Thursday, October 26, 2006

Only one problem with this . . .

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

I wear orange on St. Paddy's Day just to be different >B^D>

Thanks Laura E - who's yer daddy?

And since it was recenty brought to my attention that the McCartney-Mills split is coming to a rolling boil, here's a quick retrospective from my May archive:

Top ten specifics of Heather McCartney’s divorce filing:

10) Paul mocked me by buying me a DVD remastering of “The 39 Steps”

9) Kept snickering when he said “this lager doesn’t have enough hops in it.”

8) Inflicted mental cruelty by repeated playing of “Band on the Run”

7) Said he married me because he was a leg man

6) Said on several occasions that there was something wrong but that he couldn’t peg it.

5) Pet name for me: Ahab

4) Friends made cryptic “Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo” remarks in my presence (go watch the movie – it’ll come to you.)

3) Opened lingerie drawer – half my stockings tied off

2) Told me I was a natural for base 5 arithmetic.

1) Said we were a natural for the three-legged race at the Apple corporate picnic

I'll be at the tenth circle of hell if you need me . . . .

Monday, October 23, 2006

The dangers of electric corkscrews and Brazilian racetracks

I blame (or maybe credit?) Ziggi and Vicus for inducing a chronic case of smutmongery in myself.

Point in case, while trying to lay out an impromptu 'hunting page,' I stumbled across this tidbit from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website:

"Peak gobbling in Virginia would normally take place in early May based on gobbling surveys taken before we started spring gobbler hunting. Peak gobbling typically would coincide with peak nest incubation. However, gobbling rates decline as the spring season progresses because of harvests and reduce gobbling due to hunting pressure."

Thank God I wasn't doing a birdwatching page with a section on swallows . . .

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Okay, enough with the fatigue . . .

It's 11:20 p.m. EST, Thursday, I've spent enough time going bleary-eyed with work.

I came home today and realized that I'd damned near become one with the work computer, so I did the male equivalent of knitting. I sat down with two ziploc bags of roadwheels for a model tank, sanded and scraped off the molding seams and them proceeded to chop, scuff, scrape and chip the "rubber" parts of the wheels to make them look like tank wheels look like after a few days in the field.

And now I'm here, back, slightly refreshed and slightly less undead than I was two days ago. Amazing what some quality time with a knife can do, as Jack the Ripper probably once said.

And, to get in the Halloween spirit, may I recommend that you go to and watch the two free episodes of "Dexter"? They were hilarious, warped, dark and in the end just like a Superboy comic book.

The next few moments may seem like free verse or stream of conscious, given the catching up I've done with the world today.

Kim Il Jong says he's sorry he detonated the bad nuclear device and that he wants to kiss and makeup with the round-eyed devils - namely us. Somehow I think the conversation between the PRNK and the PRC delegate yesterday went something like . . . . "You nutty little Stalinist s**t! Set off another of those g*******D and YOU'RE going to know how the Americans felt in 1951 when they got too close to the Yalu!"

And after Dear Leader had a hairbrush taken to his ass, Jong probably snuffled a bit for being such a bad megaomaniac.

Return here for the nexr episode of "I gotta get a real job."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Thanks to Vicus . . .

for highlighting the "One Day in History" project.

In the last few days, I have had a 73-year old woman accuse me of being most un-American and unappreciative of how good I have it in America for my printed comments expressing a severe lack of confidence in my national leaders and their choices of international action. I have also been challenged to pray for my leaders, the soldiers they send into harm's way for whatever reasons they chose, and for my country.

While I won't submit the above to the One Day in History site, I will submit the following.

After a day in which my patriotism and support for our armed forces has been questioned, I remembered a day in Cornwall 38 years and six months earlier.
I was just shy of six years of age, a student at Trebisker School near the closed RAF St. Eval, and the son of a U.S. Navy petty officer stationed at Naval Weapons Facility St. Mawgan.

April of 1968 was also the end of "Prague Spring" and the beginning of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

At the time, I wondered why my father disappeared for a couple of weeks and was told by my mother that he had to work and would be home soon.

Naval Weapons Facility is another way of saying 'nuclear arsenal.'

It wasn't until I was just starting high school in Virginia in 1976 that the significance of April 1968 really appeared to me. The stories I heard when my father saw me looking at a picture of a nuclear weapon in a modeling magazine added an extra chill as he recalled how he spent those days in April helping fuse and arm nuclear torpedoes and depth charges for loading on a round robin of U.S. Navy patrol planes cycling through St. Mawgan and back to places north to begin covering the North Sea.

That's my day in history - a little reflection and a strong instance of pity for some ignorant old woman who thinks blind faith and patriotism are far more acceptable than a desire for the truth.

Tomorrow, when Vicus does regale us with a story about men with rectally-borne turnips, I shall have a historical account of Romans, statutes against adultery, and black radishes.

And I'll still pity that woman, for she knows damn little of whence she speaks.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A nice, long week

For those who were checking on me, thanks.

Monday went off to a 'wonderful' start - we had a local kid killed in Iraq a week ago today. That threw work into an extended tailspin.

Fast forward to Friday. I'm finishing off a special section that got advanced a week. I get an e-mail from upper management that a person - an unspecified relative of an employee at my paper - had called to complain about my column on the dead soldier and how he had shown devotion to duty but that our current leadership was undeserving of the sacrifice and sense of duty show by our soldiers.

The employee who took the call - I have no idea if said employee was related to the caller - was asked to be referred to my supervisor. Instead of referring the caller to my group editor, the employee referred than to the regional publisher.

Draw your own conclusions - I'm still thinking.

The notes of that conversation - attached to the e-mail - acuused me of being un-American and that I should be sent by boat to North Korea. The management sending the e-mail said he tended to agree, and that he was inviting the person to write a letter to be published to that effect.

That e-mail was the first inkling I had of this. No discussion. No request for information from me.

Happy Friday the 13th.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hey everybody, party at my country!!

I wish I'd known this so I'd have time to make one of my famous cream cheese-dried beef-chopped onion-chopped pecan-Worcestershire-garlic-Tabasco cheese balls, but . . . .

There's $20 million in the U.S. FY 2006-07 budget for an Iraq victory celebration!!

Yes, I heard it from National Public Radio this weekend, even if Fox News says they never get anything right because they use basic tools like journalistic integrity, multiple sources, fact checking and interviewing all sides in a story.

Give me a couple of secs to stop laughing . . . .

$20 million for a victory party. When's the Nuremburg party start? And where's Albert Speer, Jr. going to build all the memorials to the Republicans? Hope he's got plenty of statues of nubile young male pages to inspire future generations of molestation victims working to further the Reich's . . . oops, I meant the Republic's fight for traditional family values and against child predators . . .

I kill myself . . . .

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I tag every American citizen reading this blog to . . .

post the embed to this clip (Thanks, Rain) on their websites and to tag other bloggers to post it, and so on.

Here's the YouTube link:

Copy and paste the embed link on your Blog, and paste the YouTube link above with it so others can find it and embed it.

Whether you're a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or any other stripe, if you believe in the fundamental freedoms and rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, I fail to see how you can argue with what Keith Olbermann says.

This is not a chain letter. I fully agree with what Olbermann says on this, as an American citizen first, a parent a close second, and a journalist a close third.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Dance Party, 10-06-06: Geeks and glasses

Although with a theme like that, dese guys'd probably kick my expansive posterior.

Marshall Crenshaw

Elvis Costello "Chelsea"

Donnie Iris

According to the news . . .

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert's supporters are rallying around him amid calls for Hastert's resignation.

Let them rally - it makes a bigger target.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Any more tags and I'm going to have to get a bigger ear . . .

Ziggi put me on the musical spot, so here's 10 songs - not necessarily favorites and with the thankful omission of "Having My Baby" - that have some meaning in my cold, gray, insignificant life:

"The Third Man" theme - Anton Karas
I first saw the movie on PBS in high school, and I just got caught up in how the music mixed with the images of a post Hapsburg Vienna and the hunt for Harry Lime.

"The Girl I left Behind"
As I got immersed in getting my history degree, "Breaker Morant" was among the film list for my British imperialism course. This late 19th/early 20th century tune - the equivalent of modern-day pop as were so many other pieces in the movie - made me realize that really not all that much has changed in popular music. And it's still a catchy little song a hundred years later.

"The Fez" - Steely Dan
Listening to this as a 14-year old, one wondered with not a little salaciousness just what it was that Donald Fagen wasn't going to do without the fez on, no no.

"On Broadway"
Even though I was 6, I still remember the television commercial for - was it Radio Free Europe or Voice of America? - with the eastern European expatriate walking the streets of New York and coming into work to read the news to secret listeners behind the Iron Curtain. George Benson really screwed that song up when he remade it.

"Tradition" - from 'Fiddler on the Roof'
I'm not much on show tunes, but I've always liked this one. Hearing Topol sing it again at Wolf Trap in 1989 just made it better.

"I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You" - Patti LuPone, from "Evita"
I never liked the movie version of Evita - it was too wrapped up in its stars and not in the creepy, Gothic mystique of Eva Peron, but the original stage version and soundtrack were like a Faulkner story or something out of Tennessee Williams. Again, I'm not a big show tune fan per se, but how could one not be enthralled by this combination of the erotic and Machiavellian cynicism? It certainly crystallized my view of much of what I see.

"Aja" - Steely Dan
My first serious girlfriend kept my copy of the album - we played the title track a lot when we were alone.

"Onward Christian Soldiers"
I spent second grade in a Christian school in Florida, and we sang this every morning after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I remember it was hard to sing then, and 39 years later I still wonder just how the title reconciles with what Christianity is supposed to be. One's sense of irony needs a workout whether young or old, I suppose. the song gave me no comfort then and it gives even less comfort now.

"All Day and All of the Night" - The Kinks
This is what I think of when I think 'rock and roll' Less than three minutes long but with more energy and everything that scares one's parents than any album length drum and guitar solo. Every time I hear it I still feel the same as if I was a teenager again.

"In the Hall of the Mountain King" - from "M"
In the movie "M," Peter Lorre plays an overcoat-and-fedora clad child molester/killer who whistles this piece as he searches for his victims. The whistling builds as he gets closer to his prey. To this day, I think of this piece when I see or hear news of a missing, molested or dead child.

That was a cool breeze from hell . . .

After the last three days, it just seemed so appropriate . . .

Everybody sing along now . . . . .

Monday, October 02, 2006

This is what's going in my paper this week.

I've been a bit manic the past day or two as I was thinking this over . . .

It was an autumn day in 1976 and I was sitting in our high school library in Norfolk, reading a magazine.
Since it was in a Navy town, the school had a pretty good-sized JROTC program and the library reflected it with some professional journals such as the Naval Institute Proceedings. I was reading a copy that day and paying special attention to a piece based on interviews with several POW's who had returned from North Vietnam the previous year.
Among those interviewed were Everett Alvarez and John McCain, and they and some others described just what it was like to be beaten, stretched into unnatural positions, malnourished and used as propaganda material.
One of the former prisoners illustrated the article with the starkest, most frightening pen-and-ink drawings of American prisoners being bound, beaten, having their arms stretched out of their sockets, shackled into excruciating positions. The words from those prisoners made the illustrations even more sickening.
In later years, I read more on how prisoners of war and captured 'enemy combatants' found themselves beyond the pale of international protections - black American soldiers and airmen who disappeared in the 'custody' of the SS; American prisoners tortured and brainwashed by the North Koreans; mass graves in the former Yugoslavia; and eventually Abu Ghraib and 'rendition' of terror suspects to countries with supposedly less respect than we have for the niceties of international law.
And after all that time, I still remember that magazine article and its sketches.
Anyone who hasn’t been away on a wilderness hunting trip or in a coma the last few months has probably heard Mr. Bush demanding the authority to decide who’s an enemy combatant, what’s torture and what’s not, and whether a prisoner has the right to contest his or her confinement.
And during that debate, I’ve still remembered those sketches of American pilots trussed up like poultry and pulled and stretched until they screamed and passed out before they were awoken and given the same abuse again and again.
Now, our Congress has given a sitting President a power that no president in my lifetime has had so openly - the power to judge just how much pain constitutes torture.
Sixty years ago, America, Britain, France and the Soviet Union put Nazis to death at Nuremburg for crimes against humanity. Scores more were convicted and imprisoned despite their defense that they were following orders.
Out of the Nuremburg trials came a fundamental priciple that American soldiers had a duty to refuse unlawful orders when they violated American or applicable international law. Yes, there were violators, but there was a system to make some attempt to bring them to justice.
Now that system is a pen-stroke away from disappearing.
I think I’m going to see more pen-and-ink drawings in the coming years.

What's a grecian urn?

100 drachma on a good day.

On Mohandas K. Gandhi

Gandhi, as most of you well know, was a powerful advocate of non-violent civil disobedience and much of the backbone of de-colonization in the 20th century.
Gandhi’s personal life after his initial years as an attorney speaks volumes of his commitment to basic human justice. From making his own homespun for his clothing, his decision to go barefoot or with extremely simple footwear took its toll on his feet. He embraced the Hindu religion and beliefs, using its symbolism and mysticism to reinforce his message of human rights and justice for all. Adopting the traditional diet of India’s lower castes also affected his personal hygiene and physical health to some extent, but his sincerity and commitment to his religion and way of life left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was a super-calloused, fragile mystic blessed with halitosis.

It's Monday, and if I have to suffer . . .

John and Martha meet and Martha is overwhelmed by John's sense of poetry; especially his love for the Romantic movement.

Martha swoons as John recites Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Shelley, and the two soon wed.

John's poetic commitment at first sustains the love both feel for each other, but after a few months, the constant recitation starts to wear thin on Martha.

One morning, things came to a head as Martha came down for breakfast and John was in the middle of perhaps his 1,000th recital of "Ode to a Grecian Urn."

"Can't you stop it and speak in prose for once in your infernal life?" Martha screams.

John replied: "If you can't stand the Keats, get out of the hitchin'."