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September 30, 2004

Post Debate

Allah is rounding up blogosphere reactions to the debate. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the TCP chat.

spitting nails, again

Michael Moore's Minutemen killed 35 children today. If the reason for their "insurgence" is that they hate American being there, why are they killing their Iraqi children? Answer: They don't just hate America being there. They hate freedom. And they hate Iraqis who want freedom. We must win this thing. We have to win it and win it right and that won't happen overnight. But we must stay there until our job is done. Remember Michael Moore's words? bq. The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. They are too the enemy, you dumb fuck. They're my enemy. They are the enemy of freedom and democracy. They are the enemy of every Iraqi who wants those things. And they will surely win if you and people who think like you have their way and we pull out of Iraq too soon. I'm looking around at message boards today and seeing people saying things like "we have to get the hell out of there, now." I thought you people were all about the children. If you cared at all about the Iraqi children, you would be pleading with us to stay, not pull out. Don't even bother with comments like "It's the fault of the U.S. for being there." Deal with reality, people. We are there. What's done is done. Whether or not you think it was right to go into Iraq is really a moot point now. What you should not be arguing is whether or not stay and finish what we set out do. Now we have to finish it in a way that provides a good ending to the right people. And here's a clue for you: the right people are not the ones purposely killing kids waiting in line for candy. Here, if you don't want to listen to me, listen to the words of an Iraqi woman:
"Yes, there have been difficulties. Yes, there have been mistakes perhaps many mistakes. No, you did not find weapons of mass destruction. “But for the great majority of Iraqis WMD was never the issue. We don’t understand the criticism of your Prime Minister. All we wanted was to be free.” She added: “I appeal to you all ... to help us build a new democratic federal Iraq that would respect the lives of human beings.” Asked later if she considered Labour members naive about the situation for Iraqis, she said: “Yes I do think so. They don’t know the reality of their lives. “They haven’t lived through Saddam. They don’t know what we’ve been through. “It is not fair of them to ask the British Government to withdraw their forces before completing their mission. “They are going to harm the Iraqi people more. They are going to cause more deaths. “If they are concerned about the Iraqi children they should not be asking the British Government to leave them alone at the mercy of others.”
But when did your like ever care what the Iraqi people think? In your eyes, the real Iraqis are the ones with the guns, the ones who hide out in holy places and throw grenades at soldiers. The Minutemen. It really sickens me to think that there are people out there who believe that the killing of 34 children by TERRORISTS is a sign to cut and run. We are America. We are not cowards. Maybe you are. Maybe your priorities are screwed up, I don't know. Maybe you'd rather see Bush botch this up so bad that Iraq turns into a land of nothing but terror and death. Maybe that would make you really fucking happy because then you could say I told you so. Maybe the death of 34 kids is just another notch in your anti-Bush belt. Get with the program, people. Start recognizing that the enemy is not us. Start learning who our real enemy is. It's the same enemy that ordinary Iraqis face every day. Would you want to face them alone? I doubt it. Why would you want Iraqi kids to do the same? This is not the time to run out on them. This is the time to have more resolve then ever, to say to the people of Iraq, we are not going anywhere. We are staying until you are safe. Unless, of course, you don't feel that way. Go tell that to Omar. Let him know you think he isn't worth it. Idiots.

The Bender Post of the Day

You may recall that I was to take part in a debate this week. And you may recall this post from yesterday, which chronicled the trouble I had while trying to engage in said debate. Obviously, the debate did not go well. I was sort of distracted by the water running across my office floor and the office windows rattling and bending inward every time the ghost of Hurricane Jeanne drew a breath. The moderator of the debate decided to post what little took place. Which is fine, as I told her if that's what she wanted to do, to go ahead. Even though I felt that the ten minutes or so of conversation that transpired between Mr. Pollack makes me come off as flighty and not quite ready for prime time. But I felt as if I had entered into an agreement with the moderator and, as such, I owed her at least that much. Well, thanks (I think) to an Instpundit link, a lot of people actually went and read this "debate" and some of them even took the time to email me to call me some choice words, including liar, idiot, phony, chickenshit and some other things that I won't even bother printing. People believe what they want to believe. I refuse to go take pictures of water damage to my office floor just to prove to some jackass sitting at his computer that I really did have a flood in that room. Did you pay to read this debate? No. So, I owe you nothing. Not an explanation. Not photographic proof. NOTHING. It's a website, people. A little back and forth between two bloggers. If you feel cheated or ripped off, then you need more help than I can give you. You need a life. And if you think for one minute that I am going to apologize to you, well, you should hear me laughing over here. Cackling, even. At you. For the record, I have never backed down from anyone who challenged my opinion in the three plus years I've been blogging. In fact, all my opinions are right here in the archives. All my reasons for voting for Bush are here, too. If you are that desperate to know what goes on inside my chicken little head, do the research yourself. Let me repeat: Get. A. Life. Preferably one that doesn't include harassing bloggers who you perceive to be con artists because they didn't cough up your FREE content when and where you wanted it. And to all those who have called me a liar:


Someone remind me when Valentine's Day comes around to send Puce a dozen roses, some chocolate and a stalker-ish poem written on scented stationery and sealed with a kiss. I don't care if his English sucks, I love him.

wanted: title to one short story [Updated]

I'm trying to remember the title of a short story I read a long time ago. The facts are vague, but the underlying theme of it all still remains, hopefully enough to figure out what the storty was. It was about a child who is trying to sleep, but the wallpaper in his room had animals on it, I think. Or maybe he just imagines the animals. Anyway, the animals either come alive or he goes through the wallpaper into the jungle. It's possible there are tigers involved. I know, this isn't a lot to go on but it's bugging the crap out of me. (And no, it's not Where the Wild Things Are) Update: The story was, indeed, The Veldt, by Ray Bradbury. Thank you to reader "htom" for both the answer and the link to where I could read the story online.


[The following is a rant. A venting. There's probably no point to it, but sometimes I have to remember that my blog is a personal space in which I let off steam and I don't always have to make a point or answer a question, even my own questions. Sometimes I just want to yell.] The young girl was about 14. She was leaning against her mother, reading from her notebook as she waited for the doctor to call her in. She had a pen poised in the air, ready to write down an answer. But the look on her face gave away the fact that she was unsure of the answer. So she asked her mother. "What's the difference between the left and the right?" The mother shrugged. "What left and right? What do you mean?" "Politics, mom. This is for global studies, duh." "Oh. Hmm. Then, one is voting for Bush and one is voting for Kerry, I guess." The daughter rolled her eyes. "It's not as simple as that, mom." No, it's not. In fact, the answer is so complicated, deep and profound that I'm surprised it was given to a high school kid for homework. Unless the teacher said something like "Essay question, 15,000 words or more," it is unlikely any of the students will come up with a good enough answer. Maybe in a different year, in a different election, the answer could have readily been given. But not today. Not this time. The political spectrum has been stretched so thin in the past few years that it's hard to see where one group begins and another ends. And that's more so on the left than on the right. The right still has solid lines between certain groups; the left is becoming one big blur. So, what's the difference? Let's start with the big one. For the most part, those on the right believe in their candidate. They trust him, they respect him, they truly believe that he is the man for the job and that he is sincere in his campaign promises and dreams for the next four years. On the left, for the most part, we have people who don't even like their candidate. He's the lesser of two evils, the fill-in for the next four years until something better comes along, the best they could come up with, the guy who isn't Bush. I see very few die-hard Kerry supporters. I see a lot of anti-Bush believers. That's a pretty big difference when you think about it. One set of people will go to the polls and vote with confidence. The other group will go to the polls and vote with trepidation. One uses their heart to guide them, one uses their hate. It's the hate that separates them, too. I don't think many people on the right actually hate Kerry. They don't think he will make a good president. They don't like his nuance, they don't trust him with the keys to the country, but they don't hate him. At least nobody is writing plays about killing him. Hate and fear. That's what I'm seeing from the left. And it's funny in a way, because it wasn't too long ago that the left was accusing the right of running a campaign of fear. But look who's fear mongering now. 33 days before the election and just a few days before the first of the presidential debates, Kerry’s Massachusetts mouthpiece Ted Kennedy says:
Number Five, and most ominously: The Bush Administration's focus on Iraq has left us needlessly more vulnerable to an Al Qaeda attack with a nuclear weapon. The greatest threat of all to our homeland is a nuclear attack. A mushroom cloud over any American city is the ultimate nightmare, and the risk is all too real. Osama bin Laden calls the acquisition of a nuclear device a "religious duty." Documents captured from a key Al Qaeda aide three years ago revealed plans even then to smuggle high-grade radioactive materials into the United States in shipping containers. If Al Qaeda can obtain or assemble a nuclear weapon, they will certainly use it - on New York, or Washington, or any other major American city. The greatest danger we face in the days and weeks and months ahead is a nuclear 9/11, and we hope and pray that it is not already too late to prevent. The war in Iraq has made the mushroom cloud more likely, not less likely, and it never should have happened.
It's not just Ted that's running off the litany of fear tactics. It's the whole campaign. Kerry and staff are feeding the hate and fear frenzy that has erupted on the left. The anti-Bush crowd are meandering zombies and the Kerry campaign are throwing them brains in the form of vitriol. I can't tell the difference between the left, the liberals and Democrats anymore. There used to be subtle - and sometimes profound - difference between them, but they've blended into a swirl of colors, each one muting the other, the dark colors infesting the bright, until they became just one shade of ugly, crap brown. They frolic with Michael Moore, align themselves with Ramsey Clark, feed off of George Soros and spew out a steady stream of books, plays, movies, websites and clowns on stilts that are nothing more than a call to arms for a movement of hatred and fear. They don't believe in their candidate. That's evident from OpEd pieces in major newspapers right down to the folks at Democratic Underground, who can often be found bickering over Kerry's stance on Israel, among other things. There is very little praise for him, the most praise coming in the form of "He's not Bush." I see more bumper stickers that call for voters to get Bush out of the White House than those that call to put Kerry in the White House. So what will happen if Kerry wins? Will the anti-Bush voters become actually Kerry supporters? Or will they turn their anger towards the new president when he doesn't enact every single they want, when he makes no move toward pulling the troops out of Iraq or setting up a Marxist type government? Is Kerry wrath on hold, just waiting until the "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" celebrations are over? How soon after the inauguration will the first signs proclaiming Kerry to be fascist spring up? What will I do if Kerry wins? I'll do the same thing I've done every time one of my candidates has lost. Sigh and hope for the best. Regardless of whether I vote for him or not, if Kerry wins, he'll be the President of the United States. As a citizen of that country, I feel it will be my duty to give Kerry the benefit of the doubt and support him as our government goes through its transition. And if he proves to be a terrible president, I'll start working with my fellow Republicans to bring forth a formidable candidate to oppose Kerry the next election. But I won't be standing in the thick of a hate-filled protests, holding an effigy of our president. But that's just me. And what if Bush wins? It's what I want the most, yet I also feel a sense of dread when I think about it. The left is so hyped up on their anger and hate right now that I can't imagine what this country will be like if Bush takes the White House again. The brains that Kerry and crew have been feeding these zombies will be gone; what will they feed off of now? I believe their anger and hatred will rise to levels we have not yet experienced. There will be claims of voter fraud; denial of Bush's victory will be the prevalent mindset. They're already talking about taking up arms, moving out of the country, ceding from the U.S. They believe that Bush will round them up and put them in camps. Where the hell did this line of thinking come from? bq. I am frightened by what I am learning about America during this election. I think that a majority have an irrational fear of liberals, and that if Bush wins, and decides to send liberals to camps for their "protection," most would support the move and say "About time too." There would be some dissent, but the majority of Americans see liberals as a threat, and nothing would be done. The press would hold debates, but people wouldn't care. I think that all Bush has to do is say the word, and we'll be rounded up. Who would stop him. You know what's crazier than that thought? That people believe it and agree with it. Their inane hatred has clouded their thinking. Once upon a time, you would only find rantings like that coming from a fringe group of extremists. Not so anymore. You have otherwise normal, sane people falling for the police state propaganda hook, line and sinker. Why? Because they hate. And why do they hate? Because Kerry, Gore, Kennedy, Soros, Moore, Clark and others tell them to, in so many words. The campaign that was supposed to be smooth and nuanced is now playing the fear and loathing card. I've been through many an election in my time. My first was in 1980. I've voted for Democrats and I've voted for third party candidates. I've never once pulled the lever with my teeth clenched and hatred in tow. I don't vote with hate, I vote with hope. I talk to a lot of people during the course of day about politics and this election. I liken the left-leaning people I converse with to dragons; constant flames shooting of their mouths, smoke pouring from the nostrils. I don't see that with those on the right. Maybe the left feels they have something to be angry and hateful about, but as soon as I think that, I chastise myself for giving them the benefit of the doubt. They're making shit up. I have no other way to put it. Sometimes I look at the rantings of Al Gore or Barbara Streisand or some regular Joe from Lodi, New Jersey posting on a message board and I think, my god they have gone crazy. They have collectively lost their minds. Fascism? Police state? Hitler? Crushing of dissent? No free press? I picture Al Gore, face contorted, eyes bulging, and I think, that's the face of the left. The collective head of the left is already bloated to the breaking point with a volatile mix of hatred, anger and fear. And lest you think all that hatred is directed at Bush and his policies, take a long, hard look. You'll find people who laugh in derision when a car bomb goes off in Iraq. You'll find people who shrug at hostages being killed. You'll find people who hope that things goes horribly wrong so they can have more ammunition for their side. You'll find people who blame America for 9/11, who think that it is our duty to find out what drives the terrorists to their evil plans rather than hunting them down and killing them, people who think it's wrong to counter-act an attack on your country with an attack at those who put that attack into motion. Don't tell me that these people do not represent the left. They are there, right in the midst, at the Democratic convention in the president's box. They are there, throwing money at people who consider themselves mainstream Democrats. The left is one big party now, bringing together the conspiracy theorists, the Democrats, the liberals, the moonbats, the BusHitler crowd, all cozied up together on one little love seat with their arms around each other, bringing on the demoralization of the Democratic party and the hatred of America. They are a vocal bunch and their choruses of America the Wretched are being heard the world over. I would have loved to explain this all to the young girl with the Global Studies notebook. I worry that she'll be just another future voter who will be blind sided into thinking that America is a fascist regime and Bush is the Hitler force behind it. I was once that young girl. I was once ambushed with propaganda, false statistics, conspiracy theories and outright lies that suckered me into a groupthink mentality. It took several years and an attack on our nation to allow me to see the true faces of the people I had been associating with. I look around today and I see the claws of the left snatching up young, impressionable people, showering them with a steady rain of fear and hatred, teaching them to harness their negativity and breath it out in the form of fire. Dragons. Dragons with the face of Al Gore. Think about that one for a while.

Back to you, Bill

Next time someone says that bloggers can't be real reporters or journalists, I'm going to send Bill out to kick their ass. Bill does a three part interview with CBS execs. Tell the truth, Bill. Did Karl Rove make you do that?

September 29, 2004

On Scott Muni

14451996.jpgScott Muni taught me everything I know about rock and roll. It's hard to tell you what he meant to me without sounding ovewrought about it. After all, I didn't know the man personally. Or did I? He kept me company many days and nights throughout my youth. He was the voice of my childhood, when my mother used to listen to WABC, back when AM radio played rock and roll. He continued to voice the soundtrack to my life when he moved over to WNEW. I got into rock and roll early in life, thanks to some older cousins. I was able to appreciate at a young age how Scott Muni forever changed the way New York listened to radio. I can still hear his slow, lumbering voice talking to Jimmy Page or John Lennon. I can hear him introducing a Pink Floyd cut or telling a story about Jim Morrison. He created alternative radio when the word alternative still had its original meaning. By the time Muni left WNEW in 1998, the station had become a disaster area. Muni was a stalwart, staying with a sinking ship. Scott Muni took me from the Beatles to the Grateful Dead to punk rock to new wave and beyond. When I say he taught me everything, that's not hyperoble. There's a reason they called him The Professor. It's hard to explain to anyone who didn't grow up with Scott and WNEW what a profound influence he had on me. Like millions of other New York kids, I wanted to be a DJ when I grew up, thanks to Muni. I wanted to spend all day talking to rock stars and spinning records. I wanted to be him. I settled for just admiring the hell out of him. His voice will forever be a part of my life. Thanks for all the memories, Scott, and thanks for being my rock and roll professor all those years. Read some tributes to Scott in the comments at Ed's place.

catching up

CBS is shameless. You would think that after the Rather debacle they would be more careful about showing their biases or producing pieces that use shoddy reporting techniques. Perhaps they think they are above reproach. Whatever their reasons, their actions are nothing less than contemptable. See here, here and here for reference and details. Want more media idiocy? How about this? Report: New York Times Reporter Tipped Off Islamic "Charity" Just Before FBI Raid. Now, go check out the Farenhype 911. Other must reads: Marc Danziger on the presidency. Dr. Frank on banned books. Steven Moore on the truth about Iraq. Victor David Hanson on Bush hating. On a lighter note, Ho, Ho, fucking Ho. Christmas is coming and that means Santa and the Hohoholyshit crew are back, this time run by the crew's token Jew, Laurence.. I may or may not once again play the part of Santa. We'll see how much I hate the world by the time I'm done writing tomorrow morning's post, one that's been stirring in my mind for a week now.


I know there's a lot of important stuff going on in the world, but the news that radio legend Scott Muni died today has really put a crimp in my day. Muni was the voice of my youth. I'll write more about it later. Just wanted to spread the news, for those who remember him as fondly as I. (Thanks to the penguin for the heads up)

my life as a horror movie, take two

I told you. You thought I was kidding or exaggerating. I was just standing in the kitchen, minding my own business when a swarm - and I do mean a swarm - of these black birds (are they crows? not sure) came zooming past the window. We're talking 100 birds, easily. They landed on my lawn and then scooted over to my neighbor's house, where they perched in the trees, on the car, on the roof and then waddled through the grass before taking off again. I know it's some kind of omen. Have I mentioned that I hate birds? They are evil creatures who carry the soul of the devil in their wings. Seriously. I once created a picturesque tale about evil birds. You can view it here. Now, does anyone know a ritual that will ward off whatever horrors these birds brought with them?

The Floodgates of Hell Are Upon You! (or, I debate a storm)

I was ready for that debate last night. Well prepared. And by prepared, I mean that I had cigarettes to my left and coffee to the right. Let's rumble. About twenty minutes in, I noticed the first trickling of water on the office floor. It had been raining all day; hard, heavy rain that drowned out the television at some points. It was windy, too. Rattling windows, tree branches scurrying down the street, Halloween decorations flying by. I saw a plastic pumpkin hurl past my house, doing about 50 mph. Didn't stop at the stop sign, either. So, the water. A little puddle had gathered against the wall to the left of me. Now, I lived in a basement apartment for years, so I'm well versed in the ways of floods and wet vacs. But I wasn't in a basement apartment anymore. This house - the one we bought in May with a gleam in our eye and naive visions of perfection dancing in our heads - doesn't even have a basement. I thought I was done with water on the floor. I grabbed a towel and wiped up the puddle as I simultaneously tried to figure out where the leak was and answer a question about WMDs. As a gust of wind rattled the ancient windows in the room, I had my own personal weapon of mass destruction to deal with. I threw up a hurried answer to the debate question in the chat room and went back to wiping. Maybe that was it. Just one little puddle. I could deal with that. I went back to reading a question about terrorism. Ten minutes, maybe less, later, I eyed another puddle, this time at the corner of the room. I moved the towel over, cursed the rain, cursed the people who inspected this house before we bought it and keyed in a response to the question. I've complained before about the previous homeowner. The guy was literally and certifiably insane and that fact is quite evident in the mess of DIY repair work he left behind. Take this office, for example. When we bought the house, this was a sun room. Or, as we New Yorkers call it, a Florida room. Basically, the owner poured some cement on the ground next to the house, piled some brick around the cement, haphazardly piled windows and a roof on top of those bricks, cut out a door to the living room and called it an attachment. We decided to cozy it up and call it our home office. We put down slate tile, painted over the cement walls and made plans to put in new windows that actually have screens and stay in place when a slight breeze comes through. We just haven't gotten around to the windows yet, as the bathroom needed gutting and that took precedent. So there I was, sitting in our Florida room/office/wind tunnel, gathering my thoughts about the war on terror and wiping up a small puddle when I notice the spots on the wall below the windows. Wet spots. Running down the wall from the bottom of the window to the floor. There was a horror movie - I think it was Amityville Horror - where blood appeared on the walls whenever an evil entity was present. Being that our walls are painted a sort of rusty red that reminds one of dried blood, this was the first thing I thought of. You don't believe in ghosts? We'll show you! Eventually the blood would flow onto the floor and I would be caught in a river of evil as I screamed for my husband and tried desperately to rebut my opponent's point about the root causes of terrorism. I would be carried away to some holographic hole in the atmosphere where I would be sucked into an alternate universe where people had horns in their head and fed on the souls of live humans. Eventually they would make a movie about me. George Lucas would direct and make it appear as if I attacked the evil river of blood before it attacked me. It would flop, but become a cult movie years later, a slice of life anecdote reflecting the days of Bush v. Kerry. The blood, of course, representing oil. It was just water. Water, water, everywhere but not a towel with which to clean it. All the towels were in the washing machine. By this time, the husband is in the office, inspecting the walls and floors while I try to explain to my debate opponent that I'm experiencing technical difficulties. I don't think he believed me, said something about me fearing his wrath. You don't know wrath, buddy. Wrath is me screaming into the night, words and curses about seeking revenge on the previous homeowner, the inspector, the real estate agent, Mother Nature and Al Gore. I threw Al in just for the hell of it. I mean, while I'm raging against the world, I may as well sneak in what I can. I decide to debate the storm instead of my opponent. I question its timing. I ask it pointed questions about the necessity of sudden downpours, lightning, tornadoes and uprooted trees. It doesn't answer in the alloted time given and I win. Or do I? Its answer finally comes, in the form of another gust of wind that knocks down the cast iron Halloween tree in my garden. Booya!, the wind says. I closed the chat room and exited less than gracefully from the debate. But it's hard to muster up righteous indignation and astute, intelligent answers when you're trying desperately to get all your accumulated crap to higher ground. We piled everything on top of the desk, unplugged anything electric and started searching for the source of the leak. Turns out it wasn't coming from the ground at all. Seems like Mr. Evil Homeowner didn't know jack shit about putting in windows. They leak like a no-frills diaper. The rain was coming in the bottom and sides of the windows, trickling down to the brick ledge beneath them and then forming rivulets that flowed down the grooves between the brick, down the wall and onto the floor, where the spaces between the slate tiles acted as conduits for the forming rivers. It all would have been pretty if it weren't so tragic. Ok, not tragic. Tragic is this, and that puts my little flood problem into perspective. But let me tell you, when you are in the middle of a 2am siege (we had stayed up pretty much all night to keep an eye on the water situation), it's hard to find perspective. The wind, the driving rain, the filled to capacity gutters overflowing and making a small ocean on the soon to be repaved walkway, an 11 year old with a nasty stomach ache that had him running for the bathroom every twenty minutes, the barking of the neighbor's dog all freaking night, the flying pumpkins landing against your house, well. You can see where I lost my sense of perspective. So I sit here this morning, unable to gather up the energy to go to work, tending to my sick son and performing a balancing act with the bank account and bills so that we may be able to put new windows in the office before the next storm strikes. Some day I'll finish that debate with Mr. Pollack, but right now I'm more concerned with waging my war on the evil rivers of blood water that need to be cleaned up. It seems to be mostly dried up, but I can't help thinking about that scene in The Believers, where Martin Sheen's wife steps in a puddle of spilled milk as she turns on her coffee pot and ends up doing the electric slide to death. I've made sure to wear sneakers with rubber soles just in case. This is my life, one horror movie at a time.

September 28, 2004

::cue hold music::

That long post I promised will have to wait as I put you on hold in order to deal with life, which has once again gotten in the way of me pursuing my hobbies, such as railing against Democrats and connecting movie themes to disaffected voters. ...hold music begins.... MacArthur Park is melting in the dark, all the sweet, green icing flowing down. Someone left the cake out in the rain, I don't think that I can take it, cause it took so long to bake it, and I'll never have that recipe again

Do I need to remind you about the boobies?

My novella-length morning post concerning Napoleon Dynamite, duck-and-cover techniques and fear and loathing in the Democratic party won't be ready for a while. But I shall use the usual morning traffic to remind you of something: boobies. Yes, I said boobies. It's my understanding - after years of observing humans - that everyone likes boobies, even heterosexual women like myself. Not only are boobies beautiful and enticing, but the word itself is fun to say. Say it with me. Boobies. Now, what do bloggers love besides themselves and the boobies of other bloggers? Charity, of course. Bloggers and their readers are a generous bunch, always running campaigns for one cause or another. So let's put this all together: Bloggers, the boobies of bloggers and charity. Add them up and you have Boobiethon 2004 [you can read the history of the boobiethon here]. This is the third year that we're raising money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. This year, you'll be able to make an honory donation to the foundatio on behalf of bloggers Sandee or Dori, both of whom are fighting the good fight against breast cancer. (Last year's efforts were highlighted in Self Magazine) Basically, you get to see a lot of artfully photographed boobies in exchange for your donation to the Susan G. Komen foundation (all donations [tax deductible!] go directly to the foundation, there is no middle-man this year). And we get to show off our racks to support an important cause. What more could you want. The Boobiethon '04 starts on October 1st and runs through October 10th. Get your pics/donations in early and be ready for the onslaught of beautiful, bountiful, tastefully rendered boobies. No, I did not say tasty. Will my boobies make an appearance this year? Perhaps. My incentive to flash is your donations. Keep that in mind. Go, boobies!

September 27, 2004

VRWC: I've got the creds to prove it

All you people going on about being part of Karl Rove's Vast Right Wing Conspiracy are just blowing smoke. I, for one, am a real member of the VRWC. After all, do you have one of these? Didn't think so. These people do, and we're the ones getting checks from the Rovinator (and only we're allowed to call him that). [So, I'm thinking about making an update, VRWC Blogger edition of the cards. If you want one, speak up. And maybe I'll update mine to look like, you know, me. As opposed to an alien photoshopped vixen who only slightly resembles me]

she's baaaaaaack (for now)

Well, it's never too early for Halloween, I say. It is by far my favorite holiday and my favorite time of year. I'll probably be doing a lot of Halloween themed blogging for the next month or so and I figure Lenore was just the right figure to help usher in the season. Enjoy her while she lasts. [Please visit Romand Dirge (Lenore's creator) and all of his masterful creations here] Now that I have your attention, please go visit the second Storyblogging Carnival. Link it, too!

like alien v. predator, with WMDs

In a move that can only be described as insane, I'll be debating author Neal Pollack tomorrow night on the election, the war in Iraq and other important issues of the day. The online debate will be moderated by Dawn Olsen for Blogcritics and will be available for your perusal online soon after its conclusion at the Blogcritics site. I've never debated anyone before, except in blog comments, and a little prep work isn't out of the question. Neal is a formidable opponent. If anyone has advice for me, I'll take it.

marching orders

I got my morning missive from Karl. In case you didn't get yours, I'll post it here. I don't know if he'll get mad about my showcasing his stationery, but I think it's really important for everyone to know that he has a really soft, playful side. Don't forget to synchronize your watches. [Great minds, etc.]

Spirits in the Material World (starring Jim Morrison, Jawa Nuns and Pat Sajak)

In regards to last night's burning questions, my short answer is who the hell knows? Whether or not spirits roam the earth is not something that can be decisively answered, at least not in the way Sister Margaret would have wanted me to answer it; prove your answer and show your work.

Sister Margaret was a squat 90 year old, one of the last nuns in my high school to still wear a habit. She looked like a Jawa under that thing and moved like one, too. Her face was a sea of wrinkles and lumps and we used to kid that she would hide the bodies of students in those skin folds. Bodies? Yes. She often told us that she would kill the person who didn't show their work. The little nun with the sharp eyes and shuffling walk would kill us. One day when the good Sister again announced her murderous intentions, the class wise-ass Breck said, "What would Jesus think, Sister Margaret?" To which Sister Margaret replied, "Jesus would kick your butt, Breck. Kick it all over creation." And we quietly went back to our proofs and theorems and work showing.

Anyhow, Sister Margaret may have had a point. It wasn't enough that I knew x=32. How did I know that? For all she knew, I could have been guessing. Or cheating. Or had some kind of mathematical psychic ability. So I had to show my work, even though sometimes it was hard to say just how I knew the answer was 32. It's a gut feeling, Sister just doesn't cut it.

So it is with ghosts and spirits. No one can prove their work. They can all come up with the same answer - I do believe in ghosts! - but unless they trap one in some kind of ghost-trapping contraption, their work will be scoffed at, debunked and, somewhere in the outer limits, Sister Margaret will be wagging her jagged little finger at them.

I've got stories. I've got tons of stories. Most of them can be attributed to drugs, Boones Farm wine, an overactive imagination or a combination of all three.

I've come to terms with the fact that Jim Morrison really didn't speak to me from the poster on my wall. You can see how I was easily swayed into believing so, though. There he was, in glorious black and white, shirtless, arms outstretched like a scarecrow martyr. His eyes followed me around the room [Yes! That's the one!] He used to tell me things, whisper to me in the dead of night when the only light in the room was from the red-tinted bulb that pointed towards my Morrison shrine. When Jim whispered, he said things like You cannot petition the lord with prayer!

Some of my friends believed that Jim was still alive, holed up in a smelly hotel in France, drinking gin from the bottle and making music with the ghosts of dead Confederate soldiers. Which means they didn't believe that I had conversations with the ghost of Morrison every night.

I couldn't prove anything to my friends because, well, it wasn't true (not that I would admit to it then) and there was no way to show my work. That my little red light started blinking on and off on Morrison's birthday was only proof that I needed to smoke less pot. Or more.

I lived in my grandparent's house for fourteen years. We moved in right after Nat was born. At the time, both my grandparents were alive. There were two distinct sounds I associated with each of my grandparents. With Grandma, it was the clickety-clack sound of the Wheel of Fortune spinning around every night at 7:30, followed by Grandma's racially charged cursing aimed at the contestants. With Grandpa, it was the chair. He had a Lazy-Boy electric recliner that vibrated the walls and cast a buzzing sound throughout the house every time he adjusted his position. We lived below them, so the sounds of both the Wheel of Fortune and the buzzing chair drifted through floorboards or down the stairs. In a way, they were both comforting sounds. My then husband was often out of the house, and the noise coming from upstairs reminded me that I was not so much alone as I felt.

Grandpa died in June of 1991. In August of that year I thought Grandpa came calling. I was laying in bed, contemplating the horror that was my life. It was about 3am and I was alone, playing mistress to the blackjack table at some Atlantic City casino. And by alone, I mean wallowing in a vast darkness that was threatening to swallow me up whole and consume my very existence. It was at the very moment that I was being eaten by darkness that the buzzing sound started. At first there were just two short spurts of buzz, and I attributed the sounds to my being tired and upset and maybe just a little bit crazy. Then again, but louder and more persistent, like when Grandpa wasn't content enough to recline and relax, but needed to turn on the massage function as well. Drone. Buzz. I know what I heard. It was the chair.

I got out of bed and crept up the stairs, making my way towards the tv room where the chair was kept, expecting to see Grandma, in a fit of insomnia, reclining the Lazy-Boy. But the room was dark and empty and Grandma was snoring away in her bed. I stepped into the tv room, expecting a blast of cold air, because that's what always happens in horror movies when a person meets up with a spirit. No cold air, though. Just the smell of Grandpa's medicines and old age. I went back to sleep, slightly comforted by the thought that Grandpa was trying to tell me I wasn't alone and slighlty creeped out by it all.

That got me thinking. What if ghosts really do come out at night? What if the spirits of our loved ones - or hated ones - follow us around? Do they watch us pee? Masturbate? Or are there rules and regulations a spirit must follow in order to be able to hang out on Earth? Like, no watching your widow have sex with her new husband.

I'm a skeptic by nature. I think John Edward is a fraud. So how come, in the dark of night, the creeping possibility that my Grandpa was sending me a message from beyond can seem so plausible, so real? If Sister Margaret was watching me right now - which she very well may be - she'd be asking me to show my work and validate my proof.

Grandpa's chair was moving.
Grandpa is dead.
Therefore, Grandpa has come back as a ghost.

I don't think that would fly. Big red D on my paper.

So, Grandma died in 1998. Now, Grandma haunted me even when she was alive. And I know without a doubt that if there ever was an entity that could break through the barrier between life and death in order to come back and haunt someone, it would be Grandma. Which is why it didn't really suprise me when one night about six months after Grandma died (and the rooms above us empty as night) I heard the familiar sounds of the spinning Wheel of Fortune coming from above. I put my ear to the door that led upstairs and listened. Click-click-click-click. Smattering of applause. Grandma's unmistakeable voice cursing in Italian. I glanced at the clock. 7:43. Right in the middle of the Wheel of Fortune time slot. I backed away from the door, more frightened than comforted.

Someone mentioned grief-based hallucinations in the comments last night, and I lean toward that as an explanation.

If ghosts and spirits did exist, we would have a lot less unsolved murders on our hand. I mean, if a ghost can come back to earth to scratch on someone's window or bang a few pots in the attic, why wouldn't a murder victim head straight towards the police station to finger his killer? Why wouldn't JFK come back to tell us who really had it in for him? Imagine the possibilities. History classes taught by the spirit of Thomas Jefferson. Shakespeare giving lectures on Shakespeare. Why not?

Well, I could give a lot of reasons why not, most of them having to do with my sense of reality. Which may not coincide with yours.

Yet, there's a part of my brain that overides the skeptic in me. Once in a while, I'll glance at the meatballs in my freezer (Grandma made them right before she died and I've kept them ever since) and think about getting rid of them. Then a shudder of fear runs through my body as I imagine what Grandma would do if I threw into the garbage my main physical connection to her.

Ok, so I'm torn. It's like not believing in God. Even though I say I'm atheist, I keep an open mind as to whether there's life after death, a place called heaven. I don't want to die and get rejected at the Pearly Gates for being a non believer. So I contradict myself often. And then I wonder who will be there if there is a place where we all gather after death. Wouldn't it be funny if I was greeted by Jim Morrison, who admits that he was conversing with me? Or Grandpa, telling me that he was buzzing the chair, or Grandma, still screaming at Pat Sajak?

No, I know what's going to happen. I'm going to die, ascend to the clouds and be greeted by Sister Margaret of the Jawas, who will gleefully cast me out of the heavens for not showing my work.

September 26, 2004

Quick Survey Time: Ghostly Edition

I watched the trailer for White Noise today and it creeped me out. So, a simple (or not) question for you. I'll be writing more about this tomorrow but I'm interested in your take: Do you believe that ghosts or spirits exist in our world and that they have the ability to contact us? Has anything weird like that ever happened to you?

A Place Called Vertigo

Here's something I haven't said since 1987: I like U2's new song. It's not so much the lyrics or the music specifically that moves me. It's the feel. Listening to Vertigo, I'm transported to Eishenhower Park, circa 1978; a warm summer evening, maybe a bottle of Boones Farm wine or a six of Bud nearby, twenty or so people playing Frisbee, and a small pre-boombox era radio playing some early 70's psychedelic, let's-be-groovy music. And that's a really good place to visit. So I'm digging the song. Man.

Yelling With My Mouth Shut

A ten page New York Times Magazine* article about bloggers blogging the conventions bring us this startling revelation: Wonkette is a sex-obsessed, trash-talking publicity whore who likes to drink. I know. Ground breaking stuff. Oh, by the way, I just saw a bear shit in the woods. Other riveting news flashes include the fact that Josh Marshall is vitriolic and Kos is in love with himself. So, a ten page article about bloggers, touching on the subjects of convention blogging, site traffic, the election and its campaigns and nary a mention (save Instapundit) of a right leaning blog. Oh, wait. We have this: bq. Earlier this month, a platoon of right-wing bloggers launched a coordinated assault against CBS News and its memos claiming that President Bush got special treatment in the National Guard; within 24 hours, the bloggers' obsessive study of typefaces in the 1970's migrated onto Drudge, then onto Fox News and then onto the networks and the front pages of the country's leading newspapers. Coordinated would suggest that they all got together and planned out this "assault" in advance. I think the word that Matthew Klam is looking for here is cooperative, which would imply the truth: That right-wing bloggers worked separately but together, sharing information and sources in an effort to get to the truth behind the memos. How that translates into assault in Kam's mind is beyond me. Well, not really. When you write an article with the mindset that the voices from the left are disproportionately more important than the voices on the right, I suppose a word like assault will just come naturally. Mr. Klam made the effort to bring a right-leaning voice to the piece, interviewing Charles Johnson for 43 minutes. Alas, all of Charles's words ended up on the cutting room floor. Because spending a paragraph writing about Wonkette's peachy cream skin and strawberry blonde hair is far more important than bringing a bit of the old "fair and balanced" to Klam's article. That Republican conventions bloggers - notably Command Post, Roger Simon, Hugh Hewitt, Red State, et al, are completely absent from the article is not really suprising, given the slant Klam carries with him. The smear job on the Rather bloggers, on the other hand, reads like an afterthought, as if Klam realized he should include something about the opposing voices and, like a petulant child, chose to stick his tongue out at the right wing blogs rather than say something of value. I've pretty much come to terms with Wonkette being the face of female bloggers, at least in terms of how the media sees us. All I can do is keep on plugging away here, in the hopes that somewhere out there is a Nick Denton type person willing to throw money at a blogger who doesn't rely on dick jokes and the affected swagger of a few margaritas to make her commentary readable. However, [a rather big however] I do think that Wonkette will be around long after this election is over, long after the last Supreme Court ruling is made and the inauguration workers are sweeping up the confetti. People like her, obviously, and there will always be something in D.C. to snark about. There will always be sex jokes to tell and innuendos to be made. And more power to her for that, really. She found her niche and she gets paid for reveling in it. As far as the rest of the article, Klam only served to tell us what most of already know: The site stats of Kos, Marshall and Black may be huge, but their heads are larger, looming like three enormous, helium balloons above the blogosphere. It will be interesting to see how the results of the coming election will effect those balloons. A pin positioned in just the right place will cause a collective pop loud enough to cause an aftershock in the blog world, leaving Matthew Klam with 5,000 words to write and only Wonkette's baby blue eyes and expletives deleted with which to fill the pages. ---- More: Allah, Ace, Commissar, Wizbang. *Corrected from earlier version which left off the "magazine" part. Update: Yes, this was obviously meant to be a piece on lefty bloggers. So why be upset over the fact that no right bloggers are mentioned? Simple: If Klam was strictly going for a ten page article on the lefty powerhouses, there was no need to include the "coordinated assault" slam on right bloggers. And what was the point of interviewing Charles for 43 minutes if Klam's slant was already set in place? Maybe Klam had intended for this to be a piece on blogging the campaigns in general, but he became so enamored with Kos and crew and their bohemian lifestyle while hanging in New York City that he decided to just make it an ode to them. Either that, or he was so smitten with the batting eyelashes of Cox that he temporarily lost control of his ability to think like a journalist. Honestly, if that paragraph about the right wing "assault" wasn't there, I probably would have filed the article under "things not worth blogging about." But, by including that paragraph, Klam opened himself up for scrutiny. He should have stuck to fawning over high profile lefties and looking into Wonkette's smoldering eyes rather than try to unecessarily stick it to the right.

September 25, 2004

just another manic saturday

Busy day today; more grouting in the bathroom, and the laying of tile (I think this might be the day the bathroom is finally finished), taking the kids to see Shaun of the Dead in the afternoon and then the cutest kid in the world is coming over to spend the night. Obviously, there won't be a lot of fresh material here today. Go over to Kathy Kinsley's place, where she's hurricane blogging and has a whole slew of links to other storm-weary bloggers. Good luck to all my friends and readers in the path of Jeanne (especially those in the Plywood State). It looks like she's headed our way as well, though I'm sure by then she'll be running out of steam. I hope. Truth is, we're more prepared to handle zombies than a hurricane. Maybe we better get our prepare-for-disaster priorities in order. [I also have some hurricane related things over at Command Post]

Quote of the Year

"What can I say -- just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."

--Pedro Martinez, after last night's loss to the Yankees put his Red Sox 5 1/2 games out of first.

September 24, 2004

Kerry's Exploding Fuel Tank

It's a bumpy, 39 day road to second-best and the Kerry campaign is riding it with no shocks. Next to go, the brakes.

Let's imagine the Kerry camp and all their important issues stuffed inside a Ford Pinto, driving down a New York City street after a harsh winter. Work with me here. Think potholes. Lots of them. With each subsequent pothole traversed, the Pinto jumps and shimmies. And with each jump and each shimmy, the Camp Kerry car loses another body. Look, another undecided voter has been thrown from the vehicle!

You with me? Good.

Let's take a look at some of those potholes. You have your mini-potholes, the ones that make the car bump around a bit. You may not lose any bodies with this one, but you have potential passengers backing off a bit [via Kerry Spot].

12 News Reporter: Most of the polls are tracking that Sen John Kerry as doing a better job on the economy. My question is, why hasn’t that transferred overall in the poll numbers?

Teresa: It has, of course. Of course it has.

Reporter: He’s still down.

Teresa: He’s not. Did you see the polls today? You saw Zogby and ARG

Reporter: Yes, but he’s still down in Arizona.

Teresa: Oh, who cares? You know, one state is not a whole state. In the whole United States, he is even, even, and in some of them one point ahead, and in some one point behind.

Was that the collective body of Arizona I just saw fall out of the car? Before you ask, the answer to your question is yes. Yes, it does matter what the potential First Lady says in a campaign. Just the other day I heard a clip of Teresa using the word scumbag. It's not like she was referring to terrorists, which might have made it acceptable. No, she was referring to her critics. [the clip is from April, you can see the context of it here]

"I believe there is a nobility in public service. I believe every citizen can be a public servant. And should be," Heinz Kerry told News 4. When Wiggin asked, "Do you think some of the nobility has gone out of public service?" the would-be first lady shot back, "Oh, there is [sic] a lot of scumbags everywhere. Not just in politics. In everything. There are a lot of immoral people everywhere."

So, people who don't engage in public service are immoral scumbags? Eh, that's not even the point. The point is, this is not a woman I want representing my country. She's got a foul mouth and is quick to throw insults at those who dare to not be like her. She's a pothole in the campaign.

Thump. Oh my, I think the fender just fell off the Pinto. It tried to maneuver around this pothole but, this being a hypothetical New York street, the thing was the size of Michael Moore. And it looks to be growing, too. What was once a small crack in the road, peripheral to the Kerry campaign, is now threatening to swallow the Camp Kerry car up whole. As Joe Lockhart hangs desperately onto the steering wheel, Bill Burkett is chasing the Pinto down and it looks like he just about caught the door handle. Having Burkett on board this thing - even if he is an unwanted stowaway - is going to weigh this baby down so hard, every pothole is going to look like the black hole.

Gosh, I love metaphors.

Yesterday, the gang that couldn't campaign straight hit a pothole of major proportions. Thing is, they didn't see it for what it was. The view from their car is, shall we say, skewed. The deep pit looming ahead appeared to be a pit stop; a place where they could get out of the car, stretch their legs and get a little repair work done. They would then use this pit stop to pick up more of those undecided passengers, as well as rally the crowd already in the car.

This pothole has a name: Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Allawi spoke to Congress yesterday, thanking America for its role in moving Iraq towards democracy. It was a moving speech, made by a man "almost axed to death by Saddam's henchmen in the U.K. and under constant threat of assassination today."

Not only was the Camp Kerry Pinto traveling far off course when Allawi came to town (it was on Ohio), but Kerry comes out and all but calls Allawi a liar. Ponder this: the man who wants to be President of the United States could not be bothered to meet up with the man who will play a vital role in a vital part of foreign affairs for the next few years. And then, he disses him. Allawi is thanking the country Kerry wants to be in charge of and all he can do is spit at him.

Well, that's par for the Kerry course, anyhow. After all, this is the guy who called our allies fraudulent.

Back to the car metaphor, it seems as if the Little Pinto That Couldn't is purposely steering into these potholes. Rather than drive around them or find another route, they keep chugging along like extreme drivers looking for a challenge. Daredevil campaigning, in a way.

Most of the people hanging on to this deathtrap of a car are there only because they don't like any other available cars. They ignore the bumps and look away when the driver - like a character out of Crazy Taxi - plays chicken with oncoming traffic.

Eventually this car, like thousands of Pintos before it - is going to meet a nasty end when the big Bush Bus rams it from behind. As the Kerry campaign goes down in flames, with it will the hopes and dreams of a million desperate people holding "Bush is Hitler" signs. But they knew what they were getting into. I say, let them crash.

You people who are running alongside the Kerry car right now, debating whether to grab that handle or not: There's still time. You can still back away from the car before it's too late. Do you really want to be riding these crater-filled streets with no shocks?


Speaking of metaphors.

quickie undead movie review

I'm working on something rather longish about the Kerry campaign and it won't be ready until much later. 19617_p_m.jpgIn the meantime, I would like to use this time to implore you (and by you, I mean American readers) to go see Shaun of the Dead, which was finally released in the U.S. today. I happened to see an advance screening of this movie last month. Now, you know how I love my zombie movies, so I don't take reviewing such films lightly. The zombie genre is one rich in history and it takes a person with honor and reverence for that genre to pull off a good zombie flick. So do not take the following sentences as some fluffly hyperbole meant to substitute for a real, five paragraph review. It comes from the heart, mind and soul. It comes from a long-standing love of the living dead. It comes with passion. Do not walk (nor lumber along lik a zombie) to your local multiplex. Run. No, get in your car and drive real fast. I am offering a money-back refund to those who claim to like zombie movies and do not like Shaun of the Dead. Well, in my heart I am. It's that good. And that's my review. Also, take heart, those who don't like the undead but will be forced to go see Shaun with friend of significant other. It's not just a zombie movie. It's also a romantic comedy. Even a slapstick comedy. And it's also got wry social commentary and some killer Brit accents. I know, this hasn't been the most articulate of movie reviews, but I'm in a rush and I just wanted to make sure I did my part to get all the lovers of undead comedy/drama/romantic capers out of their houses and into the theaters.

September 23, 2004

we have clearance, clarence

The cable guy actually showed up. Not until 7:45, but at least he made it and he fixed everything within ten minutes. Good thing, because a few hours without internet access can make your life go to hell, especially when you're trying to figure out 9th grade math that looks suspiciously like graduate school math. Unfortunately, it's too late for me to offer any kind of substantial blogging today, so I'll make it up to you by providing you with two potentially embarassing facts about me that I feel the need to confess: 1. I love the movie Mean Girls. I actually bought the DVD today. 2. I watch Trading Spouses. Regularly. I do this because I love you and love means being honest. You could always reciprocate the honesty, you know. Think of it as a trust-fall thing.

programming note

I had finally finished up what I was doing at work when my husband called to warn that the cable modem at home is out. Damn that evil, blinking light. They're going to try to get someone over to look at it before 6pm, but I find that scenario rather unlikely. So, if emails go unanswered and my daily blogging instructions from Karl Rove go unheeded, that's why. It's always good to share this information with the readers, because the more you know, the more you know. Apropos of nothing, The ABC After School Specials are being released on DVD.

live from new york

Blogging is off to a slow start today. Just one of those days. Meanwhile, thanks to Solonor, you can hear my five minute BBC thing from last night, should my Long Island accent and incoherent sentences interest you. I think the interviewer expected me to be insane and was sorely disappointed when I wasn't. Much. BBC - mp3

September 22, 2004


For those of you on the other side of the pond, I'll be on BBC's Up All Night at 9:50 [EST] talking about security moms. I think you can listen to the program online. Err, programme. Until then, you get nothing, as fall baseball (Little League) season has started and Wednesday evenings will be bereft of posts here. You can always go back and read the post below and follow my directions. Stare into the boobies. They will hypnotize you into obeying. Update: Oh my goodness, that was horrible. In my defense, I am completely exhausted. How exhausted? I hallucinated the the garbage cans in front of the house were little people wearing beanie caps. I apologize to anyone listening who was rightfully mortified.

did someone say boobies?

Important message below concerning boobies. I swear, there's a suprise for you if you look. It's that time of year again. Click my cleavage to get all the details. It's amazing how much I've gotten out of that one photo, eh? Spread the word. Please. I really don't ask you for much, do I? Just tell your readers/friends that there will be boobies and those boobies will be raising money for a good cause. And they will be plentiful. And bountiful. Go.

You have been selected!

From an article in today's Newsday, written by one Danny Schechter [editor of the Web site, Mediachannel.org.]
The Republican National Committee operates its own 24/7 anti-news network to monitor coverage and orchestrate a rapid response. Salon reports that the story casting doubt on the documents was first pushed into the news stream by Creative Response Concepts, a Republican public relations firm. Then, selected bloggers went to work led by an Atlanta lawyer who helped get President Bill Clinton disbarred and was the first who called the memos fakes. His charges spread like a prairie fire through the rabid conservative grapevine and amen corner. The goal: Focus the media on Rather, not Bush. CBS initially stood by the documents, then hedged, saying that even if they were flawed, the story that Bush had disobeyed his commander's order to have a physical was accurate in essence. But it finally had to concede it was a mistake to run the story. [emphasis mine]
Were you selected? You? You? You? You? You? Did the GOP feed you the Queen of the Space Unicorns line? No, I didn't think so. Danny Schechter and Newsday owe some people an apology. Yea, I know. Not likely. I'm more likely to capture a real space unicorn before we see that happen. Or maybe not. 'Fess up guys, which one of you is really Karl Rove? My money is on Goldstein, but I'll give 5-2 odds on Treacher. Update: See, also: Jeff "Karl" Goldstein, Allah and Bill.

George Lucas Almost Ate My Soul (in which I fend off the power of the dark side with the help of Green Day)

I dropped DJ off at baseball practice yesterday afternoon. I had 90 minutes before he had to be picked up again. I knew what I wanted to do with at least part of those 90 minutes but my conscience was smacking me around.

I sat in the idling car in front of the baseball field for a good twenty minutes contemplating what I was about to do. Or not do.

Green Day was live on K-Rock. They were playing their own set of chosen songs. Surrender by Cheap Trick came on and I sang.

Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away....

Every momentous occasion has a song that plays in the background, lyrics speaking only to you. But Cheap Trick was sending me contradicting messages. How could I both surrender to the demon sitting on my shoulder, egging me on, yet not give myself away? To actually do what I was contemplating would be giving away my very soul to the dark side.

To make matters worse, I had my daughter in the car with me. I would be dragging her into this as well and while she could never understand the meaning of all this - coming from an entirely different viewpoint on this than I - I nonetheless asked her opinion. If I was taking her along for the ride, she had a right to an opinion on the matter.

I slowly explained to her - using fact, figures, historical data and quotes - what the situation was. She nodded in all the right places, threw in a few well-placed mmhmms and, when I was done, said:

"Mom, you are out of your freaking mind. Who the hell spends this much time agonizing over buying a DVD?"

She had no clue. None at all.

By this time I had wasted nearly half of the 90 minutes and Green Day was now playing The Who's The Kids are Alright. Maybe that meant Natalie was right? Was I out of my mind? Probably.

It was too late to go all the way to Best Buy. Perhaps my decision was made for me. Then Natalie said that she needed some things for school. Reverse decision! Wal-Mart, here we come! I would have just enough time to drive to Wal-Mart, send Natalie down the school supply aisle and sprint to the DVD section. If I did this all in a rush, I wouldn't have time to contemplate the ramifications of what I was doing.

I met up with Darth Vader at the front of aisle three. An omen, of course. He stared at me (as much as cardboard can stare) menacingly, just daring me to reach out and touch his display. Who can resist the force? Not I.

My hands trembled as they seemingly floated on their own will towards the silver-hued box. A device on the box blinked red. Buy. Me. Buy. Me. Buy. Me. My hands trembled in mid air. I could have sworn the cardboard Vader said "I find your lack of faith disturbing." I grabbed it before the angel on my shoulder could find the words to stop me.

I cradled the DVD in my arms and met up with Natalie near the checkout. She eyed me suspiciously when she saw I was holding the movie. What will Justin say? she whispered.

I put my things on the checkout belt. The belt whirred into action and carried the box towards the cashier. She was just about to pick it up to scan it when I grabbed it out of her hands. It all played out in slow motion and my cry of "NO!" reverberated throughout the store in a long, slow drawl. Nooooooooooooo! The cashier stared hard at me.

"I don't want to buy this." I said defiantly. I turned my head towards aisle three to stare down Vader, but I was afraid of being turned into a pillar of salt so I averted my eyes.

We left the store with just some loose leaf reinforcements and a bottle of White-Out. Oh, and with my dignity intact, of course. After we picked up DJ and recounted the whole story for him, Green Day - still spinning records on K-Rock - played Slayer's Raining Blood. It felt right for some reason.

When I pulled up in front of the house, Justin was waiting outside.

"I felt a great disturbance in the force about twenty minutes ago." He was glaring hard at me. "Please tell me you didn't."

I showed him the bag with the two lonely items in it. He put his arm around me and stared into my eyes.

I love you, he said.
I know.

Also: The Trial of George Lucas.


For Moveable Type users: If you're sick of quoting Reuters articles where the reporter obviously goes out of his way to avoid using the word terrorist, fret no more. Maarten Schenk, the author of Live from Brussels has come up with an MT plugin: bq. It will change all instances of the words militant, activist, fighter, gunman and resistance into the T-word... Background on the Reuters issue here and here. Update: Yes, I realize the limitations and problems inherent in such a program. But...well, read the comments.

September 21, 2004

Another hostage beheaded. I have nothing to say at this time.

Best of SNL: A play-a-long distraction

E! is going to present, for five nights, the 101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments. Obviously, funny isn't the same as unforgettable, so Sinbad O'Connor's stunt with the Pope will most likely be included. For my list, I'll be thinking of moments that made me laugh so hard I snorted. Your lists may vary. I'll try to find links to the specific skits as I go along. I figure we're all looking for a little distraction right about now, so I'll start you off and you can add your own. I put down the first few that came to mind and I'll add as I think of them. No particular order. * Jane, you ignorant slut * Nevermind [Yes, this and others on this list are recurring lines, but do you remember your reaction the first time you heard them? See?] * Who shot Buckwheat? * Buckwheat sings [Fee times a lady - I laughed so hard at this skit I almost threw up] * The synchronized swimmers [I'm not a very good swimmer - yet] * David Wells in a dress * Do not taunt happy fun ball * Colon Blow * Mmm...that's good bass! * Dead honky * Killer Bees * Now is the time on Sprockets ven ve dance! * Toonces the Driving Cat Update: That Patrick Swayze skit where he sang One Ton of Fan Mail. I cracked up for days over that one. Anything with Walken. . Walken as Bruce Dickinson, with cowbell. Sarah Mclachlan singing a song about turkey. [Working on more. Your turn]

memo: the gathering

Baseball Crank has an long, link filled, quotalicous post, including a link to the video of Rather's sit down with Marcia Kramer of CBS-TV(NY). Bill asks questions about Lucy Ramirez and has something about....chickens. Rather Biased reports that the Killian family is asking (deservedly) for an apology. Will Collier has his fork out. Hugh Hewitt...well, just scroll. And Jim Treacher brings us the next chapter in his ground-breaking fanfic. More: Go read Betsy. Just start at the top and work your way down. Hell, read her archives, too, if you have time. The woman rocks. And: TANG. Heh.

So what do you want to do tonight, Brain?

I can't keep up anymore. By the time I get up in the morning, the story has changed tenfold from when I went to bed. And now, I see, it has turned into something that may as well been born in Hollywood. It's got comedy, action, drama, suspense and plot twists that will give you whiplash. As Allah said: I tell you, when they make the movie of this story, the whole soundtrack is going to be calliope. For those of you who think that bloggers covering this story 24/7 should let it go, already, I ask you to ponder the implications of this: CBS Arranged For Meeting With Lockhart. Now, just in case you're behind, Joe Lockhart is former Clinton White House Press Secretary hired by the Kerry campaign to help fend off the Swift Boat ads.
A senior Kerry aide phoning the forgery-passer at the request of CBS? CBS is advising the Kerry campaign? And the Kerry campaign is following the advice? Fire them all.
Yes. I've been saying all along that this story is huge in terms of it giving the mainstream media (MSM) a black eye. Let me reiterate: This is, for me, not about Bush and his guard duty. I don't care about that inasmuch as I no longer care about Kerry's holiday in Cambodia. And I think it should be obvious to anyone observing this farce what the real issue here is. So why do I feel like I have to shake some people by the collar to get them to see the importance of all these revelations? How can you just blow off the fact that a major newscaster went ahead with a story that was backed only by shoddy documents whose authenticity had not been proved for the sole reason of rushing that story on the air because it flows with the newscaster's political bias? You don't believe that? Fine, there's a two for one sale on bridges today. Get out your checkbook. Dan Rather was silenced? Silenced? Get a grip. I'll say it again. This is about the media and how they report stories. It's about bias, influence peddling and agendas. As my hero Jay Sherman would say, it stinks! This is a political scandal. It's no longer a he said/she said/Karl Rove used his Magic Conspiracy Machine story. How some people can be in such complete denial about the major issues here is beyond my comprehension. The disconnect from reality has to be intense for you to not see what's going on here. Even if John Kerry had nothing at all to do with this, it reflects badly on his campaign. If one of his advisers is running around making whisper deals with a major news channel to help that channel spread a story about the opponent, well, my god, how can you not see what's wrong there? You know, if I were Karl Rove I would be flattered right about now. Apparently, the consensus among dems and all stripes of the left is that Rove is a freaking genius. How else can you explain that they think he is the mastermind of every single thing that has gone wrong with the Kerry campaign and every single thing that has turned the tide in Bush's direction? Genius, I tell you. And most likely a magical sorcerer, too. I imagine that if Rove and Terry McAuliffe ever joined forces, the would call themselves Pinky and the Brain.

September 20, 2004

Rather Not

They hung Burkett out to dry. But, as Allah just said to me, he hung them back. He may be their patsy, but something tells me that using Burkett in this way is going to come back to haunt CBS. I, for one, do not accept Rather's half assed apology. Update: Ok, I've had time to digest this. Rather and CBS are slime. They introduced Burkett by saying he had a history of medical problems and a history of going after Bush. Think they're going to say anything about Mapes's history of going after Bush? Probably not. Transcript at Mudville Gazette, where the Rather Biased gang is blogging today, due to a server issue. Also, from the comments: Rather introduce Burkett as former member of Texas Air National Guard. Burkett served in Texas Army National Guard. Allah makes a good point: bq. "He did not come to us; we went to him and asked him for the documents."
Who told them Burkett had the documents? And: Heh. You know, this would all be really funny if it wasn't so pathetic. And I agree with several people that this was a pre-cursor to the hanging of Mary Mapes. I will not rest until we find out who Dan's unimpeachable source is. I have my theories. I'm sure you have yours. And I bet some of ours are the same. Make of that what you will. And why do I keep hearing "this is the song that never ends" in my head?

American Hostage Beheaded

Details at Command Post. Maybe this will give the U.S. the impetus it needs to do what has to be done with the terrorists who want to keep Iraq from ever becoming a truly free country. I still see no point in showing the video or stills of the video. I'm angry and sad enough without the visuals. So please, stop sending me emails with links to your posts containing such things. See here for explanation.

Starring Bill Burkett as the Fall Guy

From CBS News:
Bill Burkett, in a weekend interview with CBS News Anchor and Correspondent Dan Rather, has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents used in the Sept. 8 "60 Minutes Wednesday" report on President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. Burkett, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel, also admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents’ origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source. Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point. Burkett’s interview will be featured in a full report on tonight’s CBS Evening News with Dan Rather (6:30-7:00 p.m., ET/PT).
You can read the rest here. Burkett was set up by a big fish. Maybe Rather and CBS think a quick passive-aggressive apology (a week too late) and passing the blame to someone else will put an end to this. But I ask this: What happened to Rather's unimpeachable source? It's obvious that's not a reference to Burkett. So why not come totally clean and tell us who the source is? Burkett is merely a patsy, put up to this by other people who knew that Burkett - who has a hard on for anything anti-Bush - would jump at the chance to possibly bring Bush down. Someone call O.J. because the real killer is still out there. Update: I think Rather is going to get away with this and that pisses me off to no end. CBS will keep firing away at will at everyone except their man Rather. I mean, a man of such integrity and fairness, a man so honored and admired, cannot go down like this. He is Dan Rather and when the battlefield clears, he'll be sitting in a throne while the peasants lay bloody in the streets. Rather to Mary Mapes: When I am king you will be first against the wall.

Now Pitching for the Mets: Dan Rather

Via Drudge:
Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome. Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question. But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism. Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.
I call shennanigans. That is the biggest piece of bullshit to hit the airwaves since Sidd Finch.

Encyclopedia Brown And the Case of the Big Fish

From what I've put together thus far using just a magnifying glass and a hat: Burkett is not the true source of the memo. Neither is Barnes. There are big fish swimming in this ocean. And by big fish, I mean the kind that, if caught, would get sliced open to reveal a whole school of little, putrid fish in its guts. This fish is rotted from the inside out it seems. Also, there's a missing fish. Somewhere on the fishy food chain between the guppy Burkett and the shark Barnes is one clever fish who brought the two together. Now I'm hungry. I think I'll get sushi for lunch.

How Dan Rather Can Learn From the Samurai

I knew that some day I would be able to use this tale as a lesson. Read this post I wrote last year. One word, Dan: seppuku.

today is the day I wear my tinfoil

If I really wanted to stay on top of this Rather thing, I would forego sleep. Then I wouldn't miss out on getting tomorrow's news today. New York Times: Dan Rather and CBS Catch Up With Reality. The link to that article was in my email. I clicked it on just to check out the headline and then went over to Allah's, because I knew he'd dissemate the piece into real-speak. I wasn't disappointed. He and Goldstein lay the whole thing out in artful form. My bet? Probably the same as yours. This goes much deeper than Bill Burkett and when the shit hits the fan it's going to have more odors than you'll be able to indentiify. Let's let Allah handle this one: bq. All that being so, even if you assume the worst anti-Bush gullibility on the part of Mapes and Rather, is it really likely that a single known crackpot like Burkett could have perpetrated a giant hoax upon the entire CBS News division using ridiculously amateurish forgeries? And that the whole thing would suddenly unravel neatly in an on-camera interview?
There's no way. I know the RatherBiased guys will disagree with me and say that yes, Dan Rather really is that stupid and blind with Bush-hatred. But there's simply no way the entire News division could be too. At least, not to the point where they'd let it destroy their professional reputations. Something's up. Yes, something's up and it must be high tide because it stinks. There are at least fifty theories I could come up with right now, and some of them have me reaching for the tinfoil. Here's a partial cast of characters: Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, Bill Burkett, Ben Barnes, Robin Rather, Josh Howard, Dan Bartlett, Andrew Heyward, a whole slew of document "experts" and one unimpeachable source. Oh, and Karl Rove and His Magic Conspiracy Machine. And here are the questions: Who will be the fall guy? Who, if anyone, is Rather covering up for? Who actually forged the memos? Whose evil plan was this in the first place and did the person who planned it set up one of the other characters to take the fall? Will Rather ever admit to any wrongdoing? Will CBS shift the entire blame to someone else? Will Mary Mapes be shining up her resume by day's end? Is Bill Burkett just another member in good standing of the Anit-Bush Fetish Club who was just used as a pawn in this whole thing? And, if he was, who put him up to it because it would have to be a pretty trustworthy and/or powerful person to get Burkett to potentially damage himself like that. Unless, of course, he's just dumb. Personally, I think there's more here than meets the eye and I have my theories about who Mr. Unimpeachable Source is. But my tinfoil-gamma ray-rejector phasers are sending shockwaves through my body and I refuse to reveal my theory. There are two people in this known universe who know what my conspiracy-laden mind is thinking. So, what's your theory? I'll take them as far fetched as you can give them because I'm waaaay out there right now.

September 19, 2004

Quarterly Notice About Owing You Something

It seems that every couple of months I have to step in and do this. It really vexes me to see that so many people believe that they should be able to dictate what a blogger does or does not write about. It's also kind of funny, in the sense that on one hand you have people reminding us every day that we (bloggers) are not real journalism, yet some of those same people will take us to task for not covering certain stories, as if we had a responsibility to bring all the news that's fit to type. I both hate and resent getting email from people chastising me for "ignoring" issues or big stories. I also hate getting emails from people talking down to me, telling me that I should know better than to carry on with one story or another. While you (and don't think I'm just talking about you, because you're not the only one with brass balls, apparently) may think you're being almost paternal in your chiding lecture about what's really important in the world, what you're really being is condescending. And that pisses me off. Seriously. If I want to talk about Dan Rather until I'm drunk on forged memos and the hangover causes me to vomit up Kinko's copy paper, then that's pretty much my choice. Whether or not you think it cheapens me or is beneath me does not concern me in the least. Yes, we all know how things are in Iraq at the moment. We're aware of deadly hurricanes in the south and Iran getting antsy and health care and education woes. Just because we don't write about those issues does not mean we don't consider them important. If I had to write about every issue that was important to me, I'd have to quit my day job, hire a nanny for the kids and find a concubine to keep my husband happy, because I'd have little time for anything else. That you choose to believe the absence of those stories on this site means I don't care about them is foolish. For you to think that I owe it to you to write about the things you think are important is egotistical. I know I'm not the only one getting emails and comments saying these things. And, again, this post is not directed at only one person. There's about fifteen people - just from 24 hours worth of emails - that this is directed towards. This is a personal website. Please keep that in mind before you fire off your concerned letters to the editor - said editor being myself. If you are so dying to hear my opinion on the latest issues not Dan Rather related then feel free to send me an email inquiring such. Just leave out the lecture and the righteous indignation or you'll find your email address on my spam list, along with King Russell the Nigerian and the guy who makes flashlights that double as sexual aids. Seriously, is that the company you want to keep? See, also: Bill.


...September. Oh, so predictable. And beautiful. [Sure, this post could come back to bite me in the ass later, but I strike while the iron is hot. And no kittens were harmed in the creation of this win]

Avast Ye Scalliwags, Thar Blows Dan Rather!

Aargh, it's talk like a pirate day, matey. arrrdan.jpgThat bilge rat Dan Rather (pirate name: Saggin' Jowls Bart), arrr he keeps lookin' fer the buried treasure, but aye, there's none ta be had for him. Methinks he should strart drinkin' the grog. Lots of it. I bet ya didn't know that pirates read. Aye, matey, read we do. And this pirate be lookin' at the Washington Post. The headline says "Rather Steered Into the Storm, But Won't Go Down With the Ship!" Har, har, no it doesn't. But it may as well. If any pirate acted like that landlubber Rather, he'd a be walkin' the gangplank by now. Speakin' of scalliwags, that Bill Burkett (pirate name: Cap'n Bradford Seaturd) fella be a-plunderin' the chances of the DNC stayin' out a this. I bet ya mateys that Terry McAuliffe (pirate name: Pirate Bradford the Parrotless)wants to throw Burkett in the brig right now. Aarrr! What a fine mess, and he seems ta be dragging ol' peg leg (pirate name: Iron Deficient Hank) into it, too. Now, the fella I consider my first mate (pirate name: Sea Monkey Jude), well he's just about had enough of this. He says "Bilge! Those Memos are Poxed and Ye Better Come Clean 'Bout it!" Aye, but that bilge-sucking Rather just keeps on shoutin't ta his own crew, NO QUARTER! And me wonders if the wench (pirate name: Eye-Gougin' Bella Bonny) on board that sinkin' ship will ever be keelhauled fer her part in it all. As fer the true owners of the S.S. Memo, they're roundin' up the suspects and makin' 'em walk the gangplank, alright. Arrr, but they be the wrong suspects. This pirate assumes that tryin' to place the black spot on your the Commander in Chief is alright, but ta say somethin' bad 'bout Saggin' Jowls Bart will turn ya into shark bait if ya don't belay. The ol' mutinous sea dog is still clingin' ta the mast, like he don't know the ship is about to sink into the briny deep. The poor man, he be addled. But I jus' be wonderin' who's goin' ta be left marooned. I'm wagerin' my booty that it ain't Captain Rather. Mutiny begins at home, mateys! Arrr, but it matter not. In the end, it be Evil Pirate Genius Karl Rove (pirate name: Cap'n Edmund Firecrotch) and his magic conspiracy generator behind the whole treasure chest of memos. [Tip of the rum to me matey Fineglin' Pablo Bellamy for some links. Link for pirate names here. More pirate links here.] Gratuitous wench picture of me here.

September 18, 2004


...meet coffin. [more possible nails here]

the voodoo that i do so (medium) well

vv.jpgMy mistake last night was in making only a Johnny Damon voodoo doll. What good would it do to hex just one player of a team? None, obviously. So today I went all out. I knew I couldn't make a roster full of toilet-paper roll dolls (even if I ate $100 worth of White Castle, I don't think I could use that much toilet paper in one afternoon). Taking advantage of The Ghost of Ivan's winds, I scoured the neighborhood for fallen branches. When I gathered one for every member of the Red Sox, I laid them out in my backyard and recited an old incantation I learned from the cousin of a friend of a friend in fifth grade, who swore she knew how to maim people using just her thoughts. I then - following specific directions obtained from the How to Keep the Red Sox Curse Alive handbook - painted the sticks red, coated them with lighter fluid and set them on fire. This set off a chain reaction of events that eventually destroyed our shed, my neighbor's swingset and killed seventeen squirrels, but, hey, it was worth it. Mmmm....squirrel kabobs, medium well. Final score: Yankees 14, Red Sox 4. For tomorrow's game, I was going to try an ancient curse that utilizes cats, aresenic and a 19 year old virgin, but I think we've had enough excitement for one day and I'lljust stick to hand-sewing a collection of Red Sox pin cushions. [bonus points to anyone that recognizes the obscure video game character pictured here] Also, Karl Rove is behind the Red Sox loss. Because Karl Rove is behind everything. In fact, he's behind you right now.

Hey, remember Ivan Putski?*

Well, it looks like the ghost of Ivan has arrived here on Long Island. My home office, which is nothing more than an old Florida room, has been on the remodeling schedule since we moved in. Something tells me these rickety windows and walls are not going to hold up too well and we'll be "remodeling" sooner than expected. Great time for my husband to go away. While he's off visiting the Frank Franzetta museum with old friends, I'm trying to reinforce the house. Now I have to decide between keeping watch over the drainage ditch to fend off flooding or braving the storm as I huddle over my Japanese maples to keep them from being torn apart by the wind. Hell, I'm going with Option C: See if I can watch all three seasons of The Critic before the power (flickering now) goes out. First, I need to stick a screwdriver into my brain to get this song out of my head. I apologize to everyone I've afflicted today. [* Just a random thought.]

What's the Frequency? A RatherGate Sing/Link-a-Long

[Music/Lyrics by REM. If you have no idea of the story behind the song and why it applies to Rather, go here] 'What's the frequency, Kenneth?" is your Benzedrine I was brain-dead, locked out, numb, not up to speed I thought I'd pegged you an idiot's dream Tunnel vision from the outsider's screen I never understood the frequency You wore our expectations like an armored suit I'd studied your cartoons, radio, music, TV, movies, magazines Richard said, "Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy" A smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth You said that irony was the shackles of youth You wore a shirt of violent green I never understood the frequency "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" is your Benzedrine Butterfly decal, rear-view mirror, dogging the scene You smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth You said that irony was the shackles of youth You wore a shirt of violent green, I never understood the frequency You wore our expectations like an armored suit I couldn't understand You said that irony was the shackles of youth I couldn't understand You wore a shirt of violent green I couldn't understand I never understood, don't fuck with me If you'd like to sing along: download mp3

September 17, 2004

Game Over?

Rather Lied! CBS Died! [More here]

getting crafty with johnny damon

So my husband is away for a couple of days, the kids are at their father's house and I'm bored as hell. I figured by now I'd be running around the house naked, death metal blasting from the stereo and a bottle of Jack in my hand. But, no. So far I've watched some stupid Lifetime-esque movie starring Mark Harmon as a surfer, ate an entire bag of Cinnabon popcorn and made a Johnny Damon voodoo doll out of a toilet paper roll and colored electrical tape. And I am, quite literally, sitting here in my living room in my pajamas. At four in the afternoon. I'm thinking of bringing back ASV Radio tonight. Maybe a Dan Rather theme? Any ideas? While you mull that one over, I'll be in the kitchen, making sugar cookies in the shape of daggers to throw at the tv while I watch the game tonight.

This time, it's personal

Most of you know Stacy. She's the proprietor of Sekimori.com and part of the fabulous Hosting Matters team. She's done incredible work in the blog world. And on a personal level, she's one of my dearest friends. Stacy's mother-in-law has been hit hard by Hurricane Ivan. Stacy and her husband are trying their best to help her out, but they can only do so much. If you could spare a few bucks, please consider heading over to Stacy's site to make a donation. Thanks.

Lazy Town (or - If Dr. Phil did a show on blogging)

Yes, of course I'm back. It started innocently, intended to be a one-shot deal and then, well, you know how that goes. I got sucked in, once again. Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that. See, my husband threatened to leave me if I didn't stop my verbal ranting. We're talking 24/7 here. He said I was doing audio blogs in my sleep, even. So, after a week of watching Dan Rather's slow dance to irrelevance, and after doing two interviews (one on "how to" blog and one about the pros and cons of having a personal blog), I've done so much thinking about blogging that the word "blog" itself is causing some Pavlovian reaction, where my head explodes every time I hear/say/write it. You know that scene from Scanners? Like that, but instead of brain matter flying all over the place, it's hyperlinks and blogrolls and Moveable Type code. The walls in my office are splattered with HTML, I tell you! I took part in an online focus group the other evening on blogging and hyperlinks. I'm not allowed to quote any of the chat here - which involved about ten or so bloggers, all anonymous - but I think I'm allowed to give my general feeling about the whole thing. Which is, simply: holy shit, some people are pretentious. There was one person who said - and I'll just loosely paraphrase so as not to break any rules - that blogging about personal things instead of news of the day means is lazy blogging. As if all it took to write a personal post was to vomit all over the New Entry page and be done with it. Lazy. If I had the superpower ability to leap through a computer screen and into anonymous blogger's living room I surely would have beat him/her over the head with his/her keyboard. Such an arrogant statement. What makes one form of blogging (head explode!) more important or harder to maintain than another, so much so that a person automatically dismisses a certain genre? From the perspective of one who does both personal and news blogging, I find it harder, in some aspects, to write about personal things. The struggle lies in making it interesting to you. Not everyone is James Lileks, who can make a day spent at home coloring pictures of Rollie Ollie sound absolutely riveting. That's not to say that news blogging isn't hard. I do it here, and to a further extent at Command Post, and a lot of work goes into it. Just ask any of the RatherGate powerhouses about collecting links, verifying sources, backing up stories and gathering information. It's exhausting. So here I sit in my pajamas (Old Navy cotton jammie bottoms, NYFD L124 t-shirt, if you must know, which apparently some of you do judging from my email), emoting away, getting personal and wondering if this is really just lazy blogging. Well, here's the thing. I don't care. Some days I'll just sit here and emote and some days I'll storm the castle and bring you the head of the Big News Story victim, all wrapped up in hyperlinks and cross-references and pdfs of documents. And when I don't do that, someone else will. That's the beauty of the blogosphere. No story goes unnoticed, no stone goes unthrown, no turn of the phrase gets left out. If one hundred bloggers are busy whining about how much they hate summer and how their baseball team sucks, there will be one hundred bloggers bringing you the latest news from Iraq or covering a hurricane or unearthing a story that's about to become big. And then there are the other thousands upon thousands of bloggers not writing about the news and not even writing about their pets or their children. See, blogging is bigger than you and I. In fact, it's bigger than Instapundit, bigger than Command Post, bigger than Bill Burkett's Kinko's account. There are bloggers who are superstars in their corner of the 'sphere and never even heard of Charles Johnson or Wonkette, and I think it's best to sit back and think about that sometimes. While the newsbloggers ("warbloggers" is so yesterday) are the champagne of the blog world right now, next week RatherGate will be a distant memory as other breaking stories ebb and flow. We are stars in our own eyes right now. That's not to take away from what's been done. A handful of newsbloggers worked their asses off and not only broke a major story, but became part of the story itself, or at least a sidebar to the major issue. If anything, these guys proved that bloggers can be journalists, reporters and act as impetus for change. It wasn't a matter of posting a link and passing it around. It took a lot of detective skills and leg work to get the story right and keep it going. It's hard blogging. It's work. Which brings me back to personal blogging. Is it lazy? Was that person I labeled pretentious correct? After all, when I sit here for 45 minutes and emote at you, I'm not doing any research, I'm not putting many links in the post and I don't have to fact-check and back up my sources because my only source is me. For instance, this post took me about an hour to write. There's nothing newsworthy in it and it's really just a long "this is what I did today" post. No work went into it except for the work involved in sharpening my sentences, polishing my paragraphs and running a spell check. Then there's this post, which is just a whole lot of emotional baggage disguised as a topical issue. You know what? That post was damn hard to write. Emoting (I'm starting to get a Scanners moment with that word) is hard. It's work. Putting your emotions out there for people to read may not be as hard as tracking down news sources and links, but it's hard in an entirely different way. Putting emotions into words that are readable is not an easy task. It can be spiritually draining, as opposed to the physical and mental drain a hard-hitting news post can be and it can be just as time consuming. Of course, it's possible to mix both news and opinion without getting into an navel gazing soliloquy that makes the reader feel like a voyeur. I go back sometimes and read older posts and I'll cringe at the guest-on-Dr. Phil feel to it. But it's part of what I do and part of what thousands of bloggers do. To call all of them lazy is to not recognize the importance of anyone else besides yourself and I think that's an inherent problem with a good portion of bloggers who are stars within their part of the system; they put too much value on their own import, to the extent that they don't realize just how small a piece they are of the whole picture. It's just blogging. On the whole, we're no less and no more important than the Podunk Daily News, which prints local birth announcements and stories about cats stuck in trees. The Podunk Daily News may not be important to you or I, but the people of Podunk swear by it. So when people ask why blogging is important to me, I tell them: because it's important to me. Understand? It's important for me to sit here and emote and it's important for me to be able to sit here and watch you emote (head! explode!). It's important to me to be able to brg you the news at a rapid pace and it's important for me to read about your peptic ulcer or your breaking of the news. But the blogs themselves are not more important than each other. I get just as much out of this as I do out of this. Maybe if more people spent more time getting out of their own end of the blogosphere, we wouldn't have people deeming anyone outside their little world insignificant. And this has been my emoting for the day. My head will now asplode.


EL PAIS has apologized for its tasteless and insulting advertisement, as posted here.
EL PAÍS apologizes for the use of the images of the terrorist attack against the Twin Towers in New York, which happend on September 11, 2001, for a campaign to aquire subscribers to ELPAIS.es. This regrettable campaign, carried out through emails, supported on two photos of New York, one with the Twin Towers and another one without, under the heading “You can do a lot in one day, imagine what can happen in three months”. The promotional campaign started last Monday, September 13, and was sent to more than 50,000 recipients before it was cancelled, on Wednesday 15th. [...] Any explanation about the chain of errors which led to the launch of this campaign is insufficient, which some of our readers rightly qualified as repugnant. We share the disgust they have expressed in numerous messages and letters to the management and we are sorry it happened.
[Translated by Southern Watch - you can read the full text here] This isn't just an apology; it's an acceptance of responsibility and a sincere effort to rectify the situation and hold people accountable for their actions. Perhaps some people could use this as an object lesson. Apology accepted, El Pais. Barcepundit has more on the story.

September 16, 2004

Knox Knox.
Who's There?
Kinkos Who?
Uh...It's Actually Bill Burkett

So, I fell asleep at abotut 10:30 last night (oddly enough, I wasn't even wearing pajamas), so I'm way behind on the stories here. Instead of trying to catch up, I'll just link. First, a small reminder that sometimes even forgeries can reveal the truth. Now we go to Allah, who is knocking around Mrs. Knox (no, not figuratively). It seems the nice old lady is doing a bit of flip-flopping - I didn't remember Bush before I remembered him! On the Kinko's issue, WaPo's got a few tidbits. The Commisar links to this site, which discover that Mr. Burkett, he of the disgruntledness: bq. has a standing account with the Kinkos in Abilene Texas, and while the lady who answered the phone would not be more specific she did say Burkett was in there last week she waited on him on last (a week ago) Tuesday.... Ace has a primer on Bill Burkett that you should read if you plan on following this story to its seemingly logical conclusion. Oh, and speaking of primers, maybe you should read up on Mary Mapes, CBS producer. Back to Dan the Man. Andrew Sullivan points to a WaPo article which quotes Mr. Rather: bq. "If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story. Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.'" That sound you just heard was my jaw dropping. That other sound was my giggling like a school girl. Astounded and amused, I am. Sullivan says: bq. Memo to Rather: you can't break that story, because someone else in pajamas already did. Check the frequency, Kenneth. You are so far from being out front on this, you are leagues behind in the dust. Have you heard of the Internet? You can find it on that weird machine in your office they call a computer. Sorry, Andrew. All Dan has is an IBM Selectric and a photocopy machine. The trail of deceit here is enough to warrant the public flogging of Dan Rather and most of the Sixty Minutes staff. We'll leave the lovely Mrs. Knox out of it because flogging the elderly isn't nice. But I can point my finger in her face and call her a bitter, old, partisan hack with a questionable memory and an unquestionable agenda. And let's remember why I am harping on this story, Brad (that's Brad the Troll I'm addressing). It's the media, stupid. You want someone who is addressing the AWOL issue, I'm sure it won't be hard to find a blog that's doing so. What Brad doesn't get - or refuses to address - is that a major, respected newscaster on a major, respected broadcast news station used false documents - and most likely disreputable sources - to prop up his agenda-driven, partisan story on the president, two months before the election. And it's become even more than that over the past few days. What is it with the current trend of people not taking responsibility for their actions? Is this the new way to deal with people when confronted with the possibility that you did something wrong? Evade, be ambiguous, blame someone else, engage in moral equivalency, pout, stamp your feet and act outraged and defiant that someone is actually calling you out on your bullshit. From two year old toy thiefs to middle aged middle managers, from drunk-driving movie stars to drunk-with-power news anchors, that seems to be the modus operandi when the headlights are turned on. There was a point in all this when I would have still been able to maintain some respect for Rather. Maybe a few days back, if he had addressed the issue immediatley, called for an investigation and confessed that maybe, just maybe, he had inadvertantly used false documents in his story, he could have saved some face. Even if he was bullshitting us and we knew it, it would have done far less damage than his ridiculous posturing is doing now. The problem is, CBS is digging a deeper and deeper hole and if they aren't careful (oops, too late), they are going to take the media in general into that hole with them. It's time for the other networks and affilliates to start shoveling the dirt on Rather and CBS, instead of being buried with them.

Johnny Ramone

I thought of writing something longer on this, perhaps reminiscing about the early days of the Ramones and how they changed my perception of music, but I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that there is only one Ramone left standing. That makes me feel bothvery sad and very old.

September 15, 2004

Media Manipulation [Updated]

Dan Rather: bq. But on a personal note, I believe it is important to remember that those who have criticized aspects of this story have never criticized the heart of it, that George W. Bush got special treatment." And I believe it is important to remember that a certain anchor who is criticizing his critics has never addressed the heart of it, that Dan Rather is dishonest, manipulative and unscrupulous and no longer deserves the position he has. Bill brings up a point I thought of and addressed a few days ago in a similar vein: Why interview Killian's secretary and not his son and daughter? Oh, I'll tell you why. Because they don't the public to hear something like this: "That's what I find so despicable about this whole thing, that they would use my deceased father (for political purposes)..." Dan Rather and CBS should be ashamed. Instead, they are continuing the farce. It's rather sad. [Full transcript here] Update, from Drudge quoting WaPo: bq. WASH POST: Documents allegedly written by deceased officer that raised questions about Bush's service with Texas National Guard bore markings showing they had been faxed to CBS News from a Kinko's copy shop in Abilene, Texas... Developing.. Hmmm..Abilene, Texas. Allow me to play Encyclopedia Brown for a moment. Hmmm....what do you make of that, Sally?

CBS Statement: Double Plus Ungood

Via Drudge (no other link yet) bq. Statement by the President of CBS News, Andrew Heyward:
"We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing." Holy doublespeak, Batman. So, I take this to mean that they were satisfied with the accuracy of the memos before the show aired. It's only because people are making such a big deal about it that they will look into the issue again, just to shut us all up. Redoubling of zero is still zero. Looks like my pajamas are safe.

Last Prediction [updated]

60m.jpgWord is CBS will make their official statement at 3:30 5:00 EST. I will be in my car, playing taxi to several teenage girls and unable to post. However, here is my prediction. I will eat my hat pajamas if I'm wrong. It's going nowhere. They will admit nothing. They will just say "Well, Bush was AWOL so it doesn't matter and here's this nice old granny to say that Bush always sucked. So there. Memos, schemmos. Look! Over there! Your hat's on fire!" And they will never address it again. The Kerry camp will feel like they've won something, the Democrats and lefties in general will do a small jig and the big media will let the story go as Ivan destroys New Orleans. That's the way it is. Or will be. [If not, I'll be in the market for some edible jammies] Update: Kerry Spot notes that CBS is calling the pending announcement a "story clarification." Mmhmm.


I have no words for this. UPDATE: Please see here. Also, I am turning the comments off on this post, for obvious reasons.

Real Rather News [updated]

Oh, you wanted real news about Rather, not dreams? Why didn't you say so? For real news by hard-working, non-pajama wearing (though I can't be certain about that and photographic proof would be nice) bloggers, read both Ace's and Allah's latest. The wagons are circling and the circle is getting narrower by the minute. Also, CBS will be making some kind of announcement at noon. As far as I can tell, no one had today in the pool. My prediction for the statement: Look! Over there! Iraq is burning! Update: Other thoughts: If CBS goes on record to say they were duped and they now realize the memos were not authentic, and then go on to say that it doesn't matter because the AWOL issue still remains, then they just don't get it. The public deserves nothing less than a public apology from both Rather and CBS. Also, someone needs to accept responsibility for going on record with the memos knowing full well that there were doubts about their authenticity. Which means, someone needs to get fired over this, or all apologies and posturing about being responsible are null and void. The public, the media, bloggers and CBS/Rather must realize that the major issue here is not if Bush fulfilled his duties. It stopped being about the very second someone spotted the inconsistencies in the memos. It's about credibility, respectability and being honest about what your agenda is. Dan Rather needs to come clean. CBS needs to come clean. And the rest of the media, rather than wagging the AWOL stick in our faces, need to denounce the methods that CBS and Rather used to get this story on the air. I feel like that larger issue is getting lost in all the back and forth about the content of the memos. If you want to deal with that issue, then deal with it on a separate plane. Let's not miss the sharpest point here; that Rather and CBS are culprits in a potential case of fraud perpetrated on the the people of America - a possible fraud that was - to these eyes at least - designed to sway the opinion of the undecided voter, just two months before the presidential election. That's just criminal. Well, if not, it should be. [And if you keep reading Allah's updates, you'll see why this goes so much deeper than two superscript letters on a memo - the deceit that went into this is frightening] UPDATE A very reliable source tells me that CBS may not make the noon deadline.

I Got Rather-Man Fever, It's Driving Me Crazy*

pacguys.jpgI had a dream last night that I was playing Pac-Man and Mr. Pac-Man had the face of Dan Rather. In this dream version of Pac-Man (or Rather-Man, if you will), the four ghosts chasing Rather were growing larger with each passing second. And, instead of controlling Pac-Man, I was controlling the ghosts. I was desperately trying to chew up Dan Rather and perhaps spit him out. I suppose that Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Sue were bloggers and, as they became bigger, turned into ABC, WaPo, Jim Geraghty and John Podhoretz. As I deftly maneuvered the ghosts/bloggers around the maze, Rather-Man was frantically trying to outpace me, but he was gobbling up so much fruit (the fruit in this version was rotted and putrid) in his pursuit of escape that he started to become ill. At first he turned green, then became bloated. So, instead of that cheery-yellow, circular Pac-Man we all know and love, I was staring at a mutated, green lump of a newsman. I guided Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Sue towards Rather-Man and cornered him just as he was about to eat the power-up that would bring him back to health. As the four ghosts, now working on their own without my joystick aid, got within a breath of Rather, he chomped on the power-up and and turned with sinister eyes towards his enemies. Unfortunately, the power-up was a fake. The four ghosts laughed as they grew larger and larger and poor Rather-Man backed himself up against the corner of the maze and defiantly waited to be eaten. His last words before Inky pounced upon the hapless Rather-Man were "you will rue the day you gave me a fake power-up, Michael Moore! RUE!" I suppose if he had a fist, he would have been shaking it in the air. I don't make this stuff up, people. These are the dreams of a mad blogger. The only question that lingers from this dream is: how many lives did Rather-Man have left? I eagerly await this sound accompanied by the flashing words GAME. OVER. *

September 14, 2004

I wasn't expecting it, either

Like Steve, I was suprised to find out that CNN showed a shot of ASV tonight during a segment about bloggers/CBS (well, Steve was talking about his own blog, not ASV. Damn syntax). At least I think it was about the bloggers/CBS thing. Although the second half might have been less about blogging and more about...something....nah, not going there. If you watched it, you know where I was headed with that. Thanks to David Mayer for the screencap! Strangely, this shot shows the header I had up well over a month ago. Little does DJ know he was on CNN tonight! cnnshot.JPG

RatherGate: The Pool is Open

Think of this as a death pool, but one gauging the death of Dan Rather's career. Pick dates (and times if you wish to be really, really specific, which would help in the event of a tie) for the following: * CBS announces that the memos are, indeed, forgeries. * Dan Rather steps down. * The source of the memos is named by CBS * The Red Sox are eliminated from pennant race Oops, sorry about that last one. Force of habit. By the way, never is a viable answer for any of the questions. See also, when hell freezes over. However, for those of you who think that this will be resolved in a satisfactory way - satisfactory meaning culpability and accountability by CBS and Rather - name your dates. There will be a prize. Said prize given as long as Satan isn't cross-hell skiing. Update: Here's my prediction. Nothing will ever come of this. CBS will continue to defend itself and Rather. They will stop addressing it at some point and the story will be swept under the rug as Election Day approaches. Then, maybe, some time after Election Day, CBS will issue a release, probably on a Friday evening, that perhaps the memos were, after all, forgeries. No one will notice. Rather will continue on with his career until one evening he walks away from his desk, opens a studio window and yells outside "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Someone on the street below will yell "JUMP!" Rather will seriously contemplate it for a moment.

While I Was Out

I bought a new domain name. Now, what do I do with it? Yes, that means I'm entertaining suggestions.

Strengthen the Good

Some people, five weeks pregnant on the day they lose the love of their live in the South Tower of the World Trade Center, would recoil into an emotional hole and become bitter with the world. But not everyone ... some, like Tracy Woodall, would instead see in 9/11 motivation to devote their lives to helping autistic children. Want to feel good about something today? Go here to learn about Tracy and strengthen the good.

September 13, 2004

Pajama Time

Just because. Me in my pajamas. Many years before blogging, of course. But that's not to say I don't have those very same jammies now. And maybe, just maybe, I am wearing them right this very second.

Flame-Proof Pajamas -or- Why MemoGate Matters

[I posted this at Command Post today and figured, what the hell, I'll just go ahead and blog away here] As the "bloggers in pajamas" meme makes the rounds, I am reminded of a children's show my daughter used to watch, Bananas in Pajamas. It's just as ridiculous, no? Anyhow, I propose that we make the Banana to the left here our unofficial mascot. Theme song included. In the end, it will matter not if bloggers were actually wearing their pajamas when they began their education-by-fire of kerns and fonts and the ancient world of typewriters. The fact will remain that they beat some men and women wearing shirts and ties to the punch. No...they did more than beat them to the punch; the shirted reporters barely knew that the fight had begun. If Jonathan Klein truly believed his notion that "[b]loggers have no checks and balances . . . [it's] a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas," when he made that statement, his belief system must be taking quite a hit at the moment. Besides the fact that not all bloggers are guys, I'd have to say that a major portion of us have real jobs that keep us from shuffling around our living room in our feetie jammies all day. As for checks and balances, we have each other. As Rev. Donald Sensing said: bq. Bloggers are fact checked incessantly by other bloggers and most blogs have a comment feature where a lot of fact checking goes on. And it's done in realtime, unlike any MSM. Reporters for MSM generally have one editor. I have, today alone, 17,000-plus, every one of which is empowered to tell me I screwed something up. In realtime. On my site. Try that with 60 Minutes. Touche, Mr. Klein. While the memos in question in this MemoGate(r) or RatherGate(r) or The Tale of the Tricky Typography (or whatever you would like to call it) have not yet been proven beyond doubt to be forged, the real story here is no longer about Bush's AWOL service or superscript lettering. It is about the integrity and the accountability of the media, in particular that of CBS and, to a lesser extent, The Boston Globe. It's no secret that Dan Rather has an agenda. The website Rather Biased has been chronicling, well, Rather's Bias, since 2000. The fact that Mr. Rather is seen by millions of people across this nation on a major broadcast network means that his agenda has a wide audience. Now take into account that most people in this country still are naive enough to trust mainstream media (MSM) to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and you end up with one person wielding a lot of influence just two months before a presidential election. When word first started traveling that the memos Rather used on his 60 Minute piece on the Bush AWOL story might be forgeries, CBS should have immediately issued a statement addressing the topic, saying that while they stand by their sources they would also be looking into the matter in order to clear up any confusion about the documents. That way, they would let the public know that they were aware of the issue and they were taking this slight on their reputation seriously, while at the same time letting the same public know that they still believe their original source. But, no. CBS instead went into defense mode, with Rather spewing out bitter nonsense about the internet rumor mill and partisan hacks: bq. “Today on the Internet and elsewhere, some people, including many who are partisan political operatives, concentrated, not on the key questions of the overall story, but on the documents that were part of the support of the overall story.” As I said before: the problem is, the key questions of the overall story are moot if the evidence is false. Things shifted quickly after that. Bloggers dug deeper and some news outlets noticed. Others picked up on the story and, neglecting to mention how the key components of MemoGate began, did their own research and called their own specialists. The Boston Globe, in fact, called upon the same forensic document expert as Bill at INDC. And then they went on to misrepresent his words to the point that the expert, Dr. Bouffard, was livid. Not to mention the fact that the Globe, which continues to perpetuate false statements, got Dr. Bouffard's name wrong in their article. CBS then went on to use the Globe story - now known by many to be disingenuous - to prop up their belief that the memos are real. One hand washes the other, one presumes. It may seem odd that just 50 days before the election the media is honing in on arguments about typeface but, if you look under the surface, it's not really the kerning that is the greater issue. Perhaps the reason the LA Times and the New York Times, two papers that could be considered liberal, have printed articles or opinion pieces that seem to favor the blogger side of the story is because, if they don't take that stance, they run the risk of being lumped together with Rather and CBS, like the Boston Globe. At this moment in time, that's not a good place to be. In fact, CBS and Rather are not even going to talk about the memos anymore: bq. Dan Rather was quoted in the New Zealand Herald as saying that there was no use debating the authenticity of his documents which he claims are proof that George W. Bush committed any number of unethical acts while in the National Guard. "Until someone shows me definitive proof that they are not [authentic], I don't see any reason to carry on a conversation with the professional rumour mill." What CBS and Rather should have done in this instance was to face the charges head on, rather than trying deflect the issue. This is no longer about AWOL charges and they have to recognize that. This is not some "silly" issue as some professional pundits put it. Anyone connected with MSM who makes a statement like that is clearly in denial that the integrity of MSM as a whole is at stake here. Or, perhaps, they aren't in denial, but fully aware, and their only defense is to go on the offense. What's at stake here is not the election. I honestly don't think the election will be decided over Bush's National Guard discrepancies or Kerry's Holiday in Cambodia. The American people know there is too much at stake to base their vote on thirty year old matters. So why does a news outlet like CBS deem such an issue (in CBS's case, just the Bush issue) so important as to devote their time and effort to airing it, yet not devote the time and effort towards backing up their evidence? Is someone - or several someones - letting their agenda show? It's one thing for a news outlet to slant one way or the other in its daily reporting. It's another when they use their power and influence to sway a presidential race, which I believe Rather has been doing. He has abused the trust that so many Americans have for him. Regardless of whether the memos prove to be true or false, when all the smoke has been cleared, when all the typography experts and kerning specialists go back to their desks, when all the bloggers put on their pajamas and sit back with a beer in their living rooms, one glaring fact will remain: the media cannot be trusted. Specifically, Dan Rather cannot be trusted. How can you trust a media outlet that aired a negative piece like they did without presenting the other side of the story, which they clearly had? They interviewed people close to the situation who regarded the memos as fakes, yet they did not bother to include those interviews in the 60 Minute segment. Even when faced with more evidence that the authenticity of the memos should be doubted, CBS continued to give the cold shoulder to truth. Had Rather stood up and feigned shock that the memos might be false, and then hired another expert or at least addressed the possibility that he and CBS might have been duped, we would not be sitting here talking about typesetting. But Rather has been outed, so to speak, as a braying, defensive, partisan hack who has no more integrity than Jayson Blair. Perhaps he should be shaking his fist at his source - or himself - instead of bloggers.

September 11, 2004


I said I would not post anything else about 9/11 or the anniversary of the date. I lied to myself. I do it every year and I suppose I'll do it next year, too. You think you can move on or move forward until you hear the tolling of the bells and the reading of the names and you realize you will never really move on. arceth.jpgboyleth.jpgfanningth.jpgjonathanth.jpgkerwinth.jpgpete22th.jpg [click images for full picture] * * * * * * * * * * * * * I don't want to forget Claude Richards,whose death provided with perhaps the most poignant moments of my entire life. [Both images were written/drawn by my son DJ (11), last year]

September 06, 2004

Three Years Later: Moving Forward

I made a vow to myself to remain positive as the third anniversary of 9/11 approached. Three years. In some ways, I've lived a lifetime since then. And sometimes, it feels like just yesterday I was standing in the parking lot at work, my eyes fixed on the ugly, brown haze of smoke and debris that enveloped the sky to the west. There are people who have chastised my obsession with that day; they say I act as if it belongs to me, only. We all own a piece of 9/11, of course. The shape and form of that owned piece is different for everyone. It may look and feel like blame or remorse or a million other things, depending on your view. The view from here is not as dark and murky as it was when I gripped the door handle of my car, practically paralyzed with fear and horror. That was three years ago this Saturday, when I wanted nothing more but to get home to my family yet could do nothing more than stare and cry. A year passed. It was a long, hard year filled with questions, doubts, lingering fear and a subtle sense of panic that layered every move I made, every thought I had. We were shell shocked and our response to the world around us reflected that. I cried at random times. I had trouble sleeping. I paced and panicked and popped pills to stop it all. And between all my angst and anxiety, the sun rose and set, the flowers bloomed, my children played and the world, damaged and shaken as it was, went on. Another year came and went. My kids grew an inch or two, I got married, relatives died, had babies and moved away. Life had a way of making me forget every once in a while. Anniversaries make you remember. Two years ago, September 11, 2002, the view from here was much the same as it was the year before. I clung to my sadness and anger, wrapped those emotions around me like blankets. I wallowed not only in my own dark vision of the day, but in the darkness and despair of others, as well. It was needed, then. The shared experiences, the sympathetic tears, the virtual hand holding - they were needed. How else could we possibly get through the grief but to do it together? Those feelings of darkness lingered long after the anniversary. Fall came and went, quickly fading into winter. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's. Would the new year be any different? Would 2003 look much the same as 2002 and the end months of 2001? Would the fear and anger ever dissipate? Those are the questions I asked myself as we rang in the new year. I wondered how others around me could be so joyous, so wrapped up in their celebrating when all around us, the world was in shambles. And so 2003 marched on, bringing more changes, more births and deaths and sunrises, war was declared, the battle come down. We cooked dinners, shopped, drank, went to amusement parks and lived. We lived. And as September approached, so did my now annual anxiety and sadness. And once again, I asked everyone to wallow with me. The Voices Project was therapeutic in many ways. For myself, for the people who contributed, for the people who read, it was a way to join hands again and share the bleak emotions that still welled up inside our hearts and souls. That is my piece of 9/11, the part I own. A little black lump of nothingness that sits sometimes on top of my heart and sometimes lodges itself in the pit of my stomach. I thought by engaging in a sort of group therapy through the project, I could dislodge that nothingness. But it wasn't reliving my pain and agony of September 11, 2001 that did it for me. No, it was life. And I didn't even realize it at that the time, that the black lump of nothingness was shrinking. I wrote on September 12, 2003:
I watched my son playing hockey with his friends in the driveway last night and my daughter chasing her little cousins around on the lawn and it felt so damn good. The air was cool, the sun was throwing off colors into the early evening sky and the jingle of the ice cream truck could be heard from blocks away. It was just one of those moments that you want to hold onto forever; you want time to stand still so we are always this happy and this joyous and this free. Of course, it doesn't work that way, which is why we have cameras and camcorders and halfway decent memories. There are going to be days when the kids are screaming at each other instead of playing harmoniously together, where the neighbor's dog is taking a crap on your lawn and it's raining so hard your gutters are overflowing and someone is calling you with bad news. No one remembers the exact moments of being ecstatically happy. No one says, oh on July 16, 2002 at 7:08 p.m., I felt a surge of happiness in my heart. But we all remember times and dates and intimate details of our moments of despair. Just as no one takes pictures or movies of their family members sobbing over the coffin of Grandma. Well maybe they do, but I don't.
2003 came to an end and I welcomed 2004 with a small ray of hope that it would bring better things. When I said that out loud to my husband, he asked what I meant by better things. Had the last years been so personally horrible or had I just internalized 9/11 to the point that my entire being was marked by the sights and sounds of that day? I went back and read those paragraphs I wrote in September and I promised myself live 2004 in a different way. No, I would never, ever forget. It's always there, it's an awareness that will never fully end. It's there when I see the cars with their 9/11 bumper stickers, honoring the dead. It's there when I watch the news, it's there on a day like this when the sky is blue and the air is crisp and it's....just like then. It's there, believe it or not, every time the digital clock shows the time 9:11. At all those times, it's like a small, cold hand touches me on the back. I shiver and remember. It's a surge of memories that come out me at once, not one particular picture or sound or memory; it's just a feeling. It's that small, black lump showing itself again. It may have shrunk but it will never, ever disappear. It's September 2004. The third anniversary is in less than a week, which means this is the fourth year in a row I am spending at least one perfect weather day regurgitating every minute feeling of sorrow, despair, anger and disbelief. I was all set to do the Voices Project again. I was ready to share stories, to remember, to ask how you feel three years on. No. That's what I told myself this morning. No. I refuse to start myself down that long, rocky slope of depression again. I refuse to take this perfect, blue-sky day and spend it reliving days of darkness. I can't. Tomorrow, my son starts his middle school career. My daughter starts high school. Time has a way of smacking you in the face when you need it most. I can't once again entrench myself in some virtual dark, dank basement where I'm huddled over the keyboard, weeping. I have moved on. There, I said it. Not moved on in the sense that I've forgotten or I don't think it's important. 9/11 will always be a defining moment in my life. It has shaped and colored my world like no other event. It has essentially changed who I am and who I'll always be. But all my writing and gathering of stories and wallowing will not bring Pete Ganci back. It will not bring back any of my father's friends, or any of your friends or relatives. It will only make my hurt feel fresh and it is not healthy to walk around with open wounds. Oh, I still have the anger and pain but, instead of trying to will them out of me by throwing myself into a mental re-enactment of that day, I've decided to let them be. I've learned to live with the little, black lump of nothingness and now I have learned how to not make that bigger than it should be. Nor smaller. It's the piece of 9/11 I own and I'd no sooner give that up than give up a limb. Why? Because I've learned so much from carrying that around with me. I've learned a lot about myself and the people around me. I've learned much about the world. In a way, that black lump soaks up any new despair like a sponge. It's a place where I store things and I'm able to call up that anger or sadness when I need to. But I don't need to now. What I need to do is enjoy the life I am grateful to have. I need to breathe the sweet, fall-like air and think not of death but of living. I have mums to plant, a new house to renovate, children who are growing up too fast for me to not enjoy every moment I have with them. I am moving forward, I guess, not really moving on. I'm leaving behind the Voices Project and leaving behind my annual conscious decision to wallow. I am not leaving behind my despair and anger because to do that would be to forget, which I will never do. I just want to live again, in a way where I won't react viscerally to every mention of 9/11. I think the only way to do that is to approach this anniversary in a completely different way than I have in the past. I approach it with hope and optimism and an eye towards the future. I think it's in my best interest to honor the dead by living. I can think of no other way to explain it and it might sound contradictory to you. I've wanted revenge on the terrorists for so long. Someone once said the best revenge is living well. So, perhaps, not cowering in fear or lashing out in anger as a result of 9/11 is the best revenge I can hope for right now. And before you say I'm contradicting everything I stood for in the past three years, this "moving on" I'm talking about has nothing to do with forgetting who our enemies are and what they have done to us. It's moving on from a striclty emotional standpoint because one can only live inside an emotional train wreck for so long. I think, above all, reacting to this anniversary with reverence rather than rhetoric, with hope rather than hate, with dared optimism rather than depression, is the best we can do for those who died. This is the first and last thing I will write about the third anniversary of 9/11. I will attend a sunrise memorial on the beach this Saturday and I will whisper thanks to the heros and feel sorrow for all who died. And as the sun rises, I will greet the new day as another one in which to appreciate that I still can have absolute moments of happiness while still holding onto my piece of 9/11. Note: Does this mean I'm blogging again? Not necessarily. I think I just owed you, and myself, an explanation of things.