|One Nation, Under God...||
"The real democratic American ideal is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but |
that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance." --Henry Ward Beecher
Check this cat out:
Friday, June 14, 2002
Posted 1:12 PM by WiN
I love James Lileks, I really do. Perhaps I should clarify: I love his writing. Really. It's wry. It's funny. When it's neither of those, it's thoughtful. If you have a conservative bent (or perhaps even if you're apolitical), you'll love The Screed. I try to read his internet journal - The Daily Bleat - every day.
But, on days like today when The Bleat is a mite too Screedish (or just not Too Damnned Funny for Words), I jump over to his "Back Fence" column that he writes for the Minneapolis - St. Paul Star Tribune. Today I ran across his June 4th column on microwave popcorn. It's a classic.
After lamenting the difficulty of deciphering the nutritional information on the back of the bag, he says:
The average person, of course, believes that a bag contains one serving, and thus consumes the amount of fat found in three butter-injected bacon-wrapped deep-fried Big Macs washed down with a mayonnaise shake. To compound the problem, the nutritional information is presented in two forms: popped and unpopped. If you have mistakenly consumed an entire bag of unpopped corn, thinking it was some sort of fossilized-corn sandwich, I can see where the unpopped nutritional information would be relevant, but most people pop popcorn. It's become so much a part of our culture that microwaves now have dedicated popcorn buttons, lest the particulars of punching 3-0-0-Start make you seize up with stage fright, hurl the bag to the ground and leave the room in tears.
On the myriad different variations of microwave popcorn:
Butter. The classic. Just don't confuse it with came-from-cows butter. It should be honest and change the spelling, so you're warned, just like Cheez-Whiz. Remember: The wackier the spelling, the more chemicals are usually involved. Call it Buter, or Buttr.
Movie Theater Butter. It's greasy, but the paramedics can lubricate the defibrillator paddles with the residue on your palms. Saves time and money.
Do yourself a favor, read the whole thing. Just don't drink any carbonated beverages while you're doing it. Trust me.
Posted 9:11 AM by WiN
James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web Today", loves to gore certain sacred cows. One of those is our "alliance" with the Saudi monarchy. His post "Our Friends the Saudis" today is a classic example.
The Associated Press reports that "the U.S.-Saudi relationship may be headed for trouble." Headed for trouble? This is a barbaric and corrupt country that gives both financial and ideological support to terrorists, spreads vile anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda, and kidnaps American citizens. The Saudis are nothing but trouble.C'mon, James, tell us how you really feel!
This saddens me deeply. If you go to the article, you'll see a very cute little girl. I have little girls, and I can remember when they are that age. They are so sweet, loving, joyful, inquisitive - to me it's the perfect age. Then I think about how her little mind has been hideously polluted with anti-semitic garbage. I'm sickened.
Let's think back a few years. We learn that in Germany, a new regime is teaching its' children that Jews are "apes and pigs", not really worthy of being classified as human, and intermarrying with one will pollute the "pure" bloodlines of the "master race". What do decent, moral people think of that culture?
I'm really, really sorry that we consider these guys our "allies". Our association with them on anything but a business basis sullies us. If any major oil companies advertised "our gasoline is refined from 100% non-Saudi crude", I'd patronize them in a heartbeat.
Posted 8:25 AM by WiN
If you're outside the good old U. S. of A., and perhaps even if you're not, you probably don't know this is Flag Day. Now I don't know how common or unusual it is for a country to recognize its' flag with a special day, but this day seems a little bit more special this year. I guess you could say that 9-11 has changed a lot of people's perspective on things, and one of them is what it means to live in this country. One couldn't help but notice the extra effort and emphasis put on Memorial Day* this year, and I have no doubt that Independence Day will be the biggest since '76. But even today, traditionally not very widely observed, seems to have brought out the patriotic pride in those around me. *The day we traditionally honor the deceased who served in the military
I don't consider myself particularly patriotic, but I do feel it is proper to honor those who have given their lives to ensure the historically unprecedented freedoms I enjoy as an American. And because of that the flag, as a symbol of freedom and liberty, means a lot to me. I remember saying the "Pledge of Allegiance" in school every morning, and it saddens me when I hear that people object to that now, to the point where many schools have simply quit doing it. I go to quite a few sporting events, mostly football games, in the course of a year and I'm glad that they play the Star Spangled Banner. Here in Oklahoma, you still see a great majority of adults remove their hats as we were taught in school. Not many under 20 do, unless they are prodded. Usually only the middle-aged and older will place their hand over their hearts. And very, very few will actually sing along.
Now I know that it's a difficult song to sing due to the range (no matter what your voice, the high notes are *really* high), but I sing it every time. I'm blessed with a voice that can do that, but I wouldn't mind hearing someone around me sing it who couldn't quite manage the upper register. Heck, I'll sing loud enough to cover for you. It's not about being a performer, it's about confirming a commitment. It's about saying, "Yes, I'm proud of my country. I remember the sacrifices made by many, many truly great men and women over the years that have made my freedom and standard of living possible. And I'm committed to standing up for it, whenever and wherever necessary, to keep it that way for those to follow, and to preserve it as a beacon for those who aren't as fortunate as I am to live here." And when I belt out "o'er the la-and of the freeeee, and the home...of the...brave", I know its' true.
When you see the flag today, think about it.
Posted 7:59 AM by WiN
Well, it is just a bee-you-tee-ful day here in fly-over land -- 72 degrees, gentle northerly breeze, mostly sunny with enough high, fluffy clouds to make the sky interesting (yes, we have a LOT of sky here - it IS pretty flat after all). And after an unusually light-traffic commute this morning, I'm sitting at the stoplight at the last turn before heading towards work - I've got the windows rolled down, enjoying the cool air, and I smell fresh-cut grass. On my right, there is a large decorative pond in front of an office building, surrounded by a few trees and a gently rolling, bright-green bermuda lawn. The morning sun is obscured by some trees, but I can see the bright glint off the water, and I see the source of the aroma. A lone worker atop a small riding mower is making his way around the golf-course quality grass. I think to myself, "Man, what a lucky guy that dude is this morning ... cool weather, nice breeze, beautiful scenery. I wonder if he appreciates how fortunate he is not to have to be cooped up indoors today." And I see the guy's face. He looks sour, like he's put out to have to do this job. And I think, how often do we find ourselves in situations that others would be sooo grateful to be in, and we think nothing of it. We don't stop to acknowledge, "Hey, this is a pretty good life I've got here. Thanks, God!" Well, I'm going to do that today.
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Posted 2:38 PM by WiN
Does anyone else get Junebugs? I just noticed the first few of the season this last weekend. Here's how Amish Tech Support feels about them.
I cannot fathom the evolutionary processes and forces that adapted any living creature to:
Inquiring minds want to know: How does he know how they taste? (or do we?)
Posted 11:31 AM by WiN
Is it really football season already?
And are they really playing at 6:30 in the morning!?
Posted 9:08 AM by WiN
Are Baptists Islamophobic? A former president of the Southern Baptist convention, Jerry Vines of Jacksonville, FL, reportedly characterized Mohammed as a "demon-possessed pedophile" and made the assertion that "Allah is not Jehovah... Jehovah's not going to turn you into a terrorist that'll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people."
The current SBC president, James Merritt, says that "historically, he is on solid ground." Mohammed married a girl of 6 and consummated the marriage at 9, Merritt said. "In my book, that's a pedophile."
Well, is this any way to talk about our monotheistic brothers? Obviously, CAIR doesn't think so:
An angry Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the Baptist leaders' remarks "completely irresponsible and deeply offensive."
A CAIR press release contains this quote:
"This type of deeply offensive, bigoted and inaccurate rhetoric hands a victory to those who wish to drive a wedge between Muslims, Christians and Jews," said CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad. "Reckless Islamophobic statements from individuals regarded as leaders in their faith community will harm America's image and interests worldwide and will serve to divide Americans at this time of national crisis," said Ahmad. He added: "Muslims revere the Prophets Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad as the ultimate moral and ethical role models who would never commit any act contrary to God's eternal message."
Well, let's see here, Muslims "revere" a liar, a murderer, and a "pedophile" and (presumably) place them all on the same spiritual plane as God Manifest in the flesh. I'm not so sure that the first three would never "commit any act contrary to God's eternal message". As for "driv(ing) a wedge between Muslims, Christians and Jews", I'd think that "Muslims" murdering thousands of American and Israeli innocents would do that much more effectively than some inflammatory (not to say inaccurate) rhetoric to spoken in a private meeting to some co-religionists. Perhaps Mssrs. Hooper and Ahmad would do well to clean their own house first, before they create a national incident over another man's opinion.
Posted 8:05 AM by WiN
Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a procrastinator. Have been as long as I can remember. It's been almost a month since I created this spot and not one post. So four weeks later, I'm finally going to jump in and start posting some thoughts/ideas/observations. It may be the sound of one hand clapping, but I'm hoping that it will at least be cathartic. If someone stumbles across it and enjoys it, all the better.
My Bloginality is INFP
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come
A personal note: I have only had one Iranian acquaintance in my life, but I definitely considered him a friend. While I was in college (second time round) I had a part-time job as a self-serve gas station attendant. The senior employee was an engineering student named Rahim. The school I attended had (and probably still has) a significant middle-eastern student population, a lot of them in engineering. This was also during a period (mid-eighties) when Iran was not a popular place to be from (Iatolla Khomeini era). Since he was obviously middle-eastern, people would sometimes ask him, "Where are you from?" to which he would reply, with a sly grin "Persia".
He was not very political, so the topic of Iranian politics rarely came up. Occasionally he would show me some propaganda sheet he had picked up on campus, written in Farsi, and translate some of it for me. He also delighted in the ridiculous political cartoons showing Uncle Sam in various uncomplimentary poses. He seemed to regard the whole thing as humorous, but he got very serious when he spoke on rare occasion about the danger his relations back home faced from the oppressive regime. He had married an American and intended to stay here, at least until things got better back home.
I can't count the number of times he helped me out with work-related situations like swapping shifts and taking over for me in emergency situations. I gladly did the same for him. He was especially enamored with a nice "fuzzbuster" I had that I used for my many trips to Dallas. He borrowed it for a couple of trips he had to make to El Paso, where a former professor was holding a term paper of his "hostage" and he was negotiating to have the paper approved in order to get credit for the course, which was holding up his degree. He returned from his trips singing the praises of the magical device.
I lost track of him, of course, after I quit the job but to this day he is the face of Iran to me - friendly, helpful and a little mischievous, with a heart of gold. I wish him and all the people of Iran good will and the blessings of freedom.