Thursday, October 28, 2004

Eminem and the Christian Right

Eminem has a new video out. Just so you know, I'm not what you would call an Eminem fan. I don't hate him like some people, and I'm not into rap music, but I did like 8 Mile and I've liked at least one of his songs over the years, but this video is unbelievably powerful. I damn near cried while watching it. Even moby, whom we all know has had issues over the years with the Detroit homeboy, has come out in support of this video and said, "is the best thing that i've seen all year. it's an amazing song and an even more amazing video."

I found this to be an interesting story by Glenn Scherer. I got it from Grist Magazine and his theory of why, perhaps, "politicians endorsed by far-right fundamentalist Christian groups are remarkably consistent in voting against environmental protections. Why would that be? Perhaps because they believe, as Reagan-era Interior Secretary James Watt once put it, 'After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.' In other words, environmental destruction merely serves as a harbinger of the End Times, when righteous Christians will be lifted to heaven. These views are not held just by a few fringe types, but by a large and influential voting bloc that backs more than 40 percent of the members of Congress, including much of its leadership."

Well, I've been put in charge of gathering different reports, so I guess I better figure out what the hell I have sitting in these stupid piles on my desk!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Champ Cars Down Under

I can't believe I didn't bore you to tears yesterday with a lap-by-lap account of the Champ Car race on Sunday! I must have been suffering from a brain fart!!! It was the penultimate race of the season and took place at Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. It's a dream of mine to win the lottery and attend this race. I could probably afford it if I gave up all my other races of the year, but I'm just not willing to give up five races for one.

One more race and then we're done with Spike TV and their set schedule of Sundays at 4:00 p.m. Sure, it's nice, in a way, always to know when the race will be on, but it sucks not getting it live! And I'm sorry, but if the bloody thing is tape-delayed, is there a reason they had to go to a commercial when they knew a yellow flag was coming out? So, as usual, we get back from commercial and the cars are circling slowly behind the pace car while the announce team babbled about God knows what. They certainly didn't feel the need to tell us why the freaking yellow was out! Come on, kids, I know you're doing full coverage for the HDNet lucky fuckers, and they probably knew why the yellow came out since they don't go to commercials, but the majority of your fans are stuck watching it tape-delayed on Spike. Tell us what happened while we were busily being force-fed those fucking annoying Bridgestone commercials (the wheel goes round – Dear God, I'd rather suffer through the Goodyear commercials, not that I remember their jingle, but it can't possibly be as annoying).

The race itself was interesting. I didn't know until the very end who was going to win, which is always nice. Well the end meaning when the yellow flag came out with five laps left because the Forsythe team thought it would be okay to leave a loose front wing on Patrick Carpentier's car and it came off on the straightaway (as they are wont to do) and went flying into the air while his car slammed into the outside wall and slide along to the run-off area and came to a rest right in front of the Safety Team after hitting the inside wall. We do have the best Safety Team in the business, so I wasn't as worried as I could have been. Turns out that Patrick was unconscious for fifteen seconds and spent the night in the hospital for "observation." But he's fine and should be cleared to race the last race in Mexico City on November 7. I so hope he doesn't go to the IRL. He's a good ambassador for the sport – always smiling and friendly with the fans.

Gerry Forsythe – Do what you need to do, but KEEP PATRICK in Champ Car! He does not belong in the IRL!!!!!! Spend a little money. Sell an alpaca or two, if you need to, but keep Patrick!!!!! Please?

Oh yeah, back to the race. The Championship is down to the two Newman/Haas teammates, Sebastian Bourdais, affectionately known as Sea Bass, and Bruno Junqueira, somewhat affectionately known as Junky. Pretty much all Sea Bass has to do is keep his nose clean and he will win the Championship in Mexico City. This past weekend though all he had to do was gain seven points on Bruno and he would have wrapped it up at Surfer's Paradise.

I was torn. I want Sebastian to win the Championship, but I also love it when the Championship isn't decided until the last race (you know, unlike Formula 1 where Michael Schumacher had it wrapped up months ago). Bruno ended up winning with Sebastian in 2nd So, now it goes down to November 7 in Mexico and unless Sebastian suffers from a severe brain cramp, he's the Champ Car World Series Champion for 2004. And that's something I can get behind!


RIP John Peel

Very sad news in the music world today. John Peel of the Peel Sessions died in Peru while vacationing with his wife. He will be sorely missed. I personally loved him just because he was the driving force that got so many of my favorite 80s era bands on the radio, specifically Joy Division. Go here to read a lovely article about him which includes a nice couple of paragraphs about Joy Division and a comment from Bernard.

Julie linked to this article yesterday and I thought it was completely ridiculous that the guy from the Christian-based Focus on the Family thinks people should have children because it's a character-building experience. It probably is, but some people just should not be having children and are just because society expects it. He also said, "These are the people creating social security benefits for us when we get old. If the childless movement grows, who will pay for our social security?” EXCUSE ME???? And people think people who don't want children are selfish? Isn't that an extremely selfish reason to have children? I personally don't want children and have never wanted children. I knew when I was 12 that I didn't want kids, and now that I'm 40, I'm pretty sure I can accomplish this goal. And no, I don't hate kids at all. I love kids, I love babies, but I like loving them, playing with them, spoiling them rotten and then returning them to their parents sugar-crazed while I go home to my nice, mostly quiet, cats.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Another Republican for Kerry (or against Bush)

A "Thank You" to Moby.

'Frightened to death' of Bush
By Marlow W. Cook
Special to The Courier-Journal

I shall cast my vote for John Kerry come Nov 2. I have been, and will continue to be, a Republican. But when we as a party send the wrong person to the White House, then it is our responsibility to send him home if our nation suffers as a result of his actions. I fall in the category of good conservative thinkers, like George F. Will, for instance, who wrote: "This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and having thought, to have second thoughts."

I say, well done George Will, or, even better, from the mouth of the numero uno of conservatives, William F. Buckley Jr.: "If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."

First, let's talk about George Bush's moral standards. In 2000, to defeat Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — a man who was shot down in Vietnam and imprisoned for over five years — they used Carl Rove's "East Texas special." They started the rumor that he was gay, saying he had spent too much time in the Hanoi Hilton. They said he was crazy. They said his wife was on drugs. Then, to top it off, they spread pictures of his adopted daughter, who was born in Bangladesh and thus dark skinned, to the sons and daughters of the Confederacy in rural South Carolina.

To show he was not just picking on Republicans, he went after Sen. Max Cleland from Georgia, a Democrat seeking re-election. Bush henchmen said he wasn't patriotic because Cleland did not agree 100 percent on how to handle homeland security. They published his picture along with Cuba's Castro, questioning Cleland's patriotism and commitment to America's security. Never mind that his Republican challenger was a Vietnam deferment case and Cleland, who had served in Vietnam, came home in a wheel chair having lost three limbs fighting for his country. Anyone who wants to win an election and control of the legislative body that badly has no moral character at all.

We know his father got him in the Texas Air National Guard so he would not have to go to Vietnam. The religious right can have him with those moral standards. We also have Vice President Dick Cheney, who deferred his way out of Vietnam because, as he says, he "had more important things to do."

I have just turned 78. During my lifetime, we have sent 31,377,741 Americans to war, not including whatever will be the final figures for the Iraq fiasco. Of those, 502,722 died and 928,980 came home without legs, arms or what have you.

Those wars were to defend freedom throughout the free world from communism, dictators and tyrants. Now Americans are the aggressors — we start the wars, we blow up all the infrastructure in those countries, and then turn around and spend tax dollars denying our nation an excellent education system, medical and drug programs, and the list goes on. ...

I hope you all have noticed the Bush administration's style in the campaign so far. All negative, trashing Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards and Democrats in general. Not once have they said what they have done right, what they have done wrong or what they have not done at all.

Lyndon Johnson said America could have guns and butter at the same time. This administration says you can have guns, butter and no taxes at the same time. God help us if we are not smart enough to know that is wrong, and we live by it to our peril. We in this nation have a serious problem. It's almost worse than terrorism: We are broke. Our government is borrowing a billion dollars a day. They are now borrowing from the government pension program, for apparently they have gotten as much out of the Social Security Trust as it can take. Our House and Senate announce weekly grants for every kind of favorite local programs to save legislative seats, and it's all borrowed money.

If you listened to the President confirming the value of our war with Iraq, you heard him say, "If no weapons of mass destruction were found, at least we know we have stopped his future distribution of same to terrorists." If that is his justification, then, if he is re elected our next war will be against Iran and at the same time North Korea, for indeed they have weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, which they have readily admitted. Those wars will require a draft of men and women. ...

I am not enamored with John Kerry, but I am frightened to death of George Bush. I fear a secret government. I abhor a government that refuses to supply the Congress with requested information. I am against a government that refuses to tell the country with whom the leaders of our country sat down and determined our energy policy, and to prove how much they want to keep that secret, they took it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Those of you who are fiscal conservatives and abhor our staggering debt, tell your conservative friends, "Vote for Kerry," because without Bush to control the Congress, the first thing lawmakers will demand Kerry do is balance the budget.

The wonderful thing about this country is its gift of citizenship, then it's freedom to register as one sees fit. For me, as a Republican, I feel that when my party gives me a dangerous leader who flouts the truth, takes the country into an undeclared war and then adds a war on terrorism to it without debate by the Congress, we have a duty to rid ourselves of those who are taking our country on a perilous ride in the wrong direction.

If we are indeed the party of Lincoln (I paraphrase his words), a president who deems to have the right to declare war at will without the consent of the Congress is a president who far exceeds his power under our Constitution.

I will take John Kerry for four years to put our country on the right path.

The writer, a Republican formerly of Louisville, was Jefferson County judge from 1962-1968 and U.S. senator from Kentucky from 1968-1975.

My oh so exciting weekend!

I had a nice weekend, for the most part. Friday I did not get to the post office as I had not finished the baby blanket, so I stayed home until it was time to pick up Suzy for the symphony and knitted away. I thought I was closer than I was, but then I measured it and had a good five inches to go. I have no clue why I thought I was done.

The symphony was quite educational. We got there in enough time to hear Charles Greenwell talk about the pieces we were going to hear. I find that really does help the enjoyment of the music, especially when listening to something you don't know. The first two pieces were by Charles Ives. I had quite by chance bought a CD of his music a few months back, so I grabbed it on the way out of the house, so it wouldn't be completely unfamiliar. Luckily it contained the two pieces we were going to hear. Along with the two Ives' pieces, we were also getting a Clarinet Concerto by Aaron Copland, all before the intermission, and then Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 which was quite lovely.

We did have dinner at the Traffic Jam & Snug beforehand. I had the Broccoli and White Cheddar soup (YUM) and the Parisian Goat Salad (also yummy). We did not have dessert which is sad because they have the most fantastic desserts, but if I'm ever going to lose weight I have to stop eating dessert. *sigh*

Saturday was all about yarn and knitting, which was a good thing since the weather was so unbelievably shitty. I picked Martina and Elaine up on campus at 9:35 and took them to Julie's. Julie gets car sick so she likes to do the driving. Suzy showed up and we piled into the bright red Saturn Vue for our trek to the world's greatest yarn store, Threadbear Fiber Arts Studio in Lansing. This is the one that Julie and I had visited a month or so ago. We had told the Twisted Sisters Knitting Club all about it and then I decided we needed to make another trip as they were having a Philosopher's Wool trunk show on Saturday. Soyon couldn't make it as she had to go to Chicago for her nephew's first b-day. We are going to talk up the yarn store at the next knitting club get together and make her even more jealous that she's now missed two trips. I'm telling you, she's going to go bankrupt there!!! ;-)

I broke down and got some of the baby alpaca that Julie got the first trip. It's just so soft!!!! Mine is blue/dark grey and just gorgeous! I also got a bunch of different yarns to go with this cream mohair that Martina gave me because she didn't like working with it. I have four balls of it and was trying to find one yarn that went with it, but then one of the women who works there convinced me that I could do four different scarves, so then I had to find four different yarns that would go with it. It was a chore, let me tell you. ;-) NOT! After we checked out, we went next door for some sustenance, realised that we had missed the trunk show and since that was ostensibly the reason for the trip, we headed back. Elaine bought one of the kits, Julie bought another book (there's a sweater pattern in it that Suzy wants to make in the future) and I bought a pattern for a shawl. I think the guys love us as we bring them business! They'll really love us once we get Soyon there!

When we got back to Detroit we dropped off Martina and Elaine on campus and after a brief stop at Julie's we headed out to Jo-Ann, Etc. because Suzy needed needles. I returned some ugly-ass yarn I had bought before and then bought more yarn (just two skeins), some needles for me and my favorite plastic kids needles for my sister. Then it was back to Julie's for pizza and an evening of knitting. I finished the baby blanket (which I had been working on in the car the whole way to and from Lansing) and then Julie showed me how to crochet the reverse crab stitch to finish it. Whew! It's in a box ready to mail off.

The Detroit Free Press Marathon was run on Sunday morning and since my sister was running in it and wanted me down there to cheer her on, I got up at my usual time, but instead of heading to church I went downtown to watch insane people running 26.2 miles. I am telling you watching a marathon is really no endorsement running one. They all look like hell as they're coming in, crying, grimacing in pain, limping, looks of anguish on their face. I'm telling you, no way in hell, kids!!! And then the aftereffects? My sister had a blister on her second toe which was literally the size of the toe!!!!! And she had another on her big toe. And she normally loses the nail from the big toe as well as hobbling around for a couple of days afterward. I just don't get it. Oh, and it took forever for her to come out after she finished because she was about to pass out, while her friend was busy throwing up. Hell, I saw a guy throw up in front of me less than a mile from the finish line. It was completely disgusting. It was all I could do not to puke and to put the image out of my head. Thank God I hadn't eaten yet that morning or I would have been in big trouble!!!

I was completely lucky and as I walked up to the corner of Woodward and Montcalm, in front of Hockeytown, I saw her round the corner. Talk about timing!!! I yelled, Go Meg! She heard me, but couldn't see me, even though I was waving my gloves over peoples' heads. I found Mom and we stood near the finish line (where I saw the guy puking) waiting for Meg. Even though we were only two feet from her and were yelling Go Meg! Good job! She didn't hear us at all. Said she had tunnel vision.

After standing on cold concrete for damn near four hours, my feet, legs, and knees were killing me! On the way home I stopped at Target and bought a new heating pad, a heat in the microwave heating pad dealie, a 200-ct bottle of Aleve, and saline solution. The woman in front of me in the line said, "You wear contacts?" Um, were the four bottles of saline your first clue? If she had been a real detective, she would have picked up on the pain issue too! I wish I had the knee one with me today as it's making me aware of its presence.

I just had a phone call from the Kerry campaign. I have signed up to do my part. I'm going to the office in Redford on Sunday at noon (after church) to do what they need me to do. I will NOT be canvassing neighbourhoods as that is so not my scene. I'll leave that to Mark Maynard. I'm hoping for some office work as that is what I do best. I might be okay making phone calls as long as it's to registered Democrats and just making sure they're going to be voting on Tuesday. BTW, go read him, he quotes a Conservative magazine about why they are NOT supporting Bush in this election. A must read especially for Republicans.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Badass Mood and Boston kicks the Yankees' collective asses!

I'm in a piss-poor mood this morning, so be prepared. No, I was NOT in a bad mood yesterday. I just hate stupid fucking people. That's entirely different.

I’m in a "I'm fat, ugly and unloveable mood" today. Hmm, wish I had The Smiths Louder than Bombs CD here so I could listen to Unloveable. I think I'll need to drag that CD out. I should give PlanetUron a break. Then again, I listened to my new Ministry CD yesterday for ten straight hours. I was dancing in my seat all day and I didn't care who saw me. And on Monday I listened to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Gotta love Bowie!

I was a complete lame-ass last night. I didn't go to the bowling alley to see my cousin because I was tired and cranky. In fact, I went to bed at 8:00 p.m.! It's really amazing to me how tired pain can make a person. My stupid knee was just killing me yesterday. I would be walking along, no pain and all of a sudden it would flare-up and it fucking hurt! I called my doctor but the receptionist was swamped and never called me back.

I just want some holistic/homeopathic remedies for arthritis pain. I don't trust pharmaceutical companies since they seem to be paying off the FDA to get drugs approved w/o proper testing (see: Vioxx), so I don't want a prescription for some arthritis medicine. My friend Paula suggested that I take fish oil, but being a vegetarian I'm inclined to find a different route first. So, if you have any ideas, please let me know! I'm tired of my fucking knee hurting!

I only knitted about 3 rows on the baby blanket last night. How lame could I be??? I got on-line and played lame Yahoo Games and talked to a friend in Yahoo messenger. It was someone I hadn't talked to in AGES, so it was nice to catch up with him and to see that he hadn't changed at all. Then I spent a little time at They're already talking about going to Long Beach which isn't until March or April. So I got all jealous because I want to go to Long Beach, dammit!!!

The weekend is looking to be a good one though. I have lunch plans tomorrow with Malcolm whom I haven't seen in forever! He moved into the Dearborn Apartments in July or August of 1996, right across the hall from me. I then moved to SF in September of 1996. I had a crush on him, but I got over it, which is a good thing because I don't think he was ever interested in me (you know, like most men). I think the thing that interested me the most was his 1967 MGB. *sigh* It was such a cute car. Actually, he still has it, so it still is a cute little car! He said he has four British sports cars now but didn't tell me what they were. I know he had a Triumph in pieces in his apt., so I'm assuming that's one of them. Well, lunch plans have changed. I just got an e-mail from him saying he can't make it. We'll try again next week.

Tomorrow night is the DSO with Suzy. They're playing some lovely Beethoven. You can't go wrong with Beethoven, in my book. I have to talk to Suzy, but I think we're having dinner first at my favorite restaurant or Union Street. Oooh, or there's Agave. YUM! So many good restaurant choices in Downtown Detroit!!! I do know that we will NOT be eating at the Majestic Café as it pretty much sucks. Don't believe the hype on their website. I haven't had a good meal there since it changed its name. And I know Suzy ate there this past summer and I believe I heard the words "moldy pita bread" were used to describe part of the dinner which I'm thinking isn't all that appetizing or yummy.

I was checking out the shows that will be playing at the Majestic Theatre (where Houdini performed his last show before dying in a Detroit hospital) and saw that Laibach is coming…but the same freaking night as the Skinny Puppy show at the State. Dammit!!!! And knowing me, I won't find anybody who wants to go to either show (without making me go to the Pixies with them) and I'll end up not going to either show. Of course, I probably have symphony tix for that night anyway. Woohoo! No symphony that night! Now to find somebody who wants to see Skinny Puppy! Only $20 for the show! Those are my kind of 80s ticket prices right there.

Saturday I'm so busy that I can't even believe it. Lansing yarn store, back to Detroit to see my 14-year-old niece decked out looking like she's 25 for Homecoming and then out to Ann Arbor by 6:30 for a Meet-and-Greet. My friend Andrew's fiancée has come to town and he wants to get a group together to meet her. I hate Ann Arbor, for the record.

And then there's Sunday. My sister is running in the Detroit Free Press Marathon and she wants me to come down and cheer for her and greet her at the finish line. She said I did not have to come for the 7:30 a.m. start. Good thing. The problem is that I really don't want to go at all, and since I have no good reason, except that I really don't want to, I'll end up going down there. *sigh*

The good thing about Sunday is that the second to last Champ Car race of the season (Surfer's Paradise, Queensland, Australia) will be on Spike TV at 4:00 p.m. I'll have the VCR set, just in case, but I better freaking be home by then! It's not like Meg's going to be in any condition to anything. She's always a complete wreck after a marathon, swearing she's never going to do another one. She said that after the Freep's marathon back in 2000 and her running friends were all a bit panicked about it. I told them that she says that after every marathon, so don't freak out, she'll do another one. Earlier this year she said she's going to limit herself to one a year, so I guess she realised saying she's never going to do another one is just ridiculous.

After Australia the last Champ Car race of the season is Mexico City on November 7. Damn, I so want to go to this race, but it's just not feasible this year. Next year I'm buying all the vacation time which I'm allowed and I'm going to Mexico for the race!!!! Of course, I'm still waiting, along with the rest of the die-hard Champ Car fans, for the bloody schedule to be released! Supposedly they're going to release it this weekend. About bloody time. At one point they said it was going to be out in early September, and here it is mid-October and I'm still waiting. I need to start figuring out which races I'm attending. The TV package has somewhat been announced, at least 7 races on CBS with the rest on Speed or Fox Sports. We shall see!

The best sports news of the day is, of course, the Red Sox annihilating the hated Yankees in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. Go BoSox!!!!! I don't care that much about baseball, but there's no hockey and I care enough to hate the Yankees and want Boston to beat The Curse. Tonight's game I'm rooting for St. Louis and wholeheartedly against Roger Clemens. But in the World Series, I'm hoping against hope that Boston wins and all those Yankees fans who are out there hoping for the Curse to continue can eat their sweat-stained Yankees hats! So there! Pppphhhhfffffttttt!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Prop 1, Annam, and the Night Stalker

Well, yesterday I said was leaning toward voting YES on Proposal 1, but I've read even more stuff this morning and now I’m leaning toward NO. I figure if it's important, then they'll put the measure before us again, but this time will include the provisions to protect the State Lottery and eliminate the loophole that would give the three Detroit casinos a monopoly, i.e., the right to expand willy-nilly.

Then again, I'm sure someone out there has better information and can tell me why I should vote for it. Bring it on, people!!!! I have no issues with any of the other proposals/issues on the ballot, just this one.

I just read an article about a keychain fob that is a remote to turn off TVs. What a fabulous concept!!!! I don't know how many times I've been in an airport or doctor's office with the TV freaking blasting while I'm trying to read a book. Of course, I guess I'd prefer one that controls the volume, but turning them off wouldn't be a bad thing at all!!!

And there's nothing like a Good Samaritan story to restore a little of your faith in human beings. Kudos to you, Ismael Baeza, for helping out and taking care of people who needed you!

Last night Brian and I went out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Annam. In this review, you can see a corner of Brian and the back of my head at the second table in the accompanying picture. He had given me a gift certificate for my birthday, so I called him yesterday to see if he wanted to use it with me. Our waitress was as gracious as always. NOT! It's not that she's rude, necessarily, but let's just say her perfect face hasn't cracked a smile in many many many years. I mean, she knows exactly what I want, but her "B3?" doesn't come with even a hint of a smile. And then she tried to kick us out without getting dessert, but we weren't having that. Brian was looking forward to the coconut ice cream and I was looking forward to the fried banana, and dammit, we made sure we got it!!! The owner is always so nice and smiles when she sees me and asks how am I or how another friend is (we used to come in quite often).

After I got home I watched what seems to be my favorite channel, A&E. I can't help it, I love true crime shows, especially the ones where the criminals get caught! I love Cold Case Files!!!! And even though I usually end up not caring at all about the Biography person, last night it was Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker. Oh yeah, that's right. I remember now that I wanted to rant a bit about this! I'm sorry, but if you are a dumbass fake red-headed fat bitch who thinks that Richard Ramirez is a beautiful person, inside and out, I do hope you go through with your plans to kill yourself the day he is executed, because you're too stupid to live. I'm talking about the woman who married him after he had been arrested and convicted of murdering something like 16 people, raping females from the age of 6 to 84 and various other heinous crimes, and praises Satan. That's prime marriage material right there! I don't even believe in capital punishment (ends up costing more through all their appeals and such than just to put them in the regular prison population until they die, and a whole hosts of other reasons), and I don't think that killing him is going to do anything that life in prison wouldn't do, except that he has to live with the thought of his crimes for the rest of his life. Then again, this person is so vile, I don't think he thinks about them. At any rate, the female who married this animal does not deserve to be called a woman and she can off herself at any fucking time!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Updating and Voting

Uh oh, I just read Julie's blog and now feel very guilty that I didn't update all last week, since she's probably as bored as I am, if not moreso. So, to add to her boredom, I'm updating.

I confess that I did not put the boxes down in the storage unit yesterday, but I have a perfectly good excuse. When I got home my feet and knees were hurting so much (from the rain and its incredibly wonderful effects on my arthritic knees) that I couldn't bear the thought of walking down stairs. That and the Basement Freak was hanging out in the hallway waiting for the mail (Please God, let my life always be more interesting than junk mail.) and since she lives to pounce on my cats, I decided to save them that and so I just changed my clothes, made dinner (yes, I'm old, I eat dinner by 5:00 p.m.) and then plopped myself on the couch for a serious night of knitting. I'm cranking on the darling Clay's baby blanket. I hope to finish it this week and get it in the mail on Friday. And if my friends from Mexico ever respond to my e-mail and send their address I'll get a "bufanda" and a rosary in the mail to them, too! Of course, I still have to make the rosary, but if I finish the blanket tonight (feasible), I can make the rosary tomorrow and Thursday. Oh wait, I'm going out for drinks with the lovely Martha on Thursday. Is it acceptable to make rosaries while semi-drunk? Or completely drunk? Hmmm, thoughts to ponder.

I discovered last night that if I sit with my legs propped on the coffee table (with pillows as a cushion) and Igor lays along my legs that my knees lock up and I can't walk like a normal person w/o gasping and moaning in pain. *sigh* When did I get old? I always believed that if I never stopped sitting on the floor cross-legged, etc., that I would always be able to and I would not be like my aunts who had trouble getting up from the floor after playing games with us. No such luck. The damn knees had plans of their own. People, word of warning, getting old sucks! And shit, I'm not even really old!!!!

I've been reading up on Michigan's Proposal 1 and I have to say that I'm no nearer a decision than I was to start. I see both sides of the issue and I don't trust either side. Do I vote Yes and make voters go to the polls every time the State wants a new Lottery game, or do I vote No and let the three Detroit casinos have an essential monopoly?

The Farm Bureau encourages voting NO because somehow it'll cost the state agricultural jobs. I don't understand why that is though and they don't really explain. But the Freep says to vote YES while holding your nose.

Anybody out there have a clue??? I'm leaning toward Yes, but if someone truly understands this, please write to me and let me know why I should vote either way. I'll consider your opinion like all the others I've read and then I'll go bury my head in the sand!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Heartfelt Love for the USPS

I know, it's been forever since I've written. And I'm feeling a tad guilty since Clarity is sicker than a dog and is updating. I have no excuse except that I was actually busy at work last week (mainly because I had postponed doing a project for three weeks which had Friday as its deadline) and was busy at home. I also haven't gotten Word downloaded onto the home pc since the great Ethernet card mess. I like to type in Word before downloading into diaryland.

I was busy at home because I was having a "The Body Shop" party at my house on Wednesday and I had to clean. Once a year I have people over to make myself clean and last week was the week. The apt. is now as close to spotless as it gets, and I'm bound and determined to keep it such! Tonight when I go home, I'm taking the cardboard boxes downstairs to my storage unit (basically a repository of cardboard boxes) and might even sweep up the dining room floor – or at the very least Dustbuster it! I'll Dustbuster the bathroom floor as the kids aren't very good at keeping the litter in the box!

My plan is to keep the apartment clean because my friend Kathleen from SF is coming to visit me for New Year's Eve. I'm very excited! I wrote to her last month (I was only three billion months late on that letter) and she responded quite quickly and I got her letter last Monday whereupon she mentioned that she was interested in visiting! I was so geeked that I called her immediately knowing full well that there was a three hour time difference and that she wouldn't be home from work yet. I left her a message saying Hell yes! A visit would be FABULOUS! I would have waited until she had gotten home, but with my cleaning frenzy I was scared that I would forget to call her. She e-mailed me the next day saying she had gotten a ticket! Yay!!!! So, now to find something to do that's fun and exciting for NYE! She comes in Thursday, Dec. 30 and is scheduled to leave on Monday, January 3. I wish she were coming for a longer period of time, but Detroit in late December/early January isn't really all that forgiving, weather-wise.

My weekend wasn't all that exciting. Friday was miserably cold and rainy and normally is the type of day where I will NOT leave the house, but I had things to do, so I ventured out into the shittiness! I had the most adorable knitting pumpkin hat to deliver to my cousin's baby, and as I hadn't been over there in almost two weeks, a visit was a good thing. I didn't get to hold Aidan at all, but next time I'm staking my claim!!!

After that I headed over to Grandma's for dinner (tomato sandwiches – yummy!) and a visit with G'ma and Aunt Pat (visiting from LA). We managed to avoid a political discussion which is always a good thing as Aunt Pat is one of those unthinking Republicans. We had an argument one Christmas where she had to leave the house she was so angry at me. The argument was about the Rosie O'Donnell/Tom Selleck show where Rosie supposedly blind-sided poor little Tom Selleck about his NRA ties and the Columbine tragedy. I was told recently that Tom Selleck knew exactly what the questions were going to be. And I'm sorry, even not knowing that, I didn't feel sorry for him. He's an outspoken member of the NRA at a time which was definitely fraught with tension about gun control. I had no problem with her questioning him about it, but my Aunt about blew a gasket going on and on about how horrible Rosie is, blah blah blah! That's when she had to go outside for a cigarette to calm down. This same Christmas she gave my brother a coffee table type book on Ronald Reagan. I would have left the house if the walk from San Mateo to San Francisco hadn't been such a long one – and we had had dinner!

But this past Friday we managed not to discuss crap like that and I had a very pleasant time with Grandma and her. It's always good to spend time with Grandma. She's so darn cute.

Oh yeah, have I told you how much I hate UPS! And I'm not all that pleased with one of my neighbors either. UPS has a policy of NOT leaving packages in apt. bldgs. regardless of your signature indicating it is okay to leave the package. Oh so convenient in this day and age. Anyway, I had a little yellow/brown slip on Wednesday and when it shows up on Wednesday I don't stress too much because I don't work most Fridays so I can be home to get the bloody thing. Oh yeah, on that Wednesday, there was a little yellow/brown slip for somebody else in the building. When I got home on Thursday there was only my slip. Hmmm…… My slip indicated that the UPS man would be attempting the delivery of my package for the third and final time Friday between 10:30 and 2:00. I made sure I was up and out of the shower by 10:30, hoping against hope that he'd be there early. Yeah, right.

So, at 1:20 I'm still waiting and I'm furious, because I have better things to do than sit around and wait for Brown to deliver my freaking package. Oh yeah, if I'm not home to get the package, they will conveniently hold it for me for a week at their facility on Cicotte in Detroit. Now, there aren't many locations in Detroit to which I won't venture, but this one. I went there once before many years ago and swore I would never do it again. There is nothing I've having delivered that is worth risking my life, thank you very much!!!!

So, anyway, at 1:20 I put on my jacket and I'm getting ready to take stuff to my car so that once my package arrives I can get a move on! As I walk down the walk, I look to my left and see a stupid brown truck come around the corner. I walked back into the bldg to wait for him. Sure, I could have stood on the curb but it was raining and cold and miserable and I was going to make him walk to me, dammit!!! "You waiting on me? I'm sorry." No shit, Sherlock!!! So, while I'm signing I ask him if he delivered a package the previous day. He's clueless for a second and then remembers, "Oh yes, she was reluctant to sign for your package." *sigh* I think I'll have to have a chat with her the next time I see her. Come on, people! We're in this UPS shit together! I wouldn't hesitate to sign for a package for her.

I have a message to and DVDempire and all over Internet shopping sites: Your customers work! It is not convenient for you to use UPS to ship to people who work normal working hours and can't sit at home for 3 hours waiting. People are busy! And not all of us can ship to work. That is all.

I thank god regularly for the United States Postal Service who leaves packages. Thank you, USPS!!!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Life Experiences

Why do people always think that if you're a woman with short hair, you're a lesbian or a member of the opposite sex (male, for those of you not paying attention)?

I've had a number of incidences where people questioned my gender. The first one I was in a bulk food place with my niece and was wearing an Extra Large black t-shirt, glasses, no make-up and a pair of shorts. I was seeing what candy my niece wanted when an old man came up to me and said directly to my face, "You a girl or a boy?" I was shocked, to say the least, and answered, stammering, "A girl." Then he muttered something derogatory and I was flabbergasted.

The second time I was at a discount place (long gone and replaced with my beloved Merchants Warehouse which carries beers from all over the world) and I heard this old man (old people are the worst I've found) muttering something about men and woman and how you can't tell these days. I wasn't paying that much attention, but the woman near me was and she snapped at him. Apparently he had been questioning my gender, once again, and this woman was mortified enough to tell him. She gave me this very embarrassed look. I thought it was very sweet of her.

Then one day back in 1993, my sister and I were standing looking up at Mount Rushmore when I heard this man say to me, "You look like a supple young man, would you please take our picture?" As I turned to face the man, he said, "Oh, I'm sorry." And indicated that from face on he was aware that I was of the female persuasion. As I was wearing glasses, hiking shorts, tennis shoes, no make-up and small hoop earrings, I was not offended, since he did realise as soon as I turned around. To this day, "you look like a supply young man" is a common saying to me in my family.

The last big episode of gender mistakement (yes, I know it's not a word, but I've had four Guinnesses and no dinner, so deal with it) was back in 1995 or so. I was out to dinner with my brother and sister and I was completely not paying attention to the people around me, until my sister on the opposite side of the table stood up, leaned over the little wall separating the tables and said, "She's a woman!" Apparently, the man and woman had been discussing my possible gender between themselves. "Is it a woman?" "I don't know. I can't tell from the voice." And so on. The couple were so mortified that they had been caught out that they got their food to go and got the hell out.

When I moved to San Francisco, I thought things wouldn't be quite so fractious, but how wrong was it???

One Saturday afternoon I was waiting for the 47 Van Ness bus to take me to the train station. I was going down to San Mateo to visit with my aunt, uncle, cousins and brother. Now since this was family thing and not especially fancy, I was not dressed up for the occasion. I was wearing jeans, tennis shoes, sweatshirt, glasses and no make-up (I know it's a common theme here). As I'm waiting for the bus, I'm reading my book (never take a bus w/o something to read or do) and this Hispanic man says to me, "You have very pretty eyes." Now, I don't get a boatload of compliments, so I thought this was very nice of him. I say, "Thank you." And his reply was "Even if you are a lesbian." *sigh*

I just looked at him and said, "I'm not a lesbian." The bus pulled up at this point and I got. He followed and in front of a busload of passengers, he looked at me and said, "I'm sorry." I said, "It's okay." because I'm a lame-ass.

Another time I was walking home from picking up the cremains of my beloved Zapata, so I was already not very happy as you could imagine, and as I'm crossing the street to my apt. a small white truck with two Hispanic men (not sure why but they were always Hispanic) yelled the lovely Dyke word at me. I just flipped them off. I was too depressed to tell them to fuck off.

So, for the record, not all short-haired women are Lesbians and all Lesbians don't have short hair. Okay? Got it?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Musing, Grist and Ponderings

Musings…why when you're late for school, you're "tardy," but every other time it's just called late?

Just got this from The Daily Grist which is sent out by the Grist Magazine:

Energy bill a prime example of legislative process run amok

The Boston Globe is running a three-part series on how the Republicans now in control of Congress are reshaping the legislative process. It ain't pretty. Part two follows the path of the massive (and currently stalled) energy bill, which began with closed-door meetings of the Cheney energy task force, thought to be influenced largely by energy-industry folks, without significant input from environmental or consumer advocates, and then wound its way to congressional conference committee meetings, from which Democrats were almost completely excluded. In the process, parties with vested interests in energy policy spent a jaw-dropping $387.8 million lobbying Congress, and tens of millions more contributing directly to politicians involved in the process. For their efforts, they got a phone-book-sized bill larded with billions of dollars in subsidies, tax breaks, and regulatory rollbacks, benefiting everyone from the nuclear industry to developers of mega-malls. The broad story is familiar, but the details reveal just how far off the rails the legislative process has gone. For those with a strong stomach, it is required reading.

straight to the source: The Boston Globe, Susan Milligan, 04 Oct 2004

straight to the source: The Boston Globe, 05 Oct 2004

I just got this from my brother and it made me laugh:

I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

There are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead.

Life is sexually transmitted.

An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the fool who said, "Quit while you're ahead?"

Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.

Some people are like Slinkies . not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday,lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?

In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Questions that really need answers...

1. Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"
2. Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there? I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its butt."
3. Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
4. If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?
5. Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the car-pool lane?
6. Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is?
7. Why does your OB-GYN leave the room when you get undressed if they are going to look up there anyway?
8. Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!
9. If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that Acme crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?
10. If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?
11. If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?
12. If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
13. Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?
14. Stop singing and read on.........
15. Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?
16. Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?
17. Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?
18. Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

More politics and The Breast Cancer Site

Here's an article, There are many reasons to vote for Bush. But why would you?, by Eric Mink of the St. Louis Dispatch, that I think everybody should read.

If you don't have time to read it (although if you're planning on voting in November, I think you should make the time, even if you think you've already made up your mind), here is a little snippet which I think is pretty telling.

In a 2002 interview with The Washington Post's Bob Woodward (thanks to syndicated columnist Richard Reeves for recently citing it), Bush described the dynamic in Oval Office meetings: "I'm the commander," he said. "I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

Fine. That's what elections are for.

Every day the first thing I do when I get on my computer is go to The Breast Cancer Site and click. This is October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (or something like that). It will cost you nothing but a few moments of your time to click and it supplies mammograms for the less fortunate among us. And while you're there, you might as click for The Hunger Site, The Rainforest Site, The Child Health Site, and The Animal Rescue Site. Now it's really handy, because when you do the initial at The Breast Cancer Site, it'll go to a Thank You page and at the bottom of the Thank You page, there are hot links to all the other sites, so just work your way across all the buttons.

Then when you get to the Animal Rescue Site Thank You page, if you go all the way to the bottom, there's hot link that will take you to The Ecology Fund. There are only two hot buttons on the top of the page, but you'll get four more. Again, it's FREE to you! Just takes a few moments of your time. And then finally, at the top of the last Ecology Fund page, there's a bright red banner for Red Jellyfish where you can click to save more of the rainforest and to feed chimps in captivity. Again, all this is free to you. It'll take less than 3 minutes of your time, unless you're on dial-up so it might take a little longer, but they're all good causes, so go click EVERY DAY!!!


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

War is the only enemy - Hal Crowther

I'm being political again. This is long, but extremely worth it. It explains succinctly everything that is wrong with the present presidential administration.

War is the only enemy.

By Hal Crowther

I used to take a drink on occasion with a network newsman famed for his impenetrable calm -- his apparent pulse rate that of a large mammal in deep hibernation -- and in an avuncular moment he advised me that I'd do all right, in the long run, if I could only avoid the kind of journalism committed to the keyboard "with trembling fingers."

I recognized the wisdom of this advice and endeavored over the years to write as little as possible when my blood pressure was soaring and my face was streaked with tears. The lava flows of indignation ebb predictably with age and hardening arteries, and nearing three-score I thought I'd never have to take another tranquilizer -- or a double bourbon -- to keep my fingers steady on the keys.

I never imagined 2004. It would be sophomoric to say that there was never a worse year to be an American. My own memory preserves the dread summer of 1968. My parents suffered the consequences of 1941 and 1929, and my grandfather Jack Allen, who lived through all those dark years, might have added 1918, with the flu epidemic and the Great War in France that each failed, very narrowly, to kill him. Drop back another generation or two and we encounter 1861.

But if this is not the worst year yet to be an American, it's the worst year by far to be one of those hag-ridden wretches who comment on the American scene. The columnist who trades in snide one-liners flounders like a stupid comic with a tired audience; TV comedians and talk-show hosts who try to treat 2004 like any zany election year have become grotesque, almost loathsome. Our most serious, responsible newspaper columnists are so stunned by the disaster in Iraq that they've begun to quote poetry by Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen. They lower their voices; they sound like Army chaplains delivering eulogies over ranks of flag-draped coffins, under a hard rain from an iron sky.

Yeats' "blood-dimmed tide is loosed." The war news has already deteriorated from bad to tragic to pre-apocalyptic, which leaves no suitable category for these excruciating reports on the sexual torture of Iraqi prisoners. Fingers, be still. In less than a year, the morale of the occupying forces has sunk so low that murder, suicide, rape and sexual harassment have become alarming statistics, and now the warriors of democracy -- the emissaries of civilization -- stand accused of every crime this side of cannibalism. Osama bin Laden has always anathematized America's culture, as well as its geopolitical influence. To him these atrocities are a sign of Allah's certain favor, a great moral victory, a vindication of his deepest anger and darkest crimes.

Where does it go from here? The nightmare misadventure in Iraq is over, beyond the reach of any reasonable argument, though many more body bags will be filled. In Washington, chicken hawks will still be squawking about "digging in" and winning, but Vietnam proved conclusively that no modern war of occupation will ever be won. (Vietnam clip) Every occupation is doomed. The only way you "win" a war of occupation is the old-fashioned way, the way Rome finally defeated the Carthaginians: kill all the fighters, enslave everyone else, raze the cities and sow the fields with salt.

Otherwise the occupied people will fight you to the last peasant, and why shouldn't they? If our presidential election fails to dislodge the crazy bastards who annexed Baghdad, many of us in this country would welcome regime change by any intervention, human or divine. But if, say, the Chinese came in to rescue us -- Operation American Freedom -- how long would any of us, left-wing or right, put up with an occupying army teaching us Chinese-style democracy? A guerrilla who opposes an invading army on his own soil is not a terrorist, he's a resistance fighter. In Iraq we're not fighting enemies but making enemies. As Richard Clarke and others have observed, every dollar, bullet and American life that we spend in Iraq is one that's not being spent in the war on terrorism. Every Iraqi, every Muslim we kill or torture or humiliate is a precious shot of adrenaline for Osama and al Qaeda.

The irreducible truth is that the invasion of Iraq was the worst blunder, the most staggering miscarriage of judgment, the most fateful, egregious, deceitful abuse of power in the history of American foreign policy. If you don't believe it yet, just keep watching. Apologists strain to dismiss parallels with Vietnam, but the similarities are stunning. In every action our soldiers kill innocent civilians, and in every other action apparent innocents kill our soldiers -- and there's never any way to sort them out. And now these acts of subhuman sadism, these little My Lais.

Since the defining moment of the Bush presidency, the preposterous flight-suit, Fox News-produced photo-op on the USS Abraham Lincoln in front of the banner that read "Mission Accomplished," the shaming truth is that everything has gone wrong. Just as it was bound to go wrong, as many of us predicted it would go wrong -- if anything, more hopelessly wrong than any of us would have dared to prophesy. Iraq is an epic trainwreck, and there's not a single American citizen who's going to walk away unscathed.

The shame of this truth, of such a failure and so much deceit exposed, would have brought on mass resignations or votes of no confidence in any free country in the world. In Japan not long ago, there would have been ritual suicides, shamed officials disemboweling themselves with samurai swords. Yet up to this point -- at least to the point where we see grinning soldiers taking pictures of each other over piles of naked Iraqis -- neither the president, the vice president nor any of the individuals who urged and designed this debacle have resigned or been terminated -- or even apologized. They have betrayed no familiarity with the concept of shame.

Thousands of young Americans are dead, maimed or mutilated, XXX billions of dollars have been wasted and all we've gained is a billion new enemies and a mouthful of dust -- of sand. Chaos reigns, but in the midst of it we have this presidential election. George Bush has defined himself as a war president, and it's fitting that the war should be his undoing. But even now the damned polls don't guarantee, or even indicate, his demise.

Conventional wisdom says that an incumbent president with a $200 million war chest cannot be defeated, and that one who commands a live, bleeding, suffering army in the field is doubly invincible. By this logic, the most destructively incompetent president since Andrew Johnson will be rewarded with a second term. That would probably mean a military draft and more wars in the oil countries, and, under visionaries like Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, a chance for the USA to emulate 19th-century Paraguay, which simultaneously declared war on Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay and fought ferociously until 90% of the male population was dead.

What hope then? Impeachment is impossible when the president's party controls both houses of Congress, though Watergate conspirator John Dean, who ought to know, claims in his new book that there are compelling legal arguments for a half dozen bills of impeachment against George W. Bush. Peer pressure? At the White House, world opinion gets no more respect than FBI memos or uncomfortable facts. Many Americans seem unaware that scarcely anyone on the planet Earth supported the Iraq adventure, no one anywhere except the 40-50 million Republican loyalists who voted for George Bush in 2000.

Among significant world leaders he recruited only Great Britain's Tony Blair -- whose career may be ruined because most Britons disagree with him -- and the abominable Ariel Sharon, that vile tub of blood and corruption who recently used air-to-ground missiles to assassinate a paraplegic in a wheelchair at the door of his mosque. (Palestinians quickly squandered any sympathy or moral advantage they gained from this atrocity by strapping a retarded 16-year-old into a suicide bomber's kit. Such is the condition of the human race in the Middle East, variously known as the Holy Land or the Cradle of Civilization.) Says Sharon, oleaginously, of Bush: "Something in his soul committed him to act with great courage against world terror."

The rest of the known world, along with the United Nations, has been dead set against us from the start. But they carry no weight. Thanks to our tax dollars and the well-fed, strong but not bulletproof bodies of our children -- though mostly children from lower-income families -- George Bush and his lethal team of oil pirates, Cold Warriors and Likudists commands the most formidable military machine on earth. No nation, with the possible exception of China, would ever dare to oppose them directly.

But the Chinese aren't coming to save us. Nothing and no one can stop these people except you and me, and the other 100 million or so American citizens who may vote in the November election. This isn't your conventional election, the usual dim-witted, media-managed Mister America contest where candidates vie for charm and style points and hire image coaches to help them act more confident and presidential. This is a referendum on what is arguably the most dismal performance by any incumbent president -- and inarguably the biggest mistake. This is a referendum on George W. Bush, arguably the worst thing that has happened to the United States of America since the invention of the cathode ray tube.

One problem with this referendum is that the case against George Bush is much too strong. Just to spell it out is to sound like a bitter partisan. I sit here on the 67th birthday of Saddam Hussein facing a haystack of incriminating evidence that comes almost to my armpit.

What matters most, what signifies? Journalists used to look for the smoking gun, but this time we have the cannons of Waterloo, we have Gettysburg and Sevastopol, we have enough gunsmoke to cause asthma in heaven. I'm overwhelmed. Maybe I should light a match to this mountain of paper and immolate myself. On the near side of my haystack, among hundreds of quotes circled and statistics underlined, just one thing leaped out at me. A quote I had underlined was from the testimony of Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg trials, not long before Hitler's vice-fuehrer poisoned himself in his jail cell:

"... It is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." (My emphasis)

Goering's dark wisdom gained weight when a friend called me and reported that Vice President Cheney was so violently partisan in his commencement speech at Westminster College in Missouri -- so rabid in his attacks on John Kerry as a anti-American peace-marching crypto-communist -- that the college president felt obliged to send the student body an email apologizing for Cheney's coarseness.

If you think it's exceptionally shameless for a man who dodged Vietnam to play the patriot card against a decorated veteran, remember that Georgia Republicans played the same card, successfully, against Sen. Max Cleland, who suffered multiple amputations in Vietnam. In 2001 and 2002, George Bush and his Machiavelli, Karl Rove, approved political attack ads that showed the faces of Tom Daschle and other Democratic senators alongside the faces of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. And somewhere in hell, Goering and Goebbels toasted each other with a schnapps.

Am I polarized? I've never been a registered Democrat, I'm sick of this two-party straitacket, I wish to God it didn't take Yale and a major American fortune to create a presidential candidate. The only current Democratic leaders who show me any courage are Nancy Pelosi and old Bob Byrd -- Hillary Clinton has been especially cagy and gutless on this war -- and John Kerry himself may leave a lot to be desired. He deserves your vote not because of anything he ever did or promises to do, but simply because he did not make this sick mess in Iraq and owes no allegiance to the sinister characters who designed it. And because his own "place in history," so important to the kind of men who run for president, would now rest entirely on his success in getting us out of it.

Kerry made a courageous choice at least once in his life, when he came home with his ribbons and demonstrated against the war in Vietnam. But Sen. Kerry could turn out to be a stiff, a punk, an alcoholic, and he'd still be a colossal improvement over the man who turned Paul Wolfowitz loose in the Middle East. The myth that there was no real difference between Democrats and Republicans, which I once considered seriously and which Ralph Nader rode to national disaster four years ago, was shattered forever the day George Bush announced his cabinet and his appointments for the Department of Defense.

I'm aware that there are voters -- 40 million? -- who don't see it this way. I come from a family of veterans and commissioned officers; I understand patriots in wartime. If a spotted hyena stepped out of Air Force One wearing a baby-blue necktie, most Americans would salute and sing "Hail to the Chief." President Bush cultivated his patriots by spending $46 million on media in the month of March alone. Somehow I'm on his mailing list. (Is that because my late father, with the same name, was a registered Republican, or can Bush afford to mail his picture to every American with an established address?) Twice a week I open an appeal for cash to crush John Kerry and the quisling liberal conspiracy, and now I own six gorgeous color photographs of the president and his wife. I'm sure some of my neighbors frame the president's color photographs and fill those little blue envelopes he sends us with their hard-earned dollars.

I struggle against the suspicion that so many of my fellow Americans are conceptually challenged. I want to reason with my neighbors; I want to engage these lost Americans. What makes you angry, neighbor? What arouses your suspicions? Does it bother you that this administration made terrorism a low priority, dismissed key intelligence that might have prevented the 9/11 catastrophe, then exploited it to justify the pre-planned destruction of Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with al Qaeda? All this is no longer conjecture, but direct reportage from cabinet-level meetings by the turncoat insiders Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill.

If the Pentagon ever thought Saddam had "weapons of mass destruction," it was only because the Pentagon gave them to him. As Kevin Phillips recounts in American Dynasty, officials of the Reagan and first Bush administrations eagerly supplied Saddam with arms while he was using chemical weapons on the Kurds. They twice sent Donald Rumsfeld to court Saddam, in 1983 and 1984, when the dictator was in the glorious prime of his monsterhood.

This scandal, concurrent with Iran-Contra, was briefly called "Iraqgate," and, yes, among the names of those officials implicated you'll find most of the engineers of our current foreign policy. (They also signaled their fractious client, Saddam, that it might be all right to overrun part of Kuwait; you remember what happened when he tried to swallow it all.) Does any of this trouble you? Does it worry you that Dick Cheney, as president of the nefarious Halliburton Corporation, sold Iraq $73 million in oilfield services between 1997 and 2000, even as he plotted with the Wolfowitz faction to whack Saddam? Or that Halliburton, with its CEO's seat still warm from Cheney's butt, was awarded unbid contracts worth up to $15 billion for the Iraq invasion, and currently earns a billion dollars a month from this bloody disaster? Not to mention its $27.4 million overcharge for our soldiers' food.

These are facts, not partisan rhetoric. Do any of them even make you restless? The cynical game these shape-shifters have been playing in the Middle East is too Byzantine to unravel in 1,000 pages of text. But the hypocrisy of the White House is palpable, and beggars belief. If there's one American who actually believes that Operation Iraqi Freedom was about democracy for the poor Iraqis, then you, my friend, are too dangerously stupid to be allowed near a voting booth.

Does it bother you even a little that the personal fortunes of all four Bush brothers, including the president and the governor, were acquired about a half step ahead of the district attorney, and that the royal family of Saudi Arabia invested $1.476 billion in those and other Bush family enterprises? Or, as Paul Krugman points out, that it's much easier to establish links between the Bush and bin Laden families than any between the bin Ladens and Saddam Hussein. Do you know about Ahmad Chalabi, the administration's favorite Iraqi and current agent in Baghdad, whose personal fortune was established when he embezzled several hundred million from his own bank in Jordan and fled to London to avoid 22 years at hard labor?

That's just a sampling from my haystack. Maybe I can reach you as an environmentalist, one who resents the gutting of key provisions in the Clean Air Act? My own Orange County, N.C., chiefly a rural area, was recently added to a national register of counties with dangerously polluted air. You say you vote for the president because you're a conservative. Are you sure? I thought conservatives believed in civil liberties, a weak federal executive, an inviolable Constitution, a balanced budget and an isolationist foreign policy. George Bush has an attorney general who drives the ACLU apoplectic and a vice president who demands more executive privilege (for his energy seances) than any elected official has ever received. The president wants a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage from homosexuals, of all things. Between tax cuts for his high-end supporters and three years playing God and Caesar in the Middle East, George Bush has simply emptied America's wallet with a $480 billion federal deficit projected for 2004 and the tab on Iraq well over $100 billion and running.

"A lot of so-called conservatives today don't know what the word means," Barry Goldwater said in 1994, when the current cult of right-wing radicals and "neocons" had begun to define and assert themselves. Goldwater was my first political hero, before I was old enough to read his flaws. But his was the conservatism of the wolf -- the lone wolf -- and this is the conservatism of sheep.

All it takes to make a Bush conservative is a few slogans from talk radio and pickup truck bumpers, a sneer at "liberals" and maybe a name-dropping nod to Edmund Burke or John Locke, whom most of them have never read. Sheep and sheep only could be herded by a ludicrous but not harmless cretin like Rush Limbaugh, who has just compared the sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners to "a college fraternity prank" (and who once called Chelsea Clinton "the family dog" -- you don't have to worry about shame when you have no brain).

I don't think it's accurate to describe America as polarized between Democrats and Republicans, or between liberals and conservatives. It's polarized between the people who believe George Bush and the people who do not. Thanks to some contested ballots in a state governed by the president's brother, a once-proud country has been delivered into the hands of liars, thugs, bullies, fanatics and thieves. The world pities or despises us, even as it fears us. What this election will test is the power of money and media to fool us, to obscure the truth and alter the obvious, to hide a great crime against the public trust under a blood-soaked flag. The most lavishly funded, most cynical, most sophisticated political campaign in human history will be out trolling for fools. I pray to God it doesn't catch you.

/Hal Crowther is a former writer for Time and Newsweek, the Buffalo News and the North Carolina Spectator before parking his column at the weekly Independent in Durham, N.C., and The Progressive Populist, among others. He won the H.L. Mencken Award for column writing in 1992. Write him at 219 N. Churton St., Hillsborough, NC 27278./

Civil Rights and Dubya

I'm getting political today, so bear with me. I just read this piece by Emil Guillermo from the San Francisco Chronicle and thought it quite telling. It talks about George W. Bush's civil rights record and how the bipartisan committee can kill the report simply with a 4-4 vote. This was my favorite part:

The commission report says the appointments point to the problem with Bush and civil rights: He doesn't know what the term means.
He confuses diversity with civil rights, and they're not the same.
"The president seems to deliberately, and in a highly disciplined manner, alter public discourse by expressing diversity and civil rights as interchangeable concepts," reads the report. "Although a worthwhile goal, diversity does not necessarily translate into support for civil rights. By conflating the terms, the president minimizes the persistence of discrimination and the remaining barriers to equal opportunity, which are at the center of civil rights."
In other words, putting people of color and gender minorities in high places is just a facade, especially if it's not backed up with the political will and federal funds needed to ensure effective civil rights enforcement.

I really get the feeling from the man they call President that if you're not a rich white male in this country these days, you're quite basically screwed. Oh, I should have specified heterosexual as well, shouldn't I? I know some of you will pointing to Colin Powell and Condeleeza Rice as evidence of this not being true, but do you really believe it? Okay, I'll change my statement, if you're not rich in this country these days, you're screwed. The man says one thing, does the complete opposite, but people don't pay attention to that, they just hear what he says.

And I won't get into what he's done to the environment as that really makes my blood boil and it's really too early for that!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Past, Present and Future

I stole this from Clarity.

15 years ago, I was...
1. working at the University.
2. dating an asshole
3. living in a nightmare situation with a psycho daughter and her long-suffering mother
4. had sold my beloved bright yellow Pinto to buy Asshole's Brother's POS Pontiac Sunbird
5. living an exceptionally boring life.

10 years ago, I was..
1. dancing four nights a week at my favorite club until 2:00 a.m. and still getting to work on time
2. driving my utilitarian Escort
3. thanking God for my new boss at the University as the previous one made me suicidal - literally
4. seeing a therapist to try to figure out why I wasted four years of my life an asshole
5. becoming obsessed with Champ Car, then called CART. Full-blown obsession started the following year.

5 years ago, I was...
1. living in SF in an ultra-expensive apartment in a not so good neighborhood
2. putting my beloved Zapata to sleep
3. drinking way too much as I never had to drive home – just stumble my way home
4. Beginning to miss Detroit
5. walking home from work every day (a good 3 miles)

2 years ago, I was...
1. typing my sister's papers for school
2. spending time in Kentucky for work
3. living in an 1100 sq. ft. apartment with the love of my life, Tikal
4. picking my first hockey pool team
5. riding my stationary bike 40 miles a day every other day and not losing weight or feeling toned.

1 year ago, I was...
1. figuring out my new job
2. mourning the loss of my darling Tikal, but already falling in love with Boris and Igor (the little shits)
3. trying on-line dating which was a complete nightmare.
4. stressing over the state of Champ Car and whether we would have a season this year
5. frustrated by my lack of results from exercising

Yesterday I...
1. was a lazy ass and did nothing after work
2. freezing from the lack of heat so I had to take a nice hot bath
3. blew off the assignment from the depths of hell yet again
4. did not go to Borders to get the Star Wars Trilogy or the new Jack Higgins book as I had planned
5. played lame computer games.

Today I...
1. felt like shit all day due to a poorly decided upon dinner.
2. have actually worked on the project from the depths of hell
3. am going for a walk with Julie.
4. joined, a Champ Car obsessed website.
5. had my usual Boca burger for lunch and dry Cheerios for dinner.

Tomorrow I will...
1. continue to work on the project from the depths of hell (at least that's the plan)
2. go out for drinks to celebrate a co-worker's last days of being single
3. feel better, I hope.
4. put the Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on my car instead of just lamely laying it in my back window
5. write yet another boring post at my diary.

Mushroom Advice and My Boring Life

I have some advice for all of you. Do not eat marinated mushrooms for dinner, especially when it's the only thing you eat! It's more than 12 hours later and I'm still feeling like shit. My Cheerios and mint tea are NOT helping. *sigh* Just say no! Don’t be stupid like me!!!

The weekend was a weekend. I got my home computer fixed. Woohoo! Thanks, Comcast! Never thought I'd be writing those words! The poor Comcast tech was at my house for FOUR hours, but the end result was a functioning Internet capable computer, so it was worth it. Turns out that my Ethernet card took a powder on me and it needed to be replaced. Of course, this was determined AFTER I re-installed my operating system and lost everything on my freaking hard drive. Ah well, it's not like I had the great American novel on there (or that if I had I wouldn't have saved it to a floppy disk).

I also got my hair cut and that was darn near the highlight of the weekend. It was so long and horribly shapeless. I was hating it! And I'm bored with my hair but unfortunately there's not much I can do with it. It's thick but fine, so it doesn't hold a curl or a perm and if it's long it just hangs limply around my face, so I keep it short. In fact, I discovered that my hair is so thick and fine that even putting a crapload of hair product in it which is supposed to make it look like it has body, my hair still does exactly what it wants and just lays there looking like boring old hair. So, the only thing I can do to eliminate "Boring Hair" or "I Hate My Hair" is to color it. It's a brighter red now than my original strawberry blonde and I like it. I know my Mom and my sister didn't like it because when they saw me at church on Sunday they didn't say a word and let me just tell you, it's OBVIOUS, people. Gotta love the support from family.

I just had a complete brain fade and thought it was Wednesday. Finding out it was Tuesday was a definite disappointment, I must say.

Today Julie and I are going for a walk after work in an effort to get into some sort of non-disgusting shape. The problem is that we're both pretty busy people (her more than me) so this week we might be walking only once. Granted I could have gone last night by myself but I was my usual lazy self.

The other night when I was over at my uncle's house for crème brulee I ended up helping my cousin with his paper on art vs. nature. I thought it was a pretty esoteric topic for a 16-year-old. He had good ideas, though, and I simply helped him expand on those idea. I can't wait to find out how he does on it. He wrote it himself, I just helped come up with some ideas. Supposedly a paper is supposed to have five paragraphs and that a paragraph must contain five sentences. How the hell did I get out of high school and college having never learnt that??? He has his introduction and conclusion, but needed the middle three paragraphs. We went with Similarities, Differences and a blending of art and nature, if I remember correctly.

Hmm, haven't updated in almost a week and this is all I have to offer? My life is more boring than I had thought.