Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Resolution

Rex writes in with the question “Why doesn’t Kanrei blog at his own blog?” It is a great question and I only have a three word answer that will not satisfy anyone, but it is the truth. Those three words are “Company of Heroes.”

For Christmas I got many Best Buy gift cards; $350 in total to be honest. The problem is that there is nothing I really want, so I bought a little of this and a little of that. One “that” is a WW2 real time strategy game called “Company of Heroes” and is one of the best I have ever played. One of the “this” is the DVD set of “Firefly”, a Sci-Fi/ Western that was created by the guy who did Buffy. There are only 24 hours in a day so you can see my dilemma.

My resolution this year is to pay more attention to my blog. It is not just mine any longer, but ours and I have a duty to keep it fresh for you. I promise more political opinions to make your blood boil, more movie reviews of films you never thought to bother with, more details of how video games are stealing my life, and more of those random things that you have grown to love here. I am sorry for being away so much.

I hope everyone is safe and happy this new year. I am in an Iron Maiden song at the moment: Two Minutes to Midnight. Party on Garth!

Friday, December 29, 2006

AP Reporting Saddam Hung

Guess it's over, call it a day
Sorry that it had to end this way
No reason to pretend
We knew it had to end some day, this way

Yes, it's over, the kids are gone
What's the use of tryin' to hang on?
Somewhere we lost the key
So little left for you and me
And it's clear to see

Too much, too little, too late to lie again with you
Too much, too little, too late to try again with you
We're in the middle of ending something that we knew
It's over (Oh, it was over)

Too much, too little, too late to ever try again
Too much, too little, too late, let's end it being friends
Too much, too little, too late, we knew it had to end
Ah, it's over (It's over!)

Yes, it's over, the chips are down (Oh, baby!)
Nearly all our bridges tumbled down

Whatever chance we try, let's face it widened-eye
It's over (It's over)
It's over (Ohohoho!)

Too much, too little, too late to ever try again
Too much, too little, too late, let's end it being friends
Too much, too little, too late, we knew it had to end
And it's over! (And it's over)
It's over! (And it's over!)

Too much, too little, too late to ever try again
Too much, too little, too late, let's end it being friends

By Johnny Mathis

The Last Friday of the Year

It’s the end of the surreal year and not a moment too soon if you ask me. Welcome to the year end edition of “its Friday.” I am your host, Kanrei (waits for applause to die down) and I would like to welcome you to the first probably-won’t-be-annual year wrap-up-over-use-of-hyphens-in-a-title extravagance (waits for laughter to die down). Black ties are optional for this affair, but red frilly thongs are required and all guests will be checked upon entrance (waits for “ooohs” to die down). There is no “going commando” option for this affair, sorry Rex (waits for laughter and applause to die down).

This year has been quite a long year. 365 days to be exact and each one kept adding to the weirdness that this decade has thus far been. I mean it has been quite a while since the last time a Vice President shot a guy after all. Truth be told, there was just entirely too much happening this year to really sum it all up here and there are tons of “Year in Review” articles all over the internet that will do it much better than I. Instead I am going to go in a different direction.

This year was the grand opening of the Kanrei Home for Wayward Lemmings. For about four years I was a chorus member of another blog. I was a part of that white noise that you hear behind every news story that comes out of people sniping from the safety of the shadows; the pompous people who do nothing but could do everything better than everyone else if they bothered. I was the sarcastic smart ass one who points out the folly of everyone else and ignored his own- a rock star in my head and an asshole in reality. I had debated trying to start a blog of my own for some time, but was scared to put myself out there. The safety of shadows is addicting, but I had to try. Six months later and I am still here and so are you and I want to thank you all.

To Serena, Rex. Variant, Il, Phan, Lisa, Joanie, and all the other Lemmings- I hope 2007 is better than 2006 could even aspire to be. I hope you have to strain to think of dreams yet to be filled. I am so thankful for each of you and am so lucky to have met you all. Have the happiest of new years.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Choose Your Own Story: Adventure Two

Today's Choose Your Own Story is not celebrity based at all. Instead I will simply give you a quote from a commander serving in Iraq today and compare it to one made by President Ford 30 years ago. The story once again should write itself- enjoy.

"I have come to the conclusion that this is no longer America’s war in Iraq, but the Iraqi civil war where America is fighting"

This is a quote from Maj. William Voorhies in an article appearing in The New York Times. He is currently serving as “the American commander of a military training unit in Baghdad” according to the Times story.

"Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished as far as America is concerned."

This is a quote from Gerald Ford explaining why he withdrew from Vietnam.

One last quote: those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it.

Time to thank them for the flowers and candy and come home.

Da-Na-Na-Naaaa: Dorky Power

I am not cool. There is nothing about me that could even be mistaken for cool. The closest I come to being cool is that I love the fact that I am tragically uncool. It is not that I am a square either though. Do not mistake my lack of cool for an over abundance of nerd. I am not smart enough to be a nerd for one thing. I think if I had to pick a title for my social level of hipness it would have to be dork. I like nerdy things without the IQ to reach full nerd status.

Yes, Kanrei is a dork. I love Sci-Fi and cartoons. I play video games and collect toys. The phrase “what a dork” usually follows my answer to the question of “what did you do this weekend.” Over the weekend I watched documentaries on things ranging from the history of the firearm to the various uses for concrete and how it has changed evolution. For lunch today I tried to go to Toys R Us but it was still too busy. Tonight I will continue waging the virtual warfare in 1944 France and love every second of it. Is there any other term for such a person?

The only problem with being a dork is that pressure of trying to explain to people that you are only a dork and not a loser. Many people would assume a straight 35 year old who plays video games and has no interest in dating is a loser and, if it were not a conscious choice for me they may be right, but I have designed my life to be this way. I cannot think of any other way I would be happy to be perfectly honest.

Most people hate being alone, fear having nothing to say, and feel the need to repress their selfish ways. I am the opposite. I love being alone and am happiest when I have not said a word all day. I see no problem with being selfish since I see myself as the only person who will be with me every day of my life. Why not take care of myself first as long as I cause no harm to anyone else in the process?

I am not an asshole and I should state that now. Re-reading the above I see that it can convey that attitude. I go out of my way not to hurt others. Being selfish does not mean I am mean. It just means that I take care of myself. My opinion is the one that matters most to me in my life’s course and I am here to make myself happy. In a nutshell, I do not care what other people think of me as long as I am having fun. For most people that would define cool, but one cannot be cool if one does uncool things.

I am the King of the Uncool. Long live the dorks!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Twas the Night Before Work

Twas the night before working
It is Christmas day
Nothing is open
And I have little to say
I slept very late
All snug in my bed
Without a thought of work
Occupying my head
My refrigerator is stocked
For the stores are all closed
I short-changed myself on soda
I drank more than I supposed
So ration I must
And ration I will
Pouring each glass with care
Not to cause the slightest spill
And I sit on my computer
Cat on my lap
Hair all disheveled
From my long evening’s nap
Sipping my soda
With the greatest of care
In hopes that tomorrow
Some soda will still be there
As I slowly wake up
And the fog leaves my eyes
I start to wrap this up
As I start to realize
I have nothing to say
Except one last wish:
That my soda lasts today
And you have a great Christmas

Thursday, December 21, 2006

An Early Holiday Wish

It does not matter to me what holiday you celebrate just so long as you celebrate it and have the most wondrous time of it. I hope you spend every minute only with those you actually want to spend minutes on and avoid those who will drain you of your good cheer. I hope Santa leaves you and yours everything your heart dreams of and does not leave a hint of coal unless you are cold or were wishing for a diamond. I hope the turkey remains juicy and moist while it cooks and everyone arrives for dinner on time and safely. Most of all I hope that each of us gets a 10 minute window in the store of our choice where we will not have to wait in long lines or settle for something different because they were sold out of our intended gift. In short, may this holiday season exceed your wildest dreams in every regard.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Relapse of a Bad Habit

I did something last night I used to do every night but stopped a few years ago. I am not proud I did it, but I did and it has given me something to write about so maybe everything has a time and place. I stopped doing it nightly because of the shame I felt when people found out I did it, but last night I had a relapse. Yes, last night I listened to George Noory and Coast to Coast AM. I am so ashamed. For those lucky enough to have no idea what a George Noory is or a Coast to Coast AM allow me to ruin your streak of luck for a moment.

The show Coast to Coast AM is a late night talk show that is, obviously on the AM dial and is on stations from coast to coast. It is basically, for lack of a better description, X-Files on the radio. The subjects deal with UFO’s, Bigfoot, religion, government cover-ups and a myriad of other tin foil cap related subjects. Being a call-in show it also happens to be the best freakshow on radio.

Last night, as I said, I tuned in. I think it was masochistic curiosity or some desire to punish myself over perceived wrongs, I am not sure to be honest, but there I was listening in at 10:00 last night and oh my was I treated to the freak calls of all freak calls ever. If it were not for the fact that I used to be a regular listener I would have thought the call a joke, but I know these are the exact types of freaks the show attracts so I knew the caller was sadly being honest to his real thoughts and opinions. This caller was pissed at Christmas. I hope you are sitting down.

The caller, who called himself “JC” was rambling and raving in a very high and shrill voice over the satanic influence of Christmas. He claimed that Santa Claus was actually Satan. It was obvious by his red suit, his desire to take Jesus away from the holiday and, are you ready, his use of material possessions to buy people’s love. Yes, he claims Santa gives children presents in order to distract them from the spiritual by fulfilling their material desires. He claims the tree is a satanic symbol used to replace the cross which is why he hangs crosses all around his abode during this time of year. Just when you thought the “War over Christmas” could not get any weirder or more absurd.

I must give credit to George Noory for keeping this call on the air as long as he did. He was even asking questions to further aggravate this caller and keep him ranting. It was very entertaining and really funny. There are a few people I have come across in the blogosphere that I am convinced are JC to be honest. I think I may need to start listening more often. It is a great source of material it seems.

For the record, if you thought I was talking about some other nightly bad habit you are a pervert.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I Know You Have Seen This Before

But just in case not...

Just let the whole thing play. It keeps getting more and more intense. Total time is only 3:02.

Lazy is Love of Tomorrow

There are few concepts I love more than the concept of “lazy.” I know sloth is one of the seven deadly sins and all, but sloth and lazy are not the same thing. Remember that sloth is an unmotivated undirected lack of anything. Being lazy is a purposeful lack of anything. There is direction to being lazy. The sloth cannot think of anything better to do while the lazy person cannot think of anything they would rather do. To be lazy is to reach the pinnacle of happiness, why does it get such a horrid rap?

Think about how often in your life activities were forced upon you simply to avoid the appearance of being lazy. Our mothers demanded we go outside and play when we wanted to lay down and watch hours of cartoons. Not my mother of course otherwise I would not be the lazy person I am today, but I saw my friend’s parents occupy every second of the day with various nonsensical distractions from boredom. Why? They did not want us to be lazy. Free time would be occupied by chores if there was no will to go out and play, so we were actually punished for being lazy. We forget that laziness is the mother of all invention.

It is true, every single thing we have in life to make life easier is due directly to man’s desire to be lazy. If we end all forms of lazy then we end all forms of progress. Why do we have cars? We were too lazy to walk that far. Why do we have remote controls? We were too lazy to change the channel. Why do we have phones? We were too lazy to walk to the person we wanted to talk to. Why do we have cell phones? We were too lazy to find a phone to talk to the person we wanted to talk to. Every single invention you can think of was motivated by a desire to be lazy.

History books will never speak of this facet because, as I said, to be lazy is to be committing a mortal sin in the eyes of most people, but that does not lessen its impact on progress. The lazy mind has time to dream and dreams become the future. Never disturb the dreamer please.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Late for a Friday

I know I know I am late with today's "It's Friday", but I have not missed my chance to update yet so here I go. I have yet to miss a single "It's Friday" since starting this blog and am actually shocked about that, but now I must keep it up. Every week I remember is even more pressure to not forget the next week. If you do something every week for a month or so then it might be a short term engagement, but this has been six months so I am obligated. I enjoy it anyway to be honest.

Today we had our official office Christmas party. The party a few weeks ago was just a party for a company we work with, but this time it was our party. Last time I knew no body, this time I knew almost everyone. I also got to just hang out with employees instead of being the boss. It is nice to see them as people and to let them know I am a person as well. I tend to take my job seriously so they rarely see the side of me my fellow Lemmings gets to see. That is the curse of management I suppose.

The party was held in a new hotel in Coconut Grove and was just perfect. We were on the eighth floor over looking the bay and gazing at all the sailboats and the horizon and it was amazing. This was the best party I have attended since joining the company. Probably because this is the first year without the ENT group. They are nice people, but we do not know them at all. The parties were supposed to be a chance for our two groups to get to know each other, but each group stuck to their own so that never worked. This year we decided to just cut to the chase and have just our party. We have grown too big to share a party anyway.

It is a pity I work in an office of married women. When you see them all year in scrubs it is hard to see them as women. Today, with the make up applied and the nice dresses and everything else I notice how good looking our staff is. My G-d how can every one of them be married? They don't care about my blogging so I can say that here and never worry about them knowing. My boss may know, but she already makes fun of me for that fact anyway. There is one, but she is young and I went the 19 year old route once already...

I am feeling the blogging bug so I probably will update over the weekend. I am finding myself with things to say and bugs up my ass (not literally) so, unlike most weekends there should be new stuff here. I did not find a new game yesterday at Best Buy either. Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 is the way to go by the way. See ya soon.

My Mind Has A Mind of Its Own

Is there anything more embarrassing than a Freudian slip? I swear my mind is working against me most of the time. I trust it to keep the internal monologue internal, but not my mind. Instead it has to work it into the conversation I am having. I should have killed more of its cells while in college. Pass the damn pipe. Ok, I will back up a little.

My Sirius went kaput a few weeks ago. The power cable kept blowing my cigarette lighter’s fuse and I got tired of going to have it changed. Ok, I had it changed only once and am lazy beyond belief, but that is not important to this tale. The important thing is that I went today to finally get it installed properly.

I called Best Buy before going to make sure it would not be an all night affair. I am a lazy and impatient bastard after working all day. They told me it would be a nothing job and they were actually rather slow tonight so hop in my car did I. Sorry, channeled Yoda there for a second. I was under the impression it would be a 90 minute ordeal at most.

By the time traffic allowed me to reach Best Buy, there were two people ahead of me, but it was only 6 so I had time. One person was in and out of the store and not around much, but the other person was around the entire time and was bored and was chatty. I mean circular conversationalist talking to hear his own voice chatty. Somewhere in the neighborhood of just would not shut the hell up chatty. You get the point.

It was not even that he was chatty, but he was boring and chatty. I do not care about his home theater system or the one he had before that one. I do not need to know the inches of the screen, the wattage of the speakers, the number of sub-woofers in the room, or the dpi of your old and new television. I do not need to know the intimate details of your weight loss, brother’s dog, or your son-in-law’s finger. Most importantly, I do not need to hear about these things more than one time within a single conversation. Conversation is the wrong term; lecture works better.

I went outside to have a cigarette while I waited. My cell phone was kind enough to let me know I had been there 90 minutes already and there were still two people ahead of me. Usually a cigarette is kryptonite to most people. I assumed it would be chatty boring guy repellant as well, but no such luck. He followed me out and continued the lecture on every wire, speaker, cable, and other detail of his massive system. I was shocked.

In my head I was saying “shut up shut up shut up where is that other person she has not heard this stuff yet it’s only been 90 minutes and I can already repeat the story along with you shut up” but he could not read minds. He had an Energizer battery hooked up to his mouth or something because it kept going and going and going. Obvious joke I know, but it’s late.

Anyway, I kind of slipped up as I told him I was going to go back inside. I wanted to say “I am going to go in, it’s getting humid out here”, but as I said my mind had other plans. Instead I said “I am going to go in, it’s getting annoying out here.” I actually heard my mind fall down and burst into hysterical laughter as my conscious went “oh shit did I really just say that?” That is not like me at all. Thankfully it went right over his head and became lost in the details of his new television and how the screen used to drop from the ceiling in his old house for his projector.

I behaved the rest of our four hours total time together and politely listened to every story of his weight loss, his brother’s dog, and his son-in-law’s finger. The other person eventually returned and joined us and I was saved as he regaled her with his ponderous repetitive tales. I can’t believe my mind did that to me though. I was lucky he missed it this time, but now I know I can’t trust it to keep secrets any longer. He was a boring guy and a ponderous guy, but he was nice and harmless. My mind should not have done that to him even if he did miss it.

Oh crap, what if he is a blogger...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Choose Your Own Story: Adventure One

Every once in a while a story just writes itself. Other times you do not really even have to go that far. Today is an example of the later. I am not going to even write on it, just post it and see if you can see it yourself. It should hit you over the head like a heavy thing hitting you over the head.

From People online comes this story of Lindsay Lohan speaking on the subject of Alcoholics Anonymous. I hope you are sitting down. I am only going to post two quotes from her in the article and the rest should just write itself for you.
"I've been going to AA for a year."

"I haven't had a drink in seven days. I'm not even legal to, so why would I?”

Have fun.

A Lesson to All Future Warlords

Iraq is something that can be turned into a positive, but it is up to every world leader who will follow to bring out the positive there and only time will tell if the positive is learned. The positive is not what you might think it is however. The positive has nothing to do with any of the stated or implied goals we entered into that country under. The positive has everything to do with the historical lesson in pride used as a basis for policy and how the path to Hell is paved with the best of intentions.

There is no doubt that those who planned the war in Iraq really did believe everything they claimed going into it. I really believe they thought we would be greeted as liberators and not occupiers. I really believe they thought the war would pay for itself. They really thought that the Iraqis were so angry with Saddam’s rule that they would welcome anyone who liberated them from his reign. There is also no doubt that these people were so convinced they were correct that they did not even bother with a plan “B”.

What was learned upon taking Iraq was a slap in the face of every Neocon ideal. The Iraqis turned out to be a very nationalist people who were weary of any outsider. We learned the Iraqis are a splintered group of people who were only paused in their civil war because Saddam gave them something they hated more. We learned that the enemy of my enemy is probably my enemy as well. We learned that good intentions are not the basis of policy and that wars should always be the last resort and not the primary option. We learned the dangers of unbridled pride run amuck. We learned that doing the right thing at the wrong time is always the wrong thing.

I think the perfect analogy for the Middle East is to view it is a sweater. Follow me with this. The Middle East is a sweater and each country is a different thread of wool. There was a frayed end on one of the threads, let’s call that thread Iraq. The frayed end was annoying us and posed the risk or ruining the entire sweater, so naturally we pulled on that thread. What we missed was the fact that the thread was holding many other threads in place and now, with that thread removed the sweater we tried so hard to protect is now destroyed by our act of salvation. I never said G-d is opposed to irony. I think it is His greatest of joys personally.

This is the main reason I am such an isolationist. It is not that I do not care for other people or their plight, but that my helping may cause more damage than doing nothing. If they ask for help I am the first one there. I let them know I am there if they need anything, but I never take it upon myself to help someone if not asked. I probably do not know the entire situation. I would be working on assumptions and that never leads to good things. Look at Iraq.

Back to the subject at hand, Iraq in the proper light is a noble and valiant lesson in the value of restraint. If Bush had taken as long to decide about invading as he has about what to do next the lack of weapons of mass destruction would have been knowledge and we would have more that 20,000 troops in Afghanistan.

More pride can be found in the thought that 20,000 troops can do what the Soviet Union failed to do in 10 years. Afghanistan broke the U.S.S.R. as much as Reagan and rock music did and now it is going to break us. The Taliban are even regaining lost turf as we play in the sandbox known as Iraq.

Of all man’s sins pride is by far my favorite one- Al Pacino in “The Devil’s Advocate”

Soldiers die so that other might live in a better world. If the deaths in Iraq prevent the next rushed war then the deaths will not have been in vain. If every nation learns that war is a beast unto itself and does not care about your intentions then they can rest in peace.

If we continue on our proud path then we murdered our children to feed our egos. We cannot undo the death. We can only learn from our folly. I hope we learn.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's a Miami Thing, Part II

This is not a long post. I have said everything about this subject I have to say already, but he has just lowered the bar of discourse once again and I must respond with a quickie.

"I hope to some day return to Miami when it has been able to extricate itself from the clutches of the radical multiculturalists"- U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo

This was said because he claims to have canceled his speech in Miami due to threats. The police say "We're not calling it a threat" and the Rusty Pelican,the place he was going to speak has said: "We thought it was in everyone's best interest if he didn't speak at the restaurant... All the vehicles would make it difficult for clients, and we have a completely packed restaurant, one small entrance way. If you add in 30 TV stations and such, it would have been way overbearing for us." This is true because we could not book our Christmas party because they were booked solid everyday.

So now I must once again say "F*ck you very much Mr. Tancreepo!" The opposite of "the clutches of the radical multiculturalists" is to be under the control of a racist bigot. I will worry about my town and you worry about yours. Denver has many more problems than Miami could ever have.

Here Come the Hypocrites

There is a new video game out and you do not have to worry about me writing about another game, this is different. I have no intention of playing this game to be honest. It is getting bad reviews and just does not interest me that much, but I find the protest that is coming for this game hypocritical. The hypocrites are not my usual target though. This time the ones protesting a video game’s content are on the left.

The game in question is based on the popular Christian book series “Left Behind” and is called “Left Behind: Eternal Forces.” It is a real time strategy game that allows players to join the Tribulation Forces who fight for G-d or the Global Community Peacekeepers who help the anti-Christ and duke it out in the ultimate End of the World videogame for the whole enchilada. There are many groups who want Wal-Mart to remove the game from their shelves due to the fact that this game’s central play is either making people convert to your side or killing them. The game is designed so that the forces of good ultimately win which means the forces of good are being made to mostly kill the non-believers. How middle ages, but I really have no problems with that personally.

I mean I play games where I kill cops and sell drugs and have body counts in the thousands by the time the game is over and I do not believe in any of those things so why should I really worry that a game is having Christians kill their opponents? Is not killing the central aspect of most games and are they not usually based on a popular movie or story? Do we not constantly say that video games have no impact on real life behavior when we defend our GTA and Mortal Kombats? Why then should these same people now be concerned about this?

Maybe it is the Wal-Mart aspect of the equation and not the game or maybe it is the Christian aspect and not the game. Both of these things do tend to bring out the ugly side of the left and this time they are together in one package. Both of these things usually do something to warrant the protest to be perfectly frank, but not this time. Wal-Mart is not the only place selling this game and, to be honest, I doubt real Christians are really in love with this concept either. “Thou Shall Not Kill” does not leave much wiggle room when you think about it. The pseudo-power-hungry fanatics however…

The funny part of this entire story is that people are overlooking the part where this is a multiplayer game. This means one person can play as G-d and the other as the anti-Christ. The G-d side has the advantage of course, but the anti-Christ has better weapons. The game is also getting really bad reviews and is $35, so this is much ado about nothing and this game will be in the cheap bin in no time.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Writing a Post Does Not Mean I Care

I wish I cared about Princess Diana. I really do because it seems like a story custom made for a conspiracy freak such as myself, but I just cannot get into it. Was it the paparazzi who caused the crash or are they just the cover for some multi-national conspiracy to kill off the future Queen of England? I think she would be Queen of England that is, but I never really cared enough to even know that much. Either way, that is just screaming “Kanrei Konspiracy” and I am ignoring its pleas.

There is a political aspect to today’s revelation that the NSA was tapping her phones and monitoring her activities and that sorta gets my attention. The story of the NSA keeping tabs on Diana means that Bill Clinton did use illegal wiretaps just like the right has been screaming all along. The stories of the secret recorders that would trigger when certain words were uttered over the phone are true as well. In fact, now every horror story about the Clinton presidency is fair game and must be considered by any proud wearer of a tin foil cap.

This also moves Bush from the most evil and sinister President ever to just another hypocritical politician who will say anything to get elected and do anything to stay elected. Pity- at least criminal mastermind had an air of intelligence behind it. Now there is nothing left for Dubya other than the role of bungling boob lame duck that followed the wrong white rabbit and took the other pill.

I do not even know which is worse to be perfectly honest anymore because both are horrible. Bush’s assaults on our personal liberties are at least done in the guise of trying to protect us from another terrorist attack. There is even the remotest of chances he really believes the best way to protect freedom is to limit it, I don’t really know. I do know that Clinton did not have the benefit of the same good cover story, so his may be worse, but then I continue with my train of thought.

The truth is that there is no reason as of yet to suspect that Clinton ever did wiretap private American citizens. Princess Diana is not a citizen, was not in America when she was bugged and is a world figure. While England is an ally, I do not know if bugging world leaders is the norm or if this is like the bugging of John Lennon. I just know I wish the story was about someone else because I just cannot put any effort into this tale.

I do not even know why I wrote this much about it to be honest. Insomnia in the form of late night finger babble I suppose.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Rant: Minimum Wage

It has been a very interesting blogging day today. I have not really gotten into a debate at my old haunt for a very long time, but today was a tad slow in the office and I had some time. The other blog I post to was under a lockdown (damn trolls) so I was at the older place for most of the day. I know blogging at work is bad, but I got everything done that I had to get done today plus some bonus work I did to help the office staff out so it is not that bad really.

The main debate of the day was over minimum wage increases and whether the Federal government really can/should pass laws in regards to this. It was sparked by an article about the 6.5 million people earning minimum wage in America today. That is quite sad and it is impossible to live off $5.15 an hour, but is this really something we want the government involved in? Is this something the government really has the right to have a say in?

It is impossible to say that I oppose a national minimum wage without sounding like some cold hearted Neocon prick, but you must take my word I am not any of those things. My problem is that I am trapped in a literal reading of the constitution combined with a black and white view of the meaning of words. By that I mean the Constitution says what it says and the words used mean what they mean. There is no subjective interpretation to it.

“Congress shall pass no law” for example means just that: that no law shall be passed by Congress in regards to that subject. It means a law supporting it cannot be passed nor can a law suppressing it; it is a Congress free zone. There is noting grey about that nor is there anything grey about the Tenth Amendment when it says “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.”

Nowhere does the Constitution give Congress the power to enact a national minimum wage that I can see. It does give Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce in Article One, Section Eight, but does that really apply here? Are wages paid in Georgia traveling to those in Alabama?

Those at my old haunt have argued that it does and that it is the responsibility of the Federal government to ensure a minimum standard of living for all citizens. This is a very valid argument and they are correct in theory, but the Constitution has yet to give the Congress this power. I would support an amendment to give them this power, but I would still oppose a national minimum wage. The government already assumes too much power over personal matters for me to turn my head because they accidentally over-reach and try to do some good.

There is also the case that I am a “Free Market” kind of guy. I assume the business owners know what they can best afford to pay their employees and stay in business. They realize they must pay their people a decent wage or else risk losing their staff to a competitor. Forcing an employer to pay more than they can afford to pay will only serve to put the employer out of business. Before people start saying that has never happened, I can tell you it has because it did to me when the minimum was raised to $5.15.

I was working in a pizza delivery place when the hike was passed. I worked day shift as a cook with one driver and we worked from 9-6. Business was slow, but lunch was viewed more as a service for the loyal customers we had. It did not generate enough business to pay for itself, but dinner and late night brought in enough to justify the expense of opening for the day, until we became more of an expense. Having to pay us more on top of paying the electric, gas, insurance for us, social security, and the myriad of other hidden expenses became more than diner could support. Yes, that tiny little bump made a huge difference to me. He closed down for lunch and did not need me any longer. Yay for the raise, huh?

This could very well be the one in a million case, but since it is a personal experience it colors my view on the subject. I could be so wrong on this that even Bush knows I am wrong, but I cannot help it. I cannot support a minimum wage increase because I have been the victim of it and I fear such a large increase will only multiply the chances of similar stories happening.

I babbled longer on this then I intended so I must end the rant here and let the other subject take up its own thread. I am curious about what you think about this though because I want to know if I am off base on this. I can only learn from other’s personal experiences so please tell.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Good- Politics Bad

I know I am a political blogger who has neglected the political landscape for the last few weeks, but seriously how many times can one person say the same things over and over? Everyone and their mother recognizes that Iraq is in a full Civil War and everyone and their mother recognizes that we must change how we have handled the mess we created…Well, everyone but the person whose opinion on this subject matters that is. Bush is still very deep in denial. He still rejects any talk of leaving Iraq regardless of the fact that that is the only way occupations end.

Right now talking about Iraq is like banging your head against a wall- it does nothing but causes yourself pain. It seems Bush is trying to stall so that Iraq will fail on the next President’s watch to be honest. Just like the Republican Congress has done nothing at all this year and are leaving everything for the Democrat Congress to do. That way they can blame the Dems for their failures because the Dems are the ones who voted for it. They have steered our car towards a massive cliff and are handing the wheel to someone else just as the front tires have left the ground. This way they technically are not the ones driving the car over the cliff.

I am sickened by these pathetic attempts by our leaders to save their historical face at the expense of our future and safety. The Demoncraps are just as guilty of this selfish self-preservation instinct as the Rethuglicans. They have let Iraq fail worse than it had to so they could score points against the right and the right is refusing to change anything because they fostered the country’s “flip-flop hatred” and find that it will hurt them now if they reverse course. The right cannot admit they were wrong in their beliefs of how Iraq would respond to our presence. As a result, we true Americans who love this country are left to do nothing but watch our nation go the path of Rome, Greece, and the Soviet Union- collapsing in the face of pride.

This is why I have avoided politics lately. There is nothing good or positive to be said and I am tired of being negative. There is nothing new and nothing being done to change what is old and wrong. Everyone is so convinced they are right that they will not even listen to anyone else so why bother? I think I hear Pop Culture calling me and offering salvation. Come Britney and Paris….maybe “come” is the wrong word.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Pearl Harbor Day Thought

I posted this as a comment on another blog, but I feel it is worthy of its own post.

In honor of the fallen and those who continue to fall I will not be political today. This day is for rememberance and not fighting from within.

My thanks to every solider who has ever laid down their life so that I might breathe in a better world. We must all work now so that you died for something.

The Sign of G-d

I am back! My head hurts and my nose is a sieve, but I am back. Not only that, but the news today has me converting. Yes, you read that correctly. I am converting because the news has shown me beyond a reasonable doubt that my beliefs have been incorrect and I must adjust my belief system from believing in Evolution to becoming one of the Intelligent Design people.

I know it is a shock and I promise you this is not some aftereffect of my illness typing. I am thinking clearly and know my new beliefs are correct. The news today has given me that last bit of proof I needed and I must thank Taco Bell and New Jersey. They are the major contributors to this newfound sense of clarity.

As many of you probably know there has been an E. coli outbreak in New England over the last few weeks. So far 47 people in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have been confirmed to be infected with at least a dozen more cases being investigated. Taco Bell has been associated with 15 outbreaks in New York with another 15 being investigated. In response to the outbreak, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred Jacobs has asked that every Taco Bell in New Jersey throw out all of their food and that the restaurants undergo a thorough sanitizing. Fire would work maybe?

I never believed in intelligent design before, but this story is making me second guess that belief. Taco Bell sucks and I have known it for pretty much my entire life. I have never understood how they stayed in business and how G-d could allow such a nasty and foul-tasting product to continue under the guise of being food. Their mere existence was enough proof of a void in the Heavens for me, but now I see I was wrong and G-d was just taking His time.

The L-rd works in mysterious ways indeed and E. coli is His latest ploy. Considering that Taco Bell is owned by the same company that owns Pizza Hut and KFC it would appear that maybe G-d is reclaiming all food in His name and driving out the false servers of nourishment.

All praise E coli as long as it continues to do this noble and needed work without a body count!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ah AH AH...Ah-Chew!

Want to know one of the more ironic parts about coming home from work sick? Sleeping so much during the day that you find yourself wide awake at midnight and still feeling rather ill. My head is killing me and my throat hurts. Can’t decide if I am cold or hot which is really annoying. I have to work tomorrow for a little while as well which means that I am going to repeat this procedure and be wide awake at midnight tomorrow as well.

I know I should call in and I will probably go in a little late, but I must enter payroll tomorrow otherwise a lynch mob forms and I lack the energy to fight them off with my usual whip and chair. Co-workers understand anything as long as payroll gets entered on time. I would have to rise from my own funeral to do payroll. I am so loyal I probably would too.

Suppose if I do go in tomorrow and do the schedule as quick as possible and payroll I can get home by one and that half day with today’s would only make one real day of work missed. I think that is the best plan since I do not see myself crashing for at another hour.

The things I learn at work are perfect for these situations. I must sit in my room, but not in bed. I must, after typing this, turn off my computer and listen to the radio, but not music. Music is great for most people, but it tends to energize me rather than relax. I tap my foot and drum with my fingers and imagine the band performing in my head. It keeps me up for hours.

I find talk radio works best. It is more like someone telling me a bedtime story. Discovery Channel is the ultimate as long as they are avoiding those damn Wedding Stories or Adoption Tales. Court TV is my back up. Political talk radio is worse for me than music is. I actually start arguing in my head with the host or callers. And I fear silence so there has to be something in the background.

I think it is time to try and sleep again so I bid you a good night or good morning depending on when exactly you are reading this. I really hope I get a full day work in. I am out of documentaries on my Tivo.

One last thought...funny thing about being a blogger is I can tell you the last time I went home sick was September 22nd. Funny statistic, huh?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sick of Monday or Sick on a Monday?

I am awake, alive, and ill. My lovely and wonderful co-workers decided to share the illness that has been causing them to call in sick with me. They seem to have wanted me to know they were, in fact sick and not faking it for the holiday season. Let me just say that I finally believe you. Next time a simple doctor’s note will due just fine. I do not need to experience the germs to know you cannot work.

It hit me like a ton of bad mood bricks right in the middle of Saturday’s party. I went from social and happy to lost in Bejeweled in exactly ten minutes. Bejeweled is the only game I have on my phone and it helps me concentrate on something other that feeling ill. It helps usually, but a party is not the place to be lost in a game. As my slowly increasing drunk co-workers got more and more social I got more and more anti-social and ill. I wanted to go home, but I hitched a ride with my parents to the party (I always get lost) and was trapped there.

No I am not a pathetic loser who goes with his parents to parties. It was a company party and I work for family so naturally they were invited to the same party. With gas prices being what they are and the party being an hour away it made more sense to just go together. I just did not want to ruin their good time with my illness so I went to a bench and played my game instead of saying I wanted to leave. Like I said in my weirdness challenge post, I will put other’s happiness ahead of my own.

It was a great party and I wish I had the energy to enjoy it. I should have the energy by the time we have our party. Jessica out did herself this year as always hosting it and made sure everyone had an amazing time and felt appreciated. She is the life of that office.

There is so much happening in the world of politics today and I lack the energy to really dissect it to the degree these things deserve. Bolton is leaving the United Nations when his recess appointment ends this year and Rummy seems to have written a bomb of a memo before resigning, but I just don’t have it in me to do these stories justice yet. Instead I want to crawl back into bed for a few more hours until this pounding in my head passes. Sorry I abandoned the Lemming House this weekend. I slept.

Happy Birthday Phantom who had his on Saturday. I was at the party and could not post here, but I was celebrating your day at the party as well.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fried Day

It has been a weird Friday today. Not so much a bad one as just a roadblock intensive one. I have managed to confirm all my techs, but not all the techs I needed so we have to cancel some patients this weekend. It is noting that is my fault or the tech’s fault: they are really sick and it would not be fair to the patients to give them a tech who possibly could give them a cold. Come in for insomnia and leave with the flu is not exactly the marketing we are looking for. I do feel bad for the patients though who must be cancelled. It is not fair to them to be honest, but this is something that happens.

Most of the techs came down with their sickness over the last two days so people who were going to work this weekend cannot now and those who could have already worked so much that it would burn them out to work more. That does not mean I did not ask and even try to bully them into doing it, but it means I understand and sympathize with why they cannot. I try guilt and I try to bully once and, when those do not work, I move on and let them know it is ok.

Three patients are not really that much to cancel and we are really not canceling them so much as trying to move them to another night. The scheduling girls HATE me right now though for the chaos I have brought to them. I am not the cause but I am the messenger and I am being shot for the news I bring. Canceling patients is not fun at all and I know that. They are going to be yelled at by at least one patient for canceling them last minute. I have offered to help, but there really is not much I can do to help them short of being a tech myself and letting them keep the patients, but that is NOT going to happen. I am clueless as to what a tech must do and do not have the patience to deal with patients.

On the bright side….there is not one. Well, maybe that I only have 90 minutes left today, but I am not sure that is true. You know Fridays have a nasty habit of giving me a 4 o’clock surprise. Pray for me and I will for you….deal?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Welcome to the Lemming Zone

I know the cold shoulder. I know how it feels. I can spot it coming a mile away. I know all the signs that it is being given and I can tell you Iraq has just blown us off. Iraq had to “wash its hair” and missed our date. We have just been stood up and dumped for someone they share more in common with.

George Bush was to meet with Jalal Talabani on Wednesday in Jordan to discuss Iraq’s future. George Bush flew in without any delay and posed for the customary photos with Jordon’s King while awaiting Talabani’s arrival, only he did not show. Instead, Bush was told their two day play date would have to be a one morning meeting. Talabani had other plans.

Meanwhile, in Iran President Ahmadinejad announced that he and Talabani had worked out various deals for Iraqi security. This meeting was held just a few hours before Talabani was to meet Dubya in Jordon to discuss this very subject.
"We discussed in the fields of security, economy, oil and industry. Our agreement was complete," Talabani told reporters. "This visit was 100 percent successful. Its result will appear soon."

But wait, there's more because Wednesday also saw the release of a three page letter from Iranian President Ahmad…whatever. In this letter he recommends we leave Iraq for our own good and concentrate on the Katrina victims. He tells us that Palestine is the central issue that must be dealt with and that Israel are the real terrorists and we are the real supporters of terror in the region.

The man certainly watches a lot of American news, I can tell you that, but he does not understand America or Americans. He thinks he can play on the divisions we foster and nurture amongst ourselves, but he does not realize how we come together when provoked from outside. We may not support Bush, but we will rally behind the President if push comes to shove every time. We are not like the countries he usually deals with that are on the brink of revolution and overthrow. We are America and we eventually do the right thing.

Right now the right thing is for us to leave Iraq. It is time to thank them for the flowers and the candy and come home. We are going to break this country in the name of pride if we keep going this way. They do not want us there and we do not want to be there.

I realize I was saying we needed a draft to deal with Iraq the other day and I still believe we do need a draft, but we also need to now leave Iraq in light of recent events. They have snubbed the nation that saved them for the nation that is killing them. If Iran wants to call it victory then so be it. What other signs are necessary?

The "I Know I am Wrong, But..." Post

I am a fairly left-leaning sort of bloke. I approach every issue armed with logic and reason, but I do tend to still find myself slanted just a tad to the left. It could be because I am left-handed and have an affinity for it the same way my blue eyes influence my preference for things blue. I know this is an Earth-shattering revelation I have just unleashed upon my regular readers, but it is true.

Do you need a few moments to digest this before I continue? Take your time. The reason I am bringing all of this up is that I am about to take a very un-lefty position on a very left-intensive issue: global warming. Just move ahead when you are ready. The words are waiting for you.

See, I do not believe global warming is man-made per say. I think we are influencing it, but not the way most environmentalists do. I find most environmentalists to be more anti-capitalists rather than Earth-savers. Their solutions always rely on someone else doing something, usually some corporation. They think their marching and donations carry their end of the deal as they buy hundreds of tiny plastic bottles of water every year and drive their SUV’s to the corner store to buy them.

Everyone seems to agree that CO2 emissions are the leading cause for global warming. Most people look to cars and industry as the leading CO2 producers, but I tend to think differently. I tend to think over six billon people exhaling creates far more than all the corporations put together. I think we are influencing global warming by our uncontrolled population growth and resource abuse. I mean these 6,000,000,000+ people need places to live, so we simply cut down the forests to make room. We forget trees breathe in CO2.

We talk about a “hole” in the Ozone layer forgetting the basic principles of physics. Ozone is a gas and gases will fill empty space. How exactly can there be a hole in a layer of gas? I am no scientist and could be 100% off base on this one so please correct me (I know you will).

Saving a species from extinction is a very noble thing to do. It makes a person feel good, but are they really helping anything? Species go extinct naturally every day. It is nature’s way of population control. Should we really be trying to save every species with an “endangered species” list? Don’t these species also exhale CO2?

There will be some extremist who stopped reading long ago and will probably post that we should just kill everything and solve the problem. That is not what I am getting at. What I am saying is that we might be saving our foot just to lose the leg. The actions we are doing to fix a problem that we know is a natural cycle could just be accelerating it.

Nature has done a great job of maintaining itself long before we were ever here and it does not need our help. If you want to do something then stop building new houses when there are empty ones, support sex education and stop demanding others do things you are not willing to do. Rats in a cage become hostile as space runs out. Why think we are any different? Notice any more wars lately?

The views expressed here are probably 100% wrong, but they are the things that pop in my head as I read about global warming issues. I posted this because I am hoping someone will be able to help if I am way off base.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's a Miami Thing: You Wouldn't Understand

I must be excused for this momentary outburst I am about to have. It is not common I have hometown pride. In fact, I am usually among the first to attack Miami AKA New York the Spanish Sequel. This is my home town after all and I have seen it change over the last 35 years and not for the better. I have every right to complain about this town. If nothing else I am still here, but shame on you if you insult my home from the comfort of someplace else. Shame on you, Mr. Tancredo.

Rep. Tom Tancredo is one of the Republicans to remain in the House after America played maid. His pony’s trick is that he is very anti-illegal immigration and he was in my neck of the woods on this very issue. He was speaking in Palm Beach and used my town as an example of immigration gone awry. His exact words were that Miami “has become a Third World country.''

Let me say “F*ck you very much Mr. Tancredo!" How about coming within the actual city limits of Miami and actually seeing this town before condemning it? I know Republicans are allergic to facts, but come on already.

What exactly makes Miami a third world country? Is it the fact that we are multi-cultural? Is it the fact that areas of Miami are 100% Spanish? I believe New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and numerous other cities have “Chinatown” and “Spanish Harlem” and other such ethnic-centric parts of town. In fact, when I worked in Boulder, Colorado (the state Mr. Tancredo is from) I can honestly say the kitchens I worked in were 100% Mexican. There was no English spoken in the back of those places and none spoken by the busboys.

Maybe it is an economic thing that causes Mr. Tancredo to call my home city a third world country. I know that aside from our insurance rates living in Miami is fairly cheap compared to most other major cities. We have no state income tax for one thing and that is a big thing. Our property taxes are not that high per say and unemployment is relatively low. Things are actually pretty good down here economically. I am a home owner for the first time in my life for example.

There is one reason left for Mr. Tancreepo…sorry, Tancredo to say what he did about my home town: bigotry. He claims that if one were to “just pick it(Miami) up and take it and move it someplace. You would never know you're in the United States of America.” It is true that Miami is a very colorful city. The majority of the population here is Hispanic and Latin culture is dominant here. I always joke that living in Miami is like living in the Melting Pot of America. It is here that all cultures merge and form something unique unto itself. Miami is Miami and there is nothing like it in the world, but third world?

Does Mr. Tancredo believe that a lack of white and black faces makes some place a third world country? Any place that is Spanish must be third world? That is a very bigoted point of view if that is his intent.

''Moreover, the sheer size and number of ethnic enclaves devoid of any English and dominated by foreign cultures is widespread…Frankly, many of these areas could have been located in another country. And until America gets serious about demanding assimilation, this problem will continue to spread.''

Maybe he should take care of his own state first and let those of us in Miami worry about Miami. Those immigrants he is speaking of that do not speak English are mostly Cuban refugees who are not here illegally, but are “guests” of the Federal Government. He needs to remember that America is made up entirely of foreign cultures and should be work on uniting the country instead of this finger pointing hunt for a new scapegoat.

Fundamentally Babbling about Faith

The Christian Coalition is a funny sort of club. They claim to profess a love of Christ, yet spit in the face of his teachings on a regular basis. They are the quintessential “do as I say not as I do”ers. It is not a Christian world they strive for, but just an intolerant one and the recent fiasco over who will lead this group proves this point in spades.

Rev. Joel Hunter was to take over the Christian Coalition of America, but has since declined to do so. The senior pastor from Northland Church in Longwood, Fla. said the reason for his departure from the organization was that he wanted to steer the group towards the actual teaching of Jesus. He wanted the group to focus on poverty and the environment. He wanted the coalition to focus on “issues that Jesus would want us to care about.” They did not agree with his preference for these topics over the group’s standard issues of abortion and gay rights and told him that “'these issues are fine, but they're not our issues, that's not our base”.

If I am to understand this correctly, the Christian Coalition of America has just said that the teachings of Jesus are not their issues and do not reflect their base. Instead they would rather continue to focus on divisive issues that Jesus never spoke on either directly or indirectly. They are admitting that they are not a religious organization, but a political one with political, not spiritual motives. They are the American Taliban plain and simple and their declining the leadership of an honest man of G-d proves this fact.

This rise in fundamentalism world-wide is a serious problem and we are ignoring it mostly. We say it is fundamentalist Islam that is causing problems. We say fundamentalist Christians are intolerant. We say fundamentalist Jews are killing innocents. Why do we not see the common thread is fundamentalism and not the faith attached to it? Why can we not see that it is the ignoring the possibility that our side could be wrong that is causing the most damage, and not what it is we believe?

Are fundamentalist Republicans any less dangerous than fundamentalist Islamists? Are fundamentalist Democrats any better than fundamentalist Christians? Or are all these groups equally distrustful and narrow-minded as the other? Grouch Marx once said that he would not join any group that would have him as a member. I urge all people reading this to take those words to heart.

We are each born with a deep-rooted understanding of right and wrong that only becomes vague and complicated as we age and let others alter what we knew and accept their realities as truth. Gay marriage can only hurt your marriage if you or your significant other leaves to marry someone of the same sex. What your neighbors do will not affect your marriage. Abortion only affects you if you have one. If you do not support it then let other people know why you choose not to support it and let them decide. Freedom means sometimes dealing with things you would rather not.

Playground rules are what I am fundamentalist about: do unto others as you would have them do unto you; share; don’t hit; be honest; worry about what you do and let others worry about what they do. These are the truths we are born knowing and that we forget as we age. Life is hard enough living for one.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oops, There's No News Again

There is nothing out there today in the world of news. I mean there are stories being reported as news, but very little of it contains any real “news.” I expected to be overwhelmed after my four day news break, but it seems that the news was the one taking a break and not me.

All I can see today are predictions and opinion again. The most dominate story I can find is that Britney Spears has taken to the flash-friendly poses her peers use ever since she began dating Princess Diana Monroe. Yes, the B-Spear has begun hanging out with your favorite and mine, Paris Hilton and is taking lessons in Public Image Tarnishing.

Can the ex-Disney ex-Pop Starlet really do anything to further tarnish her “Toxic” image? She sang “Hit Me Baby One More Time” in a Catholic School girl’s uniform. She teased her breasts more than her tiny cups were worth and then hid the upgrades. She married a back-up dancer with two kids only to file for divorce after giving him two more. Can she really damage that image? Yes, yes she can. The newly soon-to-be single mom has thus far shown off her ample paid for uppers and a quick flash of her coverless lower. The student has caught up with the master and Britney Spears’ return to top searched celebrity status has begun.

I have yet to see the photos and am not really sure I particularly want to. She is in fishnets so that is something, but it is also Britney Spears countering that point. Seeing the good girl B-Spear nude would have been great, but seeing a white trash trailer park refugee’s naughty parts is just not that special. The quintessential “been there/ done that” moment if ever there was one. I mean I used to date a stripper in college.

No, her fantasy girl days are long behind her and no amount of public flashing will help save her. She quit at the high point of her career and the music scene passed her by without a second thought. Her best bet is to take the Vegas deal before they come to their senses and realize that teenage girls are not going to pay enough to support giving her a show there. When the options are gambling, Celine Dion, Prince, Siegfried and Roy, Cirque de Sol, or Britney Spears I cannot see her winning out unless everything else is sold out.

Real News soon I hope. Come on politicians and do something stupid for me. I don’t care what party you are part of. Just give me something.

It's Monday: Welcome Back Reality

I am sitting here right now and it is starting to dawn on me that I really am back at work. My first clue is the fact that I am on the computer without a cigarette dangling from my lips. My second clue is that I am on the computer and not in bed at 10 in the morning. The final big clue is the fact that I am not in my house. Yes, I am definitely back at work or all my co-workers have started camping outside my bedroom door: reality hits hard.

I hope everyone had as great a holiday as I. Yes, there was a fight or two, but that is what family-gathering holidays are for. They bring us together with those we love and those we were cursed to share a name with. They are to remind us why we do not live in the same house anymore and why we only see each other on major holidays. They allow us to blow off steam on a safe target as well. One could say the fight is as much a part of thanksgiving as the turkey. The important thing is the next day after the fight and if that phone call is placed between the warriors. I am happy to say that the calls that mattered were made and the potholes in the road of family joy have been marked and will be avoided next time. Enough said on that…

Since it was a full vacation I am lost as to the status and affairs in the world right now. The updates will begin anew soon. Stay tuned and avoid the cliffs.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Obligatory Thanksgiving “What I am Thankful for This Year” Post

It appears that the obligatory Thanksgiving “what I am thankful for this year” post’s time has finally arrived. You knew it was coming as did I. I did everything I could to postpone it for as long as I could, but I think the time has come to just get it out of the way. We can just rush through it together.

I do not mean to make it sound like a chore. It is an obligation for any blog host to post a thread the night before a major holiday that deals with the day at hand. It is something that must be done and here I go:

1. I am thankful for my family and all their love and support. I am a pain in the ass about as often as I am a joy and I thank you for putting up with me when most people would not and for accepting my flaws with a smile.

2. I am thankful to each and every one of the Lemmings who have found their way home. I really did not know what to expect reaction-wise when I started this blog. I had no idea what I was doing (and still don’t) and you have supported my growth and helped make me a better writer. You have no idea how much your coming here means to me.

3. I am thankful for my friends and all their love and support. I have never had many friends, but always had close ones. I am so lucky to have the group I do. Yes mom, there is more than one.

4. I am thankful I live in a country that allows me to scream as often and as loud as I do. I am fully aware I would have been shot long ago in many other nations. Right or wrong I can state how I feel. There is nothing greater than being allowed to be wrong. It is liberating.

5. I am actually thankful to be alive at this time in history. I realize it must seem like we are teetering on the brink of oblivion here, but I think it always seems that way to those going through history. I think we are advanced physically, spiritually, mentally, and technologically that we can overcome anything before us if we try.

6. I am thankful for the group of people I work with. They are an amazing group of people. Like my family, they must put up with quite a bit just for knowing me and, unlike my family they do not have to put up with any of it. They do and I am so thankful for that.

I know there are infinite more things I am forgetting, but I am also thinking of my reader right now. I will be honestly shocked if you get this far. Thankful lists are rarely the most interesting of reads, but their writing is essential. Have the best of Turkey Days to each and every one of you.

And Thank You to You.

One Time is Weird, Three Times is a Pattern

There are three stories last night I read before I called it a day. Each one on their own is interesting and weird, but together forms a much darker picture. I am used to the Drudge Report being the bearer of bad news, but he has taken the cake last night. You will see the picture I am speaking of after you see the events.

Our first stop is in Waikiki, Hawaii and President Bush’s entourage. The acting director of the White House Travel Office was mugged outside a club there yesterday morning. His wallet, passport and cellphone were stolen and he was beaten. This is a strange event, right? Don't answer yet.

Next we come to Argentina for our next two tales and the pattern will become clear. First Jenna Bush’s purse was stolen yesterday from a restaurant. Her wallet and cellphone were taken in the robbery. Notice anything standing out? Also a secret service agent, in an unrelated incident, was beaten after an attempted mugging. I see a pattern for certain.

There are two levels to this pattern and it only gets worse the deeper you go. The first pattern is a complete lack of respect for Americans in the world today. This goes to a hatred of Bush in the global view and not just simple robbery. This should tell everyone that now is not the time for travel overseas no matter the country. Of course, this is only the upper rosy layer. Shall we dig deeper?

What seems like random crimes in places far apart I believe were not random at all. The items stolen and the timing of the robberies are too close; the items stolen too specific and valuable for nefarious purposes. Imagine the numbers the Travel Office director's cellphone would have stored in it, the text messages; or Jenna’s phone for that matter. This amounts to more than just a petty robbery or a mugging- this is a national security problem now.

The gut reaction for many is to mock this story for the inept job the Secret Service did in protecting their charges, but that is just the sarcastic blogger in me's reflex. The truth is that this could amount to a major threat. THink about everything we keep in our cellphones and now compound that with national security. I hope this is me being paranoid.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Weird Game Challenge

I have been tagged. Variant E has tagged me to post six weird things about myself. It is an online game of sorts. Being one who loves a good game I must do this. Should be rather fun.

The rules for this game according to his blog are as follows:
1. Write six weird things about yourself.
2. Post this confession of the absurd on your blog
3. Tag six other bloggers to do the same challenge
4. Leave a comment on each of their blogs to inform them they have been chosen.

I must remember my mother reads my blog as I answer this question. She is a Jewish mother and has a very carefully and well crafted illusion of her son and who am I to wreck it?

On a tangent: How can you prove Jesus was Jewish? He thought he mother was a virgin and his mother thought he was G-d. Just a joke…tough crowd: I’ll just get back to the subject at hand.

How do I limit myself to only six things really? What exactly is weird really? I will have to put myself in my co-workers shoes to answer this. Thank G-d they wear sneakers because I don’t know how to walk in heels.

1. I collect action figures. I have my entire life and still have most of the toys from my childhood. I have at least 80 action figures on shelves throughout my house. They range from Marvel superheroes to Musicians such as Jimi Hendrix to Elvis Presley and, of course Star Wars and Simpsons.

2. I am an insomniac who works dayshift for a sleep disorders center. I think the irony in that alone is rather worthy of a weird point.

3. I do not drink alcohol except for once a year and that is to remember why I do not drink alcohol. I am not an ex-addict or anything, but I just do not like my drunk self and I get drunk very quickly.

4. I will go out of my way to not cause another person any pain even to the extreme of causing myself pain. I think I am over empathetic and usually see the other person’s side before my own.

5. I learn the words to songs I hate faster than I do the songs I love. I know every word to Spice Girls and still struggle with “Desolation Row.” I have heard Spice Girls I think ten times and “Desolation Row” somewhere near 500 at least.

6. The weirdest thing about me is I am a blogger. There is no longer any denying it or finding cleaver ways to phrase it: I blog therefore I am and nothing about me is weirder than that.

I will be tagging Rex, Serena, Steve G, and the boys at PWZ. That one alone should be a great read…
Game on.

Rest In Peace Mr. Altman

Hollywood as lost an icon today. Robert Altman produced his own style of movie and changed the way we looked at what they could do. Robert Altman has passed away at 81 of undisclosed causes at Los Angeles Hospital Monday night.

He was not so much a director as a traffic conductor organizing the chaos of his movies into story and plot. He was famous for multiple characters talking over one another and general onscreen randomness while capturing the heart and soul of his characters. His movies were always more about the characters involved in the story over the actual story itself.

Sometimes, as in M*A*S*H, there was no real story to speak of. Sometimes, as in Nashville or The Player there were more stories than one movie could contain, but he always made it work and work beautifully. Robert Altman captured time periods and attitudes and beliefs. He was more of an artist than most of his peers. He will forever be remembered and studied and missed.

Hollywood is not likely to see another like him again. Rest in Peace Mr. Altman.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Outfoxing the Juice

Was this just the greatest set up in history ever or what? I mean O.J. confessed to a double murder and does not get one cent for doing it. That is just brilliant. And News Corp gets to save its public face at the same time. Just f*cking brilliant!

Ok, for those living in a bubble allow me to bring you up to speed on the day’s events. “If I Did It” was to be a book/ two part interview with O.J. “What Me Murder” Simpson. The interview was to be split between November 27th and 29th for sweeps week on Fox with the book coming out the following day. The purpose of the double public onslaught was for O.J. to make a quick buck and talk about how he would have done the crime if he did, but he didn’t. The interview has since been cancelled and the book has been called off: both by Rupert Murdoch himself is reporting.

Rupert is quoted in the report today as saying "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project…We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.”

While this is in the face of massive public scorn with many Fox affiliates and bookstores refusing to carry it, it still should be commended that News Corp did the right thing for the right reasons. We all know that the same scorning disgusted public would have tuned in and lined up. The book would have been a top-seller just for the freak show aspect of it.

Then there is the aspect for the illiterates. This was Fox's ultimate reality show. I can see O.J. wandering around the crime scene with cameras rolling as he does his "research" for the book. Those tender moments with the camera at just the right angle as he breaks down into camera friendly crocodile tears. I really just hope they filmed the moment they let him know this was all a ploy. They are the network of “Average Joe” and numerous other sadistic reality shows so it is not that far a stretch.

Well done Rupert. You have my respect.

A State's Rights Federalist? Impossible

John McCain is guilty of a crime that bothers me to no end. He uses political buzzwords that are actually the opposite of what he means to say. I believe George Orwell called this phenomenon “doublespeak” if I remember my literature correctly. It is a cleaver and devious political ploy used by those in need of power and support.

McCain appeared on George Stephanopoulos’s show on Sunday and was asked how he felt about Roe V Wade. He said he would support the decision being returned to the states instead of the Federal government deciding because “I’m a federalist." Only supporting state’s rights is not Federalism, it is the exact opposite of it. A Federalist is one who supports a strong central government by definition. McCain wanting the states to decide on their own is a very strong anti-Federalist position, not a Federalist one.

To understand the difference between a Federalist and an anti-Federalist one must go back to the founding of our constitution. There were those who wanted a strong central government to rule over all the states. These were the Federalists. They felt is was the best way to ensure all states followed the same rules and gave equally to the growing country. They felt the Articles of the Confederation left the United States weak and unprotected.

The Federalists were right in some regards, but they were countered by the anti-Federalists who feared the tyranny of the majority. They believed that the states were in the best position to decide what is best for them and there should be as little federal interference as possible in the day-to-day running of the state. They remembered that America was founded partially out of the fear of a strong central government.

I am not going to get into which side is right because there is no right answer. There are valid arguments for and against both these points of view, but McCain managed to use these terms in just the wrong way to come across as a “talking point spouting” fool. He cannot support state’s rights as a Federalist. It is that simple.

I know he is referring to the Nixon New Federalist movement when he calls himself a Federalist and not a supporter of Madison. Nixon stated that the new Federalists believed major issues such as abortion and gay rights should be decided by the states, but Nixon was wrong in his use of the word plain and simple and so is McCain. Supporting the states deciding on their own is being an anti-Federalist.

The entire reason for the change is that McCain does not want to refer to himself as an anti-Federalist. The average person hears “anti” placed with “federal”-anything and they get jumpy. McCain should not alter historical terms for his own convince though. Either say you are an Anti-Federalist or say nothing. The doublespeak must end already and I expected more from the “maverick Republican” moderate.

So ends his 2008 Presidential bid I hope. The man either does not understand or is purposely talking out of both sides of his mouth. Either way he is no longer qualified to be President.

Big, Long, Gone

When Rummy left the Pentagon I believed that they had lost their master of the obvious. I should say their oblivious master of the obvious. Rummy was great at stating those great truths we already knew and stating them as if he was brilliant for noticing them. His “known knowns” quote is pure obvious gold, but it seems Rummy was the symptom and not the disease at that military institution because they are still stating the obvious while trying to sound brilliant.

Today the Pentagon unofficially released their newest assessment of troop strength needed for Iraq and have given us three options after a long study. We will call this recent release the “Big, Long, Gone” option.

“Big” means we will need to increase our troop strength in Iraq for an indeterminate length of time. “Long” means we do not increase troop strength, but increase the tours of duty for those already there. “Gone” obviously means we leave Iraq. I cannot wait until we get some actual intelligence behind our military instead of these stupid cleaver word games.

Can anyone reading this give me an option they left out? I cannot think of a single one. I mean stay, stay big, or leave basically covers everything. These options are actually the same ones we had before we even went into Iraq and none of these plans will really help with the current secular violence happening in Iraq. Longer stays or leaving completely is not going to help the problem that we created (and do not mistake for a second that it is us who created the problem) and more troops will not convince anyone we plan on leaving.

Iraq was not great before we got there and was evil under Saddam, but chaos is worse than evil any day. Evil can be anticipated and countered, but chaos has no pattern and can not be anticipated. You never know when chaos is going to strike you next once you remove the order. We removed the order without installing a new system of order and now we are dealing with the price of our folly. The truth is that there is only one option for Iraq and it is one that will make both the left and right hate me so I know I must be right. The only solution left is to increase the troops in Iraq and completely take over the country. This means we need a draft.

No politician is going to suggest a draft because they know it will be re-election death, but that is a risk they must take. They must risk their political career to save this nation from the mess they created. We are short of well-trained troops right now. Between Iraq and Afghanistan we are busted. North Korea and Iran know we do not have the force to do anything about them and they know we lost the good faith of the world to help us deal with them. The only choice left is conscription.

I realize that military life is hard enough with people who volunteered to be there, but we are in a situation right now that demands we ignore what we would rather do. The statement by the Pentagon today is simply more spinning of wheels. It is the illusion of progress while not actually doing anything. They know the options they gave us today are bullshit but are terrified of being the first to suggest the “D” word. This is why I am suggesting it now. There is no other option if we are going to continue on our current path of endless war.