Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pompeii on the Mississippi

The devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is just unspeakable. It's sad to know that it is all going to get much worse before it gets any better. We have the largest refugee crisis in the history of the United States. most of those people willl never return home. There's just no point in rebuilding the submerged areas of New Orleans even if it was feasible to do so. I dare say that New Orleans, the most classicly European city in the United States, is gone forever.

I wish i could have seen it. The city was second only to Israel in "Places I Want to Visit Before I Die." I first fell in love with New orleans through Jimmy Buffett's autobiography, A Pirate Looks at Fifty. Buffett spent his firt few years playing music crawling through the bars and clubs of the French Quarter. I was fascinated by the dichotomy of the city he described. It was at once historical Paris and Biblical Gommarrah, existing peaceably beside one another. For a brief time in 1999, I considered pursuing a Master's degree in Political Science at the University of New Orleans during a time when an immediate entry into law school wasn't possible. The realities of life quickly tossed that idea against the rocks. Now I truly wish they hadn't.

A wise man once said we are a hot meal and a good night's sleep away from barbarism. We see that now what were the streets of New Orleans. There is widespread looting and even a children's hospital is now under seige by marauders. As sick as that is, I can understand and somewhat sympathize. These are not sane times, so why should i expect people who have lost everything to stay sane? The barbarism that really disturbs me is comes from beyond New Orleans.

Robert Kenndey, Jr. says the Hurricane should be a lesson about ignoring Kyoto. Repent America, an organization in Pennsylvania, has said the hurricane is God's judgment against homosexuals. I've been exposed to enough fundamentalist Christians in my life to know many more think that as well, even if they have more tact than to say so. A german Minister blamed the hurricane on President Bush's hubris. There is no dignity, no decency, and no respect in any of these comments.

Last December, all anyone ever heard was how the United States should have done more to aid victims of the tsunami in Indonesia. Nevermind that the US donated the most to disaster relief. Nevermind that the US dispatched two former presidents to promte even more aid. nevermind the American Red Cross was the first aid organization in and the last one out. Nevermind that the US military, already stretched to the limit, was right there within hours. No matter what the US does, it is never enough to satisfy the rest of the world.

Where is the rest of the world now? Germany isn't collecting diaster relief for us. the French navy isn't rescuing Americans trapped on their roofs, surrounded by rising flood waters. The United nations isn't sending blue helmets down to help sandbag areas. No, they all believe the US got what it deserved. Too bad it didn't kill more of the greedy, war mongering Anericans. The worst part? There are Americans chiming in to say the same thing.

But we will get through this. I know that's hollow for me to sit here in a two story, lakefront house hundreds of miles away in South Carolina to say, but that doesn't take away from rhe truth. I understand that when people percieve you as strong, they will make unreasonable demands of you, and at the same time show no sympathy when you are down, as they just expect you to handle it. I know that from personal experience. Well, I have come to accept that as reality. We need no help or sympathy from those who don't care in the first place. With God's help, we will make it. The fact that it will tick off the naysayers makes that fact all the sweeter.
Michael Sheard (1940-2005)

Apparently he was most famous for playing a crusty old teacher in BBC's Grange Hill, but Americans will remember Sheard has Admiral Ozzel, who Darth Vader strangled in the Empire Strikes Back. Sheard lost his battle with cancer yesterday.

Sheard also made a career out of playing Nazis, including Himmler in a TV movie in 1973 and Adolf Hitler twice. His most famous turn as Der Fuhere came when he inadvertantly autographed Dr. Henry Jones' diary in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

If you really want me to get geeky, he was also strangled by Laurance Scarman, an agent of Sutehk the destroyer in the classic Dr. Who episde, "Pyramids of Mars." Yeah, I'm a sci fi and movie nerd. I'll miss you, Mr. Sheard.

Amanda tapping: American Woman

The surge in visitors searching for Jessica Simpson was begun to die down. This weekend, my average number of daily vissitors went from 51 to 460 today. I have to congess, i enjoyed the crowd even if most didn't read anything else. Because it was fun--and everyone likes pictures of beautiful women--why not try it again with a classy woman?

Here is Amanda Tapping, Col. Samantha Carter of Stargate SG-1 fame. It is not Amanda Tapping naked, but close enough to Amanda Tapping naked that anyone searching Goolge Image for Amanda Tapping naked will see this in the results of the search Amanda tapping naked and say to himself, "Well, I typed in Amanda Tapping naked because I wanted to see Amanda Tapping naked. This is close enough to Amanda tapping naked to pique my interest--and wow, what a neat blog." Or something like that.

God bless America.
More Amanda Tapping.
And another.
Yet more--this time with boobs!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

I spent much of the weekend mindlessly watching coverage on the impending hurricane even though i was no where near where the eye was going to hit. I confess, it sounded like hype for a good while there--the 24 hour news networks nowadays are trying to report current events in the same way one would advertise a summer blockbuster. I guess with Arnold being the governor in California now, the line between reality and fiction is so blurred as to be nonexistent anyway.

It became real to me upon seeing all those cars lined up, essentially frozen in time, as the people of New Orleans fled for their lives. most had to figure there would be nothing left when they returned home. Four miles of Louisiana coastline disappears into the ocean every year. the city of New Orleans alone, already below sea level, sinks a little more every year. The people of that state and particularly that city have to live with a constant sense of fatalism.

It wasn't just the desperation of fleeing the city that got me. I knew this hurricane was going to be bad once I thought about its name. Katrina. That sounds like some old witch brewing a curse on the land and people of the Crescent City. Indeed, I heard a reporter surveying the damage say it looked like this hurricane was unleashing a grudge against the Gulf Coast.

Now much of new orleans is under water. Nothing has been said, but I wonder how the D-Day museum in downtown has fared. It would be a shame to lose it, particularly since the living witnesses are quickly leaving us.

I'm speaking much of New orleans, but there are 80 + Mississippians who are no longer with us, either. Seeing the damage done to the magnolai State brings back painful memories of Hurricane hugo in 1989. Hugo tore through South Carolina, destroying lives and property, much of which never recovered. I know much of my life didn't recover, although it has taken some time to gain that perspective.

I'm very empathetic to the people of the Gulf Coast. even once the physical structures are rebuilt, they have no idea how lingering the ghosts of this hurricane are going to be. It reminds me that no matter I or anybody else plans in life, it isn't up to us. It's up to Him. I'm not angry about it. humbled, would describe me better. I can't just those who have gone through this disaster and feel angry. I have to remind myself that this isn't the most important of all worlds. life is fleeting and temporary--a blip in eternity.

In times like this, I have to wonder how many other people realize that reality.
Bump

All right. There is an explanation for the hiatus, but it isn't fit for public consumption at this moment. Bits and pieces may get tossed out as the Spirit (literally) moves. Otherwise, I have a few other things on my mind to write about and will do so shortly.

Yes, the next chapter of Washed Ashore will show up in a day or five. To show there is a method to my madness, I'll tell you there are 24 chapters, which comes out to four separate acts of six chapters each. That means the next chapter concludes the first act. All the main characters will have been introduced. Now I'm going to make you care about them, trap them up trees, and then throw rocks at them. Trust me, it's good, clean fun.

Too bad not much else is.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

No Reviews

My usual reviews won't be showing up. I got drawn into a heart-to-heart discussion (I'll be generous and call it that) which took up most all of last night. I wasn't in the modd for the second airing, so we're going to come up empty today. Next Friday is a marathon of supposedly fan chosen episodes of Stargate SG-1, so there won't be any reviews next week, either.

I may write more about last night, but I want to see how everything pans out first. This was an inevitable conversation. I'm just surprised it came this early.

Friday, August 26, 2005

What's Killing the Democratic Party?

According to George Will, it's the party base's embrace of Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, and MoveOn.org. Most of america couldn't care less about that trio, but the rank and file Democrats are all for such Leftist radicalism. That may spell trouble for the democrats in 2008.

Hillary is trying to move to the center (So I'm told. Her voting record says otherwise.) in anticipation of getting the Democratic nod for president. Whether she wants it or not, she's going to have the most zealous among the above trio's followers with her every step of the way. After 8 years of Bush, they'll be desperate and enthusiastic for a win, particularly if someone attached to the Bush Administration gets the GOP nod. realistically, it is hard to imagine that not happening after two successful terms unless someone with a winning personality emerges from outside the Beltway.

Democrats have losr five of the last seven presidential campaigns. The two they did win were based on an outside the Beltway personality likee I described above. They aren't going to have that this time around, so it looks like defeat number six is coming up.
Australia to Radical Muslims: Get Out

The Land Down Under isn't messing around with potential terrorist threats. Peter Costello, heir apparent to Prime Minister John Howard, has this to say:
If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you.
I agree with those sentiments and really think someone in our government ought to say them, too. I fear no one on the Left or Right will ever do so until it is too late.
George Takei's Commencement Address

Star Trek's George Takei (Mr. Sulu) addressed the graduating class at the University of Hawaii a few days shy of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Takei paid tribute the the Japanese-American 442nd, the most decorated American regient of the war:
he idea that these amazing young men who left their families in incarceration and put on the same uniform as that of our guards here, and went and fought with such heroism...when they died, their coffins were covered with American flags. And that flag was delivered to their parents for their lives, here behind the barbed wire fences. It's poignant
Takei talked openly about his stay in camps in Arkansas and California. He warned that we must be on guard that such hysteria never happens again against some other "enemy."

I am conflicted about this. No, I don't think rounding up private citizens and tossing them into prison camps is a good idea, but i also realize the Japanese-Americans weren't rounded up because rhey were "yellow" people. We would have rounded up Germans and Italians, too, if it had been feasible because we feared spying and sabotage. But i think takei is right that we will face this issue again and we need to decide how to handle it.

It only took a few weeks after the UK learned the 7/7 bombings were perpetuated by homegrown terrorists for them to crackdown and deport dangerous radical Muslims. I sppluad that. I'm all for diiversity, but if you want to live in a certain country, there are certain rules you've got to follow--like "No killing innocent people in the name of the religion of peace," as a for instance. It's only going to take one major homegrown attack in the US before we are faced with the same choice.

We're going to view mosy every Muslim with suspicion. It's human nature. i don't believe we will start rounding them all up and toss them in Gitmo, but followers of radical mosques are going to have to be dealt with somehow. I'm all for tightening up our immigration laws and making it easier to deport radicals, but it would be a shame to inflict such people on other countries, no?

I',m just waiting for the 9th Curcuit to rule that freedom of religion allows for terrorists to kill in the name of Islam. I'll bet there are plenty of nutty Leftwingers who will jump right on that band wagon, as they consider the Iraqi insurgents to be freedom fighters while calling Pat Robertson a terrorist.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Random Thought

In all his lunacy, do you think Sen. Robert Byrd ever considers holding his breath until his state turns blue?
Anti-war Protestors Target Wounded at Hospital

This is disgusting:
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the current home of hundreds of wounded veterans from the war in Iraq, has been the target of weekly anti-war demonstrations since March. The protesters hold signs that read "Maimed for Lies" and "Enlist here and die for Halliburton."
Even if the protesters do believe a stupid idea like this being a war on behalf of corporations, why target the wounded soldiers unless you believe they got what they deserved? The demonstrators are exploiting these wounded vets as much as they claim American corporations are exploiting the Iraqis. The more I hear from the Left, the happier I am they are out of power.

(Via: Atlas Shrugged, which is still my favorite blog.)
Proof God Has a Sense of Humor

Octogenarians win $7.5 million dollar lottery. This is a whole lot different than the "win the lottery one day and get hit by a bus the next scenario." Better late than never, I suppose. Happy ninetieth birthday, you two crazy kids.
Cliffhanger

While there will be no official word on renewal until well into next Spring, Stargate SG-1 willl end this season with a cliffhanger.

The ratings are holding steady and have even improved for some airings, so the likelihood of a recording breaking (for a science fiction show) tenth season is a strong possibility. I can't imagine Amanda tapping, Michael Shanks, and Christopher judge hanging around for another season, though. One has to wonder if their final fate would be a part of the cliffhanger's resolution next seaon.

Fans might have a whole new SG-1 for next year. I hope they save some creative juice for the limping Stargate Atlantis.
Religion of Peace

I pomise this is my last post on Pat Robertson and hugo Chavez, but after perusing blogs and message boards, there are a few more things i feel compelled to say. i haven't changed my mind about it, I have just gotten more--as the leftists say-nuanced.

First, I read some snarly comments comparing Robertson and the Religious Right as no different than Bin ladin and al Qaeda. That is a cheap shot that defies logic. For all the stupid things he says, Robertson has never advocated flying planes full of innocent passengers into buildings full of innocent employees. nor has he told his followrs to strap dynamite to their kids and march into crowded grocery stores. he hasn't said Christians should blow up planes or trains or buses or behead infidels. he hasn't even suggested blowing up abortion clinics for that matter. Maybe Islam is a religion of peace overall, but it strikes me that there are certainly a lot more Muslims willing to do nasty, violent things in the name of their religion, while even the most radically devout Christians oppose such tactics.

Second, Robertson doesn't speak for all Christians. He doesn't even speak for most of them. He certainly doesn't speaj for me, and I put $60,000 worth of tuition and rent in his pocket from 2001-04. Until i see mobs of Christians in the streets chanting for Hugo Chavez's head on a pike in front the White house, i see no reason to consider Robertson the voice of Chritians, nor should this be an excuse to blast Chrisianity in general.

Finally, although he doesn't draw the line as clearly as he should, Robertson wasn't talking about Chavez in the context of his ministry. Robertson didn't pray for Chavez's death or advocate that Christians do so. He suggested that the assassination ought to be considered a foreign policy option. Robertson has two rights that every American has. one, to discuss politics freely and openly, and two, to look stupid in public.

'nuff said.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Brock Peters (1927-2005)

Brock Peters died yesterday of pancreatic cancer. Peters was known to sci fi fans as Admiral Cavanaugh in two Star Trek movies, and as Ben Sisko's father on Deep Space Nine but he was most famous for his portayal of Tom Robinson, the black man falsely accused of raping a white woman in the 1962 film adaption of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Life Support for The West Wing

Mostly out of morbid curiosity, I caught a few episodes of The West Wing last season. Since Bravo is nothing but reruns of TWW and that gay makeover show, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to catch up on TWW’s back story as well. What fascinates me is the portrayal of politicians. In short, liberals are deified while conservatives are presented as demonic, ignorant, or both. The writers of the show just can’t grasp that a difference in ideology does not necessarily mean it is evil.

As a for instance, the show now features Alan Alda has Sen. Arnold Vinick as the GOP candidate for president. The story goes that he trounced everyone in the primaries even though he is a pro-choice atheist who holds positions too leftwing for Sen. Olympia Snow to even consider. The veiwing public has caught on, as TWW has lost half its audience in the last few years. For the coming season, even the regular cast have been relegated to recurring characters. Normally, if a show lost half its audience practically overnight, the network would pull the plug. But TWW still pulls in Emmy nods for third place NBC, so while they are trying to hold on to the show as best they can. They are going to toss out a few tricks to do so.

First, they are planning a live candidate’s debate between Vinick and Santos (Jimmy Smits). This speaks volumes about TWW fans. The producers anticipate fans will want to tune in to see fake candidates debate fake issues. This makes it sound like fans of the show view it almost as liberal pornography--a chance to fantasize about policies they could never get passed. They aren’t watching TWW for fictitious palace intrigue, but for some dream of how they’d run the country. Strange, methinks.

Next they are bringing back Rob Lowe, who left because he wanted more money, and creator Aaron Sorkin, who wanted more hallucinogenic mushrooms. My guess is that Lowe will join Santos’ campaign for a few episodes. Martin Sheen is only contracted through December, and I’ll bet you they are giving Sorkin a chance to give President bartlet whatever grand send off he had originally planned before going all strung out on drugs. How much do you want to bet Bartlet becomes a martyr to a liberal cause? Virtually no doubt.

Finally, they are adding Jeanine Garafolo to the cast. I guess she comes cheap enough for the reduced budget. Apparently Ben Stiller hasn’t charitably given her roles in any of his movies lately, so she’s taking what she can get for whatever she can get for it. I recall a few years ago she tried to make a foray into being a Hollywood lefty activist like Sean Penn but met with even less success than he has. Failure never stops people from becoming heroes to liberals, however, so I imagine this is a stunt to appeal to that diehard crowd.

Frankly, this new season should be a train wreck--especially if they ley Vinick win and viewers boycott the reruns and DVDs as a payback for the betrayal.
Googling Jessica Simpson

I finally figured out what terms the perverts are using to find their way here. Turns out, they didn't have to go deep into search results after all. In fact, Eye of Polyphemus turns up as the number one result along with three other pictures. I'm shocked I'm number one for sure, but even more so that 500 people a day are searching for...that. Well, I just hope they are all happy.

I wonder if Jessica Simpson's people might catch wind of this. Her far is a pastor, even though he goes about now extolling how hot the bodies of both his daughters are in pursuit of the almighty dollar. I can imagine a nice cease and desist order coming my way. I wonder if daddy Dimpson remembers from the New Testament that Jesus never harshly criticized a lay sinner, but had many choice words for religious leaders.

Come to think of it, Googlers might not be happy with me, either, since they are not getting...that. There could be a long line of folks wanting my head on a platter. Oh, well--add two more to the list:

1. Angry perverted Googlers
2. Jessica Simpson's lawyers
3. Cybermen fans
4. The French lawyers for those WTO protestors I photographed.
5. Citadel cadets
6. Assorted jealous boyfriends and probably a husband or two...

The list is ever expanding.
Sportsmanship

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Color Blind

The media likes to put things in simplest terms for the masses. I understand this. it's much easier to lump groups together to explain trends as a whole. Therefore, when the media needs to explain a political divide, it paints the issue as a red and blue state conflict. you all realize this is a crock, right?

Massachusetts was full of people casting ballots for Bush, just as Texans voted for Kerry en masse. In fact, Kerry got more votes in Tecas alone than he did in all of New England. The reality of it all is that there are a few blue states, a few red states, and a whole lot of purple states.

It would do well for us to remember that when 2008 rolls around and Hillary is picking off some of the more shaky states Bush won in 2004. Let's not count our chickens before the eggs hatch.
Uh Oh

I get a viditor from my old Constitutional law professor's blog and the first thing he sees is a post mocking Pat Robertson. Okay, I have to clean that mess up. Let's see....

Ah. i don't care much about hugo Chavex either way. He's a fly-by-night dictator--pretty much a thug raised above his deserved station in life because he is sitting on top of the fifth largest oil reserve in the world. We shouldn't waste our time and resources trying to kill him him. For every Allende, there's a Pinochet, after all.

If you want to whack Kim Jung Il, though, I'm all for it. He *is* North Korea. We could send that entire country reeling with one act against the Supreme Leader. Plus, it will send a message to iean that is desperately needed to halt their nuclear ambitions. The iranians aren't stupid. they have taken note of their inclusion in the Axis of Evil along with Iraq and North Korea. They also note that the one country without nuclear weapons has been invaded while NK, who has nukes, hasn't. That gives the iranians the idea that having nukes is the key to having an upper hand in negtiating with the US. Killing the North Korean leader will prove there are other ways to handle the Axis of Evil.

...though I still have to wonder why a televangelist advocates assassination.
From My Old University Chancellor

Pat Robertson calls for the assassination of freely elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Yes, Chavez is a neocommunist who hates the United States, but why is Pat Robertson calling for his assassination? Christian charity?
Dear Lord,

It's me, Pat. Please send down a lightning bolt to strike Hugo Chavez and at least one of the leftist US Supreme Court Justices. Amen.
Or something like that.
Lost Lawsuit

It has been quite a while since I have posted about my current favorite regular network show, Lost. In my internet travels, I have run across numerous rumors about the upcoming season, but opted not to post about them for fear the one or two Lost fans who show up here don't like spoilers and the rest of you couldn't care less about the show at all. I'm thinking about making one anyway sometime before the season starts in late September.

Right now, Lost is at the center of a breach of contract lawsuit. Veteran TV writer Anthony Spinner, who has written for Man From U.N.C.L.E. among other shows, filed the law suit against ABC and Tribune. Spinner claims he created a show in 1977 for Sid and marty Krofft in which plane crash survivors battled strange monsters and each other in the jungle. He seeks credit and royalties from Lost.

As an aside, do you ever wonder why no one claims non-hit shows were stolen and seek royalties? i mean, surely someone steals a bad idea every now and then. Why should they get away scott free?

You may recall the Krofft were behind such nailbiters as Land of the Lost (Hmmm..) and H.R. Pufnsnuf, among other silly pupper fair in the '70's. While I don't have enough facts about the case to make any educated guesses about the ourtcome, the inensity and drama of ,i>Lost isn't something the Krofft's would normally come up with. They lean more towards young adult programs, and i'm betting that will make the difference.

As best i can predict, they'll settle with Spinner for a decent amount of cash to avoid bad press that distracts attention from the new season. Whether his claim is valid or not, ABC will pay just to make him go away.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Al Qaeda Doesn't Stand a Chance

Click here to see the real George W. Bush.
Iraq As I See It

A number of prominent war supporters have come out recently against the war in Iraq, referring to it as a quagmire, and saying the invasion was not worth it. Polls show the American public is also turning against the war. I have written often about my opinions on the subject, often in simple bite size bits usually peppered with ample jingoism. Since there seems to be a sense among those in favor of regime change in Iraq reviewing their position in depth, I have decided to do the same. I’ll take this analysis in two parts. The first will be the invasion itself, and the second will be the rebuilding and establishment of a new Iraqi government.

I supported the invasion of Iraq. I still do. It was an inevitable thing that had to be done. Saddam had WMDs, had a nuclear program, and the only reason he didn’t have them in the spring of 2003 was because of United Nations inspections. There shouldn’t be a soul out there who didn’t think those inspections were going to end soon. Various parties at the UN were itching to lift the sanction placed on Iraq after the Gulf War, at which point Saddam would have been free to make any moves he wished towards acquiring WMDs virtually unchecking. The United States could not let that happen.

I never believed, throughout the entire build up to the war in 202 that Iraq had WMDs. For one, Saddam has never had a weapon he didn’t use, and he hadn’t used any WMDs against the Kurds or any of the other uprising Iraqis since 1991. Further, I knew the Bush Administration knew he had none. They never would have put on a full blown invasion if Saddam was in possession of serious firepower. I knew this because of the contradiction Bush was selling. On the one hand, he said Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States that had to be stopped now. But he also said that Iraq was so puny, it could be conquered in a matter of weeks by the US. You had to buy the contradiction in order to support the war.

So do I buy the “Bush lied, soldiers died” line? No, not at all. I understand that in a democratic republic like the US, wars have to be sold to the public. You see, I’m a realist. I know that for all our humanitarian soul, Americans couldn’t give one whit less about the average Iraqi’s freedom, especially not enough to give up blood and treasure to ensure it. Don’t believe me? Americans aren’t enthusiastic about restoring order to Colombia, Bolivia, Darfur, or north Korea, which all cry out for armed intervention. In order to sell a conflict, it has to be made personal. You have to scare people. I don’t think that could have been done by explaing, “Well, Saddam doesn’t have any now, but he will once the UN gives up as usual.”

So the justification for the war had to be sexed up, as the British so aptly put it, yet not so daunting that it appeared the US would have to make a ridiculously huge sacrifice to pull it off. Hence the contradiction I mentioned above, which Americans bought. If that was the excuse for war, then what were the reasons and were those reasons valid? I think so, but be prepared to learn that some of my defense of the real reasons are awfully mercenary.

There is a major point to Operation Iraqi Freedom that isn’t much addressed--that is that it is not truly a separate conflict from the original Gulf War in 1991. That war ended in a ceasefire agreement, not a peace treaty. Any act of hostility committed by the Iraqis would technically trigger the war all over again. Recall the numerous standoffs regarding weapons inspectors, the attempted assassination of Bush 41 in 1993, and the countless violations of the no fly zones by targeting allied planes, and you have more than enough reasons to say the Gulf War has been ongoing for the last 14 years. It is also safe to say it would only end with a successful regime change. I don’t think your average American was fired up about a 12 year old war to buy this one, but it is valid.

Iraq had connections to al Qaeda for certain, but overall terrorist organizations even more so. The most wanted terrorist in the world, Abu Nidal, was in Iraq in 2003. Saddam offered financial payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers for their sacrifice in killing Israelis. I’ve already mentioned the plot to assassinate Bush 41. Iraq provided a large target to prove to terrorists organization we were serious about fighting a war on terror, and would go to great lengths to execute it. Basically, we needed to knock over the largest terrorist anthill we could find to prove we are not the same country that more or less accepted attacks throughout the Clinton Administration with virtually no retaliation.

The American public did often think that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. I never did, and I never heard anyone I the Bush Administration promote that line, either. But they didn’t dispute it, and I don’t blame them. For whatever reason the public is buying the war, let them have it. It is all part of the marketing of an unpleasant, but necessary thing.

I can’t talk about Iraq without addressing oil. Yes, Iraq has the second largest oil reserves on the planet. Yes, the US military defended the oil wells and pielines rather than resuming the electricity and water service for the Iraqi people. That makes sense to a thinking person who can see the big picture. Iraq has a lot of two things: oil and sand. Only one of those fetches a decent price on the commodities market. If you want Iraq to recover quickly and humming in the long run, get that oil flowing. The insurgents know this. Why else would they constantly attack the pipelines if not to sabotage the rebuilding effort?

This was not an oil grab by the US. Saddam hinted many, many times his willingness to sell the US as much oil as we wanted dirt cheap I order to stay in power. That would have been a much easier way of getting sweet crude oil, no? A reasonable person cannot think that swiping oil was an invasion justification,

Some fringe elements have suggested the invasion was due to Saddam’s plan to value Iraqi oil by the euro instesd of the dollar, which would have devalued our currency. There is also a notion that the invasion was planned in order to enrich American corporations who would gain contracts to rebuild Iraq. I don’t know how much of either of those two points is true. I have a sense of history, though, and know full well the American military has been used contless times at the behest of US corporate interests. As Calvin Coolidge noted, “The business of America is business,” so I see nothing illicit about that if taken in tandem with the other above justifications.

Now that we have established why I supported the war, let’s talk about the aftermath. In short, I knew we were going to screw it up just as much as I knew Saddam had no WMDs. I don’t like nation building. I think such plans are pie-in-the-sky dreams doomed to failure. You just can’t ask a 19-20 year old American soldier, who has been trained to break things and kill people, to establish a democratic country where no history of it exists. It cannot be done.

Think of the development of democracy in the US under much better circumstances than Iraq has now. The failure of the Articles of Confdereration, Shay’s Rebellion, sectionalism, Civil War, and a civil rights movement that all took place over 20 years to get us to where we are now, which isn’t perfect, either. Will Iraq be perfect in the near future? No, it won’t be well until after its own growing pains just like ours which may take two centuries. Or more.

One thing Saddam was good for was keeping various conflicting factions on a short leash. Now that is gone, and the Iraqis are going to have to find their own way. Democracy is an ugly thing to watch develop, and it is going to look like there have been some disastrous setbacks before it is all over.

So what does this mean for Iraq and our military? For me, it means we need to train the Iraqis to defend themselves. We need to eliminate as much al Qaeda influence as possible from the country. Then we need to maintain a military base there to pursue a long term war on terror. Will the first Iraqi constitution fail? Probably. Will there be civil war? Probably. Will a new Saddam eise up from the ashes and threaten the US? No, because of the sacrifice of our military today, we’ll have a better tomorrow.

So while I think things will get worse before they get better, I still support the war in Iraq. It is a long term project with results that won’t be readily apparent for decades to come. I’m not ready to write it all off just yet.
Tangled Web

Scientists exposed spiders to a number of narcotics and other stimulants, then observed the critters spin a web. The results are fasibating, but none quite so much as the stimulants that had the most detrimntal effect--caffeine.

The reaction of the spider directly correlates to the effects caffeibe can have on the human body. that's bad, as I used to be an avowed caffeineaholic. i couldn't get through the days of studying without it. i never knew the effects of it on me until i spent two weeks in the hospital last spring when my colon ruptured. I didn't intake any caffeine and literally had withdrawal symptoms on top of everything else that was going on.

Today I have virtually eliminated caffeine from my diet, along with a lot of other fun stuff. I did so far too late to feel any healthier, though.
Homer Simpson Made of LEGOS


I used to play with LEGOS all the time back in the day, but I never came up with anything this cool.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Me As a Robot


Try it yourself.
Washed Ashore, Chapter Five

The Chaste Libertine

Wendy tossed her suitcase on the Queen sized bed. She was glad her parents allowed her to have her own room instead of making her stay with them. Maybe having some quiet and privacy on this trip would make it worthwhile. She needed time to herself. It had been a while since she had been able to settle down and think.

She opened up her suitcase and flopped the top back. She unzipped a small pouch on the inside of the suitcase and pulled out a small, well-thumbed Bible. Over next to the window was a wicker chair and table. Wendy decided to go sit in the sunlight to read. She sat back and opened the Bible. Quite by accident, the first verse she saw was Proverbs 18:22.

She smiled unhappily.

“Whosever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains the favor of the Lord,” she read out loud. She slammed the Bible shut. “I just can’t do this right now.”

Wendy Hendrix was born 22 years ago the only daughter of Bill and Jackie Hendrix. Bill was the plant manger for an auto manufacturer in their tiny Georgia hometown. They weren’t rich, but that didn’t stop bill from acting lack landed gentry. He was particularly concerned Wendy had the best schooling, and he was adamant that public school wasn’t it. So from the day she started kindergarten until the day she threw her hat and tassel in the air, Wendy attended the only private school in the area--Christ’s Grace Christian School.

Neither one of her parents was particularly devout. You couldn’t even call them Easter and Christmas Christians, really. Wendy became something different. As she studied the Bible as part of her regular curriculum, she became a solid believer. It was awkward, of course. Her parents weren’t degenerates, but they didn’t understand or actively follow any biblical precepts, and none of her friends outside of school did, either. She was never discouraged by anyone, though, so she quietly continued practicing her faith.

It was difficult. She had talked her parents into going to church, but noted they and most everyone else took it as an opportunity to compare clothing and make social contacts. The pastor’s kids were the biggest brats and when they hit their teen years became the most promiscuous as well. In fact, most of the Christian youth she knew would hold the Bible with their left hand and fondle a significant other with the right. It was frustrating to her that they were all being hypocritical to their beliefs, yet seemed to be in happy relationships.

Wendylonged for that type of relationship. It wasn’t that she was unattractive. In fact, she was one of the prettiest girls in town. But a combination of too high standards and boys knowing she was saving herself for marriage made for some lonely nights. Her father wasn’t particularly happy. He wanted his daughter to be a debutante and eventually marry into a family of wealth and prestige. None of the boys he introduced her to thrilled her at all. She started to feel like she would never find anyone.

She thought she came very close when Roger moved to town. Roger’s dad had been an executive up North who came to Georgia on a business trip one March. It had been snowing when he boarded the plane while the flowers were blooming when it landed in Georgia. He vowed to never endure another cold Spring again and moved his family South permanently.

Roger was smart, good looking, athletic, rich, and a devout Christian. Wendy thought she’d never be fortunate enough to catch his eye, but she was. They dated from the beginning of her junior year until the Junior prom. On that night, the two of them were driving around when Roger pulled off the road and drove down towards the lake. Wendy looked at him strangely. He’d never taken her here before. He could sense her apprehension and tried to dispel it.

“Beautiful, isn’t it/” he asked.

“Yes, but why did you bring me here?”

“A girl as beautiful as you deserves beautiful soundings.”

She blushed.

“Do such tacky lines work on Yankee girls?” she smiled.

Roger smiled awkwardly and drummed his fingers on the top of the steering wheel. Wendy took this as a sign she had embarrassed him.

“I..I didn’t mean to insult you,” she stammered.

Roger let out a deep sigh.

“You didn’t. It’s just that I really like you and wanted to share something special with you.”

“Oh, it is special! I was just trying to be funny. You know I really like you, too,” she smiled at him genuinely.

“Good,” he said.

They both stared off at the lake for a while. There was an awkward silence that wendy thought roger should break, but he never did. Finally, she decided to do it herself.

“Is something wrong,” she sheepishly asked.

Roger took a deep breath and held it for a moment. He exhaled and beat on the steering wheel with his palms as he did so.

“We’ve been dating for a good while now,’ he said. He also paused, as if waiting for her assent. She took the hint.

“Yes, we have,” she agreed.

“In that time, we’ve grown very close,”

“Yes,” she replied, a little more apprehensively this time.

“I think the only thing left for us to do is take it to the next step.” he leaned into her. ‘Let’s share something special, that only the two of us can have.”

Wendy was taken aback.

“Roger, are you proposing/”

Now Roger was taken aback. He shook his head and laughed.

“No, honey. I want to feel you--experience you.”

Wendy instinctively shifted as far away from him as she could in the tiny sports car. She wrapped her arms around herself defensively.

“No, Roger. Please don’t be that way. I thought we had some good going. Don’t ruin it.”

“It won’t ruin anything! It will make it better!”

Wendy started getting visibly upset.

“I thought we had something good. I didn’t know you would be like this.”

“It’s not a bad thing.”

“Yes, it is! You’re asking me to give up something that belongs to my husband.”

Roger laughed.

“If you think someone is going to marry you without having sex with you first, you‘;e crazy.”

“Roger! You’ve never talked to me that way. This isn’t like you. Can we drop this and pretend it didn’t happen/”

“I wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive,’ he told.

“Are…are you dumping me?”

“Let me put it this way: put out, or get out.”

Roger left her their to walk the three miles to her house. She never explained anything to her parents about what happened, although her father was ready to throttle Roger out of general principle. The entire incident remained largely a secret even with the notorious grapevine at Christ’s Grace Christian School. Wendy withdrew into herself, relying only on her faith in gold to pull her through the loneliness.

One night, early in her Senior year, she got on her knees beside her bed and prayed for guidance. She felt as though God spoke to her, as she felt comforted at the idea that she would find a husband at Bible college. She rested peacefully with the knowledge she would soon be in a Christian environment where the students were devout and actually wanted to be there, rather than being forced to go by their parents like so many of her high school classmates were.

Wendy stepped onto the campus of Mars Hill University with a double dose of optimism. Mars Hill was a tiny nondenominational Christian college in northern Florida, neslted in between tourist traps and orange groves. It was a clowed off school. It participated as little with the surrounding community as possible so as to keep out the twisted influence of Satan’s minions who pervaded every inch of society. Wendy knew this was going to be a fresh start for her, and she had to make the best of it.

She was correct in assuming she would find many devout young people who had grown up in Christian homes. They came from long lines of Christians. Most shunned public schools and anyone associated with them. Quite a few were home schooled. They were all warped beyond hope.

It never occurred to Wendy that she might have come from a closed society in her little Christian school back home. Meeting some of her classmates now showed her why. When you grow up in a closed society of zealots, you get to be a little brainwashed. Woe to anyone that doesn’t share your views, either.

Wendy first experienced this when decorating her dorm room. She had already put up all her clothes in her closet and placed family pictures on her desk when she started to hang up a poster of Patti Nelson, her favorite contemporary Christian singer. As she was flattening out the posters on the wall, her new roommate came through the door.

“Oh, hi!” Wendy said with a smile. ‘I’m your new roommate.”

Without a word, the other girl looked at the poster and knit her brow.

“What is that?” she pointed.

Wendy stammered in surprise at her bluntness.

“It’s a poster of Patti Nelson. You don’t like her, I take it.”

“Certainly not. That kind of music is rock masquerading as Christian music. It’s the work of the Devil, luring foolish Christians into sin,” she huffed.

The girl tossed her suitcase on her bed and started unpacking it without another word. She was clearly unimpressed with Wendy’s piety, even though she ripped down the poster right away in the name of compromise.

Things didn’t get much better. Wendy soon discovered the cliques within the Christian community. The home schoolers didn’t like the private schoolers, the Southerners thought the northerners were too Unitarian, and no one lied those who went to public especially, especially if they made pop cultural references in jest. The things Christians she had been around all her life were shunned at Mars Hill, and many times, so was she--way too worldly for most people’s taste.

Wendy was never able to build many deep friendships. She was, at best tolerated, and occasionally pitied for her hopeless, hellbound destination. It hurt particularly because Mars Hill, like all Christian colleges, was a marrying school. Within the first few weeks, couples emerged. In the last semester, at least half the graduating class had hooked up with each other or found someone over summer vacations. Not Wendy. She was a pariah--a pitied pariah, but a pariah nonetheless.

She graduated near the top of her class with a degree in Elementary Education, but to this day, not a soul can recall jut who she was. It didn’t matter, though. They were too busy with their own lives now to worry about it.

She decided to join her family on vacation before beginning her teaching job at the same school she graduated from years ago. Her dad treated her to this vacation as a graduation gift. Wensy tried to be happy about it, but inside she burned. She had spent all her youth up to this point being battered about by supposedly good Christians, and was at a crossroads. She asked herself many times, “How can it be heaven if its populated by people like that?”

Immediately after thinking that, Mark Twain’s famous quote always came to mind: “Heaven for climate, hell for company.”

She always laughed out loud when that thought emerged. She wondered how her classmates would freak if she had said it out loud while she was still at Mars Hill. She couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment shocking them became a weapon of defense, but it was pretty eary on. If was one of the few bright spots of her college years.

After putting the Bible down, Wendy shuffled through her suitcase.

“Ah, there it is!” she said happily.

She pulled out her find. It was a baby blue bathing suit, one piece but flattering for a nice figure like Wendy’s. She hold it up by the shoulder straps and admired it.

“Hello, world,” she said out loud. “Meet the new Wendy Hendrix.”

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Gunsmoke's Golden Anniversary


It has been fifty yars since Marshal Matt Dillon began patroling the streets of >Dodge Cyty, Kansas. I confess I am a bigger fan of The Wild Wild West and The Big Valley, but i recognize that without Gunsmoke, I wouldn't have either of those shows to enjoy. it still holds the record for longest running TV drama at 20 years, and is a true classic.
Gonzo Send Off

Hunter S. Thompson's ashes are to be shot out of a cannon today. yes, most of my fellow conservatives despise him and celebrated his death the same tasteless way they celebrated Christopher Reeves'. But I am my own man, plus i thought The rum Diary was a fantastic novel. I lament that Thompson didn't find a saner, more peaceful life in which to do his writing.
Battlestar Galaztica--"Home"

The fleet splits in half as President Ruslin leads her followers back to Kobol. Starbuck returns to give Roslin the Arrow of Apollo with Cylon Boomer in tow. No one trusts CB, of course, but she is the only one who knows her way around Kobol, so they have to trust her--even when they are ambushed by robotic Cylons. Meanwhile on Galactica, Adama decides to head to Kobol as well after much deliberation to reunite the fleet and reconcile with his son.

This was a decent episode. It felt much like a bridge to the next one, rather than a tale in and of itself. That makes sense, since it is widely known that the first season was designed to be 2 episodes rather than 13, so “Home” would normally be setting up the season “finale” next episode, if things had gone as they should have. Que sera sear.

Anyway, as a show with a tight story arc, one has to expect such episodes from time to time. They can’t really be judged without seeing the whole arc, and for that, I’ll have to wait for next week.

Rating: *** out of 5
Stargate: Atlantis--"Trinity"

Oh look--another Dr. McKay centered episode. There's a fresh, new idea. This time. McKay decides to use an Ancient created weapon he knows absolutely nothing about to predictably bad results. Romon discovers that some of his people survied the Wraith attack, including someone he has an old score to settle with. I don't have to tell you he kills the guy, do I?

Yawn.

Rating: ** out of 5
Stargate SG-1--"Beachhead"

The Ori have conquered a free Jaffa planet and are using it as a base to invade our galaxy. SG-1 calls on Samantha Carter (woo hoo) for help in disablibf the force field around the planet. Unfortunately, her efforts succeed only in expanding the field. The expansion powers a giant stargate-like portal in which the invasion fleet is about to come through. Vala saves the day by disabling the portal, but perhaps at the cost of her own life.

Hail, hail the gang’s all here. It’s cool to see Carter back, even if it does feel like she is just phoning it in. The union of old crew and new work well together, forming a decent bridge to, according to the ratings, what might be a tenth season without any of the originals. I’ve predicted SG-1’s cancellation before, but I’m wiling to admit I’m likely wrong now.

These last two episodes have benn killer, too. The Ori are shaping up to be formidable villains who have breathed new life into what had become a tired and stales show. There aren’t many shows that can claim that after nine seasons. It does seem odd to remove Claudia Black from the cast so early, but they have foreshadowed her return. I’m betting we’ll see her in the summer finale in just a few more weeks.

Rating: **** out of 5
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid Mild Stroke

He seems to have no major lasting effects. I'll bet you he took the Congressional downtime to finally realize he is responsible for Sens. Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, and Robert Byrd, while he is tangentially associated with Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi. The sheer horror of it all must have caused him to pop a gasket.

Friday, August 19, 2005

More Kelo

Kelo was the worst SCOTUS ruling since Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992, and here is a glaring example of why. After winning a landmark eminent domain ruling from the Supreme Court, the New London Development Corporation now wants to pay residents based on value they held in 2000, rather then 2005, which would leave them unable to buy equivalent new home in today's real estate bubble. They are also ckarging backrent, sometimes up to $ 300,000. Kelo herself owes $57,000.

In other words, the NLDC is taking these people's homes at rock bottom prices and charging back rent for the time period the residents were fighting to keep their homes. The greed of all this is just mind numbing.

Read the whole news item.
The Dead Pirate Bin Laden

Should international law treat terrorism the same way as piracy? I'm not entirely sold on the idea. Terrorism strikes me as an act of war, particularly when it is state sponsored. Of course, it might be beneficial to examine the parallels between the relationships of Sir Walter raliegh and Queen Elizabeth with al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"This Country is Not Woth Dying For"

So said Cindy Sheehan in an April 2005 speech. (You'll have to scroll down a bit to get to it.) It's interesting to note her agenda was even broader than being angry over her son's death even back then. in fact, in one line she adbise people to teach their children America isn't a country worth dying for--because she failed to teach hers that. I think that is a disgusting insult to her son's memory, even more so than using his grave as a bully pulpit.

She also brings up her antisemetism by claiming that Israel occupies palestine. Why are none of the pndits from the MSM correcting the idea that this is true? There hasn't been a Palestine since ancient times. The area now none as Israel was largely barren outside of Jerusalem. it has been pretty much ignored by everyone who ruled it the Romans (after destroying Jerusalem to the Turks, and the British up until the balfour declaration. Sheehan say she was educated in the pulic school system, so that explains her ignorance of history, but but it is just irresponsible for someone to not publically explain how wrong she is.

What does the far left hope to gain from supportingaround an ignorant, America hating antisemite like Sheehan? I blogged a few days ago that David Duke has cast his support for her, as well. When two extreme opposities of the political spectrum start to agree with each other, there is trouble brewing. It indicates that the racist far right and the self-loathing far left have realized their lack of moral authority is a common bond and they can work together on certain issues. That is a dangerous thing for the MSM to encourage by giving Sheehan so much free press when what she is saying isn't even accurate, much less news.

I'm not saying this is a conspiracy. it's not. It's just a matter of convenience for different types of people with the same agenda. the sad part is that one of those people is Osama bin Laden. He couldn't ask for a better spokesperson than Sheehan, as she has united the far left, the far right, and the MSM into blasting the United State's will to fight a necessary war without him ever having to lift a finger.

If the MSM media going to tune Sheehan out, then we need to fight her lies ourselves.
Florida Senate Race

I don't have a dog in this fight, mind you, as I am not convinced Sen. Nelson can be beaten regardless. the infighting that's going on in the GOP is amusing,however. Katherine Harris has announced her run for the GOP nomination even though the establishment in both Tallahassee and Washington don't want her. Actually, that's an understatement. they are actively against her.

Now her poll numbers aren't that great. They definitely lag behind Nelson's, but a great deal of that has to so with the fact that her own party is shuning her. Even President Bush, famous for his loyalty, isn't budging. All this is because of her role in the 2000 presidential debacle.

So who does the GOP want? Joe Scarborough, the former Congressman with a dead staffer in his office. He resigned after a messy divorce, and there are rumors he was having an affair with the staffer. The GOP would rather have him than a woman who was just doing her job as Secretary of State.

Really, is there something in the water down in Florida? Have the humidity and hurricanes finally gotten to you guys n' gals?
George Will on South Carolina

The column is specifically about the Charleston Riverdogs minor league baseball team, but these two paragraphs stuck out:
The minor leagues reflect the nation's durable regional differences. South Carolinians, for example, are feisty — they fired on Fort Sumter from places not far from The Joe — so french fries are still called freedom fries at the ballyard. The real delicacies, however, are grilled turkey legs. A week's worth of protein for $5, they are not much smaller than the players' bats, and about as tender.

The Joe is almost in the backyard of The Citadel, a military school, and on game nights the patriotism is as warm as the beer is cold. Just before the first pitch on a recent evening, the teenager selling hot dogs and sodas at a concession stand out on the concourse behind the seats suddenly said, politely but firmly: "One moment, please." Turning his back to the line of waiting customers, he took off his cap and faced the brick wall at the back of the stand, in the direction of the flagpole in center field. He stood ramrod straight with his hand over his heart while the national anthem was sung. Even people in The Joe's parking lot come to attention when they faintly hear the distant sound of "Oh, say can you see . . ."
That is South Carolina all over. Read the rest, if you so desire.
List of Five Meme

I've been tagged by Lacie. I accept thy challenge, my dear lady.

10 years ago I was...

Starting my first year at the University of South Carolina.

5 years ago I was…

Recovering from my first detached retina surgery.

1 year ago I was...

Having a futile operation to repair my colon.

Yesterday I was...

Working on a writing project inbetween tacos.

5 Cds I listen to often:

Songs You Know By Heart--Jimmy Buffettt
The Very Best of the Eagles--Eagles
Garth Live--Garth Brooks
VH1’s Behind the Music--John Denver
Last Chance For a Thousand Years--Dwight Yoakam

5 things I would do with 100 million dollars…

I’d buy the rights to “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Wild Thing.”
Buy a waterfront mansion.
Start a racing stable.
Donate enough money to the GOP that they’ll listen to my advice.
Track down one of the ten remaining copies of Action Comics #1

5 places I would run away to.... .

Costa Rica--Warm year round.
Bahamas--ditto.
Key West--Same reason
Virgin Islands--See above.
Curacao--See a pattern developing?

5 things I would never wear

A toboggan
A pinky ring
An earring.
Anything plaid.
Leather pants.

5 favorite TV shows…

Lost
Battlestar Galactica
Family Guy
The Apprentice
Saturday Night Live

5 bad habits…

I stay up too late.
I’m reclusive.
I bite my nails.
I mope a heck of a lot more now than I ever did.
I live in the past too much.

5 biggest joys.…

Surely you jest.

5 favorite toys….

Laptop
Magnifier (*sigh*)
CD player
DVD Player
I still miss my library of books, magazines, and a huge comic book collection. Does that count?

Well, that’s the meme. You know the drill. If you want to play, consider yourself tagged and I’ll link back to you when you are done.

UPDATE: Sarah played.

UPDATE II: So has Hobbesian Conservative

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Communists on the March in Latin America

The United states recently established a new military base in Paraguay. Now Donald Rumsfeld has visited the country to consult on the increasing influence of Cuba and Venexuela on the unrest in neighboring Bolivia.

Castro has taken afvantage of the US's diverted attention towards the Middle east to sink his claws further into Latin America. He learned nothing from Grenada, obviously. Venexuela has had an ax to grind with the US since its presidential bruhaha in 2002. The country has even threatened an oil embrago against the US.

It's good to see the US hasn't forgotten its obligations to defend the Western Hemisphere against the communists. It's not getting much press, but the Buh Administration is keeping tabs on the deteriorating situation in Colombia with its drug cartels practically running a large chunk of that country.

Makes you nostalgic for the cowboy Miami Vice days of the 1980's, no? The US is stanfing tall against all enemies of freedom, and I couldn't be prouder.
Condi's Fortunes

That Hillary Clinton is running away with the democratic nomination for president gets a lot of press. what isn't being touted is that Secretary of State Condi Rice could do just as well on the GOP side.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a surprising top choice for president among Iowa Republicans, according to a poll to be released today — more than two years before the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Among 400 Republicans who said they are likely to attend the 2008 caucuses, Rice received the backing of 30.3 percent. U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona was second in the survey with 16 percent, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani received support from 15.3 percent. Roughly 20 percent were undecided.
All this and Condi hasn't even declared presidential ambitions. Her self-confessed "somewhat pro choice" stance bugs me, but I have to feel that as Hillary's campaign gains steam, the GOP might see the value a nominating a woman for president. We'll wait and see. I haven't picked a horse (or filly, as the case may be) yet myself.
Maybe I'm Old Fashioned...

...love sick, or just really dislike Ryan Philippe, but why in the would he make Reese pump her own gas? That's just wrong.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Milestone

Sometime tomorrow, assuming the upward trend cotinues, I will reach ten thousand visitors. That's more than I ever espected for a persoinal blog of esoteric political, legal, religious, and science fiction rants that no one really cares about. I'd like to say it was my brilliant commentary, my quick wit, and skill at finding peculiar links to share. I'd like to say that, but I can't. Instead, the traffic increase is due to a certain minimally talented blonde in a hot pink bikini. Oh, well. Like a dead fish, I swim with the current.


Here's to ten thousand more--and beyond.

(Just out of curiousity. About 20% of those searching come to the front page and read a bit. If any of them are reading this, exactly what did you search for? I've tried every variation I can think of on Google Image Search, but that photo doesn't come up in early results.)
What Al Qaeda Really Wants

A Caliphate in Seven Easy Steps: German newspaper Der Spiegel offers a look at an Islamist plan for success by 2020, courtesy of journalist Fouad Hussein, who claims close connection with al-Qaida's inner circle.
Japanese Propaganda From World War II

"But this is not all. There is still another thing in store for you along the Philippines front. What is this thing? I will answer you. It is a grave, YOUR GRAVE!"
Gatescape

This one is going to get me in a lot of trouble, but as I frequently go where angels fear to tread, I will gladly risk the wrath of two--count them, two--ravenous science fiction fan bases before the end of this post for the sake of pointless commentary. Sensitive sci fi nuts should go read Instapundit or something.

Now that we have gotten a handful of Stargate Sg-1 episodes with former Farscape actors Ben Browder and Claudia Black under floating out there, I’ve gotten a good feel for the new style of the show. It’s entertaining. Not great, but then again, SG-1 never was great. A controversy has erupted across the net from FS fans regarding how they should take their two favorite actors on another show together. It hasn’t beeen pretty, but there is a history behind it.

The Sci Fi hannel used to air new episodes of FS. When Showtime cancelled SG-1, Sci Fi opted to pick it up and produce new episodes. Sci Fi has a production budget roughly equal to the amount the government of Mali pays for toilet paper, so to free up money for SG-1, it cancelled FS. An additional season of FS wasn’t a sure thing to begin with. A fan campaign sprang up to save the show for another season that might have tipped the bubble in a new season’s favor if the opportunity to get SG-1 hadn’t arisen. But Sci Fi had 88 episodes of FS in the bag. That was enough to syndicate the show into oblivion, so it saw no reason to produce more episodes. It was cancelled in favor of SG-1.

Now, years later, FS fans are still burning about it, and the most hardcore have done everything but declare a fatwa against Brad Wright and pray for all Amanda Tapping’s hair to fall out. This season of SG-1 is especially painful then, as their favorite actors are now on the show that, more or less, took away their original beloved show. The debate between them is whether they can be fans of SG-1 now or not.

See, science fiction fans are not a monolithic group. They may follow various shows, movies, comics and what have you, but there is always one that they declare utmost loyalty to. These are the folks who wear “I Grok Spock” t-shirts in public and learn to fight with toy light sabers. Never will you see someone with a Star Trek t-shirt holding a toy light saber It just isn‘t done. To casual fans, this seems peculiar. To the type of fan who identifies himself as a Trekkie or Warrie, to the extent he leaves the internet chat room and surfaces in the outside world, it is a sign of loyalty to a community. Therefore, for the hardcore FS fans to like SG-1 is the equivalent of that fan becoming a quisling.

Well, I have a confession: I don’t particularly like either show, so I can be objective here. First off, I haven’t watched FS that much. It premiered during my Senior year of college when I had a few other things on my mind. I’ve watched only a handful of episodes, which has not been enough for me to get the gist of the overall story arc, assuming their was one. To me, it fell into the same trap as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Many people I knew who had similar tastes to me in sci fi loved BVS, so I’ve tried it . Several times. It didn’t do a thing for me. It always seemed like a teenie-bopper show that was just an excuse for T & A. it doesn’t help that I think creator Joss Whedon is a hack.

By the same token, right or wrong, FS just seemed silly. An astronaut and three strage alien chicks cavorting with muppets does not compelling television make. It also doesn’t help that I think creator Rockne S. O’Bannon is a hack. Recall his triumph prior to FS--SeaQuest DSV. That’s right. A show featuring Roy Scheider and a talking dolphin is on this guy’s resume. Jonathon Brandis hung himself a few years ago because he couldn’t get anymore work in Hollywood--probably because SeaQuest was on his resume.

I’m afraid SG-1 fans aren’t going to get off that easy, either. The first few seasons were good stuff, I’ll admit. I gave it a shot even though I disliked the movie based on its implausible premise. Come on, a guy like Ra who has a system a Gates built so he can travel across the galaxy instantly goes to Egypt and gets slave labor to build the pyramids over a period of years? What for? Doesn’t he have a way of doing that much faster? All that really needs to be further said about the movie is that it was such a bomb, it bankrupted Orion Pictures.

The show meandered in the mid-seasons as the writing got stale. There was a bit of the will they/won’t they bit between O’Neil and Carter that flopped with fans, yet the writers kept it up on until last season. The show never seemed to have an overall plan on how to get from A to B to C. That changed with the move to Sci Fi. There, the show developed season long story arcs that at least kept you interested in seeing the next episode. Last season, they even finished off the iiinnnccrrreeedddiiibbbblllyy ssssllloooowwww story arc with the Goa’ uld that has been limping along for eight years.

Now we’ve hit the ninth (final?) season with a new cast and enemy which promises to be done away with in the season finale. It isn’t tainted by eight years of enough labyrinthine plot lines and minutiae to mke a Talmudic scholar pop a gasket, and I have no FS emotional attachments for Broweder and Black, so I can safely admit I like it. I can imagine why fans of both shows would be turned off. The SG-1 cast didn’t really want to be a part of the show anymore.

(Digression: I’m surprised there is any loyalty to them at all. Last season, there was a contest to win a trip to the set. This nerdy kid who looked a lot like Steve urkel won. They filmed a special about his visit, and most of the cast made him look like an idiot. The only one who appeared to be friendly to him was Christopher Judge. Yeah, the kid was clearly a doofus. He told one of the actresses she was sexy in her alien make up only, and he asked Richard Dean Anderson about future storylines, who gave him a snaky answer. I felt sorry for the kid, really. He was also on a segment of Conan o’Brien which mocked him even more, although he seemed unaware.

The ultimate sin was cast members reading and answering internet questions they had been sent. They mocked every last one of them. Yes, they were fannish questions that were irrelevant (think William Shatner’s ‘Get a Life’ bit on Saturday Night Live) but they were from the show’s bread and butter. Making a special just to whop them between the eys was bad form. End of Digression.)

I am also told ithe witty banter between Browder and Black causes many FS fans to miss their show. I’ll admit they’ve got chemistry, but it obviously doesn’t remind me of FS. That doesn’t cloud the entertsinment value of season nine for me.

What have we resolved , kids? Not much, actually. I dig the new season of SG-1, but I am largely watching it waiting for Battlestar Galactica. It has cranked up a notch, I’ve noticed, as far as the action and intensity is concerned. They did literally kill Vala in the second episode. It was enough to keep me watching. I can’t help any of the zealots sort through their conflicted loyalties. Just hope you never get stuck in an elevator with a couple of them, and we should all be fine.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Pool of Siloam Discovered

The reservoir served as a gathering place for Jews making pilgrimages and is said in the Gospel of John to be the site where Jesus cured a blind man:
Workers repairing a sewage pipe in the Old City of Jerusalem have discovered the biblical Pool of Siloam, a freshwater reservoir that was a major gathering place for ancient Jews making religious pilgrimages to the city and the reputed site where Jesus cured a man blind from birth, according to the Gospel of John.

The pool was fed by the now famous Hezekiah's Tunnel and is "a much grander affair" than archeologists previously believed, with three tiers of stone stairs allowing easy access to the water, said Hershel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, which reported the find Monday.

"Scholars have said that there wasn't a Pool of Siloam and that John was using religious conceit" to illustrate a point, said New Testament scholar James H. Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary. "Now we have found the Pool of Siloam … exactly where John said it was."

A gospel that was thought to be "pure theology is now shown to be grounded in history," he said.
Futher proof, as if any were necessary, that the Bible is accurate history. Read the rest of the article.
Morality Test

Check out my morality: 23% liberal, 77% conservative

It is pretty accurate--unfortunate in some ways. Link via: Hobbesian Conservative, or more accurately, his better half, the Hobbesian Fiance.
David Duke is a Sheehan Supporter

He gives her "Push Israel Into the Sea" idea a big thumbs up. See? Idiocy is nonpartisan.
Sheehan Shenanigans

I sympathize with Cindt Sheehan on the loss of her son. It's always tragic when a soldier dies, no matter how good the cause he was fighting for. I don't mind her protesting. I think if a family member of mine died in Iraq, I'd be angry. I can't imagine thinking the whole war wasn't worth fighring because of it, but maybe I would, so I give her the benefit of the doubt. It doesn't strike me as all that bright to camp out near the president's vacation home to protest, byt what is more American than the freedom to do something stupid? It's our most exercised right.

But Sheehan is abusing that right a little too much, making her look like an idiot. Now she says we sgould get out of iraq, and that will end terrorism. she seems to have forgotten that nearly 3,000 people were incinerated on 9/11 well before we got to Iraq. Cutting and running now would only embolden the terrorists, as it did when the Clinon Administration failed to respond properly to various attacks in the 1990's.

Second, Sheehan wants the Iraelis to lieave Palestine. Where the heck did that come from? To my knowledge, she hasn't clarified her remarks, so I'm only guessing she is advocating the removal of the Hews from Israel and let the Plestinans have it. If so, she is either stupid, an anti-semite, or more likely, both. Ms. Shaheen, get thee to a library and read up on Middle Eastern history. I'll even start you off with a search term: Balfour Declaration. Thank me later.

To follow Sheehan's advice would be to allow the insurgency in Iraq and the Palestinians behind the Intifada to declare vitory. As we all know, everyone stops using a tactic win it proves to be a winning success. Sheehan falls into the naive liberal trap that everyone deep down yearns to be a pacifist and wouldn't use violent means to get thier way if they didn't have to. By that logic, give the violent folks what they want, and then they will stop.

Not really. If you give someone a $100 bill every time he punches you in the face, he will never stop. It's that whole, "cowards die a thousand deaths" saying in action. it's people like Sheehan that are going to get us all killed. At least her son knew the score.

I read a commentator write that Sheehan did not understand that we had to take the battle to the terrorist rather than wait for them to come here. He said her notion that Iraq never attacked us, therefore they were no threat is wrong, because the Nazis never attacked us, either, yet we fought them because it was the right thing to do. He wondered how she'd feel if we hadn't, and all her Jewish froends were gone. After her comments on Israel, somehow I don't think that is a worry for her, nor has it ever been.

To protest the war, Sheehan is going to refuse to pay her taxes. This idea has lead me to som tinfoil hat speculation. Who is paying for Sheehan to camp outside the Crawford Ranch for the entire month? Is whoever it is feeding her her agenda lines like removing the Jews from israel and impeaching Bush? Someone is trying to make her into a folk hero. Think about it. She goes to jail for tax evasion. Some lefty group organizes to raise cash to pay her tax bill. Sheehan does a little time in the pokey, then writes a tell all book about how the poor little lady who lost her son in Bush's colonial adventure was also locked up for refusing to help pay for said adventure.

That whole scenario has some moonbat lefty organization's fingerprints all over it. Maybe she came up with it all by her lonesome, but I want to know who's bankrolling her little group. I think it would make for an interesting revelation.
Corrections

More precisely, proofreading. I had rewritten chapter four of Washed Ashore three times to the point i was sick of it and didn't proofread very well. The ols peeper doesn't work as well as it used to, either. I'm not offering excuses, just explanations for the half dozen errors I just fixed.

I'm going to assume there are many more in the previous chapters and will run through them again to fix any I come across. There won't be any changes to the story or dialogue, just some housekeeping. No need to go back and read anything. Just be assured that any spelling errors that irked you have been zapped by my dquadron of super intelligent apes.

They took time out from plotting world domination to do so, so thank them won't you? Then perhaps when the revolution comes, you will be among those spared.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Washed Ashore, Chapter Four

"Strange Visitors"

“You have got to go talk to him!" Donna shouted as she frantically waved her arms in the air.

“I am, I am. I’ll get to the bottom of all this," Alex told her, mostly just to get her to calm down. He spread his palms and pumped his arms up and down as if he could will her to do so. He knew better that, but at least it made him feel like he was making the best effort possible to defuse the situation.

Donna slapped her hand against her forehead, then looked up at the ceiling as she ran her fingers through her hair.

“If he tells other people that mumbo jumbo about the volcano blowing, we may have a full scale riot.”

“Well that would put us out o business,’ Alex quipped, thinking that sort of thing would make her happy.

“After they buried us up to or necks on an anthill you mean. The Chief told us the volcano had been inactive for a thousand years and was no danger.”

“He did say that, and that’s what I am going to talk to him about. Just relax. He’s probably just testing us with a new gimmick for their show. He’s no P. T. Barnum. I’ll explain to him to tone it down a bit and make it more light hearted and fun. Our guests are trying to escape stress.”

Alex smiled at Donna. She half-heartedly smiled back.

“All right,” she said. “Have at him.”

Once Alex shut the front door behind him, his smile disappeared. The Chief had turned serious in their last conversation. While Alex didn’t believe in much of the spirituality stuff the Chief was talking about, he knew something was up beyond a theatrical addition.

Alex arrived at the Chief’s home after just a few minutes walk. On the outside, it had the appearance of a large hut, but the inside was as modern as any New York yuppie’s apartment. Alex had only been to the Chief’s home once before, but it was enough exposure to amuse him regarding the Chief’s contradictory stance towards modernity of the old ways. He knocked on the door.

Inside, the Chief was sitting in a beanbag chair playing his Gameboy when he heard the knock.

“Just a minute,” he said. The Chief cut off the game. “Rats. It figures I’d be interrupted when I finally reach level eight and there is no pause feature.”

He quickly stuffed the game into a drawer and fumbled around for a book of matches. He found them, and lit several candles he had scattered about various tables and chests. He tossed the matches aside and approached the door. He took a minute to adopt a serious demeanor before unlocking it. He finally opened the door.

“Alex, I was not expecting you,”

“That surprise me after your revelation,” he responded.

“Yes, well--” The Chief hung his head low.

“May I come in?” Alex asked.

“Yes, of course.” The Chief stepped aside and bid Alex to enter.

Alex entered and surveyed the place instinctively. Wide screen TV, DVD, and CD player. Every stick of furniture looked brand new, but it all indicated its owner had plenty of money, yet no taste.

Yes, the Chief had it all. But there were no lights on, just candles.

“I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“No, you are not. Please, sit.”

Alex sat on the zebra striped sofa. He sank deep into the cushions, so much so it startled him. As he climbed back to a comfortable position.

“It looks like you might have been having a pensive, uh...spiritual moment.”

The Chief laughed sofly.

“You want to know what my announcement was all about,” he said.

“Yeah, Chief, I do. I understand and respect your religious beliefs, but, well, I just can’t have you spreading prophecies of impending doom when there are guests on the island. You understand, don’t you/”

“Indeed, I do. But you do not.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have already told you there is an unbalance here. The island is unhappy, and my people are trying to determine how to help hr.”

Alex sighed.

“I do understand that, Chief, and that’s fine. But you agreed years ago to let Gideon et up shop here knowing full well what that would entail. It’s too lte to regret it now.”

“You don’t believe, do you?”

Alex shook his head.

“Believe what?”

“That we are connected to this island? That it is alive. That my people are a part of it.”

“Yes, I know you are native here and all your culture is here--”

“No!’ the Chief yelled loudly. Alex had never heard the Chief raise his voice before. It startled him. The chief calmed down quickly.

“I assumed you would not understand. How could you?”

Alex paused for a long moment, trying to think of what to say.

“Look, Chief, I appreciate that your people have welcomed my hotel as much as you have. We haven’t had a guest yet that wasn’t thrilled by your rituals and such--”

“That is the problem. It’s a all a tourist attraction to you.”

Alex began to simmer, but tried to stay calm.

“Look, Chief, you’ve not only allowed us to bring all this to the island, you’ve embraced it.” Alex jumped up and spread his arms wide. “Look at all this stuff! It’s a yuppie paradise. I’ll bet your refrigerator is full of imported bottled water!”

The Chief’s chin quivered. Alex noticed, and started to tone it done.

“It’s too late for you to have second thoughts, Chief. We’re here, and we’re staying. None of your hoodoo voodoo is going to change that. I’m sorry you regret your decision now, but look what it has brought you.”

“My belly may be full, but my spirit is empty,” the Chief said.

“There’s nothing I can do about that, Chief. You made your bed. Believe me, I am sympathetic. You won’t believe what a turning point something like this was in my life years ago.”

“A turning point in which you apparently learned nothing.”

“Oh, I learned all sorts of things--like, “Vanity, vanity. All is vanity.’”

“It doesn’t have to be that way, but nothing I tell you will be convincing. All right, Alex, if you wish no further warnings, you will get none past this one: there are more things in heaven and earth than you have ever dreamed of, or hope to subdue. Whether you believe in them or not, they cam come to haunt you.”

Alex took that as a cue that e needed to leave. The Chief was in no further mood for discussion. He headed for the door.

“All right, Chief, we have a deal--and look, if you are having problems, I’m sure we can work things out. You don’t have to resort to scare tactics.”

“Indeed. I will allow your gusts to find their own destiny, with no further revelations,” the Chief said. Alex suspected he was being snaky. The Chief really did seem to believe this stuff.

“All right, Chief,” Alex said as he pit his hand on the doorknob. “I’m sure my guests will appreciate that.”

Speaking of guests, at that moment, Donna was checking in the newly arrived Hendrix family. She handed the husband his room key.

“Room 208, just up the stairs and to your left.” Donna smiled separately at the Hendrix’s twenty-two year old daughter, Wendy. Donna picked up another key and dangled it in front of her. ‘And this is Room 209 for the young lady.”

Wendy held her right hand out and Donna dropped the key. It nearly tumbled out of Wendy’s hand. She had to clumsily grab it with her other hand to keep it from falling onto the counter. She smiled embarrassingly. He father laughed at her in what seemed a good natured way, but could still raise an eyebrow.

‘That’s why she didn’t win that volleyball scholarship to college,” he quipped.

His wife, Jackie nudged him in the ribs.

“Bill…” she said, bemused. He pretty much ignored her and turned his attention to Wendy.

‘Anyway. Enjoy it, honey. A young, independent woman like you ought to have the privacy of her own room,’ he told her.

“Thanks, Daddy,” she replied.

They gathered up the luggage that was scattered about their feet and headed up the stairs. Donna watched them as they went. The Hendrixes seemed to be the typical all American family, but there was something about them--some sort of strain. She couldn’t put her finger on it. Donna never was a good judge of people, anyway. She immediately forgot them and went back to work.

No sooner had she done that than Alex walked through the front door. She didn’t even wait for him to say hello.

“Well?” she asked.

“Well what?”

“Well, are we all going to die in a fiery lava flow?” she said, irritated.

Alex walked quickly behind the desk and quieted his voice as he did so.

“Shhh…careful. The whole idea is to not let the entire island in on this,” he whispered.

“Let them in on what? He’s not serious, is he?”

I don’t know. It’s not part of the show. The Chief is leading some sort of tribal visiin quest to determine why the island is angry at them.”

Donna’s brow knitted.

“You’re talking about this like it’s a fact. You don’t believe it, too, do you?”

Alex took a deep breath and quickly exhaled.

“No, but the Chief does, and so do his people. But its part of their spiritual heritage. Whatever prayers or ceremonies or pineapple thumping they do is a private affair. They’ll keep it away from our guests. There’s not going to be any trouble as long as we keep it quiet, too.”

“I’m not planning on telling anyone such a cockamamie story,” Donna declared.

“Good. I suggest we not tell Sean, either,” Alex added.

“I think Sean is savvy enough to know a cock and bull story when he hears one.”

“I’m sure he can too, but we’re still not going to tell him.”

Donna huffed.

“Fine, but we are going to have a long talk--and soon. Tourism falls off when the monsoon season starts in a few weeks. We’re going to have a serious discussion about our future. Then.”

“Fine--” Alex began, but was interrupted by a guest at the top of the stairs.

“Excuse me, but I’ve locked my key in my room.” the guests said.

Alex glared at Donna.

“Why don’t you go help our guest?” he said.

Donna didn’t say a thing. She just opened a drawer at the main desk and pulled out the master key ring. It looked like it held at least fifty keys. Donna never looke directly at Alex, she just turned her attention to the guest as she walked up the steps.

“I’m sorry this happened. I’m such a klutz,” the guest said embarrassed.

“It’s no problem We weren’t doing anything important,” Donna said loudly enough for Alex to hear. Both she and the guest disappeared onto the second floor. Alex spread his palms onto the desk and drummed all of his fingers repeatedly in frustration.

The island’s lone taxi, owned exclusively by the lobe airport, pulled into the front entrance of the hotel. The driver, an island native dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and pressed khakis scurried to open the back passenger door. From that door, the Colonel emerged. Pablo was in just as much a hurry to get to the trunk of the car and unload the luggage as the driver was. The Colonel stood silently surveying the hotel while the luggage piled up at his feet.

The driver slammed the trunk shut.

“I hope you have a wonderful vacation, sir,” he said. He stood there for a moment. The Colonel looked him over with mild contempt.

“Pay the man, Pablo,” he ordered.

“Sii Senor.”

The driver took his pay and hurried out as quickly as he could, glad to be rid of the Colonel. He didn’t know who this guy was, but bad vibes had radiated off him since he’d gotten in the poor fellow’s taxi.

The Colonel looked unhappy. That wasn’t unusual, but Pablo had learned by now to show the utmost concern anyway, as through every minor irritant was fate crashing down unfairly on the Colonel yet again.

“Senor? Is there a problem?” he asked.

“I was thinking how far we have fallen in out quest, Pablo. We have come to a tiny island in the middle of nowhere, to this rickety shack of a hotel. This is the end of or journey, but I thought it would have more grandeur. This is this resting place of destiny, after all.”

“Well, Senor,” Pablo cautiously began, “Perhaps what you--we--seek is not, in fact, here. We should be prepared for--”

The Colonel glared at him. Pablo immediately shut up.

“Go get us a room, Pablo.”

“Si, Senor.”

Inside the hotel, Alex was working the desk. As Pablo entered, Alex took note. He wasn’t expecting any further guests outside of the group of young surfer types that Sean had mentioned earlier. Pablo didn’t look like he belonged in that crowd.

“Good morning, sir. How may I help you?” he said.

“I require the Presidential Suite,” Pablo answered.

“We really don’t have one, sir,” Alex said awkwardly, “but I’m sure you will find your room to be just as good as any Presidential Suite.”

Alex paused. This situation gave him an uneasy feeling for some reason he couldn’t put his finger on.

“And what name is your reservation under?” he asked.

“A man like Colonel Santiago has no need for reservations,” Pablo answered.

“Walk ins are a bit unexpected in the middle of the Pacific Ocean--” Alex stopped cold. “Did you say Colonel Santiago? As in the Colonel Javier Santiago?”

Pablo nods his assent and directs Alex to the window on the left side of the front door. Alex’s jaw dropped as he recognized the imposing figure standing just outside the door.

“I thought he was dead,” Alex said, out loud, but not really directed at Pablo.

“There are many misconceptions about the Colonel,” Pablo responded.

“It’s no misconception what he has done to his people.”

Pablo was indignant.

“You are wrong. The people of San Pedro loved the Colonel, and he loved them in return. Fate has split them apart, but they will soon be reunited.”

“Well, the Colonel is going to have to take his lover’s spat with the people of San Pedro elsewhere. This is a family vacation spot. I can’t have bloody, fly-by-night dictators running about.”

Pablo leaned across the desk menacingly towards Alex. He spoke in a quiet, but firm tone.

“The only thing greater than the Colonel’s capacity for love is the severity of his wraith. He will rain down fire from heaven upon you, your family, and this entire hotel. There will be nothing left on this island.”

Alex pursed his lips to the point they almost disappeared. He reached over to the key holder behind the desk and grabbed one. He tossed it to Pablo, causing him to finally back away to a comfortable distance in order to catch it.

“Room 213 will have to suit his tastes, and I want whatever business he has here done quickly and him out of here as soon as possible.” This time Alex leaned in menacingy. “And he had best not threaten my family or any of my guests if he wants to get off this island alive.”

Pablo smiled.

“I think you will find the Colonel’s gratitude most satisfying.”

“As long as his round trip ticket is valid, I couldn’t care less about his gratitude, Alex replied sternly. That was clearly the end of the conversation as far as he was concerned.

“As you wish,” Pablo said. He turned away and headed out to retrieve the Colonel. His face fell, and he felt queasy for the millionth time since a left San Pedro.

“Oh, one more thing,” Alex said.

Pablo stopped, and put his game face back on before turning around.

“Si?”

“Tell the Colonel he may have to jiggle the handle a bit. The toilet tends to run,” he said.

Alex never looked up at Pablo again, and Pablo took this as a sign no response was necessary o welcome, for that matter.

Moments later the Colonel and Pablo headed up the stairs to the second floor. Alex did not offer to help with the luggage. The Colonel never acknowledged him, anyway. They disappeared unto the second floor with nary a word spoken.

Another moment later, Donna came barreling down the stairs towards Alex. She stammered excitedly.

“Alex, I swear I just saw--”

“Colonel Santiago,” he coolly interjected without even looking up at her.

“--Colonel Santiago go into a roo--what did you say?”

This time, he did look up at her.

“I just checked Colonel Javiar Santiago into room 213.”

“Are you crazy?”

Alex tried to speak calmly. He didn’t want her to panic, even though he wanted to throw up himself over what he had just done.

“Whatever business he has here, he’ll get it done quickly and leave. Maybe he just wants to play tourists. I don’t know, but it is best not to antagonize him.”

“’Antagonize’ him? Don’t you know what kind of person he is?”

“Yes, I am well aware.”

Donna threw her hands up in the air and stormed off.

“This place gets worse by the minute,” she exclaimed