Saturday, May 17, 2003

Good morning, and I hope that you're having a slightly cooler weekend. Temperatures are supposed to be in the mid-90's to triple digits (as high as 102, depending on how far into the desert one goes). But since cold and damp aggravates my joints, this is supposed to be a good thing, right? Well, considering the weather was in the 60's on Thursday and in the 70's yesterday, it just seems odd that the weather should suddenly jump to hot and dry. Well, I guess global warming is to blame, right?

Kofi Annan is asking france to head an international peace-keeping force in Congo, because we all know how efficiently the UN can keep the peace, especially when the french are running things.

In other news affecting an estimated one billion people around the globe, the Vatican has confirmed that Pope John Paul II is suffering from Parkinson's disease. It has been long suspected, but never before confirmed. I'm not Catholic, and I understand that the Pope is in office until his death, but if the Pope becomes so enfeebled that he can no longer manage the affairs of the Church, but is still living, are his official capacities taken over by one of his senior Cardinals? Have they already started politicking for the next (inevitable) election of a new Pope? It just seems a little worldly and cynical to think so, but it would be an almost unstoppable urge.

Today is "World Telecommunication Day", so make a phone call for progress! And let's be careful out there.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Blogging has proven to be an interesting challenge, because I've been trying to write about things that would be interesting to more people than just myself (and my wife, who would probably praise my output even if it looked like it had been written by the proverbial "infinite number of monkeys"), while also not covering things that are so over-covered by the various types of news media (Internet, TV, print, talk radio, other blogs, etc.). Primarily because of the explosion of these sources, it has proven tough because I sometimes find really esoteric things to be of great interest (like last night's lunar eclipse) and there are just days where I am not feeling my best, requiring me to take a pain pill, which cuts my creative spark down to the faintest of glimmers.

I find myself sitting at my keyboard, spurred by a disquieting urge to write something - anything - to keep you, my unseen Loyal Readers, amused, entertained, and willing to return again and again. Even annoyed and infuriated for those who might disagree with me (and I know there are a few of you). But no matter how you look at it, there are going to be days and even longer stretches where my output just isn't up to standards. Believe me, it's not from lack of trying, or from lack of desire. As the Bible says, "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matt. 26:41) So if it's slow (or faintly boring) from time to time, don't give up on me, because I refuse to quit until I can no longer reach the keyboard, or some other tragedy arises that is beyond my control.

Enough of that. How many of you watched the San Antonio Spurs unseat the reigning Champion Los Angeles Lakers? Talk about embarrassing, huh? Shaq tried his damnedest (31 points of the 82), but just couldn't carry the whole team all by himself anymore. Oh, well, time for the inevitable rebuilding year.

Speaking of the Lunar eclipse, I'm sorry for all of you out there who had to suffer through cloudy weather or city lights and didn't get to see it last night, because it was something quite impressive to watch. I have heard there is supposed to be another one in November. I haven't looked, but I'm sure there are quite a few good pictures out there on the Internet.

In other news, President Bush has finally filed the paperwork with the FEC (Federal Elections Commission) allowing him to conduct political fund-raising for the 2004 election. If he manages to get the economy moving again, despite the obstructionism being plotted by the Democrats, he will be unstoppable, and not even the "Unnamed Democrat" (who is leading in their partisan polls with a hefty majority) would stand a chance of stopping him, and the only question would be how much of a majority he would win with. I'm guessing that it would rival Reagan's 1984 re-election (which Reagan won with 59% of the popular vote and almost 98% of the Electoral College vote - 525 to 13). But I've always been the pessimistic type...

Today is "National Employee Health and Fitness Day". No, I'm not making that up. Have a good weekend. I'll chat with you all as soon as I can, but tomorrow morning at the latest. Go watch The Matrix Reloaded, I've heard some great things about it.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Several things to comment on this morning (thanks to Yahoo News), and one personal "anniversary". So let's begin with one that made me recall an early event from former President Clinton's life.

As this brief bio mentions, Bill Clinton was so impressed with meeting then-President John F. Kennedy that he allegedly decided on the spot to enter public service and run for office. Little did the world know that Bill would emulate John Kennedy in so many ways, including running for President (and winning), and even sleeping with White House interns. Talk about coincidences. Both of them incredibly popular, and both of them having sex with the interns. Do you think that Bill was so enamored of the dashing young War hero in the Oval Office that he decided to emulate him in every way possible? Kennedy's exploits were pretty much an open secret around the White House, after all, and there are probably goat herders in Bolivia who knew about Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.

Next, I mention with sadness the passing of film and TV star Robert Stack, whose career started more than 60 years ago. His most famous role was probably in the old TV series, "The Untouchables", as well as more recent comedies, such as "Airplane" and "Caddyshack II". He will be missed.

Third, we here in North America will be treated to a wonderful view of a total lunar eclipse tonight. Here is a minute-by-minute guide to what we can expect, and the approximate times of those various phenomena (link found thanks to the nice folks over at AMCGLTD, including time zone corrections. It ought to be well advanced by the time the moon rises here in southern California (a little after 8pm Pacific, 11pm Eastern). If the sky is reasonably clear in your area, step out and take a look. It ought to be an interesting show.

Finally, today is the eighth anniversary of me becoming a civilian again. I got out of the Navy eight years ago today, and so I'm going to be raising a glass to all the members of the military who still work hard every day to keep the rest of us protected to the very best of their abilities.

Have a great day! Today is the "International Day of Families". So, no matter where you are in the world, go be especially nice to your family today. Remind them how much you appreciate their presence. It'll be worth the extra effort.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

In a wonderful day for those of us who are fed up with opening the e-mail box, only to discover a deluge of offensive materials, the man known as "The Buffalo Spammer" was arrested for fraud. This man "allegedly" sent more than 825 million unwanted e-mails. In a perfect world, he would be forced to write an apology for every single one of them. But he'll probably get off with just a monetary fine, unless the judge has gotten a few ads for "enhancements" of various body parts, in which case, he'd probably sentence him to hard time.

In a related story, I want to plug a new member of the BlogRoll (I discovered the site over at Misha's site), and while they're just getting off the ground, it's worth your time to keep an eye on them. Permit me to introduce you to "Do Not Spam". A worthy goal in and of itself, but they show promise "above and beyond". Stop by and send them your own greetings.
I'd love to see how the "Not In Our Name" crowd defends examples of cruelty like this one, yet continue to call the United States a Fascist State, and compare President Bush to Hitler.

Funny, though, there hasn't been many public appearances by Janeane Garofalo, Mike Farrell, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, or any of the rest of them recently, has there? I guess getting laughed at by reporters would be too humiliating to bear.
Good Morning! It looks as though Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA 29th) isn't going to get that GAO investigation into the costs of President Bush's recent carrier landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).

Damned shame, really, because it would have allowed both patries to have been investigated, such as Shrillary's and Chelsea's use of the plane normally known as "Air Force One" (a military aircraft only has the "One" designation when the President is aboard, regardless of branch) on their African safari during BJ Clinton's last year in office. Not to mention the concurrent requirement to investigate Federal lawmakers. Such as Ted Kennedy (can you say "Big Dig cost overruns of almost $5 BILLION?"). In the Comptroller Generals statement, he declared, "In my view, it does not pass a cost-benefit test."

I think we ought to investigate Representative Waxman for trying to use a non-partisan office for political reasons, but there would probably have to be a full-time investigator hired just for that purpose, because Waxman has never been shy about trying to sling mud for political gain. Since when is it a "political" thing for the Commander-in-Chief to visit his troops? Or to use a military asset as a platform to deliver a speech? (Clinton did it three different times during his term, he just never did a carrier landing. So I guess it's the fact that the current President is not only a successful war-time President, he was also once a fighter pilot, where Clinton was busy protesting that war from a safe distance - London, if I remember correctly.)

In other news, looks like Al Qaeda managed another coordinated car-bomb attack, but they may have screwed up by setting off those bombs in their own back yard. It tends to make people think along the lines of "chickens coming home to roost" rather than "what did they do to deserve this?" If they were trying to punish "The Great Satan", then maybe they need to check those figures, because according to the latest reports, more Al Qaeda members died than Americans (9 Al Qaeda versus 7 Americans). Not very cost-effective, but in terms of effectiveness, right up there with the 'not-so-smart bombs' in Israel who blow themselves up before they actually get inside the designated crowd of people.

I also find it interesting that the Saudis had been asked to provide additional security for the expatriates, but "couldn't get the Committee to resolve the issue in time". I guess it would have never occurred to them to actually put a few extra men out there until the attack had been deterred, though, would it? Because if they admitted that the foreigners were the targets, instead of the perpetrators, they would have to admit that they have real problems that have nothing to do with their "Holy Lands" (and you can't swing a cat without hitting a mosque or other "holy place" in that region).

Steven den Beste pointed this out, and did so in his usual superlative fashion. Well worth a read, but just about everything by him is worth the time.

Well, I'm not sure what they mean by it, but today is apparently "Underground America Day". I think that means we're all supposed to dig a hole, or maybe go spelunking. Have a great day, no matter what your choice is.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

It's once again time for this week's round of This-or-That Tuesday. It's Potpourri week, so let's get started.

1. Packrat or minimalist? Packrat. (You should see my desk!)
2. Computer: desktop or laptop? Desktop. Laptops are stolen too frequently, and lost almost as often.
3. Seashore or mountains? Since I'm just a touch acrophobic, the seashore.
4. Carpeting or bare floors? Carpets are easier on the old bones, even with the hassle of vacuuming.
5. Drinking water: bottled or tap? Bottled.
6. Shopping websites: eBay or Amazon? Neither. I still don't trust most on-line shopping after I used my credit card on-line - ONCE - and ended up subscribed to some porn site I'd never even heard of before.
7. Cute little kitties or big scary tigers? Depends on my mood. I prefer grown-up cats, though.
8. Front door or back door? Front door.
9. Lots of jewelry, or little/none? Just my wedding ring. I don't even wear a watch.
10. Thought-provoking question of the week: At the last minute, you obtain tickets to an event you're dying to attend. However, you have to work that day! Do you ask the boss for the time off, or just call in sick? I'd ask the boss, and offer to work some extra hours to make up for it, but since I am the boss now, there's not much problem with getting my request approved. Hee.

Thanks for stopping by. Oh, apparently there was nothing assigned to today. So we'll just wish Steveland "Stevie" Wonder a Happy 53rd Birthday!

Monday, May 12, 2003

I have found a serious threat to our safety here in the United States, and throughout the world. Come and join the Coalition to Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide. This is a extraordinarily dangerous material that can kill without regard to age, race, nationality, color, creed, religion, marital status, or any other condition.

Spread the word, and help stamp this killer out.

This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you by the worshipers of Thalia.

UPDATE: I found another site that exposes the danger of Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO). This stuff is literally everywhere! Measureable amounts can be found in every creek, stream, river, pond, lake, ocean and reservoir in the United States. It is the proximate cause of soil erosion and is the major component of acid rain. It accelerates oxidation of metals.

Why, just last night, I found the wife trying to wash our dinner dishes with it. Will this menace ever be controlled?
I'm continually amazed at the quizzes that you can find out there. Here's the result from the most recent one I found (thanks to one of my BlogShares shareholders over at Bogie's Blog)

Horse
What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla
I just had my 5,000th visitor, from somewhere on the West Coast, at 12:35 p.m.. Celebratory dinner tonight, woo-hoo!
We got another one. Coalition forces have taken custody of the infamous "Dr. Germ", who once said that Iraq "was justified in producing germ weapons for its self defense."

Really? I guess all those UN Security Council Resolutions saying precisely the opposite, and the fact that none of Iraq's neighbors have ever invaded them (unlike Iraq, which has started wars of aggression several times, and gotten beaten back every time), would tend to disagree with her.

Even though she wasn't listed in the deck of 55 (although her husband, Amer Rashid, was), she was one of the people that senior officials want to talk to concerning Iraqi WMD programs.

Speaking of which, a second mobile lab that appears to be configured to handle chemical and biological weapons has been found near Mosul (Iraq's 3rd largest city). Of course, because it doesn't have the pictures of Saddam shaking hands with Osama bin Laden while straddling a nuclear weapon (a la Slim Pickens), there are going to be the inevitable whines from the Tinfoil Hat Brigade that it was either planted or not really a mobile weapons lab. Of course they could be right. I mean all the nations on Earth have ultra-high tech protective systems for the handling of dangerous materials stuffed into camouflaged trailers being hauled around by semis, or made up to look like radar trucks, don't they? There's nothing unusual about this, so let's all stuff our heads back into the sand, and chant, "Blix is the wisest man on Earth. Blix is the wisest man on Earth."

In yet other news, it looks like Tom Daschle (D-Confusion) has done yet another waffle, and he is now supporting the President's decision. I guess the newest South Dakota polls are out, and since Tom is up for re-election this cycle, he's gotta get in good with his constituents. His fellow South Dakotan Senator, Tim Johnson (D), won re-election last November by the slimmest of margins (only 527 votes out of more than 330,000 cast), and both the state's Republican Governor and sole Representative (William Janklow, also Republican) won their elections easily, so Tom realizes that his position might not be quite so tenured, after all. If he loses his cushy job as Senate Minority Leader, he might actually have to work for a living.

Oh, and before I forget
Just 'cause I lost a bet
I wanted to say
Today is 'Limerick Day'
So now I'm just gonna jet...

Don't ask. Have a great day!

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Well, I'm back, and it was an interesting weekend, to say the least. Got to spend a little time with the extended family, and topped off today with a semi-picnic lunch of baked chicken and macaroni salad. "Semi-picnic" because it was eaten in the in-law's living room while watching a movie on their DishTV network. I guess I was lucky that today is (believe it or not) 'Eat What You Want Day'.

I've decided to wait for a week or two and catch 'The Matrix Reloaded' after the crowds have eased up a bit at the theater, but the crowds haven't let up on X-2 yet (it's still #1 at the box office).

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm back. Very tired, but I'm here. See you all in the morning.