Thursday, November 27, 2003
Too bad the Cowboys lost to Miami today. THEN it would've been a perfect Thanksgiving afternoon!
I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I've been cleaning up the kitchen and thinking about Thanksgivings past. Living in Oklahoma growing up we never knew what the weather would be like on Thanksgiving. I've seen the ground covered in ice and snow and I've seen beautiful warm sunny afternoons. Some of the things I remember:
1) I remember playing football and basketball with my brothers and friends after the turkey wore off a little bit.
2) I remember listening to my parents, aunts, and uncles sit in the living room and talk about stuff that seemed pretty boring to me at the time.
3) I remember Granny's carrot cake. Oh man....was that ever some good stuff! It had the sweetest, creamiest frosting I've ever had. I don't even like anyone else's carrot cake but I'd kill for a piece of that right now. (Ok, maybe not just RIGHT now! )
4) I remember my mom being stressed out as time approached for guests to arrive at our house. She would bark out orders and complaints and we would all jump up and do what we had to do. Then she would recover and all would be fine.
5) I remember my dad carving the turkey with his trusty electric knife that usually only came out of the cabinet once or twice a year.
6) I remember my friend Bob coming over the night before and spending the night because there often was not a Thanksgiving celebration at his house. My parents treated him like one of the family.
7) I remember some years loading up and driving to my dad's parent's house about 60 miles away (Council Hill, OK) I remember the excitement as we turned down the dirt road that meant we were only a few minutes away.
8) I remember playing chess with my dad and brothers and watching football at the same time.
I remember a lot of things. That is something else to be thankful for. We're all the sum of our experiences and I've been fortunately blessed to have had some incredibly warm, exciting, and memorable experiences.
At the end of November each year this restless, contradictory and simple country finds a way to celebrate itself. The British, as befits a people at ease with themselves, do not have a national day. When the French do, their insecurity shows. Even America, on the fourth of July, displays a slightly neurotic excess of patriotism. But on Thanksgiving, the Americans resolve the nationalist dilemma. They don't celebrate themselves, they celebrate their good fortune. And every November, as I reflect on a country that can make even an opinionated Englishman feel at home, I know exactly how they feel.
I know it too Andy. I have so damn much to be thankful for. We're getting ready to eat a mid afternoon meal and I'm getting misty eyed just thinking about how lucky I am. Lucky to be an American...lucky to have wonderful children...lucky to have a beautiful wife that loves me...lucky to be able to do meaningful work that provides constant rewards...lucky to have good friends...lucky to have a beautiful home...lucky to have wonderful parents and brothers...lucky to be alive.
I'll try very hard not to forget these things during the coming year.
Time to eat!
Monday, November 24, 2003
Tim Noah of Slate found the number! In this article he gives it out to all the rest of us.
Thanks Tim. Now when I need to return something I can let my fingers do the walking! :)
BTW..the number is: 1-800-201-7575.
Jurors said later that they struggled with imposing the ultimate punishment, even for some of the worst crimes they could imagine, losing sleep and shedding tears while searching their core beliefs. But, they said, Muhammad's apparent lack of remorse, the sheer misery caused by the shootings and the fear that he could kill again in prison swayed them, bringing unanimity to a panel that at one time was divided 8 to 4.
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He cold bloodedly picked people at random and from the safe perch of the sniper's rifle executed them. He didn't care about them, their families, their friends or anything else. He just wanted to kill someone. Anyone.
The death penalty was made for people like this.
When I was a teenager my dad and grandfather made part of the attic into my bedroom. They spent weeks up there putting in insulation and paneling and customizing the room to my needs (they even included a niche for my tuba that I was supposed to be practicing!). I can still remember what it felt like to have a cool room of my own. Hopefully my daughter will feel the same way.
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
After two stellar years tragedy struck Michael's young life.
On May 3, 2000, Thompson's truck veered off a road and collided head-on with a tree at 70 mph. He nearly died in the wreck and spent several days in intensive care.
It left his teammates in shock.
"I just wanted to know if he was all right," defensive back Derrick Strait said. "I wasn't worried about if he was going to come back [to football]."
Thompson redshirted during the 2001 season while recovering from injuries that included a broken ankle and a fractured pelvis. That season served as the intermission of his career. He left his audience wondering if he would play again and how effective he would be.
Michael is a now a senior reserve defensive back on Oklahoma's #1 ranked football team. The injuries took a toll on his career and robbed him of that split second of speed and strength that can make a difference between a good athlete and a great one.
Thompson's role on the team has changed. He is a senior with a national championship ring. Strait said Thompson is a leader, teaching and helping any way he can.
Most of all, he can teach the players about overcoming adversity.
"I let them know that your career isn't always going to be straight and narrow," Thompson said. "Obstacles might come up, and you have to fight through it and don't forget about what you're here for. If someone tells you you can't make it back from something, they're never right."
I can't claim the tiniest bit of credit for the attitude and perseverance of this young man (unless you count that detention for a minor infraction that I gave him!). Both of his parents are great people. But I can claim a small measure of pride for my association with a kid like this one.
The curtain will drop on Thompson's career when he graduates in December. He plans to get a job in pharmaceutical sales after he is done playing.
"I hope to get out and get a job just like everyone else is trying to do," Thompson said.
Good luck Michael.
An arrest warrant has been issued for pop music sensation Michael Jackson on multiple counts of child molestation, Santa Barbara County authorities said today, a day after investigators searched his 2,600-acre Neverland Ranch for evidence.
Sheriff Jim Anderson said Jackson, who was making a music video in Las Vegas, has been given time - he would not say how much - to surrender to Santa Barbara County authorities. The warrant seeks bail of $3 million and asks that Jackson surrender his passport.
We know that Michael settled a similiar civil case out of court for millions of dollars. He has long had a practice of inviting young boys to stay over at his estate. The question is...why? I have always found this err..suspicious. Why would a wealthy pop star with all the trappings of success be so enamored of spending personal time with young boys. Note that I said young boys. He doesn't invite three year olds or seventeen year olds out there. From past reading it usually involves pre-pubescent males. That is suspicious.
The $12.3-million Santa Ynez Valley property often has been the site of children's parties, and it figured prominently in a television documentary broadcast on ABC in February, in which Jackson said he had slept in bed with many children, but that it was innocent.
Either Michael Jackson is a serial child molester or he is a damned fool. You do not sleep in bed with other people's children. You don't sleep in bed with your own once they are a few years old. What could he have been thinking? I love kids. I have kids of my own. I teach kids all day long. But I'd never dream of sleeping in the same bed with them in my home when there are no other adults around.
As I said, I don't know whether he is innocent or guilty. But at the very least his poor judgement has put his career and his freedom in jeopardy. Maybe the problem with being a rich superstar is that no one has the nerve to tell you....don't be an idiot!! Michael has long been a tragic figure. His estrangment from his family, his skin pigmentation, and his bizarre behavior have all made headlines. Wouldn't it be tragic if all those things were symptoms of something even deeper?
Monday, November 17, 2003
DuToit begins with this rant:
We have become a nation of women.
It wasn't always this way, of course. There was a time when men put their signatures to a document, knowing full well that this single act would result in their execution if captured, and in the forfeiture of their property to the State. Their wives and children would be turned out by the soldiers, and their farms and businesses most probably given to someone who didn't sign the document.
There was a time when men went to their certain death, with expressions like "You all can go to hell. I'm going to Texas." (Davy Crockett, to the House of Representatives, before going to the Alamo.)
There was a time when men went to war, sometimes against their own families, so that other men could be free. And there was a time when men went to war because we recognized evil when we saw it, and knew that it had to be stamped out.
There was even a time when a President of the United States threatened to punch a man in the face and kick him in the balls, because the man had the temerity to say bad things about the President's daughter's singing.
We're not like that anymore.
Well, Kim, I think we've been stamping out our fair share of evil in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its hard to argue that we've lost our national will. Those liberals you're talking about are making the argument that we're TOO aggressive and manly in our foreign policy. I don't happen to think so but we aren't exactly weak sisters either.
Now, men are taught that violence is bad -- that when a thief breaks into your house, or threatens you in the street, that the proper way to deal with this is to "give him what he wants", instead of taking a horsewhip to the rascal or shooting him dead where he stands.
Sometimes "giving him what he wants" is the smart thing to do. Just because you're a man doesn't mean you have to be an idiot and commit suicide when someone has a gun stuck in your face. If someone breaks into my home I'll do everything I can to protect my family and myself. That may involve placating the sicko or bashing his head in with a two-by-four when he turns his back. Whatever works.
In the first instance, what we have to understand is that America is first and foremost, a culture dominated by one figure: Mother. It wasn't always so: there was a time when it was Father who ruled the home, worked at his job, and voted.
You're right that men once dominated the workplace and women stayed home. But doesn't women working have the opposite effect of what you're talking about? Why aren't women writing articles about the "testosteronization" of working women?
From that, we went to this: the Cheerios TV ad.
Now, for those who haven't seen this piece of shit, I'm going to go over it, from memory, because it epitomizes everything I hate about the campaign to pussify men. The scene opens at the morning breakfast table, where the two kids are sitting with Dad at the table, while Mom prepares stuff on the kitchen counter. The dialogue goes something like this:.............
Hey, I remember that commercial! I don't think its gonna win any awards but I don't have the same visceral reaction. The woman is being condescending and it does play to the idea that men are uncivilized brutes until they meet the little lady. The advertiser is hitting the target audience....women. If we guys bought the cereal you'd have commercials made for and target to..men! I'd rather endure the silly commerical and let the women buy the cereal! :)
But that's not what men do, of course. What this guy is going to do is smile ruefully, finish his cereal, and then go and fuck his secretary, who doesn't try to cut his balls off on a daily basis. Then, when the affair is discovered, people are going to rally around the castrating bitch called his wife, and call him all sorts of names. He'll lose custody of his kids, and they will be brought up by our ultimate modern-day figure of sympathy: The Single Mom.
You know what? Some women deserve to be single moms.
Its no secret that men often get screwed over in divorce settlments. In a lot of cases the women get the kids and the husband gets the bills. But this isn't because men are pussies. Its because the courts stereotype men as breadwinners and women as child-rearers. Arguably, men would have to become more "feminized" to have a better chance of being awarded custody.
I think I'm a good parent and I got custody of my kids when I divorced. But there are a lot of things women do exceedlingly well in the parenting department. I think it comes more naturally to the female of the species. We guys have to work harder at it.
Because I have fairly set views on what constitutes right and wrong, I have no difficulty in calling Bill Clinton, for example, a fucking liar and hypocrite.
Gee whiz. Neither do I. Charlie Manson and Susan Smith are murderers. Martina Navritilova is a helluva tennis player. I don't see how stating the obvious advances your argument.
But most of all, I do this website because I love being a man. Amongst other things, I talk about guns, self-defense, politics, beautiful women, sports, warfare, hunting, and power tools -- all the things that being a man entails. All this stuff gives me pleasure.
I like a lot of those things too (especially the beautiful women and politics part). I also enjoy teaching school and working with kids. May not be manly but it pays the bills and gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. A lot of things go into being a man.
Yes, the men are, by and large, slobs. Big fucking deal. Last time I looked, that's normal. Men are slobs, and that only changes when women try to civilize them by marriage. That's the natural order of things.
Thats a little overly broad but largely true. But I don't try turning slobbiness into a male virtue. :)
Which is why women are trying to get dog-fighting and cock-fighting banned -- they'd ban boxing too, if they could -- because it's "mean and cruel". No shit, Shirley. Hell, I don't like the idea of fighting dogs, either, but I don't have a problem with men who do. Dogs and cocks fight. So do men. No wonder we have an affinity for it.
Find me a couple of birds out there in nature that fight with razors attached to their feet after being starved for days and prodded to be mean as hell. Thats not fighting. I love good fried chicken. But watching cock fights is about as exciting as watching paint dry.
Out there, there is a huge number of men who are sick of it. We're sick of being made figures of fun and ridicule; we're sick of having girly-men like journalists, advertising agency execs and movie stars decide on "what is a man"; we're sick of women treating us like children, and we're really fucking sick of girly-men politicians who pander to women by passing an ever-increasing raft of Nanny laws and regulations (the legal equivalent of public-school Ritalin), which prevent us from hunting, racing our cars and motorcycles, smoking, flirting with women at the office, getting into fistfights over women, shooting criminals and doing all the fine things which being a man entails.
No woman can treat you like a child unless you let her. Be a man!
I agree with the nonsensity of a lot of "nanny laws". If people want to go without motorcyle helmets, not wear their seatbelts, smoke, drink, etc. I don't think its the government's business to interfere. But when my daughter joins the workforce I don't think its your right to chase her around the office without her consent. Thats not being a man. Thats being an asshole.
And I want the Real Man President to surround himself with other Real Men, like Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft, and yes, Rice (who is more of a Real Man than those asswipes Colin Powell and Norman Mineta).
Most of our presidents have been "real men". Dwight Eisenhower. Harry Truman. JFK. LBJ. Nixon. Reagan. Ford. Bush Sr. You don't think those guys were men? Most of them fought in World War II.
Ahem. Colin Powell is not an "asswipe". He served his country in the Army for 30 years and rose through the ranks. Do you think pussies became 4 star generals?
I want our literature to become more male, less female. Men shouldn't buy "self-help" books unless the subject matter is car maintenance, golf swing improvement or how to disassemble a fucking Browning BAR. We don't improve ourselves, we improve our stuff.
No problem here buying books to improve "my stuff". But no one has ever twisted my arm and made me buy a "self help" book. I don't think I've ever ready one cover to cover. Don't wanna read em? Don't buy'em!
Speaking of rap music, do you want to know why more White boys buy that crap than Black boys do? You know why rape is such a problem on college campuses? Why binge drinking is a problem among college freshmen?
It's a reaction: a reaction against being pussified. And I understand it, completely. Young males are aggressive, they do fight amongst themselves, they are destructive, and all this does happen for a purpose.
A. I thought young guys were buying rap because they just had poor taste. More Led Zeppelin...less Eminem!
B. Guys are not raping women out of reaction to being "pussified". Guys who rape women ARE pussies. Part of being a man is accepting responsibility for your own actions.
And he won't. Because Rummy's been married to the same woman for fifty years, and he wouldn't toss that away for a quickie. He's a Real Man. No wonder the Euros hate and fear him.
We'd better get more like him, we'd better become more like him, because if we don't, men will become a footnote to history.
Rummy is a helluva guy and a good Secretary of Defense. He may not always be right but you always know where he stands.
There have been all kinds of men who helped make this country what it is. We've had our macho heroes who helped build and defend this country: George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Black Jack Pershing, Davy Crockett, etc. etc. We owe them a large debt of gratitude.
But we've also had men who may not fit your definition of manly: Ben Franklin, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein. They may not have shot a bunch of people, chased a lot of girls, beat up guys in bars or farted excessively in public. But Kim....these guys were men! Men who helped advance us and make this country what it is.
You know what? There will be others like those above...and yes, women too, who will continue to make us great.
Don't be so negative. Have a stiff drink....or two...or maybe a Ritalin :)
Saturday, November 15, 2003
Barry was an incredibly gifted athlete and from all accounts a first class human being. He could've made millions by stringing out his career for many years.
Good luck Barry. I still remember you running in the O.S.U. Orange uniform. There have only been a handful of running backs in the history of the game with your ability.
"The most striking cleavage is the God Gulf, and it should terrify the Democrats. Put simply, liberals are becoming more secular at a time when America is becoming increasingly religious, the consequence of a new Great Awakening. Americans, for example, are significantly more likely now than in 1987 to say they "completely agree" that "prayer is an important part of my daily life" and that "we all will be called before God on Judgment Day to answer for our sins."
The Pew survey found that white evangelicals are leaving the Democratic Party in droves. Fifteen years ago, white evangelicals were split equally between the two parties; now they're twice as likely to be Republicans. Likewise, white Catholics who attend Mass regularly used to be strongly Democratic; now they are more likely to be Republican.
Since Americans are three times as likely to believe in the virgin birth of Jesus as in evolution, liberal derision for President Bush's religious beliefs risks marginalizing the left. "
Kristof is right about this. Church attendance has become one of the critical indicators of party loyalty. It has become as important as occupation, region, education, and income. In a country as religious as this one can the Democrats really afford to receive a small minority of votes from church-going people?
"The left should have learned from Newt Gingrich that rage impedes understanding — and turns off voters. That's why President Bush was careful in 2000, unlike many in his party, to project amiability and optimism.
Core Democratic voters are becoming so angry that some are hoping for bad economic figures and bad Iraq news just to hurt President Bush. At this rate, Democrats risk turning themselves into an American version of the old British Labor Party under Michael Foot, which reliably blasted the Tory government and reliably lost elections."
Conservatives blew it big time with Clinton. Their anger and rage against someone they felt like didn't belong in office turned off moderate and even some Republican voters. People respect the office of the president even if they intend to vote against its occupant.
Recent Democratic party presidential candidates have used words such as "liar" and "phony" in describing Bush. Many of these attacks go well beyond policy matters. I think people are willing to listen to a well reasoned critique of the president's programs. He has made many mistakes and is certainly not unbeatable in 2004. But someone who calls the president of the United States a liar had better be prepared to back it up. To beat Bush a Democrat needs to have a positive vision of the future- a compelling alternative. Right now, I just don't see that.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Are you a man who enjoys shopping, snappy shoes and a crisply starched buttondown? Have you ever frosted your hair or bought a pair of low rise bootcuts? Do you prefer a good martini over a sudsy draft? Get with it hipsters, you may be a metrosexual.
I took this quiz and scored....zero! That puts me in the "lost cause" category. I guess doing all the laundry around the house doesn't count when it comes to keeping in touch with my feminine side.
How could a little known governor of a small northeastern state catapult past all these seasoned politicians? He's short tempered, sometimes ill informed, more than a little strident, and much more liberal than the electorate as a whole. His clumsy attempt to make a stab at the southern white vote was pathetic. Howard Dean has about as much a chance of carrying a southern state as Mondale or McGovern did. I think he will also struggle in the midwestern "battleground" states. He comes across as arrogant and elitist and as someone without a feel for average, working people.
So once again...why is he leading? He's tapped into the visceral anger that the Democratic base feels toward George Bush. In the Salon article David Kusnet points out:
"Dean won Democrats' hearts, their dollars and, most likely, their votes, by becoming the first contender to take the gloves off against Bush. He kept saying: "The only way to beat this president is to go right after him." Impressed by the former Vermont governor's progress from footnote to favorite, the other contenders have been upping the rhetorical ante with red-hot rhetoric of their own"
I don't think it will sell in the general election. It'll be a Bush landslide.
Is this France's idea of a multipolar world in action? To suck up to every two bit tyrant on the planet? France could be joining forces with the United States to pressure Syria to end its support for terrorism. How is it that Europe's cradle of liberty could become so dysfunctional? In its effort to restrain American power France is marginalizing itself. I just don't get it.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
This Sunday was a prime example of what a lucky woman I am... well every Sunday, really ... but this Sunday he outdid my wildest expectations. And to think all I had to do was ask. Brian was a whirlwind through the house, while I was out playing with my friends. I came home (quite late) to a sparkling living room, an immaculate kitchen, a clean kids' bathroom (no small feat with so many small feet), and a warm cozy feeling in the house. Brian had already collapsed from exhaustion by the time I got home. I love this man!
Convicted killer Mumia Abu-Jamal is currently on death row and has been appealing his sentence for years. He was convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.
"According to Paris newspaper Le Monde, the decision was made at the initiative of French Communists and approved by the Socialists and the Greens on the Paris Council.
Mumia is the first American to receive the honor and only the second to be named in more than 30 years.
The last was Pablo Picasso. I am not making that up."
You just have to be kidding me. This scumbag was convicted by a jury of peers. The evidence against him is overwhelming. Multiple appeals courts have reviewed the evidence and found it conclusive as to his guilt.
Of all the Americans who have lived the past 70 years the French honor this guy. Let me suggest a few alternate nominations.
1. Any of the many thousands of American boys who landed on the beach at Normandy and either died to German machine guns or fought their way off the beach. Add to that the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers who fought their way to Paris and expelled the Nazis from France.
2. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower who led the American army to a victory in Europe and freed France from the clutches of totalitarianism.
3. Every American president from Truman to Bush Sr. whose leadership in the Cold War and American military might keep Soviet tanks from parking under the Eiffel Tower.
4. Hell, I'd even like to see them give it to Jerry Lewis. He's not very funny but to my knowledge has never killed anyone.
The mayor of Paris can go to hell.
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Now I just need the kids to adopt that same philosophy and we'd be all set here!
Saturday, November 08, 2003
Friday, November 07, 2003
Uttering the word "guilty" 48 times with chilling calm, Gary Leon Ridgway admitted Wednesday he is the Green River killer, confessing to strangling four dozen women over two decades -- "so many women, I have a hard time keeping them straight."
"Choking is what I did, and I was pretty good at it," the 54-year-old former truck-factory employee said in papers submitted as part of his plea bargain
Yeah Gary I'm sure you were. If there's not a very special corner of Hell for you then Satan is falling down on his job.
Sometimes I miss the days when the emphasis was on singing and great music and not on music videos, promotions, hip fashions, and whatever the hell else leads to commercial success today. "Unchained Melody" is a beautiful song...one of the all time great love songs. When I hear that song it tugs at my soul and makes me want to take my honey and twirl around the dance floor. Music can make you feel excited....it can depress you..it can give you a sense of elation. Sometimes it just makes you...feel.
Godspeed Bobby. You've made a lot of us....feel.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
My brother was shot at while sitting at a stop sign in the quiet surburban town I grew up in. He looked up to see a gun pointing at him which fired and spewed glass into his eyes. He was able to press the accelerator while his friend helped him steer until they were far enough away for the friend to take over driving. It took several trips to the optometrist to remove the broken glass from his eyes. An inch difference and he would've been dead. What kind of sick bastard can do something like this?
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
First of all, variations of this Nigerian scam have been around forever. In the days before the internet people would get these mysterious letters offering untold riches. I can remember my dad getting one claiming to be from various Nigerian government officials who had skimmed oil profits and needed a way to get them out of the country. The amount was very high....20 million? The letter claimed that my dad had been referrred to them by an acquaintance in the government. This had just a small ring of truth since my dad had been in the oil exploration field for many years and had travelled the world. He was skeptical and concerned enough about it that he took the letter to a local attorney who said....."Its a fraud"!
Since then I have heard this over and over again. Now with the internet they can send out these tempting little missives to millions at no cost. Sure, 99.9% of the people will laugh and click delete. But as the referenced article illustrates P.T. Barnum was absolutely right. There's a sucker born every minute.
Want to read more about scams? Check out this site.
Monday, November 03, 2003
The South has been trending Republican for some time now. Younger generations there do not feel the loyalty toward the Democratic party that their elders did. The Democrats have done little to stop this trend. The South is culturally conservative and the national Democratic Party has been unwilling or unable to appeal to those voters.
This nation is becoming increasingly ideologically divided along regional lines. The east and west coasts are liberal and the rest of the country more conservative. What does this say about the future and our politics?
Sunday, November 02, 2003
Our soldiers in Iraq have a very tough job to do. They are trying to "win hearts and minds", stabilize the country, rebuild the country, and facilitate the transition to a new Iraqi government. These things come into conflict sometimes. How can the soldiers protect themselves from bands of Baathist-holdover guerillas and terrorists without antagonizing the local population? Terrorists often hide and fire from densely populated civilian areas. If our guys fire back they risk harming civilians and outraging the locals. If they don't fire back they are sitting ducks.
The first duty of our soldiers is to defend themselves. I hope an aggressive sweep to wipe out Saddam's remnants is in the offing. And what about Saddam himself? We need to find that bastard. When he's caught a lot of this resistance will die down and the people of Iraq will feel safer.
Continuing episodes like this will make this occupation less popular with the American public? Will George Bush stay the course? He has to. Leaving Iraq in a state of anarchy would be the worst possible thing we could do.
Lets put in more men if needed and get more help from our allies. Subdue the resistance by all means necessary. This includes continuing the campaign to win the loyalty of the Iraqi people. I don't understand what is taking so long to restore vital services there.
Hang in there Mr. President.
Oklahoma looks like a national championship team.