JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Marijuana is not kosher for Passover, a pro-cannabis advocacy group says, advising Jews who observe the week-long holiday's special dietary laws to take a break from smoking the weed.
The Green Leaf Party announced Wednesday that products of the cannabis plant have been grouped by rabbis within a family of foods such as peas, beans and lentils that is off-limits to Jews of European descent during Passover.
Actually, I'm not sure it's kosher any time unless grown under rabbinic supervision.
That gives me an idea, but we probably shouldn't go there....
European foreign ministers failed last night to back Britain in a threat to freeze the €14 billion trade in exports to Iran, as the hostage crisis descended into a propaganda circus.
EU foreign ministers meeting in Germany called for the sailors to be freed but ruled out any tightening of lucrative export credit rules. The EU is Iran’s biggest trading partner. British officials are understood to have taken soundings on economic sanctions before the meeting but found few takers.
France, Iran’s second-largest EU trading partner, cautioned that further confrontation should be avoided. The Dutch said it was important not to risk a breakdown in dialogue.
Okay, I'd expect this from the French. They have a long history of profiting from trading with people who then overrun their country, followed by appeals to other nations -- mainly the USA -- to bail their butts out of trouble.
And perhaps the Dutch have forgotten some hard-learned lessons from the 1940s.
Similar motives of financial gain -- combined with growing Soviet-era attitudes toward the USA -- led Russia to torpedo meaningful action against Iran at the UN.*
Much as "peace-loving" Americans and Brits may dislike the idea, we are getting closer by the moment to the day when we will have to go up against Iran militarily.
My hope is that we will make the war short and decisive. I'm not sure Bush, Congress, Blair and Parliament know how to do that. In fact, I'm pretty sure they can't do it. They'd better learn, pronto.
We need to learn from France's example what happens when you talk and talk and talk to an enemy that doesn't listen.
*If one assumes -- mistakenly -- that the UN is capable of any meaningful action, that is.
...I would be ashamed of the people who supposedly represent me in Washington.
PARENTHETICAL NOTE: I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican....
Most particularly, I would be ashamed of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the so-called "Speaker of the House," who in reality speaks for no one but a spineless minority united by irrational hatred of Jorge Bush and a willingness to sell out any principle for political power.
This lede appeared on an Associated Press story today:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit Syria, a country President Bush has shunned as a sponsor of terrorism, despite being asked by the administration not to go.
No rational person who has the slightest knowledge of the Middle East can deny that the Syrian leadership supports terrorism, is bent on destroying Israel, and would love nothing more than to see us fall into the fire with the Israelis.
I suppose I should not be surprised, given her maniacal desire to see this country surrender to the terrorists, no matter how many of her fellow citizens she places in danger by doing so.
And then, as icing on the cake, there was this, also from the AP:
Members of the House left Washington on Friday for their two-week spring break without weighing in on the international crisis tormenting the nation's closest ally: the capture of 15 British sailors and marines by Iran.
The omission by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is being noted by some Republicans, who say they should have gotten the chance to join the Senate in denouncing Tehran's bold actions.
So: On one hand, Pelosi is in a mad rush to trot off to the Middle East, where the Syrian leaders (who, like many of their ilk, know a willing dupe when they see one) will no doubt giver her a warm welcome, after which she will return and coo about how awful Bush is for not trusting them.
On the other hand, when faced with the despicable acts of Iran's Mad Mullahs, she can't be bothered to allow the House to express its anger.
If I was a Democrat, I would demand her removal from her Speaker's duties. In fact, I would demand her removal from Congress.
I believe many who support some of her views are honest in their beliefs, misguided and foolish as I think they may be. Support for telling the terrorists in advance that we're going to turn tail and run is bad enough, but there are surely some whose support for that would vanish if they really understood the horrific risk it poses for our military and, in fact, our own citizens here at home.
Pelosi knows damn well what she is doing. She has forgotten that, before party affiliation and an egregious lust for power, she is supposed to be an American first.
Or she should be.
She is not, and every day she is allowed to continue her near-traitorous wielding of authority brings us a step closer to disaster.
Talked to my friend M. on the phone today. We talked about business for maybe half an hour, with good results. She has a skill I lack and is willing to apply some of it to getting more of my work sold. Gotta love someone like that.
And I was able to give her some advice about a situation she's in, so it wasn't all one way.
Sometimes, it's just good to talk with someone who gives a damn.
As mentioned before, M. is a close friend of R.B., with whom I spent the best years I've ever known. I fully intended to bring her up in the conversation, if only to see how she's doing these days.
M. beat me to it by getting into that subject first.
Because I instinctively trust M. and always have -- and because my emotions have been piled up behind a wall for more than five years -- I heard myself, to my horror, letting out the whole truth. I told her what I found good about R.B. and what bothered me about her (which, as it turns out, M. understands).
And I heard myself telling her more.
So now she knows and, in some limited way, I suspect R.B. will soon know, what I have not told anyone for all this time. Apart from the crawling-over-broken-glass-to-get-back-to-her bit, that is. M. will keep that to herself.
I intended to say more here, but the conversation drained me. I don't feel much like trying to sort it all out now.
Besides, I have to package up some samples of my work to mail off to M. and get it to the post office before 5:00.
That's as good an excuse as any for ending this entry.
...as "Lucy" and "Girl's" primary feeder and affection-giver is back home.
Now it's just us two elderly males.
I must say the two kitties were happy to see me when I went over to return H.'s keys. They should have been; I cheated and gave them more treats than they're used to getting. I hoped H., who is a bit new-age-y and gives them only "natural" food and filtered water, wouldn't notice. She didn't.
I'm a bit depressed. Taking care of the "girls" was the most fun I've had this week.
...as those who refuse to see what is right in front of them.
Here's an example: According to this source, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has resigned her post on the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. Why did this shrill, holier-than-thou liberal quit?
Very simple: she has, for years, successfully sought out, and voted for, government contracts that directly enriched her billionaire husband, and her little multi-million dollar schemes have finally started coming to light.
Just as bad -- maybe worse -- is her knowledge of the pathetic treatment wounded veterans have been receiving from military hospitals and unwillingness to deal with them, since companies her husband has in his stock portfolio were in charge. After all, her committee is tasked to have oversight on military "quality of life" issues.
I'm sad to say that Feinstein is one of the troika of despicable loudmouths from my state -- the others being Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi -- who rant loudest about "ethics" and who promised that when their party took over Congress (as it, of course, has) we would see honesty in government.
So much for that.
All of them -- along with other politics-before-honor congresscrooks -- voted for the treasonous get-out-of-Iraq spending appropriations that let terrorists know when we will start and complete the process of ending our military presence there. All of them howl about Jorge Bush's failings, wasting time -- and our money -- investigating everything he has done in order to hound him out of office.
Yet they are no better.
Are the elite media making a fuss about Feinstein? Are there calls for her to resign and face prosecution as there were for Republicans caught with their fingers in the till? No.
For that matter, Rep. William Jefferson, who was caught with $90,000 in bribery money and videotaped committing illegal acts, still keeps his Congressional seat. And Harry Reid, who was involved in more than his share of shady deals, is still a Senator.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Ted Kennedy is still lurching around free, never having been brought to justice for his crimes. Heck, I can't even count the number of times he's be re-elected since he drove off that bridge with Mary Jo Kopechne in the passenger seat of his car....
Believe it or not, though I disagree with roughly 99% of their policies, I'm not singling out the Democrats, except to point out that their big talk about ethics, accountability and morality has as little substance as similar assurances from, say, John Gotti.
Someone should rein in Bush and his gang. But that someones -- or, more properly, someones -- need to have clean hands.
If the percentage of crooked, amoral greedheads was as high in the general population as it is in Washington, we couldn't build jails fast enough. But since they are elected officials, they believe they have a right to act like smoothed-out versions of street thugs.
And we, sadly, never get worked up enough about it to demand major changes.
Perhaps we need a fourth branch of government, the sole job of which would be to oversee -- and deal with -- the egregious excesses of the other three branches.
Finding people to run it would be easy. All we have to do is pick people Congress and the president don't approve of, people who actually believe in the law's applicability to all, whether common burglars or the much more sophisticated crooks in D.C.
...I think something needs to be done to straighten out our flawed capitalist system.
Between overseas outsourcing and the push to bring in millions of new slaves -- sorry, low-wage workers -- from Mexico, Corporate America is destroying the lives of many hardworking people to keep shareholders happy.
Circuit City Stores Inc., the second-largest U.S. electronics retailer after Best Buy Co., fired 3,400 of its highest-paid hourly workers and will hire replacements willing to work for less.
The company said its eliminating jobs that paid ``well above'' market rates. Those who were fired can apply for the lower pay, company spokesman Bill Cimino said today. He declined to give the wages of the fired workers or the new hires.
Later in the story, another source is quoted as estimating that experienced Circuit city works make something like $11/hour.
And then, this:
Chief Executive Officer Philip Schoonover was paid $8.52 million in fiscal 2006, including a salary of $975,000.
This is the standard pattern these days. Companies shut down research and development departments, close outlets, fire employees, set up operations overseas and chop services, all of which makes stock prices rise.
Again, I am a big supporter of the capitalist system. What I find abhorrent is the dominance of Wall Street and company shareholders who, eager to increase income right this moment so they can turn a short-term profit on their stocks, are willing to hurt workers and, in the long run, damage the competitiveness -- and viability -- of the companies they "own."
Certainly, any good company should try to keep waste to a minimum. An $8.5 million annual compensation package for a CEO is waste, in my opinion.
But if current trends continue, the number of people in this country to can afford to buy anything beyond basic survival needs will dwindle to a point where sellers of "luxury" goods will have no market.
If indeed sacrifices must be made, they should begin at the top.
But in our current greed-driven system, they don't.
I have no answer to the problem -- not a practical one, anyway -- and am certain government should not meddle.
Maybe this, like so many problems we face, can't be dealt with without a miracle, in this case corporate executives accepting sensible compensation and putting the good of their companies and employees ahead of the stock market.
...we need to demand wholesale impeachments before the idiotic behavior of both Republicans and Democrats destroys the country they are pledged to serve. A good example is the wrangling over funding the costs of the war in Iraq.
First, consider Jorge Bush. from the day he announced that he was sending in the troops to "git" Saddam Hussein, he has made mistake after mistake. Leaving aside his stated rationale for getting into this mess -- I'm not convinced by either his original reasoning or the attacks on said reasoning by his political opponents -- he has conducted the war in an irresponsible, wasteful way. I don't so much care about the waste of money, which is bad enough, but find the waste of some 3200-plus American lives unconscionable.
Memo to Jorge: If you don't have the guts to treat a war as a war, and take all possible measures to prosecute it successfully, speedily and with maximum care taken to protect the lives of our military, then don't go to war. It's that simple.
On the other side, we have the "peace-loving" Democrats who, in their zeal to strip Bush of his remaining powers, are convinced that the best way to end the war is to let the enemy know we're leaving their territory soon. Never mind that they can, in essence, go on vacation until we leave and then resume their violence unchecked; this is a move for "peace."
Led by the disgusting duo of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the Democrats are doing what they always do, which is to wrap their hatred of Bush and typical political power-grabbing in a pious cloak.
The evidence is clear for anyone who looks for it. How, for example, did they convince Congress to adopt a war-budget/surrender measure that could be considered traitorous because it gives aid and comfort to the enemy?
Bribery, that's how.
According to information gathered by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), Pelosi's minions added bribes of some $21 billion in non-military "pork" to buy the votes of some members. Among the bribes: $283 million for the Milk Income Loss Contract program; $74 million for peanut storage costs; $60.4 million for salmon fisheries; $50 million for asbestos mitigation at the U.S. Capitol Plant; and $25 million for spinach growers.
Not to be outdone, the Senate leaders are lining up even more bribes. CAGW found these examples: $24 million for sugar beet producers; $20 million for reimbursements to Nevada (Harry Reid's state) for "insect damage"; $3.5 million for guided tours of the Capitol; and $3 million for sugar cane producers.
Bribery is against the law, everywhere but in Congress.
Never mind that Bush's wimp-out policies have wasted American lives; never mind that the Democrat-led Congress's surrender mania will result in the needless loss of even more American lives. Special interests will be happy, wallowing in unearned loot doled out by a benevolent Congress.
And Bush will talk about how the Democrats "lost" the war -- a nugget of truth there, if you add that they are merely finishing the job he has been doing -- and the Democrats will pontificate about "peace" and "doing what the people want."
I can't believe "the people," with the exception of far-left loons and Bush's pompous apologists, want any part of what's being done. And if I'm right, we'd better start making our "wishes" known, pronto.
A neighbor had to go out of town and asked me to cat-sit. They're sweet kitties, but each is jealous of any attention the other gets -- that's why I couldn't get a good shot of them together -- and both hunger for affection, because they're missing their "owner."
But what the hell. It's rare for me to get any lovin' from one female these days, let alone two.
Gotta take what I can get....
And my cat doesn't care. He knows he's Number One on the Feline Hit Parade.
The bitter harvest from decades of so-called diplomacy, appeasement, "understanding other cultures" and timidity is as about to be taken in. Sadly, those few who see what is happening are apparently powerless to avoid catastrophe.
There is no better illustration of the stupidity of politicians than the situation with Iran. All the resolutions and noble words of the United Nations have exposed that organization for the powerless waste of space and assets that it is. The Iranian leaders, like many despots before them, simply ignore the UN and go about their merry way. When the inevitable disaster strikes, UN delegates will wring their hands and say, "but we told them not to do that!"
And now, with the Iranians' latest act of war, the capture of 15 Royal Navy sailors and marines who were going about their duties outside of Iran's territorial waters, we see how far the rot has spread.
Tony Blair is reportedly "upset." Stern words have been spoken to the Iranian ambassador to the UK. The EU -- which some have begun to refer to as the "EUssr" -- has asked Iran to free their hostages.
So continues the pitiful behavior of alleged "statesmen" that began with Neville Chamberlain kowtowing to Hitler, FDR caving in to Stalin at Yalta, Truman's indecision in Korea, the JFK-Johnson-Nixon "limited-war" follies in Vietnam, Carter's shameful inaction against Iran after American hostages were taken, Clinton's wimp-out against various terrorists and the sordid performance of both Bushes, father and son, in Iraq.
PARENTHETICAL BEFORE YOU-LEAVE-A-COMMENT THOUGHT: I know it's easy to sit here at a desk -- or at an even fancier desk, surrounded by fawning minions, in Washington or London -- and advocate sending others off to die. If you understand what I am about to say, I think -- at least hope -- you will conclude that I am less enthusiastic about doing so than most of our modern presidents are and have been....
The basic problem is simple. Diplomacy has become some bizarre game, laden with arcane etiquette and choreography, not a way for nations to resolve differences. It's all about dialog, about misplaced trust that others play by the same rules; it is a strange dance so divorced from reality that its players forget those whom they are there to serve.
Chamberlain, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Clinton and the two Bushes have, in combination, set up rules of warfare and international relations that will, if not reversed soon, lead to an unimaginably destructive future war. It seems Tony Blair, the UN and the EU have all been infected by the same disease that made these men shameful sell-outs.
Our Congress carries a share of the blame as well. Had the Democrats and Republicans who are scheming for a withdrawal from Iraq set a timetable for Bush to get the job done effectively rather than advocate retreat in the face of his ineffective management of the war, we would not face another humiliation like the one we suffered in the last days of the war in Vietnam.
The answer, as I see it, is to establish some basic principles for dealing with those who make themselves enemies. It begins with belief in ourselves, a far cry from modern-day liberals' hand-wringing, always-apologetic guilt trips and mad desire to "see the other side" of every issue, no matter how dangerous that other side may be.
After that, we must embrace an old concept of war: at one time, military and civilian leaders understood that war was a last resort but, once begun, it had to be prosecuted until the enemy lost all ability to wage war.
Much as we might like to think otherwise, there is no such thing as a "precision" war with carefully selected targets destroyed with minimal loss of life or "collateral damage." Would Germany or Japan have surrendered in 1945 had the Allies not demonstrated a willingness and ability to wipe both nations from the face of the earth? I think not.
By the same token, would they have started the war knowing we would inflict maximum destruction on them? Same answer. In reality, they looked at our diplomats and heads of state, saw weakness, and attacked.
Good generals used to understand that. Unfortunately, when FDR appointed Eisenhower, a "political general," as Supreme Commander in Europe, the war effort was slowed dramatically by Ike's desire to keep all his allies happy, and war has never been the same since.
A well-trained, well-equipped military not hamstrung by nation's political structure could have finished GW Bush's "war on Saddam" in days. His father's war against Iraq, if carried to its logical conclusion, would have rendered Junior's war unnecessary.
Likewise, if the Iranians didn't realize they were facing weakness in the form of Carter, Bush, Blair and the UN, they would not have taken hostages. In fact, they would not be waving the nuclear threat in our faces.
At this point, the only way to straighten out the mess left to us by past appeasement is to announce, then order, then carry out a fierce, destructive and rapid response to the current situation.
Conflicts of this kind can only be resolved on the basis of strength. The more willingness to defend what we believe is right we display, the less force we will ultimately have to use.
As far as imposing "democracy" on Iraq, or Iran, or any other country, it's none of our damn business. No one fought the British on our behalf during the Revolution; it was a home-made effort led by people who wanted to establish a free and independent nation. Those in other lands who wish to emulate us need to at least show a willingness to start the ball rolling on their own before we offer aid.
You may think I'm advocating rampant militarism; I'm not. What I believe we must do is convince those who consider themselves enemies -- and that includes China, North Korea, several Middle Eastern nations and Russia -- that we are always open to discussion and working out our disagreements up to a clearly defined point. After that, they oppose us at their own clearly defined risk.
The best way to avoid war is to make it clear that if war starts, we will show no mercy on the enemy.
It is time for our leaders, here and in the UK, to show some courage. Given their track records, I'm not optimistic.
I've never been a big fan of conspiracy theories, primarily because those who tout them most aggressively seem to be members of the tinfoil-hat brigade or have other agendas I can't buy into.
But I've been reading a lot of material about the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, and am not liking what I read. The list of proponents -- people like Jorge Bush, the president of Mexico and a cadre of corrupt loons in the USA, Canada and Mexico -- make the idea suspect enough to warrant adding this to the ever-growing list of criminal indictments of our so-called "leaders."
The SPP's detractors claim that the ultimate goal is to merge the USA, Canada and Mexico into a single unit, with a single currency, single external border and a mishmash of laws drawn from all three nations applying to all. They claim that it is primarily designed to make Mexico "equal" to the other two by funneling jobs and money there and by giving Mexicans free access to our jobs and resources.
I think they're right.
Follow a little conspiratorial trail here with me:
-- Jorge Bush orders that American citizens be jailed for upholding our laws (e.g. Jose Compean, Ignacio Ramos, Gilmer Hernandez) while applying a "five-strikes" rule to illegals;
-- Jorge Bush pushes for opening the borders;
-- Jorge Bush orders free access to our roads for Mexican trucks;
-- A "NAFTA Superhighway" is being planned to link Mexican ports with the rest of the continent, bypassing American ports and providing work for Mexicans at the expense of Americans;
-- Despite the Democrats' primal need to rage at Bush for any trivial misstep (as well as some major screwups), they remain completely silent on these issues.
In fact, Democrats are a big part of the coalition that wants to grant amnesty to all 20-plus million illegals in the country now and add a "guest-worker" program on top of this that, between "workers" and their families, will add a million or more poorly-educated, poverty-stricken migrants to our population each year. Many Democrats are major supports of SPP, just like many Republicans.
In the meantime, all those who have followed the rules and want to come here legally -- and who, in many cases, have education and job skills -- are S.O.L. They can wait....
Where do these actions lead? To SPP.
Interestingly, while you might think our Constitution mandates Congressional action, if not Constitutional amendments, to sell out the country, implementation is being done without any public notice, without laws being passed. The politicos have learned that they can do what they want, and by the time anyone gets around to challenging them, the deed will be done. The "comprehensive immigration reform" proposals are meant to speed up the process of integration.
I tend to believe that a major motivation for becoming a politician (along with greed) is a need to impose change on people who don't want or need it, to build new power structures from which control can be enforced. Along with this comes a need to play Robin Hood, taking from the rich (well, some of them; cronies and campaign contributors are exempt) and give to the poor, while simultaneously enriching those who belong to the corrupt inner circle of "leaders."
The Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations and Club for Growth (among other groups) are filled with people who have Big Ideas about building One World. Which they, of course, would dominate. They look at the European Union -- and, for all I know, the old Soviet Union -- as a model for the future.
PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: I have known a few committed Communists, who did what they could (which wasn't much) to lead the USA down their path. Amazingly, none of them saw themselves as factory workers or tractor drivers if their dreams came to pass. Nope; they'd be the ones in charge. So much for "egalitarian" political movements....
Fortunately, not all of our elected officials are as blinded by greed and ambition as Jorge Bush and his handpicked sellouts, Pelosi, Kennedy and the rest of the traitors in Washington who support the North American Union concept. Sixteen members of the House of Representatives -- including the sanest man in Washington, Dr. Ron Paul, have introduced a bill aimed at killing off SPP.
Nancy Pelosi will surely do her damndest to sweep this under the rug as she works to extend her power to the entire continent and keep her fatcat limousine-liberal supporters happy.
The worst aspect of all this is not the sight of corrupt politicians from three countries banding together to enrich themselves and their friends at the expense of hardworking citizens. We've seen that often enough.
No, the worst part is that they believe in this nutcase notion that we will somehow be better off if we give up sovereignty and funnel our wealth to Mexico.
No one whose mind is so twisted should be allowed to hold political office.
It's time for mass impeachments in Washington (and maybe Ottawa) and mass resistance to SPP and all who support it.
Unless, that is, you like the idea of sacrificing your rights, jobs and possessions to foreigners whom your political "leaders" consider more deserving than you.
I heard the author of Twinkies, Deconstructed being interviewed on the radio earlier today. In the course of writing the book, he traveled around the country in search of the points of origin for everything listed among the ingredients that are combined to make the popular little "snack cakes."
In case you're curious, the book's chapters are named after all the building blocks of a Twinkie. They're listed on the website.
Aren't they cute?
Though it has been a long time since I ate one -- decades, in fact -- I somehow have a memory of both the taste (excessively sugary) and texture (not far from partially solidified Styrofoam). Ugh.
Still, it's amazing that something made up largely from rocks, chemicals bombarded by carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and other oddball raw materials has any taste at all. And not surprising that the nutritional value is virtually nil.
The perfect thing to wash down with a McDonald's no-milk "shake!"
Early this morning, I heard from someone I haven't talked to in almost six years. It was a happy telephonic reunion.
But also sad. This person and her husband were, and are, close friends of R.B., the woman I should never have let out of my life, the woman who, despite some problems we had (for which I have to take more than half the blame), never stopped loving me, never betrayed me.
I have never stopped loving her. I looked elsewhere later after she was gone, and was taken advantage of. That's something sweet R.B. never did, would not have done, could not do.
Her name came up, obliquely, while I was talking with M. today. I bit my tongue, didn't ask what I wanted to ask, didn't say what I wanted to say. Whether I can hold back when I talk to M. again next week, I don't know.
The rest of the day has been full of memories. Good memories, but tinged with regret and loss.
Interestingly, R.B. was the only woman in my life for whom Hobbes formed an attraction.
Speaking of Hobbes: he is back to his old self, happy and more energetic than he has been for quite a while.
I stopped by the vet's this afternoon to pick up some "prescription" food for him. Everyone there wanted to know how he was doing...he made a lot of friends during his stay.
Somehow, I can't help wishing he could be reunited with R.B. Me, too....
-- 65. That's the number of days Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean have been in jail for the heinous crime of enforcing our country's laws;
-- 20,801,119. That's the number of illegal aliens residing in this country right now according to this site, which bases its data on verifiable statistics;
-- 455. That's the approximate number of Senators and Representatives who are, even now, pushing their pathetic pro-illegal-alien, pro-open-borders agenda. A new amnesty bill was offered up in the House today that will ensure all the 20,000,000-plus a free pass and a "path to citizenship"...all you need to know is that the late Ted Kennedy, head of the illegal-alien cheering section, approves of it;
-- 400,000. That's the number of additional foreign "guest workers" who will be permitted into the country each year -- along with their families -- under terms of this traitorous legislation.
-- too high to put a number on. That's the cost to American citizens and legal residents in increased taxes and crime, lower wages and lost jobs.
You can thank Reps. Jeff Flake and Luis Gutierrez for this latest piece of infamy. But they alone are not to blame; a long line of co-conspirators, from Nancy Pelosi to Jorge Bush are pushing this as hard as they can under orders from their corrupt masters in Mexico City and corporate greedheads looking for slave labor.
I hope Americans wake up before it's too late and let the "servants of the people" know that rewarding illegal behavior, punishing Americans for upholding the law and turning our nation over to an endless flood of new immigrants (while those who have taken the legal path to citizenship wait and wait) is not only unacceptable and intolerable, but clear grounds for impeachment of all involved.
Just as illegals don't deserve amnesty for unlawful acts, neither do the scum in Washington.
According to Bill Handel, a new controversy is brewing in the world of Big Religion.
Churches that maintain "prayer lines" for people to call when in need of spiritual solace are getting some complaints from their flocks. Care to guess why?
It's because the churches are outsourcing prayer lines to call centers in India.
Gimme a a-men!
One of the biggies in this "business" is called India Prayer Solutions of Mumbai. Complaints against their services include listening to an "associate" reading prayers -- haltingly -- off a "cheat sheet" and Hindu employees having trouble keeping the number of deities in their prayers down to the Christians' one God.
Having had to deal with Indian call centers regarding computer and ISP questions, my sympathies are with those calling in. If "Darren" or "Jane" can't deal with issues of dropped connections and misbehaving computer programs, how good can they be with matters of faith?
Come to think of it, the next time AT&T gives me grief and I'm feeling sad, maybe I'll call a prayer line and kill two birds with one stone. So to speak.
Al ("the planet has a fever") Gore testified in front of a Senate committee today, warning a room-full of fawning Democrats that we are in deep doo-doo, global-warming-wise. There were a few skeptical Republicans there as well, though the only coverage of their participation I've seen came when the egregious Barbara Boxer (who, I am embarrassed to say, "represents" my state) chastised James Imhofe, a Republican Senator, for trying to keep the circus from getting out of hand.
But aside for the normal lack of objective facts, emotional generalizations and simple horsecrap I expect from Big Al, there was a telling moment in the proceedings:
Imhofe: "“Are you willing to make a commitment here today by taking this pledge* to consume no more energy for use in your residence than the average American household by one year from today?”
Gore: "No. We live a carbon-neutral life, Senator."
And there is the secret: Gore, with lips trembling and tears in his eyes, tells us in a quavering voice that we must act to cut C02 emissions and cap carbon emissions right where they are. Immediately. In the meantime, he'll do his bit by buying the right to continue to be a gross polluter from people who don't pollute as much.
Oh, yeah: guess who happens to be a founder and shareholder in the company he buys "pollution credits" from?
Uh-huh. Al ("our civilization is threatened") Gore.
* As a believer: · that human-caused global warming is a moral, ethical, and spiritual issue affecting our survival;
· that home energy use is a key component of overall energy use;
· that reducing my fossil fuel-based home energy usage will lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions; and
· that leaders on moral issues should lead by example;
I pledge to consume no more energy for use in my residence than the average American household by March 21, 2008.”
PARENTHETICAL ENOUGH-IS-ENOUGH THOUGHT: Aside from the usual unending flood of political sewage which is rapidly becoming too nauseating to follow, that is....
I read this story and learned that the latest "thing" for the uber-wealthy is to build giant fireplaces, sometimes with kitchens attached, in their backyards.
I've always wanted a huge chimney in my backyard, haven't you?
I guess if you are one of those fortunate folks who have money to burn -- so to speak -- and feel a need to one-up the neighbors, you have to do something drastic. So yeah, why not put up something everyone in the neighborhood can see, whether they want to or not.
Of course the story was already going downhill for me when it was mentioned that one of the avant-garde couples who have ordered up a big-ass smokestack for their yard spent over $13 million to build the house adjoining the new toy.
A $13 million house? For two people?
I feel left out. I can't even comprehend that.
Then there's a report (sorry, the link doesn't seem to work) that Chinese food is bad for you. So, by the way, are Mexican and Italian foods.
I wonder what the people who compile these studies eat? Raw veggies and meadow grass?
Frankly, I suspect the authors reviewed their work over a meal of Quarter-Pounders-with-cheese, fries and soft drinks. It's the Al Gore Syndrome: tell others how they must live, while living your own life by another set of rules. Or no rules.
Art Bell was right. There is at least one parallel universe out there, and probably more, governed by forces incomprehensible to most of us and peopled by strange beings.
PARENTHETICAL PRE-RANT THOUGHT: I know some of you would rather see pictures, kittycats and nice stories here. So would I. But some of the things that trouble me deeply aren't getting much play anywhere else, so I feel the need to rant. If enough of us banded together to remove the corrupt elements from our government, we could all write about nice days and post pretty pictures..
...that no one thinks about. Take, for example, one of Jorge Bush's gifts to his corrupt amigos in Mexico, the lifting of restrictions on Mexican truckers driving into the USA. We know what the costs will be in lower wages and lost jobs for Americans, we know the dangers of poorly-maintained trucks and incompetent drivers to everyone else on the road, and we know of the likelihood that illegal cargoes -- humans, drugs, etc. -- will make it across the border with greater ease.
According to reports from several media outlets not bought-and-paid-for by the open-borders crowd, the California Air Resources Board is issuing a report on yet another consequence of Jorge's lunacy:
The CARB estimates some 17,500 Mexican trucks will be on California's roads each day. Since the majority will be more than 10 years old -- and a sizable number will be more than 30 years old -- they will add 50 tons of pollutants daily to the air here.
That's the equivalent of putting an additional 2.2 million cars on our roads.
Note that CARB's figures refer to California only. Trucks from Mexico will be free to go anywhere, to any state....
Thanks to you, Jorge, we lose jobs, pay more in taxes, breathe putrid air and have to worry about worn-out, possibly uninsured trucks with amateur drivers and a greater flow of illegal drugs and humans.
...of Jorge Bush's war against Americans continues.
Today, Texas Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for defending himself when the driver of a van full of illegal aliens tried to run him down.
Once again, serial perjurer and obstructer-of-justice Johnny Sutton, an alleged "U.S. Attorney," was behind the persecution. There is no doubt in my mind that Sutton was acting under the express orders of our illegal-alien-loving presidente who, eagerly kissing the culos of corrupt Mexican politicians and the drug cartels that control them, clearly favors illegals' "rights" over the rights and safety of the fools who elected him and pay his salary.
Hernandez joins Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who have spent more than two months in prison for doing their jobs.
The wrong men are in prison. Bush, Sutton and every other crooked, traitorous U.S. politician who kneels down to the wishes of would-be slaveowners and big political donors who lust after open borders, should be peering through bars.
Our country is lost unless we do something to take it away from the criminals in Washington and return control to patriotic American citizens.
Yeah, I know the poor bastard in the movie Network, played by the late Peter Finch, was being manipulated by Faye Dunaway. But that doesn't seem like an awful fate to me; I'd fall for Faye's charms any time. I've fallen for women with far less going for them....
But I'm right there with Howard. Sadly, the days of the public rising up, as mad as hell, seem to be past.
I'm not sure why I brought this up. Maybe I have a Messiah complex.
No. I'm just feeling horribly out of place.
And I know Faye Dunaway (or her equivalent) has no interest in manipulating me.
...about -- what else -- the disgusting mess in Washington.
I started to write a long, angry screed, but it kept getting longer and longer, and embraced a widening circle of related topics. The hell with it. I deleted all that stuff, and have boiled it down to a few simple points:
1. If Jorge Bush's mealy-mouthed argument for staying in Iraq ("getting rid of a tyrant and spreading democracy") was to make sense, it would have to include moves on Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and most of the rest of the Middle East, as well as North Korea, China, several African nations and, perhaps, the EU.
2. Jorge Bush is a solid contender -- against Jimmuh Carter and Bubba Clinton -- to be named the most incompetent president in modern times. Certainly, he is the dumbest.
3. Removing him (and Dick Cheney) will not, however, repair anything unless we rid Washington of as much as 95% of Congress (including all big-name Democrats and Republicans), everyone in the State Department and the majority of government employees in that cesspool. I think those working at the Smithsonian can stay.
4. Between Jorge's pitiful performance and the ranting, slavering Democrats who place power-grabbing, revenge and hatred of their opponents above actually helping the people who elected them, all pretense of public service has vanished.
5. All Democrat and most Republican presidential candidates (except Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo and -- maybe -- Fred Thompson) represent the broken system. None deserve support.
This should be clear to any sensible person. Which is to say, any person who isn't stupefied by party loyalty.
To quote Jorge, "the fight will be difficult, but it can be won."
Only I'm talking about a different battle, one that will result in the government putting our citizens first in everything they do, not pandering to illegal immigrants and the would-be slave-owners who want them here, the big campaign donors and the UN.
I'm not terribly optimistic, but it seems our only way out of the looming disaster.
I know it isn't always being you, either, but a lot of y'all seem to have me beat 12 ways from Sunday when it comes to coping with the stresses coming from both outside and inside your heads.
When I was out in the desert yesterday, I should have jumped the fence and taken possession of that cabin I photographed. No water, no indoor plumbing, no electricity, but hey, it felt somewhat like home to me. A good place to get into full hermit-mode.
I blame my current woes on two events that took place back in about 1969. First, I tried to get a VW Microbus, but the one I wanted was too much money. Then I hatched a plan (which also fell through) to buy a surplus school bus -- appropriately, what some now call a "short bus" -- and convert it into a mobile living space.
Because neither happened, I somehow found myself walking this narrow line between the suburban world and some kind of get-me-out-of-here vibe. I haven't actually worn a tie on a daily basis since 1972 (in fact, I wore one exactly four times last year and have yet to do so this year), but I still feel the urge to settle down in a cozy home with a cozy wife and a couple of cozy cars in the garage.
Not so bad, except that the cozy home began to get more and more elaborate in my mind. Now, I'm reverting.
That, in turn, may be a reaction to not having the cozy wife to, well, make life cozy for.
When I was a wee lad, my aunt lived for a while in a stone house out in the desert near semi-wonderful Ludlow, California. Once, I was taken out to that beyond-the-edge-of-nowhere place to spend some time with her.
And I dug it.
The stars were arrayed in the sky millions-deep, the seemingly limitless desert held no fear for me -- even though the coyotes howled at night -- and the house's well had plenty of cool, fresh water. On hot days, the house was cool inside. Since the place was near a main road, it had electricity and a telephone.
It seemed to me then that nothing could be better than living out there.
I'd forgotten about that until yesterday when I saw the ruins of a stone house that must have been pretty nifty at one time...
If only I could find a willing hermitess to join me, I'd go looking for that stone pad near Ludlow again.
If, that is, it hasn't been swallowed up by Progress.
Probably better not to search for it. I might find that I don't belong there any more than I do here, and that would only make matters worse.
...wanting to get the hell away from Where The Ghetto Meets The Sea.
Though I did not wear green in honor of St Paddy, I drove a green car. Double "green," in fact...
A good thing, too, considering the gas prices here...
I went out to what's called the "high desert," which backs up against the mountains...
There were groves of these trees all over the place. I have no idea what they are, but suspect they might be pear trees, since the nearest wide spot in the road is called (as it has been for many, many years) "Pearblossom"...
Twenty miles away, there are housing developments galore, totaling tens of thousands of new homes. Thanks to the incredible rise in housing prices in California, the collapse of weaker mortgage lenders and a few other factors, many of the new houses sit empty, and work on some other developments has stopped.
One way or another, the desert has a way of overwhelming those not prepared to deal with it...
I'm guessing none of those new houses will last as long -- or look as interesting as they decay -- as this one...
For an obvious reason, the fun of poking around in interesting places is diminishing rapidly for me.
When I have someone to share such outings with, I'll be ready to go again, and stop to look at thousands of fascinating things and places I glanced at today as I drove past.
The fresh air and 90-degree temperatures were nice, though.
Even though I've been this way for just over a year, it's not the "real me." The "real me" is interesting, fun, and has several talents and attributes that have gone unused for far too long.
In fact, even my ability to string words together in a semi-comprehensible fashion, the one of my talents that anyone seems to give a happy damn about these days -- and not often enough -- has lost its edge.
I can hear you: "if that's the case, why don't you just stop being dull?"
Not that easy, buckaroos.
Without an audience, my act is no good.
I've had a couple of good "audiences" who dug my act. They're not around any more.
Maybe that means the act isn't good enough to put over anyway. I don't know. I can see where it needs some polishing, but don't really believe it was so awful they had to walk out on it.
The cat is feeling better today, so I feel comfortable leaving him alone for a few hours. I'm going to go on a long drive*, I think.
Not that I expect to find a new audience out there. But if I'm going to be dull, might as well do it outdoors, in the fresh air.
* Don't worry, my carbon footprint for this run will be smaller than usual.
A great friend has been writing about how avoiding the news makes him feel better. I can understand that; when one's own life is unsettled, why make it worse by seeing what dimwitted things others are doing?
I think my fascination with the news comes down to one simple idea: the ways public fools, knaves and unsavory characters around the world act are how many people in my own life act. Those in the news are simply playing on a larger stage.
Example: The reaction to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession that he was responsible for planning a horrifying litany of terrorist attacks, including the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. This is a man who bears the responsibility for many thousands of deaths, most innocent people. And yet, the left-wing loons in this country are howling in outrage, not at him, but at the U.S.A. Why? Because we tortured him while he's been in custody.
I don't approve of torture in general, but this is simply bullshit. Better we should have housed him in some country-club minimum-security lockup where he could maintain eternal silence in comfort?
Even more bizarre is the contention of one Rosa Brooks, wacko mouthpiece on the Los Angeles Times editorial pages. She feels that KSM's confession is politically timed, meant to divert attention from Bush's firing of eight federal attorneys, an act that has thrown the Democrats in a tizzy.
Example: The horribly childish behavior of those who "lead" us, echoed by the pundits who make a living babbling about it from their various viewpoints. Listen to them long enough, and they'll convince you that they can do things that are (at a very minimum) unethical and harmful to the nation because "the other side" did the same thing. When any of them are confronted with this hypocrisy, they say things like "why bring (Politician X) up? That was a long time ago, and we're talking about (Politician Y now)."
Likewise, if you want to blame a political opponent for every misdeed under the sun, do it. As long as you control the reportage, you'll never be called upon to come up with facts to back your assertions.
I heard -- by mistake -- a well-known right-wing "commentator" today who was yapping about how the lefties are destroying all our freedoms. The same guy comes close to having a stroke if anyone mentions abortion, and would cheerfully shove all gays back into the closet.
I could go on and on. This isn't even the tip of the iceberg.
But the point is this: just as all these jerks have ready-made excuses for acting badly and affecting (negatively) the lives of others, so do too many people I have interacted with in recent times. Break promises? Lie? Steal? Hey, everyone does it! These days, the best defense is not to act with honor, but to go on the offense and rage at the person who catches you in the act. Blame the victim.
Or blame society. Just blame anyone but yourself.
This may be a reason why I rant about politics so often. I can see the unattractive features of most of the villains in people I know, or have known. But, somehow, I can't bring myself to shame the latter by specifically detailing the ways they behave. I don't like the idea of causing them embarrassment or unhappiness.
Does that mean I'd like to see Jorge Bush, the late Ted Kennedy, Henry Waxman, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and numerous editorial writers and reporters publicly humiliated and driven to seclusion by the scorn of good people?
But then, I'm not trying to con anyone into believing I'm perfect.
I'm feeling inarticulate today. For a writer, that's a Bad Thing.
The list of things that confuse me grows by the day, leaving damn little to hang on to in the way of solid beliefs. More and more, I wonder why the hell I even bother to try living up to any principles at all; doing so seems to make me a doormat, not respectable.
Much as I'd like to be optimistic and cheerful, it ain't working.
Maybe it was the dreams I had last night. One was so bizarre that I tried to go back to sleep to find out if there was any reason for what was going on.
Or maybe it's just that the old order changeth, and there is no place in this Brave New World for me.
...since Jorge Bush's goons sent Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean to prison for doing their jobs.
Ramos is held in isolation because the prison can't protect him from the assaults of illegal-alien prisoners. He spends 23 hours a day in his cell, and one hour in a small sunless walled-in area. He is not allowed to have any pictures of his family.
In the meantime, Jorge Bush trots down to Guatemala and Mexico, kissing corrupt asses and promising to send money and throw the borders wide open.
Congress, indulging in its usual self-absorbed stupidity, is howling because Bush fired some U.S. Attorneys, as he -- and every other president -- is legally allowed to do. Johnny Sutton, the criminal who persecuted Ramos and Compean and at least one other agent, and is apparently a guiding force behind the effort to railroad deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez, too, was not one of them. After all, Sutton is doing his master's bidding very well.
There will be hearings in the House of Representative, thanks to Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA). Of course no date for the hearings has been set, because the Democrats are too busy looking for any pathetic, trivial political excuse they can find to humiliate and neutralize Bush.
They won't go after him for his championing the rights of illegals and sending ever-increasing amounts of aid to the corrupt regimes south of the border, won't take him to task for punishing Americans for upholding the laws while ignoring the acts of an illegal-alien drug smuggler, because they agree with those foul acts.
As horrified as I am at the cesspool that Washington has become, I am even more dismayed that the public outcry against Bush and Congress has not been stronger.
We should be demanding that an impenetrable wall be built along our border with Mexico. And we should be demanding that, when it is completed, Bush -- and the late Ted Kennedy, John McCain and all the other politcos who are willfully ignoring the laws they swore to uphold -- are on the other side, where they belong.
What's going on comes perilously close to treason. If we accept it in silence, we will have no one to blame but ourselves when the United States ceases to exist.
-- "Tatooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan" -- "How Green Were the Nazis" -- "D. Di Mascio's Delicious Ice Cream: D. Di Mascio of Coventry--An Ice Cream Company of Repute, with an Interesting and "Varied Fleet of Ice Cream Vans" -- "The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification" -- "Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Seaweed Symposium" -- "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence"
...back to the USA, the country he supposedly "leads."
He's leading us all right. Leading us into poverty, increased crime and servitude to the interests of foreigners.
For the past few days he's been south of the border, kissing the nalgas of various corrupt politicians and promising them that the United States feels the need to build up their countries and let their citizens cruise freely into our country without having to go through that nasty legal immigration process.
He dispensed promises as if they were sticks of chewing gum. Of course he won't have to pay for a damn one of them. We will. The various tin-pot dictators lectured him, and he took it all with that famous demented smile. They insist we tear down our border fences and send them money. And senor Boosh, who wants to make them happy, will surely try to do both.
The blame is not his alone. Look at Congress, where eager open-borders, one-world traitors dominate, demanding the "comprehensive immigration reform" that will destroy our laws, economy and, in too many cases, lives.
The late Ted Kennedy has his amnesty legislation all ready to go in the Senate, where his fellow crooks are salivating at the thought of the support they'll get from companies looking for slave labor.
Selling the country down the river is a true bipartisan effort.
I have nothing against immigrants from anywhere, so long as they come legally and become Americans. We don't need Mexicans, or Chinese, or Europeans; we need citizens loyal to this country, willing and able to abide by our laws.
Jorge Bush nauseates me. So does the majority of Congress.
Jorge should have been stopped at the border and denied entry. The United States should not provide a home for those who are so eager to betray their fellow citizens.
But anyone who dares try to stop any illegals or undesirables from crossing the border faces the fate of Ignacio Ramos, Jose Compean, Gilmer Hernandez and others. They will go to jail, while the undesirables go about their nefarious business freely.
...has no part in the way those clowns* in Washington think or act. Among a horde of hypocrites jockeying for power, privilege and plunder, Hillary Clinton must rank near the top.
I'll give her credit for one thing: she never lets the truth get in the way of what she wants.
Take this statement her p.r. flack released this morning:
STATEMENT OF SENATOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON ON THE GROWING CONTROVERSY OVER THE FIRING OF U.S. ATTORNEYS
Washington, DC - With the White House now acknowledging a direct role in the Justice Department's U.S. Attorney firings, the president must affirmatively step forward to explain what he is doing to address the politicization of our prosecutorial system and what role he and his aides played in this controversy.
The president is the chief executive of the country and this matter goes to the heart of his ability to manage our federal law enforcement and U.S. Attorney system. It is imperative that the president act swiftly to explain what role the White House played in this situation, hold those who acted inappropriately accountable, and take responsibility.
I found this fascinating, especially after my memory was refreshed by this synopsis of a story from the New York Times, published back on March 24, 1993:
Attorney General Janet Reno today demanded the prompt resignation of all United States Attorneys, leading the Federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia to suggest that the order could be tied to his long-running investigation of Representative Dan Rostenkowski, a crucial ally of President Clinton.
This was, of course, in the days when Hillary fancied herself "co-president" along with Bubba....
If anyone ever asks (not likely, considering the pathetic kowtowing of the media to the wacko lefties), she'll no doubt say she "doesn't recall." That got her off the hook for some highly questionable actions in the past.
Or she might blame it on Janet Reno. Somehow, I doubt Reno did much more than brush her teeth without getting the okay from one or both of the Clintons.
What I find particularly repulsive about this -- aside from an innate loathing for Clinton and all she stands/claims to stand for -- is that we never seem to get past the eternal cycle of partisans slinging rocks at their opponents for doing the same things they themselves did, or would like to do. When one party is in power, the other demands to be cut into decision-making, which naturally doesn't happen.
The Republicans did this. Now the Democrats are doing it, albeit with more success because they seem better able to get away with doling out distortions, half-truths and blatant lies at will.
That's not something to be proud of.
And, lest anyone forget, I think Jorge Bush's real mistake here was not firing US Attorney Johnny Sutton's corrupt ass. Oddly, the Democrats aren't clamoring for his removal.
They're all crooks.
* I need to think of a better insult. I don't have anything against clowns.
Forget about Obama, Clinton, Edwards, McCain, Giuliani and the rest of the political-hack, say-anything-to-win doctrinaire sellout greedheads who are trying to sucker gullible Americans into electing them president so they can continue to fatten themselves at the public trough and impose a bunch of spurious regulations on the rest of us.
Ron Paul has announced that he is running for president.
I grant you so-called "conventional wisdom" suggests that a relatively obscure Texas Congressman has about as much chance of winning as Ted Kennedy has of staying sober for more than, say, six hours at a time.
But considering the horrible condition of our nation, perhaps it's time for us to turn "conventional wisdom" on its ear.
Before you dismiss the idea, go to Paul's website (linked above) and click on the links where he states his opinions on critical issues. The man speaks clearly and, most important of all, sensibly about things the Washington establishment can't bring itself to confront in any coherent way, even though our nation faces disaster as a result.
I also suspect that Dr Paul will not go to Alabama and try to transform himself into an African-American preacher (as shameless Hillary Clinton did), or engage in the normal pandering, mindless generalities, overworked cliches and nasty snipes at his opponents that we will inevitably hear from all the "major" candidates.
The man makes sense. And from all I have read, he is as honorable a man as his campaign would like you to think he is.
Honor? In Washington?
That could start a new trend, one the Pelosis, Kennedys, Kerrys, Jeffersons and their ilk could not survive.
For that reason alone, the man deserves to win.
If there are enough intelligent people left in this country, he has a damn good chance.
A house in Western Australia's south-west is being built entirely from recycled wine bottles.
Around 13,500 wine bottles will be used in the walls of the house, which owner Peter Little says will save energy.
He says by filling the bottles with water, the entire building will be insulated.
The basic idea is nothing new. I've seen a few houses made out of bottles -- some built as novelties, some because bottles were plentiful where the houses were built -- but the notion of filling them with water is a fresh twist to the problem of insulation.
Here's a postcard image of a bottle house in Tonapah, Nevada...
Of course course there are places where this might be impractical. A hard winter could shatter the walls if you tried this in a frigid, inhospitable place such as, say, Idaho. I'd use antifreeze as a filler in that case.
And it doesn't strike me as terribly practical in places where earthquakes are likely. A house that can twist apart is bad enough; having your abode shatter around you would be traumatic, to say the least.
Still, this sounds like a good idea. I'm all for using recycled materials wherever possible; people have built successfully using haybales and adobe, old tires and and many other strange and unlikely raw materials.
I remember being inside a bottle house on a bright, sunny day. The light was beautiful.
I woke up at 4:30 -- okay, 5:30 -- this morning, and there was nothing much to do except spend some time catching up on the news. It's clear to me that the time change masked a shift to a parallel, nonsensical universe where nothing means anything, black means white and yes means no. There is no other explanation.
Consider the local newspaper, a scurrilous rag at best. Its bias in favor of illegal aliens, the ACLU and other left-wing loons has long been apparent, but today the editorial page hit the trifecta:
1. When we lock up illegal aliens, we are hurting their children, and therefore should let them continue to violate laws as they please. Oh, the innocent babies! Following that line of "logic," we should never arrest anyone who breaks the law if they have children. Who the hell put the kids at risk in the first place?
2. Israel's "right to exist" is nonsense, because Israel has been nasty to those who try to destroy it. This is the opinion of some wet-brain college professor who believes the news media are "not telling both sides of the story" when they suggest that Israel is a legitimate nation.
3. (and this is a direct quote of headline and subhead) The new American witch hunt: Demonizing sex offenders by passing tough, mindless laws rather than treating them makes little sense. Once again a "professor" laid down this wonderful plea to lighten up on sex offenders. It must be nice to have so clear a vision that one can concentrate only on the offenders and not their victims. As far as I'm concerned -- and yes, I'm old-fashioned -- those who commit sex crimes, especially against children, are demons, and I don't much care what happens to them as long as they are unable to continue their predatory ways.
Another news source quoted Hillary Clinton as saying she's "the new JFK." That must mean she will be indecisive at times of crisis, will sell out allies because she hasn't got the guts to take action, will order the assassination of foreign leaders she doesn't like, has a foul brother she will use to silence criminal associates from her past and will be totally ineffective at passing legislation she cares about. I don't know if it means she will screw around on her spouse, who will wear designer dresses and marry a Greek shipping tycoon later on.
And then there's the New York Times, which is always good for churning up stomach acid. For once, I didn't even bother with the editorial page; the opinions expressed there are predictably left-wing, knee-jerk and ultimately ridiculous. No, this time it was a front-page feature that caught my eye.
The subject is a new trend among married couples to have separate bedroom suites built into their homes. As expected from the Times, a majority of those interviewed are female; it seems women are pushing hardest for this idea.
And it's not just because their partners snore, thrash around in their sleep or drool. Even the Times wouldn't dare suggest women never do those things.
No, it is so they can live their separate lives. Who needs love and closeness when you want to send emails in the middle of the night? Banishing hubby to another room helps with the career path, you see.
The lead photo is of a woman lying on her bed surround by what appears to be some kind of PDA, remote controls -- for lights, radio/TV and humidifier(!) -- and exulting in her own "space."
I believe -- I'm not going back to re-read this piece -- she is the one who is also quoted as saying "I've paid my dues. I no longer need to be awakened at 1:00 a.m. for sex."
Okay, so I am as guilty as any man of the sins of occasional snoring, changing positions in my sleep and (probably) the odd instance of drooling and even farting. The odd thing is this: every woman I've slept with did the same.
For all that, we enjoyed sleeping together. This was especially true with the last one, who was an ardent snuggler and accepted the quirks of her bed companion with remarkable grace, as I did hers.
She even woke me up in the middle of the night for sex on several occasions. Or sometimes didn't wake me, but got what she wanted anyway. Neither of us wanted TVs, radios, remote-controlled lighting or any sort of computers in the bedroom. Or humidifiers, for that matter.
And women wonder why men are losing respect for them? If marriage has to take a total backseat to career or "being me" -- for either party -- or is seen as a part-time, "there when I want it and not there when I don't" proposition, it ain't marriage.
This is no longer a world I understand, or am particularly happy about being in.
...and, happy as I am to have him here, it's been a rough few hours.
Clearly, the experience was traumatic for him, even though everyone at the vet clinic went out of their way to pay attention to him. When we got into the apartment, he hid for a while, and still shies away when I get too close (though he will come over to be rubbed and petted). He probably thinks every time I get near him, he's going to get a pill, a shot or worse.
And, for the next week, that will be partly true. He has meds to take twice a day, one pill, one liquid. A cat does not "take medicine." Some human -- me -- forces them down the poor guy's throat. Put the stuff in his food? He's not eating much right now, and has shown a wonderful instinct for eating around pills in the past.
I'm not complaining at all. I'm incredibly happy to have him home and, as the hours go by, he's getting back to being his normal self.
But it still hurts to know that I did something that frightened and upset him. The concept of "for his own good" just isn't something he can grasp, and I doubt he associates all that grief with an improvement to his health.
No matter. My friend is here.
He did achieve a new place in the record books today: not only is he the oldest cat I've ever had, but he is now the most expensive.
...of imprisonment for Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
In the meantime, the illegal-alien drug smuggler is free and no doubt is pursuing his $5 million lawsuit against the USA for "violating his civil rights."
While every Democrat, liberal and bleeding-heart in the known universe is howling about the "outrages" committed against terrorists held at Guantanmo Bay, Ramos, whose "crime" was enforcing our laws against the express wishes of el prsidente, Jorge Bush, is locked in his cell for 23 hours a day because the prison can't protect him from the illegal alien druggies who have already assaulted him there, does not receive his mail (the prison said he's getting "too much"), was refused a Bible -- the Gitmo prisoners have Korans, by the way -- and is restricted to one 15-minute phone call and one family visit per month.
This is the fate those who oppose the disgusting open-borders policy of the government can expect to face.
Where is Johnny Sutton, who tampered with/withheld evidence and lied to secure a conviction of Ramos and Compean? Where are Alberto Gonzales and Michael Chertoff, who participated in the conspiracy against the agents?
They're all free, fat and happy and doing their disgusting "jobs."
One thousand "public-spirited, high-minded lawyers have volunteered to represent the terrorists at Gitmo, whose goal was to destroy this country. How many have volunteered to help Ramos and Compean? Zero.
We all know where Jorge Bush is tonight. He's on his way to Mexico. He will, no doubt, receive a hero's welcome.
As far as I'm concerned, he should stay there. Mexicans, and not the American citizens who were foolish enough to elect him -- God help me, I was one of them, thanks to the pathetic excuses for candidates the Democrats fielded -- are his true constituency.
And 475 or so open-border-loving, spineless, crooked, traitorous members of the Senate and House of Representatives should join him there.
This is a national disgrace.
It is beyond a national disgrace. It is irrefutable proof that Bush and Congress will sell us out (and destroy anyone who chooses to uphold our laws) in pursuit of their ultimate goal, which is to hand the USA over to the pro-slavery corporations and corrupt Mexican politicians for whatever personal gain they have been offered.
If we citizens don't act to protect our country, we will lose it. Sadly, those who are sworn to serve us are the Quislings who will do the most to hand it over to outsiders.
...and Hobbes won't be coming home until tomorrow.
The bad news: he has an infection.
The good news: They are treating him for it and it won't cause any problems.
The better news: No diabetes. Moreover, some of the odd blood indicators were -- as I really wanted to hope -- a result of his condition when I took him in, and now that he is eating/drinking/cleaned out again a second series of tests produced quite normal results.
Everyone at the veterinary clinic loves him, naturally. He has all the charm for females that I don't.
Oddly, the vet asked me to confirm his age. He estimated (by appearance and, I guess, heart rate and other signs) that Hobbes was 12-15 and wanted to change the chart if I wasn't certain. I take that as a hopeful sign, too.
Tomorrow could be a very nice day. Keep the good wishes for my friend coming, please.
...even though the vet isn't ready to release Hobbes yet, and may not until tomorrow.
I was told he is doing better, ate this morning and seems more energetic. But they are continuing with testing, because they feel he has (in addition to his digestive system issues) some kind of infection and might even be diabetic.
The bill for all this is going to be a real crusher. But I will find the money for it somehow. I can do no less for him.
I barely slept last night.
Next challenge: getting some work done while I wait for more news. The only thing that helps in this regard is knowing that I need the money -- pronto -- to get Hobbes back home.
...in 17 years when I have been truly alone in my own place.
PARENTHETICAL EMOTIONAL WARNING: If you think it's silly for a grown man to get weepy over a cat -- which is, after all, just an animal -- just do us both a favor and go the hell away now, please.
Hobbes is spending the night at the vet. With luck, he'll be home tomorrow. I'd feel better if I was in hospital; at least I'd know what was wrong and what could be done. He's there, in a strange place...I can't imagine how frightened he must be.
And I can't begin to explain how lonely I am. It's not that he's noisy; he's not. Nor is he the kind of cat who needs constant attention. When he wants me, he comes in and lets me know. The rest of the time, he's happy to do whatever it is cats do.
But he's not sleeping on the chair next to the desk, or curled up on the couch. He won't wander in to remind me he's hungry. Tonight when I go to bed, he won't curl up next to me. Worse, he won't be waking me up in the morning -- so I'll feed him, of course -- with a gentle paw to the face.
I've always known a day would come when he wouldn't be here. But I'm not ready to face it yet. Of all the things I have lost or have had taken away from me, losing him may well be the worst.
He has never done a thing to hurt me. I've taken care of his needs, and he has done the same for me. He has known when I was unhappy and has stuck close so I could feel the warmth of some living being that loves me. He has adjusted to living with four different cats, three dogs and three women (one of the women was a particular favorite of his which, in hindsight, I think showed remarkable good taste on his part), and has been loyal to me throughout.
I have every reason to think I'll be able to bring him home tomorrow. Tonight, though, I'm getting a taste of what complete loneliness is like.
It hurts, in a way more frightening than I can say.
Several people I know have been writing in recent days about what they want to achieve and what they want in their lives. These are things I try not to think about.
Various events have put consideration of anything beyond surviving the next couple of days out of my mind. This morning is the worst yet:
My cat is once again at the vet's. A different vet this time. He is suffering the same problems as he's had twice before and, apparently, may have received inadequate treatment at the last place.
This involves a likely overnight stay while they work on him, though probably no surgery. They expect him to recover fully -- and will give me medication for him that cuts down on the chance that it will happen again -- but, as always when one of my animals has been suffering, it is tearing me apart. Seeing him in pain wrecks me.
And, if the estimate for services and medications is correct, it may wreck what's left of my bank account, too. Veterinarians aren't cheap.
I have no choice, though. He has given me so many years of companionship, and I cannot desert him when he's in pain.
Getting him back home and happy is my sole goal right now. There is no substitute.
With so much else in the world beyond my reach, I hope I'm allowed this one small blessing.
This place feels so empty and lifeless right now....
So Marvel comics is killing off Captain America, or at least his mild alter-ego....
It's about damn time, if you ask me.
None of the great comic-book heroes of the past -- Superman, Steve Canyon, the original Captain America -- would have tolerated what America has become.
They would not have "celebrated diversity," or insisted that the terrorists held at Gitmo should be transferred to the States so the lefties could work for their release. They would not have suffered angst when they fought the Main Enemy. They would not have helped those poor illegal aliens cross the border to a Better Life.
They saw things strictly in terms of Bad -- which was anyone who attacked this nation or tired to hurt people here -- and Good -- the United States.
Their time is past.
The original Captain America would have stomped the bejeebers out of Fidel Castro, Osama Bin Laden and any other misguided fool who dissed America.
Superman, as originally constituted, suffered no angst when he defended "truth, justice and the American Way." Batman fought crime with nary a care for the "rights" of criminals.
Any one of them would have kicked the **** out of Teddy Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi. Heck, they would have stomped Jorge Bush, too.
But we are past them. We care. We feel guilt because we are Americans, and are supposed to want to give all our "ill-gotten" gains to others. We are supposed to feel shame because we built a nation on the principles of freedom and haven't taken care of everyone else on the planet. We are supposed to understand those who want to destroy us.
There is no place in today's environment for superheroes. Or, for that matter, any heroes.
The writers of comic books figured this out. They added sensitivity to their characters, brought superheroes down to a level that even the hacky-sack generation can understand.
With that in mind, I'm happy to see Captain America go. The America he represented is long-gone. Why make the poor bastard fight for something that no longer exists?
Yes, that really is the name of this apartment building. And appropriate it is, as the next step -- well, next 100 steps -- plunks you into the Pacific Ocean....
People were wandering around tonight, talking. It seemed each had had too much of their favorite high, whether booze or dope. Me, too.
One neighbor was helping his ex move to a distant city where, as it happens, I once lived. She was cheerful, he was too mellow to show that he cares. Though I know he does.
Another neighbor was polishing up parts for his cherished car. He had found them at a swap meet, and was excited to have "authentic stuff" for his ride.
Lonely, lonely people. No earth-shaking events, no politics. Just small meaningless jokes and idle chatter to hide the fact that everyone here has reached the end of their particular road and, despite dreaming big dreams as everyone does, has nowhere to go, nothing to do beyond lasting through another day.
We talk every day. None of them know what -- well, what and who -- keeps me awake every night. No one knows what shattered dreams brought me to this place.
Somehow, we all make each other laugh. But sometimes, most of the time to be honest, the laughter is forced, hollow.
Some of us reach a place from which there is nowhere to go. This is one of them.