Saturday, March 16, 2002

How much money is enough?

I wonder about this a lot, because I buy a lottery ticket every week and if my numbers ever hit, I believe I am finished with work. I live modestly, I pay my bills on time and I have some money in the bank. But I still need my job to maintain the status quo. I like what I do and I believe I am fairly good at it, but if I had my druthers, I wouldn't work. I would lay around the house, diddle on the computer, listen to CDs and play golf every now and then, pretty much the way I do on days off now. If I were rich and every day were a day off, I probably would live the way I do now, except for a hot tub on the back porch and a personal masseuse to rub my back at least twice a week.

That's why people who make more money than they ever could spend and still strive for more puzzle me. Dan Rather earns (well...IS PAID) millions of dollars for being the chief talking head on CBS. He still feels compelled to whore on the side to gather extra income through some really unnecessary speaking engagements. Why does he do that? If you can't make it on $10 million a year, a few extra thousands aren't going to make a lot of difference. Plus, he compromises his position as moral arbitor of the news when he takes his show on the partisan road. Is this unbiased, impartial newsperson addicted to his own fame? I am DAN, hear me speak. Then PAY ME. I don't get it.

I can understand Bill Clinton, because he owes tremendous legal fees and would rather talk before an adoring crowd than grope a horny woman, even though he likes groping A LOT. That malformed bastard has a terminal case of unbridled ego and may be excused for what he does, they way we excuse chronic bed-wetters and masturbaters. I really don't believe money matters to Clinton as long as he gets laid regularly and has crowds of people go all doe-eyed when he steps before a microphone. But that's Bill.

Money doesn't matter a lot to me, either, as long as I don't have creditors hounding my ass over delinquent debts. Paying the bills with something left over is good enough. I don't need or want twenty antique sports cars in my three-story garage. If my job paid $20 million a year, I would not leave it because someone else offered $22 million. What does a guy making $20 million do with that extra $2 million other than brag about it? I don't understand.

I'll tell you why, too. I am at the point in my career where I have reached the plateau of diminishing returns. I received a nice raise last year and saw about 1/4 of it on my paycheck, and the IRS had a field day with me. I am single now, which means the gaping jaw of government takes an even larger tax bite out of anything I earn. If I get a $10,000 per year raise tomorrow, the government will take half and the leftovers won't change my lifestyle at all.

I suppose salary is a good scorecard, but the money doesn't matter after a while, at least not to me. My check is bigger than yours? So what?

I have enough. And enough is as good as a feast.

Step 1: We Must Do Something
Step 2: This is Something
Step 3: Therefore We Must Do This

Does Airport Security ring a bell? (Thanks to OVERLAWYERED for that gem)
Here's a perfect example of what passes for serious ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING today, which is why most people believe we're worse off than ever and we're all gonna die any minute now. Our waters are "clouded" and "awash" in residue from common personal hygene products.

NO, THEY ARE NOT! Buried deep in the article is this actual fact of the matter: "overall the concentrations were very low-- typically MUCH LESS THAN ONE PART PER BILLION." Folks, that's 1 part potentially deadly, toxic, and probably harmless stuff in 1,000,000,000 parts of water. If that ratio constitutes being "clouded" and "awash," I never want the reporter serving as my bartender. (How can some ignorant twit write this drivel and put a byline with it? Where is her pride? See what I meant in the post below? This crap gives me GUT RUMBLES!)

The only reason we even know the "pollutants" are there is because we now have instruments that can measure such minute quantities. As technology improves and we develop devices to detect PARTS PER TRILLION, countless new scare stories will appear. Meanwhile, we continue to live longer, healthier lives than ever before. People actually could go out into the cleanest environment mankind has known for centuries and enjoy this beautiful world if environmental reporters would stop writing such shitty articles. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. Unless people are lying under their beds and curled in a fetal position quivering with fear, environmental reporters have not done a proper job. Neither have environmentalists who know that fear created trends perfectly with income generated. Scare campaigns make money and here's a nice one.

As I have said before, everything is "toxic" if you take too much of it. It's not the poison that kills you-- it's the DOSE. And parts per billion don't make a dose.
I named this site "GUT RUMBLES" because I feel a fire in the belly sometimes when I read idiotic stuff in the news. The name has nothing to do with a need for Peptol-Bismol or Tums, although I probably could use both. If I possessed a lick of imagination, I would have beaten this guy to the punch and called it THE ELECTRIC LOVE BUNKER and received countless hits from google-guided porn-searchers. I missed the boat on that one.

Friday, March 15, 2002

My son is with me tonight. He told me a few really silly jokes over supper, causing me to worry about the boy. He says, "Daddy, spell EYE-CUP." I see the punch line coming, but I dutifully respond, "I C U P." Of course, it SOUNDS like "I see you pee," and he says "Stay out of the bathroom!" Bwhahaha! He blows pizza out of his nose, snickers into his milk glass and basks in the glory of making a fool out of his old man. Damn, but he reminds me of me sometimes. I'll teach him to juggle before he's ten. He'll not only learn; he'll LIKE IT, too. A guitar can't be far behind.

I just hope he handles all of his vast talent, inherited from me, better than I did.
Judge Charles Pickering's nomination to the Court of Appeals appears to be dead, thanks to some really craven behavior by the ten Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Pickering's life will go on despite the vile character assassination launched against him, because he remains a federal judge in a lesser post, thanks to unanimous approval for that job by the same virtuous, unbiased people who found him so repugnant this time.

I understand politics, thanks to 22 years of experience in the smaller arena of a large industrial plant. I don't like that part of the job. I have noticed that those who are the best at politics are usually the worst at actually doing anything constructive for the operation. They survive on bullshit and posture, not ability. I believe the same principle applies to Congress. An outstanding politician can put a dog turd in his (or HER) mouth and smile while saying that it tastes good. An outstanding performer with a mind of his (or HER) own won't do that. Ten Democrats proved today that dog turds taste good to them.

That may be a crude way to say it, but it's like a pristine field of new-fallen snow compared to what those people DID.
"Scare 'em, then save 'em." That was a successful sales formula for a friend of mine in the water treatment business and he did very well at it. The process is simple, and it works. You approach your chump, er... I mean the client, and you convince him that he has VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS, and without immediate action, he's gonna die, or kill someone else, or at least be liable for ruinous lawsuits because of his neglegence. Then, you offer a miracle cure for all of his problems. He pays money, you take it, and both parties are delighted with the deal. Then you invent another problem and sell another cure.

Environmentalists have worked this scam for years. It has been lucrative, so they discourage anyone saying WE'RE GETTING BETTER. Like government agencies, environmental activists have a vested interest in ensuring that problems are never solved. They only get worse. Otherwise, the funding dries up and you have to find a REAL job to earn a living.

Clueless people who listen to the environmental mau-maus are convinced that the world is in the worst shape it's ever been and it's going quickly downhill. I realize that the propaganda spewed by environmentalists is pervasive and effective, but I simply have to wonder what happened to the memory banks of those who swallow it.

I am fifty years old. I remember leaded gasoline, raw sewage being "treated" by pouring it into the Savannah River on the outgoing tide, the rotten-egg stench of sulphur dioxide belching from the stacks of the Union Camp paper mill (smells like money!) and watching a tidal wave of soap suds rise forty feet high, wash over the road and stop traffic over the Hayner's Creek bridge when I was a boy. I don't see or smell crap like that anymore. Shad fishermen string their nets in the Savannah River where once it was toxic, dead and liable to catch fire at any minute. I remember when a nimble person could run across the river from bank to bank without getting wet feet, just by treading on the God-Knows-What that floated there at the time. Anybody who says the environment is worse now than it used to be is out of his mind.

But we have a lot of stupid people in this world. It's good for environmentalists.
I really didn't believe President Bush would pursue THIS IDIOTIC IDEA because it was so perfectly Clintonian, but Bush appears eager to throw the full might of the federal government behind it. The nanny state is alive and well in the Bush White House.

I smoke cigarettes. I know my nasty habit does terrible harm to my health, probably trims years from my life, and makes the last breath from my lungs when I die smell like Marlboro Menthol Light 100s to a non-smoker, which is worse than me killing myself slowly. I may irritate delicate nostrils when I expire and offend somebody.

Well, SCREW THEM, and I hope I offend a lot of people by writing that statement. I LIKE cigarettes. I am fully aware of all the risks to my health, and I accept them. If I am diagnosed with lung cancer tomorrow, I will throw rocks at any lawyer who shows up at my door to sue a tobacco company on my behalf and make me a quadzillionaire if I only will say how those evil merchants of death fooled me, lied to me and made me ignorant as a dirt clod for thirty years. Nobody fooled me. Nobody lied to me. I am not ignorant. I am a free man and I made a choice. It may be a choice others disagree with, but it's not THEIR choice. It's MINE. And I will live (or die) with it. And I AM OFFENDED when any self-appointed nanny wants to take that natural right away from me.

Because I believe that way, my government feels compelled to treat me, and everyone like me, as a child in need of a strong Uncle Sam to steer him right. We have mullahs in this country. Some work for special-interest groups, but a lot of them are attorneys, politicians and regulators who OBEY the special interest groups. If this obnoxious lawsuit succeeds, tobacco companies will cave and do whatever the government dictates and smokers such as myself will pay the price. The world immediately will become a better place because there will be less smoke-- and less freedom, too.

The idea of discouraging youth smoking by making half a cigarette pack contain a health alert has to be a brain-fart cut by someone who never raised a teenager. Put a skull and crossbones on one side of the pack and a color picture of a cancerous lung on the other, and teenagers who DON'T SMOKE will want to carry that full-fledged, flip-the-bird token of defiance in their shirt pockets for all their friends to see.

Besides, the original states' Attorney's General extortion racket, excuse me..."lawsuit," against Big Tobacco reaped billions of dollars that were supposed to be used to pay for all those increased healthcare costs smokers inflict on society (we never speak of the non-smoker with Alzheimer's who lives to be 95 and all the costs THAT person generates while smokers have the good grace to die young and leave the "Social Security Trust Fund" richer for the contributions they made and never collected) and to discourage teenage smokers. That was the moral high ground from which a bunch a crafty crooks cold-bloodedly fleeced a legitimate business. Once they had the money, they abandoned the high ground and went straight to the gutter. A few attorneys became overnight billionaires for very little work. States took their windfalls and spent it like kids in a candy store. Healthcare costs and anti-smoking programs, the justifications for the suits to begin with, went right out the window when the money arrived.

Now we discover that some of the states so devestated by Big Tobacco took their extortion money and INVESTED IN TOBACCO COMPANIES. All the better to discourage teenage smoking, no doubt.

This entire affair is obscene and it's not over yet.
Compare the statements of certain Afghan WARRIORS with what appears in the link below. They call us "inadequate." We call them "stupid." Our troops won handily.

Bloggers may be google-bombing, but our military is contemplating SOMETHING BIGGER. "Big BLU" is a thermobaric bomb on steroids, with 30,000 pounds of high-explosives packed into a delivery device that can burrow 100 feet below the surface before detonating. It's so heavy that it takes a B-2 bomber to carry it.

The Air Force has ordered three of these babies on an "urgent" basis.

We also have samples of Osama's DNA, which may be necessary to identify the traces of snail-trail slime on pulverized rock as his earthly remains when one of these bombs land on him. If he's not dead already.
Everybody else is posting this Dorian Grey piece, so I had better do it, too. Remember the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC cover with picture of the beautiful green-eyed Afghan girl? Well, here she is today. She's about 30 years old now.

Life is rough in Afghanistan.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

CHUCK SCHUMER, the blithering, nitwit Senator from New York, (home of ASPARAGIRL) preached before the Supreme Court about how he is "profoundly (naw, Chuck. NOTHING ABOUT YOU is profound) troubled by the extent to which the judiciary has abrogated Congress' powers." It seems that when little Chuckie can't have his way, he becomes really angry, especially when a bunch of ignorant twits in black robes rub something as ridiculous as the US Constitution in his face. He HATES it when that happens.

Schumer "pointed to so-called states' rights cases," so-called because they actually involve the right of states to govern themselves instead of granting Schumer that power. He also railed about "decisions limiting the reach of the American's with Disabilities Act," a true thalidomide baby birthed by Congress that has MORPHED into something even more disfigured than the monster Congress conceived.

Chuckie was elected to legislate, and if that pesky Supreme Court would just stop usurping his power, he would by-God show you some serious legislating, constant legislating, more laws than you can shake a stick at, and ALL OF THEM GREAT LAWS, TOO, because he thought of them. The entire country could be forced into a New York state of mind, just like his.

Such a great legislative mind should not be fettered by dowdy old farts such as the Supreme Court, especially when it comes to such silly ideas as states' rights and the Second Amendment. Leave him alone and we'll have CHUCKY'S CHEESY WORLD, which is a frightening thing to contemplate.

His rant was "politely received" by the judges, which is a tribute to their self-control, if not their wisdom. If Bugs Bunny had been there, he would have stated the truth: "Whatta MAROON!"
MAKE MY DAY! ASPARAGIRL HER OWN SELF left me a comment last night. I'm a fan of her blog site, and I really appreciate her take on the "fossilized feminist," PAT SCHROEDER. I also appreciate her take on my blog. Thank you, big-city lady!
Zzzzz... excuse me. I was waiting for Blogger to rise from the dead again. It took a while.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

I really don't know what to think about THIS. We launched Operation Anaconda, sent American troops into some pretty severe combat, bombed the living crap out of a bunch of scurvy bastards holed up in caves and ended up with this report, saying our Afghan allies are happy to see us leave. "Their kind of fighting is useless," says Commander Allah Mohammed, whoever the hell he is.

If we're so useless, you mouthy, lice-ridden prick, JOIN THE OTHER SIDE! See how long you last.

According to the lime-sucking UK reporter who filed this vile story, now that the "inadequate US troops pulled out of the battlefield," the hardy, worm-infested, barefoot Afghan heroes take over and "it is hoped their familiarity with the Taliban's tactics will help them succeed where America failed."

AMERICA FAILED? Well, folks, you heard it here first. Rumsfeld has been lying through his teeth about our progress in this battle. We dropped all those bombs and endured all those intense firefights for nothing. We FAILED. Now the brave, illiterate, diarreha-plagued Afghan warriors are left to pick up the pieces and do what we could not.

A veritable fount of wisdom and reliability known as Shah Mahood Popal, the Deputy Commander (sporting a really shiny badge found in a Cracker-Jack box) believed "it was self-preservation that stopped the attack." While we were sitting warm in our living rooms and listening to reports that over 800 Taliban troops were killed in this battle, Shah Poop gave a different perspective. "We have been very close to their (Taliban) positions and we have seen no bodies," he observed, which leads me to conclude that we dropped all those tons of bombs and DIDN'T KILL ANYBODY. NOT ONE SINGLE SOUL! Except for maybe a few innocent civilians who were picking up scrap metal in the vicinity.

Shah-Boom also gave this assessment of American troops: "They were weakening our morale, it was better for them to go." Yeah. YOU go, guy.

I still believe a lot of dead Taliban are scattered, probably in pieces, around where we bombed and our "inadequate" soldiers fought. And I realize that the reporter filing this story had a private agenda he served well: America is incompetent, our soldiers suck and they are depending on the canny, veteran, toothless Afghan warriors to win battles while the US military does nothing more than provide sound effects and big clouds of smoke. That's the whine European elites want with their cheese. Once this big waste of time, money and effort blows up in our faces, we'll be forced to come crawling to the Euroweenies for advice about how to be less "simplistic" in the future.

Horseshit. I believe we tore the enemy's ass a new crack. They were just stupid enough to regroup where we could find them, and we blew their socks off with their feet still in them. Let Shah-Boom and Mohammed Allah go loot the bodies and pry out the gold teeth the way these carrion-pickers do once the fighting is over. But they didn't win that battle. We did.

I know the Afghans can fight. They've been doing it for centuries, which shows that they DON'T KNOW HOW TO WIN. We do. When we put our minds to it, nobody lasts more than five years.
WATCH OUT MCDONALD'S! As surprising as it may seem, we have YET ANOTHER SHOCKING SCIENTIFIC STUDY that is, well, shocking in what it discovered. Fat is deadly. Obesity causes 30% to 50% more health problems than even smoking! When these results were released, strident voices immediately rang out, crying "Give the tobacco companies back the money we stole from them! They're not the true villians!"

Well, I made up that last part. The greedy bastards who extorted the money from tobacco companies intend to keep it, and now they've set their sights on another plump prey. "In terms of dollar amounts, the study found that obesity raised healthcare costs by an average of $395 a year, while smoking increased costs $230 and heavy drinking is associated with a $150 annual increase." See? Fat people are COSTING US MONEY! WE WANT IT BACK!

The only way to achieve justice in this situation is to punish the perpetrators, which won't be fat people themselves, because they spend all their money stuffing their faces with food, and therefore have no deep pockets, except for the fact that they wear very large waistline pants. No, the real money, er...I mean the real VILLIANS in this case are the big, rich, corporate providers of junk-food products who lure their innocent clients into a web of deception, hook them on their addictive products and never, ever warn them of the health hazards involved. THEY MUST BE PUNISHED for the good of us all, which will be especially good for those who happen to be trial lawyers who missed out on the hyena-fest tobacco suits.

I recently read a "Sports Illustrated" article about how many people actually are offended by Indian mascot names for sports teams. The results show that a small but noisey bunch of activists wield much more influence than they deserve, because they stay on the warpath constantly, while most people don't give a damn one way or the other. The ones who don't care accede to the activists just to shut them up, never realizing that if we do this often enough, we lose our freedom altogether. So it is with the anti-smoking movement, so it is with the anti-gun movement, and so it will be with the anti-fat movement.

But fat people outnumber the slim and trim among us (I am in the MINORITY, by God!). Maybe if the save-us-from-ourselves activists press this issue fervently enough, the doughballs asleep on the couch finally will awaken and realize that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Go away, live your life the way you see fit, but leave me alone to live MINE!

Too much already has been lost, but this may be the right battle at the right time to set things straight again. I support the fat people, even though I'm not one of them.

I have a friend who operates a greenhouse in Louisiana. He sent me an e-mail:

Louisiana is supplying an army of Cajuns to go to Afghanistan to hunt the Taliban. When they arrive, they will be told three things:
1) There is a limit of two
2) The season ended two weeks ago
3) They taste like chicken

My friend figures the Taliban will be wiped out in just a few days.
Driving home from work always is difficult. I leave between 4:00 and 5:00 almost every day, in the middle of rush hour, and I have to traverse Bay Street in downtown Savannah to escape the city. Every block has an uncoordinated traffic light, the tour buses full of gawking yankees clog traffic by creeping along, taking up both westbound lanes, causing me to sit through two full cycles of lights sometimes before I can advance. Doofuses with Florida license plates stop dead in the road to check out street signs, idiots coming up the ramps from River Street attempt left turns against four lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, other tourists dart out of the azalea bushes to jaywalk an inch from my hood, and every now and then a city crew blocks off one lane of the road to stand around an open manhole and deal with a serious sewer problem by smoking cigarettes and checking out the hot tourist chicks strolling by. The trip home always makes me yearn for an URBAN ASSAULT VEHICLE.

This weekend is Saint Patrick's Day. That makes everything ten times worse than usual. The city is already crawling with bodies, reminding me of a fire ant mound with the top kicked off, even though the parade doesn't occur until Saturday. Bay Street westbound is closed, thanks to the number of drunks and tourists getting a four-day head start on the festivities, so I must take Oglethorpe to reach I-16, and from there hit I-95 to Highway 21 to get home every day. It's only going to get worse as the week progresses. I wish I knew a helicopter pilot. THAT'S the only way to travel downtown Savannah this week. Above it.

Erin go Bragh!

Talk about a PLEASANT SURPRISE! The US Senate actually displayed a lick of sense today and DID NOT pass regulations increasing fuel efficiency standards for vehicles driven on US highways. I really believed there was enough drum-beating and mau-mauing by John Kerry, John McCain and every nutball environmentalist group in the country to persuade the "Greatest Deliberative Body in the World" to prove its stupidity by increasing CAFE standards. I am stunned by the lopsided vote, too.

Maybe they read a few articles such as THIS ONE and a dim ray of understanding penetrated their thick, largely empty, skulls. CAFE standards make environmentalists and Ralph Nader happy, but they kill drivers and passengers, including children, in their cars. I oppose such legislation because I believe the government has NO DAMNED BUSINESS dictating how many miles per gallon a vehicle I buy with my own money must get on the highway. But I am sorely out of touch with mainstream thinking. A lot of people really appreciate the government stepping up to shoulder the heavy responsibility of deciding how much water an American toilet may flush when somebody makes wee-wee in it. I don't. If I were king, I would flush most of Congress, no matter how much water it took to do the job right.

Of course, I am a complete cynic, born with a jaundiced eye and suspicious of ANYTHING that springs full-grown from the forehead of Zeus... I mean Washington, DC. Perhaps, in light of today's Solomon-like decision by the Senate, I should rethink my position.

Okay, I just did. I remain a cynic. Give Congress a day or two to forget this rare burst of brilliance, and they will have a collective brain-fart that more than compensates for a bout of temporary sanity. I still don't trust them.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

GASP!!! A terrorist attack on an American chemical industry could result in over 1,000,000 DEATHS if the terrorists knew exactly what was on company property, how much could be released into the atmosphere at once and the ideal wind conditions to affect the maximum number of people nearby. Environmentalists are in an uproar about this fact, which is not surprising, because they are responsible for making this information available to any terrorist who wants to spend one hour out of his busy day to find it.

When the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act were passed, the EPA, goaded with brainless abandon by environmental extremist groups, forced chemical industries to document not only the quantity of hazardous chemicals they kept on site, but data on potential release scenarios, how the chemicals would spread, and how much exposure the local population would suffer as a result under prevailing weather conditions. Environmentalists, under the guise of protecting the public from toxic chemical releases, made the perfect blueprint for a terrorist attack against a chemical industry.

Not content with that idiocy, environmentalists went further and proclaimed that this information should be readily available to ANYONE who wanted to see it. Their agenda was clear. If a chemical industry operated in a town, and every fireman, policeman. emergency responder, hospital worker and local government official knew of the potential hazards and the plans in place to control them, THAT wasn't good enough. Some sandal-wearing, tree-hugging, ponytail-growing, granola-crunching, tofu-sucking environmentalist from MAINE, for crying out loud, could show up one day in Savannah, Georgia and demand to see those records. The purpose was not to protect anyone. It was to scare the shit out of as many people as they could in the hope of shutting down chemical industries.

If you want to know how to do more damage than the 9/11 attacks, just go to one of the EPA-dictated READING ROOMS and collect all the data you need. If you can't make it to reading room, just hit Greenpeace USA on their web site. They publish this information as a "public service." They are serving the public, all right.

"The US Public Interest Research Group and other environmentalists have called for legislation to require operators of chemical facilities to reduce the quantities of hazardous chemicals stored at their sites or switch to safer materials." After 22 years of working in the chemical industry, I read that statement and slapped myself in the forehead. "Goddam! Why didn't WE think of that?"

Those assholes put us in the position we are in, at the mercy of terrorists who want the information those assholes insisted be made readily available to any Islamic terrorist who wants it.

Environmentalists don't understand it, but we in the chemical industry have worked for years to reduce hazardous chemical inventories on plant site, sought substitutions whenever possible and have NO INTENT WHATSOEVER of ever killing a million people because of a mistake we make. The industry spends billions of dollars every year complying with unbelievably stringent regulations delivered by three very powerful government entities: OSHA, EPA and DOT. We are not the villian. We don't want to kill anybody. We just want to go to work every day, do our jobs, collect a paycheck and support our families.

The tree-huggers are making that goal difficult to achieve. In in their quest to make it impossible, they may kill us to save us all.

I received an e-mail from corporate headquarters today notifying everyone in the company that we were delighted to welcome a new accounting firm on board. After many years of pleasant relationships with ARTHUR ANDERSEN, we have dropped them like a radioactive isotope, which is what they deserve. I work for a respectable company that takes its dignity very seriously. We will not be associated with swine such as those.

I am surprised more pundits and slash-writers don't mention that Arthur Anderson "twice has been in trouble with the SEC involving accounting matters, with Waste Management, Inc. ( which was a mini-Enron scandal, only about garbage, which nobody really wanted to root to the bottom of) and Sunbeam, Corp." The corrupt shits did it before and got away with it; so, why change ? Now, that choice is out of their hands as they cast about desperately for rescue from a dilemma they created for themselves. Too bad.
Geeze... I don't really know why I'm doing this now. I had all my ducks in a row for serious blogging when I got home at 6:00 PM today. But BLOGGER was down again, until just a minute ago. Since I arrived home, I've eaten a big, fat ribeye steak, consumed a few glasses of wine and no longer have that same fire in the belly, that "GUT RUMBLE" I usually have when I blog. I believe I have a huge sleep-booger in my brain instead.

But I'll try to post something before I retire to tumultious dreams. First of all, another PERSONALITY TEST, just for my adoring fans who took the Philisopher Selector test. What kind of gun are you? Find out.

Monday, March 11, 2002

The disgusting fiasco of ASBESTOS LITIGATION is mentioned in Time Magazine. I have ranted about this obscenity numerous times, but the tort gravy train rolls on, affecting more and more businesses, stockholders and 401-K plans every day, with no end in sight. If the Democrats in Congress weren't snugly in the pocket of trial lawyers, they would stop pontificating about Enron and do something about this TRUE financial disaster.
The latest Zogby poll shows that Hillary Clinton runs a close second to Al Gore as a choice for the Democrat nominee in the 2004 Presidential election. Tom Daschle pulls a limp 8%. The article is worth reading just for the comments.
WHERE DO THESE DINGBATS COME FROM? In THIS CASE, San Francisco, of course. Professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is teaching a class at Cal State Hayward called the Sexuality of Terrorism, and it is "about the relationship of gender and organized violence." Or something like that. The terrorists were "victims," by the way. Read if you dare, but keep a barf-bag handy.
WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE SMOKING? HERE'S a story gleefully declaring that's it's once again "cool" to criticize President Bush for being an airhead. Examples of the "cool" people heaping scorn on the President's head are Michael Moore, Sandra Bernhard and New York Times writer Frank Bruni. Intellectual giants, all, and as lefty as they come. I'm surprised Alec Baldwin and Ted Rall weren't quoted for THEIR thoughts on Bush, just to paint a really accurate picture of how mainstream America views the President.

"However, with polls reporting that Bush's approval ratings are no longer stratospheric (I suppose that a mere 88% is less than "stratospheric" to this writer) and Democrats are becoming increasingly critical of the President's right-wing agenda, it would appear the second honeymoon is definitely over." Yes, it WOULD appear that way to you, because you are an idiot.

I am not as enthusiastic about George Bush as I was a few weeks ago. I believe the tariff on steel imports is a bad idea that smacks of political pandering. I believe the decision to continue the Clinton Justice Department's repugnant lawsuit against tobacco companies borders on the obscene. I hope the son is not morphing into his father. That crap worries me.

Still, Bush has done an excellent job handling the war and the aftermath of 9/11. He hasn't caved on the ridiculous Koyoto Treaty, and he managed to cut taxes. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

Sunday, March 10, 2002

Today is a brilliant, blue-sky glory of a day, with just a hint of winter's departure kissing my face when the north wind blows. I wasted the whole thing. I should have been energetic and tilled my garden. I should have planted flowers. I should have done a lot of things I didn't do. Instead, I played CDs and blogged, after I took a picture of the red-sky sunrise with a sliver of moon in the background this morning. It was beautiful.

Down the road, the dogwoods are blooming shamelessly, stretching their limbs toward the sun and bursting out in brilliant colors. They remind me of women who bare their breasts after the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah. Shameless, but lovely. The latest bout of cold weather didn't stop the azaleas from flaunting their beauty, and their multi-colored blossoms are a delight to behold. Unfortunately, I see lots of oddball green things popping up in my sand-pit front yard where nothing grew before. The sap is rising around here. I will have to cultivate what I like and kill what I don't like. And I must be merciless about it, because I face a worthy foe.

She may be pretty to look at, but Mother Nature is a heartless bitch.
"COP3," my ex-roommate from college, came by yesterday to visit and pick a few guitar licks with me. I couldn't wait to give him the Ethical Philosopher Selector test, but I couldn't get into MY OWN DAMMED BLOG at the time. Things must have unhosed themselves later, because he e-mailed me his results today. I was 100% Rand. He is 100% Kant.

I believe he was drunk when he answered the questions. I've known COP3 for more than 30 years, and I KANT imagine him scoring the way he did. But who knows... maybe he has been assimilated.
Vietnam was the war of my generation, and I never fought in it. I entered college in 1970 and earned a nice 2-S draft deferment, which kept me safely out of harm's way until the "rich boy goes to college, poor boy goes to war" rant convinced congress to screw EVERYBODY equally and eliminate the 2-S draft classification. I remember well the day I came home and found the change to 1-A status in my mailbox. I was not happy to see it. For anyone drafted at the time, basic training and a subsequent tour of scenic oriental rice paddies were a given.

The military recruitment offices were located in the basement of the Post Office in downtown Savannah. I went there the next day, determined to volunteer, so that I might have some choice about my fate, instead of being snatched by the nape of the neck and cast wherever the long arm of Uncle Sam chose. I came away with an armload of brochures, pamphlets, flyers, and other assorted hand-outs, but I didn't sign anything. I did, however, have my priorities pretty well figured out. My first choice was the Coast Guard, but my father was not a congressman, nor a golfing buddy of a congressman, so I had very little chance of getting in, since all the slots available were taken by congressmen's sons and golfing buddies of congressmen's sons. My second choice was the Air Force. I could cook, I could type and I was fairly literate, so I thought I might enlist and lasso a desk job in Florida, where I could develop a nice suntan while I served my four-year hitch. If THAT scheme didn't pan out, I chose the U.S. Navy as my backup plan. I like the water, I've never been seasick and my father was a sailor. I could wear bell-bottoms with button-up flys and carry on a family tradition, and I would see Vietnam from far offshore, if I saw it at all.

But the government froze the draft until they conducted a lottery, and I drew the lucky number of 353. I immediately tossed all that recruitment literature in the trash can and waited for my 1-H deferment (HIGH lottery number) to arrive in the mail. It did, and I never went to war.

Before my father died, he once said he would have sent me to Canada before he would have allowed me to be drafted and shipped off to Vietnam. I asked him why he thought I would accept that offer. He seemed surprised. Yeah, nobody, least of all ME, wanted to be drafted and shipped off to a war that was looking more and more senseless every day. But I would have gone, or joined the Air Force or the Navy. I would not have run away. I watched too many John Wayne movies during my formative years to live with myself if I did something so cowardly. I often wonder if my life would be entirely different if things hadn't worked out the way they did back then.

Vietnam was an ugly war, but that was because the people who called the shots were ugly people with a totally screwed-up idea of how to fight it. American soldiers fought bravely and inflicted incredible damage on the enemy. Piss-poor leadership doomed their efforts, but the soldiers deserve credit for what they did. They didn't lose the war. Politicians and bureaucrats did.

Read THIS. It's powerful.

Despite 9/11 and a war in Afghanistan, these are difficult times for network news. Viewership is shrinking and the audience that remains is growing old and gray. In 1970-71, 75% of the television audience watched the evening news. Today, that figure is 43%, and a mere 29% among that coveted 18-to-49-year old age group that advertisers love. I don't believe that is a bad thing.

Perhaps "cable news still has a long way to go in terms of gaining the audience's confidence. They don't feel drawn to cable by the credibility of a Walter Cronkite." Maybe so, but fewer and fewer people seem drawn to network news by the credibility of Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw. I grew up watching Walter Cronkite and the Huntley-Brinkley team, back when the evening news was THE NEWS and not a saccarine mismash of Entertainment TV, the National Enquirer and Stupid Pet Tricks, all served up in convenient 90-second bites.

If I never again see Dan Rather lashed to a tree or a telephone pole while reporting on a hurricane, ("Ladies and gentlemen, the winds are TREMENDOUS and the rain is falling SIDEWAYS") I won't be disappointed. Hell, that kind of story isn't about the hurricane; it's about DAN RATHER in the hurricane. I cannot imagine Walter Cronkite or Chet Huntley or David Brinkley doing anything so asinine and calling it "news." We don't have newscasters anymore; we have blow-dried, cosmetically-enhanced celebrities putting on a show, where the news itself is less important than the person in front of the camera. No wonder fewer and fewer people watch that crap.

If you peruse the two posts below, you'll see why I don't watch the network news anymore. The internet is a mother lode of information, about EVERYTHING, including some really off-the-wall stuff that you find by accident while searching for something else. You don't need a highly-compensated celebrity to translate it for you, either. If I want to gaze at a pretty woman or a handsome man reciting headlines I've already read, I can tune in to CNN, and I don't have to wait until 6:30 in the evening to do it.

Dan, Peter and Tom are dinosaurs, and nobody needs to worry about who will replace them when they retire, because the "anchorman" job itself is a dinosaur. Spend thirty minutes reading good blogs every day and you'll learn a lot more than you will watching those petrified talking heads. The times, they are a-changing, and network news is the buggy-whip in a turbo-charged world.

It had its day, but it's long gone now.
THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT...CRAZY! Police may have no clue why the SOCK-NAPPER was compelled to strip 14-year old girls barefoot, but I believe I know why he did it. The guy is a PERVERT!

I love the headline, "Pr. George's Man Accused of Snatching Girls' Socks." At least he wasn't Socking Girls'... well, never mind.
If this guy is a VAMPIRE, then why did he use a two-foot sword to murder his victim? I would have expected fangs in the neck.