals. Not the kind that cracked easily; it was the kind that never faded, never wore out. When you moved, the decal moved, as if it were an entity apart from the shirt. When you sat down, the decal would cause your shirt to sort of pop out, so it looked like you had boobs at your midriff. I could often be seen trying to push the decal part of the shirt up a bit, so I would appear to have some kind of bosom. I teased the boys with the warped spaceship of the Boston album cover. Anyone trying to cop a feel would only get a handful of iron-on.

Yea, I had no boobs back in the day. They used to call me flatsy, which was better than what they called my neighbor, who also had no boobs to speak of (hey, she's a carpenter's dream: flat as board and easy to screw!). Well, that was in junior high and my neighbor eventually grew a nice set of ta-tas that looked suspiciously like wadded up tissues. Me, I waited until the 90's to get my share of breasts, after I had kids. I might have been a really late bloomer, but at least I didn't go by the name Kleenex for years.

So what does all this have to do with anything? Nothing, really. Just reminiscing and wondering if it's too late in life to go get that Joan Jett haircut again.

site note

You now have the ability to link to individual comments, in case you want to single out a particular commenter for his/her brilliance and/or moonbattery. However, in the process of installing the proper code, I messed something up so now some of the comments are bold and I'll be damned if I can figure out what the hell happened. Take the good with the bad. You get comment permalinks (as requested by millions!), but the annoying bold will stick around a while.

June 22, 2004

hope dangles on a string

Very, very busy at work today, hence the light posting. Came home and decided to have family time at the mall tonight, where we spent four hours feeding the economy. We are such good Americans. Well, I'm trying to justify the money we spent tonight, so humor me. I have some really important things to do right now. Like download a few of these. Random thoughts: I've been playing with the Leftinator, which just cracks me up, yet saddens me at the same time when I realize that there are people who write paragraphs just like this - and mean it. bq. Clearly, Colin Powell's parade of lies is solid evidence of the flagrant lies promulgated by the political donor class. Presumably, Bush’s argument for war brings about a McCarthyism which threatens everything we hold dear. Perhaps for the first time since the late 1940s, the pro-Sharon neoconservative cabal brings forth the police state which has come to pass. It appears that the influence of Leo Strauss leads our attention to the final subjugation of the Middle East, beginning with the $90bn invasion of Iraq. Heh, I think someone left this as a comment over at Jeff's. After the dreaded news today, I kept thinking where do we go from here? Which was a mistake, as I spent the rest of the day with Axl Rose's voice singing where do we go, where do we go now, where do we go (ayayayayayayayayayay). Please. Make it stop. So I'm really liking that Franz Ferdinand song. See also, Velvet Revolver, Jet, Dashboard Confessional and Brand New. Before you go and say anything about my "modern" musical tastes (because everyone knows I'm an old fart, I'll have you know that I was rockin' out to Boston in the car on the way home from the mall. I know my kids and husband were snickering, but they just don't understand what the classic in classic rock means. But the thing about Boston is, it just doesn't sound right if it's not on 8 track. As for the rest of the world: Hope dangles on a string Like slow spinning redemption Winding in and winding out The shine of it has caught my eye

Hostage Murdered

The South Korean hostage has been killed. Kim Sun-il was 33 years old. He had three college degrees. He had a family and many friends who remember him as a determined, quiet man. Kim Sun-il was a victim of the war on terror, a victim of the enemy we must defeat. Faster, please. [My leftie readers may now commence with the "He was killed because......" cliches]

Indifference

First, let's talk about context. Two different sites linked to this post of mine (no, I will not do those sites the favor of giving links. They both seem a bit obsessed with me, one to the point of frightening me just a bit). In their rants against me, the authors of both sites choose to sift through my words and come up with something palatable to their readership, if not entirely true. What they refer to is this passage: bq. Right now, in my anger, I want to go to war with the entire Middle East, save Israel. I want to annihilate them. I know it is unreasonable and I know it isn't right. I know it's a horrible thought, but it's there, at the tip of my brain, trying to get me to shout it out to the world. Kill. Them. All. They did not reference the rest of the post at all, which would have given their readers a better feel for my anger and a sense of how raw it was at the time I wrote that. Both authors also chose to gloss right over the fact that I admitted the thought was horrible and unreasonable. Perhaps these two men have never had a gut reaction to terrorism like I have. In fact, I'm willing to bet they never had a reaction like mine at all because, judging from their sites, we're only getting what we deserve. Perhaps I might have stayed at their sites and argued my position in the comments, if not for the tone. One site's author and commenters are so hateful towards me there's just no point in trying to defend myself. The other author, who once declared that he was devoting his entire blog to disseminating my words, parlays his rant against me into a rant against Jews and Christians and, well, I lost interest in what he had to say pretty darn quick. He also says this when he links to me: Anyone who claims that anti-Semitism, religious intolerance and extremism are basic tenets of Islam is talking out of their ass. Well, I never said that. I have said over and over again that the so-called religion the terrorists of the Middle East are practicing is a warped, twisted version of Islam, defined to their own benefit. But don't let that stop you from your baseless conjecture, Josh. He also accuses me of "murderous indifference" because (and I don't know he comes up with this idea): bq. She's harboring that belief that seems so common to Americans, that the United States is an indestructible giant; that other countries only exist because we allow them to exist and that all sovereignty but ours is conditional on our approval. Michele reacts to every headline as if her reaction to the death of an American is somehow more significant than the reaction of an Iraqi woman to the death of one of her countrymen. I hope you are reading this Josh. Read it very slowly, one word at a time and try to comprehend. This is a personal weblog. I write about my personal feelings. I have never interviewed an Iraqi woman about the death of an Iraqi because I am here. Home. In America. I am not a roving reporter and I am not required to seek out and publish all aspects of a story. This is a place where I note my reactions to what's happening in my small world. That does not make my reactions any more important than someone else's. It just makes them visible. I think - and I've said this before - that Josh and his kind are in a state of denial about the war on terror. They see the war on terror as something we started. They see us as the aggressor and enemy. They see us attacking other nations, they do not see us defending ourselves against terrorists. You and I see a war against the kind of people who would fly fully loaded airplanes into tall buildings; they see it as the U.S. oppressing a religion. It's a shame, really. When Joshua accuses me of murderous indifference and then says that "Michele and her kind" are throwing punches that will drag this conflict on and on, I bite my lip in frustration. I see it the other way. When I see people who side with the terrorists, people who think that the car bombers in Iraqi are just innocent people defending their homeland, people who think that Palestinians have the right to walk onto school buses and blow them up, people who think America brought 9/11 upon themselves, I see what I think are the people who are dragging this conflict on.; people who do not recognize a war, who are blind to the fact that there are several groups of zealots out there who want us dead. I really want to know what Joshua means by murderous indifference, though. That's sticking in my craw a bit. Donald Sensing wrote a great piece on ways the war on terror could end. He lists four different scenarios. Basically: * We win and democracy prevails in the Middle East * The terrorist win and radical Islam prevails in the Middle East, which now absent Israel. * A massive attack on the U.S. prompts an all out war * The war on terror drags on forever, with nobody winning or losing At the end of Donald Sensing's post, he states: Does anyone doubt we must win this war? And does anyone still doubt that we really are at war? I can answer those questions for you . Yes and yes. One could surmise that even the "esteemed" members of the 9/11 commission fail to realize the extent of the war we are waging; that there are those who do not realize what could happen if we didn't continue this fight. And it's not just a fight with Iraq - anyone who thinks Iraq encompasses the entire war of terror is not paying attention. Witness Iran: bq. Some people remember that the folks running Iran today were the "students" who seized the U.S. embassy in 1979 and held 52 American men and women hostage for more than a year, while President Carter fiddled. Witness Saudi Arabia: bq. Al-Qaeda says it got help kidnapping American contractor Paul Johnson the New Jersey man from people inside the Saudi security forces.
The militants say sympathizers gave them uniforms to help them capture the American. And witness countries who continually wage war against their own: bq. The longer the warfare is allowed to continue, the more a next-few-months mass starvation scenario is locked into place by a combination of public health conditions, and logistics limits on delivering aid during the monsoon season when roads become impassible. This deadly scenario, I believe, is exactly what the government of Sudan wants: Having cleared thousands of square miles and burned hundreds of villages of black Africans, it now hopes to starve the victims so they can never return to claim their land and reestablish their families. Is Darfur not part of the war on terror? I would think it is. Genocide is just another form of terrorism. And you can bet your last American cent that we would suffer the same fate as those in Darfur if our enemies have their way. If we are going to fight the war on terror, we have to fight it for everyone, not just us. But first, we must all recognize that such a war exists. And then, we must all agree that the war needs to be won. That it even comes into question is deplorable. And it does come into question. There are those who dismiss the war on terror. As stated above, there are those who think we are evil aggressors. There are those who would put a halt to this important war we are fighting. And they say I am guilty of murderous indifference? Perhaps they are guilty of projection.

June 21, 2004

fever dreams

Still here, still alive, mostly. Diagnosis: bronchitis and a sinus infection. I haven't looked at the news much today so I've gotten nothing for you there. In fact, all I've got right now is fever dreams that inlcuded Atrios, the Olsen twins and a flapping, giant bird with wings made out of plastic tiles. That could be easily explained by the noise the damn plastic vertical blinds we inhereted with the house make when the wind blows. And the wind has been blowing something fierce today. So the clack-clack-clack of the flapping vertical blinds turned into the clacking of giant bird wings in my dream. As for Atrios and the Olsen twins, some things are better left unanalyzed. I think I'll do a double dose of NyQuil now in an effort to just black out and not dream at all. I shudder at the thought of repeating that one scene with Ashley and Atrios and the bird's beak....

request

If anyone out there is a WSJ subscriber and can send me a copy of today's article on Eliot Spitzer and Paxil, I'd be ever so grateful. Update: Got it! Thanks to everyone who sent me the article. As promised, I am ever so grateful. More on Spitzer v. Paxil later, if I can gather up the mental energy needed.

Birthdays and Broken Bodily Functions

I'm sick. That hacking cough, burning chest, can't decide whether I'm freezing or burning up kind of sick. The kind of sick that says Everybody feel sorry for me as I lay here on the couch coughing up a lung and drowning in wadded up tissuesl Except no one will come near me. I am a leper. I haven't been sick since I had mono back in January. So of course, following the standard rule of my life which states that All Matters Will Be Complicated, I have to use a sick day on a week in which I already need to take two days off. Can't miss the kids' graduations, even if I have to stand in the back of the auditorium and run out to the lobby every time another piece of my lung wants to work its way up my throat. If today is the first day of summer, then it must also be my baby sister's birthday. The "baby" turns 35 today. So, in the same week that my son gradutates from elementary school and my daughter graduates from middle school, my little sister turns an age that sounds very adult like. 34? Eh, still a kid. 35? Hey, here's that AARP application! Now trade in those Judas Priest albums for some Barry Manilow. And put away the Playstations, for crying out loud. Don't you have better ways to spend your time? Like watching repeats of the Lawrence Welk show? I think if my sister and I combined the respective ages of our general maturity level, we still wouldn't reach adulthood. So I'm not really worried about her giving up her soul to the old age devil today. In fact, she'll probably even deny getting older. Besides, if we go by the AP article, she'd only be 24. Anyhow, nothing like some milestones to start off your summer with the image of a cane and housecoat hanging over your head while you're laying on the couch unable to muster up the strength to call in sick. I'm not sick, I'm just old! That revelation causes me to check my boobs. Whew. They aren't saggging down to my knees. I knew my grandma was old when she needed a sling intstead of a bra. Looks like I'm still in bra country. And I haven't developed that baggy chicken skin under my arms yet. Sure, grandma was about 70 when that happened to her, but when you're 41 and feeling the start of menopause already, 70 may as well be 50. I decided not to tackle any news right now. I don't have the mind for it. Nor do I have a stronge enough constitution today to put up with the backlash that comes from blogging about the news. Odds are good that someone will drop a comment on this post asking why I'm not writing about this or that, the this or that being something the commenter believes I am just not devoting enough time to so therefore I must not care about it. I've a form email ready for that, which states that when the commenter in question pays me to cover the news that he or she wants printed, reviewed and disseminated, then I'll be happy to cover the beat they have assigned me. Otherwise they will just have to settle for five paragraphs about a chest cold and old age. Happy Birthday, little sis. You're really lucky I don't have the energy to dig up baby pictures of you.

June 20, 2004

All Good Things Come to an End

And so, DJ"s baseball season is over. An 8-6 loss, compounded by his striking out three times today, has not left my son in a very good mood. Good for me that he's at his father's house now, eh? This was definitely the most enjoyable Little League season we've experienced since DJ has been playing. His team had a great year, he had a great year and his coaches were absolutely wonderful. We're already looking forward to the fall league. Thanks to everyone who cheered DJ and his team on this year with me. Update: This AP article about bloggers covering the conventions states my age as 31, so I won't even bitch about the fact that these articles never link to the sites they write about it and that the reporter pulled one sentence out of a half hour conversation. 31! I just lost ten years!

Cheering Section

We'll be at the World Series today, watching DJ's team play for their league's title. Go Red!

Father's Day

Previous tributes: My father. Also here (from 6/01). Grandpa Joe Grandpa Al That's DJ with Justin, from Father's Day last year. It's taken some time, but my husband has finally found his step-parenting groove. And the kids have found their step-child groove (I guess you can say I warmed them up for their father's fiancee). Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Don't forget you have to wear whatever silly ties your kids buy you.

All Apologies

I did apologize. Right here. I said I was sorry for using the word whores. Most of the nasty mail and various trackbacks - even some comments - I am getting on the subject have one specific and important thing wrong. I was referring to people who hosted or posted the pictures. I never said anything about linking to. My harsh feelings about this stem from the bad taste left in my mouth after Nick Berg was murdered. The resulting chest beating over big hit counts from some bloggers who hosted the video made me sick. Some people have one reason for posting pictures of Paul Johnson or Nick Berg. Some people have other reasons. Perhaps I should have been more specific, but I swear it was not five minutes after Drudge first posted those pictures that I saw one blogger hosting them and got an email from another blogger talking about his sudden surge in hits from people looking for beheading pictures. I definitely made some broad suggestions with my post. But a lot of people made broad suggestions in their emails and their own posts about it. My words were meant to be a stab at those who hosted the Nick Berg video and then bragged about their stats for days after. It was a pre-emptive strike against those who were planning on doing the same thing with photos of Paul Johnson. I understand why some people felt the need to post the pictures or the Berg video. But this is the internet. You have to understand that mostly, you are not catering to people who need to be woken up by being shown the savagery of our enemies; you are catering to those who will find you through Google, the people with nothing but ghoulish intentions. I hope it's a bit clearer as to what I was angry about, what I was reacting to, and who the words were aimed at. And I do apologize if anyone's feelings were hurt because I wasn't specific enough about it. I do hope the right people see this. Never try to write something like that when you are livid. It will never come out right and you will end up with a few less friends than when you started.

June 19, 2004

oh, the irony

Conversation, two minutes ago, my living room: Me: Nat, I told you ten minutes ago to go make your bed and clean your room. We have to go out soon. Nat: Hold on. I just have to finish this. Me: I said NOW. Nat. MooOOOoom, this is realllly, reallly important! Me: I'm sorry, but updating your blog should be pretty low on your list of priorities right now. Nat: You have no clue, mom. Me. Right.

mmmm...father's day


I'm not in the mood for arguing politics and war today. So, in honor of Father's Day, some quotes from my favorite tv father. Hopefully, this quotes will prove once again that Homer, while a buffoon at times, had his childrens' best interests at heart. Well, at least he was honest about his feelings. And he dispensed some stellar advice.





* I won't lie to you, fatherhood isn't easy like motherhood * Lisa, vampires are make-believe, like elves, gremlins, and eskimos * Marge, don’t discourage the boy. Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals … except the weasel. * Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose... it's how drunk you get." * Homer: Bart, a woman is like a beer. They look good, they smell good, and you'd step over your own mother just to get one! * I've learned that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead. * When will I learn? The answer to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle, they're on TV! * And there's nothing wrong with hitting someone when his back is turned * Because sometimes the only way you can feel good about yourself is by making someone else look bad. And I'm tired of making other people feel good about themselves! * I want to share something with you: The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here. Homer: Okay, I'm never going to win Father of the Year. In fact, I'm probably the last guy in the world to have kids... wait, let me rephrase that. I love my kids. I'd do anything for Bart and Lisa. Judge: And Margaret? Homer: Who? Lady, you must have the wrong file. Marge: She's talking about Maggie. Homer: Oh! Maggie. I've got nothing against Maggie.

June 18, 2004

in other words

In re the post below: I regret my useage of the word whores and I apologize for that. Everything else I said still stands. In better news, DJ's team won tonight and they are going to the World Series. A little sunshine now and then is relished by the wisest men. To paraphrase. (by the way, I stole the keys to Andy's blog tonight)

Notice

To bloggers who are posting photos of Paul Johnson's body: Do not ask me to link to them. Not only will I not link to you, but I am going to say something that will piss a lot of people off: You are whores. There is no reason to post these pictures or host them. Wasn't Nick Berg enough? I almost understood then, that people needed to see the capability of evil. Great, we saw it then. It's no different now. I cannot fathom any reason for hosting these pictures except for the rise in stats. It is ghoulish. What difference will a picture of another dead American do? What purpose does it serve? None that I can see. From Drudge on down, you all are all snuff vendors. Enough already. Go ahead and blast away. I honestly Do. Not. Care. I am going to my son's Little League playoff game where I will dispel this aura of disgust that surrounds me right now. See also: Commisar, Karol and Stephen Green who has the right idea: bq. Looking for the Paul Johnson video? You'll find this one more informative. It shows how our enemies treat each other. Doesn't take much imagination to figure out what they'd do to us, given the chance. And you know what else? I'd be willing to pay ten dollars a gallon or ride a bicycle to work if it means we get the hell out of Saudi Arabia for good.

Meeting Despair At The Corner

I am incredibly despondent right now. I am also very angry. That is not a good combination. I am rounding a dangerous corner, one I've been approaching since Nick Berg's head was sliced off like that of an animal. Oh, hell. I've been approaching it since before that. I've probably crawled a bit closer every time a school bus exploded in Israel. What do we do? How do we stop this? Right now, in my anger, I want to go to war with the entire Middle East, save Israel. I want to annihilate them. I know it is unreasonable and I know it isn't right. I know it's a horrible thought, but it's there, at the tip of my brain, trying to get me to shout it out to the world. Kill. Them. All. In an hour or so I might feel different. I might not. The residual anger over Nick Berg stayed with me a for a while. Each time something like this happens, the anger dissipates slower and leaves a shadow behind. How long before the shadow is all that's left? I do not blame America. I do not blame George Bush. I blame people who have taken a religion and distorted, warped and molded it to fit their own homicidal, ugly needs. They have bloodlust. And that bloodlust has been handed down from father to son, and the resulting butchery of Islam is handed from mother to daughter and murder and justified barbarism goes on and on. I do not blame Bush, just as I do not blame Clinton, Bush I or Carter. I do not blame America. But that is what they want and by telling you that their cause in murdering Nick Berg and Paul Johnson, among many others, has anything to do with Iraq they are force feeding you the lie that America is to blame. Some of you are eating that crap up like it's a decadent dessert. Spit it out. It's poison. They want you to believe that they really care about Abu Ghraib. They don't. It's just an excuse to get you to hate yourself the way they hate you. You should all be taking this very personally. Because it was personal. They would kill you just as swiftly as they killed Paul Johnson. I know I am not rounding this corner alone. We're an angry mob, aren't we? And quite helpless, which makes us despair even more. I'm going to repeat what I wrote yesterday and I'll repeat it every day if I feel it's needed: Wake up, America. Just wake the hell up.

Bastards

They killed him. bq. Terrorists in Saudi Arabia reportedly have carried out their threat and beheaded American hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr., the Arab satellite network Al-Arabiya reported Friday. And why? Why do they do what they do and why do they get support from so many of their fellow Muslims? bq. People living in the districts, which lie in western and southern Riyadh, suggested that the kidnappers enjoy popular support, partly because of U.S. policy in Iraq and its perceived backing for Israel.
"How can we inform on our brothers when we see all these pictures coming from Abu Ghraib and Rafah," Muklas Nawaf, a resident of Dhahar al-Budaih...."This is not a little skirmish. It is a war," Nawaf said. Damn straight it's a war. And their cover that it has anything to do with Abu Ghraib is a flimsy lie, an opportunistic grab at rationale. They've been at war with us for ages and the war just claimed another innocent victim. This is not about Iraq. This is not about George Bush. It's about America and it's about a deformed religion. When they beheaded Paul Johnson, they were aiming at you and I also. You'd do best not to forget that. My condolences to the Johnson family. I cry for your loss.

Well, Well, Well, My Michel(l)e

Never before have I had the opportunity to use Guns n Roses lyrics in two consecutive posts! And I have Commissar to thank for this. He compares me to (or is that contrasts with) one of my favorite people, Michelle Malkin. [see full chart here] I wish he didn't use the Sox cap photo. I'll have to dig up another one for him. Even if it's an old one that makes me out to be better looking than I am because competing with Malkin in that department is a lose/lose situation. Honestly, I don't care if people know that Michelle is sexier than I, I just don't want people to mistake me for a Boston Red Sox fan. Anyhow, Commissar makes a compartive chart and also says: bq. These twins, this pair, almost defy description. They are as Yin to the Yang of the frothy, barely nubile, blond Olson Twins, these two serious, maternal, brunette provocateurs of the Right. The MMolson Twins, perhaps? I do think that Da Commissar is too generous, though. Michelle is obviously sexier, smarter and a better writer than I, but I'll believe the Commissar's hype for today at least. Wonder twins activate!

I ain't got time for the game

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Russia gave the Bush administration intelligence after the September 11 attacks that suggested Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was preparing attacks in the United States, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. ... "After Sept. 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, the Russian special services, the intelligence service, received information that officials from Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States and outside it against the U.S. military and other interests," Putin said.
That's Putin, who opposed the war in Iraq and therefore has no self-serving reason to be propping up Bush at the moment. Yet, the typical response from the left: Putin is lying. It seems to me that every time something comes out in the press that might stick a pin in one of the lefts' balloons, they trot out the same line: It's a lie. No refutation, no back up, no facts to support their theory. Oh, that's not true. He's making it up. It's a lie. Don't believe it. And, of course, liars are terrible, immoral people. Unless you're Bill Clinton. Then your're admired. My patience is gone. This would not be a good day to antagonize me. Just saying.

Collusion

Cox & Forkum I could have written a 500 word essay on this subject today, but C&F covered it pretty succintly.

thinking out loud. again.

Quick rush of a post, more blogging later after this busy morning winds down. [Thanks to everyone who answered my questions on this post about the planes. You were all most helpful and informative.] I'm just sitting here wondering why there is an American in Saudi Arabia whose captors claim they will kill him today unless their demands are met and no one is really talking about it. I'm sure if there were thirty people being held hostage it would be all over the news. And I'm doubly sure that if it was an American holding a prisoner hostage in Baghdad, we would have wall to wall coverage. But no, just one American guy set to be killed by terrorists. No big deal. I don't know about you, but I consider the threat of killing even one captive American a terrorist attack. Does it take 3,000 dead people to make some of you feel threatened? Does it take a whole slew of Americans held hostage for over 100 days? Do you need big numbers to see the fine print? Again, no clue. No freaking clue. If you're the praying type, pray for Paul Johnson, Jr.

June 17, 2004

So There I Was...

I've done enough of the outrage thing for one day. So I swiped this from Joe (who is also having a Tiger Woods caption contest) 1. Where were you when you heard that Ronald Reagan died? Home in front of the computer. 2. Where were you on September 11, 2001? At work. A court officer came running into my office, telling me to bring up CNN on the computer. It wouldn't load, so we ran into my boss's office and listened to his radio. I can remember every single minute detail about those moments. 3. Where were you when you heard that Princess Diana died? Suprise, on the computer. I was doing work for my father at the time and I was at his house, not really working, but chatting in the AOL Movie Quote Trivia room. I found out when someone in the chat room announced it. 4. Do you remember where you were when you heard Kurt Cobain had died? In my car in the parking lot of Rockbottom drug store on Merrick Avenue. 5. Take one for The Gipper: What’s your favorite flavor of jelly bean? I hate jelly beans. Sorry, Ron. 6. Where were you when Magic Johnson announced he was retiring from the NBA due to AIDS? I have no clue. 7. Where were you when Reagan was shot? Home, wallowing in misery over the idiot I was dating at the time. 8.Where were you when the exploded? Uhh...on the computer. It was a C64. We had a C64 league using MicroLeague Baseball. My mother was in the living room watching tv. My boyfriend and his friend were waiting for me to put my catcher's stats into the computer. I heard my mother gasp. Spent the next few hours staring in disbelief at the television. 9. Where were you when the 0J verdict was announced? Home, sitting on the couch, waiting for the announcement. DJ, who was about two at the time, had an ear infection. He cried when the verdict was announced. I'll just assume it was from the ear pain. What, no Rodney King? I remember that too. Ah, but nothing I remember so vivid as that Bucky Dent home run. So, that's my exciting blog post for this evening. We still haven't hooked the tv up in the living room yet and all our books are still in boxes. I'm bored out of my mind. I may be forced to unpack the Game Boy. You know, I think the above answers say more about my memory capacity than the actual events. I still remember every detail of my sixth birthday party. I remember the phone number of my best friend in 7th grade. I bet if you picked any day from the last 30 years or so I could tell you where I was if I thought hard enough about it. But I still don't remember where I was when I found out about Magic Johnson. Just not one of those things that stuck with me. Yet, I remember where I was when Brett Butler got traded from the Braves to the Indians. Go figure.

ten years already?

Yea, I was watching it. I kept thinking OJ was going to kill himself in the Bronco. Then I was imagining scenarios that would make the chase more exciting. Like a plague of frogs trying to cross the freeway or rabid gophers popping out of the roadway or a renegade cop running down the people cheering OJ on. Then I thought about Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman, turned off the tv, contemplated life and death for a few minutes and played Legend of Zelda on the NES for four hours.

A Question About Shooting Down Planes

This is a serious question. It is not rhetorical. I would like honest answers. Below is a map of the flight paths of the airplanes hijacked on September 11, 2001. flight_paths.jpe From today's hearings: bq. During Thursday's hearing of the 9/11 commission, Air Force Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart was asked whether it would have been "physically possible" for U.S. fighters to intercept the planes, if everything had gone perfectly.
Eberhart responded: "I assume in the preface to your question -- you assume that FAA told us as soon as they knew, and if that is the case, yes, we could shoot down the aircraft." What I would like to know is this: How likely is it that, if NORAD has scrambled the fighters in time, they would be able to strike the planes and take them down without casualties on the ground (in addition to casualties from the plane)? Or do you automatically assume that there will be casualties on the ground? How much time would you have to weigh your options? Could the fighters force the planes to fly over non-residential areas and then take them down? Wouldn't that be a moot point if they were under the assumption that there were bombs on board (as the hijackers would probably blow up the plane before letting the fighters take it down)? Again, I ask these questions in all seriousness. How perfect would the circumstances have to have been for NORAD to be able to get those planes down with the minimum amount of dead? Update: please see the extended entry for some technical experise on this issue. Via email from Lionel Mandrake: I served in Britain's Royal Air Force and will tell you what I know. If NORAD (or whomever was responsible) was told about the rogue flights in time, it should have been possible, but maybe difficult, to shoot them down. First of all, there is much more 'empty' land than built up areas in the US, so it is highly likely they could have been shot down in a 'safe' place. The main problem is getting the interceptors to the 'bogey' quickly. If the bogey is close to a UASF base, great. If not, there is a problem. Most civilians 'know' that Air Force interceptors are capable of flying at twice the speed of sound. While this is true, it is conditional. They fly at that speed by using reheat. Reheat works by injecting fuel into the hot exhaust gases from the engine. This ignites it, and provides many extra pounds of thrust. BUT, this gobbles up fuel at a frightening rate, and so can only be done over short distances (sometimes quoted as the 'dash speed' of an aircraft. The second problem is that not all external stores (missiles, bombs, fuel tanks) are rated to be flown at that speed - it's embarrassing if your laser guided bombs fall of at 1,100 mph. Enough external stores also effect the 'all up' weight of a plane. Above a certain weight, the thrust to weight ratio looks really shitty, and you can't go supersonic whatever you do - too much weight to haul around the skies. Without reheat engaged, the maximum cruising speed of an interceptor is just below the speed of sound i.e. around the same speed as a commercial airliner. This, depending on the position of the interceptor and airliner, can make it very difficult to intercept. Only Concorde and planes like the SR-71 were capable of sustained supersonic flight. There are ways around all this: 1. In-flight refuelling. This extends the range of your interceptors, but takes time. It also means the equation is complicated by having to get the refuelling plane into position. 2. Decide the problem is serious enough to warrant the loss of the interceptors. That is, you tell the pilots that nothing is more important than shooting down the plane. They get there as quickly as they can, spending fuel recklessly. Hopefully they shoot down the bogey. They almost certainly run out of fuel and have to eject. You lose the plane, you may lose the crew. 3. Desperation model. You may have unarmed planes already in the air (this is common during peacetime). Explain the problem to the crews and ask for volunteers. You ask them to try and force the plane down, in extremis this may involve ramming it. Hopefully the crew ejects successfully. .

yelling with my mouth shut

[What follows is an unedited temper tantrum] bq. BREAKING NEWS CIA contractor at Afghanistan detention facility to be indicted in death of prisoner, according to government sources. Details soon. Stop saying we are just like them. Stop saying we are terrorists. Terrorists do not try to right their wrongs. They reward people for the very act this contractor will be indicted for. The more I read the more I believe that there are people who do not want to fight the war on terror. There are even people who believe the war on terror does not really exist. The fact that Iraq and al Qaeda have a long, sordid history together is not something to be swept under the rug just because they didn't combine efforts to bring America down. This isn't a time for the moonbats to be laughing, pointing and saying I told you so. But they are doing that, just because they feel righteous and smug for having their version of the truth validated, even if they forget that the president never stated that Saddam was in on 9/11. If you read the report (read statements 15 and 16), you should be, instead of slapping high fives with your fellow liberals, getting chills down your spine. There was plenty of cooperation between Iraq and al Qaeda. Plenty of connections. The statements, read in their entirety, just support the theory I've been carrying around for years; that terrorists from the Middle East - read as: those who wish to kill Americans and Jews just for the sake of cleansing the world of heathens - are really one large, if loose, organization. They have a common enemy and that in itself gives way to cooperation. Think of these groups as the NFL; training camps, drafts, CEOs, team captains. Do you want to play them in the Super Bowl? Hardly. Everyone's dead after the first kick, anyhow. So we have to take them out before the season ends. Before they have the chance to play in the big game. We lost once chance at that already. But that loss prepared us to be ready for what possibly lies ahead. Except there are people who have learned nothing from that loss. There are people who still insist that we are the terrorists, we are the bad guys, we are the team to be defeated. It's frustrating. It's depressing. These people would rather clap their hands in glee over some partisan bickering and sniping known as the 9/11 hearings than anything else. It's a damned if you do or damned if you don't world. Bush decides to invade Iraq. He's damned for it. If he didn't decide to invade Iraq and Saddam took the opportunity to flaunt his disregard for the U.N. resolutions given him by blowing us - or anyone else - up, Bush would be damned for not paying enough attention to Saddam. No one shot planes out of the sky on 9/11. Damned. Yet I distinctly remember in the days after 9/11 many people crying that the criminal Republicans in the White House saved their asses by supposedly shooting down the plane in PA. Oh and imagine if they did shoot those two NYC bound planes down. Where the hell did you want them to do that? Over a populated region? Imagine the outcry. So I'm in the pharmacy next to work today and some woman comes running in claiming that "they" blew something up in Brooklyn, it was al Qaeda, they said they would come back and they did, my god they got us again!!! Apparently, crack was on sale half price today. But you know what? For a minute there, before I realized the woman was off her rocker, I was scared. You know why I was scared? Because the war on terror is not over. We have not won yet. This woman's hallucinations are a real, possible scenario made so by the fact that WE.HAVE.NOT.WON.THIS.WAR.YET. I don't want John Kerry as my president because he will take this war and fight it like it's the job of police officers to fight it. It's not. It is not a law enforcement issue. It is an issue that takes a war like effort to finish off. There are thousands of would be terrorists running around out there and there are plenty of places for them to sign up for terrorist camp this summer. Iran. Libya. Jordan. Iraq. Syria. Just to name a few. But you go ahead and stick your head back in the sand and pretend that there's not a super dream team of America haters working together right now to bring us down. Keep believing that. Meanwhile, I'll keep hoping that we finish off the whole damn Axis of Evil after we finally get rid of those pesky "insurgents' in Iraq. You know, the ones you think are just fighting for their homeland. Oh sure, they are in a way. They are fighting to keep their homeland a totalitarian, murdering regime, though. Is that what you want? Or do you care? Well, you should because for every regime out there that loves their totalitarianism and murderous henchmen, that's a regime that wants Americans dead. So yea, let them keep going. Let them have their cake and eat it, too. Long live the rogue nations! Until they blow something up in your backyard. Then you'll be crying that we didn't do enough, that we failed the war on terror that you claim shouldn't have existed in the first place. There's no pleasing some people. While I'm in this pissed off mood, let me be frank. If you do not believe that now - today, right in this very moment - that al Qaeda is sleeping with the terrorists in Iraq, you are an idiot. Really. If you have any understanding of terrorist at all, you will clearly understand that they are all on one big dream team now. I believe in my heart that they will not get to us. I'm past that. I think the war on terror we are waging right now is a good, just war that is working. But you have to let the right people continue to wage it. Why do you fight against it? Why would you fight against it? Yea, I'm repeating this for the 80th time, at least. I don't care. I'm frustrated and out of patience. The 9/11 commission is a joke. A big, shaggy dog joke that only a few are laughing at. The rest of us are practically crying. What is the point? What is the point of it all if no one is going to believe that there are people out to get us, anyhow? Yea, the world is just this wonderful, flower filled place where everyone just wants what is best for everyone else. Must be nice to live there. But you remind me of the crackhead in the pharmacy. Reality is not your strong suit. Wake up, America. Just wake the hell up. Update: analysis of the commission statements, via Mike.

Weird Brain Functions: Plowed Into The Sound

So this morning I'm walking around the house with the song "Plowed" by Sponge in my head. Hmmm...why, though? I haven't heard that song in ages. Then....revelation! I had been looking up something on Google for DJ and came up with a page about sea sponges. My brain must taken in the information and turned sponge, the sea creature into Sponge, the band, which forced my brain jukebox to go on and play Plowed. Unfortunately, the jukebox refuses to turn off. Update: My coworker just informed me that a photograph of a hair male leg made her start humming the My Little Pony theme song.

learning curve

I wrote, edited, deleted and rewrote this post ten times already today. I'll just try to put it in simple terms, rather than spending hours writing something that will all come down to a few words, anyhow. I never believed that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. However, I do believe that Iraq and al Qaeda have long, sordid history together. In fact, I believe most Middle East terrorist organizations have an incestuous relationship. After all, they all have the same father, which is their perverted distortion of Allah. Obviously, the defense on 9/11 could have been handled better. But how prepared were we to deal with this? Who could have imagined - even armed with briefings and reports - that they would use airplanes as weapons of mass destruction? Can we learn from 9/11? Yes. At the expense of 3,000 people, yes. And it would be a slap in the face to those 3,000 people if we did not learn anything. I do not believe that the 9/11 commission has helped us learn anything - up until now - except how to place blame in the most unproductive of ways. Ben Veniste's antagonistic ways have marked these hearings with a black dot; everytime I think about the commission, there is Ben Veniste, scowling, growling and generally dirtying up the proceedings. I am distressed today. I'm listening to the hearing. I'm reading the statements. I'm imagining a scenario in which someone has to make the decision to shoot down a plane full of innocent civilians. I hope that today's hearings and the findings will teach us how to be more prepared in the future. I think our biggest mistake was in undersestimating our enemy. No, our biggest mistake was in not realizing who our enemy is. In some ways, we are still making that mistake. Today is the first time in a long time that I feel disheartened, that my mind is running with various theories, scenarios and whatifs. Oh, not those kind of theories. Really, I just hope we have learned enough that we will never have to go through this again. And I hope that everyone reads the two statements from yesterday and realizes who our enemy is. It is not us. To think that is to condemn us to repeat a horrible history. To think that is to do a great disservice to the memory of 3,000 people. [Read 9/11 commission statements here. PDF files]

hormonally challenged

Sometimes I sit down to write something and then remember I already wrote it. A few years ago. Which makes my morning easier, as I can just copy and paste and change a few words or numbers here and there. Different year, same damn problems. Dear Hormones: This letter is to inform you that you have ten (10) days from the date of this notice to pack up your belongings and get out of my body. A warrant of eviction has been served and unless you can show just cause as to why you should be allowed to remain, you may commence with the leaving. I have put up with your nonense for way too long. The way you control my emotions is no longer going to be tolerated. I will no longer allow you to cause me to cry over Kleenex commercials or weep like a baby when someone makes an offhand comment about the way my hair looks today. One minute, you want me to be full of simmering anger. The next minute, you expect me to turn around and hug everyone in sight. I just can't keep up anymore. It's not just my emotions. It's my entire life. It is your fault I spent two hours at work yesterday organizing my desk drawer. It is your fault I put my canned goods in alphabetical order. It is your fault that I watched an episode of 7th Heaven. Let's talk physical factors, ok? I'm 3941 years old. I do not need to have zits appearing on my face monthly. I certainly do not need water retention. My hair? My god, what have you done to my hair? Every 28 days it turns into a rat's nest of horror. And the food. Do you not have any sense of decency or fair play? Must you further contribute to my already deflating ego by inflicting a constant desire for chocolate upon my senses? Salt, ice cream, cake, candy....can't you have me crave grapefruit instead? It's just gotten to the point where I feel you have outlived your usefulness. I can't take it anymore. We had some great moments together (remember that time I listened to that Stabbing Westward song on repeat for 2 straight days?), but it's run it's course. You have become a burden and a major source of annoyance. So if you would kindly take your things and go, we can part ways with a certain sense of comradery. If you stay any longer, I will be forced to take drastic measure to rid myself of you. Thank you for your service the past 3941 years. Your certificate of appreciation is in the mail. Obviously, I never followed through on my threat the last time, because I'm still having the same problems. I'm putting in orders right now that I come back in my next life as a guy. Or one of those animals with no reproductive organs.

June 16, 2004

i still wish him the worst fate possible

Joel Steinberg is free. And he has a job. What I wrote about Joel Steinberg in September 2003 lisabw.jpgI still feel the same way. Do not tell me that this monster has repaid his debt to society. The debt that comes with brutally, wililngly neglecting and killing your own child is never paid. I followed the story of the Steinbergs closely when it first hit the news stands. I was 20 years old. 21 years later, the ghost of Lisa Steinberg still haunts me. Her story stays with me always. This man should not be free. And he certainly should not be walking out of jail and into a job on a tv show. I would not shed a tear if Joel Steinberg was hit by a city bus tomorrow. In fact, I would drive into the city so I could spit on his remains. If you don't know the story, follow the links here and read it. I can't imagine anyone would agree that this creep deserves the good fortune of not only being free, but having such a career awaiting him. Update: From my post from last year (apparently some people didn't feel like clicking on the link), an explanation of Steinberg's new career:
So... You've brutally and systematically killed your small daughter. You've been disbarred. You've spent 17 years in jail for manslaughter. And now, you are finally being released from prison. What do you do now? If you're Joel Steinberg, you get a tv show. Steinberg will be employed by none other than Sidney Biddles Barrows - the Mayflower Madam - and her husband Darnay Hoffman. Hoffman, an attorney, was the lawyer for subway "vigilante" Bernard Goetz. Not suprisingly, one of the first features of Barrows and Hoffman's new show, New York Confidnential, will profile Goetz. Joining the cast of this show in addition to Steinberg will be ODB himself (Ol' Dirty Bastard of Wu Tang Fame), a man incarcerated so many times he uses Rikers Island as his main address, a man who has so many children he lost count - and refuses to pay child support for any of them. What a stellar cast.

In Bloom

June 16th
He opened the geography to study the lesson; but he could not learn the names of places in America. Still they were all different places that had different names. They were all in different countries and the countries were in continents and the continents were in the world and the world was in the universe. He turned to the flyleaf of the geography and read what he had written there: himself, his name and where he was. Stephen Dedalus Class of Elements Clongowes Wood College Sallins County Kildare Ireland Europe The World The Universe
Joyce was my inspiration; Stephen Dadelus was the charm that held that inspiration close.

Michael Moore v. Matt Lauer (revised) (again)

Oh, the hell with it. My wise advisor Todd is correct. The post was about the hypocrisy of Michael Moore. No more, no less. It stands. [Original post in its entirety follows] Simply put, Lauer took Moore to task for holding on to the Abu Ghraib images that Moore had long before the "official" photos were released. And rightly so. Per Jeff Jarvis: bq. Moore said that when the photos did come out, it was being treated in a "tabloid" and "s&m" way and so he said he decided to release the images he had in his "context," which is to say, in his movie. Lauer asked why he didn't release the images earlier -- the implication being that he could have stopped further abuse against the Iraqi prisoners. Moore said, to whom? Lauer said, to the government. Moore shook his head. OK, Lauer said, then why didn't you break the story? How, asked Moore, I don't have a TV show. You could have come to us, Lauer said, and we would have shown the story. Moore said he doesn't trust big media. He said he would have been accused of pulling a publicity stunt for his movie. I cannot fathom any reason Moore did not approach the media or authorities with these images except two: 1) He wanted them for his film to maximize its impact and 2) He wanted to wait until it was closer to the election, in order to maximize the impact they would have against Bush. Either way, Moore should be held accountable in some way. His reluctance to inform anyone in authority or in a position to help him make public notice of thse images is a most selfish act. Proper action on his part might have put a stop to the torture earlier. Instead, he chose to hold onto his dirty little secret for his own damn benefit. So who does Michael Moore care about? Obviously not the prisoners of Abu Ghraib, although he purports to. The only things Moore cares about are his ego, his fame and his profits. I don't understand how anyone can defend these actions. [If anyone has a transcript of Lauer's interview with Moore please let me know]

Of Protests, Prisons and Pessimism

Michael Totten reports that from Abu Ghraib - the ones that members of congress have seen - just might get Bush fired. Or perhaps Rumsfeld will resign. At least, those are Michael's predictions. To rehash my feelings on what happened at the prison, I'll just use these terms: horrible, disgusting, wrong and deserving of the strongest punishment. However, Hitchens calling it a Moral Chernobyl is a bit much. That said, I sincerely hope that it is not Abu Ghraib that loses the election for Bush. I don't worry about losing the war in Iraq. I don't think that will be the end scenario. While the transition to a new government will not be without hardships and battles, I believe that Iraq, in the end, will become a bright, new nation of hope. Things have not always gone well; in fact, a lot has gone wrong. But those things are the inevitabilities of war; death, destruction, mayhem. That they come during war does not make them any more acceptable, but in the great scheme of things, I would hope that we could look back on this war someday and see it as the beginning of a new Middle East. What I do worry about is Bush losing in November. While I am not comfortable with all of Bush's policies (see, gay marriage, faith-based initiatives, being too cozy with Saudi Arabia), I still believe that he is the one I want in office in times such as these. I think it would be a terrible thing for this country if Bush's defeat came at the hands of the soldiers who committed crimes in an Iraqi prison. I watched the ten o'clock news last night and the first thing they showed was the video of the American hostage in Saudi Arabia. Supposedly, the people brandishing their terror in the video are al Qaeda representatives. Say what you want about the lack of connection between AQ and Iraq before the war; at this stage, all terrorists are one and the same. All their actions revolve around two things: Iraq and bringing America down. The two have become interchangeable. Two halves of the same whole. What I don't get is this: There are many people (and some who consider themselves mainstream leftists) who continually say that these American contractors deserve what they get. Even though they are innocent of any wrongdoing, these anti-everything people will claim that the contractors are fair game. So when a terrorist holds a knife to the throat of one of those contractors and demands release of prisoners, or when the contractor is ultimately killed on video, the Iraq war detractors shrug their shoulders and move on. Yet, when terrorists and their supporters, suppliers and enablers are held in a prison during a time of war and they are tortured, the left world cries foul. I'm not saying that one is right and the other isn't; I'm just not sure why these people believe that prisoners of war have more right to life than an American contractor. And so it will be that the left's hammer point for the rest of the year, leading right up until November, will be Abu Ghraib. 9/11 will slowly drift into the background, as the MIHOP (made it happen on purpose) crowd has found another rallying cry. Never mind about grounded fighter jets and reading to children while the WTC burned. There are better things to fight Bush with now. Expect the placards: Iraqi children behind bars, crying. Slogans saying Bush is a torturer, or at least a torture supporter. Unless something else happens (Bush eats a baby for breakfast or pushes a grandma down the stairs), prison torture via the Bush administration will be the lead act in the protest pageant. Oh, there will be other acts, mostly the FREE kind. You know, Free Palestine, Free Mumia, Free organic butter with every bagel purchased. Make no mistake, the protestors will be out in full force at the Republican National Convention. And if the Abu Ghraib movies have been released in the media before then (let's put our bets on yes for that one), prison torture will be front and center. In fact, they are already including it in talking points. That's not to say that there won't be other acts in the pageant; where there are leftists actvisits, there are the FREE. You know, Free Palestine, Free Mumia, Free organic butter with every bagel purchased. Right now, there are people training, yes training, to be protesters and activists at the RNC in August. bq. As city officials weigh which protest groups will get permits for official events, activists are quietly learning how to block doorways or street intersections and when to use passive body language -- such as sitting down -- to disarm police officers trying to make an arrest.
Trainers say they aren't urging protesters to break the law. But arrests are inevitable, and protesters are also offering legal training. They are organizing the troops. Some will have a shout-in. Some will be blocking delegates from getting into the convention. They are ready to rock: bq. Four months away from the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden, activists are circling their welcome wagons, predicting “a battle for ground zero,” a “Burning Man festival for the city,” “a political disaster,” “a disciplined, organized protest,” “a culture war”—five days that are “part blackout, part Woodstock,” “worse than Miami,” “better than Seattle,” “our Chicago ’68.” Will these five days help push Bush out of office or spark a red-state backlash that cements his reelection? Either way, says 26-year-old activist Brandon Neubauer, “it’s already sort of legendary.” They are using imagery that evokes the ghosts of 1968. Oh, protesting is fine. It's the American way. Rise up, let your voice be heard. Man, will these voices be heard. New York City. RNC. You can bet it will be the protest heard 'round the world. And, if it all goes right in the eyes of the protesters, Abu Ghraib will be front and center. It's the perfect weapon to dehumanize the United States and its armed forces. It's a shouting point handed to them on a silver platter, right next to the fake turkey. It's going to make the people standing on the fence jump off into Kerry's yard. Hell, they may even run onto Nader's lawn. The point is, they will no longer be on the fence and they'll have jumped in any of the directions available except the one with the sign that says Bush. I think it's a dishonest way to gain votes for your side, but politics is not inherently honest. And these protests are a big part of politics. A politician may feign bemusement at a bunch of black-clad anarchists running down a NYC street and smashing windows, but as long as one of them is holding a sign that makes his opponent look bad, that politician will not bemoan the loss to the business with the now broken windows. It's ugly, that's for sure. But it's what politics have become. How bad can you make your opponent look? And how can you get other people to do your dirty work for you? Easy enough. They want to do the dirty work. You don't even have to ask. So they'll carry the signs and shout their slogans and block the entrances to Madison Square Garden. And while Bush is inside accepting his party's nomination to thunderous applause; while Iraqis are adjusting to a new, freer government, while kids in Afghanistan are reading new textbooks, while Saddam is in jail, while terror attacks are being thwarted, the protest kids will be out in the streets, making a fraction of the war the sum of its parts. 9/11/01 will not be an issue until 9/11/04, when for a day the protest will revert back to Bush Knew, Hijackers Flew or whatever the MIHOP theory of the day is. Then there will be two full months of torture images, prison images from Iraq showing how criminals and terrorists, participants in Saddam's regime and Sard's brigade, were treated. Nick Berg, the contractors whose bodies were on display in Fallujah, Paul Johnson, Scott Speicher, thousands of dead Kurds, the victims of the food for oil scam, none of them will enter the minds of the protesters. For the first time I am feeling that Bush could lose this election, and it will be not from 9/11 fallout, but from Abu Ghraib fallout. It will be a dishonest win for Kerry, through no fault of his own, should that happen. The left is loud. They know how to raise their voices and how to use the freedoms that America has given them. They know that the media, for the most part, is on their side. They only need the fence sitters to hear them. If what the fence sitters hear is America the Bad, America the Torturer, it will eventually make them jump. So how does Bush counter this? How does the GOP go up against the voice of the people? You would think that taking action and punishing those responsible for the events at Abu Grhaib would be enough. But it's not. Media makes it so. So not only does Bush and the GOP have to repair whatever damage Abu Ghraib has wrought on them. Which is hard to do when the damage isn't even complete. Pessimism rears its ugly head and I'm afraid that Michael Totten's second scenario seems all to probable.

shoe the children, with no shoes on their feet

[click for bigger image] Sgt. Hook needs you. Go. Other links in my link jar: Simon is going to donate money to charity if people read his blog. At least I think that's what he's saying. Update: Simon is hinting that the proceeds of his readership/charity drive will be Operation ShoeFly. So go visit Simon. [That's not to say that the only reason to visit Simon is because of charity - he really does have an enjoyabel blog] The Carnival of the Vanities stops in Midland, Texas this week. Displaced weblogs.com bloggers may want to read this, this and this - there are a lot of people out there trying to help the newly homeless blogs. Update: Congratulations to Daniel Henninger. A award well deserved. Even if he does resemble Alec Baldwin in that drawing.

June 15, 2004

I hate change

Yahoo: Bigger mailbox, slower than usual connectivity. I didn't notice any of those pretty changes they promised, either. Must be too nuanced for me to see. Fox News: Worst front page change EVER. Ugly, crappy navigation, horrible colors. The ads are obtrusive. Reminds me of when IGN let McDonald's take a dump on their front page.. I may have to use Fark as my main news source again. _________ As an aside - 165 comments later, the joke is still as fresh as a new douche. And if you look towards the end of the comments, you will see that Micah has now claimed that I am Darleen. Who knew someone's mental health deficiencies could be so amusing?

roger who?

Your emails are comments are quite touching. Really. It's just that.... I don't care. I do not know this Roger Clemens of whom you speak. Nope. Update: I'd like to take a moment to address the issue of Nomar Garciaparra playing 2b for the Yankees next year. No thank you. See, I have this thing called loyalty. Well, I'm loyal to my sense of rivalry. Which is why I never liked Clemens, even when he wore pinstripes. So if Nomar comes this way next year, I just may have to get these tattooed pinstripes removed from my ass somehow.

Dave Winer is Still a Dick

I'm sure Mr. Winer had very good reasons for dumping the 3,000 weblogs he hosted, but to do it so abruptly, without any warning and to tell the owners he'll give them their data when he's good and ready is just more proof that Dave Winer is the only real person that exists in his world. Everyone else is just filler. There really had to be a better way of handling this than just having a whole load of bloggers going to check their blogs this morning and finding the doors shut with no prior notice. I really understand the not being able to afford it thing. My problem with this incident has nothing to do with Dave pulling the plug on years of free hosting. What I take issue with is Winer's total disregard for the bloggers he shut out. For a man who claimed for years to be the best friend of the user, this sure is an asshole move. I suppose I shouldn't be suprised, though. If you're checking any favorite blogs today that were hosted on weblogs.com, this is what you'll get. Dick. See more here. Update: My detractors should note that this is not my first claim that Winer is an ass, so no, I didn't just jump on the Bash Winer train. I've been driving that train forever.

Weaving time in a tapestry

One concept, two readings:

Natalie says: Whoo! I'm done with junior high today!

Mom says: My daughter is starting high school three months.

My. Daughter. High. School.

Fear strikes my heart. Thoughts invade my brain.

BoyfriendsdrivingpeerpressurecollegeboyfriendsSATcollegetuitionyou'regetting
oldboyfrienssheisnotgoingtoreallydriveisshehowthehellamIgoingtopayforcollege
shebetternothangoutwiththatcrowdokshe'snotallowedtodateuntilshe's18
andIwon'tletherdriveuntilshe's21andIcanalwayssellmykidneysifshereallywantstogotoHofstra.

It's a mantra that's been haunting me for weeks and now it's just like one big word that invades my brain every time I try to sleep. And when I'm not fearing the future, I'm mourning the passage of time. Can someone explain to me how three years can feel like one day?

Natalie's whole stint in junior high has been documented right here. Maybe that's why it seems to have gone so fast; I've been writing this weblog even longer than she spent in that school.

Some of you have been around here since the beginning and thus, you've watched Nat grow up. Together, we went through the trials and tribulations of her first boyfriend, her first smackdown, her cell phone poetry, the frank sexual discussions, her Katie Ka-Boom tendencies and everything in between.

On her birthday this year, I wrote:

But oh, how right they are. Believe it when they tell you that time goes so fast your head will spin. Everything goes by in a blur; trying to recapture all the moments is like trying to catch all the scenery on a car trip while you're doing 80mph. Vroom. Swooosh. Firststepstoilettrainingnurseryschoollongdivisionpubertyhighschool.
When she was crawling, I wished that she would walk. When she was walking, I wished she would stay still. When all she could do was cry, I wished she could talk. Now I wish she would just stay quiet for ten seconds at a time. When she was four, I couldn't wait until she was older so we could stay up late drinking tea while she told me about her first date. Now, I wish she was four again.

Yes. I want it back. I want all that time back. The days spent lounging in the backyard looking at clouds. The mommy and me classes. The story hours at the library. Sesame Street. Disney on Ice. The lullabyes. The walks with the stroller and the fussing in the car seat and the crying in the middle of the night. The scrawled Mother's Day cards, the lopsided pigtails, the innocent questions about everything.

I'm sure that four years from now, when she's graduating high school, I'll be waxing nostalgic about the present time. Well, maybe. How much can one miss the Great Eye Roll, the snarky remarks, the sarcasm, the feeling that no matter what you do, you'll just never please your child?

Ok, so there are the good things about my child getting older. She's more independent, she doesn't need me as much as she used to.

Wait? That's supposed to be a good thing? Then why does it make me feel so sad at times?

Fear of high school keeps me awake at night. The fact the she doesn't fear it all and, in fact, can't wait until September fills my dreams with the monsters known as Boyfriends and Peer Pressure. Nevermind the SATs and regents exams, at least those she can study for. There is no guidebook for dealing with sweet talking high school boys or friends dangling beer bottles and cigarettes in front of you.

I know, I worry too much. It's my job to worry, though. I can't help but look at this:

and feel my hair blow back as the woosh of time rushes past me.

I suppose I should take a lesson from myself. When she was five, I lost sleep over sending her to kindergarten. Each rite of passage brought new fears and more hand wringing. Three years ago, when she graduated from elementary school, I was terrified of what fates awaited her in the dreaded middle school. She seems to have gotten out of there ok, and most of my fears were unfounded, products of reading too many alarming articles about what teenage girls are up to these days.

I look forward to her future with uncertainty, I look to her past with a twinge of nostalgia. I need to do some deep breathing. Relax, let the summer unfold and September approach without all this overwrought trepidation or teary-eyed reminiscing. I hear the concept of living in the present is a pretty good one, if done right. I just might try that. I just might concentrate on who she is today and grab those few moments where we are getting along and enjoy them without those fears or regrets or nighttime monster sharing the stage.

I should take my own advice: Pictures, videos, memories. Hold them all dear because one day they are sleeping soundly in a crib and the next they're getting a job and you need something to keep track of all the days in between.

That's kind of hard to do when you're spending so much time fending off the future. So I hereby vow to concentrate on today, not yesterday and not tomorrow. At least for the summer.

The Great Cartoon Debate, Part IV: Quiz Time

I'm running very late today (a brand new mattress will always be cause for not wanting to get out of bed when you're supposed to) so the usual morning ramble will be late. However, I had this on hold since yesterday, so you can have fun (or not) with this in the meantime. Just something to tide you over and entertain you between cartoon debating. Yes, it's a quiz. It's a lot of old stuff, a good mix of Saturday morning cartoon characters plus some others - if we can get them all that would be great because this quiz did not come with answers! Have at it. I'll start you off with the answer to #58, as I've written about him before. 1. Where did George Jetson work? 2. Bullwinkle Moose's alma mater? 3. Top Cat's best friend? 4. Mr. Peebles' dog? 5. Magilla Gorilla's friend? 6. Leader of the Water Buffalo Lodge? 7. Elmer Fudd's financial status and possessions? 8. Mr. Magoo's nephew (favorite)? 9. Pink Panther's nationality? 10. Quick Draw McGraw's secret identity? 11. Quick Draw's side kick? 12. Peter Potomus' famous yell? 13. Popeye's nephews? 14. Huckleberry Hound's favorite song? 15. The world's slowest draw? 16. This crimestopper has a gun for every situation? 17. From Dick Tracy, the name of the group of cops in Hemlock Holmes' precinct? 18. Breezely Bruin's adversary? 19. Barney Rubble's occupation? 20. Snuffy Smith's cousin from the east? 21. Simon Barsinister's aide's name? (From Underdog) 22. The names of the 3 Musketeers-like dogs? 23. According to Tennessee Tuxedo, who is "the greatest"? 24. The Coyote's full name? 25. George Jetson's dog's name? 26. What book did Bugs Bunny hold up that chased the dogs away? 27. Who has a flying submarine used to transport Rocky and Bullwinkle? 28. Who has a pet boy Sherman? 29. What was Fred Flintstone's name as a world champion surfer? 30. Who can't marry Nell because he's in love with his horse? 31. What "everywhere" character was chased by Klondike Kat? 32. Who hit Krazy Kat with a brick? 33. What was Felix the Cat's smart friend's name? 34. How many Go-Go Gophers (Indians) were there? 35. "Exit stage right" was said by whom? 36. Who was Speed Racer's brother? 37. Who was "the kid from Outer-Space"? 38. Beanie and _______? 39. Gumby and _______? And who were the bad guys? 40. Who controlled Gigantor? And what did he always wear? 41. What was the name of the friendly white lion? 42. What breed was Johnny Quest's dog? 43. "Gee! I don't know, Daaavey."? 44. "Drat, drat, and double drat!"? 45. What did Mr. Moose drop on Captain Kangaroo? 46. Commander McBragg's last word? 47. The zookeeper from Tennessee Tuxedo? 48. Bugs Bunny's girlfriend? 49. Who rescued Gumby from the moon? How? 50. Breezely Bruin's main objective? 51. Another of Top Cat's friends? 52. Fred Flintstone's buddy from the Water Buffalo Lodge? (He was chief of the Volunteer Fire Department.) 53. How did Peter Parker get his spider powers? 54. "I say, I say there, boy."? 55. The extra-terrestrial visitor to Bedrock? What did he call Fred Flintstone? 56. The number of time Gigantor banged his hands over his head before he was able to fly? 57. Who carried a bag of tricks? 58. What show needed a "magic TV screen" on your TV to help get the hero out of trouble? (You would draw an escape for him.) 59. Mr. Magoo's major problem? 60. "too important to be captured."? 61. "Mr. Park Ranger, sir."? 62. From what company did the Coyote receive his goods? 63. From the old Wonderama show: What did host Sony Fox wear? Who played Norton Nork? 64. Who was Chumly? 65. Whom did Underdog defeat to save the Universe? 66. Rocky and Bullwinkle's evil adversaries? And who was their evil leader? 67. What was Bozo's circus called? And what did he ride entering it? 68. "Hey, hey, hey, _______ _______ _______."? 69. What cat was X-rated? 70. At what city should Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck have taken that right turn? left turn? 71. Who vowed to make "mincemeat" of whom? 72. Name the Monkees? 73. What was the name of Fred Flinstone - the Indy car driver? 74. On what "street" did Fred and Wilma live? In what town? 75. Who was the voice for all Bugs Bunny characters? 76. "(Th)ufferin' (Th)uccotash."? 77. The friendly ghost? And the friendly witch? 78. The names of Paul Winchell's "dummies"? 79. Name the Banana Splits? 80. What famous "agent" was Tennessee Tuxedo's voice? 81. Who was Underdog's voice? (From Hollywood Squares) 82. What did Bozo say to end his show? What did he chase at the show's end? 83. On what day will Wimpie pay you in return for a hamburger? 84. What show were "Oh! Yeah!", thrown pies, White Fang, and Pookie from? 85. Bugs Bunny played a baseball game, covering all positions himself. What was the famous "P's" pitch? 86. "Heavens to mergatroid."? 87. Where did Yogi Bear live? 88. The cat's name from "Josie and the Pussycats"? 89. The teenage witch? 90. The main objective of "Journey to the Center of the Earth"? 91. "Shhhh! Be vewy, vewy quiet; I'm hunting _______."? 92. The goose from "Journey to the Center of the Earth"? 93. Dick Tracy's karate crimestopper? 94. What was special about Peter Potomus' balloon? 95. The silent, in color, show where one person (a man) played all the parts? It was a comedy for kids, and was narrated. 96. Who hosted the Popeye show on channel 11 at 3 pm? 97. "Here I come to save the day."? 98. "When Polly's in trouble, I am not slow. It's _______, _______, _______."? 99. The old woman who drove the bus from "The Harlem Globetrotters"? The dog's name? 100. A cartoon based upon the life and times of a quarterback and his center? 101. This jungle character swung into trees? 102. A "huge baby"? 103. Who was asked: "Which way did he go?"? 104. What was Mr. Peabody's time machine called? 105. What song did Foghorn-Leghorn sing? 106. What famous (animated) actor would walk into the scene to ask Bugs Bunny to "spare a dime for a fellow American down on his luck"? 107. Name the two very polite, thieving rodents? 108. He was a rabbit and a sheriff. What was his name and what sound did he make? 109. What two characters from the Mr. Magoo show wore straw hats and striped shirts? 110. Whenever he got in trouble, he would cry "Help me Mr. Wizard."? 111. Yogi Bear's sidekick? 112. Name the chipmunks? 113. What was the name of Doggie Daddy's son? 114. What Johann Strauss piece was the music for a Bugs Bunny cartoon? 115. What was the chipmunks' manager's name? 116. Archie, Veronica, Moose, ....? 117. Who stepped on the plank of wood and made it twirl to open the Super Heroes cartoon? 118. The person in charge of Yogi Bear's Forest? 119. Breezely Bruin's buddy? 120. Who was the villain that tied Nell to the train tracks? 121. What ghoulish rock group sang "Chicka-boom, Chicka-boom"? 122. What rock group sang "Sugar, Sugar"? What city was the group from? 123. What always happened to the little fairy who opened up the big book of fairy tales on the Underdog show? 124. The weapon of "EL Kabong"? 125. The number of Thunderbirds? 126. Fireball _______? 127. The name of the underwater marionette adventure? 128. The counter corporation from "The Jetsons"? 129. Whom did Linus wait for all night? 130. Snoopy's Army Aircorps rank? 131. The man who sponsored Charlie Brown's baseball team? 132. Gumby's reward for rescuing Pokey from the train switch track? 133. What device was to replace television according to Bugs Bunny? 134. What was the name of the short fables from the Underdog show? 135. At the end of the Underdog show: What happened to the "painter" who listed the acknowledgements on the TV? What two regular characters appear with a banner? 136. What radio station had the call letters BDRX? 137. Johnny Quests' Indian friend's name? And the dog's name? 138. What did Bullwinkle say just before he tried to pull the rabbit out of the hat? On his failed attempts, what did he pull out? 139. What are Rocky and Bullwinkle's full names? What is Bullwinkle's "smart" name? 140. What is the name of the wolf that tried to take the sheep, and that of the sheep-dog that guarded them? 141. _______ and Pun'kin Puss? 142. What was the French skunk's name? What did he chase? 143. Who was the Rootin' Tootin' Cowboy, Pirate, Confederate Soldier, etc., that tried to do in Bugs Bunny? 144. Speed Racer's little brother's name? And that of their monkey? 145. Snagglepuss secretly became _______? 146. When Rock Roll lost his voice, Fred Flintstone was thrown into the limelight. How was the voice lost? What was the famed song? 147. What did the famed Flintstone Frantic dance become? 148. With what Russian Bear did Bugs Bunny compete with at the circus (high diving)? 149. What group were Diaper Man, Rope Man, and Coo-Coo Man from? 150. What show was Zero-Zero Island from?

June 14, 2004

Rally Monkeys!

winners.jpg
That was - without hyperbole - the most exciting Little League game I've ever seen. DJ's team started to tank early and they were down 6-0 by the third inning. They came through with a big rally in the fifth (they play only six innings) and were down 8-5 going into the bottom of the sixth. They won the game by scoring three runs with two outs. I won't regale you with the play-by-play description of the game. I'll just tell yout that I have never seen a happier, prouder bunch of kids and coaches. And parents, of course. Next game is Friday evening against the only team to beat them this season. It's going to be a tough one, but as one kid said while walking to the parking lot tonight, no matter what happens after this, we just played the best game ever.

play ball

We're headed out the season's first - and hopefully not last - Little League playoff game. It's a short bracket - DJ's team just needs two wins to get to the World Series. I really hope he doesn't pitch. His mother can't stand the pressure. Wish us him luck.

The Great Cartoon Debate, Part III: Potent Quotables

Ok, so you know I'm doing this Great Cartoon Debate. It's going to drag on a long time, I'll tell you that. I've already done initial research on more categories than there are shades of grey. By now, you've probably realized that my own personal end result will give the greatest kudos to the WB cartoons, from Bugs right up to Wacko, Yakko and Dot. What I need from you now is quotes. Trust me, there's a reason for this. I'll get to it later. Favorite quotes from favorite episodes of your favorite cartoon characters, be they older than dirt, new kids on the block, WB, Disney or any of the channels/creators in between. Just spit 'em out and I'll round 'em up. (Feel free to source your material, i.e., episode, context, etc., though you don't have to.) "Hi floor! Make me a sandwich!"

The "They" in "They want us gone"

Fresh car bombings in Iraq bring a fresh wave of "They want us gone!" chants. Yes, they do. But they anti-war people refer to the wrong they in those chants. Of course there are people in Iraq who resent and resist the presence of the U.S. and coalition forces. They are the same people who resent and resist democracy. Basically, they are terrorists and thugs, leftover scraps of Saddam's army. And really, why would they want us there? In a democracy such as the one being formed in Iraq, there is no room on the governing council for terrorists. There are no government employment forms with a blank space that says: List all thuggery experience here. They are the people who will suffer the most from the absence of a brutal dictatorship. They are the people who lost jobs and whose gravy train has come to a grinding halt. I imagine that among the insurgents, radicals, resistance or whatever you want to call these groups (I prefer the term murdering terrorists, myself), are those who had lively careers under the tutelage of Saddam. The guy who was in charge of dragging people out of their homes to vote on Election Day. The guy who rounded up "volunteers" to carry signs during Saddam's birthday celebrations. They guy who sharpened the axes that were used in the beheadings. The guy who drove the bulldozer that covered the bodies of dead Kurds. The guy who rounded up young women for Uday to rape. The guy who was in charge of the children's prison. All of the men who murdered, tortured, raped and imprisoned innocent Iraqis at Saddam's behest. So yes, of course they want the U.S. gone. With the new form of governing that we bring to Iraq, the careers of these men are basically in the toilet. No longer will Saddam's opulence trickle down to them. No longer will they be able to kill at will or use their power for evil. At least not with government approval. So when I see a photo like this one or a report like this: Dozens of people gathered around two of the vehicles damaged in the blast, hammering on them, waving debris and jumping on their roofs, chanting: "America is the enemy of God." I just have to think to myself, who would bomb people who are working on the infrastructure of their country? What kind of person would kill the very people who are trying to rebuild the electricity grid? The answer seems pretty obvious. It would have to be someone who does not want the infrastructure rebuild. Someone who does not want the city put back together with better electricity than it had before. Someone who does not want schools and hospitals built, someone who does not want new roadways installed or markets to open. For all intents and purposes, we will call these people terrorists. Why? Because they are. No square quotes. Just the word. Terrorists. Replace the they in the opening paragraph here with terrorists. Fresh car bombings in Iraq bring a fresh wave of "Terrorists want us gone!" chants. The terrorists hate us. The terrorists do not want us in their country. As Homer would say, Doh! It was obvious all along, wasn't it? Now, this could all very well be conjecture on my part, but based on what I've seen and what I've read, I don't think so. Also, common sense tells me that people who lived under an oppressive, tyrannical, death squad regime, people who lived in squalor and fear while others who bowed to the evil principles of said regime lived in luxury and without fear, they would want the coalition forces there. They would want change and want democracy. I listen to Ali an Omar. I listen to Zeyad. I listen to Ays. I listen to Alaa, who says: bq. Dear Mr. President
Calm seas and easy winds do not test a ship’s worthiness, but it is the tempest and the hurricane that show her true metal. Strength is measured by the intensity of stress that can be withstood. And here we see you standing like a mountain towering over the raging elements. I would hope that the majority of Iraqis are of the same thinking. Do you think the people benefiting from and smiling because of Spirit of America are shouting for us to go home? I doubt it. I would assume (and yes, I know all about assumptions) that the terrorists are in the minority. Unfortunately, it is the minority who have the guns, bombs and means to strike out at what they consider their enemy. Which would be democracy. The U.S. and coalition presence represent that enemy so it would stand to reason that they would gather their forces and put their career skills - honed under Saddam's regime - to use. There's also another they at play here. See, the bombers and shooters are not always Iraqi. Sometimes they are from Jordan or Libya. Sometimes they are members of al-Qaeda or one of those AQ offshoots. So why would they care if democracy was coming to Iraq? Simple. There would be one less country in which they could hide out. One less country to trade weapons and ammunition with. One less country to recruit from. And one more country that the godless Americans are ruining for them. To them, the war in Iraq represents several things: an opportunity to kill Americans; a way to make American and it's nation building dreams look bad; a way to destroy the confidence American citizens have in their country; a way to possibly bring down the Evil American Empire; a way to recruit new members into their martyr's brigade, a brigade whose main purpose is to destroy everyone who does not follow their way of life. So, who wants us out of Iraq? Who are those people dancing around the charred bodies of fellow Iraqis? Who are these people not only murdering their own countrymen, but destroying any progress being made towards democracy and stability? My bet is that they are not ordinary Iraqi citizens. My bet is on terrorists. And frankly, I really don't care what they want or what they think. They can jump up and down and curse the USA all they want, it does not make their cause noble just because they are "protesting" against the horrible, evil people of the United States of America, despite what the people over here think. The people chanting "God is Great, America is Evil!" and the people dancing around bodies and smiling in the face of their dead countrymen are of the same mold (and sometimes the same people) who beheaded Nick Berg, who hung the bodies in Fallujuah, who killed Daniel Pearl, who crashed a few airplanes on September 11, 2001. They hate us. They always did. And now, we are in their zone, in their part of the world, trying to take away their guns and power. Of course they hate us. Of course they will do anything to stop the transfer of power, to stop the forthcoming democracy. That's who they are. And yes, they want us gone. Too bad. Of course, this only what I surmise from what I take in. I am not speaking for Iraqis. They speak well enough for themselves and from Omar right down to the Iraqi governing council, I can pretty much assume (there I go again) that they're not standing arm in arm with the terrorists who are killing their own people.

June 13, 2004

Orange You Glad...

I think I already mentioned our "no white walls" decision in decorating the new house. Well, we really meant it. DJ's room is painted Yankee blue. Natalie's is bright yellow, but next weekend we will, at her request, paint flames on the walls. Hey, it's better than her original idea of black walls. The living room is nearly done. The floor will be finished tomorrow, and the paint is the drying stage. The walls are august morning, the trim is jack-o-lantern, the floor a fake parquet. Just couldn't afford the real thing. Pictures and notes below. This is the north wall that leads into the office, which has been painted a mahogany sort of color, but is far from done yet, made obvious by the mess you can see through the door. This is the part of the living room that looks out into the hallway, which will be painted a color known in Benjamin Moore circles as fire dance. I'm telling you, I could spend all day in the paint store just reading the silly names of these colors. Hopefully by tomorrow night we will have the entertainment center in place so we can finally watch television in the evening. Even though we have no living room furniture to speak of as yet. And now that I think about it, what the hell color couch do we get to match a room that looks like it was inspired by a plate of cheese and crackers? I just spent fifteen minutes playing with the Benjamin Moore painter. My colors look really nice in their expensive living room!

The Great Cartoon Debate, Part II: Open Discussion on Nick Toons

I first started watching Nickelodeon in its infancy, when I spent a lot of time babysitting for my cousin. She was enthralled with Pinwheel, which was a precursor to Nick Jr. Pinwheel was a block of cartoon programming aimed at the pre-school set. It included the Japanese cartoon Maya the Bee, David the Gnome and The Littl' Bits and The Noozles (upon searching, I'm suprised to find that not only does Maya still air in places, but she's got her own video games). I hated these cartoons. Crappy animation and morality tales did little to hold my interest. The voicing on Maya was flat and the story lines seemed to repeat themselves. Everytime the theme song came on (i>Maya. Maya the Bee. Maya.. Maya the Bee), I would try to get teach Krys to sing the Monty Python song Eric the Half a Bee instead (Half a bee, philosophically, must, ipso facto, half not be). Never worked. David at least ad the voice of Tom Bosley going for it, but there were just too many lessons crammed into one half hour show. I wanted fun and mayhem in my cartoons, not morals! Unfortunately, my cousin couldn't take her eyes off of Maya or David, so I was stuck, as television was the only thing that kept her from bugging the crap out of me with her incessant why questions. Eventually Krys went to school and I stopped watching Pinwheel. Well, no. That's not entirely true as I was pretty taken in by Eureka's Castle and still wish that Nick would rerun those shows. But that was not a cartoon, so it's not important now. Later on, Nickelodeon would produce many fine cartoons, none of which approached the sugar coated fantasy land that Maya and David lived in. Which is a good thing. I mention these Nick cartoons because I opened the discussion up to other cartoons and I think it we would be sadly remiss to not include the following: Ren and Stimpy Rocko's Modern Life Angry Beavers Invader Zim Fairly Odd Parents SpongeBob SquarePants There are plenty of other Nick Toons to be talked about, especially the Klasky-Csupo shows (Frankly, the only K/C toon I liked was Rugrats). Just do not get me started on CatDog. That show freaked me out. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond my control (read as: family dropping by unexpectedly) preclude me from waxing nostalgic or fawning over these stellar shows or beating up on the shoddy ones. I leave the discussion of the merits/demerits of Nickelodeon cartoons - old and new - up to you. I'll include some of your comments in my final analysis when I eventually wind this discussion up sometime in the distant future.

McCain in '04?

I had an interesting phone conversation with my Command Post co-conspirator, Alan. It went something like this. I'm not really the vapid automaton Alan's reprint of the convo makes me out to be; it's just that you can't get a word in edgewise with him. Also, he is the most persuasive speaker I have ever encountered. Do NOT get into an argument with him. You will always lose. Anyhow, this is the result of the conversation we had:
If the presidential election were held today, for whom would you vote?
George Bush
John Kerry
John McCain
Ralph Nader
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com
Vote here or at TCP, and join the discussion there. Alan is also encouraging other bloggers who find this subject as interesting as we do to post the poll on their own site - he includes the code.

Braaaaaiiiiiiiiiins!

Proof that my son's fascination with zombies has gone overboard. (I put the picture in extended entry by request. You really can't be that squeamish, can you?) And yes, I did tell him that his face was going to freeze like that. To which he replied: cool.

Blacklisted, oh yea* [Updated]

From Maybe I Think Too Much:

I'm fed up with Hollywood elitists thinking they can publicly mock our President, Christianity, and values that Middle America holds dear without ever being held accountable. They are certainly entitled to their opinions, and they should still be able to fund candidates and organizations, appear in movies of their choosing, and say whatever they want to whomever they want, but they should also experience the consequences and repercussions of their words and actions.

This is why I propose to reestablish the Hollywood Blacklist.

Any celebrity, having been verified saying something objectionable, after today (Saturday, June 12, 2004) about an elected official, the American military, a religion or religious leaders, about people living in "flyover country", or in any way impugn the religious or moral values held by the majority of Americans to the press, in media such as television, movies, radio, CDs, books, newspapers, magazines or web sites, will be added to the new blacklist and I encourage everyone to cease renting or purchasing products that they appear in or promote. This includes their movies, their television shows, their CDs, their magazines, their books and those of the products whom they are spokespersons for.

What a soundly terrible idea. It mocks everything America is about, as well as gives credence to the left's mantra that conservatives and/or Republicans want to crush dissent and block free speech.

While I think it's disengenous to call Bush Hitler, for example, I don't think anyone should be "held accountable" for doing so in terms of being blacklisted.

This is why I don't join boycotts or throw out my Beastie Boys CDs. America is the land of the free and that includes free speech. If you don't want to watch movies or listen to music made by actors or musicians whose views differ vastly from yours, more power to you. However, I think calling for a Hollywood blacklist does more harm than good to your cause.

There is a difference between an entertainer facing the repercussions of his statements via monetary loss if a whole bunch of people just decide to stop purchasing his products and being a victim of a group-think movement to outright stop his career in its tracks.

For instance, a person writing to UComics and telling them that they are upset that they print Ted Rall's comics and will no longer put any of their own money into supporting UComics is fine and a great expression of your freedom to show dissent. However, gathering your forces to get UComics to drop Ted Rall from its roster (please note, as much as I despise Ted Rall, I never wrote to any of his syndicators to ask them to drop him) is engaging in tactics that can be construed as crushing of someone else's dissent, which is not very American.

Perhaps it just the term "blacklist" that worries me. The connations of that word are dark and evil and make me think of smoky back rooms where giant men with cigars dictate the lives of others. To whitewash the entertainment industry so that only those who voice your own opinion are left standing is dishonest; it creates an environment where only one lone voice is heard. Michael Moore may not speak for me, but he certainly speaks for others and to make any attempt to blacklist him or to strong arm movie theaters into not showing his film it to take away other people's freedom to listen to Moore and see his works. Who are we to decide what other people can see or hear?

I get nervous whenever people talk about silencing others and that, in essence, is what a blacklist purports to do. Oh, the left has their own blacklists as well, as does every major political movement. They just don't always make it public. No matter who is doing the blacklisting, it is bad, bad policy.

The dictionary defines blacklist this way:

A list of persons or organizations that have incurred disapproval or suspicion or are to be boycotted or otherwise penalized.

Penalizing someone for speaking their mind, no matter how insane or contrary their views might be, is inherently un-American. Organizing a boycott among like-minded individuals is fine, stating publicly that you don't not support Actor X because of he trashes the president is fine as well. But a blacklist is equivalent to trying to shut someone up.

Sadly, I fear that this will end up being nearly all media as we know it, but given the trash that floods into our homes and theatres passing as entertainment today, it is probably a good thing to lose, especially if a boycott of these products will drive home the point that these Hollywood elitists cannot continue to insult their audience and still expect to get rich. Please note that this blacklist will not punish those in the entertainment media for civilized dissent. If an actor says something along the lines of, "I plan to support Senator Kerry in his campaign because I believe strongly in his vision for America," demented as that may be, it's not objectionable and insulting, and doesn't warrant blacklisting. If instead, the actor says, "Bush means Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, and all these fucking crypto-fascists are gonna get in and start carving up the pie and handing in all their markers to the Republican Party that's been itching to get back into power." (John Cusack, otherwise one of my favorite actors.)

The problem the author of this blog faces is that he assume that the audience is made up solely of people who have the same views of him. ...these Hollywood elitists cannot continue to insult their audience and still expect to get rich. Not all of the audience is insulted, just as not everyone is as insulted or horrified as I am when Ted Rall talks about Reagan roasting in hell. Also, the author is specifically defining what kind of dissent is appropriate, as if he has a right to determine the proper way of voicing your opinion.

Again, it's something about keeping a list that bothers me, that invokes the spirit of Communism (yes, ironically, blacklists in Hollywood historically kept out the Communists). The thought of someone fastidiously writing down names and checking them against their statements, then deciding if the statement was good dissent or bad dissent according to their own definition gives me the creeps.

I expect that there will be plenty of argument on this subject and many of you will rush to point to the fact that I often take celebrities to task for the policital things they say; that I am often seen deriding Michael Moore or Ted Rall for their commentary. While I do believe they deserve my ridicule, I also believe they deserve their time on their soapboxes because they are Americans and therefore they are born with the right to speak their mind, no matter how deluded that mind might appear to others. For every person like myself who thinks that Moore is insane, there is a person who thinks he is a genius and I have no right to take away that person's ability to listen to Moore.

[link via Dean Esmay]

Update: I knew this post would be like letting a swarm of bees loose. Honestly, my biggest problem with the blacklist idea - and I know this is not the basis for a good argument against it - is the useage of the word blacklist itself. I probably associate it too closely with the McCarthy blacklist era and thus all my feelings towards this are very negative.

Also, in the comments Allah states:

There was a lot of talk after 9/11 about Americans being prepared to sacrifice in times of war. You seem to be saying that despite the presence of people here at home who, casually or not so casually, are doing what they can to undermine that war effort, being asked to sacrifice part of your CD or DVD collection is simply a bridge too far. Doesn't leave much left to the concept of "sacrifice," I don't think.

I don't see how throwing out CDs and movies I bought years ago makes any sacrfice towards the war on terror. I'm willing to wait longer in airports because security is tighter, I am willing to give up certain freedoms and rights if it means that I am better protected for it. I just don't get the concept of throwing out entertainment in the name of fighting terrorism.

I do my best to call these people out, to bring publicity to their mostly idiotic feats that try to undermine our success in this war. I think it's a bit dishonest to make the implication that I am not willing to sacrifice anything for the war on terror. Just because I still have my Smiths CDs does not mean I hold Morrissey up as some great icon of truth. Morrissey the artist, I am still a fan of. Morrissey the person can kiss my American, freedom loving ass. But I do keep in mind his right to say the things he does, and I keep in mind my right to make sure everyone knows what he is going around saying. And please note I am not talking about speech that can be qualified as treason. That's a whole different ballgame. When someone, like Ted Rall, tells troops to start shooting at each other, that's a bit different than saying Bush is Hitler. One is poisonous, the other is just stupidity masquerading as protest.

Perhaps this makes no sense to you. It does to me and I cannot explain myself any better than I already have. I just really resent the implications in the comments and from some email I received that because I think Michael Moore is allowed to exercise his freedom of speech, I am therefore aiding and abetting anti-Americanism. Please tell me how an almost twenty year old copy of Beastie Boys album sitting in my CD player is doing just that?

It's very early on a Sunday morning and I'm sure there are plenty of holes in my argument against blacklisting that will be brough to light; holes that might be better filled when I've had more time to think about the subject. But that's what the comments - often filled with raging dissent - are for.

*

words mean things

I don't understand the kerfuffle over the plethora of callipygian women walking through town. Sure, they've made some men commit acts of defenestration in regards to their brains, but I can see how an already flibbertigibbety guy would get discombobulated at the sight of these hoydenish women, especially when their shorts are so diaphanous in nature. It's not like most men are very persnickety when it comes to butts, anyhow. I mean, that's pretty indubitable (See, Biz Markie Sir Mix-A-Lot*). I suppose the preceding was superfluous, but there's a reason. I'm sure this link will be ubiquitous in no time at all. * Oops. Got my one hit wonders mixed up.

June 12, 2004

just because

Too tired to post anything else, and for some reason I found the answers to this quiz quite amuzing. I think I might have even taken this one already. Well, no matter. By the way, tomorrow I move on to Part 2 of the Great Cartoon Debate where I will pay homage to Nickelodeon cartoons. So if you've got something to say about that, say it.

Snaps

I uploaded a few pictures from DJ's All-Star game to the gallery, if you're interested in that sort of thing. My favorite: I'm also partial to this one, which was purely accidental. Gallery Also, my contribution to this week's PhotoFriday (theme: journey) can be found here. Congrats to Alan, who was one of the winners of last week's theme, with this gorgeous photo.

The Great Cartoon Debate, Part I: Disney, Ducks and goofiness

Perhaps this is the wrong way to go about things, but it's my blog and my chosen topic at hand, so I'll make up the rules.

In the great debate over the best cartoons - which started out as a WB/Disney debate but now includes all the HB stuff as well as some other viewer chosen cartoons - here is how I decide which reigns supreme: How have said cartoons impacted my life in terms of pop culture references?

Silly? Yes. But we are talking cartoons here.

When I say references, I take into account the following:
* Have I ever dressed up as one of the characters for Halloween?
* Did I ever have any household accessories (bed sheets, etc.) with their likeness?
* How many times have I quoted any of the characters?
* If any of the characters break out into song, can I recite those songs from heart?
* How many of the theme songs can I sing?
* How many times in my life have I referenced the cartoons when talking about a completely different subject or used any of the cartoons to make a point in a discussion?
* How much of their "stuff" do I own?
* How many childhood-young adulthood memories involve any of the characters?
* How many episodes of a show can I recite nearly word for word?

There's more, but that should suffice for now.

After careful review of the criteria, it seems that Disney cartoons (remember kids, we are talking about television cartoons and not the Disney movies) had very little impact upon my career as a pop culture referencer. Yes, that's a word and a career. Just made it up, but that does not make it any less real.

It wasn't until the later Disney stuff, after I had children of my own, that had any kind of impact on my daily living and that's only because I now like to walk around saying Let's Get Dangerous! at random times. Darkwing also had a slew of opening lines he used when he appeared in a puff of smoke to save the day, such as I am the surprise in your cereal box! I like to use these sayings at times, though not as randomly, as there is a place and time for each of these quotes.

The terror that flaps in the night singlehandedly saved Disney from being relegated to "not culturally important enough" status in this debate. We had Darkwing cereal bowls, beach towels and t-shirts. We even got his autograph when we went to Disney World.

Darkwing was part of the Disney Afternoon block of cartoons that started airing in 1990. The original incarnation of this series included animated Gummi Bears, which struck me as inane. Talking cats and ducks? Fine. Talking candy? No. There was also Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers, Ducktales, Talespin, Goof Troop and Bonkers. Other shows were added later, but at that point my kids had switched from The Disney Channel to Nickelodeon (save for Gargoyles, which was a pretty neat show) and we missed out on such grand fare as Shnookums and Meat.

I hated Ducktales, mainly because I hate Donald Duck and every single Disney Duck except for the aforementioned Darkwing was really just Donald in a different outfit. Well, at least Scrooge McDuck wore coattails to cover up his genitals. Actually, it's pretty odd the way they handed out clothing to these ducks. Some of them wore pants, shirts, shoes, the whole bit, while others still went around with shirts and no pants. I'm sure there is some biting social commentary to be had here, but I do not want to digress more than I already have.

Enough of you favorite 90's Disney fare, you are saying. What about the stuff from your childhood, or do you just live vicariously through your children all the time?

Well, the two do meet ,you know. Aside from Darkwing Duck, the only other Disney Afternoon show I liked was Goof Troop. This stems from my unhealthy fascination with Goofy that goes back to my childhood. Goofy was the only Disney character I really liked. Perhaps I related to his awkwardness or his ability to turn every attempt at doing something good into a farce.

One of my favorite Goofy roles was in Lonesome Ghosts, pre-cursor to Ghostbusters.. Do you know how I watched that episode? Not on tv. Nope, I watched it with my handy dandy Fisher Price cartoon viewer. Wow! I actually found a photo of the cartridge. Excuse me while I go into memory shock overload. I can literally hear the clicking noise the viewer made as you cranked the handle. [Hold on....someone has it for sale on eBay! Which means I have to get the other computer hooked up today as I don't have my eBay password on the laptop and there's already twenty bids!]

Back to Goofy. While he may not have been quotable or even sourceable, he certainly was loveable and that's a good "able" to be. I believe Goofy was my first introduction to real physical humor, but I always worried about the guy, wondered how he could get into so many mishaps yet always remain happy, healthy and, well, goofy.

So it came to be that I would watch Goof Troop with my kids and eventually, every time, I would find myself alone in the living room laughing at the antics and the strained father-son relationship between Goofy and Max as my kids headed for another tv where they could watch Power Rangers or whatever else was on at the time. I think they even preferred Barney to Goofy. There's no accounting for taste.

What are we left with here? Goofy, Darkwing Duck and some memories that are going to cost me a pretty penny at eBay. I suppose if the thought of Lonesome Ghosts could send me running for my wallet, Disney cartoons must have had some impact on me.

End of Part 1. Feel free to use the criteria above to come to your own conclusions.

June 11, 2004

Name That Plant!

A while ago I posted about the landscaping that came with the new house. I still don't know what that "long, twisty tree-type plant" is, but now that I'm finally able to upload my photos to the computer, I just know that one of you will be able to solve our mystery (we are not green-thumb type people, though we are quickly becoming so). [click for really big size] So, any ideas? Side story: We've gotten a lot of mail, phone calls and people knocking at the door trying to sell us everything from bottled water to life insurance since we moved in. The real estate agencies must put out a red alert to every business within five miles when the sell a house. The day after we moved in, a guy knocked on the door. He was the salesman for the oil company the previous owners used. I told him we would be using the same oil company we did in our previous house, thankyouverymuch. Well, he knocked on the door again today. Oil guy: Hello ma'm, I was last week. Told you I'd come back to discuss the oil with you. Have you made a decision? Me: Yes, the same decision I made last week. We already signed on with our previous oil company. Oil guy: And what company is that? (He was sounding very agitated here) Me: It's my friend's company? Oil Guy: I said what company? Me: XYZ Oil. Oil Guy: Oh, how much are they charging you? Me: Excuse me? (In my world, that is not a very polite question) Oil Guy: How much do you pay those guys? How much a gallon? (In my face now) Me: I don't think I have to tell you that. Oil Guy: Well, you still have some of our oil left here, you know! (Yes, and it's fully paid for by the previous owners). Me: And? Oil Guy: We...we can take it back! Me: You want a hose so you can siphon it out with your mouth? Oil Guy: ..... I'm telling, you I have had enough of rude salesman. The guy that came to give us an estimate on the bathroom was given the same treatment after I had to listen to just ten minutes of his condescending "but you're just the woman, what do you know about money" crap. Anyhow, the tree/plant. Anyone?

one lump or two?

[I put this post from earlier today on top because I'm sorry I even gave those moonbats attention. The state funeral for Reagan was a beautiful, moving service and I'd like to just leave it at that. I don't want to delete the protester post because of all the commenting going on, but I don't want it up top, either.] I'm expanding on the WB/Disney thing, as way too many people are chiming in on both the comments and in email to make the case for their favorite cartoons which fall into neither stated category. So here's your chance to plug your favorites and get them included in what is going to turn out to be a very lengthy post on the subject. Meanwhile, I should say that I am not firmly entrenched in any cartoon camp. They all have their moments. While I prefer WB over Disney today, there were plenty of Disney cartoons back in my childhood that I absolutely loved. Below, two of my favorite cartoon moments, one from Disney, one from WB: motormania.jpg The first documented case of road rage. CC1191-Rabbits-Kin.jpg Tea gives me a headache

Assholes of the World, Unite

Free speech and all that, I know. And my free speech gives me the right to say that these people are no better or different than the cretin followers of one Rev. Phelps who hold up "roast in hell" signs at the funerals of gays. No difference at all. Update: Turns it was the Phelps gang. Strange bedfellows, eh?

reagan12.jpg

notes

I'm going to try to get the WB/Disney piece up today, but it might have to wait until tomorrow. [And, due to some demand, will also include references to HB cartoons and others] I'd like to take my time with it, and today will be spent in a combination of watching the funeral, attending DJ's field day and laying down the new floor in the living room. We'll see how much ambition I lose as the day goes on. Here's a treat for you, via Stephen Green: Get the script here, from David Schneider Joseph. Also, Ben Shapiro's book is getting a lot of notice these days. I'm not sure I like the tone of this article, but congrats on the success, Ben. Also, to anyone patiently waiting for a return email from me, or for me to link/post something I said I would recently: Our computers are not hooked up as we renovate around here and I only have the laptop going for now. As all of my mail before this week is downloaded onto the drive of my Vaio, it is unavailable to me. If you sent me something that deserved a quick response or some action taken on my part, please resend it so I can have it on this comp. And: very good discussion here on the missile engines found in Jordan this week.

June 10, 2004

Ray Charles

1930 - 2004 Photo by Michael Romanos I loved this man and his music. That's all I can say. For your listening pleasure, my parent's song. This is the song they danced to the first time they met and the song that, well over forty years later, still gets them misty eyed. Ray Charles - Georgia on My Mind Update: I uploaded the wrong version of Georgia last night - the correct (Ray Charles) version is now at the link.

Disney v. WB: state your case

Well, that opened up a can of email worms. I'm working on something tentatively titled Warner Brother Cartoons v. Disney Cartoons. [Note, we are talking about cartoon characters, not movies and their characters] Now is the time to state your case, mention your favorite characters from either side, favorite television shows featuring those characters, best episodes that clearly show why your choice is superior, testaments, oaths, devotions, etc. We will put this fight to rest once and for all. Update: Case in point: This witch would kick this witch's butt.

Happy Birthday Donald Duck, You Dirty Old Man

Yesterday marked Donald Duck's 70th birthday. How did I ever miss this incredible cultural milestone? How did I let the day go by without commemorating this stupendous event?

Oh, that's right. I hate Donald Duck.

I look at Donald in the same way some people look at Crispin Glover. There's just a wrongness about him that makes my skin crawl. I suppose, to be fair, I shouldn't blame it entirely on Donald himself. I feel the same way about any animated animal that doesn't wear pants.

Why bother wearing a shirt if you aren't going to put a decent pair of trousers on? Even shorts or a bathing suit would be better than letting your genital-less nether regions hang out like that. It's just wrong, I tell you. The fact that Daisy refuses to wear a skirt or pants either just makes it all the more horrible to look at.

Do you let your kids watch Donald Duck cartoons? You shouldn't. No one should have to stand for Disney's veiled attempt to pass partial cartoon nudity onto our children. Where are the warnings? Where is the PG rating?

It's not just the no pants thing that bothers me. Donald's whole personality, in a word, sucks. He's selfish, obnoxious and a really bad role model for his nephews. He's got a worse temper than Tommy Lasorda. I wonder just what goes on that we don't see with those nephews. Ten to one he's hit them more than once. Probably with a belt buckle or a shoe. He's also a miser, as seen here and here. This stuff is documented, people. I am not making it up.

He is continually jealous of Mickey's good looks and luck with women. But no, nothing is ever Donald's fault. He just sits around and bitches about Mickey and Goofy and how easy they have it. Not once does he try to better himself or his life. Instead, he chooses to complain about how life isn't fair. The dude has a chip on his shoulder larger than, well, Chip. And that Daisy, she's just an enabler who continues to try to soothe Donald's frail ego every time he does something wrong. Hmm..I wonder what goes on with them behind closed doors? I'm willing to be the sex includes a lot of "I said turn over, bitch!" and such. She takes whatever he gives her, and what he doesn't give her, which is respect and proper attention. Dumb bitch. Eh, what can you expect from a chick that doesn't even have the decency to wear at least a thong in public? No wonder the girls today dress like they do! They've been raised watching pantless animals!

And what's wrong with Disney, expecting us to be entertained by Donald's long line of failures and defeat? I may not like the duck, but I would certainly back him up if he were to go to Eisner and claim exploitation.

It is my contention that Donald Duck is in serious need of some medication. Perhaps Zoloft or Prozac, something to help those mood swings and control his passive aggressiveness.

But what Donald really needs is a pair of pants. I keep looking for his duck dong; not because I want to see it but because it's pretty damn obvious that if Donald is wearing no pants, his thing is going to be swaying around. I suppose this is one for that scary group of folks known as furries to answer for me. Too bad I won't let myself get within ten feet of one of those folk. Do the folks at Disney think we're that stupid, that we are supposed to believe that ducks have no dicks? Then again, maybe that's why Donald is so angry all the time.

Well, happy birthday anyhow, Donald. You're 70 now. Calm the hell down, put on a pair of slacks and give Daisy some lovin'.

[I am well aware that this is clearly the stupidest thing I have ever posted here.]

Funerals, Pride and Dignity

I've been to more than 100 funerals and/or wakes; a very large extended family makes for lots of death over time. Most of the funerals and wakes were for older people whose deaths were expected. Some were even greeted with a sigh of relief. At those funerals, there was the loud chatter of relatives who had not seen each other since the last death in the family. Sad affairs, of course. But not somber. Perhaps it's an Italian thing to see wakes and funerals of our elders family reunions. The familial exception here would by my grandfather's funeral. He was old and sickly and in the end we waited for him to die. His wake was a celebration of sorts. The family gathering after the burial was nearly a party. But the funeral itself was somber, made so by the firematic service he received. When we walked out of the funeral home the morning of the burial, the uniformed firemen formed a line on either side of us and saluted as we walked past. My grandfather's body, in a flag-draped coffin, was lifted onto the back of a firetruck that had been adorned in flowers. As we drove past the firehouse, and again as we approached the cemetery, there were fire trucks on either side of the road with outstretched ladders forming a bridge that we passed under. It was quite touching, a testament to my grandfather and his dedication to the fire service and his community. We were all overwhelmed by the honor given to our patriarch. I would not see or feel anything like that until September of 2001, at the wake of Pete Ganci. From my archives (those early dates are accesible only through archive.org) bq. I can't put into thoughts right now how affected I was by attending the wake. The line to get in was around the block. And this isn't because he died a very public death, it's because that's the kind of man Pete was; that people would stand in line for hours to pay respect to him.
I've been to so many wakes in my life, more than I care to count. There is always an air of sadness, a sense of solemnity. But here, there was something more....The numbness and disbelief of the past few days melted away as I kneeled in front of Pete's casket, his Fire Department uniform hanging next to it. There were pictures on a table to the right. To the left, his golf club leaned on a table. The flowers, so many flowers: Beloved uncle, friend, father, brother. And I kneeled there and looked at all these things, and looked at the closed casket and touched it, ever so briefly, and looked at Justin next to me and cried. That was my second personal experience with solemnity of death. After I finished my bout of crying that night, I was able to look back at the wake and feel a sense of pride. Pride for Pete's family, for his life, for his service to the city of New York and its people and pride that I could say I knew this man. It was the the dignified, stately aura that surrounded the affair that gave me that sense of pride. Even those who didn't know Pete could sense it and feel it. Something like that overwhelms you and lends to the swell of emotions that are brought to the surface. There was one more after that. Not a funeral, per se, but a memorial service for Claude Richards, a member of the New York City bomb squad who died on 9/11. bq. There were dogs. Bomb sniffing, loyal dogs, sporting red, white and blue bandanas around their necks and they stood color guard as if they were born to do that. There were policemen. Thousands of them, literally. They lined the street 10 deep and hundreds across. There were army men, Airborne men, decked out in dress gear, reassuring and scary at the same time. And in the middle of this, there were people. Regular, everyday people who aren't heros of the life saving kind. Friends, relatives, neighbors who had come to say a few words, to pat someone on the back, to tell them it will be alright.
There were other things today. The motorcycles with their quiet roar parading up the street, flanking the limousines that held the family. The three men standing on top of a Special Services truck, playing taps on their bugles while NYPD helicopters circled overhead and someone in the church belted out Ave Maria, all at the same moment, causing me to ask my mother, "Is this real?" because in my world just a month ago, this would be a movie. Not my life.
There was the woman who wrenched the heart of everyone in the place as she sang a soulful, mourning Danny Boy. The bagpipes. The standing ovation the mourners spontaneously gave to the members of the police department as they made their way out of the church. The men and women of that department streaming out with tears in the eyes of each and every one. I've never been and never will be to anything as solemn and sober as the service for Claude Richards. I did not know Mr. Richards, only his family. I knew of him. I knew the things he did and I knew how much his family admired him, how everyone he touched admired and loved him. It was the somber, stoic appearance of his brother and the solemn reverence paid to him by his friends and colleagues that made me cry as if I had known him like they did. And so it was watching Ronald Reagan's flag-draped coffin being hoisted by men in uniform yesterday. So it was, as I watched Nancy Reagan, seeming so small and slight, run her hands along the coffin. Of course I did not know Ronald Reagan. Most of us have never met the man. Yes, he was our president and we knew much about him from the years he served us. Yet there is so much we did not know and in order to see what kind of man Reagan was one only need to look at his wife as she mouthed the words "I can't believe it." You need only to look at the citizens who lined the streets yesterday to watch as Reagan's coffin passed by them. You need only to have seen the long line of people who waited ten hours for a chance to pay their respects for only ten seconds or so. From the soldier who accompanied Nancy yesterday, to the honor guards, to the riderless horse, the 21 gun salutes, the missing man formation, the solemnity of the uniformed soldiers, to the words spoken by so many, it would be hard not to get choked up watching the ceremony unfold. I felt a pride of country yesterday, in the sense that we are showing the world our dignity, the kind of dignity that comes with solemnity. I found myself standing in front of the television yesterday. Standing. What I was seeing both demanded my respect and brought out a fierce sense of pride. Perhaps if you did not like Reagan's policies or his legacy you will not have felt that same pride I did, the very same pride I felt at my grandfather's funeral, the same pride I felt for having known Pete Ganci, the same overwhelming pride I vicariously felt for Claude Richards's family.

June 09, 2004

farewell

I've been trying for hours to write about what I've been watching on tv, but I can't seem to find the words. Maybe tomorrow. I know I'm not the only one who cried watching it. How could you not cry looking at Nancy? It's hard to say goodbye forever to someone you loved for so long; it must be harder to do so in such a public way. I'm not even sure what I was feeling but I suppose it was some combination of sorrow and pride. Yea, maybe tomorrow. I'm feeling a bit verklempt right now.

wariness

Am I the only one who is nervous about Friday? All those people gathered in one place, on the 11th of the month... I really should stop talking to the paranoia people here at work. Still. They closed our building on Friday for the day of mourning. I was going to take off anyhow. I just feel it's necessary to watch the funeral. It's respect. We bought a flag for the new house this week and immediately flew it at half-staff. It's nice to see that not only does every house on my new block have a flag outside, but they are all at half-staff as well. I guess that Bush/Cheney lawn sign we put out won't be causing too many problems, then. Anyhow, it's liquid lunch day again. One giant Bloody Mary coming up, with a side of paranoia.

for word geeks

146 out of 200. That was hard. Majoring in English has not helped me with quizzes such as this. [via Llama Butchers, who compare me to a furious deity. I think.]

rall-free zone (for now, anyhow)

Didn't watch him on Hannity and Colmes last night. I just refuse to give any more of my time to that cretin. Yes, I read his blog, read his new column and at this point, there is just no responding to him. He has become a parody of the left and whatever I can say to him or about him is pointless, as Rall and the people who hang on his every word are clinging to a world that exists only in their warped minds. It is not a world based in reality and I prefer to not visit there again. It literally hurts my head to read his crap and it kills my artistic sensibilities to look at his clunky cartoons. For all your Rall bashing needs, go here. Free Dirty Danny!

Today's Required Reading

Sure to be linked by just about everyone. From Paul Wolfowitz in today's Opinion Journal: bq. After a suicide car bombing killed Iraqi Interim Governing Council President Izzedine Salim and eight others on May 17, one Iraqi put that act of terror into a larger perspective for those who wonder if democracy can work in Iraq. His name is Omar, one of the new Iraqi "bloggers," and he wrote on his Web log: "We cannot...protect every single person, including our leaders and the higher officials who make favorite targets for the terrorists--but we can make their attempts go in vain by making our leadership 'replaceable.' "

Exercising his newfound freedom of speech via the Internet, Omar addressed what he sees as the terrorists' fundamental misunderstanding about where Iraq is going. Terrorists--whether Saddamists or foreigners--"think in the same way their dictator-masters do," failing to grasp that the idea of leadership by an indispensable strongman applies to totalitarian regimes--not democracies. When I want to read what is really going on in Iraq, when I want a good feel for the reality of how the majority of Iraqi people feel, I read Omar. When I want to offer people an alternative view to what the media is feeding them, I post Omar's words on Command Post. I'm glad Paul Wolfowitz chose to begin his article with that reference. We are paying attention to you, Omar. Good show. Read the rest of the piece for more on the plan for Iraq after June 30th. Addnedum: Read the first two comments for some clarification.

If this is the sexual revolution, consider me a counter-revolutionary

I spent an hour or so last night discussing my negative feelings expressed in the post below with my husbad. We both came to the same conclusion. Bear with me while I get to it.

When it comes down to it, it's not the book deals or celebrity status that bothers me, and it's not jealousy or bitterness that is giving rise to my exasperation with the story. It's about women and girls and the way we view ourselves.

I probably would not have written what I did last night if I were not still reeling from what I read at Joanne Jacobs's site the other day.

Friends with 'benefits': "Hooking up" -- a no-strings sexual encounter that may range from kissing to oral sex to intercourse -- is more common than dating for affluent suburban teen-agers, according to a New York Times Magazine story. Girls in eighth or ninth grade perform oral sex on boys. Kids don't like commitment. Some go to online sites where they can "post profiles, exchange e-mail and arrange to hook up" with strangers. The trend toward ''hooking up'' and ''friends with benefits'' (basically, friends you hook up with regularly) has trickled down from campuses into high schools and junior highs -- and not just in large urban centers. Cellphones and the Internet, which offer teenagers an unparalleled level of privacy, make hooking up that much easier, whether they live in New York City or Boise.

Basically, these young girls hand out blow jobs like candy. No relationship, on hand holding; just some teenage girls giving relief to horny boys. What do the girls get out of it? I can't figure that out. Do they get the satisfaction of a job well done? Do they get some deep down pleasure at having fulfilled their friend's sexual needs? If so, why? Why would a young girl give of herself like that so freely?

Do you see where the two stories are connected? Actually, there are two ways I connect them. The first is that the media loves girls who put out. Apparently, that holds true whether the girls are fourteen or grown women.

My daughter is fourteen years old. This is not what I want her to learn about sex. It's not a commodity. It is not a bargaining tool and it is not to be used as leverage.

What ever happened to self-worth?

One of the things I talk to my daughter about when we have conversations about sex is self-esteem. I emphasize this: If a guy says to you "if you really love/like me, then you'll do this for me" the best thing to do is run. Fast. Never, ever let a guy make you feel that doing sexual favors for him is how you prove your feelings. It's a lie. Remember that you are worth more than what your hands or mouth can do for him. Respect yourself as a person and demand that whatever boy you are with does the same.

It's my contention that girls who give in to boys who are only looking for a short burst of pleasure and nothing else will end up with little self-worth and a warped view of sex. Trust me on how I came to this conclusion. It was not an easy lesson to learn and I'll be damned if I am going to let the same things happen to my daughter. I certainly don't want it to happen to your daughter, either. The only thing a girl gets out of a quickie behind the school playground is a bad reputation and small rip in their self image. The more the girl continues to be a playground toy, the larger the rip becomes.

Do you know what your daughters are doing? Do you know what your sons are doing? I wonder how many parents of boys give them the same talk as girls are presumably given, that females are more than their breasts, more than the sexual pleasure they can give you? When I was a teenager, it was standard procedure for the girls to get the burden: boys will be boys, so it is up to girls to say no.

So what's different today? What has the sexual revolution brought us? Not much, from the looks of it. Girls are putting out a younger age. The definition of sex is fuzzy. Half of the girls that are in junior high today will end up with a lot of regret some day.

I'm not saying sex is bad and teenagers should never think about it. It's part of human nature, especially in the early teen years. I don't want my daughter to ever think of sex as something inherently bad. But I don't want her to see it as a tool, either. Giving a friend a blowjob is not having sex in the full meaning of the word. For most girls - one can presume this after reading article after article about middle school sex - it's just currying favor, which makes the giver a bit of whore.

So how many of these girls who are doing "favors" for male friends or putting out to prove their devotion to a boy are going to end some day like Jessica Cutler, putting a price on their booty or using sex as a way to get what they want, be that money, fame or a husband? Is that the way you want your daughter going through life? Hardly.

Self-worth is sometimes all one has. To have that taken away, little by little, just so some boy who was never taught by his parents to respect girls can have a few moments of orgasmic bliss is a very sad thing.

You can blame the media, which goes to great lengths to give the sluttiest women the most coverage. You can blame the fashion industry, which seems to believe that little girls should dress like the sluts the media thinks they are. Or you can blame parents who teach their kids the basics of sex, but don't teach about the emotions and necessary respect involved.

This is not well thought out, it's simply off the cuff comments stemming from a very depressing conversation last night.

June 08, 2004

Giving Skanks

I missed this Michelle Malkin column on the pimp Wonkette and her ho, Jessica Cutler - I just came across it today, hence the late blogging of it. In the column, Malkin calls Wonkette and Cutler "two vain, young, trash-mouthed skanks." Among other things. Malkin is right on so many counts in her column. You just have to go read it. But I'm wondering, when is everyone going to pile on Malkin and call her bitter and jealous for writing such horrible things about the sainted blog darling Wonkette? Oh, that just applies to me? I see. After appearing on Fox, Cutler and Wonkette went on to coo about Cutler's writing talent and future book publishing prospects. Damn straight I am bitter and jealous. While we are on the subject, certain bloggers who have been promoting this whore/pimp duo semi-religiously are no longer on my reading list. I think it's really contemptable to promote the notion that the best way for a woman to jump start her career is to bend over and stick her ass out for dirty old men. Is this what you want your daughters to think? Hell, is it what you want your sons to think? If not, don't be a party to it. As Steve said: Instead of interviewing her on TV, isn't the appropriate thing to say, "Wow, what a pig," and move on? Perhaps I should just take solace in more of Steve's words: If you think Jessica Cutler is cool now, wait until you see her five years from now. Hard-looking, possibly diseased, no longer famous, and unable to land a decent man. That's the usual trajectory for a slut with no special talents. Seen Monica Lewinsky lately? Neither has anyone else. Thank goodness I crossed "slut" off of my career choices list back in high school. [And before any of you dare leave a comment about cleavage or sexual talk, this is not about that. It's not about Wonkette's ass-fucking obsession or Cutler blogging her sexual trysts. It's about otherwise respectable media glorifying a cheap whore and her pimp to the point of making them minor celebrities.] Come to think of it, why isn't anyone calling Steve a bitter old hag? Is it me? Must be. Good. Update: Nor am I implying that Steve H. is a bitter hag. Nope. Hey, go buy his cookbook. That was not a paid advertisement.

Unilateral

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. *

*

STOP ME IF YOU THINK YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE

Thanks for all the emails, but no. I am not going to destroy my beloved Smiths albums. I know what Morrissey said. But it's not like I didn't know all along that he was an America hater. And a bit of a prick, as well. Thing is, I love his music. I just don't get the point in denying myself the pleasure of, say, Bigmouth Strikes Again just because whiny old Morrissey ran off his mouth about Bush. He has his politics, I have mine. That they differ vastly does not change the fact that I enjoy his music. If he makes a song called Bush Should Have Died Instead of Reagan, I'll be sure to not listen to it. Doesn't mean I'm going to throw Hatful of Hollow out the window. You can make all the arguments you want about supporting anti-Bush or anti-America musicians and artists monetarily. I don't care. I prefer to live life enjoying those things that bring me pleasure, even if it means that Morrissey or the Beastie Boys or Johnny Depp gets a couple of bucks out of my paycheck. If I were to toss out every album and/or cd of every musician that behaves like a jerk or says stupendously stupid things, I'd be left with barely anything to listen to or watch. Life without a pathetically lovelorn Morrissey just wouldn't be the same.

Cool Song Parts, Part 2 (updated a lot)

My choices (see here), to be added to at whim, provided I clean my desk off first: * Breeders - Cannonball The whole song is great, but the frenzied guitar in the middle is something you anticipate with glee every time. * Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song The whole beginning. Air guitar heaven. * Ism - I Think I Love You 80's punk remake of the Partridge Family song. The accordion solo in the middle is worth the listening to the tortured singing. * Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees But I can't help the feeling I could blow through the ceiling If I just turn and run The whole song is phenomenal, but that one part gives me chills every time * Toadies - Possum Kingdom The whole riff before the be my angel verse towards the end. * Deftones - Bored The first few minutes, from the lone, staccato guitar riff, right until the whole band kicks in. * The Clash - Radio Clash But now this sound is breakig, and want to be freeeee-eeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeee * Failure - Stuck on You I can't escape your incessant whine Just love the way he sings that line * You know where you are? You're in the jungle baby You're gonna die! The beginning to White Zombie's Thunderkiss 65, which I still maintain is the best driving song ever recorded. James - Laid Someone in the comments mentioned this, but not my particular favorite part. I like fought with kitchen knives and skewers . The way he says skewers cracks me up. More later. I have a zit on my face that looks - to me, anyhow- like a weapon of mass destruction. I'm thinking of hiring Scott Ritter to come take a look at it. Or maybe I can just call the local radio station and tell them that my zit resembles the Virgin Mary, then I can charge everyone to come stare at me. A paper bag over the head works, too. Update: This is what my zit looks like!

Iced Earth: Metal From the Right Side

icedearth.jpgIced Earth is a metal/progressive/power rock/label of your choosing band. They've been around since 1991 and recently put out a new album, Glorious Burden. Burden has been described as a political album but, as songwriter John Schaffer says in the interview transcribed below, it is more of an historical album. Schaffer is a rarity in the rock music business - he is unabashedly pro-America. He is also a history buff and that is evident on Burden, an album that, Schaffer says, was inspired in part by 9/11, but is about more than that: There's a lot of writing on this album of history that goes back to Attila The Hun against the Roman Empire all the way to Afghanistan and 9/11. It's not a political album." Schaffer was interviewed by Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles, an online metal magazine. The interviewer was somewhat antagonstic towards Schaffer, but he stood his ground and gets my vote for Hero of the Day. What follows here is excerpts from the interview, which you can read in its entirety here. Apparently there was some controversy about the original interview, which was edited when printed the first time - and editing job that put a bit of a spin on the interview. The Weekly Standard also had something to say about Schaffer. Before I post the excerpts, I have to ask this question: Why is it so controversial to have a metal band write songs about war and for a metal musician to be so proudly pro-America, when there doesn't seem to be any controversy at all when hundreds of other bands are writing and producing anti-America crap every day? Oh, it should be noted that the interviewer is Canadian. ------ BW&BK: "This next question is controversial so I'm letting you know before we proceed. Some political analysts have articulated the view that what happened on September 11 was justified due to America's presence in the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia. Some political analysts view it as retaliation for what the US has done in the Middle East in the past. As a Canadian, I'm interested in hearing what you have to say about this view that's been put forth by analysts." JS: "No, it wasn't justified. Not at all. And anybody who says so needs to have their fuckin' head examined." BW&BK: "Do you think 9/11 will be viewed as the first event in the US empire's decline and fall?" JS: "No. This is not an empire, first of all. If the United States was an empire, your country would be our 51st state." ------- bq. JS: If you understood how many people in our country and how many young kids have no fuckin' clue about history and why they have the things they have, it's frustrating to me as someone who has studied this stuff and cares deeply about it. It's kind of a big deal. I don't think anybody has all the answers for all the world's problems. But I believe if you look at the tax burden the American people have for helping so many people around the world, constantly. It's huge. People can't deny that, but it's easy to forget when people want to turn their backs on us." ------------- BW&BK: "So you don't see the Bush regime as being cultural imperialists? You don't see them as trying to force the American way of life on to a nation that maybe doesn't want it?" JS: "No. If you think that's true, then why are 70 or 80 percent of the people are thrilled to have us there. Have you not seen that? And it's not a regime, by the way. You keep up that kind of language I'm going to end the interview right now." BW&BK: "Ok. I understand." JS: "I'm serious." BW&BK: "I'm sorry. It's just my Canadian bias I guess." JS: "Yeah, it is your Canadian bias. I'm sure it is." ----------- BW&BK: "Well, sometimes Americans believe they're very free, when they're sometimes not. There are a lot of authors, especially a guy like Noam Chomsky, who believes a lot of consent in the US is manufactured by politicians and corporations --" JS: "Talk about one of the fuckin' ultra leftist spin doctors of the world, Noam Chomsky. You buy into that crap?" BW&BK: "Well, I read a lot of his stuff." JS: "But do you believe it all?" BW&BK: "I have a degree in political science, so I believe some of it." JS: "Hmm. Yeah. Well. And how old are you?" BW&BK: "I'm 22." JS: "22 years old? That's a lot of wisdom there! Come on, man. You know where I live? In the real world. When I was 16 years old I was living in abandoned houses and making my way into a career. Building things up from nothing without any kind of... well... socialist system to help me. ---------- bq. I think we have become a nation of spoiled-rotten fuckin' brats, and that worries me for the future. There's nothing worse than being an ignorant kid that is spoiled and has no concept of what's going on around the world. Let alone not even knowing what has gone on in their own world to make them who they are. If you don't know the sacrifices and suffering that went into the founding of this country, then how can you possibly appreciate what it is you have?" -------- bq. But the whole idea of this country is not to have a government tit. We don't stand for that. There are people who would probably like that, and they should probably move to Canada. ----------- JS: But the way you asked your questions, you were asking biased questions. Calling our president the Bush regime? That's a tainted thing, dude. That's not like saying, 'How do you feel about President Bush?' Saying 'Bush Regime' is a bullshit way of saying it. That's spin, alright? ---- Read the whole thing, then go to Amazon and listen to some clips from Glorious Burden. It opens with a blazing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. I've been a casual fan of Iced Earth for a while, but haven't bought anything they put out since Dark Saga. I'm pretty sure I'll be purchasing Glorious Burden, as it sounds like a great history lesson wrapped in some pretty powerful music. Out of the ashes came a tempted vengeance, but we are focused, we seek redemption we are free, we'll stay free All they've done, is make us stronger The sleeping giant, is asleep no longer If need be, we'll die free Yea, a little cheesy, but taken as a whole, the lyrics are good reading. [BW&BK link via my boss] Also posted at blogcritics

Kick Out The Jams: The Coolest Song Parts

Let's take a break from it all, shall we? This is a great topic: 50 Coolest Song Parts. I could really go on about this forever. There are hundreds of songs that are just ok, but I play repeatedly for that one note or one scream or ten seconds of wailing guitar. Each song has its special moment (for instance, Kick it!), some are just more special than others. I'll get to mine later (running late, as usual) but off the top of my head right now, I can say that one of the coolest moments of all my favorite songs is in Tyler by The Toadies, when he sings She pulls the covers tighter. It's the way he says tighter with squeaky antcipation, the way his voice goes up and down on each note, the way I sound like a complete fool when I sing along, but I don't care because it's such a cool part. RetroCrush starts you off with 50, and it's amazing to see that all those little things about your favorite songs that you thought were special only to you came off the same way for other people. Like that moment in Crue's Home Sweet Home.... I'll review RetroCrush's 50 Coolest Moments later, as well as add my own. For now, the floor is yours.

June 07, 2004

today's required reading

I've been pretty busy at work today, so light posting. However, I have some great reading for you today. Alex Mauldin teaches at an Army post in Germany, home of much of the 1st Armored Division. He writes: bq. Many of the seniors have spent this final year in high school with one of their parents in Iraq. Think of how tough that must be. Think of all that a typical senior has to deal with during those last nine months -- earning their credits, choosing a college, prom, etc -- and then have their father be in a war zone. A very, very tough situation. The Army came through with a way to help those parents "attend" the graduation. Alex documented the ceremony and took some photos. One of which made me cry. Graduation in a time of war. ____ Bill is at it again. This time, he attends a protests and manages to interview a squirming Michael Berg. ____ Lt. Smash wants to know : Do you know who is teaching your children? Remember, I said required reading. There will be a test later.

More Reagan

Steve H. dispels the myths about Reagan and AIDS. Deroy Murdock has more. Andrew Sullivan: just keep reading and scrolling. Lileks, of course. Robert Stewart on what Reagan meant to him.[login: commandpost25/command] I just realized that this post from this morning was post number 7,000. Man, that's a lot of typing (and that's not including my pre-domain posts).

Blog Iran

From a Blog Iran email:
If you are a blogger who supports the Iranian people in their struggle for freedom, then you've come to the right place. To participate in this challenge, which will run from June 5th - July 9th (18tir), all you need is a blog and the desire to unite with thousands of other bloggers from around the world, who all believe in the Iranian people's right to be free from the tyrannical hell that is currently imposed upon them. Your objective, as a blogger, is to try and recruit as many fellow bloggers as you can, to join the 'BLOG-IRAN' Coalition. If you aren't currently a member of 'BLOG-IRAN', don't worry, you can join the coalition right now, and begin competing in this challenge immediately. Recruit your friends, family or even your noisy nextdoor neighbors! As long as they blog and they support the Iranian people in their struggle, then they meet the requirements for 'BLOG-IRAN' membership and can begin competing in the challenge. Every time a blogger you've referred joins the 'BLOG-IRAN' Coalition, you get 1 point. Throughout the challenge you will be able to view the current scores set by yourself and other bloggers. On July 9th, the competition will end, and the top 10 bloggers who have tallied the most recruits will receive 'GotAMullah' Coffee Mugs, 'Free Iran' Bumper Stickers and will be permanently placed at the top of the 'United Blogs Directory!
I really don't want to win anything, I just want everyone to click on this link daily and keep updated on what is going on in Iran. For instance, this week they are "hiring" potential suicide bombers. Also, read Michael Ledeen regularly. While the mullahs recruit a death squad, I'll do my best to help freedom-loving Iranians recruit Blog Iran coalition members. Go here to join Blog Iran.

2.5

The selfishness of politics

Reading around the blogs has been interesting, to say the least, the past 24 hours. The talking point for yesterday: Reagan is dead, commence pissing. And they all pulled down their flies and let go. From the look of things, they had been holding that in for years, doing a child's pee-pee dance in front of the Reagan Library, just waiting for the right moment to relieve their poisoned bladders. The sub-talking point: Reagan caused 9/11. What's funny about this is for the two and half years, all these people were saying that Bush I and Bush II caused 9/11. I don't recall Reagan making an appearance in too many of those screeds on how Americans defeated themselves. Also, Blame must be some strange, mutated disease that flows through presidencies but skips right over Democrats. Both Bushes caught the Blame. Now Reagan has caught it posthumously. Skipped right over Clinton, it did. Interesting, because he showed a lot of the symptoms. Looks like I caught some disease as well. One former friend calls it selfishness. An email received from an irate lefty last night contained the phrase self-centered. For some reason, they think my politics should define them and not me. How's that for selfishness? They ask me to defend my "hero worship" of Reagan in light of his response to the AIDS crisis. They are some of the same people who ask me to defend my support of Bush in light of his views on gay marriage. The question I ask is this: Why do I have to defend my political views to your beliefs? When I was growing up, I was taught that politics was a very personal thing. You didn't ask people who they voted for. You didn't talk about politics in front of people who were known to combust at the slightest provocation. You didn't ask people why they were pro this or against that. My parents considered it rude to ask people to defend their choices because each choice made by a voter or constituent was personal. While I no longer subscribe to the idea that politics are not for debating (obviously), I still believe that politics are personal. Most people vote with themselves and their families in mind. I suppose they hero-worship the same way. What one man considers greatness, another considers a failing. And even if your hero has some failings, the fact that he saved those seven kids from an overturned school bus makes those failings fade into the background. The life saver may, in his spare time, run a sweatshop, but if he saved your child, that sweatshop will matter not. Well, that analogy is going nowhere. Let's try being honest. Reagan saved me from fear. Reagan delivered me from evil. Reagan made the nightmare of the Russians go away. That changed my life, changed my views and forever altered my perception of America, the world and my future. So of course I honor the man. Of course I look back at his presidency as one that gave me hope and promise. I don't agree with everything he did or said, just as I don't agree with everything Bush does or says. But the things I do agree with, they are big. Huge. Looming. They are the things that are important to me and impact my life and future. Political views are inherently selfish. To claim that your vote is cast with the good of every single human being in mind is dishonest. Your bottom line is gay marriage. Mine is war. At least I'm open about being the center of my own universe when it comes time to vote. You can cloak your vote in the "good for mankind" mantra, but when you pull that lever, it's all about you. Once you realize there's nothing wrong with that, you'll learn to be honest about it. I can't base my politics and beliefs around what is right for you. To expect me to do so is real selfishness. Thanking someone for putting a stop the cold war and loving them for doing that is not being self absorbed. However, expecting me to join you in pissing on my own heros because they don't live up to your expectations is the height of self absorption. Everyone has their needs, wants and beliefs. If mine do not coincide with yours, so be it. That's what makes the world a varied place. Learn to live with the difference in views rather than bully people into seeing the world through your eyes. That said, I admit that I can't fault people for their beliefs. I can, however, fault the way they choose to make those beliefs known. A nation mourns a president and the left pulls down their flies in a giddy pissing contest to see who can release the most venom. This is a triumph for them. The "devil" is dead and he died early enough so as not really impact the election! And they call me selfish.

June 06, 2004

Little League, Big Egos

I offer a baseball story in between what will be many posts about Ronald Reagan and the lingering affects of his death. Yesterday was the Little League All-Star game. As you may recall, DJ made the team this year. Now, I should say from the start that while I love Little League, I hate the politics of it. There's always that one group of parents who get deferential treatment due to whatever connection they have with the board of directors. Or perhaps they are the board of directors. Certain coaches are favored when games or decisons are disputed. Parents behave badly, and their behavior is more often rewarded than punished. So, yesterday's game was moving along smoothly. The kids on both team were playing great baseball and everyone (save for DJ, who was being way too hard on himself for striking out twice) was having a good time. The bleachers were crowded, the hot dogs were grilling and the rain was cooperating and staying perched in the clouds. The rules of the All-Star game dictate that each pitcher shall pitch only one inning. Because twenty kids are picked for the team, they want to make sure not only that all the kids who pitch that were picked get a turn, but that the coaches won't put in the "star" pitcher for too many innings - the game is not supposed to be a competitive one. Let's go to thebottom of the eighth inning. The game is tied, 4-4. The other team has their most imposing player at the mound. The kid stands at least five inches and 50 lbs over everyone else. In a league made up of mostly ten and eleven year olds, this kid looks like Randy Johnson to them. He's eleven going on twenty and throws the meanest, hardest fastball this side of the majors. You can hear the whomp every time the ball flies past the batter and lands in the catcher's mitt. Of course, he strikes the side out. One. Two. Three. Gone. The kids breath a sigh of relief that they won't have to face him again in the ninth. Or would they? Bottom of the ninth, score still tied at four. Who comes to the mound but Randy Johnson, Little Leaguer. If you've ever been involved in Little League, I don't have to tell you what followed. For those unfamiliar with childrens' organized sports, what happened was this: Fifteen minutes of yelling, cajoling, pleading, name-calling, cursing, accusations and a bunch of little kids picking their wedgies and spitting sunflower seeds at each other while the coaches and some parents tried to come to a decision. Honestly, I couldn't understand what the fuss was about. A rule is a rule is a rule. If the rule says kids can only pitch one inning, then what was all the fuss about? Damned if I know, because I took the break in the action as an opportunity to go wait on line for the bathroom. When I got back, a decision had been made (and the foul-mouthed woman who heads the league inadvertently taught the kids some choice new words) and Randy Johnson was told to leave the mound. A new pitcher came in and Randy was moved to first base. The other team started booing as soon as our first batter of the inning stepped into the box. Their coaches encouraged, this by laughing and and giving them high-fives. Nice manners, guys. Very nice. Remember, it's the bottom of the ninth. Tie game. Now there is more at stake than just winning the All-Star game. The booing must be avenged. Cut to the last pitch. Two guys are on base, one on second and one on third. Two outs. The kid at bat is 0-3 on the day. The drizzling has started and is threatening to become a downpour and the prospect of extra innings is not one any of the parents wants to face. The kid hits a dribbler towards third base. Damn, we all think. Here come those extra innings. But....no! The third baseman scoops up the ball and makes the easy throw to Randy Johnson at first. Unfortunately, Randy was distracted by one of his coaches yelling at him to move forward. The ball goes right by Randy and the kid on third scores. Game. Over. The parents on our side go crazy. The kids are screaming. They run to the field to jump all over each other. As the parents are saying things like sweet justice and neener neener, the kids from the other team run out the field, too. Forty kids all running around the bases, slapping each other on the back and just acting like ten and eleven year old boys. Not even two minutes after the winning run crossed the plate and the kids cheered their own victory, they could have cared less about the game. To them, the game and its final score were secondary to razzing their school friends from the opposing team or racing them from home base to centerfield. A few minutes later, all forty kids were standing by the pitchers mound, posing for a "team"picture. It was their idea to have their pictures taken together. DJ had long forgotten that he struck out three times and was engaged in a contest with his friend from the other team to see who could stick more Big League Chew in their mouths. Most of the parents chatted about the upcoming playoffs. And then there were those few parents who were still bitching about the game, and those who were still gloating. Those are the parents who could learn something from the kids who thought a "team" picture meant both teams. DJ's trophy will eventually collect dust on a shelf, but that picture I took of the forty grinning kids will get framed and hung on his wall. I wish I could say that I never get into "screaming parent" mode, but the playoffs haven't even started yet and I will reserve judgment on myself until I can go through the entire playoffs without being one of those parents.

D-Day

Everything you need to read is right here: Milblogs Salute D-Day

Celebrating Reagan

07.governor.jpgMy grandmother's wake would have seemed like a party to a stranger who happened upon us in the funeral home parking lot, our cars set up like tailgaters at a football game; drinks pouring, most of us standing huddled and shivering in the cold, yet laughing and smiling. We were celebrating grandma's long life and telling the same, wonderful stories we had been sharing for years, stories we would pass on to our children. Grandma was old, she had lived a full life and left us with a rich legacy of memories and recipes. This is how I will deal with the death of Ronald Reagan. I will celebrate all he meant to my life. And for someone whose graduated from high school the year Reagan was elected, he posed a rather large impact on my young adulthood. As with grandma, not all the stories will be great ones, not all will make me laugh or smile. But they are part of his legacy, and we will discuss them at dinner or while watching his funeral procession on television or while hoisting a drink to him later on tonight. I was eleven when LBJ died, yet I remember it vividly. I watched part of his funeral at my aunt's house, on her black and white tv and I remember thinking - however absurdly - that presidents should not die. I had no idea at the time of LBJ's rather dark legacy (nor had I any way of knowing that thirty years later, I would form a rather bizarre obsession with the man and his politics), but it just seemed very surreal to watch the funeral of a former president on television. Instead of exploring these thoughts, I went outside to play, making the conscious decision to remain oblivious to history. Here I am 31 years later, flipping through every news channel, wading through every news site and blog, soaking up every single piece I can find about Reagan. The contrast between what you can find here and here is very interesting; I wish I had paid more attention when I was eleven because it might have laid an interesting ground for my political formation had I read the LBJ obituaries. I can't imagine that they appeared anything like Reagan's do today. Growing up in the 60's and 70's was to grow up with the words Cold War hanging over your head every day. We had air raids in school where we had to hunker under our desks or squat down in the hallway with our heads tucked between our legs. Just in case the Russians bomb us, they said. And that is really what they said. Our teachers and parents were not shy about our reasons to be afraid; they had not yet heard the term political correctness, they did not make any attempt to couch their hatred of the Russians in polite terms. The Russians were our enemy. They were the Red Menace. The Commies. The people who would "push the button" that would send us orbiting into space towards certain death. There was always that provocative button. For years, I would dream about this button, think about it, fear it and my imagination would let it grow to nightmare proportions. In my mind, I saw a windowless room, dark and cold. In the middle of the room was a glass case. Ensconced in that case was the big, red button. Russians sat around this glass case all day, fingers poised, faces continually contorted in a mixture of defiance and power. Just one word. One whispered word from a head commie, one wrong word from an angry American, and that's all it would take. An electronic panel would slide open and the button would automatically glow a sinister, bright red. Maybe it would flash. And the commies that had been gathered around the glass case, just waiting and waiting, would draw straws to see who got to push the button. But the biggest, baddest commie of all, some guy who, in my young, frightened mind, had a face full of pock marks and scars, making him uglier and redder than all the other commies. He was tall and broad and his eyes glowed like fiery coals. He would slowly inch his finger into the case while his comrades watched, rubbing their hands together in maniacal glee. Sometimes they even drooled with anticipation. And then the large, grubby index finger would poise over the button -hesitating for just one moment while the other commies held their breath and then a moment of complete silence while the head commie slowly pushed down on the red button. A map of America would appear in my head at that moment, a perfect mushroom cloud rising from the center and spreading outward. We were dead. For most of the years that dream sequence plagued me, I was of the mind that America was a bad guy. I was aware that we had a "button" as well (hence the popular term at the time, "push-button war"), and whatever news I read led me to believe that Americans were strong-arming the Russians into playing the button card. If you don't behave nicely, I'll have no choice but to kill you! That should be spoken in a highly affected Russian accent, by the way. Along comes Reagan. I was in the midst of a flower-power, no-nukes stage, one which saw me wanting to move to San Francisco so I could commune with the over-aged hippies still lingering on Haight Ashbury. So I did what any 18 year old, first time voter with liberal tendencies would have done. I voted for John Anderson. He wasn't Reagan and he wasn't Carter and he had the same name as that guy from Yes (even though the musician Anderson spelled his name Jon). You would think that a faux liberal like myself would have been enamored of Jimmy Carter, but his handling of the Iran hostage crisis irked me; he was a wimp of the highest order. I suppose the warning bells were being set off in my mind even then and I had I listened they would have been telling me that I wasn't really a liberal; I just liked smoking pot and listening to the Grateful Dead. The years of Reagan's presidency spanned the same years that I went from stupid teenager to grown woman. Reagan was inaugurated the January after I graduated high school. He remained president until shortly before I gave birth to my first child. That's a lot of growing up I did under the presidency of one man. I grew to love Ronald Reagan. Even through the Iran/Contra crisis, even with Nancy's Just Say No campaign, I loved his presidency. He wanted us, more than anything, to be proud to be Americans. He offered us hope where Carter had only offered us (or myself, at least) despair. He made us feel strong and powerful, which was just what we needed at that time. I loved Reagan, the man. His smile warmed me. His personality made me feel as if he were speaking just to me every time I watched him address the nation. He cried with me after the explosion and spoke words that filled my heart with a bittersweet hope: bq. And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them... Ronald Reagan was a father figure. Even a grandfatherly figure. His smile was genuine, his heart big and gracious. So I looked for Ronald Reagan to dispel my fears, to help me learn about pride of country, to feel good about the future. And he did all that. Lest you doubt Reagan's impact on my Russia-phobia, look at all things that happened during his presidency: * 1983 Proposes Strategic Defense Initiative * 1986 Gorbachev ends economic aid to Soviet satellites * 1986 Reagan and Gorbachev resolve to remove all intermediate nuclear missiles from Europe * 1987 Reagan and Gorbachev sign treaty to remove all medium and short-range nuclear missiles * 1989 Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan * 1989 Poland becomes independent * 1989 Hungary becomes independent * 1989 Berlin Wall falls * 1989 Communism falls in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Rumania * 1988 Soviet empire is over For one who grew up with such an intense fear of the Russians that she dreamed about them nightly, those events were life altering. Reagan was the hero who would vanquish my nightmares of the red button forever. I did slip back into my liberal tendencies for a bit after Reagan left office. But the groundwork for my conservatism had been laid by President Reagan. His idea of "peace through strength" is why I supported the first Gulf War. It was that idea that would become the basis for my abandoning liberalism in 2001. It was that idea, in fact, that always made me a bit of an outcast amongst my more liberal friends. My love for Ronald Reagan was something I hid from them, for fear of being thrown out of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy (yes, there is one of those). Yet it was Reagan's ideology that gave me the push I needed after 9/11 to embrace my true self and my true politics. I have never been more comfortable than I am here in Reagan's World, where pride in your country is a good thing, where hope always remains, where the future is something to look forward to and not fear. The Red Menace is long gone. The nightmares of the red button have evaporated. There are other enemies to meet, other wars to win, other fears to quash. I truly believe that if we continue to work towards Reagan’s' vision of America's future, we will not only win, but we continue to spread the prosperity of democracy throughout the world, making us all richer in the end. This is my celebration of Ronald Reagan's presidency. Trolls and moonbattery will not be tolerated on this thread. This is my eulogy. Eulogies are not open for debate. Make a DU-worthy comment on this post and I will crush your dissent faster than you can say delete.

June 05, 2004

Ronald Reagan 1911-2004

[Fox News image] "I will only say let us all heed the words of an old Scotch ballad, `For those defeats that we've had so far, we are hurt; we are not slain. We'll lie us down and rest a bit, and then we'll fight again."' - Ronald Reagan, April 13, 1984. quote via Ed Moltzen Update: BFT has a blogger round up and a great story of his own. I prefer to remember Reagan as the man who helped tear down the wall. I was very pregnant with Natalie when the wall came down. When she was born in February, a friend gave me a baby scrapbook as a gift. Inside the scrapbook was the front page of the Daily News from the day the Berlin wall fell. The inscription underneath read: For Natalie, born under a great president. His presidency was not without its low points, but I choose to reflect upon the many good things that Reagan did while serving our country as president. The cold war was something that colored my entire childhood and youth. Reagan was responsible for my fear of the Russians fading into memory. Reagan defined the way I feel about the world today: peace through strength. I did not vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980. It was the first election I was eligible to vote in and I cast my vote in a very idealistic, anti-establishment way, in keeping with my 18 year old I Want To Change The World sensibilities. It wasn't until Reagan's second term that I came to appreciate the man he was. I'll have more later. Go check out the links at BFT. I put up a post called The Quotable Reagan over at TCP. Feel free to add your own, if you have them.

Horsing Around

My sister is going to the Belmont Stakes today. I'm going to give her some money in the hopes I'll make some money. I don't follow the horses much, so any suggestions as to who to place my bets on? Besides the favorite, or course. Maybe if I hit the exacta with a long shot, I can redo the bathroom! ________ Alan has a great piece on Smarty Jones and a day of deliverance for Philadelphia.

Ted Rall and Other Lefty Lunacy

A few snippets from Ted's latest: bq. Respecting one's wartime adversaries, dead and alive, distinguishes civilized societies from barbarians. Architects of the war on terrorism, casting POWs as "enemy combatants" unentitled to Geneva Conventions protections and refusing even to count the enemy dead and wounded, have discarded this fundamental precept of honor. Dead Americans count; those they kill do not. bq. No one, even Michael Moore, talks about the dead Taliban and Iraqi government soldiers, many of them conscripts. Yet the these tens of thousands, every bit as much as U.S. celebrity war heroes like Pat Tillman (killed, it turns out, by "friendly fire") died performing their duty, defending their countries against enemy forces. Ted is right (yes, right!) on one or two things in this column. If Memorial Day is designed to honor those who died while fighting for this nation, then our services on that day should include mentions of the dead allies who fought alongside us. He is also correct when he writes this: It's a cliché of journalism: a single murdered blonde scores screaming headlines while "2,000,000 Chinese Die in Floods" gets a column inch under the fold on page 19. In fact, a single blonde actress who got shot in the shoulder on a New York subway this week garnered more headlines and stories than any other story for three days in a row. But that's another topic for another day, and nothing new or startling to any of us. So where does Ted get it wrong? Everywhere else. Does he really think we should have been honoring enemy combatants on Memorial Day? Can you imagine a service, attended by thousands of veterans, their families and fellow Americans, that paid tribute to those who died fighting for our country and then asked that we also remember those who were trying to kill us? If it makes me a barbarian for refusing to think that is appropriate, so be it. But I just cannot imagine a Memorial Day where a speaker stands before a crowd and asks that we give thanks to Hitler's army or the Taliban. The Taliban being those brave soldiers that Ted is always defending as if they were not a group of people whose motto may as well be "Kill All The Americans and Jews Now!" He cozies up to the Taliban as if they were friends of his, and not radical murderers who would just as likely drop a bomb on Ted's house as they would on mine. And if you need any further proof that the left is clearly becoming a group of people whose ideology is based on hatred (read the DU thread from the post below for further examples), read the beginning of this theater review in the Village Voice (via Instapundit, via here.) bq. No U.S. president, I expect, will ever appoint a Secretary of the Imagination. But if such a cabinet post ever were created, and Richard Foreman weren't immediately appointed to it, you'd know that the Republicans were in power. Republicans don't believe in the imagination, partly because so few of them have one, but mostly because it gets in the way of their chosen work, which is to destroy the human race and the planet. Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recipe for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don't give a hoot about human beings, either can't or won't. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.
This opinion is presumably not shared by Foreman; you can gauge the breadth of his imaginative compassion from his willingness to extend it even toward George W. Bush, idiot scion of a genetically criminal family that should have been sterilized three generations ago. Yes, that is a part of a theater review. I'll have to come back to this one later as my comp time is limited right now, but feel free to have your say.

The VRWC Presents the Imminent Death of Reagan

Apparently Ronald Reagan's condition is worsening giving rising speculation that he is pretty close to death (though you could argue that he has been all along. Also, the Drudge Grain of Salt warning applies here). Some reporters were under the impression he died yesterday, but that story was quickly put to rest. I bet you didn't know that Reagan's imminent death is part of the VRWC. Yep. Sure is. * The timing is perfect for Bush isn't it.. * I'm betting Reagan dies June 6, 2004, 60 years after D-Day. Forever cementing the illusion that he served in the war. * but I bet the old bird would love to go on the 6th... wouldn't that be a fitting day for for a *pretend* *actor* hero? I was kinda hoping he would hang on a bit longer and maybe go June 30th or July 4th and take some of the press spotlight away from shrub on either of those days. * Time to thaw out the Ronsickle. Who picked Reagan in the October Surprise pool, anyway? Seems like Bush has had both Reagan and bin Laden stored in some secret basement for a while now, and he's just waiting for opportune times to drag both their bodies out. Well, that's the impression I'm let with after trolling through DU, anyhow. To be fair to DU, for every idiot who posts a "I hope he's in a lot of pain and his death is horribe" post, there is another DUer telling them to shut up. But that's not what I'm reading the posts for. The conspiracy theories are far more amusing.

June 04, 2004

Presented Without Commentary

I'm busy with baseball and house stuff. I'm leaving the commentar on this up to you.
Iraq - Coalition soldiers questioned two news media cameramen and a reporter after a roadside bomb exploded near a Coalition convoy two kilometers north of Mosul June 3. The media, who were at the scene prior to the attack, told soldiers at the scene they had received a tip to be at that location prior to the attack and they had witnessed the explosion. There was minimal damage to a Coalition vehicle, a cracked windshield, and no serious injuries. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers requested the media accompany them to a base camp in Mosul to answer questions as witnesses to the incident. The news media representatives left the base camp in the mid afternoon.

Bloggers Count!

Just got this email:
The Committee on Arrangements (COA) for the 2004 Republican National Convention is considering the option of creating an on-site bloggers station at this year's Convention from August 30 through September 2 in Madison Square Garden.
Bloggers would receive credentials to all four days of the Convention and would be outfitted with a centrally located workspace in Madison Square Garden. The close proximity would provide additional accessibility for bloggers to connect with surrogates, and to provide additional multimedia (photos, videos, et cetera) to their audiences.
Do I need to say how great this is? Update: Oops, got so excited I forgot to give out the info for interested bloggers. If you have any questions or for more information, please call Megan Mollman or Ryan Connolly in our Communications Department at (212) 356-2300.

Babies, Songs and Stepford Mommies

I dragged Natalie to Wal-Mart with me yesterday to pick up some odds and ends. We stopped briefly in the electronics department to see if they carried the thingie that I need to transfer my photos from camera to computer, as the one I own is packed away somewhere in a box that must be buried under boxes we intended to not open for years.

They didn't have what I was looking for, but they did have three giant bins filled with DVDs! Three for Five Dollars! While Supplies Last! Of course, we had to look. I know I will never, ever find anything I want in these bin sales, but I look anyway, always hoping that one day the corporate heads at Conglomerate Central will decide that their store should no longer carry any Gary Oldman movies and I'll be able to complete my collection cheap.

No such luck. There were some Tony Danza movies, a couple of Part IVs to movies that should have never had a Part I and kids videos that were all mean to cash in on the Barney craze way back when but never had quite the impact that the grown man dressed up in the polka dotted lion suit hoped for.

As I gave up hope of finding anything interesting (and after explaining to Natalie that Monkeybone was not worth even $1.75), I was smacked in the face by nostalgia.

Baby Songs. Oh, not a good thing to see while I'm suffering through a raging battle with PMS. No, not the kind of PMS where I want to tear someone's heart out, but the complete opposite, the kind that makes me cry at the mere site of orphaned kittens or little babies or an old couple holding hands.

When Natalie was wee tiny, someone bought us a few of the Baby Songs tapes. I scoffed, as I was not going to be one of those parents who stuck their kid in front of a television. In fact, I vowed that Natalie would not even know what a television was until she was older. Perfect Parenting 100 begins with the mantra Kill Your Television.

We listened to music instead. Natalie was strangely soothed by the harmonious melodies of the Traveling Wilburys. I have a video somewhere of Natalie in her little bouncy seat, having one of her patented screaming fits. When she had these outbursts, she was unconsolable. She didn't want to be held. Didn't want to be fed. Nothing could calm her down. But in this particular video (and why we were taping her screaming, I have no idea), she's at fever pitch; arms flailing, feet flying, head spinning 360 degrees with pea soup flying out of her mouth and suddenly she stops. Just dead stops. She cocks her head like a cat listening for the devil. And you hear it.

Been beat up and battered 'round
Been sent up, and I've been shot down
You're the best thing that I've ever found
Handle me with care

The tears stop, her face lights up. I zoom in close with the camera and I swear she is smiling. Smiling! and thus began the beginning of the end of my infatuation with that Wilburys song. After five days of using it to stop the crying jags, I never wanted to hear it again.

One time, not too long ago, I put the song on just to see if Natalie remembered it, or if she would have some subconscious reaction to it. Nope. She just said "Hey, I know this song, dad has this CD at his house," which left me a little mad that he has something I think belongs in Nat's baby box.

So Natalie's savage mood swings were soothed by music, and this bode well for one very tired mommy. I was able to put her in the swing or the bouncy seat, switch on the stereo and everyone was happy. Mommy could do some cleaning or read the paper and Natalie would bounce and swing and make little baby attempts at singing, which some people call cooing, but when your child is obviously some kind of genius, it is singing, damn it.

Then the stereo broke. Just stopped working, just like that. Now what? The crying jags came back. The red face and balled up fists were like powerful magic, turning me into a stressed out, frenzied mother who wanted nothing more than to not be a mother whenever Nat was struck by these moods. Music, had to have music.

There was the television. Staring at me, just daring me to turn it on. But...but what about my Perfect Parenting score? What would the other women in the Mother's Group think? Won't my baby immediately turn into an idiot if I put her in front of the tv?

Well, it was just music, after all. I just needed music. So I hesitantly put on MTV. The crying coming from the monster baby in the swing stopped. The cooing/singing started. Yes! This had to be worth the points I would get taken off my Perfect Parent license. I took Natalie out of the swing and put her on my lap, right in front of the tv. I was losing control over my ability to perfect parent! Maybe I was going to become the idiot, not my baby.

It didn't matter because the MTV fascination lasted as quick as the Prince video we were watching. They segued from Prince into Guns N Roses and, let me tell you, there has never in fourteen years of Natalie's life been anything that frightened her more than Axl Rose. It wasn't just an aberration that Welcome to the Jungle was making her cry that day. It turned out that no matter where we were, whether it was on the tv or a radio, GnR never failed to pitch Natalie into a crying frenzy. [Then there was the video for Live's I, Alone, which caused Natalie (at a much later age) to have a recurring nightmare about Ed Kowalczyk eating her for dinner.]

It was at one of these Perfect Parenting meetings that I broke down and confessed I was a bad parent who tried to use television to make my child stop crying. The other mothers took turns chastising me and using a cat-o-nine tails on my back while I had to repeat over and over again that I was a bad mommy and would never, ever turn on a television again. Points were taken away. Tears were shed. This was worse than the day I confessed that I wasn't signing Natalie up for Gymboree. Or the day the other mommies noticed that my child was not wearing Baby Gap clothing.

After the de-scoring ceremony, I left the mommy group feeling dejected and horrible about my parentings skills. As I walked to my car (points off for having a Mustang and not a mini-van) a small, meek woman approached me. She was wearing a trench coat and dark sunglasses and furtively glancing around.

I have to make this quick, she said. I've been banished from the mommy group for letting my kids watch television and for not having soy milk available in my home. She then reached into her deep pockets, pulled out a video tape, and whispered two words into my ear: Baby Songs. She confessed that she had been letting her twins watch the tapes since they were old enough to see straight. She related the story of the day one of the lead mommies came to her house for a suprise visit and saw the twins propped up in front of the television, all smiles and giggles, watching a video. She tried to defend herself by showing the ruling mommy how happy the twins were, but the mommy just said they were the smiles of idiots, not happy babies. She immediately turned off her tv, and offered the lead mommy a snack, but the lack of soy milk did her in. Banishment followed immediately.

The trenchcoated woman explained the importance of the Baby Songs tapes. How they soothed her children, but were educational, too. How the tapes gave her time to unwind, read the paper, have coffee, do a load of dishes without having to hold or entertain the kids.

I gave in. I took the tape from her and to anyone looking on from the shadows, we must have appeared to be two desparate housewives making a crack deal to aleviate the boredom of our lives. She offered the crack. I took it and ran.

It was nothing short of a miracle, this tape. The second the music cued up, Natalie did her little hand-waving, foot-wiggling act. She smiled. She giggled. I think she may have applauded.

I was able to make dinner peacefully. I dusted and vacuumed. I read a chapter of a book. All the while, Natalie cooed and sang and never once approached the danger zone of the whimpers that would lead to a full on tantrum.

Yet, I felt guilty. The tv was on! How terrible! So I fought with myself.
She's happy, you're happy.
No, no, she's not happy, she's just smiling an idiot's smile!
Look how much you got done.
But what good is a nice dinner when your child is losing IQ points?
These songs are so cute!
The Mommies are going to take away your membership card!

I had this image of the Lead Mommy looking very much like Angelica Huston in The Witches. Would I be able to hide my dirty deeds at the next meeting or would she just know, just by looking at me, that I was a hideous creature, a mother who dared to let her child watch television and wear K-Mart clothing?

Then Natalie clapped. Really, truly clapped. With delight. I sat down in front of the tv and put Nat on my lap, rewound the Baby Songs tape and started from the beginning. We watched the whole thing together, me laughing and her singing and clapping. Angelica Huston be damned, my kid was happy. She was not crying or thrashing about or turning red with kiddie rage.

The next day I went to my Perfect Parent meeting as usual. When it came time to sit in our circle and take turns airing our parenting gripes in a non-confrontational, non-judgmental manner, I quietly took my place on the floor. After listening to a few women bitch very non judgmentally about other (non Perfect Parenting) mothers who don't enroll their babies in vocabulary enhancement classes, it was my turn. I stood up - even though standing up was considered a threatening, aggressive move -and told the other perfect, wonderful mommies that my child was enjoying watching television and furthermore, I was enjoying the fact that she was enjoying it. And, even furthermore, I was going to purchase even more videotapes and oh, by the way, I don't add tofu to my daughter's baby food, I think Baby Gap clothes are ugly and overpriced and (looking straight at the Lead Mommy at this point) I have it on good authority that you buy store brand diapers! Well, you can imagine the cacophony of gasps and squeals. I fled the room, ran to the car (cradling Natalie under my arm like a football, which is a big no-no in the Perfect Parenting world) and took off in my non-conformist Mustang, tires screeching, radio blaring some Satan's spawn rock song.

Man, that was one long tangent. Let's get back to Wal-Mart, yesterday.

So we stand there still digging through videos and I start thinking about the Perfect Parenting mommies and wondering how I've fared since I left the group that purported to have my child's best interests at heart. Did I raise her right? Did she turn into a good young adult? Would she pass inspection from the Lead Mommy? What would her scores in self-esteem and individuality look like if her life were a scorecard?

We're approached by a loud group of giggly girls that turn out to be Nat's friends from school. One of the girls is a friend of a friend, one of those clique cross-over girls. She stares Natalie up and down while Nat chats with one of the other girls. Natalie notices this.

What? Do I have a booger on my face or something?
Uhh..no. I'm just like..uh...I hate those pants you wear.
Well, it's a good thing I don't dress to please you, isn't it?

Yea, I've done alright.

The girls left and I grabbed three of the Baby Songs DVDs and showed them to Natalie. Remember these, I asked? And my fourteen year old starts singing, in the middle of Wal-Mart. Mommy comes back, she always comes back, she always comes back to get me. My mommy comes back, she always comes back, she never would forget me.

She remembered. Surely, not from her infant days when I propped her in front of the television; more likely from my second round with the tapes when DJ was a baby. But listening to her sing those words all these years later made my eyes fill with tears. Natalie glared at me. You are not going to cry, mom. Pause. Are you?

I look at her and think of her as a baby, a toddler, a Daisy Girl Scout. It really wasn't that long ago. She's still sort of a kid, right? I'm getting all teary for nothing. I still have years of her childhood left to savor. I go on and on like this for a few minutes, staring at the Baby Songs videos, looking at her, trying to not to break into a PMS crying fit.

Natalie breaks my reverie.

Oh, Mom. Forgot to tell you. I got my high school schedule [for September] today.

Damn straight I cried. I'm crying now, still.

[Baby Songs]

D-Day

I'll have something on it later. For now, read this: A quick glance at the famous Hemingway B.S. detector shows the needle pegged at Maximum, where it's been all week, from Memorial Day through the D-Day anniversary run-up. RTWT.

June 03, 2004

I Have the Power!

I am taking full credit for this: bq. Cracker Jack is back. The snack known for its appearance in the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" has returned to Yankee stadium after being briefly replaced by the competing caramel popcorn Crunch 'n Munch.
"The fans have spoken," the Yankees' chief operating officer, Lonn Trost, told The New York Times for its Thursday editions. This fan spoke. And obviously, they read my blog and decided that they did not want to face my wrath and/or boycott. Just humor me, ok? I hate to break it to Yankee management, but my boycott still stands. Until they get rid of Contreras, I am not going to be Bronx bound. [Not that I go to many Yankee games anyhow, but I do love to exercise my right to complain loudly]

left behind

I owe an apology to Verizon. But only half an apology, really because they were still arrogant bastards on the phone. Turns out that the reason the phone line isn't working is because the psycho that we bought the house from ripped the wires out of the phone box in the back of the house. Just because he felt like it, I presume. So the psycho tally thus far: When his wife gave birth, he claimed the baby wasn't his. The neighbors all say not only was there no doubt that the baby was his, but there was no way the wife was fooling around, as he kept watch on her day and night. He decided right after the baby was born that he no longer wanted to be married or a father. He filed for divorce and insisted on selling the house. He then made the wife and baby move into the upstairs apartment so he could fix up the main part of the house to sell. He did all the work himself, something he was obviously not qualified to do. The new flooring in the hallway stops about two inches before the bedroom door. He primed the walls, but never painted them. He removed vent covers and stuffed the vents with cardboard. All the molding in the hallway is warped and crooked. The list goes on. Also, he was apparently a civilian employee with the Navy. He got fired, according to the one neighbor, for being psycho. I'm almost afraid to start ripping up floorboards. One never knows what lurks underneath the homes of known psychotics. Hmmm...maybe that really expensive landscaping he put in is actually hiding something. Guess I'll wait and see if any funky smells come up in the next few weeks.

Verizon Has Destroyed My Will to Breathe

They have sucked the very life out of me with their stupidity and surliness. Not only will I have no phone until Saturday at the earliest, but for some ungodly reason you cannot get cellular service in my house. Not even outside the door. You have to walk down the sidewalk and step into the street before you get a signal and even then it's iffy. This is where it would come in handy if life were like a video game and I could just power-up or find some bottles of life-giving potion under a tree. Or I could just close up my work, sit back and read this profile of Roger Simon. A good substitute for a power-up, I think.

101 Reasons Why Tenet Left

Or close to it. Looking around blogs and various discussion boards, here are the "real reasons" why Tenet has stepped down. * personal reasons * scapegoat * The Plame scandal * A scandal the public hasn't heard about yet * he wants to write a book * he wants out before "the ship sinks" * is trying to avoid Leavenworth * because Al Gore asked him to * he knows too much (one would assume then that the BushCo Thugs will off Tenet any day now. Right?) * Bill O'Reilly pressured him into it * damage control * he took one for the team * Elvis made him do it I'm off to find more. Update: BFT has an excellent roundup of blogosphere reaction. He also has this gem of a suggestion on Tenent's replacement: Why not appoint Howard Dean or Wes Clark, since they knew all along about 9/11 and that there "were" no WMD?!?

Breaking News

George Tenet has resigned. Check Command Post for coverage. Just out of curiousity, is there anyone who is saddened that he's gone? Hmm..the more I think about this, the more strategical promise I see. So, any bets on who will take his place? Update: This could get very interesting. So far the readings on the left and the right are - not suprisingly - very different.

Comics and Politics

Among the many wonderful things that you will find at Comicon in San Diego. will be a voter registration booth. notice: do not tell me if you are going to Comicon. Your attempts to make me jealous will only result in your death. Or at least a couple of hexes hurled in your direction This will be a NON-PARTISAN effort ... we want ALL POV's repped at the table even though no politicizing will be allowed AT the booth I think this is a great idea; it amazes me how many eligble voters are not registered. But that's another issue for another day. This non-partisan effort has me thinking in other directions. Everyone knows I am a comic book geek (for lack of a better phrase). I am also a conservative - or a neocon, depending on your definition, or even a conservative moderate, or....you get the point. Once upon a time I was a moderate liberal. So I'm wondering where comic book readers skew on the political compass. Are we mostly liberals or Republicans or independents? Do we lean left or right or do we stand up in the middle? Or perhaps there is no real political leanings of comic book readers in general, but those who lean right read different comics than those who lean left. Or - and I think this is probably most likely - do your comic book tastes not reflect your politics at all? I was talking with a friend about this and he remarked that it would make sense that conservatives would tend towards superhero comics. What would liberals read? Not sure, but I know there are quite a few recent titles where America - or a close, fictional fascimile - is the villian. As for myself, I don't read superhero comics at all. My favorite titles include Sandman, Preacher, Transmetropolitan and Lenore. One of my favorites is Too Much Coffee Man, which happens to be a very liberal-leaning comic. So what does this mean? No idea. I would like to take a little survey, though, to see if my friend's idea of conservatives leaning towards superhero stories holds true, and also to see what other people are reading and how - if at all - it coinicides with their politics. These questions can start you off: Do you read comics? If so, what is your political affiliation (not necessarily how you are registered, but what you feel your "label" is)? What comics do you read? Specific titles or just genres or authors are all good. Also, are there comics you would label as specifically liberal or conservative? Are there comics you will not read because of the politis implied? Anything else you can add to the discussion that you feel would be helpful is fine. I have no idea what I'll do with this data except disseminate it and say hmm...very interesting. Which, I suppose, is the point of this. It will be interesting to see the results.

June 02, 2004

It's On!

First post from new house! After much trial and error, we finally have an internet connection. Wish I could say the same for the phone service, which seems to not want to work no matter what Verizon does for us. As for the post below, I wasn't really bemoaning my fall in stats, so much as I was saying that *I* am not happy with the content here of late. I guess I'm distracted. I discovered that the unknown plant in the front yard is a Japanese red maple. I was told that removing it would be umm...stupid, is what I think she said. Now if I could just figure out what the long, twisty tree-type plant is. It seems sort of phallic. Notice: Jose Contreras will now be referred to as Jose Effin Contreras. Reminds me more and more of Ed Whitson every time he pitches. Back to the power tool fun. Tonight's tool of choice is the electric sander. Love that vibration that lingers in your hand for hours after using it.

Open Discussion Night Because I Will Be Busy Playing With Power Tools

Well, it's the end of the work day here at the office, which means the start of the work day at the new house. We've documented every single step with photos, which I will subject you to at some point. I'm hoping that by the time I get home, the office tile has been grouted, dried and the furniture put in place. I'm hoping that the oil burner guy came and left and I now have hot water. I'm hoping the phone is finally turned on. And I'm hoping that some magic little faeries came and unpacked all 176 boxes and put all my stuff away and sanded the living room walls so I can just sit on the couch with my feet up alternately looking at samples of bathroom tile and crying over my checkbook. Probably no blogging tonight; even if the office is good to go and the modem is glowing happy-green, there's too much to do and by the time I'm done doing the too much to do, it will be time to collapse into bed. However, here are some things I meant to write about today, but didn't have the time to. So, open comments time for these subject. Have at any or all of them: 1. Lots of stuff going on today about women in the blogosphere. Are females underrepresented? Has Wonkette become the media's official spokesperson for the female portion of the blogosphere? Are we destined to just be cute and adorable playthings? Or is the whole idea of sexism in blogs just a manufactured tale thought up by people who just aren't making the time to find blogs that aren't already on their small links list? 2. Has ASV jumped the shark? Stats are way down. My rankings on all the big boards have sunk below sea level. Comments are way down. Is this what happens when you take a mere three day break or have I just been making a giant sucking sound since for the past month or so? It's ok, you can be honest. I know a sucking sound when I hear it. 3. China gives me the creeps. 4. Crazy shit about Chalabi, eh? 5. Yankees are in first. All yours.

From The Department of Slippery Slopes

blogs: they're what's for dinner

I went from Friday through Monday without seeing a news report, picking up a paper or reading a blog. Whatever news I heard came in bursts of clips from the car radio on the trips back and forth from the old house to new. When I got back to work yesterday morning, I couldn’t wait to catch up on the news. I hit the television sites; CNN, FOX, MSNBC. Then I hit the “paper” sites; NYT, WaPo, etc. I read the top stories, I searched the archives and read stories that I missed since Friday. I read the editorials and opinion pieces. After consuming all that news and digesting all those voices, I felt like I just ate ten bags of potato chips and called it dinner. Empty, useless calories, void of nutrition, substance or taste that left me feeling bloated and cranky. Really. What my news diet was missing was not the old stalwarts of major news media. I was missing blogs, of course. So I brought up the links list, chose ten of my favorite* blogs and read four days worth of archives on those sites. In addition, I followed all the links to other blogs, read those posts and often strayed ten or twelve blogs away from where I originally started. When that was done (obviously, I didn’t get a lot of office work done on Tuesday), I felt as satisfied as if I just had a steak and lobster dinner, complete with grilled veggies, a glass of wine and dessert. Full, yes. But a good kind of full. The kind of full where you sit back, light a cigarette (or cigar) take a deep drag and exhale deeply and noisily. The smoke of the satisfied. [Well yes, I could have easily gone with a sex metaphor here, but I chose the path of least undesirable Google searches.] That’s all. No long, drawn out post here where I spend ten paragraphs extolling the virtue of blogs. Three or four is enough, as I am preaching to the choir. I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who take the time each day to not only report the news, but dig deep into the facts, blend it with your opinion, back up your statements and show me the links. Or any combination of those things. Far more entertaining, informative and honest than any big news site out there. [Also, old media should learn from this that blogs are a formidable thing to be reckoned with.]

June 01, 2004

Ask Command Post!

From over at TCP: bq. We Do Requests
We were asked in an email today: Yours and Michele's creation has introduced a lot of people to the world of Blogging. I was wondering if y'all might ever have the patience to sit through a "Ask the Command Post" Thread. We do. And while we normally avoid this kind of thing, if you really DO have questions we (probably) have answers. We’re doing this on the Op-Ed page … so go there to learn more and ask that burning question. (Like, for example, "Is Michele hot?" She is, by the way.) Alan has never met me, so ignore that last statement, which I resent, by the way. No, no I don't. Not at all. I'm really shallow like that. Anyhow, if you've had a question about TCP that's been burning a hole in your keyboard, now is the time to fire away. [On a completely off topic note, has anyone else noticed weirdness with Extreme Tracking? On all my sites, for the past two weeks, ET has been running about 2,000 hits or more below Sitemeter's stats. They are usually pretty comparable. At first I thought you were all deserting me and I was going to switch deodorant, but now I'm hoping it's just a wonky ET thing. Oh, and keep your fingers crossed for me that by the time I get home from work, the cable guy will have come and gone and my modem will be happily blinking.]

Winer Whines About Spirit of America

Leave it to Dave Winer to take a dump all over Spirit of America. bq. Jeff Jarvis is promoting a site called Spirit of America. I don't know much about it, and I don't sign up for political causes I don't know much about. Translate: I know nothing about the thing I am about to bash. But it looks vaguely pro-war, so I'll just go ahead and bash first, ask later. bq. I see other bloggers singing glowing praises for it, but sheez, how could they know? I don't think bloggerdom should be used like TV talk shows. Blogs are a great place to get grass roots causes going. If Winer of all people does not see that, then his vision has been clouded by his anti-Bush colored glasses. bq. I said I don't stand up for causes I don't understand. I guess that's a polite way of saying that I don't even like what they're doing. Gee. Talk about confusing. He just said he didn't know what they were doing. I don't know much about it, to be exact. So he doesn't know much about it, doesn't understand it, yet knows enough to say that he doesn't like it. Must be the the smiling Iraqi girl on the front of the site. Or the Afghan guy playing baseball. How dare these people smile in the face of U.S oppression?? bq. I think we need to get over ourselves in America, our time is just about over, unless we stop guzzling so much gas and start electing leaders with brains, morals and courage. Get over ourselves? I have to laugh at this. The left is always there, reaching out a helping hand to downtrodden nations, taking down sweatshops, feeding the poor of other lands, building housing in third world countries. Now a bunch of right-leaning bloggers publicize a group that is going the extra mile for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and we have to get over ourselves? What a bunch of partisan crap. bq. I think the best thing the US can do for the world is get our own house in order and stop trying to fix the world, something we're exceedingly bad at. The Spirit of America team is not trying to fix the world. They are just trying to help give the Iraqi people some of the things we take for granted here in the good old U.S. of A., like textbooks and school supplies. But Dave doesn't want that. Dave Winer thinks that this is bad idea. How isolationist of you, Mr. Winer. When I was a "liberal," I was constantly chastised by my fellow liberals for being isolationist. It was an insult of high order. But Dave here is suggesting that we just tell the Iraqi kids to piss off while we go take care of ourselves. An attitude like that would, once upon a year ago, get you beaten up in the liberal lunchroom. Now that the beneficiary of the good deeds done by Americans is Iraq, it's acceptable in liberal circles to negate those deeds as unworthy of approval from the anti-Bush lefties. It's not that we need their approval to make this work, but it would be nice if for once people like Winer would drop their caustic anti-everything rhetoric and look at the end result: * SoA Donates Tons of School Supplies, Medical Supplies and Frisbees to Marines for the Iraqi People * Soldier Helps Kurdish Kids Make Music Again * Marines Give Soccer Jerseys to Boys and Girls in Wassit Province * Marines Provide Dental Kits to Families in Al Hillah, Iraq * Toys for Iraqi Children But you go right ahead and sneer at what they are trying to do. Just remember that there was a time when it was people like Winer who were doing these things and praise from their fellow lefties for it. Now it's people like Winer who are ignorantly dismissing such projects, foregoing the chance to put a smile on a kid's face in return for making sure his anti-war creds are safely in place.

No One Ever is to Blame

I'm going to do a little historical research. I'd like to know if the Italians were every oppressed or subjugated so I'll have something to fall back on should I ever be arrested for a violent crime. You laugh, but you shouldn't. After all, Isaac Cortez Bynum is trying something similar. He beat his son to death. Abused him to death, actually. And his attorney claims it is due to post traumatic slave syndrome. [Attorney Randall] Vogt says he will argue -- "in a general way" -- that masters beat slaves, so Bynum was justified in beating his son. bq. The slave theory is the work of Joy DeGruy-Leary, an assistant professor in the Portland State University Graduate School of Social Work. It is not listed by psychiatrists or the courts as an accepted disorder, and some experts said they had never heard of it. So, let's all delve into our history and see if we can't blame our bad behavior on anyone but ourselves. Yes, I know the courts will never let this argument stand, but it's the fact that someone is trying to pass this off as a legitimate defense that boggles the mind. How can an attorney stand before a judge and, with a straight face, basically say that his client is not guilty of beating a child to death because many, many years ago his ancestors were beaten, and even though he wasn't there to see it and even though he was never a slave or never had a master himself, this has somehow affected him so deeply that he saw his two year old son as a slave and himself as the master and yes, your honor, my client was destined to beat his child to death. I wonder, as an Italian, what faults of mine are inherent, then. What or who can I blame my shortcomings as a person on? Should I ever land in front of a judge, is there anything in my ancestors' past that I could use as a crutch to diguise my violent crime as something else? I'm sure I can blame something on Mussolini. Or maybe Nero. Perhaps I can work a Post Traumatic Fiddling Disorder into my next therapy appointment. Just think of how easy it will be to not take responsibility for my own actions when I can start blaming people who existed before I was even a twinkle in my mother's eyes. The more I read about people like Joy DeGruy-Leary, the less hope I have for the future of this country and the world at large. The more crackpot theories and blame-everyone-else defenses that pop up in the U.S. courts, the less I think humanity will survive this century. This goes right alongside McDonald's Made Me Fat and Judas Priest Made Me Kill My Dog headlines. This is the Age of No Responsibility. For every action you take, there is a person to blame when that action goes wrong. For every ounce you gain, every crime you commit, every coffee you spill, there is a an attorney willing to help you point your finger in every direction but back at yourself. I thought the fat and coffee lawsuits were bad enough, but now that we have people willing to go that extra litigious mile to set child murderers free, I am officially giving up all hope for mankind. Nero fiddled while Rome burned. I'm sure there's something in there for me. [via Volokh]

Spirit of America

Some of my proudest blogging moments have come from the work I did with both Chief Wiggles and Spirit of America (which is carrying on the Chief's work). So it pleases me very much to see that Marc Danziger, aka Armed Liberal, has signed on to be COO of Spirit of America. What Jim Hake started with SOA is nothing short of amazing. His vision and goals are admirable; the way he has put turned his vision into reality and has made his goals attainable says as much about Jim Hake the man as it does about Jim Hake the businessman. And I do believe he has hit up on the internet's greatest commodity when it comes to getting project like SOA noticed. I speak, of course, of bloggers. Employing and relying upon bloggers gives anyone a a huge resource of publicity that just can't be bought. Need a little info on SOA? I turn to Jeff Jarvis for that:
Spirit of America is going to let us all do more. It carries on the work and spirit of Chief Wiggles and Operation Give and countless individual soldiers who have had their families back home send baseballs and frisbees over to give to kids -- but in a big way. They will raise millions of dollars to respond to requests from the streets of Iraq for material such as tools, help with media (both TV and weblogs!), help start microbusinesses owned by Iraqis, and help bring sports back to the Iraqi youth. Eventually, SoA hopes to be a conduit for needs in Iraq and contributions from America. Think of it as open-source nation-building. Spirit of America is already helping. Last week, Kerry put together the shipment of 15 pallets of tools to send to Iraqi.
Spirit of America is now embarking on a lofty goal: In the next few weeks, the organization hopes to sign up a million Americans as contributors, volunteers or simply people who are interested enough to pay attention. Be one of those million. There are thousands of things you can do to help SOA. Maybe you have days and days worth of time to give, maybe you only have a few seconds. Whatever your availability is, SOA will have some way for you to help. I can't stress the importance of what SOA is doing. I'll quote Jeff Jarvis again: If we can help the Iraqis build their nation and their democracy and if we can connect with them on a personal level -- if, to be blunt, we can demonstrate that Americans are not ugly -- then we create a foothold for democracy, freedom, modernity, civilization, and just friendship in the Middle East. This is not about pro-war or anti-war. There are no sides in this. There is just doing; just helping one nation reach out to another, making the way for peace and civility to flow between them. You will not stop hearing about this from me. I'm going to do everything I can to help SOA not only reach their goal of one million American volunteers; but I will help them in any other way they need. I think this is the most important thing we can do at home to help win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and make the road to democracy and peace one paved with fulfilled intentions. Get involved.

By the Power of Black & Decker!

I have a great view of the sunrise from the room that some how, some way, will turn into an office today. As I sat there drinking my coffee and watching the sky turn colors, I took a deep breath and vowed to savor the moment so everything else that has gone horribly, horribly wrong will pale in comparison to being able to spend my mornings staring into the sun. Right. I won't bore you with the details. I'll just say what most of you already know and have been trying to tell me all along. Moving is hell. We started at 8am Saturday morning when we picked up the U-Haul. We finished getting the stuff out of the old place and into the new place last night at 9pm, which was marked with a finale that saw me take a nasty tumble on my last trip out of the old place. As I lay on the ground, rain falling on my face, my back and knee aching, I had the urge to laugh and laugh and laugh. Had I followed that urge, it would have been the sound of a loon's laugh, echoing through the neighborhood, causing little children to hide under their beds and fathers to grab their shotguns. So I let out a few curses instead. That was my final gift to the old neighborhood; a string of curse words that the kids on the block will be using to entertain at family gatherings for ages. My legacy to my former neighbors. Hey, I didn't miss blogging. Not at all. It might be because I was too busy to think about it. Painting, sanding, ripping, tearing, building, crying, cursing, carrying, navigating Home Depot. All those things probably kept me from even thinking about blogging. Though they didn't keep me from recording every single detail with the camera so I can give you a full historical recording of the move at some point. Before, during and after pictures, including the slow demise of my husband's sunny personality. Oh, and the pictures of DJ laying down the floor in Nat's room. Eleven years old and the kid can put down a tile floor like a pro. It's that anal-retentive gene at work. So, my personal boxscore: Three rooms painted, one floor finished, hardly anything unpacked. It's good to be here at work today, where I will sit in one place for hours and not lift a single thing. When I get home, the cable will have come and gone and I'll have my beloved connection back, I'll have television. And if all goes well, my husband and my father will have put a new floor down in the office and started work on the living room. I have become quite enamored of power tools. I hold one of those babies in my hand, switch on the power and suddenly I! Have! The Power! I stand in the yard, hands on hips in some Homeowner Superhero stance. I've got a power sander in one hand and a chainsaw in the other. I wear a superhero cape of black and orange, and I fight for truth, justice and Black & Decker. Give me some lumber! Bring me the nails! I will turn that shed into a small apartment for the kids! I will make the deck look like it belongs on a cruise ship! Tear down the walls! Sure, I am aching, broke and I don't know where anything I own is. But plugging in a power tool is like having the surge of a thousand amateur home repair mavens coursing through your body at once, all fighting to destroy the shoddy repair work that came before us. I shall conquer this home yet.