Monday, October 31, 2005

School Daze

One thing I'm good at is complaining. After visiting private high-schools this
weekend I was getting ready to gripe about the cost, but really, the one we
like best isn't the most expensive, and plus, we only have one kid to send, wow,
don't know how some people do it, sending several at a time, oh yeah, and
there's this:

VATICAN CITY -- "Barbaric." That's what the Vatican calls the beheading of three Indonesian schoolgirls who were attacked over the weekend as they walked to their Christian high school.
The head of one of the girls was left outside a newly built Christian church.
The attacks occurred on the Indonesian island where around 1,000 people have been killed in Muslim-Christian violence.
Kind of makes whining about expenses a lame pursuit. At least my kid will
come home each day with all her parts. [btw... it says 1000 dead in Muslim-Christian
violence. I wonder how many victims were Muslim?]

Thursday, October 27, 2005


From the Report on the Manipulation of the Oil-for-Food Programme (27 October 2005):


The Government of Iraq did not give preference to companies based in the United Kingdom in
determining oil allocations under the Programme. Nonetheless, a total of over 18 million barrels
of oil were allocated either directly in the name of George Galloway, a member of the British
Parliament, or in the name of one of his associates, Fawaz Abdullah Zureikat (“Fawaz Zureikat”),
to support Mr. Galloway’s campaign against the sanctions. Mr. Zureikat was a prominent
Jordanian businessman. Mr. Zureikat received commissions for handling the sale of
approximately 11 million barrels that were allocated in Mr. Galloway’s name.
Both Mr. Galloway and Mr. Zureikat have denied that Mr. Galloway was involved in obtaining
the oil allocations or receiving any proceeds from the oil sales. Each of them has acknowledged,
however, that Mr. Zureikat made large donations to the Mariam Appeal, a United Kingdom-based
campaign for the lifting of sanctions against Iraq. Mr. Galloway was the founder of this
organization. Mr. Galloway has denied that he was aware of the source of Mr. Zureikat’s
donations. According to Iraqi officials, another oil beneficiary, Burhan Al-Chalabi, also received
an allocation intended to benefit the Mariam Appeal. A portion of the profits from this allocation
was deposited into an account of Mr. Galloway’s wife, Amineh Naji Daoud Abu Zayyad, who
was also involved with the Mariam Appeal.


Here's a probably all too common video of what happens when
foolish young men get together with alcohol and a zippo. Turn down the
sound a little, some college boys scream like little girls when they catch fire.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


From Slate, no really:

Christopher Hitchens writes, "I added that I wanted no further contact with Galloway
until I could have the opportunity of reviewing his prison diaries."

Har, hurry the day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Feel the Burn

I'm in favor of any exercise that begins with, "ok, lay on a comfortable surface"

Monday, October 24, 2005

UN Covering for the Bad Actors

From the Times Online (UK):

UN office doctored report on murder of Hariri
From James Bone in New York and Nicholas Blanford in Beirut

THE United Nations withheld some of the most damaging allegations against Syria in its report on the murder of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, it emerged yesterday.
The names of the brother of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, and other members of his inner circle, were dropped from the report that was sent to the Security Council.

The confidential changes were revealed by an extraordinary computer gaffe because an electronic version distributed by UN officials on Thursday night allowed recipients to track editing changes.

The mistaken release of the unedited report added further support to the published conclusion that Syria was behind Mr Hariri’s assassination in a bomb blast on Valentine’s Day in Beirut. The murder of Mr Hariri touched off an international outcry and hastened Syria’s departure from Lebanon in April after a 29-year pervasive military presence.

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, described the report’s findings as “deeply troubling”. Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said: “It is an unpleasant story which the international community will take very seriously indeed.”

But the furore over the doctoring of the report threatened to overshadow its damaging findings. It raised questions about political interference by Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary- General, who had promised not to make any changes in the report.

Yet more evidence that the UN needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.


Looks like it's all happening pretty much south of my people. Keep your
heads down everyone.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Don't know why but Joan Rivers never much appealed to me. Maybe it's
that hoarse voice, or just her style. But good for her, for not getting PC
. She stuck to her guns, good for her.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Which One to Pick?

I can't believe we're trying to pick a high school already. I swear it was just last
week I was taking the kid's picture and I had to put pillows on either side of
her to keep her from falling over. And it seems like yesterday she would stand
on tip-toe to see if she could reach the light switch yet. What the hell has
happened to time? My year in eighth grade took decades to get through. Hers
is racing past in a blur.
Anyway, what is this pick-a-high-school stuff? When I was a kid, there was one
high school and you went to it. It didn't matter if there was a fire breathing
bully, it didn't matter if you'd already ruined all four years with a never to be forgotten
zipper down in the first week. You went.
But I guess the old one-school option at least exempted you from all the
indecision and worry that the kid is going through now. Which one to choose?
The one with the drug problem, or clique central? And yikes, the bus rides can be
brutal in this area.
Ah well. Maybe a clear choice will jump out at us. I'd like a school that offers lots
of after school activities, angels in the hall, and constant monitoring of the boys.
It wouldn't hurt to have good teachers either.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Do you ever feel good because it's other people who are stuck in traffic?
I almost headed north this morning, and I *would* have if I didn't have a
mountain of paperwork calling my name. Anyway, I just missed this:

BALTIMORE - Authorities closed one of two highway tunnels carrying traffic under Baltimore's harbor for nearly two hours Tuesday and partially shut the other because of a threat to detonate vehicles full of explosives inside the tubes.

The Baltimore Harbor Tunnel was closed and the Fort McHenry Tunnel was reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction, said Lt. Col. David Franklin of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. The closures began about 11:30 a.m. and officers began reopening the tubes about 1:15 p.m.

"The safe thing right now is to allow these tunnels to reopen," said Chief Gary McLhinney of the transportation authority police.


Friday, October 14, 2005

My Bad

Well not *bad* bad, just bad. I knew as soon as I saw this story that I was
one of the culprits. "Nebraska Weather Photos Passed Off As Hurricane Katrina"
Yup, but at least I admitted that I couldn't find who had taken them. Heck,
some people tried to sell them as their own work. Anyway, the photographer's site
is way cool. Check out the main page too. God sure makes some pretty weather.

Have petard, will hoist

From NewsBusters:

In a deliciously ironic twist of fate, shortly before airing a segment aimed at embarrassing
the Bush administration by suggesting that it had staged a video conversation between the
president and soldiers in Iraq, the Today show was caught staging . . . a video stunt.

Watch the video. It's hoot inducing.

And I was feeling energetic today

Started the day, well, almost peppy. Now reality catches up:

Stones tour with heart machine
The Rolling Stones have a heart machine reportedly backstage in case one collapses on their US tour.

Organisers have brought in a defibrillator, used to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm.....

"Hey man, Warren Zevon doesn't rock. Warren Zevon takes way more Digitalis than Robert Palmer.
Robert Palmer rocks."

Thursday, October 13, 2005


And speaking of the french:

Watch yourself in the showers

From the Guardian:

Ex-French U.N. Diplomat Taken Into Custody
Tuesday October 11, 2005 6:31 PM
Associated Press Writer

PARIS (AP) - France's former U.N. ambassador has been taken into custody as part of an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in the Iraq oil-for-food program, judicial officials said Tuesday.

Jean-Bernard Merimee, 68, who also was ambassador to Italy from 1995-98 and to Australia in the 1980s, is suspected of having received kickbacks in the form of oil allocations from the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He was also a special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan from 1999 to 2002.

Merimee was taken into custody on Monday, and is expected to be presented Wednesday to the judge leading the probe, the officials said on condition of anonymity because French law does not allow disclosure of information from judicial investigations.

Merimee was France's permanent representative to the U.N. from 1991-95. He was one of the world body's most prominent diplomats, in part because France occupies one of five permanent seats on the powerful U.N. Security Council.

So maybe I was wrong. I assumed that we didn't have France's support because they
were, for whatever reasons, unconvincible. Who knew they were for sale?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

cool day

Man, what great weather to work in. This afternoon I had to wait a half
hour for my customer to show up and it didn't bother me one bit. I just
leaned against a fence and enjoyed being not-hot. Watching the birdies
was just a bonus.


Oh man, the prettiest kid in the world clicked on a link that brought a
world of infection to her computer. Spent till way late futzing around
with it. And this morning I have the thing running, well, sorta. Here's
the thing.... I let virus definitions lapse, and ok, so now I'd gladly
pay to re-up the antivirus subscription, but that would involve
sending credit card data over this computer. [which computer, for all I
know, is broadcasting my vacation pictures to every script-kiddie in
north america] Ah well, I should go make money. If this thing needs
further repair, well, there's no shortage of axes in the lumber camp.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


And rain, and more rain.
And I've got lots of driving to do so I better motivate.
Wish I wasn't leaving the dogs on such bad terms though. Walking
past the pug on my way to get another cup of joe, I leaned over
to pet her. She's gurring with pleasure as I rub her stomach... then
WHAP! my cell phone slides out of my shirt pocket and bonks her in the
face. Poor pup. No amount of apologies worked. I may have to resort
to bologna baksheesh.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sheep Giving

From Michael Yon, reporting from Iraq:

One time, the soldiers arrived at COP Eagle to deliver a sheep to the commander, LTC Ali Gharza, only to find him sleeping. So Kurilla told the Iraqi guards to be quiet, and he snuck the stinking sheep into the commander’s room, shutting the door behind it. When the Iraqi commander jumped from bed in a state of confusion, Kurilla and his men burst in and everyone got a hearty laugh. Another time, Kurilla took a sheep and plopped it right on Colonel Eid’s desk.

Eid’s men had done something sheep-worthy—I’ve forgotten what it was, but it almost certainly involved killing terrorists—and we headed to the market. I always thought we were going to get blown up at the sheep market. After shopping for the best sheep, Kurilla started seriously haggling over the price while Iraqi buyers led sheep away, putting them inside car trunks and driving away. All along I was thinking “let’s get outta this death trap!” After threatening to buy a sheep from the next guy if he didn’t get an honest price, finally the deal was sealed, and we loaded the sheep on the Stryker and headed over to 4-West.

On the wall behind Colonel Eid’s desk hang two rifles that had once belonged to terrorists killed by his men. Entering Eid’s office that day, Kurilla said, “Colonel Eid! I brought you a sheep, but this one is tied up to the tree outside.”

Eid smiled. The professional respect from another commander was worth mountains of future progress in Mosul, and so what happened next took everyone by surprise.

Kurilla smiled and said, “That’s a nice sheep. But it’s only for eating.”

I nearly fell mute. Did he really just say that? The interpreter said to Kurilla, “Excuse me sir?”

“You know what I said. Tell him the sheep is only for eating. It’s not a girlfriend. Translate it.”

That’s it. Kurilla’s lost his mind. I was ready to run for the door.

The interpreter hesitated. Then translated. Colonel Eid burst into laughter.

“I’m serious,” said Kurilla, “only for eating.” Since the two commanders were laughing, everyone who’d stiffened when they first heard the words now laughed. The commanders got down to business plotting how to kill more bad guys. But from then on, every time we delivered a sheep, even the police guards would yell down to us from behind their machine guns, “Only for eating!” and all would burst out laughing.

Good to know the ISF can appreciate a good sheep joke.

Attic Found

Friday, October 07, 2005

Howard Dean

The republican party has nothing to fear so long as the D's
just keep talking. Dean, from the Post:

In one eyebrow-raising moment, Dean invoked a crude phrase usually reserved for the locker room when urging Bush to make public Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers's White House records. "I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can't play, you know, hide the salami, or whatever it's called," he said.
I know, it was just a slip of the tongue. Not a big deal.
But Dean's doofus-talk won't get the play it would have if an R had said
it. [me, I'm just happy it wasn't from the mouth of our Texan]
(via Tim Blair)

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Getting home late, I checked the cable guide to see if there was
anything interesting while I ate dinner. I found:
"Army of Darkness -- A modern day department store clerk time travels to
medieval England, where he does battle with his chainsaw and his '73 Oldsmobile...."

Man, I don't even have to watch it; I feel good just knowing that it exists.

Harry Potter

From Reuters:

LONDON (Reuters) - A British cleric and top-selling author of children's books was thrown out of a school where he said Harry Potter was "gay" during a talk to 12-year-olds.

Reverend Graham Taylor, who penned the novel "Shadowmancer" which, like the tales of the famous boy wizard created by J.K. Rowling, centers on witchcraft and battling evil, got his marching orders after teachers accused him of homophobia.

"As for Harry Potter, well, he's not the only gay in the village," Taylor told children at Penair School in Truro, southwest England, referring to a catchphrase from the popular British comedy TV show "Little Britain."

He also said villains in Rowling's blockbuster series were "wimps" and called TV "crap" compared to books.

Teachers stopped Taylor's talk and asked him to leave.

This was a cleric? Maybe he was put on tilt because the Rowling books are
so much more popular than his. Besides, everyone knows that
it's Malfoy who's gay.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What gives?

What is it with these guys who have to work the obscure word-of-the-day
into their blog posts. Do they think it will make us think they're brighter
than they really are? Me, I see little effulgence in the practice.


Another from Yahoo:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A clown in the operating room may relax anxious
children who are about to undergo surgery...
Oh really? I've seen younger kids vibrate with clown-fear. I saw
one kid run right through the child gate, pulling the latch out of the wall,
in order to escape the clown. And who hasn't had to fish a kid out
from under the table at the first sign of Chuck E ? (who, really, is just
a clown with fur)


From an AFP story via Yahoo:

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Representative Tom DeLay, a powerful ally of President
George W. Bush, was indicted on a new charge of money
laundering as his lawyers moved to dismiss a previous
conspiracy indictment filed last week.

Come on, it's bad enough that the charges are bogus, is
this awkward attempt to link the two men necessary?

"Tropical Storm Tammy formed just off Florida's east
coast Wednesday, very much like Katrina, the storm
that President Bush has been accused of mishandling,

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I'd heard about the Postsecret site, but I didn't know
the wife had been sending in postcards.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day

Arianna Huffington has got a piece: Huff Post Exclusive: Judy Miller's $1.2 Million Book Deal...
And it's sub-headed: "Making Faux Martyrdom Pay: Judy Miller Lands a Book Deal"
Good to see someone on the left is also able to recognize stupid
grandstanding when they see it.
Darn, wonder why I just can't seem to link to the huffie-post, oh yeah, it's
because I'd rather not.

Off to Meet the Probate, err... People

I was going to say probate pukes but I realize it's not their fault
that probate rivals root canal on my favorite things list. It's just that
it's their arena and and I'm only a guest gladiator. They could quit
sending in lions but I've quit expecting help from employees of the
state. I imagine I am making progress, maybe.