Saturday, March 01, 2003

Just popping in to wish everyone a good weekend. I'll be back tomorrow afternoon. I'm about 80% done with the raw writing on my 'History' rant. A quick polish, some HTML tags to add, a few hyperlinks to connect, and you'll get to read it. My wife says it's good, but she may be biased...

Come back tomorrow and judge for yourself.

Friday, February 28, 2003

I just remembered that it was Friday, and time for the Friday Five. So without further ado... (where did that phrase come from, anyway?)

1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)? Sci-Fi and Speculative fiction

2. What is your favorite novel? Of all time? I'd be hard pressed to limit myself to just a dozen.

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!) I've never been one for poetry, sorry...

4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read? The Qu'ran. In the original Arabic.

5. What are you currently reading? Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears, The World Almanac, two Spider Robinson books (one a collection of short stories and essays, the other one of his Callahan series), and Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Yes, only one at a time. What's your point?
Yet more delays. I have been fighting my computer all freaking day long, and I'm becoming tempted to throw the whole thing into a wood chipper (picture that guy in Fargo) when it suddenly works again. Maybe the 'puter realized that it had pushed me enough for one day.

I've got to go to the in-laws this weekend, since our granddaughter is being baptized this Sunday. The next update is probably going to be Sunday afternoon, so check back then. My apologies to all my loyal fans, but Real Life requires my presence this weekend.

Don't drop me yet. Great things are coming. :-)
Sorry about the delay this morning, I've been working on a longer rant, plus some minor crises at home. This is Day 2 of the Official Boycott (see yesterday's entry for more details). I'll link it up on a more pemanent basis once I get things caught up a bit.

Glad to see you this morning, and keep checking back. Big one coming! :-)

Thursday, February 27, 2003

I knew I liked (former Senator) Fred Thompson for something... Way to go, Fred! I'd vote for ya!
The next time you hear anyone say that this is a "unilateral U.S. action", tell them the truth. (Link goes to Jennie's story)
Speaking of updates, I suggest that the boycott be extended to include the purchase of any music album by any artist that appears on this list (suggested by Michele). That's not to say that I don't think that they are talented musicians (some of 'em, anyway), but that if they want to stand up against the effort to disarm and remove a mass murderer, they must take the decisions of their listening public.

This is a Rant Page, after all... LOL
I'm almost disappointed. I solved level 35 of Acno's Energizer. Now that I know how to do it, I guess the trick is to come up with faster solutions, and maximize the score. We shall see. You can write for clues, hints, details, etc.

Oh, I'm going to be looking for something like a "Boycott Counter". Some clock that shows how long the Boycott will be going on... I'll keep you all posted.
Update: Loyal Reader Badanov has suggested that I start calling the show "The Left Wing". I would be doing myself (and my readers) a disservice if I were to do that. This boycott is because these actors were letting ideologies get in the way of facts. I would be guilty of doing the same thing if I were to incorrectly refer to the show by that name.

It also occurs to me that there may be people who are affiliated with the show, but who may not agree with the political points of view displayed. Those people are almost certainly behind the scenes, and I have no wish to disparage their efforts in bringing home a paycheck. I truly enjoy the show, much like I did "Star Wars". I know that the show is fiction, but I have no problem with that. My problem comes when the actors on screen somehow forget that they are not really the President and his advisors, and make speeches about national policy and important life choices (like War vs. Peace) as if their opinions counted more than the average Joe Q. Public. The sponsors are the ones who write their paychecks.

When you're upset at a waiter, you call for the maitre'd, you don't bitch at the guy who wrote the menu...

Another point (if I may): In different countries, "Left Wing" means different things. For instance, I'm told that the left wing in Russia is the conservative side... Go figure.
It looks like Iraq is trying to buy more time by destroying a few missiles (not necessarily all of them, by the way it was phrased), while still denying that the missiles do not violate UN mandates, and that they have no WMDs of any variety. Except for the artillery shells tipped with mustard gas (which was so under-reported it's tough to find mention of them - I only found 3,300 hits).

And the thousands of liters of anthrax. And Botulinum toxins. And VX nerve gas.

And the torture chambers. And the special prisons built for the children. And the rapes. And billing the families for the bullets needed to execute deserters from the Army. And... but you see the point.
Okay, I'm as done as I can get after a frantic morning of digging. Most companies were helpful. Some, to put it bluntly, were not. They wanted to know exactly why I felt that I could impose upon their rights to advertise where they wanted. I had to explain that I was not infringing upon their rights, but that I was being proactive in exercising my own. Just because they advertise on a show is not sufficient reason to buy their products.

I also have to make myself perfectly clear. I enjoy The West Wing. The drama is high quality (usually), the dialogue is well written, and the ensemble cast works really well together. (I would love a chance to meet a few of them!) The actors are extraordinarily well-suited for their respective roles, and are deserving of the awards they have been given. But...

They are actors. They are there to pretend to emotions they do not truly feel, in order to advance a storyline invented by someone else, using words written by a third person, and are allowed many chances to get it right. They are very good at it, but these activities do NOT qualify them to speak on the manifold issues of the day with any authority.

I am not advocating that they have their Freedom of Speech restricted, but that they be reminded that their words have results, and actions have consequences. Thus, our boycott.

I have no doubt that many of these products are wonderful things, and high-quality, to boot. I have no doubt about the acting ability of Mr. Sheen. But I also have no doubt that I am more qualified to render a serious opinion on International Law, Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Processes of Democracy, National Security, Military Operations, and the consequences of multiple violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions than Mr. Sheen. Since I don't have dozens of people standing around, ready to shanghai an entertainment reporter at the drop of a script, I won't have the same chance to get my pro-America message out, and I need for Mr. Sheen (and his fellow Idiotarians) to understand that we are expressing our disappointment and frustration the only way we can. With our Wallets.

When all of these stars stand up and say that the American people do not want a war, those in positions of authority overseas see this, and do not get to see the untold millions who don't get to be on camera with their points of view. They cause these enemies of America (who watch the same news programs that we do) to think that it really is just a "cowboy" in the Oval Office who wants this war, and that he is just a few minutes away from being strung up at the nearest flag pole.

On the contrary. I (along with millions of others) support our President. We see the need to take Saddam out, using whatever means are necessary. Yes, there will be a few of our soldiers who will not return. I mourn every one of those losses. I grieve with their families. But I also know that these people went willingly, just as I did. I wasn't happy to be there, but it was my job. I did it, and I would do it again. Martin Sheen (who isn't a foreign policy expert, but he plays one on TV) needs to hear our voices.

Here are the contacts points:
United Parcel Service, Whirlpool Appliances, the POC for Glen Ellen Wines (owned by "The Wine Group" of Ripon, CA) can be reached at, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Capitol One Credit Services - the person to contact for Capitol One is the General Correspondence Manager, Debbie Hawkins (a toll-free number for the U.S. is (800) 710-8370), Maybelline Cosmetics, Chevrolet, Scott's Lawn Care, LensCrafters, Bacardi (and click on "Contact Bacardi"), SBC Communications, Mercedes Benz, KIA Automobiles (and click on "Contact"), Lipitor (which is actually owned by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals), Nescafe (and click on "Mailbox"), Cisco Systems, Pizza Hut (who is very concerned with such reactions), Prudential Real Estate, Ford Motor Companies, HBO, Xenadrine (which is owned by Cytadyne), and Saab Motor Cars.

I left one or two off, primarily the movie "Dreamcatchers" (produced by Warner Brothers Studios, which is, in turn, owned by AOL/Time Warner) and the Los Angeles Marathon. I left off the movie, for the primary reason that it was explained to me that once a movie is to the point when you begin to see commercials for that movie, it's already been paid for. I left off the Marathon, because by the time we get around to contacting them, the marathon will already have been run (it's scheduled for this Saturday, March 1st).

I left NBC for last. They have a lot of control over what shows are aired, and who gets the good TV slots. But because they don't get paid by the average consumer, they are usually unwilling to pay us much mind, which is why I am going after the advertisers, who are the ones who end up footing the bills... Contact them if you wish, just don't expect much in the way of a substantive reply.

I will repeat. Be sure to explain that you are not complaining about the quality of the ads, nor of the quality of their respective products, but that you are beginning a boycott because of their financial support of a particular actor and that actor's show. I have been careful to emphasize that Mr. Sheen is a fine actor (and he is), but that he is just that - just an actor. Not the President, not a lawyer, not a UN weapons inspector, not an ambassador. An actor. And as long as he sticks to acting, I have no problems.

If it were just he and his buddies spouting their left-wing opinions among themselves, I have no problem with that, either. But when he gets up in front of hundreds or thousands of people (who might not be there if he were at home playing ping-pong instead) and starts speaking, there are consequences of him speaking and saying words with which I do not agree.

He and his fellow travellers are welcome to boycott my site, and any advertisers, in return. We'll see...

Get the word out. Pick a celeb. Write some e-mails and make some (toll-free) calls. Get some attention. Boycotts work.

I swear, it's like pulling teeth to get information from some of these companies. I have run into a few really nice people who were willing to help in any way that they could, but one receptionist was almost nasty, demanding to know why I wanted their address. I explained that I wasn't interested in their physical location, just a mailing or web address, because I was starting a boycott of their products (and that went over real big, let me tell you!), but she finally put me through to a real person.

Anyhow, I'm about halfway through getting all the contact information for all of those companies, and as soon as I get it all together, I will put it up, and then I expect you guys to carry out your end of the bargain by sending letters, e-mails, and making phone calls. I will only include web pages or e-mail addresses (whenever possible), and toll-free numbers (for those in the U.S. and Canada).

I seem to be getting tolerant amusement when I tell them the URL of my website ("Did you say 'Drumwaster', sir?" "Yes, I did. Don't ask, that's not why I called."), but when I keep repeating the magic word ("boycott"), I seem to get taken a bit more seriously.

Stay with me, folks, it's getting bumpy... :-)

Oh, if you noticed that there were other companies advertising on you affiliate (or even a different show/star), and you need advice on tracking them down (or want their information included in the running list), feel free to write me, and I'll do my best for you.

Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Trying to explain to my wife what I was doing (when I was writing down the list of sponsors for The West Wing), I realized that there are a lot of these celebrities, so this may actually take some work. If you think it would be a lot of work to do the boycott for all of these celebs, then I understand. I just want to start with one or two of the most egregious, and that means Martin Sheen.

Martin is particularly vulnerable to such actions, because he is in the middle of a television series that gives him the large chunk of his current popularity. Television series need sponsors, and if you need proof of that, just ask Dr. Laura.

This week's episode of The West Wing were (in order, and as they appeared on the Los Angeles affiliate of NBC): UPS, Whirlpool, Glen Ellen Wines, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Capitol One Services Inc., Maybelline, Chevrolet Motor Cars, Scott's Lawn Care, LensCrafters, Bacardi, the Los Angeles Marathon, SBC (Southwestern Bell Corp.), Mercedes Benz of Southern California, KIA, Lipitor (anti-cholesterol medicine), Nescafe, Cisco Systems, the movie "Dreamcatcher", Pizza Hut Restaurants, Prudential Real Estate, Ford Motor Cars, HBO's "Six Feet Under", Xenadrin (Diet Supplement), Saab Motor Cars, VW Motor Cars, Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouses, Alavert (allergy medicines), and Verizon "Can You Hear Me Now?" Wireless. (I cordially hate that guy...)

I'm going to try to dig out contact information for these sponsors. I suggest you contact who you wish, but if there were local sponsors for your various markets, or if there are other sponsors in your area/affiliate, contact those sponsors instead.

Be polite, be direct, and explain that you want to make sure they understand that this is the direct result of Martin Sheen, the primary star of that show that (emphasize this part) they are sponsoring, and that until they either pull their ads, or until Martin Sheen stops speaking ex cathedra about issues for which he has neither the training nor the expertise to offer a qualified opinion (Specifically, national security, economics, international law, weapons of mass destruction, etc.), then you will neither buy nor recommend their products to anyone you know. Inform them that you will be asking your friends, neighbors and relatives to boycott those goods as well.

Do not listen to counter arguments about the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech. Explain that you are using your Freedom of Association to "vote with your pocketbook".

Go on to the next one, and do it again.

Pass the word. The more calls these people get (and from more points on the map), the more seriously they will take the threat.
If Men Ruled The World -

1- New TV series... "Two Girls, A Guy, and a Nudist Colony".

2- When a cop gave you a ticket, every smart-aleck answer you responded with would actually reduce your fine. As in:

Cop: "You know how fast you were going?"
You: "All I know is, I was spilling my beer all over the place."
Cop: "Nice one, That's $10.00 off".

3- People would never talk about how fresh they felt.

4- Daisy Duke shorts would never go out of style again.

5- Every man would get four real "Get Out of Jail Free" cards per year.

6- Telephones would cut off after 30 seconds of conversation.

7- The victors in any athletic competition would get to kill and eat the losers.

8- It would be perfectly legal to steal a sports car, as long as you returned it the following day with a full tank of gas.

9- Instead of a fancy, expensive engagement ring, you could present your wife-to-be with a giant foam hand that said "You're #1!".

10- When your girlfriend really needed to talk to you during the game, she'd appear in a little box in the corner of the screen during a time-out.

11- Nodding and looking at your watch would be deemed as an acceptable response to "I love you".

12- The funniest guy in the office would get to be CEO.

13- "Sorry I'm late, but I was wasted last night", would be an acceptable excuse for tardiness.

14- At the end of the workday, a whistle would blow and you would jump out of your window and slide down the tail of a brontosaurus and right into your car.

15- Hallmark would make "Sorry, what was your name again?" cards.

Heh, heh.
I was a little disappointed in the speech. Ari Fleischer had hinted that it was going to be some big ground-breaking sort of invocation of America's fury. It was just ... Meh.

Worthy of applause, but not an ovation. I was just hoping for a declaration of purpose, mixed with a major threat to Germany and France, telling them they had better loosen their neckties and get down to business, or we would pick them up for trial on the way back from Baghdad.

So when he stated what he had been repeating for the previous year, I wondered why they carried every syllable LIVE. Oh, well.
I've got an idea. Boycott all the idiots from the Hollyweird Limousine Liberals.

Let me offer an example. Martin Sheen appears on The West Wing. The episodes you watch are provided courtesy of the studio networks. They get paid by the sponsors, who buy commercial time, to air advertisements for their products. Whether it is an automobile ad, or teasers for other shows, or whatever, those spaces between scenes that cause you to run to the kitchen or bathrooms are called "commercials". What we need to do is to contact these companies. Call them, write them, send e-mail, leave a comment on their websites, and explain exactly why you are calling. Tell them that you are going to cease buying any of their products so long as Martin Sheen continues spouting off about topics he knows nothing about (to wit, international politics, international law and military planning). If enough people start calling these sponsors (and they are called that for a reason), then either the sponsors will order the producers to jerk Martin back into line and remind him why he collects that inflated paycheck in the first place. If the producers will not do so, then the sponsors can find other shows on which to advertise their goods, and the producers will lose money.

Boycotts work. Pick another star. If the views that they publicly espouse conflicts with your beliefs or convictions, make some calls. Let the companies sponsoring their show or movie know exactly why you are upset. Emphasize that it is the celebrity spouting off on subjects that are "above their paygrade" (so to speak), and not the quality of the products.

This is not censorship. This is the exercising of your freedom of association and freedom of speech. You choose to associate with companies that only pay celebrities to entertain, not to pontificate and define morality. You choose to let those companies that do otherwise exactly why you made those choices. It's just that simple.

Grass root movements start small. So tell a friend. Tell two friends. Tell them to tell some friends. And so on.

Watch the shows. Critique them as necessary. Enjoy them, if you wish. But make a list of the commercial sponsors of those shows, and make some phone calls or write some letters. Get the word out that we are no longer going to allow these celebrities to set national policy for us. Call your elected officials and let them know how you feel about the issues facing them, too. Let them know how you feel about the war, and that you will remember how those officials act when election time comes around.

Gotta go, Dubya's making a speech!
Head's up, people! Charles (over at LGF) has found notice that originally appeared on the MEMRI. Click here for Charles' entry on this story, plus associated comments.

This is not a call to panic, but a call to "check six". Pay a little closer attention on your surroundings. Carry a gun if you can legally do so, and if you can't legally carry a gun, carry a cell phone.

Be sharp. Be alert. Spread the word. Let's show them what a citizen militia is really like... LOL. Remember Richard Reid! (Remember that POS? Four men and a stewardess beat the living crap out of "subdued" Reid for trying to set off his "shoe-bomb"... Or did you really think he looked that bad when he got on the plane?)
I would like to welcome those of you visiting from the Gulf Region. (My last two visitors have been from users in the domain "", and in the UTC+3 Time Zone. That's Baghdad time, for all the civilians out there...) You guys go kick a little ass and take a few names, and if you happen to take out a suicide target Human Shield or two, just remember that the gene pool will thank you for it.

Do NOT let their drum-beating racist presence so much as slow you down. They are there to oppose your actions, and deserve nothing more than the contempt all true heroes feel towards traitors and collaborationists. (Yes, I said that these cowards and traitors human shields are racist. They think that because they are "white" they are worth more than the native "brown skins". Judging another person - or people - just because of his (their) skin color is racist and prejudicial.)

Go out there and kick ass like no one else on the planet can. When you get to see the Iraqis partying in the streets, playing soccer with Saddam's head, and coming to give you stuff, just remember what these traitors "human shields" were doing to oppose you. Take no "human shields" as prisoners. Hand them over to the Iraqis instead. Tell the Iraqis exactly what these people were doing in Iraq. Emphasize that the "human shields" were there to stop the liberation. (Take lots of pictures of the resulting hilarity...)

Anyhow, remember that you've got literally hundreds of millions of supporters back home, and almost a hundred nations supporting you.

Hoo-rah, Jarheads... (I was a Squid, so I can get away with it. I'm also a Shellback, if it matters...) And I'm not forgetting the Leathernecks and Flyboys and Puddle Jumpers, either.

You are all Heroes. Never Forget It.
I warned you the look of this page would change a little as I play with different ways to do things. The only thing that is not likely to change is my utter intolerance to those damned... Uh...

Well, that could change, too. Maybe. ;-)

Anyhow, if anything I've done has drastically altered the appearance on your personal computer/browser set-up, don't hesitate to let me know. Right Away. I'll admit that I may see an archived version of my page (without realizing it), so if the look just fritzes out (say it turns "powder blue on hot pink"), write me.
I'm trying a new tool, called Blog Rolling. Maybe this way I can do an up-to-date list of the pages I spend most of my time at, and actually get a few links in return. Maybe.

Wish me luck! {crossing fingers}
In a sad note to those of us who were around when it was launched (back in 1972), the original man-made extra-terrestrial explorer has fallen silent.

Pioneer 10 was the first object created by the hands of man to pass out of the solar system. Its last signal took approximately 11 hours and 20 minutes to arrive. By contrast, it takes just over eight minutes for light to arrive from the Sun, just 93 million miles away. The old warhorse has exceeded it original specifications by such a large margin as to prove awe-inspiring, given the conditions it must have experienced over the last 31 years. The bone-chilling cold, the harsh radiation untempered by atmosphere or magnetic shield, the dwindling power supply. Given that its original mission was supposed to last a mere 21 months, I'd say it has done a heroic job. If we ever get out that far (and I think we will, sooner rather than later), we ought to go re-capture it and hang it in its own museum. Or maybe it has enshrined itself in its own traveling museum. When it reaches the star Aldebaran (in 2 million years!), I would imagine that (unless the dice come up snake-eyes and it suffers a hit from a relatively large chunk of debris) the logo on the side would still be legible, and the plaque still decipherable to the naked eye (even if the map would no longer apply).

Just a cool moment of nostalgia...
I'm up late, and ran across this new little quiz. I took it. This is what I got back.

How evil are you?

Wow. These little quizzes are amazing... :-)

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

A new Favorite Link added: Hollywood Halfwits. Something to keep us up to date on the dumb stuff celebrities have a tendency to say when they are asked about stuff they have neither the information nor the inclination to have a coherent point of view.

My favorite example of all these is Meryl Streep testifying before a House Sub-Committee on the dangers of a food additive (used to preserve apples and cause ice cream to solidify) called Alar. Meryl Streep was speaking and came up with the sound bite, "What are we doing to our children (TM)?"

The benefits and carcinogenic properties of Alar are not the point. The point is that Meryl Streep was speaking as an expert before a Congressional Sub-Committee. What exactly were her qualifications for this? A Masters degree in Molecular Bioengineering? A lifetime spent researching the carcinogenic properties of the thousands of substances that people could conceivably encounter during a lifetime, and how those substances will interact with each other and with the dozens of processes within the human body?

Nope. She spoke with Robert Redford (on the set of "Out of Africa"), looking for a cause to get involved with, and he steered her towards the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). At the time they were involved with toughening up the federal regulations regarding the use of pesticides.

On their advice, she founded a group called 'Mothers and Others for Pesticide Limits'. It is because she was the (titular) head of this group with the politically correct title that got her in front of Congress. When the real scientists came before that same committee, they were quizzed not about their areas of expertise, but about budgetary requirements and expenditures. All because Meryl Streep played at gardening and found she liked it... especially when most of the heavy work was done by key grips and professional landscapers.


Another site I'll be swinging by every now and then...
I found an interesting site that allows visitors to rate their blogs. I posted on it yesterday, and maybe I can get a few people visiting here to swing by and vote for me. Go there, vote 'Yea' or 'Nay', just register an opinion.

In other news, Sami Al-Arian has started a hunger strike. Does he really think that is going to bother the court system? If his health is threatened by his own actions, they will wait until he has passed out, and he will awaken in the infirmary with four-point restraints and a tube down his throat. But so long as he is capable of undertaking such an action voluntarily, I think they should let him do what he wants. I mean, if it were a case of him being starved by a sadistic jailer, that is one thing, but if he'd rather starve himself to death than grab a PB&J in the lunch line, that's his business.
It appears that NASA has recovered a short portion of the cockpit video. I don't think much would be visible, but then again, I'm not a specialist. It says that the tape ends just four minutes after atmospheric re-entry, which puts Columbia somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, and that may be well before any sensor problems were detected. But maybe, the inspectors will see an indicator light switch on and figure out whether there were anomalies not noticed by the crew for some reason.

It doesn't matter. If there is the tiniest scrap of data that can be found on that tape, I hope it helps. The sooner we get this program back on the tracks, the better off our nation's space program will be...

Something like this could cause us to abandon the ISS (International Space Station), and that should never happen. As the man says, "Once you're in orbit, you're half-way to anywhere."

NASA's motto should be "Onward and Upward!", or whatever the Latin equivalent would be...
Thanks to scouting around on the Internet, I found an amazing link on a nice web site that goes by the nom de blog of (and I am not making this part up!) AMCGLTD. I'm not sure what he means with the name, but the site is an amazing place to go visit.

I even found this link that shows how Buddhists are even starting to believe that we need to kick the living crap out of Saddam. As AMCGLTD says, when a religion like Buddhism (who feels that self-immolation is as severe a protest as your religion allows) starts to say that there are acceptable uses for violence, you know that they mean business.

I'm going to be visiting that site from time to time. Y'know, just to keep up on things...
Oh, Michele over at A Small Victory has copied a Neil Cavuto commentary section about a weird confluence of events. Go take a peek...
This week's "This-or-That Tuesday" has been hijacked by the Amish Tech Support guy this week, so the questions are sure to be intriguing. To Say The Least.

Here we go...
1. Holland or Netherlands? The Netherlands (It always sound vaguely erotic that way, though... LOL)
2. Emu or Ostrich? Ostrich.
3. Biff or Happy? Huh?
4. Quincy or Braintree? Quincy.
5. Cassius Clay or Muhammad Ali? Muhammed Ali.
6. Instanbul or Constantinople? Istanbul.
7. Pig or Swine? One "Pig", many "Swine". Depends on how many...
8. Barf or Puke? Neither. I usually say 'vomit' or 'throw up'. For the detritus, I use 'mess', which is non-specific.
9. Potatoes or Spuds? If I'm joking, I use, 'taters', but usually 'Potatoes'.
10. Squeeze Box or Accordion? Only Roger Daltrey got away with calling it a 'squeeze box', so I'll say accordion.


-- Click Here To Take The Test --

Well, that's how I scored... Check for yourself.
I could post a link to a weather site to show how miserable the weather here is today, but if anyone were to run across this entry a few days from now, they would probably see bright sunshine and temps in the low 70s (like it was over the weekend) and wonder what I was talking about. Suffice it to say that it is raining, and I feel like crap. It feels like some one is driving a nail into the side of my knee. Not, "Wham! Wham!", but a light "tap-tap-tap", keeping pace with my pulse. An unusual sensation, to say the least, and not one I would recommend, not even to your enemies, unless you are (by chance) a drug lord trying to set an example on one of your mules that tried to rip you off, and you're using this method pour encourage les autres.

A news story from yesterday concerned North Korea firing an anti-ship missile into the sea of Japan yesterday, just a few hours before the inauguration of South Korea's new President. Despite the fact that both South Korean and American intelligence say they were aware of the test long beforehand, and despite the fact that SecState Powell says that it was a test of an old anti-ship missile system that only does 60 miles or so, it still looks like a deliberate provocation.

How do you think the U.S. would respond if Canada had been making war noises about destroying their enemies with a "sea of fire" and threatening war if anyone passed so much as an economic sanction, and it they were to suddenly conduct an unannounced missile test launched from, say, Victoria Island, and aimed down the Juan de Fuca Strait? Or from Prince Edward Island aimed roughly south-southeast?

South Korea is saying things in public that are intended to reassure, and it's working, lucky for the world. Luckiest for North Korea.

This is just going to be an interesting day all around the world. I'll do my best to tell you what you should think about it all... LOL (I'm just kidding. Only Liberals want others to do their thinking for them...)

Monday, February 24, 2003

I just discovered that today is the 200th anniversary of the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision, Marbury v. Madison, which sets the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of Constitutional Law. It is a seminal moment in the history of our nation by showing that a law that was unconstitutional would not be permitted to remain on the books.

Alright, alright... I just thought it was just a cool thing. :-)

Anyhow, I got a new game (from FARK, to give due credit...), and it's link is in the column to your left. Go take a peek. It may take you a few seconds to pick up the basics, but it's pretty nifty. (That means "good", for those who may not remember the slang of the 70's and 80's)

I also have the starting codes for the first 35 levels of Acno's Energizer (the other game), for those of you looking for cheat codes... I can even suggest the solution (as I have figured it out - it may not be the optimum solution, but it gets you through), except for level 35. I'm stumped. I either die in an explosion, or I can't get the power cell back up the few steps necessary. (If you haven't played, go see what I mean, and then come back. I'll wait. {Whistling} Okay, back now?) If anyone has a solution or a hint, please tell me... Thanks. :-)
I forgot to mention a few things I found over the weekend. First, Bill Whittle has a new essay up on his site. Another great read. But one other thing he has also done is to look into the publishing of a book of his essays. If you have ever read any of his stuff (you could - and should - spend a day reading the gems he manages to put together and give to us for free), you'd know that a book of his essays would be worth twice the price he mentions... One of the best American writers of our day.

But if you are interested, he is asking for a general consensus of opinion (along with more information) here. Go tell him what you think.
Blogger chooses last night to do scheduled maintenance, so I didn't get to do the obligatory slam on Fred Durst, "This war should go away as soon as possible." (Really? I thought it would be better if we drug it out another 12 years... Trust us, Freddy, once we start the shooting it'll be over before you can come up with a playlist for the commemorative concert.)

It also looks like the U.K. Ambassador is going to submit that resolution to the UN Security Council this afternoon, with the U.S. and Spain as co-sponsors, and that France and Germany are going to submit their own resolutions that are designed to strengthen the inspections.

The main problem with making the inspections tougher can be summed up in two words: North Korea. Another blogger actually spelled it out: They had IAEA inspectors, they had Non-Proliferation Treaties, they had UN Security Council Resolutions, they had sanctions. And now they have nuclear weapons, too. I learn that Iran is starting up it's own programs (in one of the most oil-rich countries on the planet, they need nuclear power to produce electricity?), and that IAEA is going to send in their inspectors.

Exactly what good do these inspectors do? Are they like teachers, inspecting just to make sure that these terrorist-supporting nations are getting it right? or are they actually supposed to be taking charge of any material/technology that can be used to produce nuclear weapons? Since that Columbia University science student managed to put together the specifications for a nuclear bomb, using open-source material gathered from the New York Public Library and a few phone calls to DuPont (making him the first grad student to have his Doctoral thesis classified for reasons of national security), it has proven very easy to find out how to build a nuclear weapon. Anyone who has ever actually read Tom Clancy's The Sum of all Fears will have more than a passing familiarity with the concepts behind the production of such a weapon.

Since it has proven impossible to put the nuclear genie back into his bottle, the United Nations (and the United States) has been trying to maintain close control over the items one must have to put together a nuclear device. Specifically, the radiological material (such as uranium or plutonium), the equipment used to purify (enrich) the radiological material, the inhumanly precise switches that set off all of the explosive blocks at the same micro-instant (to compress the material to super-criticality), and several other things.

Let it be enough to say that I held a extraordinarily high clearance once, and even I don't know everything that goes into building a nuclear weapon as efficiently as the U.S. can, but a nuclear weapon doesn't have to be efficient, just effective. Our enemies may not be able to build a suitcase nuke as powerful as we might be able to, but just because they would be limited to killing only a few hundred thousand, instead of a million, doesn't mean that we can safely ignore them.

Inspectors don't - can't - do anything in a country where they do not outnumber the security forces in a given nation. So long as a country finds the end result (a nuclear weapon) more desirable than the additional costs involved with covering up that activity (subverting inspectors, denying access, misdirection, stuff that Saddam has been showing the world how to do for the last dozen years) would be undesirable, they will look towards the completion of that goal. It is the ultimate cost-benefit analysis...

When Clinton got North Korea to sign the treaty against developing nuclear wepaons (and in return, the U.S., South Korea, and Japan would supply large quantities of food and fuel oil), it prevented North Korea from getting nuclear weapons. For almost a whole year. (Thanks, Billy Jeff. And now he wants to run for UN Secretary-General?) With him running the UN, and Hillary running the U.S. (Hillary in 2008!), this world will finally fall into whatever funhouse mirror warping of reality that Billy Jeff thinks will create a New World Order (Novus Ordo Seclorum, and if that sounds vaguely familiar to the Americans out there, I suggest you look at the reverse of the 'Great Seal' on the back of the U.S. $1 bill) most beneficial to him personally, not to national security for any given nation.

This was not begun as a rant against that lily-livered, panty-waist, Adulterer-in-Chief, but I'm just the cynical type.

We're about 2 1/2 hours from the introduction of that 66th 18th 2nd UN Resolution concerning Iraq and its acts of war against the United Nations "material breaches". It depends on whether France will use its veto to block action on Iraq. I predict that Russia and China will abstain rather than use vetos in the vote on the upcoming Resolution. I predict that France will either veto the Resolution outright or abstain and then bash the United States "imperialist attitudes".

If I were an oddsmaker in Vegas, I would put the odds of the Appeasers French using their veto at 6 to 5 and pick 'em, but I would put the odds of France doing everything possible to delay the vote at 9 to 2 in favor...

We shall see.

Oh, before I forget... Good Morning! :-)

Sunday, February 23, 2003

I've missed the interview with Janeane Garofalo twice now, because each time it was just beginning, it was pre-empted by an update press conference on the Rhode Island night club fire. So not much in the way of blogging material about that.

I managed to download almost an entire CD's worth of Big Band music for Nana (about 51 minutes so far, artists such as Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Glenn Miller, etc.) and my wife is very happy, plus I've managed to pick up a few of my own favorites that I hear in the background of TV shows, commercials, and the occasional movie.

It's getting to the exciting courtroom conclusion of "A Few Good Men" on one of those all-movie weekend cable networks (WTBS - Superstation, I think), and I never get tired of hearing that cold phrase, "The witness is excused." Great comeback. Heh.

Anyhow, I'm going to see what's coming up on TV for the next two or three hours (the Grammys are already starting, and I could find some channel that's talking about the fashion show on the red carpet even as I'm typing this, but I loathe Joan "Can we tawk?" Rivers with a passion, and her daughter "I'm a Celebrity" Melissa isn't any better.

Looking forward to the week's fun headlines. Speaking of which, I found this link a while back, and it's worth a "Favorites" link to most people. It shows the front pages of almost 300 newspapers from all over the world, and is worth a perusal, just to "get a feel" as it were...

Oooh, Shaft is coming on! Samuel L. Jackson stars, while Isaac Hayes sings, and the back-up singers warn him "Shut your mouth!" Hee. I'm gonna go "be a bad mammuh jammuh" for a little while...
If you ever had any questions about who actually supports that Anti-War movement, wonder no more...

Spread the word, folks, else this one will never get reported in the "mainstream" media...
Still downloading music for Nana. I'm downloading "Old Black Magic" by Mel Torme right now, and I've just been told I'm 107th in the "queue". I would never have guessed that the song had ever been digitized in the first place, never mind that there are 106 people ahead of me in waiting to download this song right now! That's why I love the Internet...

In other news, Iraq has decided to get a few more days by delaying the release of its official answer regarding the demanded destruction of the 120 missiles it has that exceeds the UN-mandated limit of 150 km. It says that it is "looking into" the matter.

"Dear Saddam: Destroy the missiles. Or Else. Love, Dubya Hans Blix". How f*ckin' tough is that to figure out?

The Grammies are just a few hours away, and the wife and I are debating whether we want to watch them, record them, or just blow them off. I figure since the results will be up on the Internet long before we get to see them on TV (because of the three-hour tape delay for those of us on America's West Coast). I'm against watching them, because I have no interest in watching Sheryl Crow distribute 300 Anti-War buttons in a protest that millions of people are going to sit and be exposed to, with not the slightest thought in her head as to exactly how ludicrous (or should that be Ludicris?) they sound when they are spewing such inanities, and I just know that there will be at least one jackass who will say Bush prevented them from winning the Grammy. I wonder how many of them could name the instrument that sits atop their Grammy?

(That was a joke. It's called a Gramophone, thus "Grammy".)

Right now I'm watching the close-order drill at the beginning of "A Few Good Men". I was part of a flag drill team while in the Navy, but I was too tall to be part of the rifle drill team. (I kept clipping my own forehead, once producing an amusing scar just above the hairline.) It's always cool to watch the drill that only hundreds of hours of practice can produce. If you ever get to see them in real life, just sit back and watch. They're amazing...

I'm going to run. Let me watch the Grammys (since I have a tough time saying "No" to my wife) and I'll work out my rant for a little later on...
My computer is starting to annoy me, because I've (twice this morning) had a long rant about the state of "Celebrity" all set and ready to go, and I'm just a few paragraphs short of a well written conclusion when the computer freezes up. I can't get it to respond, the mouse cursor won't move, and everything I've been ranting about is lost. I may have to get into the habit of writing my long screeds using WordPad, saving as necessary, then just cut and paste to Blogger when I'm done.

The catch is that WordPad doesn't have the cute little buttons to allow the easy use of adding HTML links, Bold, and Italics. I mean, I know the text but it is so much more difficult to be sure when you don't have the machine to do it for you. Y'know?

I'd try to recreate it, but I've tried three times now (once last night, and twice this morning), and I find it difficult to re-create the required sense of moral indignation to put out a good rant. Give me a little time, and I'll hear one of them say something stupid, and that will help.

I'm waiting for the Janeane Garofalo interview with FOXNews' Tony Snow on "Weekend Live" (scheduled in a few minutes), and that will probably piss me off enough to get me started again...

Oh, and I wanted to update that citation I made a few days ago (back on the 17th, when I said that Hitler had killed 25 million Russians). I was trying to include the millions of civilians who may have died from famine and disease that may not have been directly attributable to military action, but is an unavoidable by-product, but (hopefully) Loyal Reader Badanov pointed out that I may have been perpetuating a Soviet fallacy. I had originally read that there were only about 20 million Soviet deaths , and I revised it upwards, primarily basing the new total on the source I found (and provided the link to). I realize that there may be wildly divergent opinions on how many deaths were actually suffered by individual countries involved with (or victimized by) that horrible nightmare, and I was not trying to certify myself an expert on WW2 casualties, but (rather) that President Bush (who was being compared to Hitler by the anti-war idjits) has nothing on the Blitzkrieging Bonehead of Berlin. (The irony I was trying to point out was that the parade organizers were selling T-shirts with the profiles of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao Tse-Tung, while calling Bush a murderer. Kettle, meet Pot.)

Full credit on the page being submitted goes to Badanov (I'm tempted to tease him about "Moose unt Sqvirrel", but not really). :-)