If a Hawai'i resident wants to watch Saturday's football game between the University of Alabama and UH, it will cost $60.
Sixty dollars. For a football game. On television.
My goodness. Keith Olbermann got good and ticked off at Rummy's remarks to the American Legion.
Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.
For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.
Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.
It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.
The piece that funtwo played with mounting dexterity was an exceedingly difficult rock arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon, the composition from the turn of the 18th century known for its solemn chord progressions and its overexposure at weddings. But this arrangement, attributed on another title card to JerryC, was anything but plodding: it required high-level mastery of a singularly demanding maneuver called sweep-picking.
Over and over the guitarist’s left hand articulated strings with barely perceptible movements, sounding and muting notes almost simultaneously, and playing complete arpeggios through a single stroke with his right hand.
In the five years or so that I really played guitar, I might have made it to the level of average amateur folkie. This guy may be an amateur, but he's spent hours and hours working at his craft. The piece is 5:20 long (for purposes of comparison, Layla is 7:10; Like a Rolling Stone is 6:13).
Watch, listen and be awed.
Dear me. Apparently Rummy thinks I'm an appeaser, all because I think his policies are and have been poorly thought out, miserably executed, and have had the opposite effect to that which was planned.
Rumsfeld spoke to the American Legion as part of a coordinated White House strategy, in advance of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to take the offensive against administration critics at a time of doubt about the future of Iraq and growing calls to withdraw U.S. troops.
Rumsfeld recalled a string of recent terrorist attacks, from 9/11 to deadly bombings in Bali, London and Madrid, and said it should be obvious to anyone that terrorists must be confronted, not appeased.
"But some seem not to have learned history's lessons," he said, adding that part of the problem is that the American news media have tended to emphasize the negative rather than the positive.
He said, for example, that more media attention was given to U.S. soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib than to the fact that Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith received the Medal of Honor.
Hooray for Sergeant Smith. Was it posthumously awarded?
Look, Don. You have shown yourself to be the worst kind of manager. You ignored advice from your more-experienced subordinates (General Shinseki), you refused to accept that there was a serious threat of insurgency in Iraq (dead-enders), you insisted that Abu Ghraib was carried out by "a few bad apples" when in fact it appears to have been approved policy emanating from your office, and you still don't recognize that you've been wrong on all the above-mentioned items. If you worked for Donald Trump he'd have fired you after the first round of The Apprentice.
Those of us who don't agree with you are not appeasers, we're just smarter than you are. When one of our ideas fails, we try something else. We don't insist on sticking with policies that have been shown to be counter-productive.
Hello, CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews? With the news that John Mark Karr's DNA doesn't match that found at the Jon Benet Ramsey crime scene and that the charges have been dropped, would you care to ask yourselves some soul-searching questions, like "Why did we blow this up into a two-week media frenzy with no hard evidence?"
No, probably not.
Today my sister brought over a DVD of the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie for us to watch, so what's on ABC tonight? Yup.
Today I avoided outrage (by the simple technique of reading no newspapers) and did laundry instead.
While I'm on vacation I've always tried to find books which tell the history of the region. I remember a trip to Yosemite in 1983 when I stayed overnight in a little town called El Portal, just outside the western entrance to the park. My motel room fronted on the Merced River, which made a nice burbling noise while I read The World Rushed In. It tells the story of the Gold Rush experience through the diary of a man who came from Ohio to get rich, failed (as did most), but made it back home.
I've done the same thing in upstate Washington, where I bought a book called Sternwheels on the Yukon, a story of freighting on the Yukon in the 1930s. The author was a crewman on some of those boats. Here's a recounting of the river experience via canoe from ten years ago.
While driving around New Mexico, I picked up Stranger in New Mexico: A Doctor's Journey, 1951-1986. This was a little more current than I'd hoped to find, but seemed like everything else in that bookstore was related to Billy the Kid or the Lincoln County War or both.
Anybody else buy books to suit their vacations?
Oh, and I got a notice from the library; yet another one of the ones I put on reserve is ready for pickup.
I caught the last half of the 2003 PBS documentary "None Without Sin" last night. It's a fairly straightforward tale of the relationship between Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller and how it collapsed under the weight of Kazan's naming of names to the House Un-American Activities Committee and Miller's refusal to do so.
It seems to me that the current political climate is very similar to that of the McCarthy era. Back then it was embodied in the notorious question "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" Now the question appears to be "Are you pro-terrorist?" It's typically posed to those who express disagreement about Administration foreign policy. The one major distinction (so far) is that no Congressman or Senator has yet convened committee hearings to ask that question of government employees or artists who have shown their dissatisfaction with their government's actions abroad.
To Aiea Library --
Have a nice Doomsday --
From US News & World Report:
He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that.
Worried about his behavior around women? Sheesh. If I were 60 years old (and I'm not far off) and exhibited behavior like that around anyone of any gender...I was a member of a fraternity, and he's giving guys like me a bad name.
Of course, none of that gossip is attributed to anyone, so there will undoubtedly be some of his fans who rage against the magazine for publishing it.
Suddenly it appears that all the line breaks between paragraphs on my posts have disappeared, at least in my versions of Firefox and IE. Does anyone see the same thing?
I ran an Ad-Aware scan, which I hadn't done in a while; that's the only thing I can think of that I've done differently today. I can't imagine that doing that would have any effect on my style sheet.
I tried rebuilding all my MT files too; that doesn't seem to have made a lick of difference.
Update: Hmm, stranger and stranger. If you look at the individual archive page for each entry, the line breaks are there. It's only on the front page of the blog that they're missing.
Now I'm really confused.
Oh dear, oh dear. The Yankees (may their souls rot in hell) swept a five-game series from the Red Sox over the weekend. I'm not particularly a Red Sox fan, now that they've eliminated the curse of the Bambino, but I can empathize with their fans. In my case, if the Giants had done the same to the Dodgers (instead of the Dodgers taking two of three over the past three days) I'd have been gnashing my teeth and conjuring up incantations to use against them.
Sorry, Red Sox Nation.
(On the brighter side, maybe now ESPN will notice there are several other teams playing baseball this summer besides the NY and Boston nines.)
The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war. Indeed, the only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into total Bosnia-like devastation is 135,000 U.S. troops -- and even they are merely slowing the fall. The internecine conflict could easily spiral into one that threatens not only Iraq but also its neighbors throughout the oil-rich Persian Gulf region with instability, turmoil and war.
So begins an article in the Sunday Washington Post. The authors argue that the situation can't be allowed to sink further into secular violence, because of the inherent spillover civil wars foster in surrounding regions.
Civil wars -- whether in Africa, Asia, Europe or the Middle East -- tend to spread across borders. For example, the effects of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict, which began in the 1920s and continued even after formal hostilities ended in 1948, contributed to the 1956 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars, provoked a civil war in Jordan in 1970-71 and then triggered the Lebanese civil war of 1975-90. In turn, the Lebanese conflict helped spark civil war in Syria in 1976-82.
They go on to cite Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and other horrors of the past 15 years as evidence. It's a sobering and discouraging thing to read. Their solution? Get ready for it now, because if it happens it will be far worse than those conflicts mentioned above.
It's gotta be the vog.
Congratulations to the kids!
The other day we heard this from Bush:
"Hezbollah started the crisis, and Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis."
The president spoke at the State Department after conferring with his national security team, first at the Pentagon and then at the State Department. He was flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Well, then. With those advisers, he must be right.
What I wouldn't give for a non-delusional President.
If there were colleges fielding Qidditch teams, this memo would undoubtedly have surfaced in the Daily Prophet. Its source would be a competing university which would have passed it along to Rita Skeeter.
RE: Harry Potter campus visit
It's 24 hours until the big visit, and I hope by now everyone understands how pivotal this weekend is for us. Harry Potter has some off-pitch issues, but he's the best seeker I've seen in 80 years. Vic Krum says Potter can do things on a broom that he can only dream of, and Krum didn't win MVP at worlds last year because the committee pulled his name out of a hat. And if that's not enough, word from management is that it's all of our asses if he signs with someone else.
The good news is that it sounds like it's between us and Puddlemere, if Potter decides to play at all. We have to do whatever it takes to ensure we have a commitment before he leaves on Sunday. Let me say that again—whatever it takes. Do things I don't want to know about if you have to, but let's be sure he signs on the dotted line.
There are more nefarious plans at the link.
Is there an NCAA equivalent in Harry's world?
I happened to hear the word "histrionics" this morning. Why not "herstrionics?" Hey, if Romance languages can have masculine and feminine words, why not English?
A judge in a District Court in Detroit ruled today that the NSA's wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.
TPM Muckraker is following this closely and posting updates/excerpts to the ruling and the reactions to it.
Update: As anticipated, Glenn Greenwald has a continuously-updated discussion of the findings.
Over on the left sidebar, the bottom two headlines from the NYT at 8:30pm Wednesday night read: "Steinbrenner Retreats From the Spotlight" and "Alfredo Stroessner, Paraguayan Ex-Dictator, Dies."
The last word (HAH!) on whether Pluto is a planet or not. If you click no other link in that post, be sure to click the one in which John Scalzi's daughter weighs in. It's a 1.5 minute video, and it's the last thing in cute.
Update: Pluto responds!
Did I tell you that Solly cut and released an album? It's true, it's true! But that's not why I called this meeting. This is. Seems a friend found out about said album in a rather circuitous way. Go find out how.
After my lukewarm review of Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, I was advised to try another of his books, starting at a different place. Since the advice came from one of the guys who champions the Discworld books, I agreed that one book was hardly a fair sample size with which to make a judgment. Off I went to the library (I tried to put some books on hold via the online catalog and discovered there was a problem with my PIN, or so I thought). I picked up copies of Night Watch, Thief of Time, The Truth, and Monstrous Regiment. I've devoured the first three and am on page 60 of the fourth.
These are some of the funniest books I've ever read. They are so funny that, after resolving my library card problem (Turned out the card's barcode had expired!) I went online and requested 19 books in the series this afternoon. I foresee many trips to the library, along with creation of a checklist so I can mark off the ones I've read.
How have I missed these?
Now that there's an ostensible cease-fire in effect in Lebanon, I have a question. Why did the Israeli Defense Force think it could do better rooting out terrorists, militants, insurgents or whatever they should be called in Lebanon than its counterparts in the US military have done in Iraq? It seems to me they could have taken a few lessons from the misery we're undergoing in Baghdad and its surroundings.
I suspect there will be some members of the opposition parties in the Knesset who will be asking that question.
Since it will soon be Labor Day, here's NPR's answer to the question, "Will I sicken and die if I eat warm potato salad at the picnic?"
Caveat: This is only true for the store-bought stuff. If you're using home-made, you're on your own.
In an article which tells us that Bush and Cheney manage to avoid press coverage while attending fundraisers, we find this tidbit:
The Jackson Hole News & Guide found out Cheney was there only because it spotted his plane and the radar dish that serves an anti-missile battery that protects his house when he's in town. "In the past, they've been kind of weird about it," said Thomas Dewell, the paper's co-editor. "They'd say, 'His airplane's here and the missile base is here, but we can't tell you if he's here.' " This time, he said, Cheney's office confirmed his presence when asked.An anti-missile battery? What the hell?
FDR: Oh, I'm sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we're coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How's that going to feel?
CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We'll be in the pub, flipping you off. I'm slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I'm sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.
US. NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike ... NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!
Read the whole thing, please.
So it comes out that our boys in the White House were warned about the terrorist plot and the upcoming raid. Well, that's reasonable. What's appalling is their reaction.
"It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America," he [Bush] said. "We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously we still aren't completely safe."
His remarks came a day after the White House orchestrated an exceptionally aggressive campaign to tar opposition Democrats as weak on terrorism, knowing what Democrats didn't: News of the plot could soon break.
Snow said Bush first learned in detail about the plot on Friday, and received two detailed briefings on it on Saturday and Sunday, as well as had two conversations about it with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
On Wednesday, Cheney had suggested that Democrats believe "that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home, which clearly we know we won't, we can't, be," he said.
While some Democrats have opposed some steps in the war on terrorism, and more and more are calling for a withdrawal from Iraq, no major figures in the party have called for a wholesale retreat in the broader conflict. (Emphasis added)
But Bush's Republicans hoped the raid would yield political gains.
"I'd rather be talking about this than all of the other things that Congress hasn't done well," one Republican congressional aide told AFP on condition of anonymity because of possible reprisals.
"Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances.
To these guys, terrorism is nothing more than a political tool. Noticed any improvements in your port security lately? How about that nuclear plant down the road? Is it safeguarded?
Even Richard Nixon wasn't this despicable.
Does anyone else find it notable that the terror plot uncovered by the Brits last night was done by the cops, not the military? Hmm. Reminds me a little of the approach toward fighting terrorism that Kerry advocated when he was running for President in 2004. You don't suppose he might have been right, do you?
Intelligence gathered bit-by-bit followed by police action seems to have worked a lot better than what our President might have advocated. I can hear the advice he'd have gotten now: "Quick! Blow up the mosque those guys met in, stat!"
Celebrate Lamont's victory with some comfort food!
Ladies Home Journal Meatloaf I (From the 1960 1st edition of the cookbook). This is the recipe I use.
Mix together the ground beef, egg, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, 10 crushed crackers, and the onion.
Grease a meatloaf pan (I put foil in first, then spray with PAM or its equivalent). Pack the meat mixture into it. Take the remaining crackers, crush them, and sprinkle over the top. Add the bacon strips if desired. Spread ketchup evenly over the top. Bake @ 350 degrees for an hour. Serve with baked potato and a green veggie.
By golly, Lamont beat Lieberman in the primary. Lieberman says he'll run as an independent in the general, thereby potentially splitting the Democratic vote in November and risking a Republican winning his former seat.
Joe? Democracy means facing the voters. If your constituents say they no longer like you, you're supposed to accept their decision, lick your wounds, and go lobby for Big Pharma or the insurance industry. You're not supposed to whine and re-run for the same job from a different party, particularly one you just invented.
It's time to quit, Joe.
If you like books about obsession, you would like The Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean. You might better recognize it as the film "Adaptation." It's a story about the orchid subculture in Florida and one guy who's fixated on finding the elusive ghost orchid in the Fakahatchee swamp.
It's amazing that Florida has so many idiosyncracies that authors can continue to exploit them. John D. MacDonald did it from the 1950s through the 1980s, Carl Hiaasen has been doing it for a while now, and Dave Barry mined them for years for his columns.
This story is amusing, fast-paced, and easily read in an evening.
There was a story about microchipping your pets in the paper today, and Mom suggested that that was one more reason why we could never move: our pooch has one embedded in her skin with our street address on it. That set me to thinking about a science fiction mystery/farce set a few thousand years in the future.
Scene 1: Archaeologist and intern digging through a midden. The two are part of an expedition which has returned to Earth, the nearly-mythical Home Planet, left long ago by mankind due to impending catastrophe.
Intern, rooting among bones: "What do you suppose this is?"
Arch.: "Looks like a silicon chip. Bag it up and we'll take it back to the lab to read it."
Scene 2: At the lab back on the spaceship, talking to white-coated scientist.
Arch.: "What's it say, Doc?"
Scientist: "It's in an old language with an odd sequence of letters and numbers."
Arch.: "What could it mean?"
And they're off to figure out what on earth "TIGGER, XXXXX XXXXX St, XXXX, Hi XXXXX PHONE XXX-XXXX" might mean. This leads them into places fraught with danger, surrounded by dubious characters, with no one to rely on but themselves.
Paging Donald Westlake. I've got a story idea for you.
After a year or two of reading quotes from Terry Pratchett over at Lance's place, I decided I'd better read one of the Discworld books. After consultation with the Pratchett discussion board over at Library Thing (did I mention it now has a Groups function?), I went looking for The Color of Magic at the local used bookstore. I found a copy, bought it, and finished it last night.
I was amused by it, but I have to admit that had I not heard so much about Pratchett's work I wouldn't consider continuing to read the Discworld series. It was a pleasant diversion, but nothing special. It seems awfully disjointed, as though originally designed to be a series of short stories that got mashed together in one book. I liked Rincewind, Twoflower and the Luggage as characters, but none of them make me want to rush right out to find out what happens to them next. I will, but it will be all in good time.
Am I wrong about the book?
Would it be a further step down the road towards absolute decadence if one thought of having a coffee pot in each room one has occasion to walk into in the mornings?
Here's a new marketing approach:
... thriller writers, MJ Rose and JA Konrath, sweat it out this month as they race to see which marketing strategy—blogging or bookstores—will best sell their newest books.
International best-seller Rose opted for the virtual highway or blogging to promote her latest, The Venus Fix (July, 2006), featuring sex therapist Dr. Morgan Snow. This third book in her Butterfield Institute series dives into an explosive combination of Internet sex, online pornography and adolescents.
Konrath who injects humor into his crime novels is burning rubber on America’s highways to promote Rusty Nail (July 2006), the third book in his Whiskey Sour series featuring Lt. Jacqueline (Jack) Daniels.
Rose plans to link to 500 blogs by summer’s end to create buzz and book sales. Every time a blogger writes about The Venus Fix, and links to an interview about her book or Vidlit video trailer of her novel, Rose will donate $5.00 to one of three charities. Participating bloggers choose the charity and are eligible to enter in a weekly drawing to win a signed, personalized copy of The Venus Fix. For details go to MySpace.
“It’s altruistic, sure,” says Rose, “But the goal is to sell books.”
Konrath plans to visit 500 bookstores where he’ll sign books and meet booksellers to create buzz and book sales. Spending no more than 20 minutes at each bookstore, Konrath promises to list participating booksellers in the acknowledgement pages of his next novel. He also gives away signed drink coasters before hopping back into his 1995 Suzuki Sidekick a.k.a. Rustymobile and heading to the next bookstore. Konrath relies on his GPS, which he affectionately calls “Sheila,” to get him there.
Whoever sells more books by September wins a bottle of Champagne.
This isn't entirely new. Several other books have gotten major buzz through the blogosphere, but some of them were actually written by bloggers themselves. This is the first time I've seen a conscious effort (you could almost call it an unscientific study) to measure how influential the two sales approaches are side-by-side.
I don't have a dog in this fight. I've never even heard of either writer. Nonetheless, it's an interesting idea.
Now the top generals are agreeing with what many of us lowly peons have been saying very publicly for quite a while: U.S. Generals See Growing Threat of Civil War in Iraq.
Ah, but never fear! Rummy's on the job!
... Rumsfeld, in often tense exchanges with senators, warned against pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq prematurely.
He said that would be seen as a victory by extremists who want to control a region extending beyond the Middle East.
"If we left Iraq prematurely as the terrorists demand, the enemy would tell us to leave Afghanistan and then withdraw from the Middle East. And if we left the Middle East, they'd order us and all those who don't share their militant ideology to leave what they call the occupied Muslim lands from Spain to the Philippines," he said.
"And then we would face not only the evil ideology of these extremists, but an enemy that will have grown accustomed to succeeding in telling free people everywhere what to do."
So now that the Administration has gotten us into this death spiral, the message remains the same: Stay the course, the ship will right itself.
I doubt it. I particularly doubt it while this super-macho Administration remains in charge.
The team over there at Library Thing has just created a new search widget. If you look over there on the right below the search box, you'll see a new box which allows you to search my library. How embarrassing might that be?
You can modify the box to fit your color scheme (I may go tweak mine later) and size it appropriately too.
Tim, Abby, Robyn and Christopher are doing wonderful things for the bibliophiles among us.
Dear ABC News:
Last night on your evening news program you spent one minute on Iraq. You spent three times that on Mel Gibson.
The latter may be more entertaining, but the former is light-years more important.
I dearly love AT&T/SBC/Yahoo. I called them today to update my credit card info. I did this after trying to update the info on the web and finding that A) the name field truncates to six characters on the screen (my last name has ten letters) and B) learning that it didn't approve of the first line address I've been using for six or seven years.
So I get through to a human being and give her all the information, I'm told that everything is paid up and current, and I go on my way. Nice, huh?
Well, no. Three hours later I stop receiving e-mail at the address I pay them for. I wonder for a few minutes, then I go to the Yahoo mail site to sign in using that address and password. What do I see? "This account has been suspended."
I call back, and of course the billing office hours close at 10:00pm EDT. So now I'm not getting any mail to my oldest e-mail address, the one all my non-business/blogging mail comes to and the one all my family and friends have. And I can't do anything about it till tomorrow.
Clever people, aren't they?