Just Another Blog
Monday, September 30, 2002
The Link Between Iraq and Al-Qaeda
The Democrats and Barbara Streisand have been yammering on about finding sufficient proof linking Al-Qaeda terrorists to Iraq before we start our aggressive remodeling project in the desert. This article from a couple weeks back talks about the fine job that the media has already done in establishing and verifying those links. The title of the article asks, "Why Can't the CIA Keep Up with the New Yorker?" It's not just the CIA though. It's the rest of the media. If these links were originally detailed by the New Yorker and the confirmed by PBS, why hasn't the whole story received broader play? Follow the links in the article to get the whole scoop on why we should pave Iraq.
I May Be a SLIder
When I was in college, there was one particular street lamp right near the corner of 21st and F street that as often as not turned off or on when I walked by. At the time I attributed this strange phenomenon to chance or coincidence or - on a long shot - to the fraternity house whose property the streetlight was on. A girlfriend at the time suggested that there may be something more going on. Her thought was that I was possessed or evil or something. Now I find out that she may have been onto something. Street Light Interference is apparently being studied by a bunch of folks with too much time and money.
A reasonable speculation for the effect, if it is a real one, might have something to do with the electronic impulses of the brain. All of our thoughts and movements are the result of electrical impulses that the brain generates. At present it is known that these measurable impulses only have an effect within an individual's body, but is it possible that they could have an effect outside the body - a kind of remote control?Damn! I guess Jenn was right. Hell, I never did win an arguement with that girl.
My first order of business will be controlling the streetlights. But as soon as I perfect that you can be sure that I will be using my powers for more mischievous ends.
Brains for Breakfast, Brains for Lunch
As you have probably read, the late Dr. Albert Rossum has recently released dietary guidelines concerning the consumption of brains. Well, the next time Dr. Rossum visits me in Denver, we will be dining at El Taco de Mexico. This restaurant review has OK things to say about their brain servings and plenty of description about the preparation. Usually when I read restaurant reviews, I end up hungry. That was not the case with this review.
Do You Find Me Revolting?
Well, if the Big and Hairy bit doesn't bring the ladies to my door, maybe I can be repulsively appealing. This strange link (via the Hyena) suggests a fine line between what is revolting and what is sexy. Of course, the article is written by a self-described hippie fucker, so make of it what you will.
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Big and Hairy
The New York Times, in the cleverly titled article Bear Market, says hairy chests are back. Hooray! Will this bring a surge of curious women to my door? I hope so.
In related news, I think I may have found the celebrity I most resemble: Neal Pollack. (He also seems to have a decent blog.) Previously the only other celebrity to whom I had been compared was Jason Elam. What does it matter? Not at all really. I just remember listening to the Don and Mike show in college, and what celebrity you most resemble was a question that was asked of many callers. I think I never called in in part because Eddie Munster would have been my answer at the time. Though I guess the answers you gave didn't really make a difference. My roommate at the time, Dave, went on a romance dinner cruise despite saying on the air that he most resembled Dom DeLouise.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
The Common Defense
Via InstaPundit, here is a good story on the nature of defense. Should the defense of our homeland be distributed among the populace or concentrated in the Pentagon? The article looks at the question in light of American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. I learned a few new bits about the final moments of Flight 93 that I had not heard previously. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a pro- Second Amendment arguement folded into the piece. Glenn made a big point about this type of piece appearing in the Boston Globe. That's a lot less interesting to me than the actual quality of the article.
Friday, September 20, 2002
More Stupid Internet Stuff
I just deleted that What Drink Are You? (Beer, of course) post because the image takes too damn long to load every time. So instead, I insert this dumb music thing. I'm surprised at the outcome, but who knows, maybe there are only one or two possible outcomes and maybe they don't have anything to do with the few questions posted.
How indie are you? test by ridethefader
You're just too cool for school, aren't you? You're pretty narrow minded and opinionated with regards to music (and probably most other things as well). But you're allowed to be, because you really are better than everyone else. You take pride in obscurity. You probably prefer vinyl too, you elitist bitch.
If you didn't see this article a week and a half ago about the New York City Muslims who had advanced knowledge of the terrorist attacks, you really should take a second and read it. This is apparently a story that most if not all of the major media outlets heard about but none chose to pursue. Only this one reporter did any serious investigating. What he found is scary. There were Muslim children who knew there was an attack coming. They knew what the targets were. And they knew when it would occur.
There is at least a kernel of good news in the report. If the kids knew, then someone must be talking. If these terror cells are talking terror with their children then perhaps infiltration by our agents is possible. We seem to have good network infiltration in Singapore and Southeast Asia where we have arrested a number of would-be terrorists on a few different occasions (here in January, here this week, here an in-depth look at the problem area (.pdf file) ) since the last round of attacks. Shouldn't we be able to infiltrate the Muslim communities in and around the boroughs of NYC?
The scariest thing of all in the article was the one child's admonition to avoid city buses. This is an avenue of terror that has been immensely popular by the Palestinians in their efforts to kill Jews. Even the hint that the idea is being considered in the United States is terrifying.
Healthy, Gross, and Effective
How do you punish someone who is already in jail? How about if they are already in solitary confinement? Feed them the loaf. Stossel's right (I find that he often is). This is far from cruel and unusual punishment. I think that feeding someone the same bland but nutritious meal over and over again is a great way to bring their behavior back into line. Sure it would be nice if the guards could just deliver an old-fashioned, heavy-clubbed beat-down, but you can't get away with that kind of thing any more.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
More on September 11
When Islamic terrorists attacked the United States last year, I was in Hawaii on vacation with my family. Sometime between 3 and 4 AM, I heard my sister's cell phone ring. I heard her whispering in the other room and I heard her turn on the television. I started to go back to sleep, but didn't. Something about the phone ringing and the television going on wasn't right. I got up and went into the living room and we watched together. I seem to recall that I tuned in just as confirmation was coming in that the Pentagon had been hit. By then three planes had crashed and we were clearly under attack. I remember thinking in those wee hours of the morning that this was going to be one of those days that everyone would look back on and remember exactly where they were when they first heard the news.
I hated the idea of waking anyone up so early, but I felt that it would be better if the rest of my family was awake too. I think I woke up my parents just as the first tower collapsed. It's hard to recall when everything happened as it was so early and every image was replayed over and over a thousand times so that it became hard to remember a time when those horrible images weren't in your head.
At the time, I was an employee of Merrill Lynch and I knew that our corporate headquarters were in the World Trade Center complex. Having never been to Manhattan, I didn't realize there were a number of different buildings in the complex. I thought for certain that I had hundreds of co-workers who were in those two buildings. Thankfully, I was wrong. Merrill's headquarters are in building 4 or 5 (I'm not sure which but I think it's the building with the rounded top to the west of where the towers stood). I feared for many hours about what had happened to my fellow employees whom I had never met.
Hawaii is about 4,900 miles and an entire world away from New York. When the staff at the hotel came to clean that morning, it was clear that they had no real sense of what was going on or where. Yes, it was the United States, but it was New York. These were people who had never even been to one of the other Hawaiian islands. They seemed unable to comprehend New York as a part of their country. It made me mad.
We watched televisions for as long as we could bare. Eventually, all the planes flying had been grounded. Another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. The towers had come crashing down. The Pentagon was still on fire. The President was in a safe location. That was it. The attack was over. The recovery effort and investigation were underway. New news came more slowly, and to fill the time, the events of the day and the horrifying scenes were televised again and again. There came a point when it just didn't make sense to sit in front of the television any longer. So we went to the beach.
We were supposed to fly home the following day. First the aircraft seemed just to be grounded for a few hours. Then it began to look like security precautions were going to keep the planes down into the next day. Then it became questionable when the skies would be reopened. There is no choice when you're in Hawaii but to wait for the airlines. Suddenly, we were on an island with no way to get off. We were staying in an expensive hotel beyond our reservation and planned budget. We were supposed to be back to work or back to school. But we couldn't do anything. The airlines at first didn't know when they would be allowed to start flying again. Then they couldn't figure out how to honor days worth of airline tickets for people who were already supposed to be in other places. People who had existing reservations for the 15th or the 16th or beyond were given priority over those who were originally scheduled to fly on the 11th, 12th, or 13th. I am sure it was a logistical nightmare for airline operations. It was certainly tough for folks stranded off the mainland.
But there was nothing we could do. Nothing. There were no flights in or out of Hawaii. No mail, no UPS, no cargo flights. No one leaving, and no one coming. We called the airlines multiple times a day until we were finally scheduled for our return flights. In the mean time, we enjoyed the fabulous experience that is Hawaii. The hotel (the Aston Kaanapali) gave stranded guests deep discounts on their rooms, they waived charges for toll-free calls, and they just generally did everything possible to help us out while we were stranded. Other hotels around the islands put up folks for free who had been stranded when the flights they were on were forced to land in Hawaii and not allowed to continue on to their original destinations.
We left the islands four days later than originally planned and returned home to a very different sense of tragedy. In Hawaii, the sense of grief and loss and - more distinctly - the sense of anger was much more tempered and far less obvious and public. Back on the mainland, the anger and the patriotism were far greater. I was kind of mad at Hawaii again.
At home I found out that only two co-workers lost their lives. Two too many, but far less than I initially feared early that horrible morning. Things at work were hectic, but amazingly smooth in terms of operations. I saw a huge, huge company like Merrill react in a way that still amazes me to this day in terms of effectiveness of contigency and continuity efforts. Thousands of workers from Manhattan and the surrounding area had their normal workplaces displaced. Within hours, people and processes were moved around the country to ensure that business could continue as near to normal as possible.
The days and weeks went by and things moved closer and closer to normal. In the first week of November I went to Manhattan. I got a chance to see Ground Zero while it still smouldered. Watching the television over the past few days, I'm thankful for that. I'm glad I got to see just how bad it was before the area was completely cleaned up. In a few years it will be a completely different spot with new buildings and a hopefully fitting memorial. I think that seeing the ground still burning weeks later helped to make up for the increased lack of reality that came from watching it all happen on television from thousands of miles away. I'll never forget seeing the destruction. I'll never forget where I was when I first heard the news. And I'll never forget September 11, 2001.
September 11, 2002
I've kept the television off so far today, but I spent a lot of time the past two evenings watching remembrances and documentaries of various sorts. I'll probably watch the 60 Minutes II interview with the President this evening, but I'm not sure I'll watch the 9/11 documentary that follows. I watched it the first time it was on, and it was incredible. It is probably the single best piece of television created ever. But I'm not sure I need to see it again now.
I had dinner last night with Vince and Liz and Avery. Here we are one year after that terrible attack and the best way of tracking the march of time since then is little Avery herself. Avery was still a few days away from joining our world on this day last year. Now you can't take your eyes off of her because she is getting ready to walk. I had the exciting feeling a few times last night that I was about to witness a child's first steps. She is so close.
I can't even imagine what it's like to actually be the parents in that situation. It's almost cliche to talk about how precious children are and how fascinating it is to watch them grow and learn especially during the first few years and especially when it is the first child. But it is amazing. And it is fascinating. And it is wonderous. Better still is that a child's development makes for a far better timeline than a history of the war or a look at the clean-up of the towers or anything else that I have seen or heard of in the media that traces what has happened over the past 365 days.
I have a much better understanding now of the fascination that the media and the public has with the 100+ children who were born after losing a parent in the attack. I see now the sense of hope that those children represent. They, like Avery, will never know a world where it was once inconceivable that the United States could be attacked on our own soil. They will be raised by parents who have a different set of fears and hopes and dreams for their children than their grandparents did for their parents.
Everything is a little bit different now. But there are lots of young kids out there for whom we fight. I feel here like I might as well just link to Whitney Houston's I Believe the Children Are the Future. The post seems kind of sappy and strange to me. But I have realized that I'm at that point where suddenly lots of people my age that I know are having kids. Suddenly, everywhere I go friends and friends of friends have little babies. And I suddenly find myself looking at things a whole lot differently as I watch them watching their babies grow up.
It's a terrible thing that these little ones may never know the same kind of peace and tranquility that we once took almost for granted. But it's a wonderful thing to watch them grow up and to measure time in babbling and first steps and first words and first mountains climbed and first days of school and first bike rides. I along with my friends and our parents and our grandparents grew up in an America that was safe and beautiful, strong and prosperous, hard-working and hopeful. There is no reason that the attack of September 11, 2001, should change that for our children. In fact, we must ensure that it doesn't.
Monday, September 09, 2002
In addition to spending a lot of time watching games this weekend, I can tell that football season is really under way just from the new, popular Google hits I got over the weekend. I had a handful of folks looking for Peyton Manning wedding pictures. There were three or four readers looking for Melissa Stark, and around a dozen folks who were surely disappointed that their Jill Arrington pictures search led them here. Best football related hit was Melissa Stark dirty whore.
On Saturday I watched the #1 Miami at #6 Florida game. I was really impressed by Miami. They apparently sent eleven players to the pros last year - five of whom went in the first round. Despite such a massive loss of talent, they are still the number one team in the country. I rarely watch college football because I generally think that the level of play leaves much to be desired. That was not the case with Miami. Very impressive.
On Sunday, I flipped between the Bears and the Browns during the first game. Chicago did not deserve to win that game. I'm glad they did, but they shouldn't have. Likewise, there's no way Kansas City should have beaten the Browns. That was the craziest finish I've seen to a game since the kick-return-lateral-that-was-barely-a-lateral in the Buffalo versus Tennessee playoff in January 2000. I was surprised at how well the Brown's offense played.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Broncos handle the Rams in the second game. Had I been betting, it would have been against the Broncos. They were amazing in the first half, and I kept thinking to myself that it was too good to be true. It would have been if not for bad coaching. There is no one for the Rams to blame for their loss other than their coach. You don't see many games where coaching makes such a noticeable difference in the outcome, but this was an exception. The Rams blew the momentum and gave Denver hope when they went for it on fourth down instead of tying the game with a gimmie field goal. Denver still has a lot of room for improvement on both sides of the ball. They'll have to do better to beat San Fran on the road next week.
Skull and Bones
Merely linking to this article will probably keep me from ever reaching the upper echelons of social power that I so deeply desire. The article is a book review of Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths to Power. Read the book to find out who controls the British crown and who keeps the metric system down. (We do! We do!) Reportedly, they also keep Atlantis off the maps as well as keeping the Martians under wraps.
I stumbled across this Model VC bung dropper in a Fark photoshop recently. Being a cityslicker, I had no idea such things existed. I thought it would be good to share with the rest of you.
Since I discovered this site, all of my Christmas shopping is done. Everyone I know is getting one of these t-shirts. Following the link takes you to this site with tons more scary stuff. Does anyone know if I order one of these shirts whether or not there is an easy way to remove the message from the back?
I have been meaning to mention the Exploding Dog website for a few weeks now. I stumbled across it via Listen Missy who mentioned in a post a while back that it was her desktop background. It's a very cool art site. Basically, you come up with the title of a print, email the guy, and he draws it. Right now I'm using The White Sound in My Head as my background. One of my favorites that I've come across so far is The One in the Far Back. If I ever decide to get a job again I'll try and support the guy by buying one of his prints. I find him to be quite clever, and I like the very simple, stickman style.
The Big Picture
Via InstaPundit comes this lengthy article by the UPI's Martin Walker on the effects of last year's attack on the United States. The emphasis is not on the lives lost or the blow to the economy but rather on how these things have effected the American view of the world and how we see our ourselves in terms of international leadership.
The real effect of Sept. 11 is that American patience and tolerance for its global critics, most of whom do rather well out of America's benign hegemony, seems just about exhausted.I hope this is the view across political parties. I think that most Americans - the exception being certain outspoken academics, some of their students, and liberal politicians - truly are sick and tired of worrying or pretending to worry about what the rest of the world thinks. We have established ourselves as world leaders. We lead the world in economy, military strength, agriculture, technology, academia and learning, and, yes, moral certitude. We are better than the rest of the world, and we know it. We export our culture because our culture is superior. We can't control our own borders because our country is so much better than any other that people will do anything it takes to come here.
It is time to stop worrying about what the French think. Hell, it is time to stop worrying about what the Israelis think. We know what is right; we know who is wrong; we know what needs to be done.
I think that President Bush thinks along these lines as much as he is allowed to within the constraints of the political system that he works in. Hopefully with the full support of the you and me, the US will soon stop waiting for signs of approval from the rest of the world and do what needs to be done.
On Vital Nations
Stephen Green appeals to all to do our bit this week to make sure our elected officials are aware of the feelings of the American people. He makes a strong point succinctly and well.
Vital nations defend their citizens. Vital nations defend their borders. Vital nations crush their self-declared enemies.I am expecting my Stop Terror, Kill Terrorists shirt in the mail today. I can't wait to start wearing it. Definitely on Wednesday.
Thursday, September 05, 2002
Reuters Does It Again
Via Fark: Reuters presents us with a picture looking down from above on the construction scene at the former site of the World Trade Center. The picture comes with this caption:
Recovery and debris removal work continues at the site of the World Trade Center known as "ground zero" in New York, March 25, 2002. Human rights around the world have been a casualty of the U.S. "war on terror" since September 11. REUTERS/Peter MorganAs VodkaPundit has said, "One Man's Wire Service Is Another Man's Exposed Nerve Ending." How do you boycott a wire service?
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
Seems my buddy Jim Anchower and I have been sharing a similar summer. Here's a liberal helping from Jim's most recent update:
When I was working and hating life, I'd spend all my time going back and forth between my crib and my bullshit job. If I was lucky, I could squeeze out enough energy to see a movie or drag my ass to a bar for an hour or two before having to go home and go to bed early for work the next day. But now that I was free, I celebrated with a few bong hits and mapped out a plan for my next few weeks of luxury.Damn! It's like we're twins.
When We Were Kids...
...We had crappy, plastic Big Wheels. Not cool wheels like the Razor Scream Machine.
From the Mouths of Babes
Here's one of those funny articles that assembles a bunch of quotes from little kids. The topic here is love. Some of my favorites:
It isn't always how you look. Look at me. I'm handsome like anything, and I haven't got anybody to marry me yet. -- Brian, age 7.Lots of other funny stuff here.
Colorado No-Call List
Colorado has a program that prohibits telemarketers from calling any person who has added their name and number to a state list. If you do get a call, you get to sue the telemarketers and get some (almost) free money. The various local news channels have all already had a story or two about successful plaintiffs against the telemarketers. This article gives a brief introduction as to the necessary steps to get your lawsuit started.
Aimee Deep has been getting lots of air time over at InstaPundit. It's a decent site especially for those with an interest in all things file-sharing and media related. The thing that strikes me most is how well-written she is for a 17 year-old. Pretty impressive. I've stumbled through a few other teen blogs before and none have been as remotely worldly, serious, or well-written as the Aimster's. Uhh, strike that. None have been as good as Aimee's. She lost a lawsuit and can't go by that nick any more. Here is an article from May '01 on Aimee and her father who has obviously been a big influence in her professional life.