Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush Declares Sacrifice in Iraq to Be 'Worth It'

George Bush scares me. Seriously. Even though he boosted (see slang)the presidency in 2000, he seemed a relatively mindless and harmless sort. But he obviously had a hidden agenda. Eventual events show that he was ready and eager to go to war against Iraq and needed only the irrelevant excuse of a "War against Terrorism" to bring that agenda out of hiding.

The world has had over two years now to see that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, no biological warfare materials, and housed to terrorism nests or training grounds; and most misleading of all: Saddam Hussein was not Osama bin Laden, who still roams freely despite Bush's rhetoric. So gradually, Americans are beginning to realize that Bush and his junta misled the US and the UN into an illegal attack on another sovereign nation. And as that realization grows and Bush's approval rating and war footing slip, the man, as shown in yesterday's address, is becoming desperate. His approval rating jumped into the stratosphere in the aftermath of the suicide attacks on the World Trade Center. And now that he is losing that approval, I worry as to the measures he might attempt to get that rating back.

I know that Bush is a deeply religious man and I worry that he prays to god every night to give him another day of tragedy on which to speak bravely and pretend leadership. As he stated yesterday, any loss of American life, health or well being in the pursuit of his agenda will be "Worth it." To him. And he couldn't care less about the rest of us.

And if god declines to answer his prayer, I dread to think of to whom else he might turn. I don't know if the devil answers prayers, but I do know that the bin Laden family has an umbilical pipeline of oil to this Bush administration. Might there be someone in that family he could turn to for aid and assistance?

Are you scared, too?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Who was that masked man?

June 26, 2005

Shark Kills Teen in Florida
From Times Wire Reports

DESTIN, Fla. — A 14-year-old girl died in a shark attack Saturday in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida Panhandle, authorities said.

She and a friend were on boogie boards about 100 yards offshore when they saw a shadow in the water, authorities said. The other teenager was not injured, Walton County sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Shank said.


Tim Dicus, 54, had been surfing when he heard a scream.

"I immediately paddled over and found her floating facedown in the center of the blood pool," Dicus told Associated Press. Much of her thigh was missing, he said. "And right next to her was the shark, about to come up and attack her again."

The girl's friend had begun swimming toward shore.

Dicus said he put the injured girl on his surfboard and the shark — which he said appeared to be a bull shark about 8 feet long — went after her hand.

"He just followed us right to the beach," Dicus said. The shark tried to attack Dicus too, the surfer said, so he punched the shark's nose.

Two other swimmers helped tow the girl ashore.

The girl was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, Shank said.

The girl was on vacation from Gonzales, La. Her name was not immediately released.

The attack happened near the Camping on the Gulf Holiday Travel Park, which is about 45 miles east of Pensacola.

After the attack, swimmers were ordered out of the water along 20 miles of crowded beach.

It was not immediately clear whether they would be allowed back in today.

Fatal shark attacks are rare. Seven were reported worldwide among 61 unprovoked shark attacks last year, according to the International Shark Attack File, a group at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Thirty shark attacks were reported in the United States last year. Florida, which routinely has the most in the nation, had 12 last year, down from an annual average of more than 30 over the four previous years. None was fatal

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Shaping Up the Digital Way

You are never too old to shape up.

Check out the new 3-Second total body make-over. A simple Click of your mouse can do it all.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Order is restored.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Justice Delayed

KKK June 21, 1964

Killer Killen Klansman June 21, 2005

Friday, June 17, 2005

Peter Tramps a-go go

How he jumps at Paul and Marcie's

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Motor morons

Something I don't understand is what people are doing when they get into their vehicles, start the engine, even turn on their headlights, then sit there for several minutes, doing nothing, with the motor running, while I am waiting for the parking space.

You finally pull up beside one of these sluggards to ask if they are going to vacate the space, but the drivers usually keep their windows up and their eyes averted and pretend like they don't know you are there. Then, when you give up and move on to look for another space, they pull out behind you and drive away. Duh!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Peter and the Painted Desert, June, 2002

Panorama courtesy Olympus

Not far from here, as we continued along route 66 into New Mexico, we passed a classic old Ford Sedan. It was in mint condition and a beauty. Its single occupant was a pretty shriveled old timer hunched behind the wheel.

A few hours later, Peter and I took separate rooms (cheap) at the Pony Soldier Motel in Tucumcari and very early the next morning I hit the highway in my running shoes. I jogged about a mile toward the new highway where I took a break in a new service and souvenir stop. Parked outside the entrance was the Ford.

The slight and wizened driver stood quietly beside his old Ford with a beverage in his hand. In reply to my questions he told me it was a 1950 with 186,000 miles. I found out that he lived, and the Ford was garaged, in Southern California, and that this was his third full trip across the length of 66 and back. The first two had been with his wife. He didn't say why she wasn't along this time. I didn't ask.

I have made several Route 66 trips of my own in the last 50 years. This was surely my last one and definitely the best. I'm glad Peter and I did it together.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Death in the Ring

This is a must see documentary. It screens on Bravo at 11:am Saturday (08:am on DirecTV).

The final count

Monday, June 06, 2005


CRASH might better be titled VIGNETTES, because that is what the hour and forty minute running time is composed of, about a dozen little, but somewhat overlapping vignettes of Los Angeles street life. The film was a little slow in starting because it took so long to logo all the different production companies before and after the title card. So right away you know that all the lead actors have participation positions in the project. IMDB lists fifteen producer credits, but don't worry about the broth, you can be sure the only thing they’re cooking is the books.

Story-wise, there is none. The script seems derived from an email collection of urban myths and fairy tales, tinged by Tarantino mania. Instead of a plot, much less a story, it is an anthology of angst and irony, presented in two and three minute scene increments and intercut into a patchwork quilt pattern that is schematically formal but emotionally dead and creatively banal. With so many characters to quickly move on and off screen, there is little time for characterization, but the proficient cast of profit participants does a good job of hitting their camera and emotional marks to deliver their simplistic homilies with conviction.

Personally, I’m not much for angst, but I do like irony. And when some of the irony in CRASH is presented with humor, I am amused. Beyond that, I felt totally detached from the screen. No sadness, anger, fear, catharsis, joy or satisfaction. Sitting there alone, I felt like a movie critic, which is a dreary way to screen a movie.

But, as you see, I don’t write like a movie critic. No detailed and irrelevant plot outline. No spoilers. No awarding of credit or blame to one collaborator which is really due to another. Just a reasonable alert from an old curmudgeon.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Iraq Report

I just received an email from my niece, Cathy, that I think is worth sharing. She and Michelle were U.S. Army brats during the Vietnam muddle.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hey ya'll,

just a note to share how well the War that isn't technically is going.

Michelle's boyfriend, Ben, was kept 60 days past his leave date with the Army 2 years ago. That would have been from June, kept till August.

He was in the "Ready Reserves" which is everybody that doesn't volunteer for the National Reserves officially, the once a month guys. Because he refused to sign for the National Reserves, he was told he could not have the GI Education Benefits, which I had never heard being negotiable before.

The "Ready Reserves" used to be 4 years from your official separation, or leave date, now it has been increased to 7 years.

Now, 3 weeks ago, about 2 years from his original separation date, Ben was sent a letter informing him he must show up at Fort Benning, Georgia by June 6th, and within 3 weeks be shipped to Iraq.

Ben was trained as an Army Ranger, E-5 rank at time of leaving the army. He had been stationed at Fort Bragg, not Benning, even though he trained some there. Ben supervised 5 - 1 0 soldiers, as a sargeant. He is only 25 1/2 now. The Army claims he has Leadership background they are short on.

My guess is we have had a lot of sargeants blown up in the jeeps and humvees over there. Low -level supervisors are in short supply.

Ben spent time in Colombia, Afghanistan , 2ce by the time he was 23 1/2. Strangely, after nearly 2 years, our government sent him papers to sign promising not to discuss anything regarding his previous assignments in Afghanistan and Colombia. Then the mandatory re-up letters arrive.

On a personal level, Ben survived a life- threatening car accident last November that shattered his leg, left him in the road of a major intersection wondering if he would live. He survived, had his lower leg reconstructed, with the miracle of 14 - 18 inches of titanium and screws from the knee to the ankle. He just had another follow-up with his orthopedic surgeon last Monday.

The surgeon, an ex- Marine Medic, said that if the Army was smart, that they would send Ben home. Should he be re-injured, and survive, the Army would be paying him disability of $2,000 - $4,000 a month. Of course, that is if he survived the injuries. You can see it is cheaper for the soldiers to die in action.

Jumping out of planes and helicopters with metal in your body is not recommended.

However, my instinct is that they will make him serve again, too many gung-ho types have been shown on tv being sent back to Iraq with their prosthetics for legs and feet. Do you really think they run as fast as a normal person? what if it falls off?

The best Lee and I hope for is that Ben is at least kept stateside in a support position. An old retired officer friend of Ben's thinks they may force him to be a drill sergeant.

Did I mention that Ben is still gun-shy of driving cars since this happened? He was only cleared to work his construction job 60 days ago, with the stipulation that he stay on the ground.

Anyone want to take bets on Ben being sent straight to Iraq ? So how desperate are we for volunteer soldiers?


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Eating al fresco

I gave Julie her option of restaurants for her birthday dinner on Wednesday. Interestingly, she picked The Gumbo Pot, a venerable food stall in Los Angeles’ historic Farmers Market.

We shared a delicious oyster Po’ Boy and crawfish etoufee and a beer at a patio table. Nothing else could be much simpler, cheaper or better tasting. I can still taste it a day later as I post these thoughts, and I have to wonder about the unique delights of Creole/Cajun food. Is there anywhere another cuisine so good and so indigenous to such a specific area as this wonderful Louisiana cooking? Don’t mistake this as a rhetorical question. I am really curious to discover some eating adventures that I might be missing out on.

In the interim, I suggest you check out some of these links and find yourself some good Creole/Cajun wherever you are. It is a world class cuisine and good ol’ boy comfort food at one and the same time.

California Incline

There has been a lot of conjecture lately about our being in a “real estate bubble” that has got to burst. I don’t see it like that. What I do predict is more of something like what we saw in Laguna Beach this week. As I watched those expensive hilltop and hillside properties slump to the sea, I saw a foreshadowing of Southern California real estate values: not a deflating burst, but a gradual slump. And, like the Laguna survivors, nobody has to get hurt.

As long as home buyers are in the market for a decent place to live, and as long as developers and community officials resist the temptation to speculative over-building, the coming slump will only be a reasonable correction on the path of property appreciation.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

And now another year

Flower Girl

it's private
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