Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Good News and Bad News for New Orleans

From Yahoo: In an attempt to boost its stalled economy, the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans is starting the nation's first free wireless Internet network owned and run by a major city.

This is wonderful news, but it doesn't address a related problem: to make use of the Internet, even if it is free, you need a computer; my guess is that the differences between the "haves" and the "have-nots" will only be exacerbated by this. Because if you can afford a computer, do you need to have the city pay for your access? And if you can't afford a computer, does it matter if the Internet is available for free?

So I'm all for the Internet being free, but let's not forget to get those poor kids some books and food.


A Great Short Story

A person is not measured from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet, but from their shoulders to the sky.
John Rice, motivational speaker, businessman

Here is a story you may have overlooked. I like to read the obituaries because I’m interested in the cause of death and what they did to merited mentioned in the paper. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, when I go, the world will little note, nor remember me or what I say here. In any case, John Rice passed away early last week, he was in the record books as one of the world’s shortest twins. His diminutive stature alone is not what made him worthy of a near full-page story, it was his attitude.

Rice was a multimillionaire with an incredibly positive outlook. His quote is what leads this post. His mother conveyed to her small twins the philosophy that her boys were a couple of dimes in a bunch of nickels.

It was a sad story of an unexpected and untimely death, but it had me laughing out on Thanksgiving morning, which may have actually captured Rice's outlook on life.

One day, in the middle of watching a TV western, tiny Rice dashed outside to the bicycles that had languished on the porch for years because the twins — then in grade school — were too short to ride them.

He'd been engrossed in a shootout scene in which one of the characters got away by jumping off a balcony onto his trusty steed.

"A little lightbulb went off in John's head," Greg, his brother, recalled, and the next thing he knew was that his brother had taken one of the bikes and propped it next to the bumper of the family car.

He positioned the pedal high, then climbed up on the bumper and jumped, pushing down on the pedal as he aimed for the seat. After many falls, he managed to maintain enough momentum to pedal to the end of the driveway and turn wide to return to the top.

I highly encourage you to read the article. One of their business ventures was to purchase a plant nursery called Tree Feet Tall that specialized in dwarf citrus trees.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Fat Bottom Girls & Guys

Some people are born to fatness. Others have to get there.
Les Murray, Australian poet

The end is no longer near – the rear end that is. A story pointed out that fatter behinds are causing many drug injections to miss their mark. To solve this weighty problem longer needles are required.

The Reuters article, which quoted researchers from the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Dublin said that basically 23 out of 25 women missed receiving the proper dosage because of the fat tissue was too thick.

Apparently, obesity affects more than 300 million people worldwide and is based on a measure of height versus weight that produces a body mass index above 30. An estimated 65 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

Now is the time to panic.

As if we parents don't have enough to worry about already: a 15-year-old Quebec girl with a peanut allergy died after kissing her boyfriend, who had just eaten a peanut butter snack.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Balloon Injures Two at Macy's Parade

A giant balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade snagged a street light near Times Square and caused part of it to fall into the crowd, injuring two people, according to police and eyewitness accounts.

Silver lining: no one died, and the two injured people didn't have to sit through the rest of the parade.

Happy Thanksgiving

Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.
Samuel Pepys (1633 - 1703), English diarist and civil servant.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Painful Music

My heart sings, full of sadness—the shadows lengthen.
Jean Sibelius (1865 - 1957), Finnish composer

The American Music Awards were on last night and you can probably guess why I watched it – the Rolling Stones were on. I will never watch the AMA show again. They cut the Stones off in the middle of "It's Only Rock and Roll." However, in between I didn’t know many of the performers. I knew who Kenny Chesney was because he was splashed all over People magazine and other tabloid type magazines, but I’m afraid I have gotten too old to keep up with the music scene.

Even when I was younger, I apparently did not stay up to speed. I saw the movie “Walk the Line,” the Johnny Cash bio-pic, the other night and it was excellent. I was rather upset with myself for not paying attention to Johnny Cash all those years. I remember when “A Boy Named Sue,” was a hit, but I viewed Cash as country singer, yet he was more than just a country artist. So, to catch up, I purchased a few of his CDs. B2 pointed out an album of covers titled “American IV, The Man Comes Around," which is probably one of the most poignant CDs I have ever heard.

Cash sings the song “Hurt” (I linked the video and it's very much worth watching, again thanks to B2) written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and you can honestly believe you feel Cash’s pain. This CD conveys more loneliness and misery than Frank Sinatra’s “In the Wee Small Hours” CD. Cash's raspy voice brings angst and torment to such songs as “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” “Desperado,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and finally when he gets to “When We Meet Again,” if you’re not on the verge of tears you have no feelings.

When I’m in a pensive, sad mood this CD will be playing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Teachers Gone Wild

I find it extraordinary that a straightforward if inelegant device for ensuring the survival of the species should involve human beings in such emotional turmoil. Does sex have to be taken so seriously?
P. D. James, British mystery writer

Yes, this is just wrong, primarily because it never happened to me. Seriously, I think that this kid will regret that he said anything.

However, there is certainly something wrong with the teacher on a couple of levels: She is/was a newlywed and she has a responsibility as an authority figure not to abuse that trust.

What the heck is happening to teachers, and we’re not talking male teachers? There seems to be a rash of women gone wild with young boys. Yeah, yeah, men having been doing it for years, it’s not equality, it’s just not right, if the person is not mature enough (forget the arbitrary statutory rape age).

In this particular case, the woman sounds a bit unbalanced:

A female teacher pleaded guilty Tuesday to having sex with a 14-year-old student, avoiding prison as part of a plea agreement.

Debra Lafave, 25, will serve three years of house arrest and seven years' probation. She pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery.

The former Greco Middle School reading teacher apologized during the hearing, saying "I accept full responsibility for my actions."

The boy told investigators the two had sex in a classroom at the Greco school, located in Temple Terrace near Tampa, in her Riverview town house and once in a vehicle while his 15-year-old cousin drove them around Marion County.

The boy told investigators Lafave told him her marriage was in trouble and that she was aroused by the fact that having sex with him was not allowed. He said he and Lafave, a newlywed at the time, got to know each other on their way back from a class trip to SeaWorld Orlando in May 2004.

How Much Do You Spend on Entertainment?

The American public does not want to be uplifted, ennobled—it wants to be amused.
Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875 - 1935), novelist, social worker, and teacher

Over the last 10 years, outlays for entertainment outpaced overall expenditures.
Spending on health care and education, which almost doubled in that period, grew faster, according to an article in the New York Times.

I realize that I spend far too much on entertainment. I buy too many books and CDs, but I justify it by rationalizing that it is my only indulgence, when the Rolling Stones are not in town, or I’m not going to the jazz club with On the Mark. I have given up going to see the Los Angeles Dodgers; last year was the first year since the early ‘70s that I did not go to a game, which saved about $100 or so.

All this comes to mind because I read the article on what a life of bread and circus costs us. What is your monthly total?

Cell phone

The average American spends more on entertainment than on gasoline, household furnishings and clothing and nearly the same amount as spent on dining out, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among the affluent, the 20 percent of households with more than $77,000 a year in pretax income, more money is spent on entertainment - $4,516 a year - than on health care, utilities, clothing or food eaten at home.

Now granted, some of this is required expense. Just try to get by today without the internet or a cell phone. Also, who wants to listen to our politicians argue like school kids and demonstrate hypocrisy at a perfected level?

The opium of the masses today is a combination of entertainment and religion. Who can fault us with a government of thieves and liars who are only out to line their own pockets? (I didn't even get into the fact that the House members voted themselves a raise last week they now make $165,000.)

42 Years Ago Today

You never know what’s hit you. A gunshot is the perfect way.
John F. Kennedy (1917–63), U.S. president

It was 42 years ago today, that shouts rang out in Dallas shocking the country and the world.

I know many of you were not around, but I was either in the first or second grade and I was traumatized.

November 22, 1963 was a warm sunny day in Dallas. Forecasters had predicted cooler weather and so Jackie Kennedy ended up in a wool suit. She would wear that suit until the wee hours of the morning of the 23rd.

John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy President John F. Kennedy had come to Texas to do a bit of pre-election fence mending. Conservative Governor John Connally and the more liberal Senator Ralph Yarborough were at odds. Surely Kennedy charm could smooth this over.

The reception in Texas seemed promising as did the future. After a stop in Fort Worth, they took a short plane ride to Love Field in Dallas.

The motorcade was to follow a winding 11 mile route through downtown Dallas where President Kennedy was to speak at a luncheon with civic and business leaders at the Trade Mart. At 11:50 a.m.. the motorcade left the airport on its rendezvous with fate.

The big presidential limousine, a midnight blue 1961 Lincoln, had been flown in from Washington D.C. The plastic bubble top was removed and the bullet-proof side windows were rolled down because the weather was so favorable and this is how President Kennedy preferred to ride.

See more here

Monday, November 21, 2005

On Orange Juice for One

And once you told me I was mistaken
That I’d awaken with the sun
And ordered orange juice for one
It never entered my mind
You had what I lack, myself
Now I even have to scratch my back myself

It Never Entered My Mind, sung by Frank Sinatra, written by R. Rodgers/L. Hart

There is a part of the holidays that I love and a part that I dislike. Thanksgiving I thoroughly enjoy because it’s family and people getting together with no obligations except to eat and be marry. Christmas also has its pluses and minuses. I have an idea for Christmas to make it even more special – celebrate it once every other year. It would mean so much more to people and most likely people would be less inclined to leave their lights up year ‘round. Of course, I don’t put any up. Oh, I did once or twice and Daughter would climb the ladder and help.

I realize that there is no transition here, but there are a number of items that I really want to write about, but I’ve been asked not to say anything for the time being, which has rather stifled my writing altogether because I have been thinking what I would say if I could let it all out.

My plan will be to eek out various thoughts through my attempts at essays in the style of Michel De Montaigne, well, similar in that the titles will start with "On." De Montaigne was such a source of comfort for me during my first breakup with such essays as On Liars, On Sadness, On Solitude.

Friday, November 18, 2005

On The Mark -- He Crowed and He Crowed

So, now that Bob Woodward has joined the Valerie Plame leak fiasco, the game gets that much more interesting. Respected journalists and publications are going down in flames. Woodward knows about this for two years but doesn't bother to tell any of his superiors at the Post (not his source, but that he also was given this information)? He writes and talks and gives his opinion of the investigation over the past two years while all the time he's part of it? Wow. Ben Bradlee is quoted as saying he doesn't think anybody outside the beltway is interested in this story. He's wrong.

This story goes much deeper than what we know right now. If the real truth comes out it will only be because Fitzgerald was able to dig deep enough, and there isn't a decision to withhold the truth until later because of national security.

Now current and former administration personnel are coming out of the woodwork to say they weren't the ones to tell Woodward. One has to ask who the source was, though? One thinks back on the promotional tours for Woodward's last book and how he talked about who he interviewed for the book.

Yes. I do recall now how Woodward crowed about how he interviewed Pres. Bush one-on-one in the Oval Office.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Checkout -- Anything They Say

But who shall be master? The writer or the reader?
Denis Diderot (1713 - 1784), French encyclopedist and philosopher

If I wasn’t feeling so drained or just had a bit of energy, I would be writing posts like TheBhc. I love his stuff!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On The Mark -- Listen first, speak last

In case you missed it, Peter Drucker passed away last week. As the Wall Street Journal said, Drucker was the Shakespeare of books on management. I'm not a former Drucker student, but I was a student of his books and articles, and once had the chance to work with him on getting the word out on a speech and book he wrote on the non-profit sector.

The most fascinating aspect about Drucker was that his management focus was on people, not buildings or machines. Many businesses ignore this principle today, often forgetting that it's their people who make the businesses successful (or unsuccessful). It's all about knowledge.

Drucker influenced my perspective on business in many ways, but especially with one particular book, and a rule. The book was "The New Realities," which absolutely floored me and gave me ammunition to sound very smart in client meetings for many years to come. The rule was, "Listen first, speak last." Let's just say it's always worked for me.

Drucker lived for nearly a century. His impact will last well into this century and probably the next.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Kazakhstan Hates Jews

Reuters reports that Kazakhstan's foreign ministry threatened legal action against Sacha Baron Cohen, who portrays a fake Kazakh reporter in his "Da Ali G Show." Cohen portrays Kazakhstan as a country populated by drunks who enjoy cow-punching as a sport.

The irony is that Kazakhstan is [quite possibly] a country populated by drunks who enjoy Jew-punching as a sport.

Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Yerzhan Ashykbayev spoke in the usual anti-Semitic code in a press briefing: "We do not rule out that Mr. Cohen is serving someone's political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way."

For those of you who don't know the code, the language "someone's political order" referring to a Jewish person or organization is a not-so-secret message to fellow believers that the Jews are at it again. Read between the lines, won't you?


See No God, Hear No God, Speak No God

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a ruling that the inscription "In God We Trust" on the front of a government building in North Carolina does not violate church-state separation.

Hey, Supremes -- if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Assassins' Gate

We prepare for war like ferocious giants, and for peace like retarded pygmies.
Lester Pearson (1897 - 1972), Canadian prime minister

The other night, On the Mark and I attended a talk/discussion sponsored by the Downtown Los Angeles Library with George Packer, who wrote “The Assassins’ Gate, America in Iraq.” I found the conversation as interesting as his book.

I cannot encourage you strongly enough to read “The Assassins’ Gate, America in Iraq” to get an understanding how America was hoodwinked into attacking Iraq using a disastrous foreign policy known as the Bush doctrine.

The neoconservatives in the Bush gang led by Vice President Dick Cheney, with strong support from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz were the main architects behind the war. Anyone who disagreed had to remain quiet or they were fired. General Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, said that Iraq world require “ something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers.” Shinseki was fired and publicly contradicted by Paul Wolfowitz. Bush’s economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay candidly predicted that the war could cost as much as $200 billion, he was quickly reprimanded and eventually fired.

In a nutshell that does not do justice to the book, but shows my opinion, the motive behind going to war was a strong, although not factually supported, belief that the United States could bring democracy to the Middle East and change the political landscape to something more to the United States’ liking.

During the talk, Packer said that Bush was not necessarily a neoconservative ready to rush into Iraq, but 9/11 threw him into the neoconservative group. Once Bush was completely on board Cheney and Rumsfeld could easily push their agenda through.

As more books and analysis come out on Iraq documenting what went on behind the scenes, I believe it will show the flawed thinking behind our effort and prove that Iraq was/is one of this country’s biggest mistakes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy

So you may know that I'm a registered Democrat -- and I have another bone to pick with my party. My voting guide (which I mostly ignored this time around) features three Democrat presidents proudly on the cover: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

The guy who got us involved in WW2, the guy who dropped the bomb, and a noted philanderer.

Of course, those three are better than anyone the Republicans could feature -- Hoover, Nixon, and Dubya?

"Wow! Brazil is Big"

The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
With loads of learned lumber in his head.

Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744), English poet

President Bush once again showed his geopolitical knowledge when attempting to bond with Brazil president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. This time he couldn’t see into the soul, but he was impressed by the size of Brazil.

According to the New York Times article, at one point, standing alongside Bush, during the recent trade talks, da Silva exhibited a map of his country, which is larger than the continental United States. "Wow! Brazil is big," Bush was quoted as saying from the Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.

After their appearance together, the two presidents and their wives headed off to da Silva's residence for an outdoor Brazilian-style barbecue that included several premium cuts of beef, as well as lamb, oxtail and cheese. Bush later pronounced the meal "unbelievably good."

Monday, November 07, 2005

It’s Only Rock & Roll, But I Love It!

Even when it was easy, music's patterning shaped the emotions... Music proclaimed an orderly universe, promised a better place.
Ellen Hunnicutt, writer

The Rolling Stones at the Hollywood Bowl. (photo from LATimes.com)

The Rolling Stones are amazing. They performed with energy and enthusiasm for a bit longer than two hours Sunday night at the Hollywood Bowl. Mick Jagger said, “We have not been here [Hollywood Bowl] since 1966 and tickets were $4. A lot has changed since then, except our song list.” He was obviously joking, sort of. Two of the songs from the night were from that period, “Get Off My Cloud” and the closing number “Satisfaction.” In between the kings of rock and roll played "Jumping Jack Flash," "Dead Flowers," "You Got Me Rocking," "Wild Horses," "Slipping Away," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Midnight Rambler," "Honky Tonk Woman," "Brown Sugar" and several others. They also played "Oh No Not You Again," "Back of My Hand" and "Infamy" from the new "Bigger Bang" CD. My particular favorite is Oh No Not You Again. It's a rocker with a playful message about someone who keeps returning to make one's life hell.

The sound was every bit as good as I expected it to be. I have never heard the Stone's music with such clarity live before. Sympathy for the Devil’s arrangements were slightly altered with a bit of jazz under current, which made the brooding rocker much more upbeat song, which they accented with fireworks.

If you were there, you may have spotted me way in the back; I was my neighbor’s worse nightmare because I know all the words to all the Stones songs and I sound like a wounded animal singing. Worse still, she had to endure my dancing which makes Al Gore look as nimble as Michael Jackson.

Joss Stone opened the evening with a four-song set that opened with “Super Duper Love” and ended with “Right to Be Wrong.” It’s amazing to think she is either 21 or 22 years old with an incredible voice and a long career in front of her. She just has to look at the band she opened for; the Stones, who are all in their 60s, started around the same age as Joss Stone.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday Ramblings

"Do you pray for the senators, Dr. Hale?"
"No, I look at the senators and I pray for the country."
Edward Everett Hale (1822 - 1909), author and cleric

Patience. Going through the airport hassles of near strip searches, delays, crowded seats, lousy overpriced food, and baggage snafus I fall into a very patient mode because there is nothing I can do. It’s all beyond my control. Going through JFK, I had to take my shoes off, but I didn’t have to in Burbank. I argued with the TSA guy and tell him my shoes are not the issue, it’s my pen. He assures me it’s the shoes. I have no choice but to comply or go to the side and get prodded and probed. The TSA guy agrees to test my theory. I acknowledge he is correct. “Of course I’m right buddy that’s my job.”

Daughter. I was so proud. The first time I have ever gone to Washington, D.C. to see the sites, my first official tour was conducted by Daughter, who provided an excellent and informative tour of the capitol, including getting lost in various stairwells. I met the Congressman she is interning for and her office mates, who all appreciate her efforts. They recently prompted her from an intern to a staff position.

Daughter and I were in the Senate while Sen. Carl Levin (below), D-Mich. was speaking on the Senate floor regarding Phase II investigation of prewar intelligence. We did not see the below press conference, just a very empty Senate while Levin was reading his argument into the record. The photo of the capitol (above) was taken by yours truly.
(from the Washington Post) U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., holds a copy of a Senate Intelligence Committee report during a news conference with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Mich., left, and Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., right, on Capitol Hill, Friday, Nov. 4, 2005, to discuss carrying out an agreement on the Phase II investigation of prewar intelligence. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)

We also went into the House of Representatives and watched a vote, on something relatively minor that I cannot recall now.

Sightseeing. I was awed by the Lincoln Memorial. Daughter and I walked a tremendous amount throughout the capitol and outside. My patriotism was somewhat tempered by the gang currently in the White House. As we wondered pass the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial. We missed the Vietnam Memorial because we didn’t know how close we were to it. But, I have to say that we are very much a war nation. All of our history seems to evolve around war. To complete our day, Daughter and I had dinner at Harry & Sam’s, which was outstanding.

Reading. Yesterday I was able to finish one book and start George Packer’s “The Assassins’ Gate, America in Iraq.” After reading the first 100 pages, I am changing my thoughts about the reasons for war. I used to think that it was absolutely about oil, but I would say now that oil is among the top reasons, but not the main reason. I could change again by the time I finish, but from my interpretation so far is that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and a few others, pushed their flawed philosophy and were the main architects behind Iraq. They were able to sell their views because we have an incurious president who seems to only delegate rather than really understand the issues; the Republican hawks expertly manipulated him.

Rolling Stones. I very much have mixed feelings about this concert tonight, but I’m hopeful I will get excited for it. I really wish Daughter who has become my Rolling Stones buddy was here to enjoy it too.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Couple of Travel Pictures

Exploring is delightful to look forward to and back upon, but it is not comfortable at the time, unless it be of such an easy nature as not to deserve the name.
Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902) British writer, painter

It's always nice to return home. I have not travel for business for almost over a year and things have changed a bit with the airlines. Here are a few pictures from my travels in New York.

This is the view outside my room looking into the
lobby at the Embassy Suites in New York's Financial District.

If I turned around from looking at the lobby this was other side of the view.

I love having a camera. Tomorrow, I will post my pictures from Washington D.C.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Stop Congress from Cutting Cancer Research Funding

Funding cancer research is one of the most promising ways we can help save lives faster, but Congress is proposing a cut to cancer research funding that could be as much as $100 million. This proposal is unacceptable, yet it is being taken seriously by Congressional leadership. It must be stopped right now!

Click here to find out how you can help.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Worth Checking Out

"We look forward to hearing your vision, so we can more better do our job. That's what I'm telling you."
President George W. Bush—Gulfport, Miss., Sept. 20, 2005.

Check out this site that I found through Preemptive Karma.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bush and the Judge

A judge is not supposed to know anything about the facts of life until they have been presented in evidence and explained to him at least three times.
Lord Chief Justice Parker (1900–1972), British judge

I found this over at Random Thoughts, which linked to Pillage Idiot, so because I think it's rather good I will link to it too. Enjoy! Also, check out BitchPh.D and what Anything They Say has to say about the Judge.

Leave Flying to the Birds

I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets. It seems to me that they are wonderful things for other people to go on.
Jean Kerr, author, playwright

NEW YORK – Let me count the ways airlines are continuing their going out of business strategy:

  • Security. Having to undress before boarding a plane is absolutely asinine.
  • Seats. As an adult, I feel as though I am sitting at a 3rd grader’s school desk. I would have been more comfortable thrown into the back of someone’s trunk.
  • Food. Today was the first day that American Airlines eliminated pretzels. It now costs $3 for the crap they used to provide for free.
  • Luggage. If there is an airport that has a longer wait for baggage than JFK I have not encountered it yet.

Yes, I know that security is not the airlines responsibility, but they could try to make the passengers more comfortable after enduring near strip searches to get into the terminal. Next they will be checking body cavities.

Before traveling Tuesday, I have not flown anywhere in more than a year, and just in that time it seems the seats have gotten smaller (maybe, I have just gotten bigger) and every single seat is filled. I would take another flight, if I ever got stuck in a middle seat (and I wish the person sitting next me had the same philosophy).

Similar to my wait for luggage while baggage handlers were apparently on break.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Go Forth and Write

Achilles exists only through Homer. Take away the art of writing from this world, and you will probably take away its glory.
René Chateaubriand (1768 - 1848), writer

To all the NaNoWriMo contestants I wish you the best in your quest to write 50,000 words by Nov. 30.

For those of you who are not aware of November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), as they say, it’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

I have noticed a number of bloggers have mentioned their participation this year and if I was thinking I would have written them down, but you'll just have to take my word for it.

Good luck and write until your fingers are numb.

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than write for the public and have no self.
Cyril Connolly (1903 - 1974), writer and journalist

Strategy of Fear

I am almost frightened out of my seven senses.
Miguel de Cervantes (1547 - 1616), novelist and dramatist

Now that the curtain has been lifted off the White House and more people are starting to see for themselves just how mismanaged and corrupt the Bush gang is, it’s time to scare the crap out of everyone.

Bush is going to give a speech today about the potential pandemic the bird flu could become. Since the war has gone bad, cronyism has robbed the government of what little efficiency it did have, and the vice president puts our spies in harm’s way because they won’t buy into his lies, it’s time to dip into Turd Blossom’s bag of tricks to change the news and worry people into submission.

Presidents Bush depicted showing their compassion for storm victims

It looks to me that Bush is running the country similar to how Ken Lay ran Enron: oblivious to the real world, allowing underlings to run roughshod with a complete lack of ethics and a disregard for the rule of law.

If Katrina is any indication of how our government is prepared, we can expect hundreds of thousands to die, while the rich will have already horded their vaccines. For Bush to say anything is a joke because there are still people in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida without shelter and electricity. And, many people in those areas are losing hope.

Condemned to hope's delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blasts or slow decline
Our social comforts drop away.
Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784), lexicographer and writer