Wednesday, April 30, 2003

I'm Now Leaving this Universe

I'm so turned off by the level of discourse in political conversation right now. Nobody is listening to anybody, although each side takes plenty of time to tear down the other side, using every tool in the arsenal, no matter how petty. "Oh, he used a double negative! You can't trust anyone who uses a double negative!" "Oh, she used her celebrity status to have an opinion different from my own! I'll show her 'freedom of speech'"! And in all of my life, I've never been spoken to as condescendingly as I have on some of the sites. It's a choice between fools and mean people.

I have another blog where my other personalities are presently having more fun than this one is here. I'd invite you over to party with us, but hell, you haven't paid any attention to me here, why should I expect you to do any different there.

I may stop by from time to time, but it may be awhile. Meanwhile, best wishes to all of you.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Bush: Criminalize Fetus Injury in Crime

This is just too stupid. Hey, my Right Wing Libertarian friends, Hey Republicans who are always talking about less government, not every fucking crime committed is a federal offense. This is pandering. State Law takes care of everything well enough. We don't need this. This will come back and bite your fucking ass.

Now the obvious: Back door attack on abortion? If it can be done by simple legislation, those fucking asshole Republicans in Washington will do it. Back off, Assholes. We don't need the Federal fucking government to step in where the States are doing it adequately.

Friday, April 25, 2003

I Yam Not a Drag Queen!

(Although I played one once in a movie about my life.)

So which fairy tale archetype are you? Hmm??

made by Michelle at EmptySpace.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

I'm Not an Ugly Duckling, I'm a Goose

Maybe it's just me, but I keep getting pushed farther and farther to the Left in the blogosphere. I started out thinking I was a conservative, but from what I can tell about the ones that call themselves conservatives, I know I'm not one of them. For instance, I don't think you're my mortal enemy if you don't agree with me, nor do I think you're unpatriotic just because you were against the war and don't particularly care for the President or his policies. We can still talk.

I start getting nervous when you equate Bush with Hitler, Jews with Nazis, Israel with Germany, etc. Listen, if I lived in Israel, I doubt that I would have voted for Ariel Sharon. That does not make me hate Jews or Israel. If you want to criticize Israel, fine, go ahead. If you give the Palestinians a free ride when you do criticize Israel, I'm not going to take your comments seriously, and we're probably going to get into an argument. That was what happened that pushed me towards the Right in the first place. Well, that and the fact that I was (and am, still) ambivalent about the war in Iraq. Saddam was a lowlife animal that needed to be removed. Since we created him in large part, I didn't think it wrong that we eliminated him. That ambivalence sure put me in bed with some strange fellows. I feel like the guy who wakes up after a night of heavy partying to discover himself in bed with a whore that's so ugly, that all I want to do is chew my arm off and escape before she wakes up. Okay, having said all that, meet the new addition to my blog role Bill, over at IndustrialBlog. I do invite you by to read Bill's observations about the world around us. I can't tell you a lot about Bill, but I can tell you that he has sincerity in his writing and in his approach to politics and the world in which we live. He also quotes from the Book of Common Prayer is a previous post, which suggests to me that he may be a co-religious of mine. It doesn't mean much, but it does give us a shared frame of reference. Go read Bill.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

New Neighbor

I've added another link to my blogroll, Food for Thought. This left of center blog has an anonymous owner who goes by the moniker MC_Masterchef. So far he's pretty much a run of the mill liberal, left of center, type commentor, but since I'm an ex-chef, foodie type dude, I like him more than others like him. Or her. He's been blogging just about as long as have I, so he's still feeling out the medium, but he's got the knack and I'm going to visit and read his opinion for awhile. Welcome, MC.

When I first started blogging, I found myself reading more conservative, Right-wing blogs more than others. That was in part due to my tendency to support the President in his determination to rid the world of Saddam Hussein, a vile and evil person. While I never thought war was particularly the best way of dealing with the problems, I thought the opposition from the Democrats and the Left was weak and pathetic. I've just about come a full circle. I'm over my infatuation with the Right. They keep getting kookier and kookier. They just keep farting and farting, and even though they say they're singing, it sounds like farts to me.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

The Lie of Democracy

Nobody really wants the Iraqis to have a democracy. Hold an election tomorrow and it becomes a mirror to Iran. You know, Saddam should have followed the Saudi model of Islamic despotism. The Saudi royals have just as much money, just as many palaces, just as many cousins in government jobs as Saddam did, just as much absolute control. The only difference is that they aren't psychotic, and Saddam and his group quickly became so. Okay, but that aside, if the Iraqis voted tomorrow they would create an Islamic, sharia judged, clerically ruled state that would systematically persecute Kurds, Sunni or Shiite -- it would depend on which group had the clerics and control of the democracy -- and the few Turkomen up near the Turkish border.

If we had democracy in this country, Al Gore would be President. Oh, fuck off, I'm not talking about the Florida debacle, I'm talking about democracy with a little d, the rule of the people there of. Gore got more votes. We are, however, a democratic republic. There is a set of rules and they are determined by democratically elected officials. It is not a total free for all. There are guarantees to which everyone agrees that protect the minority, or those not in power for the moment. In this country, we have evolved in the direction of giving everyone equal access to participation. We have rules that say one race cannot enslave minority races. We have rules that say sexes should have equal participation. We have enough rules to keep the political party in power from passing restrictions on the political party not in power.

Anyway, it's all very complex and a lot of real smart people have written about it and still, everybody keeps bandying the word about. Everybody talking about it, nobody meaning it.

Politics in America, or The Grizzily Bear and the Wolves

As in most competitions for power, there are really only two groups: those in power and those who want to be in power. The Republicans who are in power are represented by the grizzily bear and the Democrats who are out of power are represented as a pack of wolves. Within both groups are competing factions, interest groups, power centers, both organization and personal, and money. But what a prize! Whoever controls the government, controls trillions of dollars of wealth. You want a visual? Think of a giant moose carcass being fought over by a grizzily bear and a pack of starving wolves being watched by a raven. I'm the raven and that carcass is my supper, too. Neither the bear nor the wolves pay attention to me, but neither would hesitate to eat me if I happened to be easy or if I got their attention.

At present, the grizzily controls the government. Its head is George W. Bush, a real man who was born to the Republican ruling class, whose father also held the job of President, and whose grandfather was in the top elite of their ruling class in his generation. The level of power, the body and the arms and claws of the bear, just below the President is huge. The kind of entities that make up this part of the grizzily are varied between ideological and mercenary in their make-up. Ideological groups, such as neocons. Another example of ideological group with power would be the organized religions. Both have a world view and seek to influence decisions made that effect that view. Because the boundaries of this group are so nebulous, it's relation to power is just as vague. Personality based group would be Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. They sit at the top of a triangle of connections, favors, rewards, patronage. Religious groups range from the Cathoic Church to Jerry Falwell. Much of their power comes from their ability to frame a lot of the political choices people have as moral choices.

When the President has strong personality, he's the brain of the bear. When they're hunting, it's about cunning, but when the hunt is over it's about eating when he becomes the mouth and consumes with ferocious efficiency. He can, and will, turn and attack the wolves effortlessly, using his size, his ferocity, his claws to keep the wolves away from the carcass. If annoyed enough, or if opportunity presents itself, he would kill the wolves without hesitation.

The wolves, my Democrat friends, are only as powerful as they are focused and working as a pack, and the Democrats are about as focused as a pack of all alpha males who are likely to destroy each other before they get the carcass from the bear, and the bear is only an issue because they themselves want the carcass, not because they think bears are bad.

Me? I'm the raven who does his best to get a piece of meat every once in awhile without getting devoured by the bear or the wolves. America is not the carcass. The carcass is the government. Government is the source of wealth in this country. It's a trillion dollar pork. Republicans like to pretend that only Black women live off the government, but how much money did Halliburton, Vice President Cheney's former company, get in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq? May we assume that they're making a profit? And when the oil in the Artic Wildlife Refuge is exploited, who makes the great wealth it will produce? My point is, the carcass, i.e., the government, is the source of wealth in this country, and it always has been. This was the richest fucking continent in the world, and it's taken us 400 years to exploit all of its wealth. The government has always facilitated that exploitation, from giving land to settlers, land as payment to soldiers, mineral rights to those willing to exploit them, but always it's been the government. America is just a collection of ideas that is used in the morality play put on the persuade voters. The carcass is the wealth. And everyone wants to eat. Each and every single one of us wants -- needs --- to get a part of the carcass. We can do it easy, or we can do it fiercely, but we must eat. Some of us are better at getting it than others. The raven watches for opportunity, jumps in, grabs a piece and retreats to a safe distance to eat. A hungry raven, however, will do small things to help the wolves.

Raven is not a bear or a wolf, so it doesn't matter to him which wins the fight. However, the show is more interesting when the fight is balanced, and if the wolves aren't able to keep the bear distracted, it would make it harder for Raven to get his occasional bit of meat. If the groups that control the religious vote had its way, they'd pass rules against ravens participating in the division of the carcass. They marginalize groups for very arbitrary reasons. So as a raven I want to keep the wolves in the game. For the past 30 years, I've voted Democrat, even though I'm not one. I would vote for a yellow dog if it ran for office as a Democrat, and I have, too. It may just be me, but I think they've run a lot of 'em lately.

I do not know what to tell the wolves to do to increase their effectiveness. First, I'm a raven and they're wolves and we are different species. We do not speak the same language. However, I do wish them well. Their ability to keep the contest equal gives me a better opportunity. I have an opinion, but I don't think it would help. It's something they got to figure out amongst themselves.

Did I mention that both sides play this out like it's a morality play. Each side portrays the battle as one that is morality based and that the other side is completely without morals. I do find this aspect of the play tedious. The message from the two groups is heavily weighted to place responsibility onto individuals, who respond by thinking the weight of the free world is on their shoulders, and whoever is on the other side is the enemy. Individuals tend to personalize things. It's just their nature. So they end up demonizing the other side.

This piece, as am I, is a work in progress. This is how it looked to me this morning, April 19, 2003 at 8:30 in the morning.

It is Easter week-end. Passover is also this week. I am sensitized to the fact that both religions are observing the core of their cultural traditions. Without Passover, there would be no Jews. Without Easter, there would be no Christians. I think the world is a better place because of the existence of both of these groups. Both sets of rituals enrich me, personally and individually. In combination, they have provided the prism by which I view the world around me, even if in my own mind I imagine that I have discarded them many years ago. No matter how much I think of myself as a new age Buddhist, I will always remember that we were once slaves in Egypt, all of us. Likewise I will always believe in the possibility of man's salvation which is offered by Christ's teachings.

My beliefs are not based on the myth of Jesus. I think he had a real focused ministry and taught people a technique with which to find inner peace in a world defined by conflict. From my understanding of his teachings, I know that how I perceive the world is based on how I perceive myself. If I am good, I will experience good, even when evil is all around me. If I am kind, I will know kind people. You encounter the energy you emit. Any chance we have to experience the kingdom of God, to be enlightened, to be at one with the universe, to be Here, Now, is to surrender ego and be a part of the universe. To me, this is not a destination but a way of living. It is not a reward in the hereafter for a virtuous life, but a daily experience, a reward unto itself.

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Friday Night and Static on the Radio

They told us that the two bodies washed up over near Richmond (California) were Lacy Rocha and her baby, Connor. We've all known it since the bodies were found. What a low life sonofabitch. Scott Peterson killed both his wife and his son. Of course he did it. The mathmatical probability that a stranger abducted her and then disposed of her body only two miles from the marina Scott admitted to using to go fishing the day of her disappearance is only about a gazillion to one.

You know what I want? I want them to have him look at the bodies, all fresh from the autopsy and after 4 months in the Bay. Scott, is this Lacy? Scott, this is what Connor looked like. Your son, Scott. Doesn't he look just like you?

I started thinking he was guilty about a month or so after the disappearance. He never referred to the baby whom he and Laci had already named Connor. I never heard him say "my son." I'm sure he did say it at least once or twice subsequently, but not the first month. The reason I'm so sure is because it registered to me and I talked about it. I'm sure a lot of others noticed it, too. I'm sure the police noticed it.

Wow. Those guys, the police. I think they probably got this right. They probably went to the Rochas and said, we need you to be patient. He did it. If we charge him before it's right, he'll walk. Give us some time. He'll get sloppy. The bodies will be found. Someone will come forth with something useful. Please, be patient. Four months later, the bodies wash up. Today, 5 days later, a large piece of black plastic washed up in the vicinity of the bodies. If Scott can be linked to the plastic, it'll be a slam dunk. It's hard to convict someone entirely on circumstantial evidence. Hard, but not impossible. So far, though, I have a lot of respect for the competence of the people who will be presenting the People's case against that cursed man. I wish upon him the death met by William Wallace. In 1305 he was arrested by the English and hanged, then disemboweled, beheaded, and quartered. I think he was flayed, too, but I couldn't find that reference.

I guess that means I believe in the death penalty. Well, only when appropriate. I don't particularly like the process. I mean, it's important to be careful, but the system here in California is so lawyer-intensive that it's very inefficient. Scumbags who have been sentenced to die get an automatic appeal to the California Supreme Court that takes about 10 to 20 years to resolve. Okay, that's an exaggeration. What, wait, no it isn't. There are guys on death row who were tried back in the 80s. Last century, 80s. There are lots of reasons. But each reason takes about 2 or 3 years. Most of them are more likely to die of old age than they are by injection.

And this process that takes so long is doing exactly what it's supposed to do, delay the execution long enough to be sure it's not arbitrary. Hell, the only thing arbitrary is the delay. Justice delayed is justice denied. If you're going to execute the lousy bastard, do so quickly, like the do in Florida and Texas. To delay it 10 and 20 years puts the family of the victim(s) in pergatory for that period of time, and purgatory is painful.

Do it better or quit doing it. I'm tired of so much of my tax dollars being spent on the process. Either figure out a more cost efficient way, both in terms of money and time, or do away with it.

Something to think about.

Today I read, Tomorrow I write

Monkey mind here jumping about all over the blogsophere, reading the railings and rantings of my betters. My newest discovery and today's favorite new (to me) blog is Dancing with Dogs. It may be several people, but the person with whom I am most familiar is Shanti. Shanti has been my gateway to a bunch of blogs maintained by Asians, mostly Indians, I think. The more I'm exposed to Indian culture, the more I identify with it. At this point it's a romantic-like fixation, but who cares which key you use to open a door. The important point is that a new door is opened. Thank you Shanti over at Dancing with Dogs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Pesach Shalom!

Or, as we say down in Texas, y'all have a happy Passover, ya hear.
Travel Advisory for France

From a friend in Chicago.

Travel advisory for Americans heading for France The following advisory for American travelers heading for France was compiled from information provided by the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Disease Control and some very expensive spy satellites that the French don't know about. It is intended as a guide for American travelers only and no guarantee of accuracy is ensured or intended.

General Overview
France is a medium-sized foreign country situated on the continent of Europe, and is, for all intents and purposes, fucking useless. It is an important member of the world community, although not nearly as important as it thinks. It is bounded by Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and some smaller nations of no particular consequence or shopping opportunities. France is a very old country with many treasures such as the Louvre and EuroDisney. Among its contributions to Western civilization are champagne, Camembert cheese, the guillotine, and body odor. Although France likes to think of itself as a modern nation, air conditioning is little used and it is next to impossible to get decent Mexican food. One continuing exasperation for American visitors is that the people willfully persist in speaking French, although many will speak English if shouted at repeatedly.

The People
France has a population of 54 million people, most of whom drink and smoke a great deal, drive like lunatics, are dangerously over-sexed and have no concept of standing patiently in a line. The French people are generally gloomy, temperamental, proud, arrogant, aloof and undisciplined; those are their good points. Most French citizens are Roman Catholic, although you'd hardly guess it from their behavior. Many people are Communists and topless sunbathing is common. Men sometimes have girls' names like Marie and they kiss each other when they hand out medals.. American travelers are advised to travel in groups and to wear baseball caps and colorful pants for easier mutual recognition. All French women have small tits, and don't shave their armpits or their legs.

In general, France is a safe destination, although travelers are advised that France is occasionally invaded by Germany. By tradition, the French surrender more or less at once and, apart from a temporary shortage of Scotch whisky and increased difficulty in getting baseball scores and stock market prices, life for the visitors generally goes on much as before. A tunnel connecting France to Britain beneath the English Channel has been opened in recent years to make it easier for the French government to flee to London.

France was discovered by Charlemagne in the Dark Ages. Other important historical figures are Louis XIV, the Huguenots, Joan of Arc, Jacques Cousteau and Charles de Gaulle, who was President for many years and is now an airport. The French armies of the past have had their asses kicked by just about every other country in the world.

The French form of government is democratic but noisy. Elections are held more or less continuously and always result in a runoff. For administrative purposes, the country is divided into regions, departments, districts, municipalities, cantons, communes, villages, cafes, booths and floor tiles. Parliament consists of two chambers, the Upper and Lower (although, confusingly, they are both on the ground floor), whose members are either Gaullists or communists, neither of whom can be trusted. Parliament's principal preoccupations are setting off atomic bombs in the South Pacific and acting indignant when anyone complains. According to the most current State Department intelligence, the current President is someone named Jacques. Further information is not available at this time.

The French pride themselves on their culture, although it is not easy to see why. All of their songs sound the same and they have hardly ever made a movie that you want to watch for anything except the nude scenes. Nothing, of course, is more boring than a French novel (except perhaps an evening with a French family.)

Let's face it, no matter how much garlic you put on it, a snail is just a slug with a shell on its back. Croissants, on the other hand, are excellent although it is impossible for most Americans to pronounce this word. American travelers are therefore advised to stick to cheeseburgers at McDonald's or the restaurants at the leading hotels such as Sheraton or Holiday Inn. Bring your own beer, as the domestic varieties are nothing but a poor excuse for such.

France has a large and diversified economy, second only to Germany's economy in Europe, which is surprising since people hardly ever work at all. If they are not spending four hours dawdling over lunch, they are on strike and blocking the roads with their trucks and tractors. France's principal exports, in order of importance to the economy, are wine, nuclear weapons, perfume, guided missiles, champagne, high-caliber weaponry, grenade launchers, land mines, tanks, attack aircraft, miscellaneous armaments and cheese.

France enjoys a rich history, a picturesque and varied landscape and a temperate climate. In short, it would be a very nice country if French people didn't inhabit it, and it weren't still radioactive from all the nuclear tests they run. The best thing that can be said for it is that it is not Spain. Remember no one ordered you to go abroad. Personally, we always take our vacation in Oklahoma City and you are advised to do the same.

My Blog Roll Grows

I added another couple of blogs to my blogroll. In introducing my blogroll, I'm taking a clue from The Talking Dog, a blogger who slips blog reviews in between his political commentary. His real name is Seth. Seth thinks I'm a hardcore rightwinger, just because I told him that as a liberal he would probably die and go to hell. BWAHAHAHAHAHA. Not a rightwinger, Seth, just more conservative than most of my neighbors. Okay, more conservative than all of my neighbors. I'm not really a conservative, you know. I'm a Texas Populist Libertarian. We dislike liberals and conservatives. Back to blogrolling: whenI add a new blog to my roll, I'm going to give a brief introduction and tell you why I've added them. Hope you don't mind, Seth. Immitation is a sincere form of flattery.

There is no rhyme nor reason to my list. It's just whomever I find interesting or entertaining at the moment. Today I've added Magnifisyncopathological. This blog is written by a dude whose last name is Drizzten, although it's really just a guess. The blog allows for quite a bit of fuzziness when it comes to names and identities. What I can tell you about "Drizz" is that he lives in Austin, Texas, and he has an edge to his writings and observations. I came across his blog while visiting a blog from Australia. If you visit him, you're going to come away knowing more than you did before you visited him, and you'll be better for it. Be sure to say hi, and that rlbtzero (that's pronounced Ray)(no, really, that's how it's pronounced) says hi.

Monday, April 14, 2003


Jase Oddity [not his real name, I'll bet] talks about Houston's heat and waistlines while making some rather astute observations that only someone dropped from another planet might make. I was out tripping through the blogosphere and stopped by Michael Morgan's blog, The Bayou City Perspective and, always trusting the recommendations of someone I barely know, I immediately linked over to The Atom Grid and discovered the piece by Jase Oddity. Go Jase.
Leftist Infatuation with Cuba

Emma discusses the history of Baby Boom Leftist Infatuation with Cuba over at her blog Late Night Thoughts. She does it so well that all I can add is "Amen." I have never understood it. Thank you, Emma, I understand it better now; not completely, but better.

I've always despised communism. I can't remember that it was an important issue to anyone in my family besides me. I must have read something that influenced later perceptions. But by golly, I have always hated communists. And by the time Castro came onto the scene, I was 12 years old, and I can remember hating him by the time I was 14.

Many years later, living in San Francisco, I met people who praised Cuba, Castro, and thought Che Gueverra was a folk hero. I thought they were idiots. If it was so great, why was everyone trying to get to Florida?

So Emma writes

"Dear Matt, You Don't Know Me, But..." Her essay is an open letter to Matthew Yglesias "Commenting on a series of letters of pro-Castro (or anti-Bush) letters to the LA Times posted by Matt Welch he says: The worst thing about these letters is that they don’t really even try to defend or apologize for Castro — it just can’t be done anymore — instead they change the subject as quickly as possible to the evils of George W. Bush and his man in Havana, James Cason. . . . Actually, Matt, there is a brand of American liberal who loves to apologize for Fidel."

Still Working at It

This is only my 4th or 5th change of appearance for my blog. Today I figured out how to do a blogroll. A word of explanation. My blogroll is of people whom I read. It's an endorsement in that I find these people to be interesting. Often I find them to be more interesting than their opinions. If you're a pilgrim trying to make some progress, you're probably going to want to read a few different opinions. Well, here's a bunch. There are probably more conservative blogs listed than liberal. I don't know if that makes me a conservative or not. Bloggers from the Left have been irritating me more than those on the Right lately. Where does it say you have to take a stupid pill to be Liberal? Then why have so many taken one?

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Our Friends the Russians

A blogger in Great Britain named Andrew whose blog always has great pictures from the war, also has an interesting opinion on the details. This morning he got my attention with his discussion of Yevegini Primakov's visit with Saddam days before the bombing started. Within the article is also a denial that the Russians offered Saddam a haven for exile.

In one of the broadcast news programs this morning, (if I find the cite I'll come back), from the Information Ministry of Saddam's Iraqi government, were documents proving much of the materiel support for Saddam for the past several years came from Russia. And yet another broadcast report mentioned that much of the debt of Iraq was owed to France, Germany and Russia.

I wish I could say that I was surprised. In many ways, Russia is the only European country that shows any understanding of Arab culture in its dealings with them. They are ruthless. They are also reasonably successful given their goals. Make no mistake, they are looking out for themselves. It seems to me that Russia thinks its European neighbors are a bunch of wusses. We're another matter altogether. I think they are uncomfortable having us play conqueror so close to its borders, but just haven't decided how to deal with it. Putin knows the world is a stage full of actors. Of the Fearful Three, only Putin earns any respect for being able to have a ability to strategize.

Stephen den Beste's favorite of the Fearful Three for being the most self-serving is France. There were reports last year that much of Saddam's manufacturing capabilities were German imports, but that information in my mind is so old that I'll wait for the story to come out of post-war Iraq for verification. Shroeder seems to lack the stature of his two co-villains. His goal seems to have been much more shortsided that either Putin or Chirac.

God, this is making me sound like a neocon.

Thursday, April 10, 2003


I saw you when you rolled your eyes. I say "genealogy" and you roll you eyes. Did you read where in Palo Alto, California, they're going to make it against the law (or at least against the rules) to roll eyes in response to someone speaking. Aren't liberals cute? You know the goodie-two-shoes making the proposal is a liberal, you just know it. I'm not endorsing conservatives, but you just know that is not one of the things they have on their legislative agenda. If I'm wrong on this one, someone send me an e-mail.

Back to the subject at hand. Genealogy. When I was growing up, back a million years ago, I lived for quite a few of my years with my maternal grandmother, Minnie Ashworth Droddy. From the time I was big enough to drive, probably 12 or 13, I began to drive my grandmother to funerals. She happened to be from one of the largest family groups in Louisiana, so we had plenty of funerals to attend.

Now to explain that, I have to go back to 1803, when my gggggrandfather, James Ashworth, and a group of friends, in-laws, and cousins, decided to forego South Carolina and migrate to Louisiana which was about to open up to American settlement as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. His wife, my gggggrandmother, Keziah Dial, had already birthed about 5 of her eventual 9 kids. Her parents and brothers were part of the group making the migration.

There were about 12 or 13 families in all. One of the leaders of this group was the Rev. Joseph Willis.. It's not my job to tell their whole story right now, just to give you a few pertinent details. Another one of my important Descended From families, the Perkins, were also part of the group. Near as we can tell, the only thing these families had in common was their rejection by the dominant culture in South Carolina for being mixed race, most likely, and if you believe our family's oral tradition, American Indian and White.

We know they got to Louisiana about 1804, because records indicate the first children of this group being born in Louisiana in 1804. They settled in a disputed area between Louisiana and Texas known as No Man's Land or the Neutral Territory. The area became home to outlaws, slave smugglers, and my grandmother's people, the Redbones. Looking at their history, it's not surprising that they chose to settle someplace outside the law. In South Carolina, they were reputed to be outlaws and had run ins with the vigilante force called the Regulators. Either my gggggrandfather, or his father, also James Ashworth, was branded with a "T" on his hand for breaking jail according to Richard Maxwell Brown in his book, The South Carolina Regulators, published by the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press in 1963. He must have reformed somewhat though, because he received a grant of land on the Little Pee Dee River in 1774. James never got a chance to develop his place on the Little Pee Dee, however. The region was soon caught up in the American Revolution. James and his family found themselves on the side of the Crown, and after the American victory, were forced to move. Family legend has it that for the years between the end of the Revolutionary War and the migration to Louisiana, the Ashworths lived in a Cherokee village in northwest South Carolina.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah. These dozen or so families lived marginally between Texas and Louisiana for over 100 years, having large families, cousins marrying cousins, so by the time I was taking my grandmother to funerals, there must have been thousands of them.

At the funerals to which I accompanied my grandmother, were groups of old women who sat together at the wakes and recounted the genealogy of the peson being buried, as well as that of any person who happened to come up in conversation, usually someone who was not present. This was also when the stories of who we were and how we came to this place were told. We know who we are.

Slowly, over time, as I have grown older, I find that I have less to say and find myself content to remember conversations from times past. This is a bit odd and unexpected because I sometimes can't remember what I'm doing, why I walked into a room, things like that, but I can remember with crystal clarity a conversation between old women at a funeral 40 years ago. How is that possible?

Be that as it may, woven into those stories are the genealogies of my family. To Southerners, genealogy is a memory tool. In telling of our kinship with one another and with the past, we remember their stories. I remember stories of those old women at the funerals. I can't account for the accuracy of my stories. Boundaries in the world of memory are more flux. Stories mix. Those things aren't as important as simply having a story. I want to thank my grandmother, Minnie Ashworth Droddy and her best friend, sister-in-law, and also first cousin once removed, Loanie Perkins Ashworth for the many stories they told. As I tell my stories, I can hear both of them laughing gently as they remember the struggles and adventures of their parents, their cousins, and their friends.

We're coming up on the 200th anniversary of the Redbone people in Louisiana. Our story is largely untold to outsiders. One of the purposes of this blog is to tell our story. It's a good tale worth telling.

Victory in Iraq Irrelevant!

I know because I saw a protestor on Market Street spray paint "irrelevant" on the plastic of a newsrack so you couldn't read the headline which read BAGHDAD FALLS over a full-page picture of the statue of Saddam that was pulled over and off its pedastal Wednesday morning. An event witnessed by the w.f.w. (whole f*cking world). This act of vandalism was in response to heckling from passer-bys (one of whom was my downstairs neighbor, Joseph, a man of few words and not known for tolerance of idiotarians, who yelled at them to "Read the F*cking Headlines, Losers!"

Pfc Jessica Lynch

Sara, from West Virginia, is blogging with a group called Hillbilly Sophisticate. At present she is writing a lot obout Pfc. Jessica Lynch, our American hero of the moment. She tells a good story. I'll come back to this topic and write more later. My hopes and prayers go to Pfc Lynch as her body recovers, her spirit heals, and she puts her life back on track. Good luck, Private Lynch. After the American media get through with you, you're going to think the Army was a picnic. Anyone want to bet how long it'll take for us to watch the entire rescue as a made-for-tv movie staring Wynona Rider as Jessica Lynch?

Notice how I tried not to refer to her by her first name, as in "poor Jessica." I do not wish to participate in diminishing her contribution as a soldier and as a heroine. She's not a frail young girl. She's a battle-hardened woman soldier. I'm guessing, but I bet she comes from hearty pioneer stock. I'm not sure when her Lynch's got to West Virginia, but I bet it was about the same time my people did, and that was back in that wave of Scots-Irish settlers that drifted down the Shenandoah Valley in the middle 1700s. Those were tough people, the men and the women. Women like Pvt. Lynch might be small in stature, but sugah, they tough as nails.
Life in Paradise

I was being sarcastic. However, I do live in a place where every level of government is controlled by Democrats. I sometimes call it Democratland. It is a Leftist controlled enclave in the midst of George Bush's Brave New World. My Congressman is Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress to vote to deny the President the authority he sought to wage war against terrorism. I'm sure she had her reasons. The mayor of my city is Jerry Brown, also known as Moonbeam. I work in San Francisco whose mayor is Willie Brown, whose personal motto is "I like to live big, with white women, fur coats, frequent trips to Paris." His favorite hobby is giving his ex-girlfriends government jobs. No one thinks this is a big deal in San Francisco. I ride BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to work. BART probably has a bigger budget and more employees than half the states. Oh, and I work for the government.

Tuesday afternoon, a couple of friends and I were walking to catch BART for home, and as we passed through a lovely plaza named to honor the most vaulted of liberal ideas, the United Nations, we saw a woman of indeterminate age, apparently homeless, obviously incapacitated by drugs, alcohol or both, urinating in front of the doors of an unused (for security reasons) entrance to the federal building facing the plaza. Urinating like a cow.

Dear Ms. Manners? What's a guy to do? The Conservative in me wanted to scream at her to stop defiling my plaza, my city, my state, my nation, my earth, my universe. Where was the cop that walks this beat? Where's the federal cop whose job it is to patrol the building's perimeter? You see how quickly my outrage was channeled away from personal responsibility? Have I been trained or what?

Back to the urinating cow: although I would like to have walked over and slapped the bitch, I know better. The good ol' boy in me knows that if you step in shit, it's hard to scrape off and the smell lingers.

What I know from this is that government is not a solution for everything. If it were, the people around the San Francisco Bay Area should be a lot happier than they are. Maybe it's just me, but they sure do seem angry. And isolated. And powerless. Presented with a problem, they look to the government for solutions. There are 50 million of us here. The structure of our society is very complex. The government serves many good purposes, but it is also so large it is stifling. How well is it working? For the most part, it seems to be doing okay, but it costs a lot.

Democrats seem to think if the government hasn't solved the problem, then the program (and by extension, the government) needs to be bigger. When Republicans control the government, they treat government like it's a business, and although maybe run better, it quickly forgets that its purpose is to solve the problem and not just run itself efficiently. Big is not necessarily good. Efficient is not always better.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Dancing with Myself

Anybody there young enough to remember that song by Billy Idol? I can barely remember the song, but I've clung to the sentiment. I'm out here in the blogosphere, bearing witness, but mostly dancing with myself.

A week ago (3/28/03), I wrote about and compared the words quagmire and quandary. The reports on the television were so, so gloomy, that I started worrying excessively. What if Stephen den Beste was wrong. What if "Rummy" Rumsfeld really was an egotistical and maniacal monster intent on bringing on Armageddon? And is it wrong for me to think this old warhawk in his 60's if not 70's is so damn cute? Scratch that last question. Not relevant and frankly, just a little scary.

I mention all of this because I think it's a manly thing to do. Admit that you were scared, and thank God you were wrong.

At the cost of our blood, sweat and tears, we have rid the world of one awful tyrant. We? Yes, we. All Americans get credit for this. You folks on the Right are thinking, yeah, like hell we're giving the Left any credit for this. Well, you have to. The soldiers and marines were not there representing the fucking Right or the fucking Left. They were there representing America. You "Not in My Name" Assholes? Too bad, was too! The strength of this country, at least in my opinion, is the iron that is forged when strongly held ideas clash and make peace with the existence of each other.

Exploring the Blogosphere

I'm still out there getting to know people. I have a short attention span complicated by good intentions. For example, I read through the blogosphere using non-structured free association, which means I click those funny colored names and words. It takes me all over the fucking place. No, really, it does. Usually this path goes through other entities's domaines.

I'm one of those people who assumes he has something in common with everyone he meets. Hey, we're both human, aren't we? I don't presume a lot in common, just something. If the entity looks interesting, I'll bookmark it and come back later to see (maybe for no other reason, but) how interesting they are. The way I see it, it don't hurt nothin' and it's free.

Curmudgeonly & Skeptical is one of those kind of sites. I do not know who this person is, but he's just irreverent enough to be entertaining in most things. I think he writes from Texas, which may be the reason I book marked him. You see, I'm originally from Texas and am still very Texas identified, even though I live in California. If you read my writing closely, you can see I write in that Texas populist style made famous by that living fart, Molly Ivins. That was gratuitous. I'm sorry, Molly. Really, I am. It's just that I read your column today and thought you were again farting and saying that you were singing. Anyway, this is a long way to get to a story, but since I'm new, I feel I have to introduce myself every time I introduce a new act.

So, anyway, as I was saying, this dude, Mr. Curmudgeonly and Skeptical, (and while we're at it, might I ask, who ain't?), pointed to an article about Jane Fonda speaking to a group in Canada where she called Americans ignorant. Excuse me if I take it personally, but who the fuck does she think she is? I am not going to repeat myself twice in the same breath, so go visit Spell C-A-T Jane and read the comments. I would point to the article itself, but that link disappeared before I could capture it. That happens. The ways of the blogosphere are often strange and unexplainable.
Remembering the Berlin Wall

When the Berlin Wall fell, I was in San Francisco. I remember crying, laughing, calling everyone I knew in Germany. I put on Beethoven's Ode to Joy. Went through at least one bottle of champagne. I hated that wall as much as I hated communism. I began to agitate for a trip to Berlin, which only took me 7 months, but with plenty of time left to take a hammer to that wall myself. I brought back my own little chunk and a picture of me hammering. My heart is with those Iraqis this morning, tearing down that statue.

Watching the Iraqis loot their own country saddens me somewhat. Now I understand why they all bought guns. They saw the anarchy coming. One Iraqi in the southern part of the country was asked why the people were looting, and he replied, "Because we have nothing." Have faith, friend. Soon you'll have your country back. What you do with it is going to be up to you.

Let All Who Love Freedom Rejoice!

I awoke this morning to pictures of Iraqis trying to topple a statue of Saddam Hussein and to news reports saying that Saddam's resistance has crumbled. Hallelujah!

Even the most rabid of my anti-war neighbors must let go of their bitterness about the war and just for the moment celebrate with the Iraqi people. Now the Iraqis will seriously need our help. Let us put aside our division and be single minded in this challenge.

Sic semper tyrranis! Thus say we all, amen.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Remembering Rodney King

What year did that Rodney King verdict come down? Ninety-two? I was living in the Western Addition of San Francisco in a great apartment right across the street from Section 8 housing and a large group of homies. My best friend was down from Girdwood, Alaska and I had my mother's Chrysler that could speak. No, really, it could talk. It would say "Your door is a jar." I didn't say it was smart, I said it could speak. I think my mother and her long-time companion were vacationing in Australia. Jim and I were on our way to San Jose, just about to get on interstate highway 280 having entered the freeway at Glen Park in San Francisco, when two motorcycle cops passed on either side of us and immediately in front of us, began weaving back and forth, causing us to stop which, of course, was their intention. At that entrace, there are two lanes entering and adjoining 3 others, making it 5 lanes of traffic at once just below an overpass. Those two motorcycle cops got off their motorcycles and stood in the middle of the 5 lanes and stopped the traffic on the interstate highway. So, there's Jimmy and me sitting there, smoking dope, wondering what the fuck was going on. We can't exactly go ask the cops, reeking of dope as we were, so we sat there listening to good music and speculating. I speculated that since the City College of San Francisco was ahead of us, that students possibly were in the overpass throwing things at cars. I figured we'd be able to continue on our trip just as soon as the police secured the overpass. Where do I get this shit? 'Bout that time, we noticed that way up ahead there appeared to be people in the middle of the interstate. Couldn't tell from that far, but it looked like a lot, and they definitely looked like they were headed our way.

If I can be indulged a little flashback here. Most of that afternoon, we had been glued to the television watching Blacks going native down in L.A., pulling that poor schmoe out of his truck and nearly beating him to death. Like he had anything to do with anything.

Okay, back to the story. There we sat, watching a crowd--still too far away to be sure about the racial make-up, heading towards us. Of course, "us" at this point is 5 lanes of stopped traffic, with the backup on the interstate being more than a mile, and that only took 10 minutes. Okay, my mind begins immediately to figure the odds and angles. I'm the first car in my lane and there's no where for me to go. Can't back up; can't turn around; can't escape. No reason to panic, there's two policemen between me and the approaching mob. By that time, we could tell they weren't a Black mob, but one of students and other radical Lefties that look for these kind of opportunities. There's this hardcore group that thinks they can provoke The Revolution by provoking the police and committing random acts of violence against property. During the recent anti-war demonstrations in San Francisco, this group actually called themselves something like the Black Block.

Okay, back to the story. They're coming at us. They have signs. They look very angry. They're chanting, "No Justice? No Peace!" They've come up to the police line. Line? There were two motorcycle cops, holding back a couple of hundred protestors. A couple of the protestors, broke through and dumped one of the motorcycles. Things are really tense. I'm nervously trying every button in the Chrysler trying to figure out how to make the antenna retract. Damn Chrysler!

So I turn to Jimmy and solemnly say, "You know, Jimmy, this is my mother's car and I'm not going to let those mothers take it alive. If they come towards us, I'm going to floorboard it." I did say it, but I didn't mean it, because I immediately followed it with, "No, what we really do is wait till they almost get here and we jump out and start hollering with them and trash the cars behind us, then we'll double back and wait for help." Okay, maybe not in so many words, but that was the real plan.

And just when the police line didn't seem to be able to keep back the surging mob of protestors, to our rescue came about 40 or 50 motorcycle cops coming up between the stopped lanes of cars and relieved the very stressed police line of two lonely cops who had valiantly held off the mob for the 5 or 10 minutes that this drama played itself out. Sitting in the front row as we were, it seemed to have taken place over an hour or more. When the mob saw the calvary coming, they sort of exploded in several dozen directions, heading up the side of the freeway to escape into the neighborhood. Jimmy and I got out of the car, hugged each other and waved our handkerchiefs at our saviors.

And that's a true story.

Inspiration for this remembered story goes to the blog entity Celissa's Blog. I have to go back now and see who she is. I think we belong to different churches, but I'm inclined to want to like anyone who gets me to remember something and write about it. Thanks, Celissa.
Surfing the Blogosphere

Remember earlier when I said I had a few entities in the Blogosphere that I liked? A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this guy by the name of Bill. Bill tells good stories. Even when he makes them up. He turned himself into a fly on the wall of the conference of Putin, Chirac and Shroeder.

And then he takes off and rants about colored ketchup. He's right, of course, some things just aren't normal. I can't say it any better than he does, so I'll just say "amen," and y'all go over and visit Bill. Be sure to say hello and tell him rlbtzero (it's pronounced Ray. No really, that's how it's pronounced.) sent you.
Exploring the Blogosphere

If you want to see some great pictures of the war in Iraq, go and visit Andrew at his blog, Apostablog. He speaks straightforthly and has an interesting point of view. And he's got a great source for pictures. Go visit.
Gwen Ifill

Most of my pictures of the war come to me via ABC, with a smattering of CBS and Fox. I don't subscribe to cable and I don't have a dish, so it's the ol' rabbit ear trip for me. NBC isn't available in most of the Bay Area except my cable or dish. Without it being personal, they decided they could forego my demographic. Likewise, I'm sure. Fuck NBC. Who needs them.

My buds on the Right think Peter Jennings is terribly biased. I think he handles it pretty well. Of course, it's a comparative thing. They (my buds on the Right) seem to generally like Fox. Back from when I had cable, I watched Fox a bit, and when I visit family and friends in Texas, I'm exposed to Fox as well. Fox News is mostly a bunch of shit. Pardon my French. Oh, got to come up with a new expression, French is out, English is in.

Tonight I watched the Jim Lehrer News Hour. Hey, buds on the Right! Let go of Jennings's leg and get over here. Those dudes on Jim Lehrer are a bunch of pinko-Leftists-who-are-having-conniptions-about-anything-Bush idiotarians. Poor Gwen Ifill is positively livid with anger. She's still sexy, but oh boy, is she working through some anger. Get over it, Gwen. George W. Bush is President whether you like it or not. And not only that, his friends and supporters run the government, and there ain't nothing you can do about it. Be careful, though. That much anger is consuming. If I've noticed it, so have others. No, I'm not threatening payback, I'm talking about the hit your reputation will take from your lack of professionalism. So, quit being mad at President Bush. Ask the questions that will count. I presume that you're a liberal because you believe in the inevitability of reason. So do I. What I perceive to be our major difference here, is that I do believe in the inevitability of reason, but I'm not so ego-driven as to think it has to happen right here and right now just because I have it all figured out. If arrogance were body odor, sugah, you'd stink.

Well, lordy me. I expended so much energy on ripping Ms. Ifill a new butthole that I need to stop and catch my breath. The night's young, though, and I'll be back.

I'm Still Mad

I think the anti-war protestors are one of the biggest collection of losers to ever gather together since the French formed their army. BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY SHOULD BE SHOT. Can you hear me now, Police Chief Word? Can you hear me now, Mayor Brown? You have my permission to arrest them, fine them, put them in prison, anything you wish after due process. I don't care for them or their message. BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY SHOULD BE SHOT. How many times do I have to say that? BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THEY SHOULD BE SHOT.

I am so outraged that I can hardly speak coherently. Let the idiots riot on International Boulevard. Hell, it's only a bunch of Blacks and Hispanics tearing up their own neighborhood. Hell, let those Blacks kill each other off and give Oakland just about the highest homicide rate in the country. Those two items obviously haven't bothered Mayor Boombeam and his number one lackey, police chief "quickdraw" Word. Why don't you ask the voters for more money for police now, Mayor? Maybe we can vote no on that one at the same time we vote for your fucking recall, Loser.

It is never alright for the police to shoot unarmed demonstrators.

Monday, April 07, 2003

My Life

I live in Oakland, California. I moved here three years ago from San Francisco, California. On one level, since I did not change my job or work routine, I didn't really do anything except change neighborhoods. But what a neighborhood change. While San Francisco has an Asian sensibility, Oakland has a Southern one. The by-product of San Francisco's urban renewal of the 60s and 70s was the dislocation of large numbers of African-Americans. They were forced out of their neighborhoods by the government. Many, if not most, came to Oakland, while leaving the poorest to inhabit the new housing projects being built where there were once homes and a neighborhood. Twenty years later, public housing built in those 60s urban renewal projects dumped its residents onto the streets of the East Bay with a government check to subsidize their rent, turning much of West Oakland into an instant slum. In this instance, I do consider the African-American urban culture to be Southern in character.

I am part of a later wave of migration from San Francisco to the East Bay. In the 90s, real estate in San Francisco boomed. I was lucky to have bought a small condo just before the market went through the roof. This is such a cool story, I have to tell it, but I don't have to tell it right now. Remind me later to tell the story about how I made my fortune. Yeah. Right.

I mentioned that I still work in San Francisco? I work for an agency of the government, and that's as much as I'm going to tell you. I do have my privacy requirements. I've been there almost 20 years. I do what I do well, but I don't actually do that much anymore. I joke when people ask me where I work, and they have to ask me just that way for my cute little repartee to work. My answer is, I work for the government, and if after 15 years you're still working, you're doing it wrong. I'm sure some smarter-than-I people out there have a theory with a name on it, but much of my value to my employer is my understanding of its culture and procedures. To that need, I brought an ability to finesse systems. My department runs well.

I live alone and I live pretty well for my income bracket. I have lots of friends, some close, some more like friendly acquaintances. I entertain often. Last year I hosted about 6 large parties and a dozen smaller dinner parties. I'm a reasonably good cook and I have a large selection of good wine. I am considered good company.

I joke to friends and family that I only look rich. I am not rich, at least not in money. I am always struggling with my cash flow. That is not how I determine success, though. I was taught that a man has most in the world what he values most. I mostly have friends and memories.

Yahoo! News - Police Attack Calif. Anti-War Protesters

While my opinion is not any more educated than anyone else who may read about this story, I am very opinionated about it if, for no other reason, I live in Oakland. First of all, there is no reason in the fucking world for police to fire projectiles at citizens unless they are being attacked. Period. End of discussion. If you have a different opinion on that, go write about it with the other right-wing nuts. Be advised though. I am going to do everything I can personally as an individual to see those who violated my community norms suffer the consequences of their actions. If you're the cop that fired the bullets, you're going to come answer questions to the Grand Jury. If you're his commander, you're going to come answer questions to the Grand Jury. If you're the fucking mayor of Oakland, you better have a better statement than simply echoing Mayor Daley when back in Chicago in 1968 je said the protestors provoked the police. Okay, everyone think for a minute and get your stories straight. I want some answers.
Can't we just all get along?

That's what Rodney King said when L.A. blew up after the police officers who beat the shit out of him were found not guilty of beating the shit out of him. I'm reacting to the rhetoric that increasingly is coming into play in the blogosphere. God, some of those people are nasty, and I'm pointing my finger at both, the Right and the Left. Fools and Mean People.

I do want to make one point, and I want to make it emphatically. One can be opposed to the war, George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft and still be a god-fearing, flag-waving, patriot. For anyone, anyone, to suggest otherwise is un-American, un-patriotic, and just plain nasty.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Becoming my Father

I drive a 1990, Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz. It is black on black on black. For the uninitiated, that means it has a black landau roof, black body, and a black leather interior. That was redundant. Of course, it has leather seats. And everytime you see the name Cadillac or see the Cadillac symbol, it's in gold. God, is it gaudy and ostentatious. And god, do I love that car.

I bought it a year ago. Prior to that I had a Nisssan pick-up. I got rid of it because it was boring, and besides, I'm too old to dumpster-dive anymore. That truck was constantly getting me in trouble. I'd see things much too heavy for which I had absolutely no use for, stop load it up, haul it home. I decided to get rid of the truck, but wasn't sure how to replace it. For one thing, I don't need a vehicle. I have a motorcycle which satisfies most of my needs. My neighbor has a car that I gave to him and can borrow for the rest of my life. No, I wanted a car. Need had nothing to do with it.

I had never owned a big, luxury type car, but in most things, my natural taste tends towards the extravagant, and I assumed cars would be the same. I was right. Did you know that Cadillacs lose about 80% of their initial retail value after about 6 or 7 years? I bought my 12 year old cadillac for only $5,000, a full 15 percent of what it cost new. Not bad, huh? And my caddy is exquisite.

I bought it from an older, Italian down in San Jose. He must have bought it as a retirement present to himself. He sure did baby that car. About a month after he sold it to me, he called me to ask how it was doing, the car, I mean. I told him we were doing fine. He sighed. "I don't know why I sold that car. I didn't need the money. I miss it." I promised to take good care of it. On my first anniversary of ownership, I sent hiim a note along with a picture of the car assuring him that I had kept my promise.

What's this got to do with my father? Nothing. I was just remembering and smiling with amazement at how much I'm becoming what I remember. Well, hell, who did I think I was going to become?

Matthew Yglesias is SO Cute!

I have no idea who he is, but I find him adorable. Well no, that's not entirely true. By use of his blog, he's given us all a huge picture window onto his life. We know what books he's read or reading, his efforts to secure a position, his dissertation. We know he has a sense of humor, because for the past several weeks he's been summarizing another blogger who is rather long winded (Stephen den Beste). His effect gives new dimension to the word droll. And he's cute in a real nerdy sort of way. I'd adopt him in a minute.

Matthew interacts with his fanbase by use of Comments. Reading the comments over several weeks gives a picture of the readership, or his fan base. To my mind, they aren't nearly as cute and interesting as is Matt. You go, Matt.

Back to me

Well, it's just that I wanted to mention several other blogosphere entities whom I read on a regular basis. This week I've been reading the writings of a guy named Bill whose entity is called Bloviating Inanities. I have not gone back to read all of his blog entries to get his bio, so I only know him from this past week. I relate to him in an odd sort of way, like, maybe he's me over in Georgia or wherever he writes from. He sounds Southern to me. He writes about Cheetos, for god's sake, or as we say down South, bless his heart. Although he did write about a hot tub last week. Do Southerners have hot tubs?

I like reading the blog entity Max Speaks, also. I think he's someone a bit more famous than the rest of my favorites. Reading someone's blog entries gives an immediacy to the interaction which makes it personal.

"We are equal beings and the universe is our relations with each other. The universe is made of one kind of entity: each one is alive, each determines the course of his own existence." Thadeus Golas, The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment

Eventually, when I'm less lazy, have more time, take it more seriously or whatever, I'll link to the blogs mentioned, Right now though, because in my mind this is a SEMI-public blog, the etiquette requirements are more flexible. I'm not sure when I think I'll be ready to be a fully public blog, but certainly not until I have a better understanding of my writing voice.

War is Hell, Life Goes On

I have too much to do around the house to sit transfixed by the war on television. I sat through an hour's round up this morning while I drank my first cup of coffee. It's going to be a serious day for the men and women of our armed services on the outskirts of Baghdad. My thoughts are with them.

As for me, I'm going for a walk around Lake Merritt. It's a beautiful morning, a little on the cool side for California folk who seem to think it's cold anytime the temperature is below 60. Life is so tough in California. We may pay more for utilities and we may pay more for gasoline, and we may pay more for our government, oh hell, let's face the facts, we pay more for everything, especially housing, but, BUT, we make more money, we have much less need for utilities since the weather is so temperate, and we pay less for better food. So, I guess it's a wash. I have no clue as to how we're going to weather this recession, but we will. Right now my job is recession proof, but if the state suffers, we all suffer. I have several friends who are out of work right now.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Sweet Jesus, Lover of my Soul

That's the phrase used by the minister who prayed just before Pres. Bush spoke. That has to be one of the most beautiful phrases of religion and belief that I have ever heard. Moved me.

Then the camp commandant introduced the Prez. He left no doubt but that the Prez. would be preaching to a Pentecostal choir. The next part of his introduction was so testosterone filled that it came across to me as homoerotic, all those men with hard-ons for God and country, being given to the leader for his service. He called them your marines, not the country's, but the President's personal fighting force. At the risk of being disrespectful, I bet ol' Pres. Bush got an erection. I know Andrew Sullivan did.

I am not criticizing this, I'm just observing it. We are notoriously warlike as a people. These are our warriors. They are purposely dumb-downed to politics so they will serve whomever the President is. If they're especially full of themselves now with their eagerness, maybe that's in part because they felt so estranged from the previous administration. It feels good to be loyal. They didn't feel good with Clinton. They do with President Bush. He is their President. They are his marines. They will fight with fierceness and bring terror to the hearts of the enemy.

Now what I fear is the Peace. His marines and army can give him Baghdad, and probably the head of Saddam Hussein. But can they give him a peaceful Iraq? God, I hope so. If it doesn't happen, let it not be because of a cynical inability on my part to believe in the inate goodness of man who will do good when given the chance. Even if the President were as cynical as those on the Left insist he is, his spoken word is a contract. George W. Bush, President of the United States, knows that. I believe he intends to fulfill the contract. Good luck. I wish you well. Over there.

Over here I'm much more fearful of your vision. You seem strangely disconnected from your promise of reform and progress and with the cost of your programs and proposals. Just as you didn't care for the small homeowner who stood in the way of the stadium you and your business partners convinced the city of Arlington to build for your baseball team, that small homeowner forced to sue to get fair value for their homes, that small homeowner who was forced to move from his home. You didn't care then, and I'm not sure you care now. In a way, thank God the stock market crashed. Otherwise you might have given away the store and crippled Social Security. I can't help but feel as vulnerable as that small homeowner when I envision my relationship to your government. You're always for the Big Guy over the Little Guy.

I'm terrified by the kind of judges and justices you want to appoint. Your judges and justices have consistently taken the side of the government when people on my level challenge it. In workers comp cases, your people assume the worker is trying to scam the government. You take the side of business when it's between me and business. If i try to sue a manufacturer, you think I'm just a whiner wanting something for nothing. It doesn't matter if its Big Government or Big Business, you're for Big. Man, I'm not asking for the fucking moon, I'm asking for fairness. The Democrats aren't that much different from you, but they do try to appoint fair judges and justices. You Republicans wouldn't let Clinton appoint real, serious liberals to the courts.

This is an issue that can and should be exploited against you.