Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Howard Dean, current leader of the Democrat Party

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. GALILEO GALILEI

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

veterans’ day, 2009

my grandfather, johnny thomas poole, was an accountant; he was married to my grandmother for over fifty years; he had three daughters; and he was a veteran. he served in the united states army during world war ii. he was stationed france. until his death in 2004, this was about all we knew of his service.

he was the kind of guy who did not really talk much about it. he had a couple of stock stories that he would tell when pressed, but even these were not elaborate or detailed. they were sorta little vignettes really.

one was about staying in a private house where the women who cooked for them did not speak english. apparently when the soldiers requested pancakes and sausage for breakfast, they ended up with what sounds like some version of pigs-in-a-blanket (for a man who would not eat lasagna – “cain’t stand that EYE- talian food”, but would scarf it down if it were served as “hamburger pie,” this is no small detail).

another story johnny would refer to took place around the railroad yard where he was in charge of the organization of military equipment as it came off the boats and was being loaded on railroad cars to be dispersed to units around europe. one day the yard was being bombed, and johnny dove under a railroad car for cover and dislocated his shoulder of his tennis arm. until the end of his tennis playing years (which was in his seventies), whenever he would lose a tennis game (which was not often), he would blame it on his bum shoulder. the part of the story he always highlighted was the fact that he did not realize until the bombing was over that the car he dove under was an oil tanker that would have exploded and killed him had it been hit.

that was pretty much it as far as johnny’s firsthand narrative of his time in the service. occasionally, a new time life type book on wwii would appear on the book shelf. and occasionally, i’d find a picture in said book with a building circled and some marginalia scrawled in granddad’s hand – typically a date and a brief note like: “we stayed in this building for a week” or “this hotel had clean sheets.” stuff like that.

imagine the family’s surprise upon his death in 2004 when we were going through his paperwork and found his discharge papers. my granddad - the mild mannered accountant, father or three, grandfather of seven, sunday school teacher - the one who never talked about the war, was the recipient of not one, but two bronze stars. no one in the family had ever even heard about the medals let alone ever seen them. despite a little bit of digging, we have not been able to find out much about why johnny was twice awarded the bronze star. we have been able to find out that johnny was involved in the battle of the bulge, the single largest and bloodiest battle american troops experienced in this war .

it’s been five veterans’ days since i’ve been able to call johnny up and thank him for his service.

so – to all the johnnies out there – those who came before my grandfather and those who served after – thank you for what you do for us. and thank you for how you do it.

we sleep safe in our own beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
george orwell

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

apple bobbin’ 09

fall is a great time of year. i love the change in weather, the passion of the football season, and the onset of the holiday season. one of my favorite holidays is halloween. it might be the nostalgia of the 1970’s when kids in my dallas suburb roamed the streets trick-or-treating without fear of the literal signs of the boogie men (bright orange jack-o-lantern graphic with the “no candy at this residence” notice ); maybe it was the strange way that my grandmother used to recite a cryptic poem about when little orphan annie came to her house to play around this time of year; it could be the fun of embracing an alter ego via costume if only for an evening; the cooler, crisper, chillier air; the traditions; the mystery; the surprise. it’s almost too much to try and bottle up.

so – let me just say that this year, my joy for halloween revolved around the big fun special k had at our annual halloween party. her wish for the party was that we have bobbing for apples. we had the dry version last year, but she insisted on “havin’ a bucket, with water.” so in the grand tradition of snap apple night (new foundland’s version of halloween) we had opportunities for folks to go “dooking” (scotch for “ducking”) for apples. as she was curious in the ways three year olds are want to be, we did a little research on apple bobbin’ and found out some pretty cool stuff. like - why apples as the fruit of choice? well – for one – they float . two – apples were used in the earliest bobbing games during the celtic harvest festival samhain (summer’s end) and are linked to love and fertility. an interesting aside, apparently, Agatha Christie has a book called, the hallowe’en party which revolves around the murder of a girl drowned in an apple bobbing tub.

special k was beside herself with glee at the chance for everyone to bob for apples. while she was unsuccessful, she was pretty tenacious and did try enough times to become thoroughly soaked.

happy halloween to you and yours. hope you don't get a rock.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

an exercise in juxtaposition

"Let us consider the nature of true greatness in men. The people who can catch hold of men’s minds and feelings and inspire them to do things bigger than themselves are the people who are remembered in history. . . . those who stir feelings and imagination and make men struggle toward perfection."
-Henry Eyring

"Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted."
-David Bly

Thursday, September 24, 2009

the sugar does indeed taste so fine . . .

last weekend, my father-in-law and i went to the local american legion in search of adult beverages and the possibility of live music. and i must say, we hit the jackpot on both counts.

there just so happened to be a song-writers’ sing around in progress, and on stage we were privileged to hear a regional group called sugarcane jane . in short, they were fantastic.

the group is made up of anthony crawford and savana lee. crawford is one of the best guitarists i have ever witnessed in person. he has toured with neil young, played with roy acuff, and his songs have been sung by kenny rogers, lorrie morgan, and the nitty gritty dirt band. his voice is like the love child resulting from a tender affair between the intonations of neil young and the haunting tenors of del mccoury. savana, a loxley, alabama girl, was great as well. her voice and harmonies ranged from gentle and krauss-like to passionate shades of loretta lynn. the chemistry between lee and crawford was a thing of beauty to witness. after the show, i bought four of the cd’s they had available and immediately went to their web site to find future locations/dates where these two will be playing.

my father-in-law and i have enjoyed lots of local gigs across the southeast over the past ten years. we’ve seen some good acts here and there. enough that we’ve developed a question between ourselves: how good do you have to be? implying that the music business must be tough, because while some of these talented folks aren’t hitting it big, american idol et al is cranking consumption for the masses that just ain’t all that.

something tells me sugarcane jane just might be good enough. if you’re lucky enough to catch them live, you’ll see and hear what i mean.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

one of the things i miss most about living in texas is the annual state fair. and a big part of what i miss is the food offerings at the fair (did you know that snow cones debuted at the texas state fair?) one of my heros, abel gonzales, jr. (the creator of such delectables as texas fried cookie dough, fried peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwiches, and fried coke) has done it again. this october gonzales is introducing (drum roll please) . . . . . . . . . . . . . fried butter!

can it get any closer to heaven on this side of the grave?

i hope babe’s fried chicken learns how to fix fried butter and serves it as an appetizer.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

welcome back, james!!!!!!!

tomorrow is a great day. one of my all-time favorite politicians will be released from the federal pen. so look out washington. if he were to run for anything, i’d vote for him. and since half the jokers in that town are crooks what ain’t been caught yet anyways, why not give old j.t. a crack at sorting out some of the mess. the people need a wordsmith of the common man to go toe to toe with THE ONE. check out these golden oldies:

now that he’s out of jail, his art work should be going on sale in legit markets. if you’re interested in that sort of thing, j. t. has got some pretty cool stuff. my personal favorite is his madonna and child painting.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

things that make you go, "hmmmmmmmmm."

before viewing the following clip, ask yourself the following questions:

“am i happy with the service i get from the united states post office?”

“why does the cost of postage keep going up, but the service of the us post office remain the same or get worse?”

“when was the last time the us post office turned a fiscal profit?”

according to jo cerra's article in the new york times , the us post office lost 5 BILLION dollars in 2007, 2.4 BILLION dollars in 2008, and is on track to lose 7 BILLION dollars in 2009.

with these thoughts in mind, witness the rhetorical mastery that is THE ONE.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

one of my favorite happenings is when god reveals glimpses of himself in unanticipated or unexpected places or/and events. maybe i should not be so startled or surprised, but when it happens, i feel the most like a child on christmas morning than at any other time. one such event occurred last friday night at the beau rivage hotel and casino in biloxi, mississippi.

my lovely and gracious wife and i are not big fans of the boats, but we did want to catch the los lonely boys in concert. so, we booked a room, burned through a roll of nickels at the one-armed-bandits, ate some pretty good food, and set off to hear what turned out to be a great concert.

i knew the los lonely boys were going to be good, but had no idea that they were going to be THAT good. the three brothers ( henry, jojo, and ringo garza) brought it for roughly 70 minutes, came back for a one song encore that turned into a two song encore that morphed into another twenty minutes split between stevie wonder’s superstition and jimi hendrix’s voodoo child. Wow. pretty much the whole concert was amped a bit more than their studio work; in fact, the pace and volume of the concert revealed a whole other side of the band.

but i digress - - - about twenty minutes into the show, for one brief moment, the boys slowed the pace a bit. henry dedicated a song to “all of us here tonight who might have done that one little thing in our life we might regret,” and then they played forgiven.

it’s not like i haven’t heard the song before or haven’t ever contemplated the spiritual journey of the band whose albums include titles like forgiven and scacred.

maybe it was the venue – a casino – with vice in all its forms available. maybe it was the brazen act of witness in a secular forum. whatever it was, in the roughly 3 minutes it took for the los lonely boys to perform forgiven, the arena was almost completely silent, and i was taken into the presence of god in a powerful and palpable way.

and it was pretty cool to know that the answer to the song’s question, “Can I be forgiven?” is a resounding, “YES!”

Take it away. Take it away.
Take away these feelings cuz they're bringing me down.
Cuz I can't breathe. Feels like I can't breathe.
Feels just like this whole world's coming down on me.

Oh, can I be Forgiven for all I have done?

Can you set me free? Can you set me free?
Set me free from all this pain life's done to me.

If you can hear me praying, then I'll ask one more time.

Can you take it away, Lord? Oh, can I be forgiven?
Can you take it away, Lord? Help me change my ways of living.
[ Forgiven lyrics from http://www.lyricsyoulove.com/ ]

Oh, can I be forgiven for all I have done?
Is there time for me? Is there still time for me?
Time to change whatever I've got left of me.

If you can hear me praying, then I'll ask one more time.

Can you take it away, Lord? Oh, can I be forgiven?
Can you take it away, Lord? Help me change my ways of living.

Monday, June 22, 2009

three cheers for journalistic integrity!

sometimes there are things in this world that just defy logic. but if we focus on the little things, we might be able to right the world before it is too late. one such area i’d like folks to consider is in the daily reporting of the temperature. yesterday, the weatherman reported that it was 100 degrees, with a heat index was 108degrees. if i understand it right, a heat index is “what it feels like” outside. is this to say that the weather is an emotional state of mind? no. can weather be manipulated by, say, oprah? no. so, why not just report the truth? i mean the temperature is not like a forecast – “there’s a 50% chance of thunder showers in the afternoon.” no one really cares about the accuracy rating of a forecast anyway because the odds of the weathermen being right is less than even. so why not be frank about absolutes such as the temperature. either it is or it isn’t 108. if it is, just say, “it’s 108 degrees outside.” if they’re not sure, just get in the ball park. simply say, “it’s freakin’ hot out there. be careful and make sure you hydrate.” we can take it. and maybe, if we can get the weather reported with some honesty, that attitude might spill over into other areas of journalism.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

viva texas rangers!

wow! it may be only an ephemeral moment, but i’m going to enjoy it. the texas baseball rangers are in first place! IN MAY for crying out loud! GO BOYS, GO!!!!

i'm a sucker for a good ad and a good beer

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

"Great men are never sufficiently shown but in struggles." Edmund Burke

The following is a letter from Andrew McCarthy to Attorney General Holder concerning a request to participate in President Obama's Task Force on Detention Policy. Wow. If only we had conservative politicians running with the cojones of Mr. McCarthy.

May 1, 2009

By email (to the Counterterrorism Division) and by regular mail:

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

This letter is respectfully submitted to inform you that I must decline the invitation to participate in the May 4 roundtable meeting the President’s Task Force on Detention Policy is convening with current and former prosecutors involved in international terrorism cases. An invitation was extended to me by trial lawyers from the Counterterrorism Section, who are members of the Task Force, which you are leading.

The invitation email (of April 14) indicates that the meeting is part of an ongoing effort to identify lawful policies on the detention and disposition of alien enemy combatants -- or what the Department now calls “individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.” I admire the lawyers of the Counterterrorism Division, and I do not question their good faith. Nevertheless, it is quite clear -- most recently, from your provocative remarks on Wednesday in Germany -- that the Obama administration has already settled on a policy of releasing trained jihadists (including releasing some of them into the United States). Whatever the good intentions of the organizers, the meeting will obviously be used by the administration to claim that its policy was arrived at in consultation with current and former government officials experienced in terrorism cases and national security issues. I deeply disagree with this policy, which I believe is a violation of federal law and a betrayal of the president’s first obligation to protect the American people. Under the circumstances, I think the better course is to register my dissent, rather than be used as a prop.
Moreover, in light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers—like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy—may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct. Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government.

Beyond that, as elucidated in my writing (including my proposal for a new national security court, which I understand the Task Force has perused), I believe alien enemy combatants should be detained at Guantanamo Bay (or a facility like it) until the conclusion of hostilities. This national defense measure is deeply rooted in the venerable laws of war and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi case. Yet, as recently as Wednesday, you asserted that, in your considered judgment, such notions violate America’s “commitment to the rule of law.” Indeed, you elaborated, “Nothing symbolizes our [administration’s] new course more than our decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay&hellip. President Obama believes, and I strongly agree, that Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us: a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law.”

Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting. After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.

For what it may be worth, I will say this much. For eight years, we have had a robust debate in the United States about how to handle alien terrorists captured during a defensive war authorized by Congress after nearly 3000 of our fellow Americans were annihilated. Essentially, there have been two camps. One calls for prosecution in the civilian criminal justice system, the strategy used throughout the 1990s. The other calls for a military justice approach of combatant detention and war-crimes prosecutions by military commission. Because each theory has its downsides, many commentators, myself included, have proposed a third way: a hybrid system, designed for the realities of modern international terrorism—a new system that would address the needs to protect our classified defense secrets and to assure Americans, as well as our allies, that we are detaining the right people.
There are differences in these various proposals. But their proponents, and adherents to both the military and civilian justice approaches, have all agreed on at least one thing: Foreign terrorists trained to execute mass-murder attacks cannot simply be released while the war ensues and Americans are still being targeted. We have already released too many jihadists who, as night follows day, have resumed plotting to kill Americans. Indeed, according to recent reports, a released Guantanamo detainee is now leading Taliban combat operations in Afghanistan, where President Obama has just sent additional American forces.
The Obama campaign smeared Guantanamo Bay as a human rights blight. Consistent with that hyperbolic rhetoric, the President began his administration by promising to close the detention camp within a year. The President did this even though he and you (a) agree Gitmo is a top-flight prison facility, (b) acknowledge that our nation is still at war, and (c) concede that many Gitmo detainees are extremely dangerous terrorists who cannot be tried under civilian court rules. Patently, the commitment to close Guantanamo Bay within a year was made without a plan for what to do with these detainees who cannot be tried. Consequently, the Detention Policy Task Force is not an effort to arrive at the best policy. It is an effort to justify a bad policy that has already been adopted: to wit, the Obama administration policy to release trained terrorists outright if that’s what it takes to close Gitmo by January.

Obviously, I am powerless to stop the administration from releasing top al Qaeda operatives who planned mass-murder attacks against American cities—like Binyam Mohammed (the accomplice of “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla) whom the administration recently transferred to Britain, where he is now at liberty and living on public assistance. I am similarly powerless to stop the administration from admitting into the United States such alien jihadists as the 17 remaining Uighur detainees. According to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, the Uighurs will apparently live freely, on American taxpayer assistance, despite the facts that they are affiliated with a terrorist organization and have received terrorist paramilitary training. Under federal immigration law (the 2005 REAL ID Act), those facts render them excludable from theUnited States. The Uighurs’ impending release is thus a remarkable development given the Obama administration’s propensity to deride its predecessor’s purported insensitivity to the rule of law.

I am, in addition, powerless to stop the President, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade.
Finally, let me repeat that I respect and admire the dedication of Justice Department lawyers, whom I have tirelessly defended since I retired in 2003 as a chief assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. It was a unique honor to serve for nearly twenty years as a federal prosecutor, under administrations of both parties. It was as proud a day as I have ever had when the trial team I led was awarded the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award in 1996, after we secured the convictions of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and his underlings for waging a terrorist war against the United States. I particularly appreciated receiving the award from Attorney General Reno—as I recounted in Willful Blindness, my book about the case, without her steadfastness against opposition from short-sighted government officials who wanted to release him, the “blind sheikh” would never have been indicted, much less convicted and so deservedly sentenced to life-imprisonment. In any event, I’ve always believed defending our nation is a duty of citizenship, not ideology. Thus, my conservative political views aside, I’ve made myself available to liberal and conservative groups, to Democrats and Republicans, who’ve thought tapping my experience would be beneficial. It pains me to decline your invitation, but the attendant circumstances leave no other option.
Very truly yours,

Andrew C. McCarthy
cc: Sylvia T. Kaser and John DePue
National Security Division, Counterterrorism Section

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

my own dr.s frankenstien: albert marsh and william hoskins

the above is a result of a quiz which rae ann, she of i'm a hoe, not to be mistaken for a rake or a shovel fame, turned me onto. i'll leave it to both of the viewing audience members who know me as to whether or not the results of the quiz are accurate. i must confess, i was stunned upon discovering that i have been labeled a toaster. you too can find your inner inanimate object here .

Monday, April 27, 2009

happy hour indeed!

i though about calling this photo this little light of mine, but it sounded kinda sacrilegious. so, i'll just call it, papa's a pretty cool dude 'cause he took me to sonic.

Friday, April 17, 2009

the wojtowicz's, franklin, and douglass

patrick, melissa, and gabrielle wojtowicz have become my newest heroes. after reading an article about them in the 4/14/09 issue of USA Today (having trouble linking to the article - sorry) and a subsequent article by peggy noonan , I decided to check out the wojtowicz’s blog (i can't figure out why this link says the blog doesn't exist, but when it says that true north doesn't exist, click on true north and it will take you to none other than true north).

these guys figured it out. as patrick says in the USA Today article, “The idea of living a fuller, more satisfying life seems simple to us now. . . . We would basically buy stuff to feel good. . . . When that stuff stopped filling the voids we had, we started analyzing what it was that we were really missing. . . . Money, cash, credit, maybe they don’t matter. Maybe, just maybe, it is those things that impede our ability to be truly happy.”

patrick is right. and the path the wojtowicz family are on embodies ben franklin’s ideas of self-reliance, specifically virtues #4, #5, and #6: resolution, frugality, and industry. i hope and pray, that the wojtowiczs are indicative of a whole movement back to an agrarian life style. if they are, and if there is a shift in american culture back to an agrarian mind set, maybe an unintended consequence of BIG GOVERNMENT’s meddling in the american way of life could be a positive.

in his Self-Made Man lecture of 1859, frederick douglass said, “Self-made men are the men . . . who they are, without the aid of any of the favoring conditions by which other men usually rise in the world and achieve great results. . . . They are the men who, in a world of schools, academics, colleges, and other institutions of learning, are often compelled by unfriendly circumstances to acquire their education elsewhere and, amidst unfavorable conditions, to hew out for themselves a way to success, and thus to become the architects of their own good fortunes. . . . If they have traveled far, they have made the road on which they have traveled. If they have ascended high, they have built their own ladder. . . . I am certain that there is nothing good, great or desirable which man can possess in this world, that does not come by some kind of labor, either physical or mental, moral or spiritual. A man may, at times, get something for nothing, but it will, in his hands, amount to nothing. What is true in the world of matter is equally true in the world of the mind. Without culture there can be no growth; without exertion, no acquisition; without friction, no polish; without labor, no knowledge; without action, no progress and without conflict, no victory. The man who lies down a fool at night, hoping that he will waken wise in the morning, will rise up in the morning as he laid down in the evening.”

i think franklin and douglass would've been proud of the wojtowic family.

hard-working hands gain control, but lazy hands do slave labor. Proverbs 12:24

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

go get 'em america!

god bless the new crop of sons and daughters of liberty who are participating tomorrow in the tea parties around the country! may your voices be heard!

Friday, April 03, 2009

a stack of money with eyes, a gecko, and a karaoke singer walk into a bar . . .

this video is for my daughter who really likes all things geico. hopefully, she will not grow up with some sort of unhealthy paranoia.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

tell me tommy boy; what is it good for?

as an amateur ornithologist, my ears perked up when i heard about the newest cyber space rage - tweeting. or is it twitting? or twittering? anyway - as a technological neanderthal, i’m doing well to figure out how to post a blog every now and then, much less tweet every two seconds. how does one keep up with tweeting and why? i mean, when i don’t blog for weeks at a time, it occurs to me to go to confession. which is strange. but if stephen king can crank out books a year, shouldn’t i be able to crank out blogs a month? so along comes the twitter. which i still have not gotten a straight answer about from my students. which alerts me to the fact that tweeting or twittering or whatever is either a) so new they don’t even know what it’s good for, or b) it’s not really good for anything. anyone besides the cartoon network got any insight for those of us being left behind?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bob Dylan once said, “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” It seems South Carolina’s governor, Mark Sanford almost gets Zimbo’s drift; he sorta understands James Madison's observation that "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." So, should Mr. Sanford get half of an “‘atta boy!” for rejecting "some" of the stimulus bill? for almost saying,"No" to the stimulus package? Sanford rightly avers that “The name of the game is staying true to the principles that got you into politics in the first place _ and letting the chips fall where they may." So why not apply this to a total rejection of the stimulus bill? would that there were governors out there who had the strength and courage to follow all the way through with their principles.

Friday, February 20, 2009

ezra, the seer

ezra taft benson was the secretary of agriculture in the eisenhower administration. i’m not sure how popular he was then, but i wish there were more wise politicians with some cajones like ezra’s around today. i understand he actually was a prophet in the lds organization. i think that's what the bookend weirdness of the second clip is all about. after listening to a few of his words, it seems maybe he did have a touch of the sight. certainly, he was on the mark politically.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

can you hear me now?

america - how much more can you take? when are you going to listen and realize what's going down? wake up out there. the wool is being pulled over your eyes as the following quote and clip illustrate.

from the press conference last night, obama says: "I know that there are a lot of folks out there who've been saying, 'Oh, this is pork, and this is money that's going to be wasted,' and et cetera, et cetera. Understand, this bill does not have a single earmark in it, which is unprecedented for a bill of this size. ... There aren't individual pork projects that members of Congress are putting into this bill."

the bold italics are mine for emphasis in light of the following clip.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

the postman was right about the wretched stone

of course one of the benefits of watching the super bowl is the commercials. however, one commercial in particular was quite haunting.

initially, this commercial made me think of mike judge’s idiocracy (which is a great satire on what happens to a culture that abandons literacy). in the imaginary future of idiocracy, the number one show on television in the year 2506 is owww, my balls. the fictional sit-com revolves around a single theme: how the protagonist’s testicles are assaulted and abused as he carries out his daily routines. after thinking of judge’s vision, i recalled reading neil postman’s great book, amusing ourselves to death: public discourse in the age of show business. in the book, postman reminds us that television’s entertainment value is a type of huxleyian “soma” which lulls folks into a blissful ignorance which translates into a voluntary relinquishment of their rights to the government. if television is a gateway drug and the internet is crack, what sort of drug is hulu? the future is now. and we need to detoxify ourselves. we’ve medicated ourselves into a state of consciousness from which we might never awake. before it's too late, turn off the visual media and read chris van alsberg's the wretched stone to your kids.

Friday, January 30, 2009

we don't need no stinking stimulus . . .

The following is a list of 41 modern-day political heroes who should be applauded for looking out for the American people’s best interests. These 41 brave senators voted against S. Amdt 3983 and H. R. 5140, the so-called Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008. God bless these 41 members and help them to remain strong in their convictions.

Alphabetical by Senator Name:
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Nay
Hagel (R-NE), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Martinez (R-FL), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Sununu (R-NH), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (R-VA), Nay
Wicker (R-MS), Nay

Of note: *McCain (R-AZ), Not voting

the audacity of hope . . .

i love the super bowl for lots of reasons, but one of the draws for me is the cool commercials. in this season of really creative advertisements, the following, in my opinion, will be hard to top this sunday. if i needed someone to advertise something for me, i’d do my best to hire the folks who put this spot together. it’s simple. it’s subtle. it’s effective. no matter which side of the issue you take, it is difficult to muster any sort of negative response to the presentation of this ad. this is the kind of smart thinking we need more of. this is the sort of moving spirit that can win the day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

i'd pay a dollar to see that at the carnival

sometimes i see things that i just can’t help staring at. it’s rude. it’s impolite. i try not to do it in public. but in the privacy of my own home, it doesn’t seem to hurt much. in these waning days of the football season, i’ve been watching a ton of football fluff on the various sports channels (particularly a series on the nfl network called missing rings). i’ve also been sucked into another show called playbook which is described by the nfl network as a program that uses “exclusive access to coaching film” to “give fans an in -depth look at the match-ups and how each team looks to exploit the other.” as a football junkie, one might assume that i tune into the show to learn the ins and outs of competing teams. but, no-sir. i tune in for one reason. to stare at brian baldinger’s right digitus minimus. i can’t help it. indeed, i found myself this past season actually seeking out games on fox that baldinger was calling even though i didn’t care a jot nor a tiddle about either team on the field, all the while ignoring the fact that baldinger is one of my least favorite color commentators. i would mute the tv and hope the network would cut away from game action and show the booth just so i could catch a glimpse of baldinger’s right digitus quintus. his right fourth finger colloquially is so jacked up that it makes me feel like a vicarious arthritic barometer. if i’m visually locked into his digitus V, i can accurately report the atmospheric pressure and predict high pressure fronts with some modicum of accuracy.

it was when a commercial break came on that my hypnotic lock on baldinger’s pinkie was interrupted and i realized that my habit of staring in-house was indeed dangerous. my daughter, who is a very live wire of a three year old, had been lying silently and statuesquely on the couch beside me with her head in my lap. this is so unusual and out of character for her that asked her if she felt well. she assured me that she was ok. and then went silent again. i should have known something was up, that this was indeed my child. after a couple of minutes she said, “hey, papa. why do you have a charlotte’s web inside your nose?”

“i don’t know, buddy,” i said, “but it is really not polite to stare.”