...for Johnny Sutton, Homeland "Security" Inspector General Richard Skinner, and other members of Jorge Bush's goon squad sent out to get Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
Not fast enough, but it is running out.
After a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing today -- a hearing Sutton and Skinner arrogantly refused to testify in front of -- Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, have announced that they will hold hearings on the Ramos/Compean case, and they have the authority to compel Sutton and Skinner to attend and testify.
If they are placed under oath, both men face the very real (and very well deserved) possibility of jail time for their perjurious ways. Even if Sutton is the "trusted friend" of Jorge Bush.
"Johnny's a good guy" may well become the new "Brownie, you're doing a heackuva job." And it should.
Unfortunately, the Conyers hearings are unlikely to begin before late September or early October.
Until recently, most of the outrage in Congress has been voiced by Republicans. Now, Democrats -- Conyers, Thompson, and William Delaahunt, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein -- are at last beginning to understand the depth of the injustice visited on the two Border Patrol agents.
Among the aspects of this case that have aroused bipartisan ire are these, as reported in WorldNet Daily:
[Illegal alien drug-smuggler Osbaldo] Aldrete-Davila had been given six unconventional, unescorted border passes which he may have used to smuggle a second load of drugs into the U.S.;
No criminal investigation of Ramos or Compean began until after the Mexican consulate complained the smuggler had his civil rights violated by being shot by Border Patrol agents in the U.S., neglecting to mention the illegal alien was smuggling drugs;
Skinner admitted to a House committee under oath that DHS investigators "misrepresented" reports when claiming to the Texas congressional delegation that Ramos and Compean were "rogue cops" who wanted to "shoot a Mexican."
At long last, we may see the beginning of the end of unjust persecution of American citizens doing a job the president, his lapdgs and members of drug cartels just won't do. In this, as in other ways, Bush has made his utter contempt for the United States and the rule of law. Now, at long last, he is almost certainly going to be called to account for it. At the very least, his pitbulls will pay for their despicable behavior, and the slime will splash on Jorge himself.
I hope the members of Congress won't forget Gil Hernandez, either.
A new phenomenon in New Zealand is taking the idea of you are what you eat to the extreme.
Vegansexuals are people who do not eat any meat or animal products, and who choose not to be sexually intimate with non-vegan partners whose bodies, they say, are made up of dead animals.
The co-director of the New Zealand Centre for Human and Animal Studies at Canterbury University, Annie Potts, said she coined the term after doing research on the lives of "cruelty-free consumers"....
...Many female respondents described being attracted to people who ate meat, but said they did not want to have sex with meat-eaters because their bodies were made up of animal carcasses....
...One vegan respondent from Christchurch said: "I believe we are what we consume, so I really struggle with bodily fluids, especially sexually."
Reminds me a bit of the classic movie Dr. Strangelove, in which General Jack D Ripper was ready to start a nuclear war to "protect the purity of our precious bodily fluids."
Some limited experience with non-carnivorous female-type persons leads me to believe they have the same components as their meat-eating sisters. I found no substantial differences, except perhaps that finding suitable restaurants was a bit more difficult.
Now I'm waiting to hear this one offered up to me as an excuse for, shall we say, "non-fraternization." I've head all the rest, let me tell you.
Rush Limbaugh tells me I have nothing to worry about, except for the evil Libs. The economy is dandy, Jorge Bush is in charge, and everything's gonna be just fine.
The Democrats tell me everything has turned to dung, but they can fix it. Just let them control speech (especially Limbaugh's), raise taxes and hound Jorge unmercifully, and everything's gonna be just fine. Especially if I let them make me pay for the melting icecaps in Greenland.
I'm not going to talk about politics. Honest. It's just that the contradictory views of the goons in Washington and their enablers in the media make a perfect backdrop for where I am at this moment.
Having grown up in the fine liberal tradition of white middle-class guilt -- and having gotten over it -- I am a charter member of the "me" generation. I really don't care about the issues that set Congress all a-flutter; not do I care if Jorge Bush thinks we should further impoverish ourselves to flood every country in the Middle East -- except them nasties in Iran -- with weapons.
As my own little space on the planet gets colder, more lonely and less inviting, my worries about whether illegal aliens are happy, whether Republicans are cheering those who club baby seals, whether Democrats are agitating to have Lenin's rotten corpse enshrined in the Washington Monument, all diminish.
Ooooh, I'm so worthless. I no longer give a rat's posterior that not everyone on the planet has a Cadillac Escalade, internet access and a big-screen plasma TV. The fact that the NAACP is concerned that a football player accused of running dog fights may be "misjudged unfairly" -- where were they when the Duke lacrosse players were accused of a rape they didn't commit? -- is a matter of indifference to me.
In fact, I don't care whether Lindsay Lohan gets a cell right next to Charles Manson's or is merely banned from shopping on Rodeo Drive for a week. My days of righteous indignation are drawing to a final close.
PARENTHETICAL I-STILL-HAVE-SOME-SOCIAL-CONSCIENCE NOTE: I will continue to offer my support, such as it is, to Ignacio Ramos, Jose Compean and Gil Hernandez, and anyone else who is persecuted for upholding laws Jorge Bush and Ted "Manslaughter" Kennedy don't like. I identify with them...they were trying to do right, and got caught up in the government's love affair with illegals, drug cartels and unscrupulous business owners.
So what bugs me?
A very short list.
I work, but due to the peculiarities of the "business" I work in, I suffer times -- now, for example -- when work does not equate to money coming in. That bugs me;
I miss the one living creature that was loyal to me for 18 years. Even now, two weeks after he died, I sense him nearby, and I wish I could enjoy his company again. That hurts, too;
I miss the person who could have been here (but is not) to keep me focused on forward progress, for whom I could have continued to endure my daily ration of frustrations and hassles.
I care about a handful of friends. And that is all I can manage.
I care about me. But I need to have someone else care, too.
Loneliness, I'm learning, is the gateway to death.
Selfish? You bet, Jim.
If I can't have the basic things I need to enjoy a minimal degree of happiness, I refuse to care if Muslims have public facilities in which to wash their feet before they pray. If it is my fate to sleep alone every night for the rest of my life, I am not going to worry that every child in America doesn't have a laptop computer.
Sorry to disillusion you, but that's how it is.
I will try to be less honest tomorrow. I will try to pretend that everything is just peachy-keen, when I'm not pretending I care that No Child is Left Behind.
According to AMI Media, the Weekly World News will soon disappear from lower-class news racks across the nation.
I could cheerfully live without the New York Times, Newsweek or even the Drudge Report. But the WWN will leave a void that is next to impossible to fill.
It won't be just the loss of reports on alien abductions, seeing-eye ducks and beings from other galaxies endorsing Al Gore. And it won't be never again reading columnists Ed Anger or Lester, the Typing Horse...
Nope, the greatest catastrophe will be the end of Bat Boy!
I followed BB's exploits from his early days of dodging scientists who wanted to study him right through his courtship of one of George Bush's daughters, from his appointment (by Bush) to the Supreme Court, right up to this magic moment...
Hell, I even went to see Bat Boy's musical one warm day in NYC seven years ago. And I have the baseball cap to prove it, too.
Life will be a little less interesting when the WWN vanishes. My only hope is that somehow, some way, Bat Boy finds a new home....
...because I haven't done a lick of productive work this weekend. In fact, I haven't written a single word for work in the last week. That's not good.
I doubt it will change for the rest of today. I have tried to get my thoughts arranged for at least one of the two stories I should have written; didn't work.
Instead, after walking, writing about walking, and consuming a pot of tea, I have basically spent the day starting at the walls. And thinking.
Oh yes, thinking. Thoughts I shouldn't have allowed myself to think. They started off nicely enough (the unrealistic part) and went downhill from there when reality kicked in.
I suppose when things aren't going well, it's natural to look back fondly on something that started well and ended badly and think about how it could have ended well -- or, better, not ended -- if this, that or the other thing had or hadn't happened.
Mostly, it's the other things, those over which I had no control, that went wrong....
Nothing good can comes of such thoughts.
And I do need to get some work done. No work, no money, you know.
Wait. I haven't yet seen any money for the last six articles I've written.
Yeah, I feel totally in control of things. Uh-huh. You damn betcha.
...my daily four-mile walk. I start earlier every day, but am still a sodden wreck by the time I'm done. Temperature and humidity in the low 80s will do that to you. Me, anyway.
I feel optimistic when I walk. The endorphins kick in , and I can actually think about what I would do with the $2.9 million house overlooking the ocean as I pass it (lose the poofy fountain in the courtyard, replace the cheesy fencing, expand the garage) without feeling stupid, and not let the $899,000 price for a cottage across the street from it nauseate me.
I watch the runners. They must take classes to learn the grunts, groans, grimaces and gestures they make. Head shakes like those of a boxer who has just taken a hard right hand to the jaw, flailing arms, slopping bottled water over their heads as they run...each one looks like their next step will be the last. Not wanting to look like that gives me a good excuse for not running.
Most of the walkers are friendly enough. I recognize some who clearly make this a daily routine as I now do. Many, like me, are casual about it, dressing in random shorts and t-shirts. A few opt for spandex and "message" shirts (the shirt with a VW logo on it I wore today sent no message; shirts from fitness centers and marathons -- which they clearly did not compete in -- are message shirts), along with headbands and iPods.
Some mommies are pushing high-tech strollers designed so they can be controlled with one hand while mommy keep the golden retriever's leash in the other hand. California, you know.
But among the varied people who are out there working up a sweat (everything from a guy with full dreadlocks to guys from the local fire station to ancients who make better progress than their appearance would suggest), there is one group that remains resolutely aloof from and does not waste its collective energy by greeting (or even smiling at) their fellow exercise-o-nauts:
Women. Specifically, women in the 20-to-40 age group, and more specifically, those who are, at least by my standards, reasonably attractive. To a woman, they adopt a hard stay-the-hell-away-from-me look, often accented by dark sunglasses, and walk with a posture that looks -- if I may snitch a line from the late Kurt Vonnegut -- as if they have a pickle up their ass.
What's up with that?
Oh, they chatter away to each other, but any males in the vicinity might as well not waste the energy it takes to be minimally sociable.
No "safety" issue is involved here. These are not dark alleys; rather, they are wide sidewalks beside a busy street. No one seems to be more than 50 feet away from other walkers/joggers/runners. There are ample police patrols. It's broad-freekin'-daylight. I can't remember ever seeing any flashers, mutterers-of-foul-words or other deviates in the area.
And it's not just me. I mean, I shower and put on clean clothes before I walk and, until you look closely, am not all that much less attractive than any of the other men out getting their exercise. I don't sweat much more than anyone else, either. And I can't help but notice other guys getting the same non-responses.
This fits with my theory that many women want to be hit on, want guys to get weak in the knees over them, but then turn around and loudly proclaim us sexist creep jerks for doing so.
...is Congressman Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA). I think a news release from his office explains it best:
Washington, DC-July 25, 2007- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher challenged U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton to "testify or resign his office" today during a press conference on Capitol Hill to discuss the latest development in the controversial Ramos and Compean Border Agent case. Mr. Rohrabacher called today's press conference to unveil six unconditional, unescorted border crossing visas issued to illegal alien drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila. Mr. Davila was given immunity by the prosecution to testify against the agents and considered to be government's star witness. It has been speculated that the drug smuggler may have used this free border pass to smuggle a second load of drugs into the U.S. four months before the trial. The documents show the illegal drug smuggler was issued two more border passes after the government was made aware of the second smuggling incident.
"The U.S. Attorney's prosecution team lied to the jury by painting a false picture of the smuggler as a one time offender who needed money for his sick mother," said Rohrabacher. "These documents verify drug dealer Aldrete Davila had an unconditional, unescorted access pass to cross into the United States. Free access passes were issued to him even after he was identified by the DEA in a second shipment of narcotics into our country.
"Even, worse, the Administration has been stonewalling our efforts in Congress in an attempt to cover up the depth of bad decision making and misconduct. The indefensible decision by the prosecutors and U.S. Attorney's Office and vindictive focus of this Administration on these two border patrol agents has been evident to the American people for a long time," Rohrabacher proclaimed.
"U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton has refused to testify at next week's hearing ...his office and the Department of Homeland security have done their best to impede our investigation into Ramos and Compean. This shows an arrogance and disrespect for Congress and the American people.
"This new information that we've been able to obtain through a bureaucratic fluke ...underscores that something is really wrong and needs to be explained why the U.S. Attorney would go along with issuing a free pass even after the drug dealer's been associated with a second drug deal.
"I would suggest that what we've learned today justifies the call for Mr. Sutton to either testify under oath before Congress and explain these things or resign as U.S. Attorney. He's kept information from the jury. He kept information from the U.S. Congress. He's manipulated information to the American people by vilifying these agents. He needs to explain himself."
Representatives Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Tom Tandredo (R-CO), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Ed Royce (R-CA) were also in attendance.
I'll admit I think Rep. Rohrbacher wimped out a bit by not commanding Jorge Bush to testify before his committee or resign, but hey, it's a start.
Ignaco Ramos and Jose Compean have, as all living beings with active brainwaves know, done more than six months in prison for the crime of doing something Jorge Bush and his Mexican buddyroos don't like. Which was to uphold the laws and protect American citizens from illegal-alien drug smugglers.
Though most of Congress is too occupied with playing politics to pay attention -- Dianne Feinstein, who held a one-day Senate hearing about the case and called for the commutation of Ramos' and Compean's sentences, is too busy playing kissy-face with Hillary Clinton (who claims to have "no knowledge" of the case) -- a few intelligent and honorable men are fighting for true justice.
So Dana Rohrbacher is today's hero in my book, along with Reps. Tancredo, Jones, Royce and Ted Poe.
...seems to be the magic recipe for what ails me, at least as far as my friends are concerned.
Not, I hasten to add, as in closing up the ol' journal, or doing myself a permanently damaging kind of mischief, or going into the Witness Protection program. No, they seem to think I should get the hell out of Dodge (or Los Angeles, anyway) and find a new, more hospitable, place to live.
Lordy, how I agree with them!
T'ain't that easy, though.
I have long been under the impression -- and have confirmed it recently with some people who know -- that if I continue with my current "work," I basically have four choices, location-wise. One would suit me well enough, but is as expensive as SoCal or even more costly, if such a thing is possible. Another leaves me excessively neutral, but would likely be just as expensive. Which means that, since I struggle to stretch the money here, I'd get nowhere by moving.
Number three is a place I dislike intensely, and number four, though somewhat tolerable, is simply too close to an area I have vowed, out of sheer self-preservation*, to stay at least 500 miles from.
So a move would necessarily be coupled to a career change. Rapidly graying old men don't do well with career changes. Particularly when, as in my case, their skills are less in demand than perhaps they should be and potential employers are most eager to hire young (that is, lower-paid) people to do the work, quality be damned..
This is not looking good.
Failing a visit from the Lottery Fairy, a long-lost wealthy relative** tapping out and showering me with spondulics or some perceptive and financially well-grounded publisher catching my act and deciding I'm just what he/she is looking for, I seem to be pretty well stuck.
Oh, there are other things I can do, and fairly well at that. But "fairly well" is not good enough. Not when you're looking to them to pay for roof, food and (perhaps) the occasional holiday and/or toy.
There is a subtext to all this, of course. Simply put, at present I lack the energy and drive to take a leap into the darkness in search of light, particularly sans parachute. I know myself well enough to know those traits are not gone forever. Circumstances have pretty much put them on the shelf for now, however. I've done it a time or three in the past...but times -- and people -- have changed.
Does this mean I've basically hung all that adventurous stuff up? Not really. I would love nothing more than to see the last signs of this area shrinking in my rear-view mirror and begin a fresh chapter in what has been a sometimes-interesting saga mixing wonderful events with others that went terribly wrong.
But a time comes when those leaps of faith simply take too much out of one if they don't work. A risk I would cheerfully have taken, say, ten years ago, now looks to have bad odds attached.
If I ever have any confidence that a light has been (or might be) lit for me at the end of the trail, I'll be on my way. Until then, I can't see it happening.
* Sorry, not going to explain that.... ** I know enough about my family tree to know this, too is impossible...
I mean it. Whatever force has laid two hellish weeks on me can stop now. Really.
I get the point. I got it during the last two years, which have not exactly been a bed of roses. Thorn-free roses, anyway.
If the object is to get me thinking about turning out the lights here and going out in search of a nice bridge to live under, success has been achieved.
Once again, I'm in full write-delete-write-delete mode. It might be helpful to explain why I've reached the limits of endurance -- beyond events already chronicled here -- but I just can't do it.
Let's say that what I haven't screwed up has been screwed up for me. What I haven't thrown away has been taken away.
Matters have progressed past any point where good advice and pep talks might tilt matters in my favor. What I need is results. More, I need specific results. As much as I know the possible sources for same, I know with equal clarity that none are forthcoming.
I'm in full Howard Beale-mode tonight.
I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any longer.
Unfortunately, there's no Faye Dunaway around to turn a breakdown into a success this time, Jim.
#1. These little gizoms are seals shipping and customs agents use to secure the doors on those huge-o metal containers you see being carried on cargo ships. I'm guessing that because so many longshoremen live in the area that some migrated to the chains on the lookout point. As of today, there are six hanging there. They're impossible to remove without breaking 'em....
#2. A trick question, as dal and justfly were quick to spot. There are actually nine cats in the photo, but two -- both black -- are obscured by the bushes (one in in the foreground, behind and to the left of the tortoiseshell cat, and the other to the left of the third cat from the bottom of the photo) and therefore shouldn't be counted.
So there are seven cats in the picture. Plus two invisible cats. And of course that's not counting the other three who were down the hill and out of camera range....
Though I have finally removed the visible signs of Hobbes's 18-year tenancy with me -- his cat carrier, in which he sometimes liked to sleep, went to a cat-owning friend today -- I can't be here for five minutes without being reminded that he is gone. I still jump at small, cat-like noises, still look around expecting him to walk in the door....
Almost as bad is the knowledge that I was already lonely when he was here, and am utterly alone now. I feel a detachment when I am around people, as if we are living in different dimensions. Their existence -- particularly in the case of couples, or parents with children -- is foreign to me.
I come home from such outings and try to entertain myself. It doesn't work very well.
It's not that I want it to be this way. I am a social animal, one who does infinitely better with companionship.
I miss people. Certain people, that is. No point in naming them; they are not here, and I wouldn't want to embarrass any one of them who might somehow end up reading this by letting them know how much they are missed.
On the other hand, I don't mind embarrassing me. God knows I've done it a million times.
So let us just say that I am lonely as hell, and all attempts to alleviate the feeling have failed miserably.
And so I mourn. Mourn the loss of my feline buddy, and am sad because those I miss most should have had a chance to meet him or, in one case, had spent more time with him. And me, of course.
I had an appointment at noon at a large corporation, where I was to pick something up for an article I'm writing. Said "thing" was not ready -- a last-minute problem cropped up, and each person involved thought someone else would call me so I didn't have to drive 60 miles to get there for nothing -- so, with time to kill, I thought I'd drop in on a friend who works in the same building.
J. is the West Coast Public Affairs Director for this large corporation. Not, as you can imagine, an easy job. He deals with the press, shepherds the company's involvement in outside events, and so on. Though we have been good friends since he arrived to take this job many years ago (his wife and kids are part of that, too), we seldom get much chance to talk.
So I went into the office, and the first thing both J. and his secretary asked me, almost in unison, was "how is Hobbes?" When I told them what happened on Monday, J. was stunned and his secretary was in tears.
There's a reason: when Hobbes was sick about a year ago and needed emergency attention, I was short on money. J. gave me the number to one of his credit cards and said he'd take care of it. I should pay him when I could. As it happened, I was able to return the money a few days later, but it was a gesture of kindness so typical of him. He'll help any friend, in any way he can.
After Hobbes came home, I took a couple of photos of him and sent them, along with a note, to J. His secretary, and a couple of others in the office, fell in love with him and got copies of the pictures for themselves. Every time I saw any of them, Hobbes's name would come up. The last time I talked to any of them, he was healthy and thriving.
And a special cat.
This is one of the best reasons to have animals in your life. Given a chance, they spread love around. Hobbes did that very well, both among those who knew him directly and those who simply saw his photos and heard stories about him.
That's how long Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean have been political prisoners, mistreated hostages of Jorge Bush's open-borders, amnesty-for-all policies, as carried out by some of the most unprincipled scofflaws ever to hold government positions.
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, under Dianne Feinstein's control, held a "hearing" on the Ramos-Compean case.
One day. Not even a full eight hours.
My problem with the hearing is that it was tame, tepid, and the witnesses were not even put under oath. If they had been, Bush pitbull Johnny Sutton, who was in charge of railroading the two Border Patrol agents, would have been perp-walked out of the Senate chamber where the hearings were held.
Sutton was asked a few to-the-point questions, but dodged his responsibility for numerous acts of perjury, evidence-tampering and plain old malicious prosecution.
He admitted that his office knew the illegal-alien drug smuggler was indeed a drug smuggler in the country illegally, yet gave him free medical treatment, a cross-the-border-free pass (which said illegal used to run at least one more load of marijuana into the country) and immunity from prosecution for the incident in which he was shot. All in the name of framing two agents whose worst "crime" should have merited, at the very worst, a reprimand.
Sutton devised a mythical evil "conspiracy" around Ramos and Compean, which was demonstrably a lie, yet he sticks to it to this day.
And the Senators on the committee let him get away with it.
These are the same people who foam at the mouth when grilling witnesses -- under oath -- about other "crimes" far less serious. Why they chose to let Sutton (and, by extension, his master Jorge Bush) skate is totally beyond me.
Yes, Sens. Feinstein and John Cornyn sent a letter to Jorge last night asking him to pardon Ramos and Compean.
We all know how Bush responds to any suggestion that doesn't fit his sick agendas. He ignores it. And then, if questioned, spouts whiny, sanctimonious pap about being "the decider."
A pardon is exactly the wrong thing to do in this situation. It only lets the agents out of jail. It doesn't clear their names.
What is needed is for the Senate -- and the House -- to finally get down to the "people's business" and hold hearings with teeth. Bring Sutton back, under oath, and force him, under threat of immediate imprisonment, to tell the truth.
Once he has done so, pressure must be brought to bear to force an immediate overturning of the verdict, plus full restitution to the two agents. This should be extended to Gil Hernandez, a Deputy Sheriff who was also shafted for doing his job, as well.
And following that, charges must be brought against the vile slime who sacrificed these two men to advance their twisted desire to sell out the nation.
It is time for Sutton, his flunky Debra Kanof and everyone else involved in this travesty to face juries. The same applies to Jorge Bush. If they are found guilty, as they inevitably would be, they should at a minimum serve as much time in prison -- and under the same conditions -- as those they betrayed.
Congress needs to show that they can do more than waste money, rant, rave and posture for the TV cameras, when issues that reach to the core of our justice system are on the table. They must prove to us that they actually believe in justice.
If they can't do that, they have absolutely no right to hold public office.
Yesterday's hearing was a start. But it was only a start, and an ineffective one at that.
...to all who have commented on the last two entries.
All I can say is that if all of you had been able to meet Hobbes in his prime -- which, thankfully, lasted until very recently -- you would have enjoyed him. Throughout his life, he was funnier and more loving than I can describe.
You would have laughed at him as a kitten when, among other things, he suffered from mild narcolepsy. Once, he fell asleep while drinking water. We heard the splash as his head hit the water, and found a very puzzled cat wondering why his face was wet. He would fall asleep (usually on his back) and my then-girlfriend's son could drag him around by his tail.
Later, you would have been amused when we caught him in the back yard, hopping on his hind legs in imitation of a frog he was following. Or sitting on the fence while blue jays, instinctively knowing he was no threat, would stand next to him.
But most of all, you would have been captivated by his friendliness and, if he took to you, his trust that you would never hurt him.
He was a great guy, and I thank all of you for recognizing that.
This morning started off relatively well. I didn't sleep much, but when I woke up I found myself not as unhappy as expected. I was thinking of yesterday, and watching my friend sinking deeper and deeper into a state from which he could not be brought back. So I had a feeling of some relief for him that his suffering was now over.
That didn't last long. Habits of long standing betrayed me. As I have for years, each time I walked through the living room I would look at the back of the couch, one of his favorite sitting/sleeping places. Or I would look at the chair in my office, where he liked to curl up while I was working.
It was a ritual for me to start my coffee brewing each morning while refilling his water dish and feeding him breakfast. This morning, I only made coffee.
The things I felt compelled to do today -- putting the remaining cat food in a bag and delivering it to my cat-owning neighbor, washing the food and water dishes and packing them away, removing the litter box and taking down the structure I built years ago to partially conceal it (this was made long before Hobbes was born), cleaning up a few stains from yesterday -- again hammered home the awful truth:
Right at the worst time yesterday, my musician friend from the Midwest called. All I could do was explain what was happening in a few short sentences and tell him to call later. Today, he did. Thankfully, he also loves animals -- in his case, dogs -- and understood what was going on. We talked for hours.
There is a part of me that wishes I was less emotional and cared less about things -- especially living things -- than I do. I inherited a reluctance to show my emotions openly from my father; what I did not inherit from him was the actual ability to hide them.
For that reason, I have ventured no farther than the trash bin and the mailbox today. My emotions are on edge now that the shock of yesterday has worn off, and I'm not willing to expose anyone, particularly strangers, to the sight of an aging man wandering around with tears pouring out of his eyes.
R. told me that when his dog died, he was unable to function for weeks afterward. I was that way when my dog died, too.
I am like that, only more so, now.
Much as I have loved all my cats, and my dog, and mourned the death of each, Hobbes was in a class by himself.
Right now, I don't know what happens next. And don't much care.
I know many people don't get very attached to animals. I am not one of them. The loss is far more difficult to deal with than I imagined it would be.
He was one of those wonderful characters whose personality was apparent even to people who didn't much like cats. He had the gift of sensing my moods: staying close when I was unhappy, ready to play when I was happy.
He was a good judge of character, too. He'd hang out with good people and ignore those who weren't.
He was always there for me, always alert when I came in the front door.
He shared four residences with me, met several women I have been involved with -- the only one he really liked was R.B., who was the best of them; when she was staying with us, he'd follow her around like a puppy.
Despite past health problems, he was in good shape until the last few days. It seemed he was simply tired, and the end, mercifully, came quickly.
I've had an on-and-off relationship with the concept of a God, and have never believed in an afterlife. Nonetheless, if there is any justice in the universe, the animals we love, who asked nothing more than food and affection, never caused pain and gave their own kind of love and loyalty to us, deserve to end up in a place where they can meet their departed friends and play in green meadows forever.
I cannot describe how devastating this is. I feel truly alone now, and it's the worst feeling there is.
...it was 92 degrees, there was nothing to piece together story-wise, and the "media lunch pass" covered only a sandwich. If you wanted anything else -- like a beverage -- it cost extra.
Not, however, a total loss. I did meet some friends there, and saw a few things I'll be sharing in the next couple of entries.
An interesting motorcycle, power by a seven-cylinder aircraft engine. The cylinders are arranged radially around the crankshaft. I don't think this bike runs, and it's just as well. I wouldn't ride it, you can bet...
Anyone could ride a bamboo bicycle. If they wanted to. The wheel rims are wood as well, and the "handlebars" are steer horns...
Sometimes I'm simply not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, as has been proven once again.
But at least I have outside forces to blame it on.
There was the Great Travel Disaster, of course. I'm still feeling the effects of that. And a couple of bad things have been going on here, which I don't feel like writing about. Add everything up, and I simply can't get my mind right.
So of course I forgot that I have to go gather information for a story today. Outside. At a place that will be, at minimum, a 90-degree oven.
My photographer friend D. reminded me last night, in a call made after I had managed to fall asleep. I heard his message this morning at 4:30 when I woke up.
From the sound of it -- he's never been good at communicating clearly -- he seems to have messed up on his part of the deal, which was to get our press credentials, and there may be something I'll have to do about it. What that "something" is, I can't imagine, but I'm sure I'll hear about it in an hour or so.
This is an assignment I absolutely have no interest in doing anyway. I haven't had time to confirm that the magazine he spoke with actually wants a story, or if D. has, once again, heard what he wanted to hear. It is also likely that it will be as exciting to prepare and write (and, alas, read) as a bowl of room-temperature tapioca.
But if it's a "go," I have to do it. I need the money. Simple as that.
I've gone so far as to take a shower and get dressed, just in case I have to head out of here on short notice. That's a sacrifice; I'd prefer lounging around here today in cutoffs and a t-shirt.
I already know this is going to be a lousy week -- among many other things, I'm trying to find a way to complete what I was supposed to do in Raleigh-Durham since the editor, who was more sympathetic about what happened than I thought he'd be, still wants the story -- and this is not a good way to kick it off.
...beginning with some news from my very own town.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $600 million to 500 victims of abuse by priests. That averages out to roughly $1.2 million per victim. This is, of course, the scandal that Cardinal Roger Mahony has tried to sweep under the rug by refusing to turn over files documenting the abuse, much less reporting the molester/priests to the police.
If I was one of the victims, that wouldn't be enough to compensate me for the, well, "attentions" of kindly old Father O'Malley. I'd want him strung up by his supposedly-unused reproductive unit, and would insist on the same for the hypocritical Card.
L.A. Catholics can expect to have to lay down the big bucks when the collection plate is passed tomorrow....
And of course the saga of Mayor Antonio "we clean your toilets!" Villaraigosa continues. His latest girl-toy, Telemundo reporter Mirthala Salinas, has been suspended by her station pending an investigation as to her professional ethics.
I wonder if she attended a recent get-together of Villaraigosa, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and another Mexican-Californian politician? They all have something in common: they have (as the tabloids used to say) "enjoyed the company" of Senorita Salinas.
This is cool stuff for a Telenovela, but since it's happening while these three unworthies are sucking up taxpayers' dollars, it stinks.
Antonio crashed the welcome party of LA Galaxy soccer star David Beckham the other day. He got up to give a speech -- he was not invited -- and was booed by the fans. Some of that may have to do with his support of a Mexican soccer team that plays against the Galaxy....
The man just can't help himself. Show him a TV camera, and he's there. Especially if it's covering the news for a Spanish-language TV station.
This week, it was announced that the population of California will be 60 million by the year 2050. Guess what the predominant ethnic group will be?
Hint: Who did Jorge Bush and the traitors in congress try to give a free pass to recently?
I don't care. I'll be freekin' dead in 2050.
But I'd really, really like to get out of here while I can. California in general and Los Angeles in particular have become a foreign country for this native.
These two political superstars-in-their-own-minds want to eliminate some presidential candidates from "their" debates, because it takes away from their face time. Worse, one of those "not--serious" candidates might slip and actually say something of substance. It's clear from listening to Madame Hillary and King John that neither of them will ever take that risk.
The true face of the modern Democrat Party is beginning to show, and it's both ugly and dangerous. Stifle dissent (their plans to revive the so-called "fairness" doctrine), make sure only the "approved" candidates get to talk, pander shamelessly to whatever audiences they face, replace honesty with the scripted platitudes their focus groups tell them voters want to hear.
How many times do the Democrat voters have to hear this elitist, exclusionary drivel before they turn their collective backs on Hillary, Edwards and the louts in Washington (Feinstein, Pelosi, Reed, Kennedy, et. al.) who won't be happy until everyone who questions their ideas is safely stowed away?
Who needs that crappy First Amendment, anyway?
I'm sure there are Democrats who would welcome open debate, would present their ideas openly for the voters to hear. Sadly, none of the current crop of hacks in Washington seems to want that.
They're as bad a Jorge Bush. If they say something, if they make a decision, everyone else should simply shut the hell up.
If they gain full power, it can't be long before the first "Thoughtcrime" laws are passed.
Orwell was so right. Only he didn't envision a future that might be ruled by Big Sister.
Some of you may note I am home a day early. I accomplished none of what I was supposed to do on this trip, and will have to face an irate editor tomorrow. Or Monday. Or when I feel like it.
You also may recall I had a bad feeling about this trip in front. I was so right.
But rather than rage, curse, defame, threaten and generally carry on in the way I have wanted (and been oh-so-close to) for two days, I will give you a chronological account, assembled from itineraries, boarding passes, standby boarding passes. All times are local to where the events took place.
Wednesday, 0400 (PDT): Head to airport, where security confiscates yet another tube of toothpaste (I can't seem to find those trial sizes anywhere);
0530: Board aircraft, strike up conversation with guy in next seat, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve who is headed to Ft Bragg, and therefore will share most of my journey;
0615: Time to push back from the gate. Pilot comes on the horn, announces "they" have told him the plane needs a brake replaced. New departure: 0730;
0645: Many debark to talk to "courtesy clerks" re: changing schedules of connecting flights. In the case of the Lt Col and myself (and five others) she counsels sticking with the plan, as we will still make connections in Denver to Raleigh-Durham;
PARENTHETICAL DEJA-VU THOUGHT: At this point, a little voice in my head was saying "get off the freekin' plane and go home!" The Lt Col confessed to similar thoughts, and noticed the gate for a flight to Maui. Tempting and, as matters turned out, probably a better choice.
0820: Wheels up, on the way to Denver. No hope in hell of making connection. Pilot firewalls it, makes up time, so we make Denver a mere 35 minutes after the second flight leaves;
1200 (MDT): we are told "arrangements have been made." Now, we fly to Washington/Dulles and connect to Raleigh-Durham. Oddly enough, the Lt Col has been booked on a Raleigh-Durham flight an hour ahead of mine, which he could not make if the aircraft was the Concorde;
1220: We pass two "customer services" lines as we head for the new gate. There are over 100 people in each, and the second line appears to be on the verge of a riot. Much howling and slamming of luggage, etc.;
1255: Dulles flight leaves Denver;
1820 (EDT): Arrival in Dulles. No flights have left for Raleigh-Durham, due to mechanical problems and major thunderstorms in NC. We head for "customer service" booth, line extends to close to 150;
1850: Lt Col remembers that he once good quick reservation help in United's "Red Carpet" Club. We find one, he plunks down 70,000 of his frequent-flyer miles to rejoin. A nice lady actually prints out proper boarding passes for both of us on a flight that leaves at 2145. She also takes one look at our general condition at this point and lays two free-drink coupons on each of us;
1915: We leave the "Club," both in a better frame of mind, pockets stuffed with wrapped cheese slices and crackers. Bets the heck out of pretzels;
1930: Our flight is delayed (ain't that a surprise?), but we stop by the gate for the flight we were first supposed to get (original departure time 1645) and, miracle of miracles, some mysterious code added in the Red Carpet Club produces two fresh boarding passes for a flight leaving at 2000;
1945: We take turns watching our mutual pile of luggage so each of us can hit the latrine, check the bookstores, and so on. While it's my turn, someone steals my briefcase. This will be important later;
2130: Our flight finally departs, arriving Raleigh-Durham at roughly 2240;
2245: I say goodbye to the Lt Col and head to baggage claim, where I am to meet a representative from my hosts. Nuh-uh. Never mind that it is now nearly seven hours since my scheduled arrival time; I assume they have kept in touch with the aerial mayhem going on and have made allowances. No dice;
2315: I decide to call the place where I am to stay. All of the paperwork, contact phone numbers, and a host of other assorted crap were in my briefcase. I cannot even remember my own name at this point, much less the name of the resort.
Thursday, 0100: No result from talking to airport police, baggage service people, the woman at the "information" desk or the "courtesy" desk. Flights keep coming in, and I watch carefully in hopes colleagues got caught out the same way, but no joy. Of course there is another baggages area for other airlines some considerable distance away. In hindsight, I am guessing most late arrivals came in via Delta or continental. As I should have;
0230: A large group of passengers come in from a very late American flight. AA personnel hand out blankets, pillows, water, snacks. They graciously offer same to me; I accept;
0300: I decide there is no point in going on with this mess. I am so tired that I cannot safely do what I came there to do, even if I magically make contact with my invisible hosts. I will give up on the event and come home. At which point I call United's 800 number to rebook my Friday flights for today. The operator gives me the reservations number, and asks if I'm in Raleigh-Durham now, When I say "yes" he says "I'm sorry...."
Next unpleasant surprise: United reservations are now handled in Mumbai, and Ms Patel -- I think she said her name was "Connie" -- not only does not understand US geography, but has trouble with the concept of connecting flights. Forget about such exotica as "standby" bookings...I spend ten minutes trying to sort this out, when an airport cop tells me the United counter -- with real humans operating it -- opens at 0400. Goodbye, Ms Patel...you will never know what I really wanted to say to you;
0415: Counter opens, and the woman there is only a small step above Ms Patel, or Ms Singh or whatever the hell her name was. She books me Raleigh-Durham/Chicago/LA, with a final arrival time of 2015 (PDT). And charges me $100 for the changes;
0520: On standby for the first flight to Chicago. I am the first one there, in fact, and the woman at the counter takes pity and instantly books me on the flight;
0605: Plane boarded, doors close, onto the ramp. Suddenly, plane loses all electrical power. Must have been a circuit breaker; after five minutes, the pilot gets things humming and light up the jet engines. Off we go;
0810 (CDT): First Chicago/LA flight. Full. Forget it. Airline rep swears at me for asking if I should hang around to make sure; A second flight leaves within minutes. Same answer, minus the naughty words;
0830: Another flight to LA is getting ready to board. It too is supposedly full. I grovel, get on the standby list. By now, my eyes look like red locomotive headlights, my hair is beginning to look spiky, and I am deathly afraid I stink. I'm none too coherent, either, mumbling "gotta get to LA" and "I can't take any more of this" over and over. I keep trying to pick up an invisible briefcase, too;
0835: Nice lady slips me a boarding pass after telling sevral people "no can do." I could kiss her. I could also kiss her because she's a major babe who makes that dumb United uniform look, well, hot, but then remember I haven't brushed my teeth for a day either, and think she might rip the card up if I try. She smiles big, though;
0845: Boarded. And I actually get one of those "extra-legroom" seats. As much as possible, I'm almost happy;
0905: Time to go, when the pilot comes on the horn to announce a "mechanical problem," being attended to by a couple of mechanics. After 15 minutes, it is clear one of the lavatories isn't working. They give up, put a "do not use" sign on the door, and we are finally wheels-up at 0940;
1030: I am more-or-less comatose. I gun down a can of ginger ale, six or seven cups of water, sit silently in the middle of the row. At some point, the movie comes on. It is "Blades of Glory" which, if anything, increases my already building nausea. I get the distinct feeling the guy seated on my left wants to put his hand on my thigh;
1100 (PST, as we are over the Arizona desert): The movie ends. I marvel that anyone not trapped in an airplane could watch such awful crap. Makes me want to beat up the next gay I see, an emotion I have never felt in real life;
1151: On the ground at LAX. Grab bag -- and not briefcase -- and head for the shuttle bus, which gets me home speedily (for once).
1315: Showered, shaved, in clean clothes, and feeling like crap. Two days of breathing nothing but airport or airplane air convinces me I have (a) a cold, (b) pneumonia, (c) TB or (d) malaria. Maybe gangrene, too.
1457: And here I am, telling you how I spent my last two days. I have canceled another trip I was to go on in two weeks, and will not so much as drive past an airport until September, when I fly to Montana.
It's the usual routine: slapping a couple of changes of duds in a carry-on bag, getting things in order for the cat-sitter, making sure I have my boarding passes printed out, blahblahblah....
I've done it too many times. It's almost automatic.
One difference is that I'll be heading off to bed in a while, in preparation for a 3:00 am wake-up and, ultimately, a 6:15 departure from LAX. That's ugly.
Thanks to the wonderful ways of modern air travel, it'll take me seven hours to get to Raleigh-Durham. By way of comparison, seven hours after I lifted off to start my trip last month, I had landed, picked up my car in Newark, completed the drive to my hotel in Connecticut and was enjoying a martini....
I would have had everything done except for a late call last night asking me to crank out a last-minute story for a client. I did some fast research this morning, and turned out the required copy this afternoon.
Fortunately, this trip is all casual. I've packed dark pullovers (they don't show the sweat so much) and Levi's. And a cap, of course, since I've got plenty of out-in-the-sun time. The weather at my final destination was 93 with 100% humidity when I checked around midday. There's some chance of thunderstorms, too. I can only hope.
For some reason I'm feeling great reluctance to get on that plane tomorrow morning. I'm hoping it's simply because at the end of such flights, I always feel grubby and short-tempered.
Have to go. I need the money.
I'm supposed to be back Friday afternoon. I'm hoping I'll have pictures to share with y'all.
Next Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin holding hearings on the persecution of Jose Compan and Ignacio Ramos by Johnny Sutton, Jorge Bush's hit-man.
Sadly, the hearings will be run by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a pro-open-borders cheerleader with her own record of twisting the law.
One can only hope the committee will go farther than offering the corrupt Sutton yet another opportunity to shoot off his mouth.
Even now, after evidence clearly showing governmental manipulation and suppression of relevant facts in order to railroad two Border Patrol agents whose heinous crime was shooting an illegal-alien serial drug-smuggler who threatened their safety, Sutton continues to slander Compean and Ramos.
If the senators do their jobs, the hearings will end with Sutton under arrest and out of a job, as well as an immediate demand to have the convictions of Compean and Ramos overturned, with full restitution, including back pay and an offer to let them return to their jobs.
Of course Sutton didn't do the job all by himself. The prosecutor who followed Sutton's orders deserves to fall, too. So does the judge.
And I am thoroughly convinced that the trial extends well above Sutton's pay grade. As in, to the White House.
Compared to this case, which has all the earmarks of a totalitarian government kangaroo court, Jorge's commutation of "Scooter" Libby's sentence was the equivalent of a judge dismissing a traffic ticket.
After this, the Senate committee had damn well better look into the Gilmer Hernandez case, too.
I now know what I'll be doing next March 16th, assuming I haven't assumed room temperature by then. It's a rare occasion when I know what I'll be doing in a week, never mind in eight months....
I'll be in Detroit, a city I heartily dislike.
The reason is simple: A friend called me this afternoon -- in some respects, he's my best friend -- to let me know he's been signed to play a concert there on that date. I assured him that if he'd comp a ticket for me, I'd be there. I mean, if I come up with my airfare, hotel room and food, the least he can do is lay admission to the concert on me, right?
He'll probably expect me to pick up the bar tab in return. A ticket would be cheaper.
In any case, I'd go if I had to ride freight trains to get there and sleep in an alley when I arrive.
I've mentioned him before. He is a monstro talent, with technical facility and arranging ability that sometimes leaves me short of breath. When you play an instrument, you're keenly aware of what it takes to approach the genius level in a performance. I don't have that much talent and never will; he does.
Moreover, he is performing in a venue that I haven't been to in 40 years. The instrument housed there is a favorite of mine; it knocked me out when I heard it in person, knocks me out when I hear recordings of it. I have heard it played by people who have much less talent than my friend R.; it sounded good even then. I have a CD of him performing there that is just flat-out stunning.
Somehow, I am most comfortable around musicians. Other writers can get dreadfully boring; I can, and have, spent countless hours with musicians -- good ones, anyway -- without a moment of boredom.
Music is one of the two things that, all things considered, I would most love to spend the rest of my waking hours involved with.
The other? All things being equal, the rest of my time would be spent with a female musician. A woman who can lay down good tunes with style and verve leaves me weak in the knees. Even though my experience with the breed has so far been less than successful.
I try to tell myself that was an unfortunate exception.
Why does it always come down to that? Because, in my view, music and love are all that matter in this messed-up world. Ideally, they get intertwined.
I'd dearly love to have to buy two tickets for the Detroit trip. But if I have to go alone, I will.
I now have eight months to get my chops back up to speed. I know he'll expect me to sit down and play at some point during his rehearsals....
So there was this online poll that some clown came up with to select a new septet of "wonders" around the world. And now the votes are in and the results announced.
Can you take it?
1. The Great Wall of China;
2. The ancient city of Petra in Jordan;
3. The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro;
4. Machu Picchu in Peru;
5. The Maya ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico;
6. The Colosseum in Rome;
7. India's Taj Mahal.
Okay, I've actually seen one of the Magnificent Seven -- the Colosseum -- and would dig to see most of the others. The statue of Christ, while a big sonuvagun in a photogenic location, doesn't move me and seeing the Taj Mahal means going to India, which is pretty low on my dream-travel list.
What about the Mall of America? What about Disney World?
What about Faye Dunaway for God's sake? You think the work of a bunch of peasants putting big stones in piles can compare to her?
Not that the original list -- still the "official" one -- of Seven Wonders was all that hot. The Colossus of Rhodes made that one, as I recall, and no one who worked on the list ever even saw it. No one in the last two millenia saw it. It was a freekin' legend. Might as well have put Noah's Ark on there.
Years ago, there was a huge statue of Bullwinkle on Sunset Boulevard here in L.A. I'd put that on the list in a heartbeat. Stonehenge, too; a place where a bunch of loons wear antlers and howl during hot-button days on the pagan calendar has to be there.
Of course if we make howling loons a criterion, we could include Paris, which has the Eiffel Tower which actually is a wonder. Or Washington, D.C.
Supposedly, the remains of Atlantis are now believed to be somewhere near the Bahamas; divers have reported seeing (and have photographed) what appears to be a huge man-made highway or wall in the depths. If so, that ought to have been a shoo-in.
Not sure what all the fuss about the new Seven Wonders list is all about. It's been reported that the Great Wall gathered maximum votes because a billion Chinese logged into the voting site. Wonder how many write-in votes that monstro Chinese dam completed a few years ago picked up?
I don't care, I guess. I'll never see Petra, and most likely not Machu Picchu.
So, selfishly, I want to see a list of wonders I might actually get to, that aren't being held together by spit and baling wire or in constant danger of being swallowed up by encroaching jungle.
And any list that doesn't recognize Faye as a major-league, boffo-at-the-box-office, capital-W Wonder simply ain't complete.
I write mostly about the things that concern me, that worry me, that upset me. Sometimes I write about cats or cars; the former I love, the latter I weave back and forth between serious interest and utter boredom.
So why don't I write about happy stuff?
Simple answer, buckaroos: because there simply ain't much of it in my microscopic chunk of the planet right now.
Let me explain some of my views. On politics, I have made the journey from college-age liberalism to ultra-conservatism to a total distrust of all who currently engage in the business of politics. It was a long journey and the distrust is well-founded, believe me.
If one takes an objective look at the bigs in both political parties, there is a solid tradition of venality, law-breaking, arrogance and utter disregard for what Joe and Josephine Citizen want and need. We are little more than mindless peons from whom they can extort money and votes, who won't stop them from the pursuit of their evil schemes.
What seems to bug people is not that I hold Jorge Bush in utter contempt, but that I see him as no more (or less) crooked, self-important and self-serving than Bubba Clinton. Ditto for various Senators: those of a more liberal persuasion tend to forget, for example, the evil things Ted Kennedy has done -- for which a non-Kennedy or non-Massachusetts politician would have been disgraced and jailed.
Look at Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. William Jefferson, who have committed illegal acts and no one cares, because they're Democrats. It is assumed by the left that all Republicans are crooks; some are, but the fact that the lefties won't clean up their own house makes them, in my view, hypocrites, too.
I guess politics has become a religion for many people. Their side can do no wrong, and the other side can do no right.
This never ceases to surprise me, as there are some remarkably intelligent people who play that game. It saddens me, too.
When it comes to immigration, the central theme of what I've written has to do with a simple fact: illegals are violating the law. What is so hard to understand about that? I know some decry the "breakup of families," the "denial of rights," and similar sob stories about those hard-working people who simply decide to make their way here and demand a home; the answers are so obvious that I am still amazed that anyone sees it as a "duty" to turn a blind eye to the law.
And that brings us to Ramos, Compean and Hernandez. What Jorge Bush, Johnny Sutton and other co-conspirators have done to these men would provoke an American outcry if it happened in the old Soviet Union. But not enough people are making a fuss about this. I am ashamed of those people who have sat idly by while these men rot unjustly in prison.
But enough of politics. Over the years, I have grown to distrust evangelists. In their zeal, they ignore facts, make absurd pronouncements, but their "holy" status gives them cover.
You may have guessed I'm referring to Al Gore. No one can deny that concern for our consumption and waste of resources is a good thing. But he has carried it to a ridiculous extreme, as have the trendoids who follow him blindly. He ignores every bit of evidence that contradicts his views, makes false claims, and yet is somehow above criticism.
"The planet is burning up!" he cries, but much of his "evidence" wouldn't pass muster if scrutinized by impartial experts. Worse, he and others have conjured up schemes that let them continue their extravagant lifestyles while telling us to cut back, cut down, and pay ever-increasing costs merely to exist.
Finally we get to my own life, about which some people feel I complain too much. If you have made a success of working for yourself, if you have had wonderful relationships, my hat's off to you.
I have had difficulties in those areas.
A fair percentage of that is my fault, but to say I am solely responsible for the bad stuff that happens to me is sheer nonsense. Psychobabble.
That's particularly true in the unhappy world of relationships.
I do not consider it totally my fault when someone lies to me or takes advantage of the better side of my nature. I do not consider it totally my fault when I trust women. Without trust, there can be no love.
Once again, I will try to omit details, try to protect the guilty.
But when I tell someone I want to spend the rest of my life with them, I mean it, you damn betcha. Therefore, I tend to believe when someone says that to me, they mean it, and aren't going to dump my ass for the next guy who comes along and wants to get some.
In short, despite a long-ago comment (not published here) from a particular male person branding me a woman-hater -- said individual was hot for the same woman and could not, in his wussified way, imagine she would ever do wrong -- the truth is the exact opposite: if they disappoint me, as some have, it is because I trusted them not to lie, not to get what they could and then bail out.
Those people, male and female, to whom I offer close friendship and love -- yes, in a non-sexual sense I freely admit my feelings for a couple of men could be called "love" -- can hurt me if they choose. Love is, after all, vulnerability.
And I take it badly when they betray that trust.
I'm not perfect, as I regularly and freely admit. But even I deserve to be treated with some respect. I don't deserve to be lied to, taken advantage of, any more than you do.
Damn. This is a long, long screed, and I salute those of you have waded through it.
I guess my point is this: I tell the truth as I see it, based on my own observations and experiences. And I do so, by and large, with the expectation that readers will understand that and not judge me based on some expectation that I must agree with them or put on a false front to entertain them.
I would dearly love to be able to write nothing but positive, happy entries. I don't look for things to be angry/upset/sad about; they are simply the story of my life at the moment. I am, at heart, someone who would rather not complain at all.
I would welcome more trustworthy people into my life. Especially those of the female persuasion. They (or, more accurately, she) would definitely see the happier, more positive side of me. And then the rest of you would, too.
Hell, the mythical she wouldn't even have to agree with my political views. She'd just have to listen, and offer her own opinions. Which is exactly what I would do for her.
Being positive, upbeat and all that good jazz is impossible in a loveless vacuum, Jim.
But even if I had a happy life of my own, I would still want to call out the crooks, knaves and traitors when I see them.
I mean the "Live Earth" concerts, of course, which are supposedly taking place everywhere in the world today. At least in the places where the performers' private jets can land, that have electrical grids robust enough to deliver the electricity needed for lights, amps, etc., and where people can/will shell out the big coin for tickets.
Al Gore stands to rake in a nice chunk o' loot for this gig, if not directly, at least from the company he's involved with that sells "carbon offsets" to trendies who haven't thought the whole process through. He buys "offsets" from himself, too, which is a slick public-relations move. After all, what loyal follower wouldn't buy their indulgences from Big Al? But it'll only be a matter of time until the Nigerian email scammers start offering to share deceased government officials' leftover credits with us.
Not that I know what's taking place, Live Earth-wise, even though I hope everyone, including those great environmentalists on stage (Madonna cares about ecology?) has a dandy time. Today, as every day, I'm doing my bit for the environment by keeping the TV switched off. Heck, I probably won't even drive today, unless some worthwhile reason pops up.
I did hear yesterday that we now must add earthworms and compost piles to the ranks of Gross Polluters, joining cows and other natural innocent bystanders.
We are rapidly reaching the point where the whole issue becomes ludicrous. Every living thing emits nasty stuff during its life, and afterward, too. Allowing government -- any and all governments -- to take even more control over our lives, raise taxes and otherwise meddle in the chronically shortsighted ways governments meddle, will have no beneficial result.
It's a shame, because there are steps everyone should take, most quite simple. And none of them involve sending checks to Al Gore's company.
A LITTLE UPDATE FROM THE "LIVE EARTH" FOLKS: I ran across this enlightening little piece about how the concerts are going to be "eco-friendly." Virtually all the major -- and frankly, unworkable -- Grand Solutions listed are followed by the universal cop-out alternative of these loons:
Buy carbon offsets.
Hell, you can even buy 'em from the website's "gift shop," along with apparel.
It never seems to dawn on anyone that the nasty crap is still being pumped into the air. All these "earth-savers" are doing is paying a tax to allow them to continue to pollute, while trying to pass laws that keep everyone else from doing what they do.
...but the very best of these Spanish-language soap operas is playing out, live and in full color, right here in Los Angeles.
It began a couple of weeks ago when our mayor, Antonio "We clean your toilets!" Villaraigosa held a news conference to announce that he and the Mrs were going to split up. Oddly enough, no one complained that she stayed with the kids in the official mayor's residence while he went back to their previous digs.
Not long after, it came out that Antonio was in a "long-term" affair with someone. One of the reports showed up instantly on KVEA, the local Telemundo station, courtesy of anchor Mirthala Salinas.
What Senorita Salinas failed to mention was that she was the one playing drop-the-burrito with Villaraigosa.
The element that makes this story so amusing is the tone of the reactions. The Los Angeles Times, which has never met a Hispanic politicians whose ass they wouldn't kiss, has taken no editorial notice, though they do have one of their star columnists following the story while they figure out what to do.
In a way, I feel sorry for the Times. They just had to force themselves to suggest that city attorney Rocky Delgadillo should resign after committing a host of legal indiscretions. That was bad enough; do they now have to diss the mayor? Can they possibly deal with bad-rapping two Hispanic politicians in one week?
More amusing is the "community" reaction. The Great Thinkers are worrying about the effect Antonio's inability to keep his zipper closed will have on "Mexican politicians."
Come on, people. Did JFK or Bubba Clinton mess it up for other white politicos just because they weren't above getting some from women other than their wives?
I didn't vote for Rocky or Antonio, but knowing that the first is a scofflaw and the second is led around by his procreative unit doesn't change my opinions of them. To me, both were clearly incompetent (as both have proven to be) and that trumps everything else in the voting booth.
But the real fun begins when the reactions go beyond the political. Women -- especially Hispanic women -- are heavily into the "Antonio's such a dog" trip, and aren't shy about saying so. How could he do this to the wife and kids (the kids he made with the wife and well, others)?
If you really want to get to the nut of it, Antonio may be a dog but, like all dogs, he needs a bitch to do his doggy thing with.
And Ms Salinas, who is not difficult to look at, is no blushing schoolgirl in a communion dress. She has previously been hooked up with Fabian Nunez -- a big-shot in Sacramento these days -- and at least one other Mexican (I'm leaving off the "-American" suffix because they are more interested in catering to Mexicans than Americans) political figure.
She's just climbing the ladder....
I don't have any moral judgments to make -- except for a couple relating to my own past experiences -- and don't really care if Antonio is scoring the entire Laker Girls squad or getting advice on how to deal with satyriasis.
I feel sorry for his wife but, by all indications, she knew what she was getting. The wonder is that she put up with it for 20 years.
I don't feel anything for Mirthala Salinas. I've known women like her. She simply got caught in the spotlight, while most of them keep on doing their thing unnoticed.
Actually, I feel sorry for the citizens of Los Angeles. Villaraigosa hasn't done a damn thing for them since he took office and, with this new distraction, is unlikely to actually get productive.
At least we can all stay tuned for the next episode of Antonio y Mirthala: the Telenovela. The plot gets new twists by the day and, except for our tax dollars (not) at work, it's all free.
...at least nobody who has spoken up about Jorge Bush's commutation of "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence.
First, a memo to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI): we all know you hate Bush with a trembling, mouth-foaming, blood vessel-bursting passion, but remember that the Constitution grants presidents unrestricted authority to pardon and/or commute sentences.
Actually, Conyers, like all the others who have risen up in outrage over Jorge's latest "crime," knows that very well. The problem for the left-wing nutjobs is that it wasn't their man in the White House who handed out the free pass.
Let's flash back for a moment to Jan. 20, the very day Bubba Clinton had to turn the reins of power over to Jorge. In his final act, Bubba handed out pardons as if they were matchbooks with the presidential seal printed on 'em.
Among the highlights from the official Department of Justice list:
Henry G. Cisneros -- False statement (misdemeanor), 18 U.S.C. § 1018 Hmm. This former Clinton cabinet member seems to have lied...where have we heard that before?
Right below Cisneros on the alphabetical list, we find Roger Clinton -- 1. Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 846; 2. Distribution of cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Would this be Bubba's very own brother caught handing out nose candy? Why yes, it would....
Then there's Susan H. McDougal -- Mail fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1341; aiding and abetting in misapplication of Small Business Investment Corporation funds, 18 U.S.C. §§ 657 and 2; aiding and abetting in making false entries, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1006 and 2; aiding and abetting in making false statements, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1014 and 2 who just happened to be working with Bubba and Hillary on a phony land scheme when she committed these minor crimes....
Let's not forget Marc Rich -- Wire fraud, mail fraud, racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, criminal forfeiture, income tax evasion, and trading with Iran in violation of trade embargo, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1341, 1962(c), 1962(d), 1963, and 2; 26 U.S.C. § 7201, 50 U.S.C. § 1705, and 31 C.F.R. §§ 535.206(a)(4), 535.208 and 535.701 who fled to Switzerland to avoid jail time, and just happened to be the ex-hubby of one of Bubba's favorite gal-pals and fundraisers. Rich's buddy-roo, Pincus Green, was convicted of the same offenses and got a pardon too....
No need to go on. Neither Conyers nor the bastions of the wacko-left (the New York Times, for example) could be bothered to notice these pardons.
To hear these people today, you'd think Jorge ripped the lethal-injection lines from a mass-murderer's arm just before the juice began to flow....
I'm not posting this little reminder because I think Jorge is good and Bubba is evil. In actual fact, I believe both men are solid favorites to join Jimmuh Carter and Warren G. Harding on the list of America's Worst Presidents. In my mind, both were/are hideous abusers of power who shouldn't have been able to get into the White House on a public tour.
What offends me is the mindless "our guy is always right, their guy is always wrong" mentality that infects both Congress and, sadly, a large percentage of the American public.
Wrong is always wrong.
The writers of the Constitution did not take the moral character or venality of future presidents into account when they delineated presidential powers. Nor did they consider that Congress would turn into a cesspit of non-stop partisanship when they created "checks and balances."
The Constitution was written on the assumption that the vast majority of those who "serve" the nation would be honest, trustworthy and, when necessary, non-partisan. That's a good joke on them. And a bad joke on us.
...which began when I snapped on the radio and heard one of Bill Handel's favorite summertime sound bites, a Jackie Mason-like voice calling out: "It's gonna be a schvitz today!"
And it was.
It got plenty warm here -- and still is -- with the added nuisance of high humidity. Sometimes, the ocean breezes cut that down, but not today. Two showers so far, and possibly one more....
Trying to work was an exercise in futility. Everyone seems to have bailed out early in anticipation of the holiday, so after a few tries at making necessary contacts, I gave up.
The market was a little better. The local Von's is finally stocking Tsingtao Beer again, and I bought my entire summer beer ration: one six-pack. Not much of a beer drinker, but on these hot days I sometimes feel the urge. Besides, there's every chance my mini-stash will vanish tomorrow. Several tenants here are having a BBQ and if I make it down there I'd better have an offering with me.
So what's up for the Fourth? Absol-freekin'-lutely nada. There will be a legal fireworks show tomorrow night within viewing range; the local un-safe and in-sane fireworks (provided generally by longshoremen who bring 'em home from Chinese ships in port) show will probably not happen again this year. The cops have been coming down heavy on those who dare shoot 'em off.
Of course some people started firing the illegal stuff off several days ago. The only problem is that their preferred show-time tends to be at midnight....
I'm still feeding my pet-sitter's cats. At least I think I am; I've only seen one of the critters, and their food and water dishes have needed daily refilling.
The little creeps have fleas, which my cat does not. I'm itching.
This is amazing. I've laid down all this blather and haven't said a thing I intended to say. You people are so lucky....
I have no idea who -- or what -- a "Howard Zinn" might be. Presumably, he is some sort of "social commentator" and, since he writes for an organization that styles itself "progressive," I'm guessing he is a member of the socialist/communist left-wing wet-brain squad.
As such, he apparently felt compelled to present his take on the Fourth of July here:
"On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.
Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?
These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.
National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.
Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.
That self-deception started early...."
Here's a newsflash for you, Howard baby: there are a few countries where you'd feel more at home. Cuba, maybe. Venezuela? North Korea, for sure. Definitely Iran. When Vladimir "The Poot" Putin finishes rebuilding the old Soviet Union, you'd get a hero's welcome, beyond a doubt. Leaders in those countries feel the same way about the U.S.A. as you do.
No, wait. Those countries revere their flags, consider themselves superior to all others and, in some cases, have their own weapons of mass destruction.
Guess there's nowhere for you to go, Howie. You'll just have to stay here. You may hate this nation, but it's the only one that would tolerate the kind of vile drivel you spew.
Since I dislike using certain words in a public journal no matter how well they apply -- "a******," for one -- I'll simply name Howard Zinn, one of the very, very small evils of our time, Wacko of the Day.
That's right...he has retired from his radio show, for at least the third time I can recall.
The first time was many years ago, and was sparked by some occurrence I now can't remember. The second time came just over a year ago, when his wife died. He returned some months later, broadcasting from Manila, home to his new -- and very young -- wife.
Now he's retiring again, having done his "final" show from his studio back home in Pahrump, Nevada, where he lives with wife and new baby. He said in his "final" broadcast that he wants to spend more time with them. I can dig that.
But the timing is curious, to say the least.
No sooner had Art decided to hang it up than this story appeared.
You're all aware of the Great Roswell (New Mexico) UFO Incident of 1947, I presume?
From the story: "...Military authorities issued a press release, which began: "The many rumours regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence officer of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc."
The headlines screamed: "Flying Disc captured by Air Force".
Yet, just 24 hours later, the military changed their story and claimed the object they'd first thought was a "flying disc" was a weather balloon that had crashed on a nearby ranch.
The key witness was Major Jesse Marcel, the intelligence officer who had gone to the ranch to recover the wreckage.
He described the metal as being wafer thin but incredibly tough.
It was as light as balsa wood, but couldn't be cut or burned.
These and similar accounts of the incident have largely been dismissed by all except the most dedicated believers.
But last week came an astonishing new twist to the Roswell mystery.
Lieutenant Walter Haut was the public relations officer at the base in 1947 and was the man who issued the original and subsequent press releases after the crash on the orders of the base commander, Colonel William Blanchard.
Haut died last year but left a sworn affidavit to be opened only after his death.
Last week, the text was released and asserts that the weather balloon claim was a cover story and that the real object had been recovered by the military and stored in a hangar.
He described seeing not just the craft, but alien bodies."
Now you and I both know Art wouldn't walk away from a story like this!
It's a conspiracy to shut The Man up, I tell ya.
And it's no coincidence that Art lives within Mind-Numb-O-Ray range of Area 51....
"They" will do anything to stop the Truth About Space Aliens from coming out.
Jorge Bush can send his trained pit-bull Johnny Sutton to railroad Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the Border Patrol agents who upheld our laws (ones, alas, Jorge doesn't approve of), undoubtedly put the heat on to get Gil Hernandez thrown in prison as well, and hasn't yet had the balls to say a single word about it.
But when one of his political hack buddies is sentenced to do time in the slammer, that's more than his corrupt little heart can bear.
That's right: Ramos, Compean and Hernandez do their time in conditions dangerous to life and health, while Lewis "Scooter" Libby, well, scoots....
I don't give a rat's ass about Libby. The charges against him sounded dubious to me in front.
But if a jury found him guilty, as juries found the three law-abiding citizens "guilty" (albeit, in the latter three cases, based on lies and violations of the rules by the persecutors and massive judicial malfeasance in the Ramos and Compean trial), then shouldn't "Scooter" have to wear those prison overalls too?
Jorge doesn't think so.
It's almost as if the same Mexican politicians and drug smuggling barons who urged him to stick it to Ramos, Compean and Hernandez urged him to cut Ricardo Cheney's lackey a break.
And don't believe for a second that things would be different if Jorge's enemies were in charge. The victims' names might change, but the Democrats are equally proficient at punishing their opponents and protecting the crooks who can do them the most good.
It is abundantly clear that Jorge, through Sutton, wanted to make examples out of decent men who risked their lives to defend us. You just can't cross El Presidente and get away with it.
But you can get a break in a big fat hurry if you're part of his cheering section.
Just talked to the travel agent for a business trip I have to take. In order to arrive at my destination in time, I have to take a flight leaving L.A. at 6:15. In the morning. With a plane change in Chi-freekin'-cago.
And my destination? Daytime temps are predicted to be in the low 100s, most likely with humidity to match. And I will be outdoors, in direct sun, for most of a whole day.
They don't pay me enough for this.
No surprise, since "they" don't pay me enough for the work I do at home.
Last week, millions of Americans let the U.S. Senate know we weren't buying their traitorous amnesty program for illegal aliens. The arrogance of pathetic losers like Eduardo Kennedy, Dianne Feinstein and senile Trent Lott -- and, of course, Jorge Bush -- ultimately couldn't convince enough senators to go along with the game after they were made aware that the citizens were watching them.
But Ignacio Ramos, Jose Compean and Gil Hernandez are still in prison.
Some people still care, as evidenced by this story from San Antonio:
Waving American flags and chanting "U.S.A., U.S.A.," protestors angry about the imprisonment of two U.S. Border Patrol agents rallied Saturday, demanding the release of the men and calling for the dismissal of the prosecutor who handled the case.
The demonstration drew about 200 activists to the office lawn of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, the top prosecutor for the Western District of Texas who won the convictions last year and has become a main target of groups fighting for tighter immigration controls.
"We're here because we have Border Patrol patriots who have been caught up in a political process and they're not being treated fairly," said Pat Byrne, deputy director for the Texas chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, one of the event organizers.
Only 200 people. Pathetic.
It is time for all of us to turn the force of our concern for the integrity of our nation into another fax, phone call and email assault on our so-called "leaders."
Every day Ramos, Compean and Hernandez sit in prison, victims of Jorge's mad lust to sell his country to corrupt Mexican politicians and drug cartels, and the willingness of lap-dog Johnny Sutton to do his master's bidding regardless of the law, is another day of infamy, a rebuke to the founders of our country. As long as the persecution continues, we are less a "nation of laws" than a Stalinist state where those who dare to protect the rights and safety of citizens are simply made to disappear.
This is the time for those of us who love our country to demand that the heinous persecution of these three men by Bush and Sutton be reversed.
I hope you'll add your voice to the effort, too.
RELATED PARENTHETICAL NOTE: I see that Michael Chertoff, Jorge's pet director of Homeland "Security," says it's going to be "difficult" for him to enforce the nation's laws without the amnesty bill.
When a decent administrator is in charge, what happens to an underling who can't do the job? Simple: his ass gets fired, that's what.