Thursday, July 31, 2003

I forgot to mention that I beat the everlovin' crap out of Mr. G in Pocket Tanks this evening. Three times straight and it wasn't even a real contest because I was at least 100 points ahead every game. I'm the man!! Not since geometry class in high school and Tie Fighter have we had this much fun. No place to run, no place to hide, and surrender is the only option, but then I'll hit ya with the Napalm. Darn!

I was going to write about Colorado, but I've been fielding phone calls, discussing business with Mr. G, chatting about computer crashes and Dell with Dick, our excellent renter who lives in our backyard, and planning to leave tomorrow for a wedding. Mr. G's little sister is getting married on Saturday, so we are headed to Ft. Worth to celebrate with the whole famn damily. Except in the weird world of divorce, we don't actually know Mr. G's family. In fact, I've not met either of his brothers and I've seen his older sister exactly once and we've been married for 20 years. The baby of the family I've met several times and she's the one who's getting married, so this will be an excellent opportunity to meet everyone and hopefully we'll love them all because they share Mr. G's gene pool.

I'd be a bit pessimistic about my optimism, but my daughter Valentine has been hanging out with fam this summer while she's exiled in Mesquite, and she thinks they are they greatest thing since sliced bread.

That leads me to my next point. The whole debate about nature or nurture in children is one I've often considered, but Valentine has pushed me completely off the fence on this one. It's nature, folks. I'd always thought that while reflecting on my own family, but Valentine's bonding with these people I've never met ices the cake. They are loud, they are sarcastic, and the clincher is that they are convinced they know the answer to every question. Just ask 'em. How could we NOT be related to these people? And who on earth would think those qualities were "the bomb", aside from my family?

Since they are family, sorta, I'm not going to feel comfortable calling them "these people" after the wedding. When I get back from the wedding, I'll fill in all y'all opinionated, loud, sarcastic, and always right folks in my family on the details. For those of you who are nice, and I know you're reading too, I love you too. But grab that mic already!

Colorado post tomorrow. Yes, a strange man crawled in my bed late one evening, and yes, my life is always very odd.

The economy is slowly recovering:

Defying forecasts for growth closer to 1.5 percent, the US economy gave the clearest sign yet it is shaking off Iraq war-inspired shock and gathering speed, with business investment finally back.
Good. Now maybe Viagra can get a job when he comes home.

The death penalty isn't cruel enough for some slimebuckets. Look at what the Taliban is up to in Afghanistan.

"There are reports of anti-coalition forces typically using non-threatening children, women and handicapped people to approach coalition forces with exploding ink pens as a method of attack on the coalition," Colonel Rodney Davis told reporters at Bagram Air Base 50km north of Kabul.

"I can only characterise the use of children to behave in such a manner as despicable," he said.
I'm an Old Testament kind of gal who appreciates the justice in an eye for an eye. Here's what the judge ought to say: "Yes you're guilty, terrorist scum, and here's your pen."

Israeli's Up Against the Wall is a Saudi perspective on the Middle East and quite revealing:

The irony is that while the Palestinians really do want peace, though with dignity and justice, the Israeli Zionists know that an end to conflict will represent an end to US financial support and an end to their chance for further expansion.

The wall indeed may therefore be nothing but another ploy to provoke more Palestinian fury and an inner line of defense for borders to make even more incursions into other peoples’ lands.

Building a wall is a form of aggression? Notice in the entire article he doesn't say one word about Palestinians blowing themselves and innocent civilians up.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Paul Gigot has some interesting observations after following Paul Wolfowitz around in Iraq:

Most reporting from Iraq suggests that the U.S. "occupation" isn't welcome here. But following Mr. Wolfowitz around the country I found precisely the opposite to be true. The majority aren't worried that we'll stay too long; they're petrified we'll leave too soon. Traumatized by 35 years of Saddam's terror, they fear we'll lose our nerve as casualties mount and leave them once again to the Baath Party's merciless revenge.

The entire article is interesting.

Laughing and Cursing Through New Mexico

One final observation about road construction in Texas. I understand the orange cones lined up to keep drivers out of a lane that is being repaired, but why add an additional line of orange cones on the shoulder? Has there been an unreported rash of frustrated motorists flinging themselves and their vehicles into the ditch? What is keeping these people off the shoulder and out of the ditches when there are no orange cones?

New Mexico has tried to solve this vexing problem and a host of others with road signs. Based on my calculations, their road sign budget could feed a third world country for a decade. From the moment we crossed the state line, road signs peppered the landscape to lecture drivers on New Mexican highway etiquette. The people of New Mexico must be a dense lot, because they require 16 arrow signs per curve in the road to illustrate, sixteen times, that there is indeed a curve in the road.

Also, "KEEP OFF THE SHOULDER!" seems fairly benign until you've seen it seven thousand times in a 10 mile stretch. By the time we arrived in Raton, I was torn between shouting "I'M NOT ON THE SHOULDER!!" at the offensive things and driving exclusively on the shoulder until we reached the Colorado state line. Preventing me from enjoying that perverse pleasure were four thousand signs announcing "ROAD PATROLLED BY AIRCRAFT!" I was afraid black helicopters would swoop in and start dropping orange road cones on my head.

More irritating is that even in the middle of nowhere, with very little traffic, the speed limit remains a creeping 65 MPH throughout the state. Of the ten people on the road that day, the one person actually driving the speed limit was in front of the other nine of us. I looked for an opportunity to pass, but New Mexico has enhanced it's scenery with another gazillion signs about passing.

The first sign read "Passing Lane 2 Miles" so I decided, reluctantly, to wait. Next came "Passing Lane 1 Mile","Passing Lane 1/2 Mile", "Passing Lane 750 ft.", and "Passing Lane 500 ft.". Imagine Dick Clark finishing his New Year's Eve count down gig in New York City and moving to New Mexico to usher in the passing lanes. I began to accelerate, but was thunderstruck by the next two signs, placed on both sides of the road, which said, "DO NOT PASS!" Huh?

Then there were the six "No Parking" signs that invariably showed up along side every passing lane. I'm riding someone's bumper for 2 miles, waiting to pass, get on down the road, and out of this state. Yet, New Mexico believes I might become as schizophrenic as their road signs, roar across their shoulder, drive my car into the ditch, and park.

Needless to say, we all cheered as we finally flew past "You Are Now Leaving New Mexico!"

Gunning for John Wayne
"SOVIET tyrant Josef Stalin ordered hitmen to kill movie idol John Wayne, it was claimed yesterday.
The murderous dictator feared that famously anti-Communist superstar Wayne would thwart his plans for a global red revolution."
The Duke won hearts and minds however:
He says the death sentence on Wayne ended when Stalin died in 1953.

When Nikita Kruschev took over he ordered the KGB to stop plotting against Wayne — his favourite actor.

Here's Your Sign!

Saudis 'outraged' at 9/11 secrecy:

"Saudi Arabia says it is an 'outrage' that a US report about the 11 September attacks has raised suspicions about Saudi involvement.
Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also expressed dismay at a US refusal to publish a classified section of a report into the attacks, and launched a strongly-worded defence of his country's record in fighting terrorism. "
While we've had some security lapses, even folks unable to fill out a butterfly ballot in Florida would find some significance in the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were Saudis. Saudia Arab is the outrage.

Salam Pax, a native, has an article about Iraq today:

Talking of demonstrations, I would like to put in a plug here for the Cafe Demonstration, right in the middle of Firdaws Square in front of the now famous Palestine Hotel. Someone with a sense of humour set up a tent for a couple of days and offered tea, coffee and political banners for demonstrations. Good business sense, as this is the place where all demonstrations take place. Why bother with your own banners and flags? Just go to Cafe Demonstration for a chat, while the owner paints your anti-American banner. Instant demo accessories available.

Since he's there, it's interesting to read.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Vacation Trip Update

My trip to the Panhandle was exactly as I thought it would be, but I blocked from my memory one crucial, grisly detail. Victory gets car sick. Yes, Virginia, we did have the privilege of seeing his sack lunch twice on the trip north. No, there isn't enough Febreeze in Texas to fix that.

As we proceeded north, I uncovered a nasty little bureaucratic plot. Our Texas legislature, before it took to haring off to neighboring states, raised the speed limit to 70 MPH on most interstate and state highways. It appears however, that the Department of Public Safety cannot let the double nickel die. Technically, the signs still read 70 MPH, but about 3 miles at 70 MPH is the limit a Texas driver is allowed before the teeth-nashing "Road Work Ahead" sign appears. This sign is followed by "Give Us a Brake!", and "Road Work Ahead for the next 500 Miles". I finally decided the road workers were following the legislators to New Mexico one excruciatingly slow mile after the other. At one point near Snyder, TX I was actually ordered completely off the highway. "This Road is Closed, You Must Exit Now"! I was afraid I was going to be trapped for the entire week at Rip Griffin's Truck Stop browsing for vacation momentos among the bobble-head doll statues, giant pencils and Quaker State products.

And let's not forget the ominous "Fines Doubled In Construction Area" sign. What a huge bonanza for the nanny state. It's not only mandatory to drive 55 MPH on 99.9% of Texas roads due to strategically placed road work, now they can double the price of the speeding ticket and reap the whirlwind profits. A new campaign slogan, the party of "Tax and Pave".

Texas is now the "friendly state" because every five minutes a friendly road paver pops up with smile and a stop sign in his hand. "Give Us a Brake!" Where would you like it?

Check in tomorrow and let me fill you in on the road signs of New Mexico.

Whiskey for the Men, Beer for the Horses

US Forces Nab Associates of Saddam: "BAGHDAD - U.S. forces hunting Saddam Hussein in Iraq have captured three key figures loyal to the deposed dictator, including a top bodyguard, and are closing in on Saddam himself, the U.S. military said on Tuesday."

Fearless Leaders

Texas Democrats bolt again!: " AUSTIN -- Eleven of 12 Democratic state senators abruptly left the state Capitol this afternoon and headed for Albuquerque after learning that Gov. Rick Perry was about to call a second special session on congressional redistricting. "

Read 'Em and Weep

Democrats Lack Crucial Support to Beat Bush : "PHILADELPHIA, July 28 -- Dramatic erosion in support among white men has left the Democrats in a highly vulnerable position and unless the party strongly repositions itself, President Bush will be virtually impossible to beat in 2004, according to a new poll commissioned for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)."

Monday, July 28, 2003

Back From Vacation!

Updates Tomorrow!

Missing the Story Could Cause Cancer!

Check With Your Doctor.

Uncle Cousin sends a timely, moral equivalent update on our Iraq policy,Middle East: The Realities

That moral reality is a little hard for the left to explain, considering the fact that it parades as the guardian of human rights and all-around general decency, and rallied millions to prevent the policy that liberated Iraq from Uday and Qusay's reign of terror.
Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead!

This Wall Street Journal article explains why it's important.

We are not doing this out of altruism. We are not trying to give them a liberalized Western democracy because we're evangelistic liberal democrats (with both liberal and democrat taking historical meanings). We are bringing reform to Iraq out of narrow self-interest. We have to foster reform in the Arab/Muslim world because it's the only real way in the long run to make them stop trying to kill us.

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