Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

Fahrenheit 9/11 opened last week and of course, there is only one movie theater in West Virginia showing the movie. (And it's two hours away, so as much as I'd like to see it, I'm not driving that far for a movie; rafting: yes, something I can get on DVD in six months: no).

There's been lots of debate about this movie, and most of it comes down to whether or not you like Michael Moore or not. He's the kind of guy Americans hate, but at the same time, we need. He asks questions. Hard questions. He's unattractive. He's brutal. He doesn't accept the status quo. God bless him.

I don't care if you like his politics or not, but if not for guys like Moore, our society would be a poorer place. Democracy is predicated on having an informed, educated electorate, and it seems that powers that be in the United States do not want that. They want to lead us by the nose and keep us in the dark so they can do whatever they want unrestrained and unaccountable to the public that elected them.

I read a very interesting (if a little long) article at TNMC.org that's worth a read.

Understand that I'm not a fan of Dubya and I don't think the country is on the right track in Iraq, so Fahrenheit 9/11 is my kind of movie, but I am disturbed that others (mostly Republicans) don't even want to have this dialogue.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Moving time

A buddy of mine is moving this weekend; a couple of years ago, he heard the Call from God to go into the ministry, so he finished his undergraduate degree, quit his job, packed up his family and is now off to school.

That takes big balls; leaving everything behind that was comfortable, familiar and expected.

We've been helping his family pack, throwing away a lot of junk, organising the things they want to keep and getting ready for the big move. We've moved the kids a lot since they graduated, but they don't have as much junk as the rest of us. In fact, both of them are pretty compact.

Some of the thing my buddy's wife insisted on keeping were worthless trinkets that she could throw away because one of their great aunts or grandmothers gave it to them years ago and there is some off chance that she'll visit and wonder where the bauble went. Which is of course, pure crap.

So we've been helping them pitch a bunch of junk and consolidate a house full of stuff into an apartment full of stuff. I did get some usefull stuff out of the deal. He left a bunch of tools "on loan" for us and there's now an exercise bike in the computer room (which will be used for about a month, then it will turn into a laundry rack).

Having picked myself up and moved halfway across the country once already, I can understand moving from one life to another, but to take a family with me, that's a whole 'nother story.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Cruisin'

We've been getting psyched up for the cruise, even though it's still 3½ months away. If anyone has any suggestions for shore excursions, crusing tips and other experience a cruise newbie can benefit from, please drop me an email.

Monday, June 21, 2004

There's no place like home when you're this far away . . .

I came home Thursday night and Mrs. High Lord (would that be High Lady) said, "I just spent $1,500. I hope you don't mind."

It turns out that my brother-in-law's wife had some good news, so to celebrate, she booked herself a cruise, then called Sarah and she booked us on the same boat.

We're taking off for the eastern Caribbean the first week in October on a Royal Caribbean boat. If anyone has any experience with this line or has any tips for a first-time cruiser, please drop me an email.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Dodgeball

There a new movie about dodgeball coming out with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. It looks very funny.

ESPN's Page 3 ran this article about how some people are trying to bring dodgeball back professionally. Some very funny stuff (ie-a team of mimes!).

What's up with the bruhaha about Larry?

Last week, NBA legend Larry Bird said that the league needs more white athletes.

Bird's assertion is that people like to see people who are similar to them, and since most of the people who buy tickets for NBA games are white, if there were more white NBA players, there would be more butts in the seats. Bird was then castigated in the media for all sorts of things he did not say and that he did not mean.

On the surface, of course, Bird is right. People like to see folks like them and like to have heroes who are just like them. White people like to watch TV shows with white actors and black people like to watch shows with black actors.

Does this mean that white people don't like black actors or, in the case of sports, black athletes? Of course not. How else to explain the popularity of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods or Ichiro? But it stands to reason that the primary audience for a wonderbread-white show like Friends is going to be white 20-somethings because that's who is on the show, just as the primary audience for Living Single was black 20-somethings because that's who was on the show.

In virtually all sports, blacks outnumber whites. Why is this? Is it because blacks are naturally better athletes? Is it because blacks are hungrier? Is it because whites generally have better opportunities outside of sports and pursue other careers?

Bird is, of course, right. His good friend Magic Johnson was sitting next to him in the same interview and said so.

What Bird did wrong was to talk about race. Nevermind that the content of what he said was correct, in the context around which he was speaking. Nevermind that he is a white guy talking about black guys.

I only hope that one day we as Americans can get past our knee-jerk reaction to race and accept the basic truths that we all know, even if we don't want to acknowledge them.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Why haven't we impeached Dubya?

The 9/11 Commission just reported that there are no credible links between Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.

That is, Saddam Hussein had no ties to the terrorists who were responsible for the World Trade Center and Washington, DC attacks.

Plus, we haven't been able to find any of the chemical, biological or nuclear weapons Hussein supposedly had been hoarding. No wait . . . in a year, thre has been exactly one warhead with a chemical payload that has been found.

That makes Dubya and his cronies 0-2 on the reasons why he had us invade Iraq over a year ago.

Dubya went on TV and told us (and we know he wouldn't lie!) that not only did Iraq have weapons of mass destruction, but that Hussein's regime had ties to terrorists and they were such an imminent threat that we had to invade Iraq right then.

Now all of that has turned out to be bogus.

There are not stockpiles of chemical weapons. There are no biological weapons factories. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden did not get together for tea.

In short, Dubya lied to us. The only question is whether he has enough "plausible deniability" to get others to take the fall for him.

Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath to a question he never should have been asked. Ken Starr spent $50 million of my money to unsuccessfully prosecute Clinton for getting some "special treatment" from an intern. Dubya has spent over $110 billion dollars invading not one, but two, countries with no apparent objective and no exit strategy. These campaigns have resulted in the deaths of over 900 American soldiers and there is no end in sight.

Technically, Dubya can't be prosecuted for perjury; I'm told his testimonly before the 9/11 commission was not under oath. But what does it say about a man who goes on national television and tells the public that we have to go to war and the rationale for that war turns out to be nothing but bunk. Is it worse to lie under oath about an affair that had no effect on the rest of the country, or worse to betray the trust of the electorate that put a man in office?

Who will hold him accountable?

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Football

Yes, I know it's June. But how entrenched is football as America's national sport that the NFL gets lead billing at CNNSi.com and ESPN.com?

I saw the BCS is going to add a fifth game, for a total of 10 teams, with supposed better access for schools from the "mid-major" conferences. The only thing that can save college football, from both a financial and credibility standpoint, is a playoff.

The big 6 conferences don't want a playoff, but college football does. People know the BCS is full of BS. The only way to settle things is on the field. Division I-A football is the only college sport that does not have a playoff or tournament to determine its national championship, and I don't see anyone jumping to defend Division I-AA, Division II or Division III football "student"-athletes.

I'm sure I'll be talking more football later and during the season.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

President Reagan's death last Saturday has gotten me thinking about the former president and his impact on the political landscape. Of course, for all intents and purposes, he has been dead since publicly acknowledging having Alzheimer's Disease a decade ago. He hasn't been seen out of his home in years and according to Nancy, he's been so distant, even she could not connet with him.

So how does Reagan stack up historically? Certainly he is responsible for the end of the Cold War. His massive deficit spending bankrupted the Soviet Union into suing for peace. The Republican Party which was for almost 100 years the party of fiscal responsibility abandoned that cornerstone of their philosophy to outspend the "Evil Empire".

Reagan also changed the politics of election. Contrary to popular belief, Reagan did not work with the Democrats in Congress. He went around them. If they didn't do what he wanted, he went on TV, put out a few sound bytes and got the public to back him, who in turn got their reps in Congress to do what Reagan wanted.

Personally, I'm not a Reagan fan, although to modern conservatives, he is their patron saint. It's hard to talk bad about dead people so soon after their death, but I think history will judge him as being better than average, but not great.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Ousted

CIA Director George Tenet resigned today, citing "personal reasons."

C'mon! Who's buying this crap. Tenet was "asked" to resigned by Dubya (or one of Dubya's cronies) because the current administration needs to throw someone to the wolves for getting us involved in a war to find nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that don't exist.

Dubay won't fire Cheney, Rumsfeld or Rice. He can't fire Colin Powell (even though he'd like to) because Powell opposed the war.

Tenet is a holdover from the Clinton administration and the most logical choice to take the fall.

In other news, Dubya's request for another $25 billion was approved by Congress, although it's not a "blank check" for the war like the last few appropriations have been. This is a sign that support for the war is flagging, as even some of Dubya's staunchest allies in Congress want more oversight on how the money is spent and how the war is prosecuted. Not good for the administration.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Gas prices

A friend posted this on the internet and thought it was funny.

Gas prices

I have been frankly surprised at how the prices of gas haven't gone up over the holiday weekend. Gas is down to $1.96 for regular unleaded. I thought for sure there would be some more price gouging, but I couldn't be happier to be wrong.

We went to Baltimore last weekend for Lauren's graduation. Had a good time. There were cops galore on I79 and I68 on the way up, but none on the way back, probably due to the weather.

Most of the time we just hung out at Val's place, although Saturday night Sarah, Beth and I went into downtown Baltimore to check out the scene. Beth was disappointed we didn't stay longer and didn't go into any of the clubs, but I think she's going to road trip up sometime later this summer.

We went out for dinner one night to a place called the Crab Shanty. The wait was about ½ an hour, but the food was excellent. I had one of their platters with fried shrimp, scallops, clams, oysters and a white fish with a crabcake on the side. It's hard to mess up fried food, but the crabcake was good because it didn't have a lot of other stuff in it. Some places pack their crabcakes with celery, spices and other filler and it takes away from the sweet taste of the crab, but Crab Shanty's were basic, not plain.

Sarah and I have talked about going back to see the inner harbour area as well as take in DC, which is only 40 miles away. Looks like we'll be planning a road trip.