Tuesday, November 30, 2004

However They Did It, Keep It Up!

Last night I intended to go to bed early. That was thwarted by the airing of a special "How'd They Do That?" episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition which only served to reinforce my view of it as the best weekly show on TV right now. Getting to see behind the scenes, and observe the interaction between the cast and volunteers, was very heartening. The cast members seem genuine, and while their personalities can grate on rare occasions, their compassion far outweighs that.

And the volunteers are amazing. Police, firefighters, and construction workers are the most common volunteers. They interviewed one member of the production crew who started as a volunteer whgen they were in Watts, and is now a paid crewman. He left behind a life of drugs and gang violence. Nothing helps you help yourself like helping others.

But last night the volunteer who touched me most was the young soldier who spent all night helping, and was still there the next morning, less than 24 hours before he was due to deploy to Afghanistan. His last two days of regular life, and he was spending them on a construction site. This is the kind of youth defending us, folks. No honor you pay them can ever be misspent.

Weren't You Ready for Some Football?

Watched the MNF game between the Packers and the Rams last night. I was happy for Bret Favre, but the outcome of the game was bittersweet for me. It helped one team I root for (the Seahawks), and hurt another (the Vikings) -- both of whom have former Ducks on them, and both of whom were sitting in first place in their divisions. The Seahawks are now alone in first, the Vikings now trail the Packers by the tiebreaker. But I do favor the Hawks slightly, so it was ok in the end (not that I had a lot of say about it).

Next Monday Night will be a true test of my emotions. A team I used to revere, the Cowboys (until they plunged a dagger in Landry's heart and then went from being America's Team to Vegas' Team), will be playing in Seattle. Am I really over them? Will I root for the Hawks? I think so, but we'll see.

One last observation about last night: Are there really THAT many hunters and/or highway crew workers in Green Bay? Safety Orange was as prevalent in the crowd as was the home team's green and gold. Maybe a Wisconsinite out there can explain.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Leftists, Pay Attention:

You just might learn something.

Thanks for the Memory to the Demosophist, posting at The Jawa Report.


Last Monday I blogged on the aniversary of the death of my favorite author, C.S. Lewis.

Well, today is the anniversary of his birth. But I shall not be blogging on that. No, instead, I shall draw your attention to this excellent entry by Robert at The Llama Butchers. I really couldn't have said it better.

The bit that resonates with my own sentiments most is this:

In fact, they are almost painful to read because while they fill me with inspiration, they also remind me that I could never possibly achieve Lewis' level of enlightenment and, well, grace.

If you've read any of Lewis' essays or books on Christian apologetics or the Christain life, you'll understand how appropriate it is that Robert chose the word grace.

Kelsey Scrooges Up

I tried to watch A Christmas Carol: The Musical last night, since I am a huge fan of the story. I really tried. But I just couldn't.

I don't know if it was the insipid lyrics to the songs (Marley's ghost an Fezziwig in particular), the pole-dance that the Ghost of Christmas past did on Scrooge's canopy bed, or the High School Drama hamminess of the acting, but overall it just didn't do it for me. Maybe if I had seen it at theater distance instead of the close range that TV provides, it would have been better.

No, if I'm going to watch that classic story retold, I'll stick with my two favories, A Muppet Christmas Carol or Scrooged.

Friday, November 26, 2004

We're All His Home Team

Thanks for the Memory to Blogfather Rusty at The Jawa Report.

Sports Illustrated is currently accepting votes from fans for their Sportsman of the Year award. Among those nominated is Pat Tillman, former Arizona Cardinal who left the NFL to serve his country, then gave th last full measure of devotion in Afghanistan.

Pat is currently third in the running. Let's see if we can do something about that.

This man's accomplishments reach far beyond the sporting arena. And as much admiration as I have for some of the other nominees, I did not hesitate to vote for pat. Please do the same. We're all winners because of men like Pat.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

I didn't intend to blog today, but a few things came up that I thought merited comment. For the most part, I heartily encourage all my readers to spend this day enjoying the company of friends and family, fellowshipping with those of akindred spirit, and generally observing an occasion to express gratitude to The Creator for all the blessing with which we have been bestowed. Abd I'm not being flippant. Think about it, folks. Consider just how miserable or existance COULD be, and weigh that against what it actually is. As bad as things may be NOW, I can imagine far worse. Isn't the distinction between the observablr and the imaginable sufficient cause for gratitude? If not, consider all the tangibly positive things you've been granted. and that should do the trick.

A few things happened today that merit blogging, so I shall post all of them below this preface, which will receive a bump to the top.

A Thanksgiving Connection to the Founders

Take a moment some time to read the history of the founding of this country, from the earliest colonists to the Revolution. Regardless of where the settlement was, and spanning religious and regional divides, you'll find all of the colonies had one thing in common:


Fermentation was an early sand effective means of preservation. Food that could easily spoil was allowed to "spoil" in very specific ways in order to allow it to last loner than normal. And alcohol was a major factor in the lives of even the most devout of colonists. Hard cider, beer, whiskey, wine, it was all consumed in impressive colonies.

So why do I blog on it?

Because I had a bit myself today, thanks.

Normally, I prefer to practice moderation. Three beers in one night is the most I usually imbibe. But today was a bit different. You see, my brother and sister-in-law served two bottles of wine with dinner. Only one person chose red. Guess who? So I ended up consuming a good portion of the bottle all by myself. Congratulations.

So if anything I say tonight is a bit... out of character.. please bear in mind the circumstances.

Oh, and by the way... while I don't advocate copying my level of tipsiness, a good glass of wine with this holiday' dinner is indeed one more thing for which to give thanks.

Mission Accomplished

I was watching the news tonight: not something I do on a regular basis anymore (The internt provides me all of the info I want, from a variety of viewpoints). It was announced that both China and Canada have announced their support of the upcoming elections in Iraq. In fact, the Canadians have said they'll do "whatever it takes" to support the elections.

How about kissing our red, white, and blue butts for naysaying us?

In all seriousness, while I have been made aware of and appreciate Canadian objections to the war, this really is sweet vindication for the US, and further evidence that the efforts in Fallujah are going well.

This is one of the reasons I voted for Bush.

Further reporting on the news covered the fact that the Sunni minority in Iraq are demanding a delay to the elections. Of course, the "expert" interviewed by the station agreed.

Let's review. The Sunni minority is the group of people who contributed the Baath party to Iraqi politics, and they're the ones who held political power despite being a MINORITY. The majority of the insurgents in Iraq are.... you guessed it, Sunni. Of COURSE they want a delay to the elections. The longer the delay, the stronger the insurgency. I'm of the firm belief that we should let the Iraqis vote and choose a government for themselves as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

2004 Presidential Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

(it speaks for itself)

All across America, we gather this week with the people we love, to give thanks to God for the blessings in our lives. We are grateful for our freedom, grateful for our families and friends, and grateful for the many gifts of America.

On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge that all of these things, and life itself, come from the Almighty God. Almost four centuries ago, the Pilgrims celebrated a harvest feast to thank God after suffering through a brutal winter.

President George Washington proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, and President Lincoln revived the tradition during the Civil War, asking Americans to give thanks with "one heart and one voice."

Since then, in times of war and in times of peace, Americans have gathered with family and friends and given thanks to God for our blessings. Thanksgiving is also a time to share our blessings with those who are less fortunate.

Americans this week will gather food and clothing for neighbors in need. Many young people will give part of their holiday to volunteer at homeless shelters and food pantries.

On Thanksgiving, we remember that the true strength of America lies in the hearts and souls of the American people. By seeking out those who are hurting and by lending a hand, Americans touch the lives of their fellow citizens and help make our nation and the world a better place.

This Thanksgiving, we express our gratitude to our dedicated firefighters and police officers who help keep our homeland safe. We are grateful to the homeland security and intelligence personnel who spend long hours on faithful watch.

And we give thanks for the Americans in our armed forces who are serving around the world to secure our country and advance the cause of freedom. These brave men and women make our entire nation proud, and we thank them and their families for their sacrifice. On this Thanksgiving Day, we thank God for His blessings and ask Him to continue to guide and watch over our nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, president of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, Nov. 25, 2004, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather together in their homes and places of worship to reinforce the ties of family and community and to express gratitude for the many blessings we enjoy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-ninth.


(Thanks for the Memory to Ricky V at Vices and Virtues)

More for Which to Give Thanks

Rossi Wins Washington Gubernatorial Race.

There's still hope for the Northwest.

Thjanks for the Memory to Ricky V. at Vices and Virtues.

My Favorite Thanksgiving Quote

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Thanks are given to all of you for making me feel important. And Thanks be to God for all he's done for me.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

The Answer My Friend, is Blowin' in the (Chill) Wind

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

Bridget Johnson over at the Wall Street Journal asks a very good question regarding the slaying of Theo Van Gogh:

Where is the Hollywood Outrage?

A very good question indeed.

His murder was motivated by his film exposing muslim treatment of women. He was killed for his art and for his opinion. So where are the Hollywood celebrities speeaking out against this act of censorship? When are we going to hear Tim Robbins speaking of a chill wind? When will the Dixie Chicks be holding a benefit concert in his memory?

Or is it just possible that all those well-paid celebrities safe in their luxury homes inside gated estates, with their money and their clout and the adulation of fans and peers, have just been playing the censorship card as a political ploy to advance their ends, and wouldn't recognize, nor give a Rattus Norvegensis's furry posterior, about real oppression unless it crept up and bit them in a sensitive spot?

Just asking.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Oh Danny Boy

Oh Danny Boy, the Blogs, the Blogs, they nailed ye,
Your story on false documents relied.
Your ratings shot, your reputation’s failed ye,
‘Tis you, ‘tis you, must go because ye lied.

But you hang on, though no one now believes you,
Old records typed in far too new a font.
You tell us we can still believe their substance:
Oh Danny Boy, your little ploy, ain’t what we want.

But when ye go, ye swore ye’d take Bush with ye,
His image soiled by mud that you had slung.
Though he prevailed, ye’d not concede his victory,
Refused to call the states that he had won.

Now CBS must face the music with ye,
Your Sixty Minutes is going to expire.
Your anchor job is looking kind of shaky,
Oh Danny Boy, Oh Danny Boy, ye should retire.

(Originally Posted at 1:58 PM, November 9, 2004)

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

'Nuff Said.

Did I Mention That Dolphins Are My Favorite Animals?

Thanks for the Memory to Vic at Darth Apathy for one more reason why:

Dolphins defend swimmers from shark

From correspondents in Whangarei, New Zealand
November 23, 2004

A GROUP of swimmers has told how a pod of dolphins protected them from a great white shark off the north-eastern coast of New Zealand.

Flipper ... the aquatic mammal star of the TV series would have been pround of the dolphins' heroic actions in New Zealand.

Rob Howes and three other lifeguards were on a training swim about 100m offshore at Ocean Beach near Whangarei when the dolphins raced in and herded the group together.

"They started to herd us up, they pushed all four of us together by doing tight circles around us," Mr Howes said.

When he tried to drift away from the group, two of the bigger dolphins herded him back.

He then saw why. A 3m great white shark was cruising toward the group about two metres below the surface.

"I just recoiled. It was only about two metres away from me, the water was crystal clear and it was as clear as the nose on my face," he said, adding he then realised the dolphins had moved in to protect the swimmers.

The group were surrounded by the dolphins for 40 minutes before they were able to reach the shore.

Another lifeguard, Matt Fleet, was patrolling nearby in a rescue boat when he saw the dolphins' unusual behaviour.

When he dived out of the boat to join the group he also saw the great white.

Fleet said he was keen to get out of the water after the sighting, but didn't panic.

"I just kept looking around to see where it was."

The incident happened about three weeks ago, but Mr Howes and Mr Fleet said they had kept the story to themselves until they had a chance to catch up and confirm what they had seen.

Auckland University marine mammal research scientist Doctor Rochelle Constantine said dolphins were normally vigilant in the presence of sharks.

I've always had a soft spot for the Delphinids, especially true Dolphins, but including Orcas. In fact, in general I appreciate the pack hunters, though again, Dolhpins (and wolves) are at the top of my list. This just reinforces that fondness.

Holiday Traditions

Most of us grew up with certain traditions, or at the very least (and not always happiest), recurring Holiday themes. When you get married, you bring some with you, you learn some of your spouses, you compromise between the two lists, and you create a few new ones of your own.

One non-traditional, "recurring holiday theme" that I have become adamantly loathe to is the ever-creeping earlier and earlier commercialization of the holidays. earlier this year I blogged on Christmas decorations being in Ross as a sign of the Earth's impending demise. I just detest it. One of the reasons I moved back to Oregon was because I hated living somewhere with one single, albeit sunny, season. I LIKE seasons, whether sports, hunting, or cliatic. I like holidays associated with seasons, and I like to observe them IN their respective seasons. It helps mark the passing of time, it makes each season, each year, more meaningful. My twelve years in San Diego are a blur, with few seasonal changes to act as chronological landmarks. So I am resistant to the idea of observing Christmas until I have finished onserving Thanksgiving, let alone Labor Day!

But the feared redhead and I have established one holiday tradition that forces me to bend this rule, and in this case, I believe it's worth it. Every yuear, we assemble at least one shoebox, preferrably two, for Operation Christmas Child. This is a project of Samaritan's Purse, a Christian mercy organization run by Franklin Graham (Billy's son). They do awesome work. The way OCC works is that you take a shoebox (we buy one of the plastic ones from Target, that way the box itself is still useful after the project), and fill it with toys, candy, and toiletry items for a child. You specify the gender and age group for which you fallied the box, and drop it off at a participating location (usually chrches). The boxes are packed and shipped all over the world -- Mexico, Afghanistan, Iraq, all over Asia and Africa, Latin America, even reservations here in the US. The children receive them at Christmas on behalf of the donor and God (no bones about it, it's a Christian charity). Anyone who has read my blog knows I'm as enthusiastic about private charity as I am skeptical of government largess.

In order to get them to the kids by Christmas, they have to be assembled and dropped off the weekend before Thanksgiving. So I have to make an exception and think about Christmas before the Friday after Thanksgiving. But again, for the good this does, it's worth it. That lesson was driven home this year, when our finances prevented us from participating until the last minute. We'll have to ship the box to OCC headquarters in North Carolina since we missed the drop cutoff.

But even the extra postage is well spent.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Today marks the forty-first anniversary of the death of, arguably, one of the men who most influenced Western thought in the Twentieth Century. He also happened to be one of the men I admired most greatly, so it seems fitting that in the first year of my blog, I should mark his passing.

Though most of the world recognizes his name when they hear his initials, his friends called him "Jack".

He was a war veteran, and his service influenced much of his later thought.

His romance with his wife was the stuff movies are made about.

He was a thinker, a man of convictions, whose words stir the soul, stimulate the mind, and challenge the will into acts of conviction.

And so I bid him Rest in Peace. He has shaped the way I think, as he has many others I know. Here's looking forward to meeting you on the other side, Jack.

C.S. Lewis
November 29, 1898 - November 22, 1963

(Bumped to the top for the rest of the day. Read below for other entries.)

The Only Books in Heaven

Continuing on with today's C.S. Lewis theme...

I can't find the exact quote, but Lewis once made a comment to the effect that the only books we'll have in our library in heaven will be those we lent to friends, and that every bit of damage they had done to them would have become beautiful calligraphy or woodcuts.

With that in mind, I present a link to the most recent entry over at Strengthen the Good:

The C.S. Lewis Bilingual Gymnaziumin

This is a high school in Bratislava, Slovakia, where the students study in their native language and in English. The students call English "the language of freedom."

And, even more appropriately, they aren't asking for cash. They're asking for books.

There's an indepth list of desired books over at STG. I plan on donating a Lewis tome or two. Go see what you can do.

The First Casualty of War

My good friend Mary emailed me an article from the New York Times in which the cameraman who filmed the shooting in Fallujah is interviewd. I presume it was in response to my previous post on the Marine involved in the shooting. I adore Mary, she's a good friend, but we do not see eye to eye on everything. Nonetheless, I felt it only fair to give another viewpoint consideration. The article is sad, and thought provoking, but ultimately does not change my perception that this young Marine is being treated as a scapegoat and that the incident is being blown way out of proportion. To explain why, I shall add my responses to the article in italics:

Captives: Cameraman Details Marine's Role in Mosque Shooting

November 22, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 21 - A marine who appears to shoot and kill an unarmed and wounded Iraqi prisoner in an NBC News video was not aware that the incident was being recorded, and moments later approached the cameraman with seemingly remorseful words - "I didn't know, sir, I didn't know" - according to the first public description of the events by the cameraman, Kevin Sites, since his brief and somewhat ambiguous initial report.

Now, at first this seems pretty damning. But I began to wonder -- did the Marine specifically say he didn't know he was being filmed, or was he referring to something else? Bear that in mind as the article continues.

No weapons were visible inside the Falluja mosque where the shooting took place, on Nov. 13, and the wounded Iraqi made no sudden or threatening moves before the marine shot him, Mr. Sites writes on his Web site, kevinsites.net, in an entry posted Sunday night.

By whose definition or criteria is Mr. Sites judging the threat present or absent in the terrorists actions? Again, bear this question in mind as we continue.

Mr. Sites, a freelance photojournalist who had been hired by NBC News, made it clear that as a veteran of covering wars around the globe, he understood the ugliness and
complexity of battle. Nevertheless, he said of the incident in the mosque, "it appeared to me very plainly that something was not right."

Not to detract from Mr. Sites' credentials as a war correspondent, but that's a far cry from being a war fighter. What he sees and how he interprets it is different from the man who actually must make the decision to kill or not.

His account also raises new questions about another group of marines who entered the mosque just before Mr. Sites and fired on the prisoners - they had been left there, already wounded, after a battle the day before. Mr. Sites was so surprised that the prisoners he had seen there the day before had been attacked again that he informed a Marine lieutenant of the fact before the final shooting - the one he captured on tape - took place.

The video obtained by Mr. Sites has received sensational play around the world, particularly in the Arab news media.

Mr. Sites calls the posting on his Web log an "Open Letter to the Devil Dogs of the 3.1," or the Third Battalion, First Marines. "Since the shooting in the mosque, I've beenhaunted that I have not been able to tell you directly what I saw," he wrote, "or explain the process by which the world came to see them as well."

He begins by writing, "I'm not some war zone tourist with a camera who doesn't understand that ugly things happen in combat." [neither are you a soldier who actually has to make a decision on the split second, but someone who can record events, then judge them in hindsight.] Despite his attempt to be fair, he said, since then Falluja video was broadcast on Nov. 15, he has been "shocked to see myself painted as some kind of antiwar activist." Mr. Sites has received abuse and death threats on some Web sites, and has shut down the discussion section of his own.

He said the marines he was embedded with arrived at the mosque on Nov. 13, and after a series of other events, he heard shooting inside. The other set of marines emerged and were asked by a lieutenant, "Did you shoot them?"

What other events? Do they have any relevance to what happened next? And if so, why is the Times less descriptive of them than of the antecedent events within the mosque? I have long been skeptical of the NYT's journalistic dispassion, and I am disinclined to believe they are giving both sides of the story equal treatment.

"Roger that, sir," a marine responded. But when the lieutenant asked, "Were they armed?" the marine just shrugged, Mr. Sites wrote.

Inside, Mr. Sites said he was was surprised to see the wounded men from the battle the day before, now shot again. "There don't appear to be any weapons anywhere," he wrote.

And just how close an inspection was he able to make in the heat of battle? Or is this just his impression?

He was videotaping some of the wounded men when, in the background, a marine yelled that one of the others was "faking he's dead."

"Through my viewfinder I can see him raise the muzzle of the his rifle in the direction of the wounded Iraqi," Mr. Sites wrote. "There are no sudden movements, no reaching or lunging."

It doesn't take a lunge or much of a reach to pull the pin on a grenade. That has happened over there. Again, the question of experiencial perspective and definition of "threatening" are key here. The Marine had an extremely limited amount of time in which to react, in which to make a life or death decision. Had he hesitated and the man truly been a threat, it might very well have been that Marine, his buddies, even Mr. Sites. I dare Mr. Sites to state he could have made the decision any better had roles been exchanged.

Then the marine fired. "There is a small spatter against the back wall and the man's leg slumps down," Mr. Sites wrote, in what was apparently a suggestion that the man had been alive.

"Well," another marine said, "he's dead now."

Mr. Sites wrote that he could feel "the deep pit of my stomach." The marine who fired, who had been angrily shouting, suddenly changed his tone.

"The anger that seemed present just moments before turned to fear and dread," Mr. Sites wrote.

I should think so. That's pretty common after battle, from what I have been taught. Furthermore, if, as Mr. Sites claims, the Iraqi wasn't a threat, and the Marine only realized this after the shooting was over, you can be sure he would feel remorse.

Furthermore, might this realization also explain the Marines comment, "I didn't know, sir, I didn't know" much better than the assumption that he was referring to the presence of the camera?

"I can't know what was in the mind of the marine," he wrote. "He is the only one who does."

This is true. And this is why those of us who have not had to bear the burden of uniform would do well to be circumspect in our criticism. If the Marine is proven to have violated the UCMJ or the ROE's, he will be disciplined. I for one am glad that those responsible for executing such discipline have a fuller perspective on events than I.


Blogfather Rusty is not as understanding towards Sites as I.

Talk About Wagging the Dog!

Thanks for the Memory to the Llama Butchers.

Apparently the Power Behind the Throne has his own blog.

Talking Turkey

I probably should wait until tomorrow or Wednesday to post this (I won't be blogging on Thanksgiving) in order to stretch my blog mileage, but it's in my mind so I think I'll toss it out there now.

As some of you may know, I love to cook. After the History channel, my favorite network is the Food Network (Alton Brown is a GOD!). But come Thanksgiving, something happens to the network that is, well, disturbing. In the spirit of Thanksgiving and Cuisine, they attempt to show you all these nifty gourmet variatons on traditional dishes -- Pumpkin Soup, Cranberry Souffle', etc.


Don't get me wrong -- many of these dishes sound wonderful. But for Thanksgiving dinner, there are certain dishes that just must be there or I feel... incomplete.

However, I am NOT opposed to adding a slightly new twist to the dish, as long as it's the same dish. In fact, I've come up with a few myself. I submit them for your approval (The ones in italic are the ones I'll be cooking this year):

Pumpkin Pie:
For a twist, use gingerbread cookie dough for the crust. make sure to wrap the crust in foil or it will burn.

Cranberry sauce:
The twist here is to use Orange Juice and Apple cifer in equal parts instead of water and sugar. Add some cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, some orange zst, and a shot of Grand Marnier.

Cornbread Stuffing (We always called it dressing):
Replace the white bread croutons with sourdough. Make sure you saute the onions and celery in butter, and us STOCK, NOT BROTH!!!!!

This one's from The Feared Redhead, with some added help from Alton. Brine the Turkey, butter the skin and add salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Put an apple and an onion, both cut in half, in the cavity, along with a bay leaf and a rosemary sprig, and inject the bird all over with cognac and champagne (or non-French substitutes).

Enjoy. Tell me if you try any of them.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Much Fallujah 'Bout Nothing

I'm probably the very last of the conservative bloggers to blog on the incident involving the US Marine who shot a wounded Iraqi in Fallujah. In part this was becaue I wanted to see where the story went. Well, it's pretty well documented now, and as equally well blogged upon, so I think I'll just make a couple of observations, then refer you to other blogger who, I believe, have answered the salient points in a manner that I find both eloquent and akin to my own opinion.

First of all, my observatiuon is that if this Marine's actions violated either the Geneva Convention, the UCMJ or the ROE's for Iraq, he deserves any disciplinary action coming to him. But if he didn't, he should not have his good name dragged through the mud.

So did he? Well, with regards to Geneva, Smallholder over at Naked Villainy has that covered.

The UCMJ or the ROE's? Well, I don't know enough about them, and we won't know until the investigation is complete, but Mean Mr. Mustard has a few thoughts on the investigation.

There's also the question of basic civility, and what a reasonable human being should have been expected to do. In that regard, none of us who have not been in combat has any point of reference from which to judge this Marine's actions. But Ace of Spades relays the thoughts of those who have been there -- and are even now.

All three are worth reading.

Fundamentalist Atheists

Thanks for the Memory to Jacques Vader.

Jacques, a right ballsy fellow himself, links to an article by one of our northern neighbors who has the temerity to defend the rights of the Right.

The best quote in the Coren article is this one:

After U.S. President George Bush's re-election last week, one rather glib Canadian pundit opined: "Half of the United States wants to be like Canada, the other half like Iran."

How awfully clever. Yes that's right, 150 million Americans want to amputate limbs as a form of punishment and sponsor international terrorism.

Remind you of anything?

Coren also makes this observation:

But in Canada this is accepted as intelligent analysis. [Don't be too hard on your country, sir, we have plenty of that going around down here too] It is what we have come to expect from the influential minority group known as The Secular Left. They dominate political parties, are well organized and are vehemently intolerant. They are also incapable of listening to the inherent contradictions in their own arguments.

Sounds like an ideal description of Fundamentalism, doesn't it? The irony is, that's what many on the left have become -- Fundamentalist Atheists -- but can't see that the comparison they make between different religions might just apply to their anti-religion.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

My Mother Has a Flag.

It was presented to her "on behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation".

My grandmother has one like it.

My sister will some day receive one too.

My wife never will. And I cannot express to you sufficiently how much I regret that. I would dearly have loved to serve in the Navy just like my father and my grandfather and my brother-in-Law. But God in His infinite wisdom saw fit to let me be born with a body that disqualified me. To borrow from St. Paul, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." How ironic that one who has such admiration for the military would not be allowed to join its ranks. How glad for all of us that we have had so many over the years whose ability and willingness were present in equally sufficient proportion.

I probably should have written these words on Veteran's Day, but it was not that holiday that inspired these thoughts. To be honest, they're thoughts that have haunted me my entire adult life. But what brought them to the fore was the opportunity I had last night to watch perhaps the year's finest hour of television: a PBS documentary called Arlington: Field of Honor. The show chronicled a day in the operations of Arlington National Cemetary, interspersed with a report on the history of the place. They focused on the honor guard and the pains they take to honor our dead, in their uniforms, conduct, and demeanor, as well as showing several funerals conducted that day, ending with a funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq. Many have called this the most moving scene in the documentary, but for me, it was the funeral of a Navy veteran whose only attendees were his widow and the "Arlington Lady" who was there to assist her. It was during this funeral that the words of the flag presentation were aired. That's where I lost it. The rest of the documentary was beautiful, and poignant, but that moment was the most personal for me.

When thinking of phrases spoken throughout our history to honor our war dead, several spring to mind. "Last full measure of devotion." "Above and beyond the call of duty." I could go on. But for me, forever, the ones that will mean the most are, "on behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation."

May they be eternally true.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

At Least Let the Body Cool, for Pete's Sake!

I just received the following spam:


P.O. BOX 223


You may be surprise to receive such an offer from somebody you does not know before or have even met face to face with, but do not take because of this an underestimate the potentials of the business that I am about to reveal to you.

Let me start by introducing my humble self; My name is Barrister Hossian Bin Sharif, I am Barrister and the Attorney to the Late President of Palestine {YASSER ARAFAT} who peacefully passed away on Thursday 11th Nov. 2004 at French military hospital, where he had been treated for illness since Oct. 29. He died at 3:30 am in the hospital. MY HIS GENTLE SOUL REST IN PEACE.

Before the death of this great Man, he held a property with a Prime financial firm in Indonesia, which I have all the deposit documents in my possession and this company does not know the content of this property, except the director of the firm. This property is a sealed consignment containing the sum of $ 5,500,000 Million USD{Five Million Five Hundred Thousand USD}

I will not disclose the whole information to you now, because of some security measure, but if you are willing to assist me and act as the heir to the deceased President Arafat and to claim the money from the Financial company management, I will intimate you on what to do and will provide you with all the documentations, proving that you are the rightful beneficiary to this property. I have discussed everything with the Director of the security company and he has personally advice that I should not participate as supposed in this business, to avoid suspicion and monitoring my interactions because of the unfortunate incident that occurred to our president and that i should look for a reliable, trustworthy and honest person who can assist and i prayed over this before i send you this mail.

I will like to make it clear for you and to your notice that this money is not in connection with terrorism, money laundering/drug money or any illegal act. The fund is 100% legal and trouble free. So you should not entertain any fear or what so ever, as I have all the comprehensive documents that will prove to you my words, everything have been planned concretely before involving you.

I will tell you more about this, upon your acceptance message agreeing to assist to carry out this venture.


Sincerely Yours,
Barrister Hossian Bin Sharif. {ESQ}

At some point, I may actually update this with some snarky comments. For now, I think its amusement value is self-evident.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Happily Wrong

Yesterday the Feared Redhead and I went to a "Holiday Craft Faire" after church at the Lane County Fairgrounds. All your typical holiday craftsy stuff. Most of it was disappointing in that it wasn't handcrafted, but prefab stuff being resold by local merchants. Unlike most guys, I don't mind homespun, simple, corny holiday craftsiness, but mass-produced kitzch makes me break out.

Fortunately there were a few exceptions, including a couple of local wineries. One of them, Chateau Bianca (outside Dallas, OR), was offering tastings, including one of their port. I don't like port, and said as much. Port reminds me too much of raisin juice. The winery owner assured me that this port was different. But since he charged a $2 Dollar tasting fee for his port ( the other wines were free to taste), I decided to just believe him and leave it at that.

However, over the course of the conversation, I said somehting he liked, and he decided that teaching me a lesson was more inportant than his two dollars. He comped the port sample.

I stand corrected.

Most of the ports I'd tried had been tawny. This was a ruby port. It was sweet, but it didn't have that raisiny aftertaste I usually associate with port. It still tasted like wine, though much sweeter.

I think I shall be buying a bottle soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Less Moore

Thanks for the Memory to The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

Apparently, at least one mother of a Marine killed in Iraq resents Michael Moore's comments regarding the election.

Eva Savage of Livingston, Tenn., has a message for filmmaker Michael Moore: You don't speak for me.

Nor for us, Mrs. Savage. But I think I do speak for many of us when I say:

Thank you for raising the kind of man your son grew up to be. His sacrifice makes the world better for the rest of us, and will not go unremembered nor unappreciated. He was Semper Fidelis, we're Semper Memoris -- Eternally grateful.

When Is A Vanity Plate Not Just A Vanity Plate?

When it Looks like this:

This post was originally published on Nov. 5th. I wanted to say somehting for Veteran's Day, but couldn't think of anyhting else that said it any better.

The Feared Redhead and I were sitting in Burrito Boy last night, having Carne Asada tacos, when I looked out and noticed that the car parked next to ours had a plate just like this one. There was only one other table with customers at it, so I asked the gentleman at the table if it was his, and it was.

He earned it while serving in the airborne in Vietnam. I didn't ask what kind of wound or how, but he did offer the information that it still hurts.

So I went to the trouble of thanking him for his service and his sacrifice. I let him know that I understand that "Freedom isn't free" is more than a cliche slogan, that I understand the price of freedom, and the huge debt of gratitude and honor that we owe to all veterans, especially those who are wounded or killed in the service of the Republic.

I asked him how often anyone acknowledges his service because of his plate, and he told me it isn't often. I found that, quite frankly, not just sad but downright wrong.

How much time and trouble would it be, really, for someone to pause in a grocery store parking lot, or with the window rolled down at a stop sign, and just utter two simple, single-syllable words: Thank you. Hell, you have to exhale anyway, why not take the miniscule extra effort to use that breath to form a simple phrase that, quite frankly, people like the gentleman in Burrito Boy have coming to them? And how much better would you feel about yourself, and your country, if you bothered to do it? Is it just possible you might actually think about the words you're speaking, and the reason for them, and the significance of that reason, and might just be a little more thankful that you live on free soil, freedom purchased by those who offered their "Last Full Measure of Devotion"?

That's not much to ask for, is it folks? So when you see a plate like the one above, remember that it cost its owner something more than just the registration fees. And remember that they paid that cost on all our behalf.

Win-Win Situation

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

A worthy cause indeed:

Hey! Conservatives! Tired of listening to liberals whine about how apocalyptic Bush's reelection is? Hey! Liberals! Convinced that Bush is going to ruin America?

Now there's an organization for both of you!



I don't think it's real, but darnit, don't I wish!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Minor Distinctions

Thanks for the Memory to Mean Mr. Mustard.

"The Christian right in America is the mirror image of the Islamic fundamentalists," according to Anti-Christian British fantasy author Philip Pullman.

Except, as Beautiful Atrocities, its readers, and Russell at MMM point out, "for jihad, suicide bombers, beheadings-of-the-week, honor killings, child-murders, Sharia law, genocide, comparison-shopping the best deal for exploding your kids, slavery, fatwas, polygamy, female circumcision, attitudes toward the Jews in general and Israel in particular (Thanks BA reader Neal), the subjugation of women, tribalism, genital mutilation, and dhimmitude."

Thanks, Mr. Pullman, thanks for reminding me that I, I'm the disciple of hate, and you, you're the champion of tolerance.

Limbo Ain't Just a Dance, You Know...

This is the week at the new job where we're supposed to be transitioning from training to actually doing the job. We were supposed to be taking calls in a training room yesterday and today, with tomorrow being our first day at our desk taking calls on a regular schedule. Unfortunately, they have not set up our phone extensions or our access to our account tracking tools, so things have been kind of weird. It's a bit distracting, so I apologize if the blog gets the short shrift for a couple of days.

In better news, I handled my first irate customer on the phone during a mentoring session yesterday. And the best part was, it wasn't my fault -- the customer was angry about a company policy. So I arranged for a call-back and sent him on his way. You may think it odd that I call this good news, but that kind of call is inevitable in the Tech Support industry, and now I feel like I have that under the bridge, so I feel more relaxed about the job in general.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Well Said

Lee B. has posted an excellent essay on freedom over at Merc's Place. His writing style is a bit rough around the edges, but it's not in the least bit prosaic -- there's a poetry to the words and phrases he uses to conjure images.

The essay starts with some sobering numbers, and puts forward an argument I've made for some time -- anyone who tries to use the number of US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan as justification for our withdrawal is ignorant of our history. While even one death is tragic, there are sometimes even greater tragedies, such as tyranny and oppression and holocaust, that can only be averted by the sacrifices of brave soldiers. While we cannot discount those deaths, we must put them in perspective. The quickest and easiest way to dishonor those dead is to veer from the course of winning for freedom, thus rendering those deaths in vain.

Lee's best comment is this:

"liberty is precious. the right to keep that liberty is precious.
so precious, blood is more worthy than gold to pay its demanded price."

Well said. Let us never squander that which was purchased for us so dearly.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Loyal Opposition My @$$!!!!!

Thanks for the Memory to Sir George at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

After I posted the quote of the day yesterday, I received a sarcastic comment about hate and fear, coupled with a straw-man remark about "Those do-gooder Democrats".

Well, as evidenced by Zombietime, those "Do-gooder" Democrats know a bit about generating Hate and Fear.

Go look at the pictures. Be disgusted and saddened and angered and frightened. But don't dare question their patriotism.

Winning the War on Error

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

Apparently See-BS is planning to axe 60 Minutes II, and rumor has it they're placing the blame squarely at Dan Rathers' feet.

No one to blame but yourself, Danny.

Pictorial Rebuttal

Image Courtesy of Vic at Darth Apathy.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Quote of the Day

"Oderint dum metuant"

- Lucius Accius

(Let them hate so long as they fear.)

The Counter-Revolution WAS Televised

Image Courtesy of my friend DAR.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Thank You

A hearty thank you to Brian for inviting me to guest author here. I have invited him to post on mine as well and we are working the details out on a group project with our friend Vic at Darth Apathy. We will provide details as soon as we have the wrinkles out.

Also thanks to Brian for his encouragement in my journey of faith.

Vulture 6

This, Dr. Jones, this IS History.

Last night my feelings were mostly of relief as I watched a tight race finally come out in my candidate's favor.

This morning, as you may have read into my last post, came the giddiness. Not just giddiness. Elation. Joy. Exultation. Unmitigated happiness, excitement, and yes, a bit of gloating.

Blogfather Rusty thinks I may have engaged in hyperbole when I uttered the comment "The Republic was saved by itself." Maybe. He may be right that it would have taken more than a Kerry presidency to destroy the country. Probably so.

But I can't help getting a sense that I was just a part of something very big, and very good. The sense of pride, of accomplishment, and of weight off my shoulders is also enhanced by a feeling, an intuition, that history was made.

Ace of Spades agrees. He calls it the most important election in fifty years. And while I'd argue that Reagan's election might arguably give it a run for its money, I do think that this election, as a follow-up to the 2000 election, definitely sets a great tone for the century.

There's a tired old cliche that there are three kinds of people in this world -- those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who ask, "what happened?"

Today I feel like I was in the first group.

Great Day in the Morning

I arose this morning to the sound of birds singing, to sunshine and clean air. I arose rested and smiling, and I awoke to the sweet smell of victory.

The Republic has been saved by itself.

To be honest, there were some disappointments. Here in Oregon, Feldkamp failed to DeFuze DeFazio. Al King lost to Ron Wyden, but that was more to be expected. Measures 35 and 38 failed.

But none of that can do anything to more than temporarily dampen my joy over President Bush's victory. Hallelujah!

I believe I shall smoke my cigar this evening.

My friend David mentioned this to me, thanks for the Memory to Blogfather Rusty for the actual link:

That Mighty Rushing Wind you hear? It's a giant sigh of relief. The DOW, the S&P, the NYSE, and Nasdaq were all up on the news that President Bush won.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


For God's sake, VOTE!

If you support President Bush, VOTE!

If you support John F Kerry, VOTE!

If you support Ralph Nader, VOTE!

If you care about this country and believe in the system we call American Democracy, the single most important thing you can do is VOTE!

If you vote for the winner, you have a right to complain if you feel betrayed.

If you vote for the loser, you have a right to complain because you warned us.

If you don't vote and complain, your mouth should be sewn shut with a guitar string.


A Simple Prayer

(with apologies to St. Francis)

Dear Lord,

Please let George W. Bush win this election. But if you see fit not to, please give me the strength to keep foghting for what I believe in in the dark days that may come.


Monday, November 01, 2004

Curiouser and Curiouser

Given that I average less than 100 visitors a day, I'm at a loss to explain how I just went from Adorable Rodent to Large Mammal in the TTLB Ecosystem -- overnight.

However, not being raised by morons nor as a moron, despite the blog's title, I shall refrain from examining the complimentary equine's dental records.

Hmmmm.... Apparently the TTLB Ecosystem is based on links. I was unaware of this -- I was under the impression that it factored actual traffic into the mix.

This may explain why I'm so high on the list. I was futzing around in Site Meter, checking out the hits and page views, and on a whim clicked on the "Referred By" link. I was amazed at how many other blogs link to me. M@'s comment also bears witness to this. Apparently there are a whole lot of bloggers out htere who have decided that I write well enough for them to post a link to my blog -- many of them without bothering to tell me, and some of them with considerable clout -- "Playful Primates" in some cases. So while I may not be a poplular blog among readers, apparently I've found recognition among other bloggers. I can't say this is new to me.

Remember back in high school how important popularity was? I remember. I remember how everyone wanted to talk to the popular kids, sought out their friendship, strove to be associated with those people, invited to the same parties, whatever. Does that sound anything like being instalaunched, or being high on the TTLB, or having tons of hits?

I was never a popular kid. I was never the one everyone WANTED to be seens with, whose friendship was a status symbol. But here's the weird part. I WAS friends with the popular kids. they liked me, they got along with me. Almost everyone did -- they just never considered it a big deal. Being seen talking to me never was a sign that you'd arrived, because, well, I'd talk to anyone. I wasn't popular, but I was well liked.

This reminds me a lot of this recent revelation about my blog. There's one big difference between then and now.

Now I'm OK with the distinction.

Hope for Spain

The Feared Redhead's sister and her husband are among the in-laws who returned recently from the wedding in Spain where my Father-in-law received the Stogie which I will hopefully be smoking tomorrow night. So while we were visiting them in Portland this weekend, they mentioned in passing that I would like spain because of the popularity there of Scotch whisky and Cuban cigars. Of course I had to make a crack about "And Socialist Prime Ministers who all but surrender to terrorists." They had an interesting response.

Apparently just this topic came up while they were in Spain, and the general concensus among the Spaniards they know is one of disgust over what has happened. Apparently, from their talks with the family friends, very few Spaniards actually changed their vote because of the Madrid bombings. They were told that voter turnout is usually pretty low in Spain, but that after the attacks, a large number of spaniards who normally don't vote did, and most of these people voted for the current Socialist PM.

What I'm hoping for is that this will be a wake-up call for Spain, and that Right-minded Spaniards will make sure that they get out and vote in droves next time. So while I'm still quite scornful of Spain's current government, I believe I should rethink my disappointment in the Spanish people overall.

The Die is Cast

Saturday morning, while the Feared Redhead was at work and before it was time to get ready to head to Portland for a family visit, I spent an hour or two at the local GOP offices, doing volunteer work as a phone caller. We were calling people who had already indicated suuport for the President. It was a pretty straightforward series of questions and reminders relating to Oregon's Vote-by-mail system: Have you received your ballot? If not, you need to go to the elections office and vote there. If so, have you voted yet? If not, it's too late to mail the ballot, you need to drop it off at a county-approved election drop location. If so, we hope you support the President.

One of the issues that our FAQ sheet addressed is people who respond, "I already voted, why are you still calling?" We were to explain to the person that our calling list is based on the most recent available information from the elections office, and that if we're still on their list, they may want to call and make sure their ballot has been received. I thought this was good information, and a great way to turn what could be an annoying call into a useful call for the people we call.

So Sunday night upon returning home, I checked our messages, and sure enough, 2 of the 4 messages were from the GOP. This despite the fact that we dropped our ballots off at a drop box this time last week. I'm sure you can guess what my first order of business was on my lunch break today.

Thankfully, the nice lady at the Elections office confirmed receipt of our ballots. and by nice, I mean nice. It's been my experience that for the most part, the people at the elections office are the nicest, most helpful government officials with whom I've ever dealt. I wonder if it has to do with appreciating the importance of performing this particular civic duty. Just a thought.

So anyway, our ballots are in. So all you Eugene-area liberals who have been harassing us, do your damnedest. It's too late now to change my vote -- as if you ever could have.

An Uncle's Observation

Taebo, Pilates, Step Aerobics, Military PT -- when it comes to a good workout, none of them can compare to taking an 18-month old boy Trick-or-Treating.

'Nuff said.