Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Well, since then, I've seen a million of these magnets, give or take a billion, and most times I think about how if someone had sent that one or two or five dollars to the Red Cross or the USO, how the world would actually be better off.
Well, someone else realizes that the only people being supported by these ribbons are the Chinese.
Think if I had the bumper sticker on, the ribbon magnet people would get it?
Evolution is true. TRUE. Did some "god" set it in motion? Maybe. Why is this so unacceptable to people? Why do they refuse to even try to think?
Morality is subjective, but in the end can be whittled down to the golden rule - "do unto others as you would have them do unto you. REMEMBER THAT.
Math is NOT subjective. God did not invent special rules of geometry for Christians. The Arabs and Euclid knew what they were talking about long before the current giant sky-god came along to save the human race.
Being a member of a specific ethnic group does not make you a bad person automatically, even if there should be some very high-profile bad people who are members of that ethnic group. Conversely, simply being a member of a group does not make you a good person, either. These classifications are built on merit, not birth or inclusion in a race or religion.
Trying to point out that classifying all people in a group as being one particular way is wrong does not necessarily mean that you are a member of the group you're defending. It just means that you're a person who thinks.
Don't be stupid, be a person who thinks. See the facts. That's all I ask.
Monday, August 29, 2005
It was the first such attack by Palestinian militants since Israel's historic pullout from Gaza and the West Bank.I don't believe that. The first successful attack, maybe, but if you're telling me that no one else has tried this in a week, I'm telling you that you have some rose-tinted glasses on. There is something in the mindset of a militant Palestinian that I will never be able to comprehend - the concept that killing a group of civilians is the ultimate gift that you can give to the cause, and gift important enough that you'll end your own life to do it. When this kind of idea is common, then the idea of a cease-fire is, in my opinion, worthless. I don't know what it is that makes a person believe that suicide bombing is acceptable, but I do know that once the belief is in place, that negotiation becomes practically futile.
The phrase "global struggle against violent extremism" may have been put on the back shelf here in the US, pushed aside in favor of our leader's favorite "War on Terror", but it's a concept that has its roots in truth. Extremism describes exactly the level to which the devotion to a cause is elevated - extreme. Reasonable has long ago been left in its wake. Discussion and negotiation are our best tools of defense, simply because if extremism is met with extremism, then no one can ever actually win. But discussion and defense might not be the tools that do win. Perhaps extremism is stronger than reason. I prefer to think not, but I accept that sometimes in this world, the better of two options does not always come to pass. I do not want this to happen, I don't want the extremists to win, but I guess I'm just not the kind of person who has enough fate to believe that things will work out in the end.
I know that I believe in the cause of peace in the Middle East, but I also know that I believe in it on my terms - the terms where Israel remains a state, and retains control of Jerusalem. I guess that makes me basically unwilling to compromise. Still, I wouldn't walk into a crowd of people at a bus station or a vegetable market with dynamite strapped to my body. Losing Jerusalem would be preferable to losing people's lives.
I don't know why suicide bombing is an option for people. I don't know how a person has to be conditioned to accept that they'll do that. I do know that almost always there's a claim that an attack of this nature is "retaliation" for the death of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli army. The most recent one is reported as Israeli soldiers receiving a tip about Islamic Jihad militants staying in a house on the West Bank, going to the house, being fired upon, and returning fire.
I've been thinking about the Israeli/almost everyone else conflict a lot this weekend. Friday afternoon I was pointed at a post over on Badtux the Snarky Penguin, called Israel still living in 1967. I've pointed at the comments page, because I think that the comments are interesting. If you go there, you can see that I mount my argument that Badtux isn't seeing the picture the way that people who are living in it do. You'll also see how quickly a simple discussion by people not even involved in the conflict can turn into name-calling. The more time I spent thinking about this, the more I wondered how it's possible to make the point that armies are not the problem when government-sponsored armies hardly exist. Suicide bombing is not the same thing as volunteering for dangerous duty as a soldier. One joins an army hoping to help, and hoping to survive. I've mentioned previously that it's the duty of a leader to treat each soldier as a precious commodity, and not just cannon fodder. It's an important point. How do I express that there really are millions of people in the world who think that the only way to please their god is to push the Jews into the ocean, to wipe them off the face of the earth? How do I make people see that reasonable people want peace, and yet the reasonable people are up against a force so unreasonable that it may be insurmountable?
How can I ever understand being raised to love a cause so much that it's actually accepted to be more important than human life?
Friday, August 26, 2005
A STUDY IN CONFLICT
A girl in Monroe spent 4 months of her senior year painting a mural based on Dante's "Inferno". She had to read it for a class, and found the ultimate message of the poem to inspire hope, so she based her art work on it. Some people in the school found it too "dark", and complained to the point where she actually agreed to change it.
Note - if I conceived a vision for a mural in a school, got it approved, and then spent the time to actually paint it, the odds of *me* changing it after it's done are ZERO.
Back to my story - OK, so she changes it, tries to make it a bit "brighter" and more inspiring than scary, and in doing so, she created something that was over the principal's head.
The new look, however, was mistaken as vandalism by school officials, and the mural was whitewashed.That's right, they whitewashed over her work. She went back to the high school she had just graduated from, went to look at the mural she spent much of her Senior year on, and it was g-o-n-e. Gone, and no one told her. She wants written apology and to be reimbursed the $400 she spent on art supplies. The new principal didn't comment.
"There was paint thrown on it. It was a mess, so we decided to paint over it," said Goodall, who is now principal.
So there you go. Some people are so thick-headed that they can't even be bothered to imagine that someone else's vision of art might not match their own.
Debra Sundstrom, Houle's former Language Arts 4 Senior Honors teacher, said it sounds like school administrators weren't counting on Houle to come back to the school.Don't mess with art, people, it makes the world better. Even art you don't like, I swear.
So there you have it, my pick for "NJ Stupid Person of the Week". Congratulations, "now principal" Goodall.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
The final letter on the page (I've left out her last name, although it's printed in the paper):
To the Editor:Why can we not unite, Cindy? Answer me this, and I think you'll get it. Why is it that we all have to unite under the banner of *your* opinion, that we're doing something good for another country? Why can't we unite in the opinion that this war is helping no one and costing thousands of lives?
I am only one small voice in this country, but I feel confident that people want to be optimistic about their lives and their country.
As I watch this country become so divided over the war, I wonder why the news media will not come together and support what our country is doing for another country. How long will our young brave individuals in our military continue to volunteer for all of us, given the constant barrage of negative information?
I remember Sept. 11 so very well and feeling that if there was ever a time we could depend on our neighbors, it was after those attacks. It was one of the only times I truly felt that this country was united.
This is again a time we need to unite, regardless of our political preferences.
The news media cannot come together and support what our country is doing because members of the press hold different opinions of the worth and the effect of our actions.
Time to start thinking like a grown-up, sweetie. Acknowledge the shades of grey and live with a complicated world.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Obviously this is very bad news to someone like me who thinks that 5000 people suddenly out of work in NJ might have a detrimental effect on the state. Maybe? You think? I was going to write a lot more about this, but then I popped over to Blanton's and Ashton's, and found that GD Frogsdong already did.
Frequent readers of this blog know that for every dollar New Jersey sends to Washington in the form of taxes, we get only %0.57 back. New Jersey is last in that statistic. Closing Fort Monmouth will lower our return even further. This is a matter that should be of concern to every citizen in this state. Our money is going out to support things like $230 million dollar bridges in Alaska that will connect a community of 700 people to the mainland or to keep Alabama from slipping from the 19th into the 18th century, but what about New Jersey?We fight, but with losing numbers. We get less of the things that we want, and yet we seem to pay for more of them. We, as a state, need to band together to fight for our rights to the amount of government support that we actually deserve.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
And yet, I'm writing about it, too.
We really ought to have two distinct designations of Christians.
1. Someone who follows the teachings of Jesus and the Christian "New Testament". They believe in turning the other cheek, forgiveness, peace and love.
2. Someone who lives the more traditional Christian life. They have statues of Jesus (and perhaps Mary) around decorating their stuff, and they wear big gold crosses around their neck. Mostly, however, they treat these idols only as logos of their team, spending most of their time actually sowing discontent and anger and promoting violence against others. Like members of gangs or practicers of organized crime or ... Pat Robertson:
"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."Isn't ironic that people say "Hey, the Koran doesn't condone terrorism" as if Arab hypocrisy about the practice of their religion is some crazy thing, yet Pat Robertson is called a Christian minister, even after issuing this "fatwa." It makes you realize that we really are more similar to "them" than some would have you believe.
What Lee, Longstreet and Pickett understood -- and what the little generals of wingerdom do not seem to grasp -- is that military service is a two-way commitment. The soldier offers his pledge of obedience; the officer, in turn, gives his promise not to treat the soldier like a bag of garbage to be thrown in the face of the approaching enemy. We know that during his tenure as governor of Texas, George W. Bush treated pleas for clemency from Death Row prisoners with all the care of a landscaper tossing twigs into a wood chipper. The same scrupulousness helped inform the decision to send in just enough troops to carry out a quick invasion that looked good on television, but not nearly enough to keep the peace and prevent another Pandora's Box from being blown open in the Middle East."...not to treat the soldier like a bag of garbage...". I *knew* we were missing something.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Yes, thank you, I had a *wonderful* time.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
What part of New York did you say you live in, Jazz?
First, take a look at this Chesterfield County GOP web site and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Take careful note of the ummm "interesting" cartoon character there.
Next, go read Jill's observations about this from Brilliant at Breakfast. The rest of the story will play out for you just fine from there.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
The Israeli abandonment of Gaza is a withdrawal of despair. Unlike the Oslo concessions of 1993, there is not even the pretense of getting anything in return from the Palestinians. Nonetheless, unilateralism is both correct and necessary. Israel has no peace partner -- Mahmoud Abbas has nothing to offer and has offered nothing -- and in the absence of a partner, there is only one logical policy: Rationalize your defensive lines and prepare for a long wait.
Gaza was simply a bridge too far: settlements too far-flung and small to justify the huge psychological and material cost of defending them. Pulling out of Gaza leaves behind the first truly independent Palestinian state -- uncontrolled and highly militant, but one from which Israel is fenced off.
Krauthammer points out, and I have to agree, that isolationism is probably the only solution, and I feel it would certainly help the United States to get the heck out of the region both physically and politically. (Which can only help our own situation with international terrorism.) But he also understands that a simple wall can't stop all forms of aggression from Hamas. What to do?
The first problem is that while the fences do prevent terrorist infiltration, they do nothing about rockets. For months Palestinians have been firing rockets from Gaza into towns within Israel proper. The attacks are momentarily in suspension, but with the enhanced ability to smuggle in weapons from Egypt, and with no Israeli patrols looking for them, the attacks will resume and get far worse.
What to do? Something Israel should have done long ago: active and relentless deterrence. Israel should announce that henceforth any rocket launched from Palestinian territory will immediately trigger a mechanically automatic response in which five Israeli rockets will be fired back. There will be no human intervention in the loop. Every Palestinian rocket landing in Israel will instantly trigger sensors and preset counter-launchers. Any Palestinian terrorist firing up a rocket will know that he is triggering six: one Palestinian and five Israeli.
Do you think the "automagic rocket response" sounds irrational? It's an easy knee-jerk reaction to have. But on further examination, it may be the only reliable one with any promise. And it's not like we haven't given Israel plenty of rockets to work with already.
Every President and chief presidential advisor that I can remember in my adult life, dating back to Nixon and Kissinger all the way up to Dubya and Condi today, seemed to think that if we just kept meddling in the affairs of Israel and the Palestinians long enough, it would all somehow work out. Some magical switch would turn on (or off) and the Israelis and their enemies would ride off happily into the sunset mounted on white ponies singing Kum Bay Ya together, as two flowering democracies bloomed side by side and trade flourished. I'd really like to be more professional about this, but I'm sorry... that's just retarded.
While many accuse me of being "anti-Israel" for advocating a U.S. policy of getting the hell out of that region, I'm no fan of the Palestinians either. When you're dealing with people like those in Hamas, Krauthammer is, I think, on the right track. You're not going to get peace in the form of love and flowers. The best you're going to get is a wall that actually keeps people out and stops the combatants from fighting. And as for Palestinian missiles? I hate to advocate violence as an answer, but seriously now - sometimes the only way to get through to people who live by the sword is with a bigger sword. Or maybe five of them. Israel doesn't need to "defeat" the Palestinians in battle after they are separated. They don't need to "win more land." They just need a solution that will convince Hamas to STOP SHOOTING. If you can accomplish that, you've come as close to a perfect solution as anything I can imagine.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Santorum has lowest rating of any US Senator
I'm not going to take off on some endless screed this morning against Santorum. I think everyone knows his story pretty well by now. All I can say is that the Dems need to take back a number of Senate seats in order to stem the tide of madness sweeping our government at the moment. Some PA bloggers need to be getting organized well ahead of time and working on this campaign. If you can't dislodge Santorum, you've got problems.
Rick Santorum has the lowest net approval rating of any U.S. Senator, according to a poll by Survey USA. The survey reveals 42% approve of the job Santorum is doing, while 46% disapprove. The difference gives Santorum a –4% approval rating.Survey USA collected results of fifty separate public opinion polls for Senators in all fifty states. The average approval rating was 56% and the disapproval rating was 32%.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Michael Chabon and 16 of America's most prominent authors, including John Grisham, Rick Moody, Nora Roberts, Stephen King and Amy Tan have banded together to raise money for the First Amendment Project (FAP) through eBay Giving Works, the dedicated program for charity listings, starting on September 1st and running through September 25th, 2005. The authors will list for bid the chance to name a character in their upcoming books, and donate the proceeds to the FAP, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition.You can go here to see a list of authors, what they're offering, and when their auctions will be held. I'm guessing that Stephen King will have one of the more popular auctions -
"One (and only one) character name in a novel called CELL, which is now in work and which will appear in either 2006 or 2007. Buyer should be aware that CELL is a violent piece of work, which comes complete with zombies set in motion by bad cell phone signals that destroy the human brain. Like cheap whiskey, it's very nasty and extremely satisfying. Character can be male or female, but a buyer who wants to die must in this case be female. In any case, I'll require physical description of auction winner, including any nickname (can be made up, I don't give a rip)."I, on the other hand, will be bidding on a chance to be in the last of Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events tales -
"An utterance by Sunny Baudelaire in Book the Thirteenth. Pronunciation and/or spelling may be slightly 'mutilated.' An example of this is in The Grim Grotto when Sunny utters 'Bushcheney.' Target publication date is Fall 2006."
Before getting into my rant on this and my associated advice for the good people of England, please stop by the Sideshow and read Avedon Carol's latest takedown of this truly sad story. It's been covered there in detail since it all began.
Now look, guys. If, by some miracle, you wind up reading this, I have some advice for everyone in Britain who is involved in the government, the police, or the military. Stop trying to imitate the United States. Seriously... just stop it. There's still a whole bunch of really wonderful things about this country, have no doubt about that. But the way we're currently operating our Federal Government, our "Intelligence" agencies, and our law enforcement (where it comes to terror investigations, I mean) is really not our Sunday Best garments, if you catch my meaning. We're not always like this, but we're going through a bit of a rough patch right now, and you really don't want to go around acting like us.
When you do something wrong, no matter how awfully, horribly wrong it may be, particularly when it's an accident, just own up to it and move on. People will forgive you. Your first play should not be to attempt a coverup. That's not only wrong, it's stupid. Criminally stupid, in fact, as Armed Liberal pointed out earlier. Besides, (and quite fortunately for everyone I might add) you don't seem to be very good at it. Bush and his cronies are experts. They can lock up dirty secrets and, in most cases, they'll take them to the grave with them. They run a tight ship when it comes to scamming the public. You lot, however... well, it's not really your strong suit. I mean, the Downing Street Memos and the rest of the associated documents (oh, and we do want to thank you for those again, by the way) are pretty solid proof that your skeletons tend to come strolling out of the closets fairly easily in England. So just come clean with your citizens in cases like this. It's really for the best.
Oh, and while you're at it, try to do something about that Blair fellow, would you? He's marching around like a little miniature version of Bush these days, and that's not good. He's making you a laughing stock in the eyes of the world and getting you in more trouble than you can imagine. Come on now... do you really think that the terrorists are blowing up London because of some seething, deep seated hatred of tea, crumpets and spotted dick? (Ok, the spotted dick is pretty repulsive, I'll grant you, but I don't think anyone's about to start lobbing explosives at you over it.) No. Tony Blair may as well have invited those bombers in personally, and it was because he's been in league with Bush. We haven't been able to get rid of our idiot on this side of the pond, but I was really hoping that you Brits would show some of your legendary sensibility and dump that clod. Try to get to work on that, would you? Thanks a bunch. Oh, and good luck with the Cricket this season.
By the way, if that's not enough blogging for you for one day, swing by my home blog and read a really wonderful story about two ordinary citizens who saved a little girl from being abducted by a pervert. It will give you a warm, happy smile for the day, I assure you.
The big story today on NJ.com is the mob bust that I blogged yesterday. At this point it is just reporters chewing on the scraps. The main story is over until the actual trial, which is when we'll hear about the murders the arrestees committed...which is when some of this blog's readers will find out why they haven't seen Cousin Fredo for three years ("Every time you put your line in the water you say a 'Hail Mary' and you'll catch a really big fish"). There's nothing that interesting about the reporter scraps (some residents who lived near the social club were surprised that mobsters used it and some residents weren't, and still other residents couldn't believe the amount of stuff they could pick out of their ears while sitting on the stoop).
Then I checked the Yahoo news "Odd News" tab. Oh, baby, have we got stuff going on these days!
"Oil workers trade in marriages for a job" says one headline. A state-run oil company in northern China is giving laid-off workers their jobs back if they are divorced, so some married, laid-off workers are getting divorced to get their jobs back. If it were only that easy.
The lead in another story is: "Russia's long winter will just fly by for a herd of Russian cows which, a newspaper reported on Tuesday, will be fed confiscated marijuana over the cold months."
Or should I say, "Mooooooooo-sky!"
But my favorite story of the day is this: "Yachts a sign of economic strength for Berlusconi" The Prime Minister of Italy can see lots of yachts from the window of his luxury villa, and to him that means the entire country is doing well because there are a lot of rich people with yachts around. So you see, Bush isn't the only leader who is completely disconnected from reality.
Q: Why did the snake cross the road?
A: Jusssssssssssssst becausssssssssssssssssse!
Right, it's kind of limp. Lots of people love animals. Jazz and Georg love animals and have taken in many special needs strays. Their dog Kenya tried to herd me once. Apparently, I'd strayed from the flock.
Anyway, it's early and the coffee hasn't kicked in, so I had to re-read this a few times:
Not too long ago, he tried to revive a bumblebee, keeping it in the palm of his hand with some water until it buzzed away two hours later, said John Bross, a friend and neighbor.
Strangely, it sounds as if he succeeded. He revived a bee. The snake however was less appreciative and bit him.
While he's in Intensive Care, I sincerely hope someone's feeding his cat.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Authorities swept up more than a dozen reputed members and associates of the Genovese crime family this morning, capping a four-year investigation of mob operations in New Jersey.
Don't know about you folks, but I am not especially proud to have New Jersey known for The Sopranos, and I never found mobsters to be glamorous people. From all accounts, they are just thugs and low-lifes, people who would rather steal than work at an honest job, scammers with no conscience or ethics who look for the easy buck and don't care how they get it or who gets hurt. So good on the feds. I hope they get the convictions, too. If they could round up all the organized crime clowns and get legitimate convictions they would certainly have my blessings and approval. Of course, they have to be legitimate arrests and convictions, and that isn't always something I take at face value.
Actual quotes taken from Federal Government employee performance evaluations.
1. "Since my last report, this employee has reached rock-bottom and has started to dig."
2. "I would not allow this employee to breed."
3. "This employee is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definite won't be."
4. "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."
5. "When she opens her mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."
6. "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."
7. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."
8. "This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."
9. "This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts the better."
10. "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together."
11. "A gross ignoramus -- 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."
12. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."
13. "He's been working with glue too much."
14. "He would argue with a signpost."
15. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."
16. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."
17. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one."
18. "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."
19. "A prime candidate for natural de-selection."
20. "Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."
21. "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming."
22. "He's got two brains cells, one is lost and the other is out looking for it."
23. "If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week."
24. "If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."
25. "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."
26. "It's hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm."
27. "One neuron short of a synapse."
28. "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."
29. "Takes him 2 hours to watch '60-minutes'."
30. "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead."
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Surely the comic highlight of President George W. Bush's mountain bike ride with seven journalists at his ranch this weekend occurred when USA Today writer Sal Ruibal stopped at a tree and urinated.Is it just me? I think I have a pretty good sense of humor, but I can’t figure out how that’s supposed to be funny. If that was the “comic highlight” of the day, them’s some pretty slim pickins.
"Ruibal, don't worry,” the president said, maintaining his “regular guy” demeanor. “The last one that peed there was a cow."
All this ho-ho, ain’t-the-preznit-a-fun-guy jollity is reported under the annoying headline, “Bike Riding With Bush Gives White House Reporters New Perspective on President,” the kind of story which I honestly cannot believe is still being written on this jagoff trust-funder playing cowboy. That’s so not a new perspective, that the suggestion is laughable. The only thing that kept me from vomiting was the snickering that ensued when I applied the headline to the following paragraph:
According to participants, Bush had opened his latest 17-mile, two-hour, trek with what comedian Bill Maher might call “New Rules”-- principally that no one would be allowed to pass him on the trail.Yeah, I guess having to stare at the president’s ass for two hours is technically getting a “new perspective.”
It’s simply amazing to me that a story reporting an edict which would remind even the most lackluster student of history of the command of a king forbidding any head to be higher than his own, can also reference the president’s alleged “regular guy” demeanor. You know, Mr. Shakes used to mountain bike regularly in the Highlands with his friends, and I can only imagine how well it would have gone over if one of those “regular guys” had turned to the others and said, “Right, no one passes me today.” Any git who had the temerity to say something like that would have been promptly thumped—because regular guys don’t act like that. That Bush is anything but an overindulged, overgrown brat is one of the greatest fallacies of my lifetime.
And by the way, how many “regular guys” make a point of commenting on each other’s urinations?
“Good stream there, Joe!”
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
(Crossposted at Shakespeare’s Sister.)
Those who believe in the adage "when it rains, it pours" might take the tale of the plaintiffs in Kelo v. New London as a cue to buy two of every animal and a load of wood from Home Depot. The U.S. Supreme Court recently found that the city's original seizure of private property was constitutional under the principal of eminent domain, and now New London is claiming that the affected homeowners were living on city land for the duration of the lawsuit and owe back rent. It's a new definition of chutzpah: Confiscate land and charge back rent for the years the owners fought confiscation.If ever there was an example of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory, this is it. The backlash from this PR debacle is bound to be quick, widespread, and negative.
In some cases, their debt could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moreover, the homeowners are being offered buyouts based on the market rate as it was in 2000 .
As it should be.
Kids live alone for days on corn dogs, cold cuts, after mom dies.And now, since it immediately depressed me, I figured I'd just depress the hell out of all of you too. Share the depression. Misery loves company, I always say. I was going to give it one more try and search on "fluffy kittens" but I'm sure the first story lede would include the phrase, "drowned in the river in a sack" or something very close to that.
Two young children lived alone for up to three days eating only frozen corn dogs and lunch meat after their mother died, according to police. Neighbors called police to the Tacoma, Wash., home over the weekend after seeing a 2-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl in dirty clothes at their house. Officers found the boy inside the home crying and the girl upstairs.
The girl directed police to her mother's bedroom where officers found the woman dead under the covers. The woman apparently died of natural causes. Authorities believe the woman had been dead since Wednesday or Thursday. Her 4-year-old had covered her up with a blanket.
I'm swearing off corn dogs for the rest of the year. You've got my word on it.
But that's also a fine basis for satire, and what do we love more than a good laugh at the expense of macho drama queens? I suspect that in a few years, many of us will look back at the Bush Presidency, slap our foreheads and ask ourselves what we were thinking.
...if we aren't already. Cindy Sheehan's backstory is no laughing matter, but that a woman, a lawn chair and a floppy hat have put GW's back up against a wall is hilarious. And I can't say enough about it.
One night, George W. Bush is tossing restlessly in his White House bed when he awakens to see George Washington standing by him. Bush asks him, "George, what's the best thing I can do to help the country?"
"Set an honest and honorable example, just as I did," Washington advises, and then fades away.
The next night, Bush is again having trouble sleeping when he sees the ghost of Thomas Jefferson moving through the darkened bedroom. Bush calls out, "Tom, wait! Tell me, what's the best thing I can do to help the country?"
"Respect the Constitution, as I did," Jefferson advises, and fades away.
For a third night Bush can't sleep. He opens his eyes to see the ghost of FDR hovering over his bed. Bush says, "Franklin, what's the best thing I can do to help the country?"
"Help the less fortunate, just as I did," FDR replies and fades away.
On the fourth night, Bush isn't sleeping well again when he sees the ghost of Abrhama Lincoln moving in the shadows.
Bush calls to him, "Abe, what is the best thing I can do right now to help the country?"
Lincoln says, "Go see a play..."
Monday, August 15, 2005
Much of life is a series of I.Q. tests interrupted by frequent whacks to the back of one's head for some incomparably stupid action. Yesterday the weather was sunny, so I tooled around town in my convertible with the top down. It was a lovely hour in which I was happy to be alive. Then, because I was distracted by shiny objects, I put the roof up but neglected to lock it down and last night it rained. This morning, I felt pretty stupid but hey, humans are stupid, and nobody was hurt by my foolishness.
Any acknowledgement that people are stupid does not give people in power license to mull stuff over, consult the lawyers and revise the rules we live by to enable greater stupidity. We count on our government to meddle in our lives on the side of safety, so it's a little shocking to read that perhaps the TSA might loosen its tie after dinner and try this. It was always dumb to confiscate nail scissors and clippers. Can we admit to that? I hope so. That's sensible. When we're discussing bows and arrows, I'd like to remind you: much of life is a series of I.Q. tests, interrupted by frequent whacks to the back of one's head for some incomparably stupid action.
I don't mind mussing up my coif, but I would mind the mark this silliness could leave.
What's this all about?
SOME DAY IN THE NEAR FUTURE, A LOVING AND LOYAL DOG WILL KILL ITS OWNER, AND EVERYONE WILL WONDER WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENED
What happened was, the dog suddenly realized that it was being forced to carry around its own poop.
Poopsadaisy for dogs: This fashion-crafted pack slips easily on and off over your dog's collar before and after walks. The PoopsadaisyÂs patented two-pocket design safely holds the dog's 'business' and is designed to carry essential dog waste bags to pick up the load! Special features include dog bone closure and fire hydrant. Made of 100% nylon. Washable and durable. Available in red or blue.I often see people making their dogs wearridiculoussscarvess. Sometimes I suppose I can understand boots or a little sweater for small, easily chilled dogs in cold weather, but this isridiculouss. If you can walk the dog, you can clean up after it and carry a small, opaque baggy around for a bit. And a "dog bone closure" is on the thing???
That's really nice. "Here, Spot. Here's a nice bone for you. But instead of giving it to you to eat, I'll zip it up in this pouch and tie it around your neck where you can smell it only inches away but not get to it."
Looks like a dog bites man story in the making, if you ask me. Which of course you haven't. But I'm the one writing the blog this week (along with others) and you're not, so you're pretty well stuck with it anyway.
But I digress. Of course, we're actually here today to talk about Andy Rooney. Isn't it about time that this old fossil got himself a metal detector and retired to a nice beach someplace? Don't get me wrong. I used to love Rooney's writing. I even purchased several of his books. His homespun wisdom and humor was often a nice break from thebrouhahaa of politics and international events. But come on, already, CBS. He's getting a bit long in the tooth and his recent columns are getting less coherent than Larry King.
Give it a rest, already.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
When I was younger, my parents picked one night a week, usually Friday night, where we would go out for dinner to such places as "The Pink Crab" or "The Striped Junk Shop" or "Piece of Mutt"- these are of course what my father called them. In reality, they were Red Lobster, TGI Friday's, and Pizza Hut. You are welcome to blame him for my sense of humor. We weren't allowed to have sugar on a regular basis as children, so the one glass of soda we had for dinner certainly affected our metabolism. Sugar + caffeine = hyper happy kids. To top off our evening, we would stop at a local ice cream parlor like The Tiffany Shoppe for something with ice cream in it. If we were really good, we got to share a Tiffany Tanker- 8 scoops of ice cream plus three toppings, whipped cream, and 3 cherries. Well, the first time we had it, there was only one cherry, and I scooped it up immediately to the annoyance of my siblings, for which they won't forgive me. My dad's favorite was a float made of peppermint ice cream and Mountain Dew. I repeat, y'all are welcome to blame him for my sense of humor.
Last night with the power outtage, Jazz and I decided to go out for ice cream. Jazz has been fond of hot fudge sundaes for years. We used to walk down to the ice cream shop on the corner, but since it relocated slightly to be under the same roof as the pizza joint, it has lost much in supplies and service, so we don't bother with it any more. We drove to the bastion of our Sunday breakfast, Friendly's, and had our ice cream there. On a Saturday evening, of course they were packed, but we managed to get a table anyway. I had to compare this evening with the evenings of my youth. I never remembered there ever being that much variety in how to eat ice cream or flavors. They didn't have bubblegum flavor, but they did have cotton candy, so they are still exploring options. I miss lime sherbert, which seems to have been replaced with Watermelon and Pink Lemonade. Coffee-flavoring seems to be much more popular, and I blame Starbucks for that (she says, drinking her coffee-flavored milk). I don't remember anything being coffee-flavor except coffee when I was young. I enjoyed a classic root beer float while pondering how the server would react if I asked for Mountain Dew with peppermint ice cream, but I am not sure now if either were even on the menu.
I also don't remember all of the noisy kids in the restaurant. I certainly ate in many a Friendly's in my dating years- it's a step above McDonalds when taking a date out for dinner, but not a breaking of the pocketbook. And I don't remember them as a child- but I probably was one. I am glad we went out last night. The restaurant was cool, and it gave us more to talk about than what we were reading. It was nice to sit across from a cute guy and blow bubbles through a straw like I used to. That and a real hot fudge sundae are just things you can't get at home.
Before you become concerned, no... that's not my house. But the guy lives about a mile from me. Yep. There I was, minding my own business. (Don't all incredible stories start that way?) I had decided to relax and watch a little bit of the PGA Championship third round. Suddenly, the feed cuts away to a blue screen and the loud, obnoxious buzzing sound floods the room. It's a National Weather Service alert. (Please tune to channel four for details.) I obediently flip the channel, being the good little civic defender I am, and they give me an ear full.
Apparently there is a "Dangerous Thunderstorm Warning" being issued, which "may result in heavy rain, quarter sized hail, and damaging winds gusting up to 70 mph." There was no specific mention of Vikings invading the village, nor warnings to take the womenfolk and cattle to the hills, but it wasn't hard to imagine. The thing about these warnings these days is how frighteningly precise they have gotten. They were listing not just the counties, nor the townships where the storm was located and where it was expected to go, but rather the specific neighborhoods and the times it was expected to arrive, broken down into five minute segments.
I looked at the warning and at my clock. If they were right, I had about eight minutes before the storm hit my area. Rather than taking any chances, I powered down the computers, refilled my coffee mug, and walked out onto my front porch to "take in the show." (I've always been fascinated by storms.)
Checking my watch, it was precisely nine minutes later when the first drops of rain began to fall and the wind started to kick up from the West. Within moments it was upon us. Smaller trees on the street were bending over like the Queen herself was passing by. In short order, the rain began to mix with hail. At first the hail stones were quite small, but being pushed on by a wind which I could easily believe was at sixty or seventy miles an hour, they looked lethal. The fact that my front porch faces East is the only reason I could stand outside to observe, but even then the wind coming between houses was doing some nasty, gusty gymnastics, and the odd hailstone was still bouncing in onto the porch with me. Lighting bolts lit up the cloudy sky almost without a break, and booming thunder literally shook the ground.
The hail got larger. It never reached literal "golf ball size", for which I'm thankful, but some of those ice rocks were definitely 3/4 of an inch across. Had you walked out in it, you would have taken a serious beating. I began to fear for the windows in the house.
Then, as suddenly as it began, it was gone. The hail turned back to rain, which slowed to a drizzle. The thunderous winds died down to a mild breeze. The thunderbolts moved off to the East, echoing in the hills. Oddly, through all of this, we never lost power for more than a few seconds. However, the fire sirens told me that there was wind damage around town. Returning inside and powering up the computers, I got what I expected. Roadrunner was offline - no cable phone, no television, and no internet access. We got cable back a few hours later, but the internet access was gone until after I went to bed. This morning, all seems to be well.
Ah, the wonders of nature, baby! A storm like that only gives us a direct hit a few times a year, and it still thrills me to see. Now to go begin dragging part of my neighbor's tree out of my back yard and chopping it up. Happy Sunday, everyone.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Party at Tami's place, and Tami's not home!Who could pass up an invitation like that? I can't, of course, so I figured I'd grab a bottle of Kentucky's finest and head on over. It's always fun to spend time at someone else's place - I just hope she has a comfortable couch.
To be just a wee bit more serious, I should note that Jazz and Tami were probably the first two writers to notice my efforts when I hung out my shingle, so it's a special thrill to have the opportunity to join Jazz while Tami's playing hooky. Being the shy type that I am, though, I'll probably just stand over here in the corner for a bit, but you can expect me to join the conversation in short order. Until then, enjoy the bourbon, and if you get hungry you may want to try one of these tasty Hot Brown sandwiches.
I've been granted the awesome power of Admin over Tami's blog during her absence, as she left in such a rush that she couldn't take care of some last minute items. It took me a full day to get over here and get started, for which I apologize. But I've now invited a few other bloggers to join me once again, so... let us entertain you.
The last thing she told me before she left was that I had free run of the place except I shouldn't change the design. So, stop back later this weekend to check out the new design, featuring naked pictures of Paris Hilton in both side borders.
I look forward to another fun filled week of blogging here, but if you get bored and I'm not grinding out enough content for you, be sure to stop by Running Scared, (my home blog where Tami is also an author) for more banal blathering.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
I've left Jazz in charge, and I've given him the keys to the liquor cabinet. This means that he can invite anybody else to the party that he wants, or no one at all. Will he share? Will anyone want to share with him, if he asks? We'll have to wait to find out.
Everyone have a wonderful week.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Holy cow, does this recipe for roasted broccoli salad sound good to me.
Following that whim of clicking on the "Carnival of the Recipes" link really paid off!
Maybe, if you know someone very well, if you've shared experiences with them, joy and pain alike, you can have a pretty good idea what they're reaction to something would be, even if they're no longer with us. If your only exposure to someone is through newspaper articles and interviews, you don't know that guy, stop trying to act as if you do.
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
If you believe that your war is right, and that the kind of patriotism that takes a life is tragic but necessary, you tell her those things. You're Commander in Chief, and she's a grieving citizen of the country you lead. Talk to her.
If you ignore her, or fob her off, or have security threaten to have her arrested, you look like you don't believe in your own cause. You look like a chicken-hearted coward afraid of facing someone who is in pain as a result of an action that you are ultimately responsible for. It's not a good impression to make.
Monday, August 8, 2005
Friday, August 5, 2005
Well Barry, yes.
Perhaps my example is not person - specific, but it's certainly something that I identify strongly with. I'm Jewish, and I was raised in such a way that it forms a central part of my identity. No, I'm not religious, but I know deep down that I belong to a certain group. My parents instilled this sense of identity in me, and I think that it's a common thing. Parents want their children to be proud of their heritage, and they want them, if necessary, to understand that others might believe that their beliefs are something to look down on and ridicule. I was taught that sometimes people are afraid of anything different, and lies are told to keep the fear alive. I was also taught that the right thing to do was to respect other people, and to hold human life as the most valuable commodity of all. I learned to be wary, and to try not to judge, even though that's very hard, and I don't always manage it.
This morning, a Jewish militant went on a killing rampage in an Arab town in Israel. This is a terrible crime. All Jews are supposed to be taught that we value human life above all else, it's written down and everything. An excellent article I've recently read about the Preservation of life in the Jewish faith gives a good insight into just how far Jewish law states that people should go to preserve life; taking it is almost unthinkable. That article, by the way, is an excellent insight into my views on abortion as well. You can see directly what I was taught, and I've always found the rules specific, and reasonable.
So, knowing that I value human life above all else, know that I find the actions of this angry, mislead, militant beyond the pale. I find them as abhorrent as the actions of Jonathan Zarate the other day. Life is what we're supposed to protect, not destroy. Killing to save a life is the only kind of killing I can understand, and I'm not at all sure that I personally would be able to do it. Probably, I mean, I'm a pretty angry chick, so if I see that you're going to kill me, or someone else, I'd probably have to take you out, but still, I'm not sure.
Damn, lost the point again. Oh, right - killing is wrong, wrong, wrong. It's wrong if you're an 18-year-old who's had an argument and it's wrong if you live every day in a hot climate with very little water where you know that millions of Arabs want you and your people off of your land. Personal vendettas hurt causes, not help them. Being Jewish does not justify the actions of this boy in my mind. I don't pardon him because he's "on my side". My heart goes out to the families of the Israeli Arabs who were killed, because grief is universal.
Thursday, August 4, 2005
Corzine Gave $470,000 Loan to Head of Union
TRENTON, Aug. 3 - Senator Jon S. Corzine provided a $470,000 mortgage to the president of a union that represents thousands of New Jersey state employees in late 2002, then forgave the debt two years later.So, a man gave a present - a very large monetary present, to his recent ex-girlfriend. A rich man. And this is a surprise, why? Because the woman has an important job?
The union president, Carla Katz, was Mr. Corzine's girlfriend at the time. The senator said on Wednesday that an investment company he owns gave her the mortgage, then canceled it in December 2004, several months after they had stopped dating.
The loan was not illegal, and Mr. Corzine said he took care of the required gift tax on the money he ended up giving to Ms. Katz.Right. So, to recap - a rich man gave an awful lot of money to an attractive woman, and now someone is reporting on it because a labor union is endorsing a democrat.
Why did I bother even writing this?
Wednesday, August 3, 2005
No rocket fire before pullout - Islamic Jihad
Don't let the titillating title distract you, it's about bombs.
GAZA (Reuters) - Islamic Jihad announced on Wednesday it was halting its rocket attacks against Israel, after a rocket fired toward an Israeli town fell short and killed a 6-year-old Palestinian boy in the northern Gaza Strip.Of course, of course - you didn't fire this rocket, someone else near you has that kind of capability.
The Palestinian militant group denied it was one of its rockets that killed Yasser al-Ashqar. It said it took the decision to suspend the attacks several days ago in order to ensure Israel's planned pullout from the occupied territory proceeds without disruption.
I don't believe them, can you tell? Still, chicken-hearted liars or not, I'm glad they say that they're going to stop firing rockets during a cease fire.
I'm glad they say it, but I find that I don't actually believe them. When do you think this world will produce something for me that I can believe? I am sincerely tired of being proven a gullible idiot time after painful time. There's no one out there telling us the truth, no one.
Tuesday, August 2, 2005
WITH BODY IN SUV, SUSPECT PARTIED
Know how I'm all in favor of not using the death penalty in crimes committed by minors? Well, 18 is no longer a minor. How in the world is it possible to not have any mechanism in your personality at all that would stop you from committing this kind of crime? What thought process happens that tells you that cutting the body up to fit it in a steamer trunk is a good idea? You see that kind of scenario in the movies all the time, but even in the movies they give them motive. Killers in the movies want money, or power, or fear someone else's power over them. Perhaps they're insane, driven over the edge by an abusive mother or father.
During questioning Sunday, Zarate told police he killed Parks during an argument, according to court documents."During an argument"? Just telling her to get out of his house wasn't enough? The article goes on to describe further unbelievably violent acts committed by Zarate. After doing things that are so heinous that it's stunning to think that anyone ever crosses the line and does them, this guy then decides that he'll go to a party before getting rid of the body. Oh, and he'll recruit at least one minor, possibly two to help him out with that.
This is when I'm in favor of using the death penalty. This guy doesn't know how to behave like a member of the human race.