Saturday, February 22, 2003

My wife and I are trying to sift through all the digital music channels we have to make a good CD of Big Band music for Nana when we go down next week. I've been downloading Glenn Miller, the Andrews Sisters, and Bing Crosby all afternoon. Oh, and let's not forget Ol' Blue Eyes hisself...

My wife is asking why she's paying so much for DSL, and I try explaining that I cannot download a song that no one has ever troubled to digitize and offered for upload to the Internet. I offer examples of being able to download the song in less time than it takes to actually listen to the friggin' song.

She's trying to write down various lists of musical styles she finds intriguing. What this means for your humble correspondent (that means me, guys) is that I am listening to her sampling different kinds of music. Manwhile my brain is trying to formulate this missive while listening to her going back and forth in the digital music channels (from Big Band to Reggae to Hip Hop to Alternative Rock to Classical to Light Opera to Country to Salsa to Mariachi to Tejano to Big Band again...).

Anything I recognize, my mind can't help but try to place the title and artist (I'm pretty good with music from the mid-sixties through the early eighties, and I can still quote largish portions of the lyrics to Roger Miller's "King of the Road"), which in its turn distracts my brain from trying to keep track of what my fingers are doing. Added on to which is the fact that I had to take a healthy dose of pain medication and I'm lucky to keep a train of thought, so bear with me. I can keep track of multiple thought tracks but my spelling is going to suffer for it, which slows me down in a perceptible fashion. Maybe not noticeable to you, since all you see is the finished product (or at least the beta version), but I notice it.

Anyhow we're still jumping from Dinah Shore to Billie Holliday to Bob Segar to Melvin & the Bluenotes to... oops, we're back to television now, so maybe I can finish this now...

I have a list of songs I have to go download, so I'm going to be busy for a while. Wish me luck!
Sorry about the long delay today, but I had a bit of a tough day. I had to go lie down for a few hours because I was hurting so bad. My wife was a little concerned for me, but I'm better now.

I swear, I was sitting at my 'puter, and a wall of pain hit like a NFL middle linebacker. Just, "BAM!!", and I'm out of the game for a few hours.

Anyhow, I was scanning around, and I get to Michele's site and read a mention of something she's been working on for the past few days. About all that is right about America, and one of her regular visitors (and a blogger in his own right) named Solonor took it all over, and sorted all of the entries into states and regions. With no further ado, I present What's Right With America.

Go read it. Poke around. Enjoy. I'll be back in a few...
I found a most amusing little entry over at Diffuse Shadows about Arabic Names. I still can't read it without laughing. I was laughing so hard, I tried to read it to my wife three times. (She finally got tired of watching me break into laughter, and pushed me out of the way to read it herself. She actually chuckled.)

It also contains the very interesting link to Arab Naming Practices, for those who might be curious as to what kinds of names Arab Muslims use, and why. (And why, sometimes, the fictitious names on The West Wing are considered blasphemous to real Arabs...)

There is some more intriguing stuff linked there...Poke around a bit.
My mother-in-law reports that an earthquake woke her up early this morning, and after doing a little research at the US Geological Survey (USGS), I found that it was a 5.4-magnitude quake at about 4:19 this morning... It never woke either of us up, but I don't know about my neighbors.

I've been able to sleep through 5 years on a Perry-class frigate and a Spruance-class destroyer.

Funny thing though... when I was living in the barracks back at Pinecastle, I had a roommate, and on my occasional days off, I would be sleeping late (I think Heinlein was right when he said, "Happiness lies in getting enough sleep."), and they would hold room inspections. If it were my roommate entering the room and moving around, I would sleep through it, but if it were an inspector, I would be awake and up before they had finished opening the door. Maybe not fully dressed, but that's their problem, not mine, right? LOL

Maybe my "subconscious sentries" could tell just by the sound of their respective keys. I dunno, I was always sleeping and ... well, I just woke up.

We were supposed to go visit the in-laws this morning but Nana (she wants to be called "Nana", and since she's a great-grandmother, I am happy to call her whatever she wants to be called) isn't feeling completely up to snuff, and since we get to go down next weekend for a granddaughter's baptism ceremony, I hope they are okay with us putting it off until next weekend. Getting a new car can get expensive, what with payments added onto a budget already stretched thin, and making the trip twice on consecutive weekends eats up potential work, not to mention gas money...

I'm going to scout around and see if there's something interesting to blog about today (besides the obvious Saddam appeasing anti-American treacherous suicide targets "War Tourists"). Keep checking back... :-)

Friday, February 21, 2003

I'm still fighting the computer. Trying to archive some data so as not to lose it all when I have to re-format my hard drive. I've got a 20Gb HDD (plus a 60Gb HDD, used as a Data Drive), and I have been having some problems with my computer freezing up from time to time (I think I may have mentioned this before). I would just dump everything to CD and format, replacing data block for data block, but if it's a software problem, I need to track down the common cause(s), such as "which primary (RAM consuming) programs were running at the time?" and "what was the last thing I asked the computer to do?" and "which TSR (Terminate-and-Stay-Resident) programs do I have running right now?". Things like that.

I'm still getting echoes from the tremenjous traffic spike that Steven den Beste sent me the other day, and it appears that I have been getting a few repeat visitors, and even a nice mention from the site called 'Diffuse Shadows' (Thanks, by the way!). But just like the last time I had a traffic spike, it dropped off the next few days, but leveled again at a higher average than before.

So I hope that means I'm doing something right. Each mention in a major player's blog gets me a huge pulse, and increased numbers of people who like what I'm doing.

Either that or it's, "Come take a look at this weirdo..."

No matter your reasons, I'm glad you're here. Come back again, sometime soon...
Michele, of A Small Victory (the newest Favored Link in the left column), has created a drinking game for Sunday night's Grammy Awards show. Since I don't drink myself (even though I have occasionally served as a bartender), I can only encourage it as a way of numbing the pain. I'm probably going to be ignoring the Grammys, because I usually watch Charmed, then Alias (while taping Law & Order: Criminal Intent), and then rewinding the tape and catching L&O:CI (making sure to skip the commercials), and then South Park at 11...

But since my digital cable system doesn't have Sunday night's schedule available yet, I'm not sure whether any of those programs are going to be on that night. Disney may decide to re-run "Fantasia", followed by "Toy Story 2" (since they own ABC), and there's no telling what NBC is gonna do... I'll figure it out tomorrow morning.
I just read the Morning Comics over at American RealPolitik, and they never fail to make me chuckle. Go check 'em out. Tell 'em I sent you over. (I'm saving up for that new brain transplant for Gray Davis. I expect to get it at some kind of a discount, because his current brain is still in its pristine "never been used" condition, but it's still gonna be expensive.)
News that poor Jesica Santillan has suffered "severe and irreversible brain damage" due to swelling and bleeding in her brain has just broken. I think that the insurance company will take a pass on this one, because the insurance policy probably doesn't cover clerical errors regarding blood types (Aren't they supposed to check this stuff just before doing the transplant? it only takes a few moments to check blood type.) An ancillary question is, "How many clerks are going to lose their jobs over this one?"

I predict a HUGE lawsuit and a sealed out-of-court settlement not long thereafter. The lawyers are probably knifing each other for the chance to be the one to sign the family up... Maybe Jesse Jackson will be the unofficial spokes-minority, demanding to know why a white child would receive better standards of care, and that maybe Bob Jones University had a graduate on staff who was a closet racist. Or something equally inane...

Did you hear about Jesse's most recent display of arrogance? It was reported that he had driven up to an official building of some sort, and as he got out of his car, he ordered the police officer standing on the sidewalk to park his car. The officer (reportedly) actually looked over his shoulder (as if to verify that he was the one being spoken to in such a manner), then just shook his head in disgust, turned his back and walked away... Good for him. If only all Americans treated Jesse that way, maybe he would get the point. Not likely, though. He's gotten too used to having everyone around him toady up to him. (I was gonna say "suck up", but only his mistress actually does that...)
Good morning to one and all. Except for you. You know what I mean, so don't look at me, mister...

I'm kidding.

Anyhow, my sympathies go out to the families of the 60 people who died during a pyrotechinic disaster in a club in Rhode Island. I have a few questions, though. First, can anyone explain how they managed to find 60 people who wanted to actually see Whitesnake in concert? In Rhode Island? On a school night? Many of us would have gladly killed a stranger to go to one of their concerts many years ago when Tawny Kitaen was still dating the lead singer. Not because they enjoyed the music, but because they might get to see Tawny in that white dress... But today? Tawny (who is recently divorced from baseball player Chuck Finley) looks like a cross between Joan Rivers and the Elephant Man.

UPDATE: My mistake, the band is not "Whitesnake", it was "Great White". I tend to get all those "big hair" bands mixed up. I apologize to all who might have been offended by me proving that I'm human... :-)

Second, the head of Islamic Jihad has denied any connection between his group and the USF professor, Sami Al-Arian. (I'm never sure of the spelling of that name, but Yahoo is using this variant, so I'll be fine now.) First, Sami is accused of being the "alleged" (I hate that word) head of the American version of the Palestinean Islamic Jihad, not the Islamic Jihad. He also denies that Islamic Jihad will target American interests when America invades Iraq. (Isn't this guy risking the equivalent of excommunication in Islam? Didn't some imam issue a fatwah declaring it every Muslim's duty to attack America and Americans? Didn't lots of them?)

Anyhow, that's not the point. The point is that when "Islamic Jihad" says they are not affiliated with "Palestinean Islamic Jihad", that's kinda similar to the Augusta (Maine) Boy Scouts (Troop 603) claiming they have absolutely nothing to do with Troop 162 in Augusta (Georgia). (You know, what with the same motto of "Death To Israel Be Prepared" and all that...)

Not to ramble, but I made my semi-famous Barbecue Glaze Meatloaf last night, and I can humbly say that I out-did myself... It was so moist and tender, my wife almost swooned. The secret is to let your hamburger almost thaw (so that there are small bits of still frozen hamburger), and whip the egg into the cup of water, rather than kneading it into the mix. That little chip of ice trick works really well when your grilling home-made hamburger patties, too. Insert a small chip of ice (about the size of a nickel) into the center of each patty, just before tossing them onto the grill, and they will end up so moist that your family/guests will check to see if they are fully cooked... You also won't have any problems with leftovers. "Meatloaf! It isn't just for breakfast anymore!" (You think the ad agencies will buy it?)

Anyhow, getting back to the Bill O'Reilly drinking game from last night, I counted three different times when he pointed out that he was right (despite what others were saying at the time), and used a couple of different ways to say, "I told you so" at least four times, so if you were playing (as described at the bottom of this entry, you probably got too drunk to switch the channel when Greta Van Susteren showed up... (I always watch Jeopardy on the Los Angeles ABC affiliate, Channel 7, at 7pm, so I never stick around to watch her.) I sucked last night, though... I couldn't get the easy ones, but i answered almost all of the hard ones. Maybe now that we have a car that works well enough to get to LA and back, I can try out for Jeopardy again. (I tried out once before, and I think I missed qualifying by only one or two questions.) Maybe.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Well, it's official. Even Don Rumsfeld thinks we have enough troops to take out Iraq any time we want.

I think when the balloon goes up, this is going to be the fastest war in history. I think it will all be over but the popping of corks in less than 48 hours. It only took 100 hours for the ground conflict last time, even with the 100 days of bombing, which was used primarily to disconnect the arms from the seeing and thinking parts of the military structure. If they can't see, and are not used to (or allowed to) independent action, then it doesn't matter what kind of weapons they have, those weapons will never even be brought on-line.

I think the AA gunfire over Baghdad will be just as impressive a show as last time, and just as useless as last time. And just like last time, there will be mass surrenders of Iraqi infantry to anyone who speaks English or has working technology (such as a helicopter or a television camera).

The Iraqi troops are fully aware that we are capable of destroying our enemies without warning, but with almost robotic efficiency and precision. They also know that waving a white flag will get them three square meals every day (even though the menu may get a bit monotonous), adequate medical care, and a safe place to sleep and pray without the added hazard of actually risking death. How many of them are actually willing to risk certain death, despite what the Islamist equivalent of Rich Little wants to put out there as military advice. "So use trenches." LOL

We are even using our UAVs to deliver munitions, and these guys think that digging a hole in the ground will save them? Ask any tanker, all that those trenches will do is save on burial costs for the families...

John Hawkins, over at Right Wing News, offer some advice on starting your own blog, and refers to the three basic kinds of bloggers: Linkers, Thinkers, and Themes.

Linkers would be like Laurence Simon of Amish Tech Support or Glenn Reynolds over at InstaPundit, giving lots of short entries, with a link or two explaining the article, and the occasional long entry (five or six paragraphs) with an individual opinion about the story.

Thinkers would be like Bill Whittle, of "Eject! Eject! Eject!", and Steven Den Beste of USS Clueless, with very long entries, either with or without supporting links scattered through the story. They can be political or personal.

Theme Blogs are those that have recurring themes, such as Rachel Lucas or even just a single theme (I'll let you guess what this one's theme is...)

While I could probably manage to become any one of them, I would find it stifling to be forced to "lock in" to any one of the three types. I feel that I would be able to fit into any of the three categories for any given post, and I have hit all three kinds in the all too few days since I started this little on-line column. I've gotten some tremendous assistance (most especially from Dave, Pat and Dustin - thought I'd forgotten, huh?), and some really cool e-mail from people, but no jerks so far (except for the inevitable spam). I've gotten links from several other well-established blog sites. I've posted comments in a few blogs out there, and I'm starting to get a little notice. This is a good thing, so far as I'm concerned.

But I need to do some thinking about where I want to take this little trip of the imagination. I work from home, and my time is fairly much my own. I want to be entertaining, occasionally provocative, and always worth a few moments of your time, and I also want to be able to speak about the things that piss me off strike my fancy. I will promise that unless it becomes overwhelming, I will try to answer every e-mail, so if you have an honest opinion, and you think I might be wrong, feel free to send me a letter.

A word, first. I will have absolutely no problem in publishing your personal information (return e-mail, ISP, IP address, etc.) in as many hackers/crackers groups as I can if you just abuse the privilege and spew your hatred onto an e-mail. Understand that I am always open to sincere and reasoned debate and argument, but ad hominem flames will be quenched using whatever means lie at my disposal, without further notice or warning. Or pity, for that matter.

I am always open to suggestions, as well. If you think something needs to be brought to my attention or find something that strikes your fancy pisses you off, let me know.

In the meantime, I'm going to switch back and forth between the three types, as the mood takes me, and I hope to remain at least mildly entertaining. Now where's my little fez?? (Yeah, that's the White House behind him...)
The VA has finally actually found my file, so now the appeal can continue. My advocate (who works in the Federal Building in Los Angeles) called me up to ask me whether I wanted to continue with the appeal or just drop everything and file a new application. Since my disability rating was recently increased, it would be as if I had not yet applied for Vocational Rehabilitation (VocRehab).

I actually thought about it. For about a tenth of a second. I am not so childish as to think that anything I say or do will physically or financially harm the asshole idiot who was wrong to have denied me in the first place, since I am just one of dozens or hundreds he handles every year.

I have gone past retribution and revenge (except in my angrier moments, when I fantasize with a fervor that would do credit to a sobbing six-year-old's "I wish he ... would step ... in front of ... a bus and ... get runned ... over ... 'cause he was ... just so mean"), and I even comprehend the fact that he will probably not even show up to the appeal (which will be his last little dig at me, forcing me to drive the 100 miles into L.A., while he won't even get in the elevator to go to the meeting in the same building).

So I don't want revenge.

What I want is vindication. I want it on "judicial" record that he either made a mistake (which can't help his career) or that he deliberately abused his position to punish someone for exercising their rights to appeal to their elected representative for assistance (which will definitely not help his career). I want the VA to step up and acknowledge that I played by their rules, and I was wronged for doing so. I want to win.

My advocate (Steve) says that I would probably get the benefits sooner if I dropped everything and re-applied. But I would have walked away and let that jackass that jackass win. I won't do that. Besides, even if both Steve and I are wrong (as well as all prior precedents), and I lose this appeal and decide not to take it the final step (to Federal District Court or the Supreme Court), I can still re-apply, since the appeal is based on the facts as they were when I first applied, several years ago, not as they are now. (If you think about it, you'll realize why...) So I always have the back-up position, with the certainty that I will succeed, eventually.

So, things are progressing, and I'm going to beat that jackass, one way or another.

In other news, Bill O'Reilly is probably dancing a jig right now, because he was the first one to point fingers at Sami Al-Ariyan, the Computer Professor from a college in southern Florida, who was finally arrested for being involved in the terrorist group, "Islamic Jihad". Turns out that Sami was actually the treasurer of this group, and is now facing a 50-count indictment, including conspiracy to murder, among other charges. Three others were also arrested in other cities (Buffalo and Seattle were mentioned, in some context, while I was typing this). I'm going to be taping the "O'Reilly Factor" tonight so the wife can catch it.

I'm thinking of a new drinking game (even though I don't drink) for tonight's show. Every time O'Reilly points out that he was right (for the rest of the month), you have to drink. Every time he says, "I told you so" (using whatever phrasing), you gotta drain the glass, and start again. Spread the word. LOL

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

There is nothing more humbling to think that you're pouring your heart out to total strangers and kind of proud of your small core of regulars, only to have a well-respected site like USS Clueless casually mention your name in an obscure update to an entry, with the direct result that your site's traffic literally quintuples for the day. I had been averaging a lowly 30 visitors per day, and I've already passed 150 unique visitors for today (with about 20 minutes left to go), almost every one of which was referred by Steven Den Beste.

Wow. My wife was really impressed with my sudden explosion into "fame", and I had to carefully explain how I was just basking in reflected brilliance.

But thank you to all of those visitors who showed up today from Steven's site. Check out the traffic spike he sent me.

But it's raining here now, and I'm going to go to bed now. Good night, and remember that you are all welcome to stick around and read the archives, and even to visit the wonderful sites in the column to the left.

VA update: They found my file! More tomorrow!!! Woo-hoo!
I would like to welcome the 1,000th visitor to this site, from RoadRunner.com (it just happened a few moments ago). I know they might never actually read this note, but I would also like to thank Steven Den Beste for listing me, because he has managed to bring in enough traffic to push me over both the 900th and the 1,000th visitor, just today!

Welcome to all the visitors from USS Clueless, and thanks for stopping by.

I knew it. It had to happen someday. Kids suing to bypass receiving a failing grade for cheating and plagiarism, and the implacable dumbing-down of the American student has brought us to the other end of the spectrum.

Students are now suing to be named valedictorian. I knew I was out of the running the instant I got my first B (in my junior year), but filing a lawsuit would have never crossed my mind. If I wanted better grades, I just had to work harder. I ended up missing being in the top 25%, but I was in the top 26%, with a 3.026 GPA (on a scale to 4). (Neat trick, huh?)

I think the judge getting that case ought to assign these students to clean up the freeway for pulling such lame-ass stunts as to file a lawsuit in an attempt to influence events after the fact. But when Gore filed a lawsuit in an attempt to steal an election by cherry-picking the precincts to recount, and the President (a lawyer) defended lying in court by asking "what the definition of 'is', is...", I could see it coming. I predict that we will see lawsuits attempting to outlaw homework because it biases those students who don't like using their own time to write reports and learn their multiplication tables.

A lawsuit was filed in Canada a few days ago against an elementary school for having the word "gun" on a spelling test. The words "murder" and "death" are due to go next.

Cynical? Moi? No, I just takes 'em as I sees 'em, and writes 'em down... remember where you read it first. :-)
Here's that web site for "This-or-That Tuesday", if you want to go check it out. I'll be putting up a permanent link, just as soon as I hear from the site owner.

Here are this week's ten questions. Sorry about the delay from yesterday...

1. Black or white? Blue
2. Plaid or stripes? Solids, because I look goofy in both.
3. Paperback or hardcover books? Paperback
4. Color or B&W printer? Oh, definitely color
5. Golden oldies or the newest tunes? I'm not sure where 70's & 80's (non-disco) rock & roll would fall, so I guess neither
6. Ice cream: in a cone or a dish? I guess a bowl counts as a dish
7. Bath or shower? Showers. They're easier to allow extra persons into...
8. Are you outgoing or shy? Depends on the situation. I can cope with people anywhere, but I prefer to be left alone
9. Answer the phone when it rings, or screen calls? As soon as it rings, whenever possible
10. VCR or TiVO? VCR, but only until I can afford a DVD


See how simple that was? I'm gonna try it for a few weeks, to see what it's like. Check it out for yourself.
I finally made it through! Damn, Blogger's been down most of the morning, and some of last night. I had found a really cool site, thanks to Laurence Simon (he of Amish Tech Support fame), called "This-or-That Tuesday", and wanted to share it with you, but if you go over there and poke around a little, you can find it.

It's been kind of a slow news day (FOXNews spent much of the morning talking about a dog who had wandered too far out onto the ice on a river near Passaic, New Jersey, and a traffic accident where several people were killed in the desert area north of Los Angeles, but not really all that close).

Jacques Ass Chirac has apparently been told off by a number of Eastern European nations when he upbraided them by saying, "[the Eastern European nations] missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."

I guess Chirac missed one, too... Steven den Beste calls it Chirac's "L'Europe c'est moi" mentality, where all of the upstart nations need to be silent while their betters decide what to do. Unfortunately for Chirac, those (formerly Soviet puppets) nations have all gotten their fill of being told what to do by leaders of other nations. Freedom can be an addictive thing once you get a taste...

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

There comes a time that, despite your best efforts to the contrary, things will turn to hell around you. Perhaps it was a terrorist attack. Maybe a co-worker has "gone postal". Maybe it was a natural disaster. Maybe it was just getting caught by a car breakdown in a bad neighborhood. Maybe it was none of these.

If you have to draw your weapon, realize that you've already made at least one mistake. Maybe more. This is not to say that all mistakes are unavoidable, nor that you would (or could) have done anything differently, but rather that the situation has degenerated to a point where it is likely that at least one of the people involved will be carried away covered in a sheet.

In such situations, it is important to keep these rules of thumb in mind. (I found them on the Internet, and claim no credit for creating them. Various sources attribute them to the Marines, the Army, gun training courses, and other proponents of the Second Amendment, so all credit goes to the original author(s) and none to this poor blogger who just pushes electrons around.)

RULES FOR A GUNFIGHT

1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring two guns. Bring all your friends who have guns.

2. Anything worth shooting once is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Your life is expensive.

3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.

5. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.

6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.

7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading and running.

9. Accuracy is relative. Most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun.

10. Use a gun that works FIRST TIME EVERY TIME. "All skill is in vain when an Angel pees in the flintlock of your musket."

11. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

12. Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

13. Have a plan.

14. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work. Be thinking of a back-up to the back-up in case it, too, fails.

15. Use cover or concealment as much as possible. Your opponent's bodies will work just fine.

16. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.

17. Don't drop your guard.

18. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees. Never relax until you've spotted your escape route.

19. Watch their hands. Hands kill. In God we trust. Everyone else keep your hands where I can see them.

20. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.

21. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

22. Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

23. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.

24. Your number one option for personal security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence and de-escalation.

25. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a "4" or higher.

26. Keep sharp. Keep alert. Keep aware. Keep alive.

27. Never turn your back on an enemy until you know that he is dead. A man can still move and act - and pull a trigger - up to 20 seconds after his heart has stopped beating. Remember all those suspense and horror movies.

28. Get your first shot off QUICK. This will upset him long enough to make your second shot perfect. (credit to Robert Heinlein)

29. Remember the military catchphrase: "Two in the chest and one in the head always leaves the target dead."
Sorry about the delay, but Blogger has been down for part of the day...

I just heard that Jesse Jackson is blaming the city of Chicago for "not enforcing their laws" against the club owner who had been violating those laws (not to mention a court order that reads, "Mandatory Order to not use second floor"). Isn't that just like Jesse?

The club owners have a court order handed to them forbidding the use of the second floor. They decide to ignore that order. They advertise the club, get lots of customers, and decide to violate the law and the court order by opening up the second floor. A fight breaks out, and the bouncers try to stop it by using pepper spray (or mace or something similar). Panic ensues, and 21 people are killed in the ensuing stampede. Jesse immediately starts protesting that the city is responsible for not enforcing the laws, and claiming that "[the city] had to have known that [the club owners] were violating the law".

Could it be that the city of Chicago has deeper pockets than the club owners will have once the insurance companies refuse to pay any claims because of those violations? Naaahhhh... that would be just too mercenary, even for Jackson. Or would it?

In other news, Saddam has placed his Minister of Defense (and the father-in-law of his youngest son) under house arrest. "Can you say coup d'etat?"

Yet more news... Pigs learn to fly. I mean, when YellowTimes says that Iraq has got to act responsibly, you just know that Saddam's time is running out...

And Yahoo is reporting that the Pentagon is planning on field-testing its new weapons in the upcoming Battle of Iraq. I say that there is no better test platform to measure the lethality of a new weapons system than against enemy troops. I think the Iraqi army is going to be fully disabled before they even realize that we're even aiming weapons at them.

And in still more news, Duke University Hospital will probably be renamed the "Jesica Santillan Memorial Hospital" after the poor girl's relatives (and their lawyers) get through with them. In case you hadn't heard, Jesica was scheduled for a life-saving heart/lung transplant, but a "clerical error" caused the transplanted organs to be taken from a donor with a different blood type, and Jesica is not expected to live out the week. Only a new transplant will save her at this point and Duke University officials say that "hopes are thin".

Whew! There's probably a whole bunch of stuff that I missed, but it's been a busy day...
Another headline is that we're supposed to be dropping our Terrorism Alert Level back down to "Yellow/Elevated". I guess that means we can all breathe easier...

Then again, maybe I should just study up on all the stuff I need for my Emergency Kit. I mean, I live near a major earthquake fault zone, and the closest I have to a disaster kit is a five-gallon jug of water, a flashlight, and a few candles... You think the candles would be edible?

We really need to shop for groceries... Oh, well.
One of the first news items I hear this morning when I awaken is that Saddam is hiding weapons in underground bunkers, tunnels, and on mobile labs. Nothing new, Colin Powell has been saying that for several weeks now, but I predict that the anti-war protestors won't accept this as the "smoking gun" necessary to authorize military strikes into Iraq.

These reports came from a former Iraqi weapons scientist who maintained contacts inside Iraq despite having escaped back in 1991. I further predict that those pro-Saddam whiners protestors will say that his information is "out of date" and that Saddam doesn't have those weapons anymore. They had better pray that he does still have those weapons, because I can guarantee that they still exist, and if Saddam doesn't have them, someone else does.

I wil only repeat the statement I made a few weeks ago, because it still applies. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Monday, February 17, 2003

Ten things that you should never say to a woman during an argument:

10 - Don't you have some laundry to do or something?
9 - Aww, you are so cute when you get all ticked off.
8 - You're just upset because your ass is beginning to spread.
7 - Wait a minute -- I get it. What time of the month is it?
6 - You're sure you don't want to consult the great Oprah on this one?
5 - Sorry, I was just picturing you naked.
4 - Whoa, time out. Football is on.
3 - Looks like someone had an extra bowl of bitch flakes this morning!
2 - Is there any way we can do this via e-mail?

and the NUMBER ONE THING you should NEVER say to a woman during an argument...

1 - Who are you kidding? We both know that thing ain't loaded...

An attempt was made (by someone on another forum) to take me to task about the upcoming "war" with Iraq. Most of his comments centered around complaints that most American's don't know "our closest neighbor" (he alleges 25 years of asking Americans to name half of Canada's "10 provinces", and seems to imply that he is more aware of world events because he can name 25 of the States) and the "fact" that all Americans have a habit of bulldozing over anything or anyone who gets in their way.

For the record, I managed to recall nine of the Canadian provinces without resorting to any of my reference sources. (And, by the way, dimwit, there are thirteen, not ten. Ten provinces, and three territories, but they are usually grouped together, just like there are actually only 46 states and four "commonwealths" - Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia - in the United States. But I'll bet you didn't know that about your "closest neighbor", didja?)

However, since we were originally discussing Iraq and the violations of UNSC Resolutions, I have a few extra questions for him: How many of Iraq's provinces can you name? For that matter, how many provinces does Iraq have? And no fair looking it up, either.

I'm not going to reproduce the whole rant he made (nor am I going to identify him in this forum for various reasons), but I'm going to try and explain this a little at a time.

First, an apparent non sequitor: I was watching the news this weekend, and scanning the various websites that reported on the various anti-war protests around the world, and I saw lots and lots of signs that were comparing Bush to Hitler, and calling him an "International Terrorist", and bleating such intellectual nuggets as "It's All About The Oooiiiiilllllll!", while celebrating Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot, and Josef Stalin, who have collectively murdered almost as many people as currently reside in Canada.

Hell, Hitler killed 25 million Russians, 6 million Jews, almost a million Gypsies, and countless French, Polish, Czech, etc. "dissidents" not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers. Click here for more information.

Not one of those people protesting this last weekend were calling on Saddam to follow through on his obligations to obey the UN Security Council Resolutions that he has been violating for more than a dozen years. Not one! They all seem to think that any aggressive moves are being made on the part of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, et al.. They accuse all of these nations of unilateral action (completely missing the fact that when you have more than one nation in a "coalition", it is no longer "unilateral"), and of being willing to sacrifice "millions of Iraqi children" to avenge the attempted assassination of President George H.W. Bush, and the successful assassination of one of our ambassadors (both of which are a casus belli in any nation you care to name).

Have any of these people taken a look at how the Security Council passes these resolutions? Briefly, thus: There are 15 members of the Security Council, 5 "Permanent Members" (PM) (The U.S., the U.K., France, China, and Russia, who inherited the seat held by the U.S.S.R.), and 10 non-Permanent Members (nPM), who are elected to 2-year terms, 5 every year. Every (non-procedural) resolution must be approved by a 3/5 majority with the affirmative vote of all five PMs (the so-called "Veto" power).

So when the Security Council passes a resolution having to do with a member nation of the UN (such as Iraq or North Korea), you can safely conclude that all five of the PMs agree that the resolved action is necessary for the peace and stability of the region. In the case of Resolution 1441 (which passed unanimously, 15-0), it states explicitly that Iraq remains in material breach of Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and it gives him a "final opportunity" to unconditionally comply with his obligations.

A paragraph from 1441 reads, "...that the Government of Iraq has failed to comply with its commitments pursuant to resolution 687 (1991)..." and in the very next paragraph, it goes on to read, "Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein...". What this means is that the cease-fire (NOT a truce, but a cease-fire) put into place at the "end" of the previous Gulf War is explicitly conditional upon Iraq following through on that original Resolution 687, which was passed almost a dozen years ago. So let's get it clear. Legally and technically, as far as the United Nations Security Council is concerned, that war has never actually been settled, but has only had a cease-fire in place. The upholding of that cease-fire is dependent upon Iraq obeying the resolutions of the Security Council.

Has Iraq obeyed this resolution? Read it for yourself and then tell me whether Iraq has "unconditionally accept[ed] the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:
(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;
(b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and related major parts, and repair and production facilities;"

Iraq has only accepted the destruction of those items it got caught hiding. Hans Blix has already reported the numerous violations of this resolution, including the discovery of missiles in violation of this paragraph. Does the Security Council actually mean anything it says? Not if France has anything to say about it...

The UNSCOM and UNMOVIC inspectors are not in Iraq to play detective, but (rather) to supervise the destruction of the items that Iraq is supposed to freely and willingly give up. Not a single person who has actually looked into the facts has agreed that Iraq is cooperating. Not even Saddam's son-in-law, who defected from Iraq to reveal Iraq bio-weapons program, and was lured back into Iraq, and killed for it! Nice guy, but it's Bush that is most like Hitler, right?

I'm not even going to harp on paragraph 16, which was violated even before the Republican Guard had finished leaving Kuwait. (That is the one that holds Iraq "liable under international law for any direct loss, damage, including environmental damage and the depletion of natural resources ... as a result of Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait". Iraq destroyed countless oil wells and set hundreds of others on fire on their way back into Iraq, causing the largest oil spill in history. No one said bupkis, not even the environmentalist whackos.)

But let's set that one aside for a moment. Let's recall UNSC Resolution 1060, where Iraq was called to task for refusing access to sites designated by inspectors. Why would they refuse access to these sites? What would they have to hide? This was just the first step on the road to non-compliance. Resolution 1115 mentions further obstructions, as does Resolution 1134.

These are not laws passed by the United States Congress!! These are Resolutions passed by the UN Security Council. So why do all of these anti-war people protest "American aggression"? The United States has been, if anything, too lenient. Perhaps the reasons have to do with that coward who was too busy fondling the interns in the Oval Office at the time to notice.

To get back to that original complaint about "our closest neighbor", he mentions some case where Canadian businessmen who had been dealing with Cuban businesses (which doesn't violate Canadian law). He claims that this "businessman" who had been vacationing in Florida was arrested. He seems to imply that he was arrested for doing this business with Cuba. (He spells out that it was a Canadian corporation and the deals were done on Canadian soil, and that this businessman was "on vacation".) I fail to see what this has to do with the multiple violations of international law committed by Iraq, but whatever...

First, if he was going to have been arrested on American soil for violating the American embargo of Cuba, it would have happened the instant he set foot on American soil (when he crossed the border or landed at the airport). Next, if I were knowingly violating, or had been convicted in absentia of violating, any nation's laws (even though I might not have been violating my own country's laws), I sure as hell wouldn't go there on a vacation! (Ask Roman Polanski why he won't show up in Hollywood for this year's Oscar ceremonies...)

I also have difficulty believing that anyone who would have been arrested just for violating American policies (if it ever actually happened) would have been given a visa in the first place. Oh, that's right, we have enough freedom between Canada and the United States that he probably didn't even have to ask for one! Oh, you mean he did have to ask for one for an extended stay? (I'd need citations and links to comment further, because I'm defending a situation on which I have no other data. It could have been that he actually met with the Cubans on American soil, or that he was speeding (the problems with thinking in kilometers versus miles per hour), and got nailed on a Federal "wants and warrants" for those violations of American law, or anything. Hell, maybe he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. I don't know, and he doesn't say...)

Going on, he further accuses me of having my opinion's shaped by the spin added to whatever media stories to which I may have been exposed. No, I prefer to make up my own mind, and I read news stories for the facts presented, not for the attitudes conveyed. I admit that many people (not just Americans, by the way) have the attention spans of tree squirrels, and prefer to let other people make up their minds for them. Hell, some people do that for a living!

He wants to know if we are aware of who the leader of Canada is. (Certainly. Queen Elizabeth II. Duh.) But if you're asking about the head of government, then I would reply that it is Prime Minister Chretien. He (my interlocutor, not PM Chretien) seems to think that most Americans would rely "President Trudeau". Despite the fact that Canada doesn't have a President, but a Prime Minister, if I were to ask the average person on the street who Pierre Trudeau was, I'd be willing to bet most of them would guess, "I dunno... The guy who draws Doonesbury?" That doesn't mean that Canada is any less important on the world stage, but that most people are concerned with their own little piece of the globe, rather than a leader of a nation other than their own. Most people in the United States wouldn't be able to tell you who their own mayor was, if they lived in a medium-sized city. (Most large cities' residents would know because of the local media coverage of that mayor, and most small towns' resident would know because he/she is a familiar face.)

He also accuses the US of being responsible for "tens of thousands of dead women and children" (I would demand that he provide verifiable proof of that accusation) and says "more are dying all the time, although now it is due to starvation rather than bombs and bullets." One question immediately springs to mind. How much money has Saddam siphoed from his "oil-for-food" programs and sent off to pay the families of the Paliswinean homicide bombers? (It was about US$25,000 per payment, as I recall, almost ten years salary for most Iraqis.)

How much money has Saddam siphoned off to pay for his ongoing weapons programs that Blix and Al Baradei have confirmed still exist? (Such as re-cast missile firing chambers, the thousands of liters of anthrax growth medium, the thousands of liters of Sarin and VX nerve gas that Iraq admitted having but have since just "disappeared", the aluminum tubes that Saddam claims are to be used for artillery shells but have tolerances five times more exacting than what the US uses for its own nuclear weapons, just to mention a few examples.)

How much money of his "oil-for-food" programs did Saddam use to build those solid-gold-inlaid poems celebrating his existence in his newest Presidential Palace (mentioned in one of the most recent inspections, which wouldn't be taking place in the first place if it weren't for the continuing threat of force by the United States and Great Britain?)

According to the World Almanac, the per capita Gross Domestic Product in Iraq was only $2,700. I just spent that much on our newest car, and I am nowhere near what would be called "rich". Even in Canada. How much better will the average Iraqi's life be once they are out from under the Butcher of Baghdad's cruel thumb? Ask your average German or Japanese citizen whether they were better before or after WWII...

(Oh, one last thing, my Canadian acquaintance. The United States did not start the War of 1812 (it's purpose was not the invasion of Canada, and it was started by Great Britain, who was trying to reclaim its colonies), but we did win it. Look up the Treaty of Ghent (24 DEC 1814), and the Battle of New Orleans. And if you want Detroit back, as far as I'm concerned, you can have it...)

Sunday, February 16, 2003

NATO has finally decided that they need to stand up to their collective responsibilities and assist Turkey with its defense against any offensive moves on the part of Iraq. The nice part about this story is the third paragraph.

The decision to start planning for Turkey's defense, however, was taken without France, which was shut out of the room as the alliance pushed to resolve the crisis.



ROFLMAO...

"Merci, Monsieur, for that wonderful impasse. Now would you please wait in the next room, while we adults handle things?"
My HTML guru Dave has done it again! He read my latest entry (about the e-mail 12-Step program) and had received this link in his e-mail. He forwarded it to me, and I just had to share it with all of you. Enjoy!

Again, many thanks to Dave (who has also been busy scanning and coordinating the HTML lessons he has been sending me over the past few days, with help from Pat and Dustin, of course) for the link... I hope I learn enough to make it worth all that time. LOL
I was digging through some old files, and I ran across this little tidbit. It's a 12-Step program for those people out there who just absolutely, positively have to forward every e-mail chain-letter they receive. If you are one of those people, or know one of those people, just copy these twelve steps down, and repeat them as often as necessary. I wish I knew who originally wrote it, but it appears to have sprung fully grown from the collective conscience of the Internet. (I know you're out there, Solace...)

Anyway, here they are...

The Twelve Steps of Forwarding E-mail

1) I will NOT get bad luck, lose my friends, or lose my mailing lists if I don't forward an email!

2) I will NOT hear any music or see the Taco Bell dog, if I do forward an e-mail.

3) Bill Gates is NOT going to send me money, neither will AOL, and Victoria's Secret doesn't know anything about any gift certificate they're supposed to send me.

4) The Ford Motor Company (or GMC or whatever) will NOT give me a 50% discount even if I forward my e-mail to more than 50 people!

5) I will NEVER receive gift certificates, coupons, or freebies from Coca Cola, Cracker Barrel, Old Navy, The Gap, or anyone else if I send an e-mail to 10 people. All I will do is annoy those people to varying degrees.

6) I will NEVER see a pop-up window if I forward an e-mail. NEVER, EVER, under ANY circumstances!! Not even if I forward a thousand of them...

7) There is NO SUCH THING as an e-mail tracking program, and I am not STUPID enough to think that someone will send me $100 for forwarding an e-mail to 10 or more people! (Then again, maybe I am, but I am under no burden to prove it to everyone I know...)

8) There is NO kid with cancer involved with the Make-a-Wish program in England or anywhere else collecting anything! This includes soda can pop tops and postage stamps, no matter what some "friend of my uncle's across-the-street neighbor's dentist" may claim.

9) The government does not have an email postage bill in Congress called 901B (or whatever they named it this week) that, if passed, will enable them to charge us 5 cents for every e-mail we send, no matter what the Postmaster General may claim.

10) There will be NO cool dancing, singing, waving, colorful flowers, characters, or program that I will receive immediately after I forward an e-mail. NONE, ZIP, ZERO,NADA!!

11) The American Red Cross will NOT donate 50 cents to certain individual dying of some never-heard-of disease for every e-mail address I send this to. The American Red Cross collects donations from gullible people, it does not care to whom I send e-mail or how many times I send it.

12) And finally, I will NOT let others guilt me into sending things by telling me that if I don't, then I am not their friend or that I don't believe in the right religion. If God wants to send me a message, I believe the bushes in my yard will burn before He picks up a PC to pass it on!

Now, repeat this to yourself until you have it memorized, and send it along to at least 5 of your friends before the next full moon or you will surely be constipated for the next three months and all of your hair will fall out!
I'm looking for a motto, and I'm soliciting entries. Others in the Blogoverse have been trying some new stuff, and I'm still learning HTML, one difficult concept at a time. (Thanks again, Dave!)

I know, I know, HTML isn't that difficult, but you gotta remember that it's been a long time since I've done any programming at all. Most of my expertise with computers is in hardware. Ask me what an IRQ is, or a DMA channel, or how to replace a CPU on your motherboard, and I have no problems. But ask me to design a web page, and I'm having to check the documentation with every new attempt.

Hell, it took me three tries to get my e-mail address printed in the left hand column...

I've tried "Sanitized For Your Protection", and now it's "Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear".

If you have any suggestions and advice, please feel free to submit them. I'll list the very best, and figure out my options once I get a few more lessons under my belt.