Wednesday, November 29, 2006

If I had any doubts when I voted for Jim Webb earlier this month . . .

they're gone now. I'm so glad I was able to help fire George Allen before I resigned my job.

From The Hill
"Son also rises in testy Webb-Bush exchange
By Emily Heil

President Bush has pledged to work with the new Democratic majorities in Congress, but he has already gotten off on the wrong foot with Jim Webb, whose surprise victory over Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) tipped the Senate to the Democrats.

Webb, a decorated former Marine officer, hammered Allen and Bush over the unpopular war in Iraq while wearing his son’s old combat boots on the campaign trail. It seems the president may have some lingering resentment.

At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing."

And from The Washington Post . . .

My president is a scumbag.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I am just so damn proud of Dubya . . .

The boy finally carried through on one of his promises about the Iraq war - he established a true market economy there!

From The Washington Post

"BAGHDAD, Nov. 25 — The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, connivance by corrupt Islamic charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded."

Way to go, F'in Idiot!

Take my life, please!

After a delightful period of being able finally to post comments on others' blogs, a brief, non-intimate encounter with Vicus and Ms. Kindness at her blog brought back a wonderful tale by Jackie Mason.

So, in close paraphrase:

[Frank Sinatra saved my life. One night at the Sands, four guys started beating and kicking me within an inch of my life. Just when I thought I was going to die, Frank walks by and says, "That's enough, boys."]

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nothing like a career shift to readjust one's perception

First, thanks to everyone for your concern. Mrs. FE's doing much better, except for the part of seeing more of me around the house. And I've felt a lot better with regular sleep - forgot what it was like to get seven hours a night.

I've also embarked on a fiction-writing career, or was that my resume? Fourteen years and nine months in the journalism biz. Damn shame, because I enjoyed doing it. I'll cry about it in a few more years, but it still hits hard when you spent that much time in a profession and have to leave it.

After I posted about my new job, I got another offer two days later with better benefits. Being a black-hearted, mercenary sort, I accepted and start next week. If all goes well, next week I'll be getting some of my state tax money back with 34 weeks of paid-tuition programming training starting in January. It's weird having covered all these programs and now to be starting one. Nothing like a workout for one's sense of irony.

And - not having to worry about laying out a weekly paper that draws the scorn of semi-illiterate, hateful, old, pseudo-patriotic blue-haired Daughters of the American Revolution and/or Confederacy - I've been able to let my thoughts wander a bit.

Listening to National Public Radio one morning, I heard a spot on linguistic heritage that reminded me why British aircraft manufacturers have always been far more literate and poetic than their American counterparts.

Case in point: the announcer launched into a brief discussion of the word 'welkin,' which happens to be a derivative of the old English world for cloud. As my synapses are wont to do, they provided a mini-epiphany answering the question I've had for decades - why in hell this was named as it was.

I think even Vicus might agree with me on this one.

I'm going back for another piece of mince pie now. Sorry if I haven't been able to post comments on your pages lately. My version of XP seems to have a twitch in it that keeps some comment pages from opening properly, but I'm overhauling another computer and should have full smartass capability back soon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I am mercifully free of the ravages of employment

Yes, it's true. As of 1109 Eastern Standard Time, 16 November 2006 anno domini, I am no longer in the editorial biz.

The short form is this: On the way to work Monday, I crippled my vehicle when I struck a rather sizeable and dense groundhog and caused damage to my oil pan. After limping home and garaging my van, I began utilizing the array of networking software installed in my laptop for just such an emeregncy so I could coordinate and build a newspaper from the discomfort of my own home.

Said software and network connections began displaying a series fo cascading failures in the subsequent 20 hours, including corrupted photo and page files, disappearing files, locked-up connections . . . . basically a house of horrors that I had warned about since last March.

After going to out flagship daily to get their IT people to fix my problems, I was able to put the papers to bed 10 hours late. I got home at 12:05 a.m. Wednesday after 36 hours straight of sheer terror, frustration and work.

Three hours after getting home, I had to take my wife to the emergency room for an excruciating bout of back pain. She was downed by the doctor for three days and put in line for an MRI next week. I took Wednesday as a sick day to care for her.

Upon my return to work Thursday, my group editor arrived 20 minutes later to inform me that our group publisher was on the way to fire me and that I should resign to ensure my re-employability with the corporation on the advice of the regional publisher. This I did, after consultations with the regional editor and assurances that I would be given preference for one of the hire-frozzen positions at the daily once they became thawed.

That evening, the regional publisher called me to ask about the situation that led to my resignation. After hearing how I was edged out - apparently without his knowledge as told to the contrary, how computer problems had gotten that bad without his knowledge, and how the group publisher had ordered that we editors were to post reports with only glowing positives of how we were improving things, he was not particularly amused and said he would investigate and see what this would hold for my future.

So, armed with questionable assurances of a better day and somewhat stronger assurances that the group publisher now faces the loss of a significant quantity of flesh, I have managed to find a job as a dispatcher for satellite TV technicians - a job that could allow me - if successful - to apply for and enroll in a free 34-week college program in computer programming tailored to Northrop Grumman's specific needs for computer programmers in our region.

And if there's any justice in the cosmos this month, my former group publisher will also be reconsidering his professional future.

Physically, this is the best I've felt in more than a year.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


HE made the challenge a few days ago, and now I've reverted into a level of sociopathy adequate to this task.

Ground rules: The following songs have already been wielded (in much the same way as hazardous waste) as examples of the worst to offer in pop music, so please don't bother bringing them up in this post -we're looking for all new bad stuff:
Achy Breaky Heart
Ice Ice Baby
Show No Mercy
Barbie Girl
Having My Baby
Karma Chameleon
Pico and Sepulveda
Anything by William Shatner
Who Let the Dogs Out
Bad Blood
Muskrat Love
I Go to Rio
I Will Always Love You
My Way
Sometimes When We Touch
Lyin' Eyes
Ebony and Ivory
anything by Lionel Richie
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy

Otherwise, anythng goes. Bring on your worst >%^D>
And now, to get this little corner of perdition rolling . . .

Cool Places

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Read it here, folks!

I hope Robert Gates hasn't changed a lot from his CIA days. He had a fairly good rep as a stand-up guy who thought a lot before opening his mouth to say so much as 'good morning.'

I'm making the cheese ball. Who's brining chips, crackers, dip, beer, booze, etc?

Just sign up here.

YESSSSSSSS!!!!! One worthless bastard down and several more to go!

I only wish that more folks had gotten out and voted, but

A great big swipe of gratitude to everyone who did, regardless of your political or social stripe!!!

Sitting here in Virginia, I'm glad that the Senate vote so far shows such a close margin between Webb abd Allen. First, it shows that Allen knew not of what he claimed about Virginia being solidly behind his version of traditional family and social values. When half of your participating electorate says 'blow it out your ass!' then it's time to realize just how divisive a numbnuts you've been.

If, by some stroke of fate, Allen pushes for and wins a recount, then it still ought to be a solid gut punch against the asinine, dismissive, 'with-me-or-against-me" attitude he's shown as governor and senator. Well, what goes around comes around and usually with an extra hundred knots of velocity.

It's also good for Webb, if the numbers hold, because it reminds him that he's got to be a senator for all Virginians and for the entire country as well. Somehow, I think he may well know that and this Commonwealth will be better off for it.

And for my country? I'm glad that it's such a close split and that some of the worst offenders against centrist government - Rick Santorum, there's a good reason why there was a movement to make your name into jargon for a disgusting byproduct of some recreational activity - bit the big one.

I'm going back to work - see y'all soon.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

More reasons to get out and vote Tuesday . . .

I wish Molly Ivins was in my family.

"With pundits in Washington, who just a few weeks ago were claiming the Democrats would likely take the house by a razor-thin margin, now victoriously claiming they all along knew it would be a wipeout, I just feel that overconfidence juice starting to kick in. "Maybe 20 seats, maybe 40 seats" ... yeah. People could think: "So that's settled. I don't even really have to vote." Folks, step up and make sure there's some control on this regime.

May I remind you what this election is about? Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, unprecedented presidential powers, unmatched incompetence, unparalleled corruption, unwarranted eavesdropping, Katrina, Enron, Halliburton, global warming, Cheney's secret energy task force, record oil company profits, $3 gasoline, FEMA, the Supreme Court, Diebold, Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004, Terri Schiavo, stem cell research, golden parachutes, shrunken pensions, unavailable and expensive health care, habeas corpus, no weapons of mass destruction, sacrificed soldiers and Iraqi civilians, wasted billions, Taliban resurgence, expiration of the assault weapons ban, North Korea, Iran, intelligent design, swift boat hit squads, and on and on.

This election is about that, but much more -- it's about honor, dignity and comity in this country. It's about the Constitution, which gives us this great nation. Bush ran on a pledge of "restoring honor and integrity" to the White House. Instead, he brought us Tom DeLay, Roy Blunt, Katherine Harris, John Doolittle, Jerry Lewis, Richard Pombo, Mark Foley, Dennis Hastert, David Safavian, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed, Karl Rove and an illegal and immoral war in Iraq. People, it's up to you."

A little Sunday morning breather

Despite my knuckle-dragging, American ways, I still occasionally enjoy something a little less intense than running around calling for the legitimate, Constitutional overthrow of the current administration.

So enjoy a little Paris Combo before the final sturm und drang of the midterm elections . . .

Living Room


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Get off your asses and vote!!

I'm going to be working 70 miles from my home voting precinct on November 8, so I got up Saturday morning and cast an absentee ballot at my local registrar's office. She looked as bored as the Maytag repairman until I showed my ugly-as-a-dog mug at her office door, and I know enough about voter turnout in my burg to know that there's plenty of business for last-day absentee voting

Whether you're going to be in town and near your polling place on Nov. 8, or out of town that day, you still have an opportunity today in most U.S. states to make sure you still have a say in your local, state or Congressional races. I don't care about your views - just make damned sure you vote!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

and at Cherrypie's insistence, People Collection facts

I just about pulled a muscle trying to think of five facts about me, but here goes . . .

1) Despite being a professional journalist, I have never taken a journalism class in except for a school newspaper elective in seventh grade.

2) I met George McGovern when I was in grad school - it was pretty underwhelming.

3) I had a beer with Tiny Tim as he played and sang a few bars of "On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine." This was a year before he experienced a career resurgence as a Diet Pepsi spokesman and then died in his sleep. I wasn't around for that, however.

4)I started out my higher education career in pre-engineering with the idea that I'd join the Air Force as an electronic warfare officer in Wild Weasel flak supression aircraft. That career choice would have entailed being the willing target of surface-to-air missiles while having the attitude that I could spoof them with gear from the same company that made TI-30 calculators. Luckily I couldn't hack calculus, even with the help of a TI-55 calculator.

5) The index, middle and ring fingers on my right hand are parallel even when moderately splayed. This comes from having been an archery enthusiast in my teen years. I didn't have the wrist-finger coordination to use a hook-loop release and thus induced a minor deformity from having to shoot with a three-finger pull and release.

Cherry - I actually enjoyed this little exercise but I'll deny it up and down to everyone else ;^D>

It's a weird, manic, exhilarating time

Or else I'm really turning into an asshole.

Monday - In the morning I'm covering the investigation of a man who mamaged to shoot his three brothers-in-law with two 12-gauge shotguns at a range of 30-40 yards before the men manage to get more than a few feet out of their pickup truck. One died at the scene, another died a short while later at a local hospital, and the other survived. At that point I'm not sure whether to be horrified at the carnage or be impressed with the suspect's artistry with a shotgun at that range.

Monday night - I'm supposed to be finishing off a newspaper, but instead I'm standing in the middle of the wreckage from a collision between a Chevy Blazer and a Dodge pickup, covering the death of an apparently stupid young man whose dead hand was still clutching the cell phone he was using when he crossed four lanes of traffic. Five members of the family in the truck survived. The four-month old daughter in the truck died Tuesday morning.

Tuesday - Despite having to stay up till 3:45 a.m. that morning since I had to play reporter and layout editor, I was feeling pretty decent because I actually got three hours of sleep before I had to make a 70-mile drive to send pages to the press. And despite four different kinds of software glitches, the paper actually sent to press. I made it home by 9 p.m. without killing any trick-or-treaters either.

Wednesday - I wielded my staff like a claymore (either imagine me swinging a big honkin' sword or turning my newsroom properly with "this side toward enemy." Needless to say, we'll have a full paper and, if all goes well, a local electoral board member will have massive heartburn and look especially stupid.

And now I've finally gotten my laptop rigged for satellite radio and I'm listening to Astrud Gilberto and Walter Wanderley.

This is one of the stranger three-day stretches I've had in a while . . .