Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Pet Raven

Once upon a bender bleary, while I pondered, weak and beery,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
With my nod on, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
(Actually more like a serious bitch-slapping),
...smacking at my chamber door.

WTF," I mumbled, "I’m on vacation! Ask Dick; he runs the nation.
Get off my ass and let Karl do it," I loud and soddenly swore.
Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak September,
And every fucktard, camp-following member had been given his sinecure.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
Chinese cash or some “Aw Shucks” Charisma from the lost Gipp-er.
For the Smilin’, Beguilin’ Monster who could sell our Republican Manure,
Dead and gone forevermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each voting booth curtain
Thrilled me---filled me electoral delirium tremens throughout all of 2004;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood bleating,
" 'Tis some Pioneer Contributor, or Halliburtoning Corporate whore
Or another dimwit frat rat trollop sporting a Santorum coiffure
...This it is, and nothing more."

The Stoli shooters grew stronger; and hesitating no longer,
"Dicky?" said I, "Condi? Or is that Turdblossom? I recognize the spoor...
But the fact is, I was drinkin’, getting good and stinkin’
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you." Here I opened wide the door;---
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, snarling, sneering
Jerking off to Armageddon dreams no one ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken –- no Condi or other token –
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "2004?",
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word," 2004!"
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into my bottle turning, all the Jim Beam I’d guzzled burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before,
"Surely," said I, "surely, that is Rumsfeld with a briefing.
That will disassemble that bitch Sheehan’s beefing.
Let my heart stop Cheneying a moment, and this mystery explore.
" 'Tis just old crazy Rummy, and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a hiss and splutter,
In there stepped a mangy Hammer, of the Mandate days of yore.
Not an ounce of sense made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But with Death Skull grimance, perched above my chamber door.
Shat upon a bust of Nixon, just above my chamber door,
Shat, and sat, and nothing more.

This Sugarland turd was so badly freaking, into my pants I went leaking,
Shocked by the deranged and murderousness of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy Majorityhood be shorn and shave," I said, "you are still craven,
Ghastly, grim, and wretched Hammer, rampaging like a rabid boar.
What the fuck do I do now that my assassin's been shown the door?"
Quoth the Hammer, "Nevermore."

Much I marveled as this insanely ranting Dale Gribble spoke so plainly,
Though it’s answer little meaning, little veracity bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Would not projectile hurl upon seeing this two-legged offal above his chamber door,
A Christopathic beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
That can’t say shit but "Nevermore."

But the Hammer, a skulking minor demon, spoke only of his venom
Hissing that one word, as if his soul were stabbed with skewers.
Nothing further then he uttered; his heart was tightly shuttered;
Til I scarcely more than muttered, "How can I enjoy this Dewars?
Who shall ram my mandate now, through Congress' sewers?"
To which DeLay said, "Nevermore."

Like the thousand promises I’d broken, his word was oily spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store."
Bred from drooling Texas losers, friend of low-wattage crooks and boozers
Partied fast and kneecapped faster, till his lies one burden bore ---
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never---nevermore."

But the Hammer still berserking looked into my dank soul smirking,
So Karl broke it down for me in little words of two syllables, no more.
”Your polls are a’sinking, on ice your lies are stinking
Iraq and Katrina the public are finally a’linking, and now comes this loony Texas hoor –
This grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous Sugarland hoor
So guess what he means by "Nevermore"?”

And the media scrum grew denser, now fueled by a Grand Jury’s censure
Wrought by a righteous prosecutor who ain’t taking this shit no more.
"Wretch," I cried, "now it’s all for nothing. For nothing I cheated Albert Gore.
So get me three fingers of two-cents-plain that I may forget by apotheotic 2004!
Drink and drink and puke and drink and forget my apotheotic 2004!
Quoth the Hammer, "Nevermore!"

"You For-Profit, agenda-killing jag off" said I, "Faith-based pimp of Abramoff!
By that Dobson that bends us over -- by that God we both abhor—
Is there in the cushions where we shine our asses, even one dime of my political assets?
A whiff of my miracle Mandate year, which Pope Gregor named 2004 ---
My moment on the Mountain, COBOL programmers call Y2K-plus-four?
Quoth the Hammer, "Nevermore."

"Shut up you fucking loser!" I shrieked, upstarting –
"Go back to offing roaches you salad tossing, Albatrossing spore!
Leave no poo stripe as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my binginess unbroken! Leave me a political Debtor!<
Take thy dick from out my mouth, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Hammer, "Nevermore."

But the Hammer, never quitting, still is sitting, still is shitting
Down the throat of my Dead Mandate, my ghost of 2004;
And his eyes still have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming.
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my Mandate from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted---nevermore!

(thanks, driftglass. And a happy Blue Halloween, everyone!)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ladybug, ladybug...

You may not know her, but you love her...

Millicent over at Different Dirt; Millicent the world traveler, Millicent the soon-to-be-terrific-Mommy-of-Thor, yes, the very same Millicent, has had a very sad day.

Her beautiful house back here in the U.S. has had a very damaging fire. Millicent and Floyd had taken this very badly brought down Victorian and buffed it up to an almost unmatchable beauty. They were - and are - hoping to get right back to their lives there after their days as expats are done.

Anyway, if you're wondering why Different Dirt has been out of print for a while - that's it. So if you have a moment, and you care for Millie and Floyd, stop by there and let them "feel the love" as the Peeper says just before he smothers you in a big hug and wet sluggy kisses.

They're good peeps and deserve a sluggy kiss from us. Good luck, guys - hope the Casa de Thor is looking gorgeous again real soon...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jet Lagged and Morally Bankrupt

Well. That was exhausting.

Just got – okay, not just…took a couple of days to reintegrate the circuits – back from the Right Coast where lots of wedding and grandparental swoony goodness was happening. Wearing kilts. Eating chowder. And lobster (oh MY!). Seeing fortyish sisters glamorous in long tulle wedding gowns with lots of tiny fiddly little buttons down the back. Cambridge in the rain. And long, long, interminably long airplane trips without a diaper


So, anyway, we’re back. An I’m trying to figure out where to go next with the GFT.

Y’all been on these “family vacations”, so baring my soul about staying at my in-laws’ microhouse or the experience of sharing a Motel 6 with a three-year-old wouldn’t be much of a revelation. Or much more fun than an impacted molar.

(And nobody seems to want to read my political rants. At least, nobody comments on them.)

So all that’s left is telling stories, and Life in North Portland.

Now first, let me explain that my friend Millicent over at Different Dirt has been loving her some globetrotting lately. My, my, that girl and her inamorata have been gettin’ around. Communing with the puffins in Scotland. Digging the social whirl along the Adriatic Coast. And ooh la la! La Belle France…! Makes me jealous so bad that I can’t even feel sorry for them and their Invasion of the Giant Spiders (go see for yourself, it’s a monster, I swear…)

Now Mojo and Peep and I are dug way deep into the home and family thing. Even more so now that Mojo has gone back to struggling for the legal tender and Peep has a new gang of playmates over at the Imagination Station. Plus we’re desperately trying to save money for Mei Mei (since unless you’re freaking Madonna you don’t just waltz in and pick you up a cute little baby from foreign parts. You pay and pay and pay…and wait and wait, too. But it’s all character building, right, CCAA?)

It's fun and builds character and all that, but it sure doesn't leave much time for traveling. So here I sit, down in my predawn basement office and wish like hell I had some cool, fun travel stories to tell you. And then I thought - well, yeah, you DO. They're just not from last week.

Back when the Chief was more like an indian he got to go lots of exotic, colorful places, meet fascinating, unusual people and kill them.

Okay, I never actually killed them. But that was the bumper sticker, anyway.

And then I thought...everyone complains that I tell those damn stories, like the Mad Shitter, the Burning Guard Shack and Otis' Meesh Monsters, why not tell 'em now? They've got to be more interesting than hearing about how the Peeper went for fourteen hours without taking a dump because he didn't have a bumwrapper and wouldn't hang out over the horrifying toilet bowl!

So - coming up; An Idiot Abroad and Tales from Under the Hat...

But this morning's post is about another hidden North Portland treasure: Overlook House.

Tucked away on tiny N. Melrose Drive, I have a special fondness for this little beauty because Mojo and I had our wedding reception here. In a life that has had some wonderful moments, spending a sunny October (yes, we just celebrated our "leather anniversary" this past month) with my beautiful bride and our friends basking in newlywedded felicity in the sunny garden overlooking the Albina freight yard was one of the wonderfullest.

[BTW, I am NOT making that up. Leather is the "traditional" 3rd anniversary gift. Makes you wonder about those golden agers, really, it does.]

It's a bit of a hike. And you have to hunt to find it. But some cool November afternoon, you might think about taking the Interstate MAX up to Overlook Park and Kaiser Interstate. Walk down little Overlook Boulevard past the Palms (the "Monkey Motel - by the day, by the hour, by the orgasm") Motel and the quiet residences along Overlook. Stand in the quiet garden and savor the North Portland morning.

Overlook House. It's worth the trip.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Check Firing

I've gotta tell ya - this blogging thing is work!

OK, no, that's bullshit. BUT...I do have to take a break for a bit. So as they say on the Line of Steel: checkfiring checkfiring checkfiring...

I love ya, be cool, hang on for a bit and check back in about a week for more blogging action.

Coming up: Steaming jungles, burning deserts, hot hot HOT GI hunks and the Chief as Honduran queerbait.

Mira aya!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Capitol Hill Street Blues

Let's say, and why not, that you're a big, tough cop. Not one of the sleek new "community police" types but a real old fashioned street monster.

You've got a big stick and you're not afraid to use it.

Now over on the east side of your beat there's a duplex. The Kim brothers have lived there, geez, like forever. They were a pretty tight family once, but after the big neighborhood bust-up in the Forties one of the Kims came under the influence of Big Joe, the hoodlum that ran the Big Red Machine over on the east side. Kim North, let's call him, came out from under Joe's influence a real ugly customer: a mean, vicious paranoid loner. You had to step in when he tried to beat up on his brother Kim South during the Fifties. It was ug-LEE - all of you came out of it pretty banged up, and nobody shook hands afterwards. Red Kim stomped back to his apartment and has been sulking behind the door ever since. Still paranoid. Still angry.

In fact, you've had trouble with him ever since. Walking your beat you hear the Chang family and the Yamamotos next door telling you that Red Kim's been beating and starving his family. Every so often his dogs come through the fence and bite one of the South Kim's kids, or he fires a shot out the window just, it seems, to rattle the neighborhood.

But now you think you may have a bigger problem. Red Kim's been seen lugging dynamite into the house. The neighbors have heard him ranting and hammering in his basement at all hours. They (and Clancy back at the station house, who's got snitches in the neighborhood) are telling you that he might be making some sort of real nasty bomb.

Now back in the old day's you'd have knocked once and busted down the door, dragging the crazy Red bastard down to the cooler while beating taraddidles into his skull. But that was before last week, when you tangled with the Qaeda mob from East 43rd, before you went fifteen rounds with the Jihadi Brothers (who are still raising hell every night down at the An Bar on East Falluja - you groan when you remember that you are gonna have to be back there tonight to give them their daily beat-down...), before you had to commit yourself to a precautionary punch-up with the Pushtun ring, still trying to muscle back into the opium business you knocked them out of four years ago, before you committed to strolling by the Farsi clan corner to give them the stink-eye and remind them who is has the biggest pair of balls in the Gulf District.

Your big stick feels more like a bent coat hanger these days.

But, still, it's part of your beat. And you feel like you gotta do something. The neighbors keep looking at you. You wanted to be the cop, the lawbringer, the peacemaker.

You think: I don't wanna look like one of those weenie touchy-feely cops, standing at the door with your hat in your hand trying to get that Red bastard to talk nice to you. So you stomp up the stairs. You announce loudly that you're not here to talk to some blackmailing red bastard commie. That you'll think about not busting down the door only if the slimy a-hole inside throws out his dynamite and gets down on his knees and begs you not to give him a rap in the nuts. You holler over to the Changs (who aren't exactly your best friend, but, what the hell) that you expect them to back you up on this and join you in convincing their ol' pal to give up. As you start feeling pretty foolish standing there looking weak you might even throw in some hard words about "regime change" and "liberation" - it's hard to think calmly when you're getting steamed like you are.

As you stand there, listening to the odd banging noises and muttered conversation inside the locked door...you start to wonder:

Is this doing any good?

So would it hurt to talk to the little bastard?

How much weaker do I look standing on this doorstep with my...hat...in my hand?

And you think to yourself - some days, you just can't seem to catch a break...but some days you look back and want to kick youself in the ass for being so damn pig-headed that you were willing to pay any price to look like the baddest cop on the street.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fizzle! (Whew...sort of...)

Looks like Li'l Kim didn't get the bang for his buck. Here's the summarized version from Arms Control Wonk:

"They've published lat/long (41.294 N, 129.134 E) and Mb estimates (4.2) for the North Korean test. There is lots of data floating around: The CTBTO called it 4.0; The South Koreans report 3.58-3.7. You're thinking, 3.6, 4.2, in that neighborhood. Seismic scales, like the Richter, are logarithmic, so that neighborhood can be pretty big.

But even at 4.2, the test was probably a dud. Estimating the yield is tricky business, because it depends on the geology of the test site.

The South Koreans called the yield half a kiloton (550 tons), which is more or less -- a factor of two -- consistent with the relationship for tests in that yield range at the Soviet Shagan test site: Mb = 4.262 + .973LogW (here Mb is the magnitude of the body wave, and W is the yield.

3.58-3.7 gives you a couple hundred tons (not kilotons), which is pretty close in this business unless you're really math positive. The same equation, given the US estimate of 4.2, yields (pun intended) around a kiloton.

A plutonium device should produce a yield in the range of the 20 kilotons, like the one we dropped on Nagasaki.

No one has ever dudded their first test of a simple fission device. North Korean nuclear scientists are now officially the worst ever. (The Chief's emphasis...this just tickles me!)

Of course, I want to see what the US IC says. If/when the test vents, we could have some radionuclide data -- maybe in the next 72 hours or so. But, from the initial data, I'd say someone with no workable nuclear weapons (Kim Jong Il, I am looking at you) should be crapping his pants right now."

So - the DPRK tried - and failed. I'm still thinking that it's not quite the moment to be throwing rose petals and candy at Mr. Bush's nonproliferation team. As a scientist, one thing I know is that you can often learn a lot from a failure, even if you are officially the "worst nuclear scientists in the world".

Seems to me that, like a husband finding his wife's "Friday" panties in her jacket pocket on Saturday morning, it's time for us to start talking, a lot, and fast. The little lady north of the "Z" may not ACTUALLY be dancing the mattress tango with Mr. Bomb.


But our military options are still a) slim and b) none.

If we want to continue to be a player in East Asian geopolitics as well as head off a potential Sea-of-Japan-nuclear-arms-race, we probably need to be talking, really talking to those other powers in Asia who have a stake in this, including our coy friend Li'l Kim.

Mr. Bush still appears to have the boneheaded notion that you talk only to your friends, not to your enemies. I would suggest that someone, perhaps Big Time - he seems to have Dubya's attention - might want to remind the President that it's important to remember that talking down a whacko who is trying to assemble a bomb isn't "conceding to the demands of political and nuclear extortion". It's called "negotiation" and it's what genuine politicians, cops, soldiers and diplomats do every freaking day.

As Big Time, Condi and the freaking Alka-Seltzer man might remind Mr. I'm-the-Decider: Try it, you'll like it...

Monday, October 09, 2006

One Sunny Day...

I've been watching the news today with a mixture of horror and resignation. I knew this was coming, but had hoped that somehow someone in the Echelons Above Reality had a cunning plan to somehow slip Li'l Kim a deal under the table to buy him off. I mean, this guy is somewhere out on the far end of whack, but he has repeatedly tried to get a place at the table with the U.S. He wants to hang on to his ratfuck of a country, and now he's got the lever - or at least the beginning of a lever - to blackmail his neighbors into helping him.

The South Koreans and the Chinese are on a cleft stick. They now can't afford to have Kim fail. Before this it was just the spectre of an East Germany-like economic meltdown as they tried to keep the lifeless corpse of a post-Kim dead PRNK from falling on them and killing their economy. NOW they have to sweat what will happen when the whacko in Pyongyang looks out the window and sees a company of his Special Forces coming over the wall shouting "Bang, bang, you dead mothafoka!"

The combination of Abe in the premiership and nukes in the North make Japanese rearmament a serious issue.

And I have no idea what the hell we can do.

My understanding is that our intel penetration into the North is perhaps the poorest anywhere on the planet. We have virtualy no economic leverage there (and the people with the economic levers, China and the South, have an almost diametrically opposed view of the "best" way to handle this guy) and our military options seem pretty restricted.

Do we try and bomb? Again, my understanding is that we have a VERY incomplete target set, that the North has done some serious hardening of their nuke plant system, and the potential for chemical retaliation into the South is considerable.

A land invasion, for the same reason, seems off the table. As Napoleon would have said: "Des troupes? Où veut t'il que j'en prenne?! Veut t'il que j'en fasse?!"

Containment would seem to be problematic, given the unstable nature of this regime and it's known proclivity for selling its nasty toys to nasty boys.

And I'm not sure that we could offer Kim anything he'd take at this point. Frankly, if I was him, having listend to the Decider decide that he (Kim) was the second cousin to Satan himself and the center spoke in the Axis of Evil...well, look what's happening to the OTHER two Axis powers without the benefit of a nuclear umbrella to keep the steel rain off...

So...I have no idea what the hell we can do. And what I think is sad is that I have no confidence in my national "leadership" do do anything more intelligent than I could. As my wife remarked the last time we went to a minor league hockey game:

"Jesus wept! I could be that inept and I don't expect to get paid for it!"

I have to add that regardless of the success or lack of same of this bomb test - and there seems to be some question whether it WAS a detonation or just a "fizzle" - I think the other "lesson learned" that the assorted pond scum of despots, warlords and crackpots (okay, the despots, warlords and crackpots not currently needed by the people running things in DC...) are gonna take home from this is:

Got a bomb? (or maybe got a bomb, or close enough to a bomb..?) - it's gonna be jaw-jaw, not war-war.

Don't got a bomb? Unca Dick Cheney's got a bomb of his own...with your name on it, slick.

So the difference between Mr. Bush's actions towards Iraq and his rhetoric towards North Korea has GOT to convince any prospective American target - hello, Iran? hello, Venezuela? - that getting their hands on a nuke most quick smart is the ONLY way to stay comfy cozy.

I'm not sure if I feel OK about that.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Rainy Sunday ruminations on the USWNT

Quiet weekend here at the Palazzo del Peepiero. Both Mojo and I have the October Crud complete with nasty chest cold and hack. The weather has ranged from cool and pleasant to cool and drizzling rain...

So we've been keeping a profile that sags lower than a Congrssional page's pants when accosted by a Republican House member.

Had a nice anniversary dinner at the new place on Lombard, Christies (more about which on Monday) and went to see The Devil Wears Prada at the Golden Dome - remind me again to note that Meryl Streep is a fucking incredible actress - before home to the Peep. Today just some random driving-and-shopping before an afternoon at home. But I did get to watch the U.S. Women's National Team play that perennial powerhouse, Iceland.

First, as a former keeper, let me say that I am not fit to polish Thora Helgadottir's football boots. The woman is a hellup terrific keeper. What the Iceland coach was thinking pulling her ten minutes from time I don't know.

The US women dominated the game - I think Iceland had something like 3 shots over 90 minutes. Overall it was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Having said that...this game left me with some questions about the WNT:

1. The U.S. has lost a lot of experience in midfield. It shows. Many of the attacks look like what you'd see at any English Division 2 fixture - lots of crosses and through balls to Abby Wambach.

2. If you can mark Abby out, you've gotten 60% of the way to beating the WNT.

3. With the Hexagonal coming up, this team is gonna a) play a Latin team (or T&T) and the b) play the Canadians for the top spot. So why bother booking these lame friendlies with Iceland and Taiwan? You're gonna see a hispanic team of some sort, so why not schedule Costa Rica or even Brazil? And you're gonna see Canada. The Scandanavians play a straightforward physical game like Canada, but a team with Chris Sinclair up front is gonna get their shots. Why bother with Iceland? Why not the Brits, or even Scotland or Wales? Why not one of the real Nordic powers, like Sweden, Norway or Denmark?

I love the U.S. women. But sometimes I wonder if the folks at U.S. Soccer aren't still dreaming of 1999. It's a different world, gang. The Europeans aren't scared of us anymore. We may still be a Goliath of women's soccer, but there are a hell of a lot of Davids in sportsbras out there with a rock in their pocket and a bad attitude. Let's not get cocky...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Happy birthday to me...

Forty-nine years ago "this day", as the Peeper would say, the Fire Direction Chief's mother was brought forth of a baby boy who has remained as loud, arbitrary and irascible as he was when he first emerged, red and furious, from the womb.

Along the way I've seen the sun rise over the marshes of Delaware Bay, stand tall noon over the Gulf of Fonseca and set over the Straits of Aquaba. I've held the living body of my infant son and the dead body of my infant daughter. Lost the love of a good woman and won the heart of a delightful woman, a brave companion, a tender lover and a loving mommy. I've jumped from an aircraft in flight into the rushing morning sky and seen the shadows of the night flares swinging over a burning town. I've had a life full of hope, love, joy and tenderness, a life of hate, fear, anger and regret. Just a life like any other life, but this one has been my own. It's been a pretty good life, taken altogether. I wouldn't have wanted to miss a minute.

Okay, the whole shit-burning thing on Tiger Island...yeah, I could have missed that.

But it's when that little body wriggles into the bed, in the dark of the morning, snuggling down between Mojo and me, the small warm hands patting me as if to reassure him that Daddy's there for one more day...that's when I know that I'm just as eager for that tomorrow as I was for all the yesterdays before it.

Birthday presents? Got 'em. They're probably playing with toy trains or watching "Dave and Becky" or throwing sand out of the sandbox. Where my loved ones are - that's where my happy birthday is.

Happy damn birthday to me.

Monday, October 02, 2006


The wrong is not in the religion;
The wrong is in us - Saier T.

At dusk, bats fly out by the hundreds.
Water snakes glide in the ponding basins
behind the rubbled palaces. The mosques
call their faithful in, welcoming
the moonlight as prayer.

Today, policemen sunbathed on traffic islands
and children helped their mothers
string clothes to the line, a slight breeze
filling them with heat.

There were no bombs, no panic in the streets.
Sgt. Gutierrez didn't comfort an injured man
who cupped pieces of his friend's brain
in his hands; instead, today
white birds rose from the Tigris.

This is from an terrific little book of poetry called Here, Bullet by Brian Turner, a veteran of the Iraq War. Please - if you want to feel; feel the sandbag blow to the chest of the exploding bomb, feel the heat and the boredom and the fear, feel the tiny cuts left in your heart when everything else has healed...find this book, buy it, read it.

I can't praise this man's work enough. In my opinion he is the Wilfred Owen of Iraq, and his most powerful work can make you weep. And that is tribute enough.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday Night Free Association

Do most adoptive parents have other kids? Because if they do, why do so many "IA Stories" talk about their kids crying/hitting/throwing things/vomiting and or defecating? I mean, I'm not trying to be a downer, but...if you take out that stuff what ELSE is there to talk about? The life of a toddler seems to consist of the above plus refusing to eat anything but sliced white bread with the crusts off and lightly dusted with exactly 2.3 grams of cinnamon sugar (today, that is. Tomorrow it will be something completely different)

Is there something in raising a kid that prepares you for running a country, and is that why most pre-industrial societies required you to be a patriarch or matriarch before you could be the Big Kahuna? 'Cause it's gotta be that there's something in you that gets callused over the octeenth time your kid says "I don't love you 'cause you're a bad daddy" that prepares you to say things to strangers like "You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

Can you really trap GIs with beer? (see above) Okay, I know you can, but how cheap a beer can you go with and still trap enough to depress the population? Are we talking Steel Reserve or will Haffenreffer (aka the Big Green Death) or Milwaukee's Best work?

Does anybody actually remember BGDs? Talk about "dead drunk for two bits"...

Didn't there used to be a country called America, where the people there used to be proud of the fact that they stood up to tyranny, defied kings and their secret justice, their lettres de cachet and Chateaus d'If, that stood for justice before the law and freedom from the midnight knock on the door and the secret torture chamber?

Why are toddlers scared of taking a dump in the potty? Wassupwitdat?

Does anyone really want Barry Bonds to break the Hammerin' Hank's career HR record?

Who invented liquid soap? And why?

And how did Viveca Lindfors stay so sexy and cool all the way into her sixties, and was she or was she not the best part of The Sure Thing?

How can a three-year-old's feet stank like that?

Why is it that the barking dog next door can keep you up an hour between midnight and one and yet the dog's owners (fifty feet closer to the howling SOB) sleep like the dead?

Why the heck is Greg Ryan bothering scheduling those soccer powers Chinese Taipei and Iceland right before the Hexagonal? Is it doing the USWNT any good at all to hammer seven goals (or whatever the hell they put in the onion bag today) against the women's soccer equivalent of Brighton and Hove Albion?

It seems to me that I've spent so much of my life worrying and fretting about things I either don't understand or can't affect, and yet the big things, the important things, the life-and-love-and-death things seem to happen in their own way, regardless of what I'm thinking or doing.

Is there anything lovlier than the curve of her hip?

Paris Hilton. WTF?

Why do so many of my countrymen not CARE that our leaders are lying to us and pissing down our necks and telling us it's raining? Why doesn't this really piss them off, too?

Is there a God? Does it matter?

When you die, will you know?

Why am I still awake wondering about this stuff?

"I woke up thinking about Turkish drummers...it didn't take long - I don't know much about Turkish drummers - But it made me think of Germany and the guy who sold me cigarettes who'd been in the Afghan secret police who made the observation that it's hard...to live...

Then I was reminded of the proprietor of a Vietnamese restaurant in Quebec who used to be head of the secret police in Da Nang - and it occurred to me I was thinking about all this stuff to keep from thinking about something else... Isn't that just what secret police are all about???" - Bruce Cockburn "Get Up Jonah"