Thursday, March 31, 2005

In Memoriam


Posted by Hello

Oh-Oh

What happened to AMERICAblog this morning?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Meanwhile

Two Louisiana National Guardsmen have been killed in Iraq.

The Department of Defense said the soldiers were killed Saturday [March 26, 2005] when a car bomb detonated near their humvee while the soldiers were on patrol.

The victims were identified as Sgt. Isiah Sinclair, 31, of Natchitoches, and Sgt. Lee Godbolt, 23, of New Orleans.
Altogether Louisiana has lost:
•Army Pfc. Wilfred D. Bellard, 20, of Lake Charles, killed April 4, 2003, when his vehicle fell into a ravine.

•Army Spc. Levi B. Kinchen, 21, of Tickfaw, found dead in his cot on Aug. 9, 2003.

•Army National Guard Sgt. Floyd G. Knighten Jr., 55, of Olla, died Aug. 9, 2003, of heart-related causes while traveling with a convoy.

•Army Sgt. Taft V. Williams, 29, of New Orleans, killed Aug. 12, 2003, when his convoy rolled over three pipe bombs.

•Army Staff Sgt. Craig Davis, 37, of Opelousas, killed Jan. 8, 2004, when his Black Hawk helicopter went down over Fallujah.

•Army Capt. Gussie M. Jones, 41, of Shreveport, died March 7, 2004, of an apparent heart attack in Baghdad.

•Army Staff Sgt. Toby W. Mallet, 26, of Kaplan, killed April 9, 2004, when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle in Baghdad.

•Army Sgt. Maj. Edward "Carl" Barnhill, 50, of Shreveport, died May 14, 2004, of a heart attack in Baghdad.

•Army Pfc. James P. Lambert, 23, of New Orleans, killed May 25, 2004, when an explosive device hit his patrol in Fallujah.

•Army Spc. Jeremy M. Heines, 25, of New Orleans, killed June 26, 2004, when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle.

•Army Spc. Robert L. Dusang, 24, of Mandeville, killed June 30, 2004, when his overturned north of the Kuwait border.

•Army Spc. Charles C. Persing, 20, of Albany, killed July 19, 2004, when his convoy was hit by mortar rounds.

•Army Pfc. Torey J. Dantzler, 22, of Columbia, killed July 22, 2004, when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy vehicle.

•Marine Lance Cpl. Larry L. Wells, 22, of Mount Hermon, killed Aug. 6, 2004, fighting in the An Najal province.

•Army Spc. Joseph Thibodeaux III, 24, of Lafayette, killed Sept. 1, 2004, by enemy gunfire near Hawija.

•Marine Pfc. David P. Burridge, 19, of Lafayette, killed Sept. 6, 2004, in an explosion outside Fallujah.

•Marine Lance Cpl. Justin D. McLeese, 19, of Covington, killed Nov. 13, 2004, in a booby-trapped building in Fallujah.

•Marine Sgt. Jeffrey L. Kirk, 24, of Baton Rouge, killed Dec. 12, 2004, during operations in the Al Anbar province.

•Louisiana National Guard Spc. Craig L. Nelson, 21, of Bossier City, died Dec. 16, 2004, in a roadside bomb on the outskirts of Baghdad.

•Army Pfc. Lionel Ayro, 22, of Jeanerette, killed Dec. 21, 2004, in an explosion in Mosul.

•National Guard 2nd Lt. Christopher Barnett, 32, of Baton Rouge, killed Dec. 24, 2004, in an explosion near his vehicle in Baghdad.

•National Guard Spc. Bradley Bergeron, 25, of Houma, killed Jan. 6, 2005, in a blast while on an anti-mortar mission.

•National Guard Sgt. Christopher Babin, 27, of Houma, killed Jan. 6, in a blast while on an anti-mortar mission.

•National Guard Pfc. Armand Frickey, 21, of Houma, killed Jan. 6, in a blast while on an anti-mortar mission.

•National Guard Spc. Warren Murphy of Marrero, killed Jan. 6, in a blast while on an anti-mortar mission.

•National Guard Spc. Huey Fassbender III of LaPlace, killed Jan. 6, in a blast while on an anti-mortar mission.

•National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Kurt Comeaux, of Raceland, killed Jan. 6, in a blast while on an anti-mortar mission.

•National Guard Sgt. Robert Wesley Sweeney III, 22, of Pineville, killed Jan. 10, in a blast that hit his vehicle in Baghdad.

•National Guard Staff Sgt. Bill Manuel, 34, of Kinder, killed Jan. 10, in a blast that hit his vehicle in Baghdad.

•National Guard Staff Sgt. Jonathan Reed, 25, of Krotz Springs, killed Jan. 28 in an explosion while on patrol in Baghdad.

•National Guard Sgt. Christopher Ramsey, killed Jan. 28 in an explosion while on patrol in Baghdad.

•National Guard Sgt. Michael Evans, killed Jan. 28 in an explosion while on patrol in Baghdad.

•Army Sgt. Rene Knox Jr., 22, of New Orleans, one of three soldiers killed Feb. 13 when their vehicle overturned in Balad, Iraq.

•National Guard Spc. Seth Trahan, 20, of Crowley killed Feb. 19 in a landmine explosion on tank patrol in Baghdad.

•National Guard Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Olivier, 26, of Lafayette, killed Feb. 23 when a homemade bomb exploded while he was on ground patrol in Baghdad.

•National Guard Sgt. Paul Heltzel, 39, of Baton Rouge, killed March 15 when a car bomb exploded in Baghdad.

•National Guard Sgt. Lee M. Godbolt, 23, of New Orleans, killed when a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle he was in during a patrol in Baghdad.

•National Guard Sgt. Isiah J. Sinclair, 31, of Natchitoches, killed when a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle he was in during a patrol in Baghdad.
We must never forget them.

A Warning from a Voice of Sanity

Paul Krugman opens his Op-Ed piece this morning with what should become an important quote to catalogue:
Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst. The desire to show respect for other people's beliefs all too easily turns into denial: nobody wants to talk about the threat posed by those whose beliefs include contempt for democracy itself.
He then goes on to chronicle a checklist of actions beng taken to circumvent our way of life:
One thing that's going on is a climate of fear for those who try to enforce laws that religious extremists oppose. Randall Terry, a spokesman for Terri Schiavo's parents, hasn't killed anyone, but one of his former close associates in the anti-abortion movement is serving time for murdering a doctor. George Greer, the judge in the Schiavo case, needs armed bodyguards.

Another thing that's going on is the rise of politicians willing to violate the spirit of the law, if not yet the letter, to cater to the religious right.

Everyone knows about the attempt to circumvent the courts through "Terri's law." But there has been little national exposure for a Miami Herald report that Jeb Bush sent state law enforcement agents to seize Terri Schiavo from the hospice - a plan called off when local police said they would enforce the judge's order that she remain there.

And the future seems all too likely to bring more intimidation in the name of God and more political intervention that undermines the rule of law.

The religious right is already having a big impact on education: 31 percent of teachers surveyed by the National Science Teachers Association feel pressured to present creationism-related material in the classroom.

But medical care is the cutting edge of extremism.

Yesterday The Washington Post reported on the growing number of pharmacists who, on religious grounds, refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control or morning-after pills. These pharmacists talk of personal belief; but the effect is to undermine laws that make these drugs available. And let me make a prediction: soon, wherever the religious right is strong, many pharmacists will be pressured into denying women legal drugs.

And it won't stop there. There is a nationwide trend toward "conscience" or "refusal" legislation. Laws in Illinois and Mississippi already allow doctors and other health providers to deny virtually any procedure to any patient. Again, think of how such laws expose doctors to pressure and intimidation.

But the big step by extremists will be an attempt to eliminate the filibuster, so that the courts can be packed with judges less committed to upholding the law than Mr. Greer.

We can't count on restraint from people like Mr. DeLay, who believes that he's on a mission to bring a "biblical worldview" to American politics, and that God brought him a brain-damaged patient to help him with that mission.

What we need - and we aren't seeing - is a firm stand by moderates against religious extremism. Some people ask, with justification, Where are the Democrats? But an even better question is, Where are the doctors fiercely defending their professional integrity? I think the American Medical Association disapproves of politicians who second-guess medical diagnoses based on video images - but the association's statement on the Schiavo case is so timid that it's hard to be sure.

Everything Krugman says here is true. And it should frighten us all into action. I have never before in my 54 years been as alarmed about the safety of our Constitution as I am now. And I know I am not alone in this.

The New Pornography

The New York Times reports today:
The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups....
Privacy experts said the sale of the list was legal and even predictable, if ghoulish.

"I think it's amusing," said Robert Gellman, a privacy and information policy consultant. "I think it's absolutely classic America. Everything is for sale in America, every type of personal information."
Pamela Hennessy, an unpaid spokeswoman for the Schindlers, said she was initially appalled when she learned of the list's existence.

"It is possibly the most distasteful thing I have ever seen," Ms. Hennessy said. "Everybody is making a buck off of her."...

Ms. Hennessy, who operates the Schindlers' Web site, www.terrisfight.org, said the family had not released any of the names or e-mail addresses gathered there. "Obviously these people are enterprising, and they are taking advantage of this very desperate father," she said....

"I think it sounds a little unusual right now because of the situation where she is in the process of dying," said Richard Viguerie, another major conservative direct-mail operator. "If you came across this information six months or a year from now, I don't think you would give it too much thought."
I believe six months or a year from now it will still be an appalling obscenity. Must there be a price on every head? Do we have no sense of propriety? Do we have no shame?

Monday, March 28, 2005

I'll Probably Regret This, But...

Please check out this link. I realize once you've imbibed it, you may never come back, but that's a chance I have to take. I know I'll be visiting the residents there often myself.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Who's Victory?

Today, Jeff Jarvis has an insightful essay concerning the efforts and actions of the religious (sic) right.
Many say that the Schiavo episode is splitting the Republican party; others say is it splitting Democrats, too; others say it is dividing America. But I think something more fundamental is happening:

The religious right is separating itself from the rest of America. The theocrats may have finally gone too far too often.

They have been aided and abetted --- but ultimately undermined -- by a media that bought their PR and presented the loud voices of a few as the voice of the nation marching to the right and up to the altar. But the overdose of overdoing it that we're seeing on TV these last few weeks may just be the catalyst that causes a backlash, that reminds us that we are a secular nation of churchgoers and that we value separation of church and state over either church or state: That is our mainstream.

In the case of Terri Schiavo, we have heard angry, even frightening rhetoric from the religious right: people in Florida and in Congress accusing judges of murdering Schiavo; the Schindlers and their advocates, many of them ministers, turning on even their allies (even on Jeb Bush if he doesn't do enough to satisfy them, if he doesn't do the impossible); online advocates saying that the laws and the courts should be damned; and conservatives throwing over their political philosophy opposing federalism and government interference in service of their religious philosophy.
But he doesn’t stop there. He sees where all this has lead and is continuing to lead:
It's also about the FCC and censorship, where we have a few, a very few religious nannies trying to tell the rest of us what we cannot hear and see….

Of course, it's about abortion as well: Every time I drive my kids to their orthodontist, I pass what must be a clinic and see protesters standing outside not just protesting but trying to shock with their images and words. They don't appear to be merely protesting or just angry; they look extreme.

And it's about sex: At the same time they oppose abortion, the religious right opposes sex education beyond pushing abstinence with young people; in the age of AIDS, that's doubly dangerous….

It's about some people telling the rest of us how we should live -- and this comes from the people most resent being told how to live. It's self-righteous and shrill. And I'm betting all that is turning off more people than it is converting them. That is jumping the shark culturally.
And I personally hope this will be my last post having to do with Terri Schiavo until the poor lady passes. I'm sorry, but there are other things to life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Jesus' General's Desperate "Cri de Coeur"

Jesus' General has written this impassioned plea:

Rep. Tom DeLay
US House of Representatives

Dear Rep. DeLay,

As I read your words about Terri Schiavo,"She talks and she laughs and she expresses likes and discomforts," I was struck with the realization that this description could just as truthfully apply to the greatest president in the history of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

You have to do something to save him before it's too late. He has to be dug up as soon as possible.

We know Nancy won't do it, so you need [to] put legislation on the floor. You have to do it right now. You have to do it now for the Gipper.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

I just lost it.

More Judges Who Will Have to Go

The Guardian reports:
A federal appeal court today refused to order the reinsertion of the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman at the centre of a furious right-to-die battle.

In the latest round of extraordinary legal wrangling, a three-judge panel in Atlanta found by majority verdict that the parents "failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims".

"There is no denying the absolute tragedy that has befallen Mrs Schiavo," the ruling said. "We all have our own family, our own loved ones, and our own children. However, we are called upon to make a collective, objective decision concerning a question of law."
Why won't these people listen to our wise, compassionate leaders who know best, and simply do what they're told?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Getting Back to Basics

I have to confess these last few days have left me in the dumps, feeling lost and nearly hopeless. I have sought solace from the following passage:
The Beginning of the Sermon on the Mount
1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

The Beatitudes
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
And always there is the ultimate promise given to Julian of Norwich:
But all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
The end of this passion week is not Good Friday but Easter Sunday, the recollection of the Resurrection, God's final overwhelming covenant of compassion for His creation.

Another One of Them Activist Judges

This time it's a Federal judge who is ruling that Terri Schiavo should not have her feeding tube reinserted.

Guess he'll have to go soon.

Meanwhile, the only prayers flying up to God from our compassionate legislators are that Mrs. Schiavo doesn't die until Friday. That would be the ultimate "talking point."

Now that would be political capital for the Capitol.

Monday, March 21, 2005

We the People

An ABC News Poll states the majority of Americans believes there should be no role for Government interference in the Schiavo Case. That is, 63% of us support removing the feeding tube, and 60% of us oppose legislative action.

What must Michael Schiavo be going through? I don't believe for a minute I could withstand the virulence being directed at him as a politically-expedient scapegoat. When I hear the outraged accusations that he just wants to get this all over with so he can get on with his life, my gut tightens. He has been his wife's husband and legal guardian throughout the 15 years of this ordeal. Nothing was stopping him from divorcing her, but he did not do that. He has shouldered an unbearable, unchangeable burden.

Instead, we get hypocritical legislators speaking out in Christian words and symbols against allowing this pitiful, brainless woman to die. That is revolting sacrilege. That is blasphemy, the act of claiming for oneself the attributes and rights of God.

Makes You Weep

This morning's lead on AMERICAblog has some interesting things to say about what our fearless leader considers important. Such blatant, cynical hypocrisy.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Accepting the Good Judgments of Our Wise Leaders

I haven't commented on the Terry Shiavo case because it appalls me. Nevertheless I have to say something, if for no other reason than the fact that one must bear witness.

I have compiled a little table contrasting the things our government tells us are good against those things our government tells us are bad.

GOOD

BAD

Sending our sons and daughters to fight in an unjust war and face mental and physical maiming or death

Terri Schiavo

Prison executions

Terri Schiavo

Removing a breathing tube from a six-month old black baby boy in Texas against his parents’ wishes

Terri Schiavo

Preventing stem-cell research

Terri Schiavo

Screwing the people of the United States, many of whom voted for this “leadership”

Terri Schiavo


The list could go on, but I cannot. You take it from here.

In My Heart Always


I love you, mom. Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Straight to the Point

Can you guess who is speaking and who is being dished?
I always thought that fame would be great if it came with an off button.

Who wants to be photographed with a Queen who looks like she's dressed in 1980s Marks & Spencer? She should be stuck into a corset, plucked and dressed, given some heels and pushed out there doing it. She is appalling.

I always preferred Linda Blair. She is much more believable.

...he was saying, "I am a huge star and suddenly I've realised I am gay."

The English version was fine but the American one was taken out of our hands by that tank of a woman...

I think it is typical of her to be part of an organisation that buys God, as she doesn't like queuing like the rest of us.

Elton John called him one of the most important artists of our time. That's like comparing the Sugababes to Aretha Franklin.

I think the parents of these kids need to be dragged over the coals as well. When I was a kid my mother would never have let me go off and stay the night in some rich man's house. The furthest I went was Auntie Heather's next door.
You can find the answers here.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Jesus' General Explains It All

Jesus' General has been on a letter-writing tear all week. I wish I had this man's cojones, but, nah, I'm too meek for face-to-face confrontation. Thank God for manly men like the General.

I need to map a course to the Pacific Northwest to find the best routes and how long it would take to get there (I can't fly). I owe the General a pilgrimage. I've loved gladiator movies since I first saw Steve Reeves as a child and always desired to be the cute sidekick who blocks the spear aimed at our hero.

I hope I'm not too old now.

A Must Read

An interview with Senator Harry Reid at Raw Story:

I personally believe that much of what goes on in America today is governed by wealth and power. That if you look at what’s happened with the newspapers over the years, during the days of the founding fathers, they used to post newspapers in public squares and people who couldn’t read had the papers read to them. The Federalist Papers were a way of communicating; people read and learned. Well, when the radio came along, it changed it a little bit, but you still had the Fairness Doctrine so you didn’t have to worry. Really, the beginning came in the early 1950s; I think it was ‘52 or ‘53 when the networks decided to go to half-hour news programs. Then people stopped reading the newspapers even more. But on television you had the Fairness Doctrine.

What has happened in recent years, the Fairness Doctrine has been taken away, that is, equal time for pros and cons on an issue. And they also allowed the concentration of media power, so one station, one owner can own 1,200 radio stations. What this means is that wealth and power control most everything in this country. But one thing they do not control–wealth and power does not control the Internet. Through the Internet, regular ordinary people have a voice. That’s why I go out of my way to communicate any way that I can on the Internet and I think the blogs are a tremendously important way for the American public to find out what’s really going on.

The complete transcript is here.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

When Not to Submit to an Interview

From Salon, March 16, 2005.

At age 20, two-time U.S. National Figure Skating Champion Johnny Weir is America's best hope for a medal at this week's World Championships in Moscow...We met over coffee during his recent stay in New York to talk about the road to the Olympics, Russia's Evgeni Plushenko, and the challenge of drawing attention to the men's side of a sport historically dominated by women. Our conversation touched upon Weir's practice of Kabbalah, his love of fur, and his reverence for Paris Hilton.

What is it like to be so exalted at such a young age?

It's really interesting because a few years ago I had a lot of problems with my skating and with how things were going in my competitions and things, so a lot of people started to write me off ...

What was your point of inflection?

"Point of inflection?" 'Scuse me. But he answered it:

I had trouble in the nationals in Dallas, which is 2003, and I hit the, the wall, when I was competing.

Oh, I see.

You have a real interest in fashion. Who are some of your favorite designers? Did you watch "Project Runway"?

I don't watch TV. I just tune in for "The Simple Life." Have you seen it yet, with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie?

I saw Season 1. Not Season 2.

Season 2's done now, and they're on Season 3. So that's the only TV I watch.

Are you a Paris Hilton fan?

Yeah, I think she's hilarious....

Do you see yourself segueing into fashion?

I'd love to be a fashion designer. I think it would be an amazing experience and, um, I have so many ideas and just creative juices running all the time, and even if it's a flop, it's still something that I would like to try and pursue and just see what happens.

Hmm, "creative juices running all the time." Yeah, I've had those.

One of the materials that you like is fur ...

Yeah.

When is PETA just going to realize that fur is fabulous and drop this whole charade?

You know, animals wear fur coats, so I don't see any reason why I can't. It's discrimination, I think.

I think I may join them now.

You practice Kabbala.

Yes. My string actually fell off while I was up here, so I'm purged of all my negative energy ...

While you were where?

My string, my red string that I wear?

OK.

It fell off while I was in New York, so it means that I'm purged of my negative energy.

Up in heaven, I'm sure Saint John of the Cross must have found out by now that old dark night of the soul never needed to be so tough.

A lot of people in your position have this sort of paradox where, you're so famous and beloved, yet, when you look at their personal lives they don't have time to have anybody. How have you dealt with that?

Well, I'm seeing someone and it's been almost 13 months now, so that's the longest relationship I've had, and it's difficult at times because I don't get a lot of time away from skating when I can work on my relationship, and, um, it is tough. But I think if you really love somebody, it's not going to just fade away because you're gone for a little while. It's just something that will always be there, and always you can feel the love coming to you, and you can always give love back.

Wise, very wise.

When you win the gold medal in Torino, and you're on the podium, the DJ looks down, he's like: "Dude, we don't have the 'Star-Spangled Banner.' Tell me what to play." What would you have him play?

"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera.

Words fail me.

So you've got two nicknames: Tinkerbell and Simba. Right?

Yes.

Can you explain them?

Simba is just a name a friend has given me because for a while I had really long hair, and when I was skating, like, the pictures in the magazines and the newspapers would always be like, my hair sticking straight up the sides and straight up and I looked like a lion. So, it was like I was Simba, the Lion King. Because I'm small, I'm tiny, so I can be a lion cub. And then, Tinkerbell [skater] Nicole Bobek actually gave me on tour last year just because she says I kind of float around, like even when I'm on the ice and off the ice. I kind of float around and am very quick, and doing everything all at once and, I don't know. I guess she kind of thinks I'm like Tinkerbell.

I'm sure that's why Nicole Bobek gave him that nickname.

Isn't her [Michelle Kwan's] look a little dowdy?

A little bit. She's working with Vera Wang now.

Something makes me think Ms Kwan may soon gut this young man with an old scuffed skate.

What do you think of his [Evgeny Plushenko's] look?

I think he looks good. I think his costumes are interesting, and his programs are always interesting and I like his hair. Because my hair is really curly so it's hard to get it to, like, do anything. And he has nice blond, straight hair. And he looks different. He has a really big nose. And some people might say, "Oh, that's hideous and it's ugly," but I think it just makes him different and I think that's cool. So, I'm in extreme admiration for him and what he's done for our sport, and for men's figure skating. And, ah, he's definitely my favorite men's skater. Besides myself.

Doesn't he know what they say about big noses? I'm sure he does.

You know, here in the real world, I pass a neighborhood coffee shop every day on my way to and from work (another element of the real world). I see people this kid's age sitting at little tables reading, writing in notebooks, working on laptops. Maybe I'll interview one of them to get a better perspective on the new youth of America. Until then, somebody get Tinkerbell a handler.

Please.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

And Vegetables Aren't All We Impale


This year a popular "throw" was ladies' thongs. Posted by Hello

This, though, was not a lady.

The Spoils of the Hunt


Once the parade has passed, we take the cabbages, carrots, potatoes, and such, and impale them on our fences. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 14, 2005

That Ted!


Always the life of the party. Posted by Hello

I haven't posted since Saturday morning because I spent Saturday afternoon at the munificent manse of the Stringfellow-Crotty's on Magazine Street in the Upper Lower Irish Channel near to, but far enough away from, the lush Garden District. The occasion was the annual parading of the Uptown Drunkards' Hibernian Tottering Society.

The event was attended by the finest of the lower downtown set who proceeded to eat the Crotty-Stringfellows out of hearth and home. But not even they could finish off all the imbibables that the Stringcrotty-Fellows placed before them.

Ah, the street dancing, the nasty catcalls to all the wee lads and lassies passing by. What fun we had coercing young uptowners into delivering up to us their hard-won cabbages and carrots. We weren't really going to hurt them, you know. We simply vastly outnumbered them. And we were bigger.

By the end of the afternoon, we all searched in vain for the Crotchety-Stringers. They seemed to have taken refuge behind the lace curtains beyond their burglar bars.

Needless to say, since that time I have been in a somnolent state of exhaustion.

But a good time was had by all.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Notes on Visiting an Ole Bear in the Vieux Carre

If you take a chance on finding me in by buzzing my doorbell on a Friday night, it probably means I'm too tired to go out after a week of work. I will courteously let you in, but don't plan on staying all night.

Don't arrive drunk and then get drunker by drinking all the wine you find in my refrigerator.

Don't monopolize the conversation by insisting on remembering and detailing every pinky-sized penis you've encountered in your former active years. That only makes me self-conscious.

Don't grab one of my Nikons and try to take a picture of me since the one I took of you made you look old. First of all, you're drunk, you can't afford to replace the camera you're tossing around. Secondly, wait another year or so, that same picture will make you look young.

My mother spent a lifetime instilling a sense of manners in me that still today prevents me from throwing you out of my home. But she never told me not to put it on the Internet, so I might feel perfectly free to tell the world about you the next morning.

'Course, I still love you, punkin, so please come again.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Bastards Did It

Psalm 150
1: Praise ye VISA. Praise MASTERCARD in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2: Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3: Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4: Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5: Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6: Let every thing that hath breath praise VISA. Praise ye MASTERCARD.
Revised Republican Version

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

ABC News: Bill Clinton to Have Scar Tissue Removed

Turns out this isn't a new development:
In an interview with Associated Press Television News, Clinton said he knew before he went with former President George H.W. Bush to tour tsunami-devastated areas last month that he would be having the surgery. Doctors told him he would not be able to fly after the surgery, so he scheduled it after he returned.
And then he slept on the floor of the plane and let the old skydiving fart have the bed. What a miserable excuse for a man that Clinton is.

Link

Sellouts!

Paul Krugman has a must-read column in today's NY Times about the bankruptcy bill slithering around the Senate.

The bill would make it much harder for families in distress to write off their debts and make a fresh start. Instead, many debtors would find themselves on an endless treadmill of payments.

The credit card companies say this is needed because people have been abusing the bankruptcy law, borrowing irresponsibly and walking away from debts. The facts say otherwise.

A vast majority of personal bankruptcies in the United States are the result of severe misfortune. One recent study found that more than half of bankruptcies are the result of medical emergencies. The rest are overwhelmingly the result either of job loss or of divorce.

Personally, I've always believed that a corporation exists to sell a product to a customer for a profit, and that a government exists to serve and safeguard its citizens. Now - think about this - just who is selling what to whom?

You know the answer to that.

And you know who's going to get screwed.

Funny how Old Testament laws on lending, usury, and forgiveness of debts gets swept under plush Capital carpets, and the sincere Christian concepts of social justice and caritas get turned away at the door when Mammon makes demands.

Coach Accused of Licking Player's Cuts

I came upon this on my Earthlink start page:
HALSEY, Ore. - A state panel plans to investigate a high school football coach who acknowledged licking a bloody cut on the knee of one of his players....

Reed, 34, who also teaches science, acknowledged the incident last year after the parent's complaint....

Police investigated, but Reed was not arrested. "Sometimes there are actions that are socially unacceptable or bizarre that aren't necessarily criminal," Linn County Sheriff Dave Burright said....

The student whose knee was licked told police Reed had given team members a pep talk about a coach licking and healing injured players' wounds so they could get back in a game....

Team members urged Reed to do the same for a bleeding scab on the student's knee, and Reed did after asking permission.
Can he heal jock itch the same way?

Link

Monday, March 7, 2005

I Would Call It "Proper Raising"

It turns out that while touring Asia in the aftermath of that area's tsunami, former president Bill Clinton surrendered the airplane's only bed to former president George Bush.

Mr. Bush remarked that "he and Clinton are not close, but have been compatible on the tour, partly because Clinton respects his age."

How perceptive. And how tellingly oblivious to any knowledge about the younger president's recent heart bypass surgery.

You know, several years ago I cared for a life partner who had undergone this procedure. Although it is a remarkable, and now fairly routine, achievement of medical science, the recovery process is not easy, is painful, and can be quite chancy.

But I guess when you're 80 and entitled, you're okay with getting the bed.

Sleep well.

This Is for All the Weird People

If being weird and talented can land you a home in the south of France and continual rediscovery of your art, then let's all embrace him. The Guardian has a new article about R Crumb this morning. Gotta love him.

There's hope for all of us.

Click here for the full story.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Credit

Kevin Drum, in The Washington Monthly, has a commentary on an article from the Washington Post about credit card companies and their penalties.

This explains why I get so many letters telling me I have been pre-approved for exorbitant amounts of credit.

It also makes me understand a little why, several years ago, when I took out a loan to pay off my creditors, my rating plummeted.

Shame, shame, shame.

On the Other Hand, Science Continues to Amaze

The Ig-Nobel Award winners are touring Little Britain.
Among those appearing in the first British version of the Ig Nobel show are Robert Batty of Oban's Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, who has demonstrated that herring communicate by farting; Kees Moeliker, of Natuurmuseum Rotterdam, who documented the first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in mallard ducks and Chris McManus, of University College London, who, after studying hundreds of ancient Greek statues, found their left testicles are always depicted as larger than right ones - while in real males, the right is invariably bigger.
The link to the complete article from The Guardian is in the title to this post.

Aw, Say It Ain't So

From today's New York Times:
The Bush administration's secret program to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation has been carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency under broad authority that has allowed it to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or the State or Justice Departments, according to current and former government officials.
Click the title for the complete story.

Friday, March 4, 2005

They Loved Me in Switzerland in 2003

Like everyone else who sticks stuff on the web, I did a little vanity search on Yahoo just now and came across this site. Unfortunately, the link is to a website I have since abandoned, but the photo can still be found on my current photo site.

At least someone looks my way now and then. Not bad for an aging...whatever.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Waiting...


...for the Irish Channel Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Posted by Hello

Some Chuckles

The current New Yorker online has a funny article-ette by Paul Rudman, "Further Proof that Lincoln Was Gay." In it you'll come across such gems as:
When Lincoln was a boy, he would walk twenty miles through the snow every morning to buy magazines....

Lincoln liked to say, “All men are created equal, except at the beach.”...

When Lincoln was told that Lee had surrendered, he gasped and exclaimed, “Oh no she didn’t!”
Give it a look.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Man's Inhumanity to Man - A Matter of Manners, Plain and Simple

There's a lot of that going on today. But I'm feeling small this morning and just want to tell a short vignette I observed yesterday.

A little after noon, I went out for lunch to the Mandarin House Chinese Buffet, located in a little strip mall at the corner of Manhattan and Lapalco Boulevards in Harvey, Louisiana.

Sitting between the food and the cash register where you stop to pay before being seated, I noticed an elderly gentleman come in and order a meal. He was well-dressed and groomed. He had just paid for his meal when he realized the clerk had not asked if he wanted anything to drink. He stopped the clerk to tell him he would also like a soft drink to go with his buffet. The clerk took another dollar from the man's change and began to walk away, intending for the man to follow.

As they passed my table, the gentleman asked if he could sit in the smoking section.

The clerk replied, "Oh, yes. I can smell you."

The man flushed red and apologized. He apologized (!) and followed the clerk to an out-of-the-way table in the restaurant smoking section.

He didn't stay long. I don't believe he even ate. Within a few minutes, he passed my table on his way out of the restaurant. He held his head down and moved fast so no one would see him or even notice him in his shame.

Did I mention this happened at the Mandarin House Chinese Buffet, located in a little strip mall at the corner of Manhattan and Lapalco Boulevards in Harvey, Louisiana?
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