Sunday, July 31, 2005
Arthur Motley (1900 - 1984), business executive
No Patience. I don’t know if it is the pressure I feel from work with constant deadlines combined with the stress of bumper to bumper traffic day in and day out, morning and night or what, but I have no tolerance for much of anything these days. I joke that I have congestive heart failure, which I know is no laughing matter, but summing the energy to do things is at times difficult.
A Simple Oil Change. The service rep at the dealership pissed me off. I made an appointment a week ago to get my oil changed at 9 a.m. I had to park outsides the service area. I walked up to the service rep. He had a couple in there that he was finishing up with; I patiently waited. I walked up to him because he was not going to come to me. I mentioned that I was there for an oil change and he told me just a moment. He came back told me to bring my car up, and I asked how long it would be. He said an hour. An hour for an oil change! I figured I had my newspapers I could deal. I drove the car up and he was starting with someone else and told me just a minute. I walked back to my car and left. That guy is jerk. There is a woman I like dealing with there a bit better. But, it’s the same old story everywhere custom service does not exist. There are too many people to provide adequate service to and companies hire fewer people to deal with the larger number of customers. I will reschedule with the woman and just come in later to the office one morning.
The Gym. Wife suggested I get back to the gym, which I wholeheartedly agree with, but when? I could get there at 5 a.m. before I leave for work, if I rush around I can work it out to be out the door by 6:20 on my way to work. After work, I could go when I get home, but I would have to be lucky and find a vacancy of one of the machines. The last time I did that, a big fat person was the machine next to me chatting on the cell phone barely moving the entire 35 minutes on I was on the machine. They probably went home boasting about the workout they just accomplished. I used to wait until late 8ish or 9 p.m., but I am too tired anymore for that.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969), U.S. general and president
Washington D.C. – A statement issued today (Friday) by the White House on a bill that gives unprecedented legal immunity to the most reckless gun sellers in America "grossly misrepresents the lawsuits targeted by the bill and insults gun violence victims who are seeking justice in our courts," said Michael D. Barnes, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Here are some of the cases being deemed "frivolous" by the White House:
- Last year, the families of DC area sniper victims won a settlement of over $2 million from the Washington State gun dealer who could not account for the "missing" assault rifle used by the snipers and who "lost" over 200 other guns.
- New Jersey police officers David Lemongello and Ken McGuire won a $1 million settlement against a West Virginia pawnshop that negligently sold 12 semiautomatic handguns for cash to a gun trafficking team, enabling a criminal to obtain the pistol used against them.
- The family of Massachusetts slaying victim Danny Guzman, an innocent bystander shot on Christmas Eve 1999, is pursuing justice against a Massachusetts gun manufacturer that not only negligently hired criminals to work in its plant, but had such irresponsible security practices that it allowed them to walk out of the plant with guns that carried no serial numbers, one of which was used to shoot Guzman.
- And the parents of 14-year-old Anthony Oliver recently filed suit against a Philadelphia gun dealer that supplied a gun trafficker with the gun used to shoot Anthony, along with several other guns.
"These innocent Americans were victimized by reckless gun sellers who thought they would never be held accountable for putting guns into dangerous hands," Barnes said. "The issue posed by this legislation is simple: Are President Bush and Congress on the side of these victims asserting their fundamental legal rights as Americans, or are they on the side of irresponsible gun merchants who care nothing about the fatal consequences of their conduct?"
The answer to that question was obvious.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
John Lennon (1940-1980), singer, song writer, Beatle, from the song "Strange Days"
According to a Reuters report, a handwritten lyric sheet for "All You Need is Love" used by John Lennon in 1967 was sold for 600,000 pounds ($1.04 million) at an auction in London on Thursday, organizers said.
I think John Lennon would have gotten a laugh over the fact anything he touches is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, at a minimum. I don’t have a record player, so I can’t go back and listen to his "Double Fantasy" album where he laughs and comments toward the end of one of the songs about Yoko selling a cow for almost $100,000, which he thought was crazy at the time.
The "All You Need Is Love" lyric sheet was used by Lennon during a television performance by the Beatles and could be seen on film footage dropping to the floor after the song was performed, said a spokesman for auctioneers Cooper Owen.
A girl working for the BBC at the time retrieved the manuscript from beneath Lennon's music stand. She provided a letter of authenticity for Thursday's sale.
If I had more money than I knew what to do with, I too would purchase something of Lennon’s, most likely some of his art work.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
But now that veteran White House reporter, Helen Thomas, has vowed to kill herself if he runs for president, I write in haste.
Dick Cheney will be the republican candidate for president in 2008.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
But then it really struck me why John Roberts was nominated. Many people were preparing for a controversial battle for the next Supreme Court justice, but the Roberts nomination seemed to quash that at first because he seemed like such a good candidate (as evidenced by many quotes from right and left). I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but the way he's being presented is very JFKish, with the way his family dresses, the little kids dominating photos, etc.
Anyway, I realize now that, in the true White House strategic planning approach, this isn't about John Roberts. It's about presenting a "safe" candidate to set precedent in the confirmation process, because the White House knows the next one will be much more controversial and difficult (the person they really would like in there now).
By paving the road now, i.e., setting precedent, with John Roberts, it will be harder to challenge the confirmation of a much more controversial candidate.
We've seen this before. It's brilliant.
As I've said before, we need some Democrats who know how to play a good game of chess. Otherwise, they won't know what hit them (again) until it's too late.
Paraphrase of John Kerry's famous quote before the Senate subcommittee April 1971. ("...how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?")
Rather than admit President Bush’s empty tough talk does nothing but inspire further violence, the white house gang offers up a change of course as a slogan change.
At the end of the New York Times article is the paragraph that sums how wrong the white house gang has been and that the entire war effort in Iraq was unnecessary:
Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, said in an interview that if the nation's efforts were limited to "protecting the homeland and attacking and disrupting terrorist networks, you're on a treadmill that is likely to get faster and faster with time." The key to "ultimately winning the war," he said, "is addressing the ideological part of the war that deals with how the terrorists recruit and indoctrinate new terrorists."
Why the hell did it take so long, so much money and oh so many lives?
Do not accept any package if you are unaware of its contents.Good advice at the airport, I guess... but why should the airport be any different from the rest of our lives?
Life is a series of packages -- the contents of which are always unknown to us.
Can you imagine how much this blog would suck if I posted such drivel as this? Lucky for you, I don't have the inclination to do so. Or a better name for the blog (Misanthrope, forgive me) would be "Chicken Soup for the Blogger's Soul" (note to self: big money idea!).
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Sometimes it's a machete left over from Vietnam, sometimes gardening tools (as above), sometimes a dog toy... whatever he finds on the patio.
Groucho Marx (1895–1977), comic actor
Whoever said time marches on should be rewarded with the world’s most understated phrase – it’s in a constant sprint. The tireless (and greedy?) Mick Jagger turns 62 today. The Rolling Stones have been playing for audiences since the early ‘60s and only one band member had died Brian Jones, and another, Bill Wyman, retired. Mick Taylor who replaced Jones quit because Jagger would not share song-writing credits.
Sorry Mick, no present from me, I have already contributed far too much to the band's bank account. Happy birthday nonetheless.
Monday, July 25, 2005
It was a horror story, especially the ordeal he went through when it was concluded that he didn't have anything to do with the devices in the trunk (the cab driver was the guilty party). While I felt sorry for him, I also understood (to some degree) why the military wanted to make sure they did a thorough investigation, although some of their tactics showed they hadn't learned many lessons from the Abu Grahib fiasco.
But here's the part that pushed me over the edge. While being interviewed by FBI agents he was asked: Who did you vote for in the last presidential election? Totalitarianism, anybody? Why should it matter who he voted for? He was brave enough to tell them he voted for Kerry. (Would you have done the same?)
If that doesn't send a shiver down your spine...
Baroness Orczy (1865–1947), novelist, playwright
Bill Clinton apologized the other day for not intervening in Rwanda to stop the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. He placed a wreath at the museum commemorating victims of the 100-day massacre.
Meanwhile, President Bush has yet to apologize for taking the country to war under false pretense and ending the lives of almost 2,000 soldiers. Yet, only now are people realizing that Bush and his gang might be a little vengeful and corrupt.
What I would not give to have Clinton as president again. I guess the next best choice will be Hillary.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Samuel Goldwyn (1882–1974), film producer
Movie Going is an Expensive Hassle. Hollywood moviemakers and theater owners are crying that ticket sales are down. It’s a no brainer really. Prices continue to climb and the product continues to decline. Hollywood does not cease in its efforts to cater to a younger audience because they like the fact that they return to the see the same movie a few times. Note to Hollywood, the kids who keep returning have friends who work at the theater and let them in for free.
I only occasionally go to the show and when I go, I wait a couple weeks for the initial crowds to subside. Or, I will go to the Arclight Theatre in Hollywood to the early show on a Sunday, which could be 11 a.m., but everyone out there is still sleeping or afraid to be seen going out so early, god forbid someone think they had nothing to do the night before.
I did see the new Batman at the Universal City Walk IMAX when I was on vacation. What a mistake! The movie and the theater were wonderful, but parking was $10 with a $5 rebate when you purchase your ticket that costs $15. I didn't even look at the snackbar. The crowds and noise at City Walk were enough to make me an agoraphobic for life.
Four reasons why ticket sales are down and there may be more: one, who wants to pay to see commercials? Theater owners continue to sell ad space before you even get to the previews. Two, people are too rude and inconsiderate of others. I certainly don’t want the film narrated for me. And, this is not just young people; seniors are the worst for yakking during the movies. Three, ticket prices are just too expensive for a crappy movie, forget if one has to hire a babysitter, or pay parking. Four, snacks are excessively overpriced. Let’s face it, we are not a captive audience such as those trapped in an airport or amusement park.
Finally, time is just too valuable to spend at the theater. I would much rather stay home and read or putter than go the movies and spend $20 just to get in, when I can rent a DVD for $4.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
This wonderful Associated Press article further highlights that Karl Rove should be fired. It was one of the most e-mail stories according to Yahoo News.
Former U.S. intelligence officers criticized President Bush on Friday for not disciplining Karl Rove in connection with the leak of the name of a CIA officer, saying Bush's lack of action has jeopardized national security.
"I wouldn't be here this morning if President Bush had done the one thing required of him as commander in chief — protect and defend the Constitution," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst. "The minute that Valerie Plame's identity was outed, he should have delivered a strict and strong message to his employees."
Of course, Bush will never fire his loyal employee, but the heat should stay turned up on this sleazy gang of white house administrators.
Karl's free and Judith Miller continues to sit in jail. Seventeen days by my count.
Congratulations on your relationship with Jesus! From your appearance I might have assumed that you and the [alleged] Messiah were on the outs; certainly a woman who had a personal connection with God would dress a bit nattier, don't you think?
But no -- you may not dress the part, but you proclaim your faith so loudly and repeatedly that it must be true: Jesus is your personal savior, and more power to you. Or him.
I didn't have the chance earlier to discuss this topic at greater length with you, so let me take this opportunity to be more clear: please enjoy Jesus responsibly.
Jesus may be your favorite diety, but he's really not my cup of tea. And though I'm pleased to live in a country where everyone ostensibly gets to believe as they wish, I don't need to spend my hour-long commute listening to you sing praises and hymns to the glory of this guy.
And when I politely ask you to tone it down a little and let the rest of us go to hell in peace, I don't want to hear how you're doing holy work by being witness of Christ's love. I don't want to hear that when the spirit takes you, you can't hold it in.
Here's a tip: if you're looking for Jesus, try a church.
Please allow those of us who are misguided enough to believe in something other than your beliefs to go our merry ways without having to suffer through your tone-deaf halleluyahs.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Then I woke up this morning to see that the London police had shot and killed a suspected suicide bomber. Good. If you're walking around in the middle of summer in a heavy coat (and I hate to say it, you fit the profile), acting suspicious, and not standing down when ordered by the police, then you risk being shot.
We live in a scary time, and it's getting scarier. If the police don't do it, then vigilantes eventually will. Then we will have chaos.
As my dad always told me -- if you hesitate, you lose.
Guerilla Gorilla was on freeway this week and saw something make him mad. Very mad. And sad. [grunt]
Here what Guerilla Gorilla saw: young human child, maybe five year old, sitting in front seat of car. Human children not supposed to ride in front seat -- dangerous.
Human child was not in booster seat. Booster seat required by law for all children under six year old or sixty pounds -- even Guerilla Gorilla know this!
Human child was not wearing seatbelt. Seatbelt is not just good idea; seatbelt is the law!
Car was late-model gold-color Toyota Celica! That not illegal or unsafe; that just a bad idea.
Why this adult human not know how to make child safe? Why so many others on roads do same to other children? This silverback know that children are most precious thing we have, and it frustrating to see so many humans not be safer with theirs. That why we gorillas have babies ride on stomach when we brachiate thrrough treetops. Yes, Guerilla Gorilla knows word "brachiate." [grunt]
Reuters reported that Roman Polanski won his libel case against Vanity Fair on Friday, ending a trial in which he gave video evidence from Paris to avoid extradition to America where he is wanted for having sex with a girl aged 13.
The film director was awarded 50,000 pounds (approximately $100,000 U.S. dollars) in damages. He went to court in London to sue the magazine's publishers over an article in July 2002 alleging he had tried to seduce a woman in a New York restaurant while on his way to his slain wife's funeral in August 1969.
Vanity Fair had conceded the article was inaccurate, saying the incident actually took place several weeks after Sharon Tate's murder by followers of the Charles Manson clan, but had maintained the gist of the contested passage in the article was true.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
We arrived in June 1995, my wife about to start her first year of rabbinic school at Hebrew Union College. The very next month, on July 24, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a crowded bus in Tel Aviv and killed six Israelis and wounded 28. Our families expressed concern, but we reassured them – after all, we reasoned; these things happen in Israel sometimes, and it was in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.
In August, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a bus in Jerusalem and killed five people, including Jewish Theological Seminary students Sara Duker and Matthew Eisenfeld, and wounded more than 100 people. This was harder to distance ourselves from. It was our city, a bus that we rode on, on a street we traveled every day; among the dead were Americans that were in Jerusalem for exactly the same reason that my wife was. At this point, the American consulate started suggesting that Americans should leave Israel and head back home.
So why did we stay? Israel was our home, temporary though it might have been. We were scared – certainly -- but not ready to abandon our lives in deference to the terrorists. We did change our routines a little: we stopped taking buses unless absolutely necessary (taxi drivers rejoiced). We kept our eyes open a little wider… in fact, most of Israel was doing the same thing. We stayed and we continued to live our lives.
September and October were filled with news of agreements and accords between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, but in November Rabin was killed by a right-wing Israeli law student (may his name be blotted out) at a Tel Aviv peace rally.
In February of 1996, in two separate attacks, Palestinian suicide bombers blew up a bus in Jerusalem and a soldiers’ hitchhiking post in the coastal city of Ashkelon; twenty-three Israelis were killed, as well as two Americans and a Palestinian. More than eighty people were wounded. Later that month, an Arab-American drove a rental car into a Jerusalem bus stop and killed one Israeli, wounding twenty-three.
It didn’t stop.
On March 3, a bus bomb in Jerusalem killed 19 people, including the bomber -- the third such suicide attack in eight days. The next day a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Tel Aviv shopping center, killing thirteen people. On March 21 a suicide bomber killed himself and three Israeli women in Tel Aviv.
And yet we stayed. We refused to let these monsters dictate where we would live, or how we would live. Giving in to terrorists only sends the message that such atrocities are the only way to get what they want.
Israel’s election campaign that spring was dominated by slogans about security and peace. Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister, closely beating Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Some painted this as a victory for hawks over doves, and a message to those who would threaten Israel.
In June, we celebrated Israel’s independence day and the 3000th anniversary of Jerusalem, leaving Israel for the United States soon after. The violence did not stop while we were there, and neither did it end when we left, but we had our year in Israel, and we were not scared away. People died, lives changed, but the struggle for a safe peace continued then, as it does today.
It's frighteining to discover that London is still susceptible to what amounts to the same exact attack as the one just two weeks ago -- I've read that there was very little that can be done to improve security in a multi-entrance system such as the Underground (or our subway system, for that matter), but it still surprises and shocks me that this could happen again,
Yahoo has some info, but the better source right now is BoingBoing.
Xu Wenli, Chinese dissident
Why do we have to be such a backwards country when it comes to social issues?
Canada legalized gay marriage, yesterday (Wednesday) becoming the fourth nation to grant full legal rights to same-sex couples. Canada follows Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.
Meanwhile, our President Bush uses the issue to successfully create a divide in the country. This seems such a basic right that to deny it is truly a prejudice that reflects poorly on our society today. Don’t try and blame this on the bible because the “good” book approves of slavery too – unless a master beats him so that he loses an eye or teeth, in which case Exodus 21 states the slave must be freed.
Canada’s progress on social issues is further illustrating just how socially backwards we are in the United States. This bill passed despite strong opposition from Conservatives and religious leaders.
The new law grants same-sex couples legal rights equal to those in traditional unions between a man and a woman, something already legal in eight of Canada's 10 provinces and in two of its three territories.
It seems like common sense, but we know what an oxymoron that is.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Saul Bellow (1915 -- 2005), novelist
Hello Mr and Mrs America, from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea, what the hell has taken you so long!
Finally, one thing we can be thankful to Karl Rove about, according to Associated Press, Americans have growing doubts about President Bush's honesty and his effectiveness. The new poll by the Pew Research Center, shows people are uneasy with the war in Iraq, uncertain about the economy and nervous about the terrorist threat.
The story states that 49 percent of those polled, said they believe the president is trustworthy, while almost as many, 46 percent said he is not. Bush was at 62 percent on this measure in a September 2003 Pew poll and at 56 percent in a Gallup poll in April. One of Bush's strong suits throughout his presidency has been the perception by a majority of people that he is honest.
The slide in trust in Bush comes at a time the White House is answering questions about top aide Karl Rove's involvement in the public leak of the identity of a CIA operative.
So what does Bush do? Time to name a Supreme Court Justice nominee to cool the heat in the White House press room.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Nadine Gordimer, South African author
Isn’t it ironic or just plain sad that the one person with strong ethics in the Valerie Plame Wilson case sits in jail?
While the sleazy tactics of Karl Rove and the Bush gang are allowed to go unabated and in fact rewarded, Judith Miller sits in jail. This looks more like China’s justice system than a democracy.
What a shame.
There is an article in Editor & Publisher worth reading.
Michael D. Barnes, Founder and CEO of Barnes Design Group, P.C. which is a Christian "Church Architectural Firm" specializing in church design, master planning and liturgical consulting.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is moving its convention of lethal weapons from Columbus, Ohio because the city’s elected council outlawed the sale or possession of semiautomatic rifles with pistol grips and detachable magazines.
The NRA, which probably at one time was a worthwhile organization teaching people to use guns for hunting safely. Now seems to me to have transmogrified into some sort of organization for extremists and mercenaries, otherwise why do you need semiautomatic rifles for hunting or protection.
Ideally every city in every county throughout the United States should ban the above mentioned weapons and others as well. Force the NRA to have secret meetings. This organization has taken the Second Amendment and twisted its meaning The Second Amendment states: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The NRA ignores the first, crucial, half of the Second Amendment - the words referring to a "well-regulated militia."
When the U.S. Constitution was adopted, each of the states had its own "militia" - a military force composed of ordinary citizens serving as part-time soldiers. Now, the NRA wants every nut job to have access to weapons, and unfortunately too many politicians cave in to this crazed cult of gun worshipers.
Then I found out that it wasn't just the shape of this particular trophy; many athletes find their trophies to be so alluring that they can't resist a little lip action.