Thursday, July 03, 2003

Drivin' Me Up a Wall!

I've been getting ready for the 4th of July party today. This evening alone, I've had three different colors of paint in use and employed house cleaning products than Martha Stewart doesn't know about. You know the party drill. Clean your house so that all your friends can leave napkins, plates, 4006 cups, and crushed potato chips on every available surface. Shop for food so you can clean seven kinds of dip off the floors in every room on Saturday. Mow the yard, the better to display the trash when everyone picks up their lawn chair and goes home. It's no holiday to get everything clean and ready to be destroyed. I've seen people on the news, standing in front of a trailer after a tornado, who have less clean up in store for them than I do after our 4th of July bash. However, it's the holiday we always celebrate in style, and we love the whole messy business.

I'm going to wait until after the parade tomorrow to finish the 2nd part of my 4th of July story. There have been certain developments in the parade rules, and basically I'm waiting to see if my son's baseball team is kicked out of the parade mid-route before I can craft a worthy story. For the many of you (2) who are waiting with baited breath, it involves negligent mothers, lawsuit happy citizens, and T-Ball players in a police lineup. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

The Fourth of July

The parade comes right down our street on the 4th of July. Friends and family camp out on our front lawn for three hours to watch the spectacle. When the last of the 1,754 individuals riding horses clops past and we’ve all acquired a respectable sunburn, we move to the back yard and cook out hamburgers.

The parade took on special significance in 2000 for two reasons. Then Governor Bush was campaigning for President and chose our parade for a little patriotic photo-op, marching down Main Street shaking hands and kissing babies. As Texans, this was not particularly exciting for us, because we’d already seen Bush shaking hands and kissing babies. We were very interested in the Secret Service detail because they were wearing suits in 100 degree weather and we assumed this was to conceal their guns. This did not lend itself toward a festive, holiday spirit. They trampled across our yard and our quilts, glancing suspiciously at my son and his friends sitting on the roof for a better view of the parade, and any urge we might have felt to dash into the street to glad-hand with Bush on national television quickly evaporated.

The parade was also significant because for the first time there were float-loads of baseball players, tap dancers, ballerinas, gymnasts, employees of the local hospital, and cheerleaders all armed with Super Soaker water guns. They had what looked to be 50 gallon water drums added to their floats so they could cheerfully re-load for the entire parade route. As each group rode past, gleefully spraying astonished spectators, most of the folks camped in our yard just sat dripping in shock. Yes, it was cooler if we were soaking wet, but being hosed by people riding by on floats with no ability to shoot back did not sit well with us. This is Texas after all.

Sadly, President Bush, his secret service detail, and the national press were not with us in 2001. By the time parade day rolled around, however, we had hatched our own little war plan. The floats came gliding down the street, all the riders armed to teeth, and once again they began to spray our lawn spectators. Lying in wait by the curb, strategically placed on both ends of the yard were my children. The rules of engagement had been laid out in advance and were standard operating procedure: do not fire unless fired upon.

As soon as the first enemy shots were fired, the kids leapt to their feet, revealing two pressure sprayers attached to garden hoses. They began to completely drench the float-riding combatants. The Super-Soaker toters were woefully out-gunned. Some manfully squirted on, while others dove behind float decorations or their mothers. This caused loud clapping and hoots of encouragement not only from our lawn, but all up and down the parade route, and we all settled in for a three-hour water war.

There was only one serious physical altercation, but after a lengthy struggle, cooler heads prevailed. Thankfully, my husband was able to wrest the pressure sprayer from my hands seconds before our US Congressman’s car came within firing range.

The only people who didn’t enjoy the fun were the cheerleaders. While it had been hilarious last year for them to spray us, it was not at all amusing when we returned fire. They were coiffed and made-up to perfection, as cheerleaders usually are, but unfortunately ours is the first house on the parade route. This meant they had to ride out the rest of the parade, giving little limp, half-hearted parade waves while seething under their dripping hair and streaming make-up. Little did we know they too were hatching a war plan.

Don’t miss Part II: 2002 - The Revenge of the Cheerleaders!

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Scientists Steal Hollywood Ideas

Scientists say it could be possible to transplant human wombs within three years, despite the debate as to whether organ transplants should be given except in health related situations. Scientists say that it may even be possible, with regular hormone injections, for a man to have a baby.

Call me crazy, but doesn't this remind you of an old Arnold Shwarzenegger movie, where he is injected with a human egg as an experiment? Am I the only one who thinks that it's very scary to have other Arnold Shwarzenegger movies lurking out there, ready to pop into the news?

I can just picture CNN News, 5 years from now...

Aaron Brown: And now, Judy, we turn to our reporter in the field, Wolf Blitzer.

Wolf Blitzer: In our latest breaking news, a bionic arm has been found underneath a hydrolic press, along with an indescribable mass of crushed metal. Police have apprehended a woman found fleeing the scene. In an earlier interview, she told the press that the arm belonged to an indestructible robot who was chasing her. She informed the press that the robot's dying words were "Ahh'll be baahhck". Back to you, Aaron.

Eminem The Poet

In recent news, Eminem is praised for his 'verbal energy'
Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, lauded the rapper's lyrical prowess and said he had "sent a voltage around a generation".

Speaking as a young person, the only verbal energy Eminem shows is a negative one. In one of his songs, he tells his momma to "bend over and take it like a slut", and that he will never come to her funeral. Another of his songs you can't even listen to on the radio because it's "and BLEEP and BLEEP, she says BLEEP and BLEEP".

If this is what our generation needs to learn, think, and act like, then Eminem is great. But if our generation is looking for any moral standards at all, Eminem is not the direction in which we need to search. Here is an example of one of Eminem's "powerful" songs:

Slim Shady, brain dead like Jim Brady,

I'm M80, you lil' like that Kim lady,

I'm buzzin, Dirty Dozen, naughty rotten rhymer,

Cursin at you players worse than Marty Schottenheimer,

You wacker than the motherfucker you bit your style from

You ain't gonna sell two copies if you press a double album

Admit it, fuck it, while we comin out in the open.

I'm doin acid, crack, smack, coke and smokin dope then,

My name is Marshall Mathers, I'm an alcoholic (Hi Marshall),

I have a disease and they don't know what to call it,

Better hide your wallet cause I'm coming up quick to strip your cash ...

A Nobel Peace Prize winner thinks this is "lyrical prowess"?

Openin' a Can of Worms

Richard Cohen has an interesting column entitled Crackpot Conservatism in the Washington Post today.

What is fascinating about this article is that with almost every sentence he types, he proves yet again that the left is more interested in calling conservatives names than in having a straight forward discussion of issues. Rather than attempting to prove that Coulter is wrong, he pens his own indictment that can now be added to a revised edition of Coulter's first book, Slander, Liberal Lies About the American Right. And he's absolutely oblivious to all of this. Beginning with his first sentence:

"I am happy to report that Ann Coulter has lost her mind."
Cohen writes an article that manages to state or imply that:
Coulter is crazy (4 times)
She is an idiot (2 times)
Her writing is "unreadable slog" (2 times)
She is a racist (1 time)
Conservatives and Coulter are crackpots (4 times)
Conservatives are dumb or ridiculous (2 times)
He predicts that the book will be a bestseller because:

"They tell the majority (non-liberals) that they are being controlled by the minority (liberals) -- and that most of the country's important institutions, particularly the press, are in the hands of leftists."
Unsatisfied with slandering only Coulter and conservatives, Cohen gives us his explanation of why conservative books become bestsellers by slandering the majority of Americans. That's right, Mr. and Ms. Marjority, you are naive rubes who believe crazy conspiracy theories. That is the only possible explanation for a conservative bestseller.

Using about twelve randomly selected quotes from Treason, he Dowdifies a 368 page book and is gleeful over this non-accomplishment.

Moving on to counter some of the book's contentions, he apparently misplaces his copy, so he sets up his own strawmen instead:

"It is the same with American liberals. They control everything, ......"
According to Coulter..."Nonconservatives are traitors."
and then argues with himself for several paragraphs. And then there is this little gem:
"Fairness compels me to say that Coulter scores some points. Parts of the left -- not all of it, dearie -- were unaccountably naive about communism......."
He's willing to concede a very small and irrelevant point, he patiently explains, but only on the condition that he is allowed to pat the little woman on the head and gently point the way back to the kitchen. Some men do this when they are losing an argument with a woman, but it's especially sweet to point it out when a liberal uses it as a fall back position. And finally this:
"As this is America, the best she can muster is scorn, ad hominem arguments (Bill Clinton's face is a "fat, oleaginous mug"; Jimmy Carter is "often maligned for his stupidity," etc.) and the shrapnel of quotes she accumulates after she has exploded their context."
Let's put the shoe on the other foot, shall we? The best Cohen can muster is scorn, ad hominem arguments ("If the book were a Rorschach test, she would be institutionalized.""I am happy to report that Ann Coulter has lost her mind", etc.) condescension and strawmen. Content to completely avoid discussion of the vast majority of Coulter's allegations in Treason, he does point us all toward the really important issue right now for liberals. Simply, there is no reliable evidence that Saddam Hussein is connected to the Sept. 11 attack or to al Qaeda.

Which brings up an interesting parallel to Treason. Until the mid-90's, there was no irrefutable, documented evidence that there were members of our government on Stalin's payroll. Yet some liberals still blindly refuse to accept the evidence, and continue to demonize the messengers . History will give us the answers on Saddam Hussein's connection to Sept. 11th and al Qaeda, but even if the connection is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, some liberals will still blindly refuse to accept the evidence and continue to demonize to messengers.

I predict that as long as there are liberals who demonize the messenger instead of arguing the message, conservative authors will continue to write bestsellers.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Medicare Bills Would Add Drug Benefits

The House and Senate early today adopted the most far-reaching and most expensive changes to Medicare in its history, offering all 40 million people in the program help in paying for prescription drugs and expanding the role of private health plans in caring for the nation's senior citizens.
I have a question for those of you who support this additional benefit. Haven't we, the younger generation, paid quite enough? I don't remember voting to support the social security handout for everyone who is actually able to collect it, regardless of their ability to support themselves. Oh that's right. They voted this for themselves, long before I was born, but they've asked me to pay for it. How nice. It sounds so vague and nice in the newspaper, like visiting the nursing home. But what if you actually get specific about who is getting the checks and who the government is taxing so that they can continue to receive them?

I am sick, sick, sick of supporting the "general elderly". As if everyone with grey hair is automatically destitute and living on dog food so that they are able to buy their meds. Please! By my realistic calculations, I am paying, or someone reading this is paying, so that the government can send a check to my grandparents who live a life I will probably never become accustomed to and part of the reason is that the government is SENDING THEM MY MONEY. And my money isn't even needed, I'm the "fun money" for my grandparents. We are also soon to be or already subsidizing our parents. They too, have much more disposable income, investments, and just hard cash. We are going to be their "fun money" too.

Social Security and Medicare are taking money away from younger people who are struggling to buy a home, raise a family, or create a business. The Greatest Generation was kind enough to ask their children and grandchildren to pay their bills, regardless of the income they might have available.

For those of you who think that is a tad harsh, let me suggest a system that I think would be much better. I'm allowed to designate some of my social security payments to the elderly family member of my choice who actually needs it. Any social security recipient who is not so selected, and can damned well pay his own bills, must then go to his children, or grandchildren, or heck, random man on the street, and plead his case. The remaining portion goes into an investment fund I create myself and I haven't demanded, on penalty of law, that my children or grandchildren subsidize for me.

The time for means-testing this system and phasing it out has come and gone, but politicians continue to extend the thing, because Bush needs to win Florida in 2004? AARP? Old people vote?

Old people, unless you are destitute, stop asking me to pay your bills.

A Tale of Two Parties

The next time you see a story like this one, Republicans Rule:
With the Republicans controlling all the levers of power -- 1600 Penn, both Hill chambers and the high court -- have Democrats slid into a state of near-irrelevancy?

Remember what happens when when Democrats Rule:
The nation's most populous state, home to one of the world's largest economies, has been staring in disbelief at the same dire predicament for months: a $38 billion deficit, the largest shortfall in its history and an extreme example of the budget woes afflicting many states. But now it has only hours left to solve the problem.

National Do Not Call Registry

Like many of you, we receive sales calls all day, into the evenings, seven days a week. I have a sophisticated, high-tech screening system installed in my home and it works like a dream. One of my children answers the phone. Most callers reveal themselves immediately by either asking for my husband by his full name, which he has never used, or mispronouncing my name, and the children say that of course, that person doesn't live here. If the caller, by some miracle, doesn't make either of these mistakes, the children ask questions to discern whether or not the person is a salesperson. They enjoy chatting away trying to see if the caller will hang up or simply chat back and there is the double incentive. If I end up actually taking a sales call, the negligent screener must mop the kitchen floor.

For those of you who do not have this handy method of dealing with sales calls, the National Do Not Call Registry is supposed to stop most telephone sales calls. Be sure to sign up! If it hampers even a couple of the telemarketers who have been annoying us for years, it's completely worth it!

Think globally, fume locally

Kofi Annan says US intervention necessary:
MONROVIA, Liberia - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan kept up pressure on the United States to lead intervention in Liberia Monday as troops strengthened defensesaround battle-worn Monrovia in fear of another bloody rebel attack.
This seems like an about face given his attitude about the Iraqi invasion. But then there is this:
The killing of 700 people in two failed rebel attacks on Monrovia this month has raised fears of an even bigger bloodbath if rebels or President Charles Taylor, a former warlord wanted by a war crimes court, renege on truces once again.
It's OKAY to prop up a warlord dictator and protect him from rebels, it's not OKAY to get rid of a warlord dictator and protect the people from him.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Too Windy Out There To Stack BB's
I've tried adding comments. We'll see how that goes. I'm not crazy about the format so far. I suppose comments would be welcome is redundant?
Get OVER Youself!

P.J. O'Rourke thinks Hillary Clinton's book, Living History, is just plain boring, but I had an epiphany when I read this quote:
Ms. Clinton has led a busy, meddlesome life from an early age. "I was elected co-captain of the safety patrol. . . . This was a big deal at our school."
And this, finally, explains Hillary Clinton. Remember that episode of The Brady Bunch when Bobby is on the safety patrol? He starts writing tickets at school, but soon enlarges his perceived sphere of influence to his family and tickets them as well. He finally becomes so completely obnoxious and anal that his entire family demands that he get over himself. Hilllary's family never insisted that she get over herself. She continued to enlarge her perceived sphere of influence until she began trying to ticket the entire world and finally made a career of it.
Straight to the moon, Alice!

GERMAN POLICE ARE trying to identify a speeding driver from pictures of a bare bottom.
Judging by his acrobatic contortion he must have been some sort of performer

A picture of the speeding car was caught by a speed camera in Bonn as the car passed through a 30mph zone at twice the limit.

As the flash from the camera went off flashing of a different sort was happening in the car. When the film was examined officials found a perfect shot of the offender's bare bottom instead of his face.

If officers catch the flasher he faces up to a month in jail, a £70 fine and three points on his licence.
Just a 3? Those German judges are pretty harsh. I'd give it a 3 for originality, but definitely a 10 for difficulty level.
Oh, Those Wacky Air Traffic Controllers!

A SWISS air traffic controller jokingly put an "al-Qaeda" label on a French helicopter that strayed into restricted air space during the Group of Eight summit, nearly leading to a shootdown by the French air force, officials confirmed today.

Mad Mullah Update

G. from Baghdad has a great post about current events in Iraq:

I think we are already hot listed as the best distention this summer on the [Bin-Laden Tourism Board] . For those kids who missed Afghanistan and find Chechnya too far away, why not try Iraq?
One bit of profanity, but very worth it to read what he has to say!

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