August 31, 2003
Click on the category "9/11 Countdown" over on the right column to see all of the items in the countdown.
Update: Thanks to Pixy, who helped me get the categories to display on the 'posted by' line for each post.
Link via Dean Esmay.
I amused myself by attempting to calculate something I call the Disney Critical Number: the maximum number of steps between two opportunities to buy something. The biggest DCN I got was 48, in the MetLife pavilion. My stride is a little under 3 feet.
Let the kids enjoy it, and you can marvel at it for what it is: an amazingly efficient machine designed to separate you from your money. Every place where there's a chair, someone has calculated the average amount of time you'll spend sitting on it. Everything you see, they know how long you'll look at it and what you're likely to do next. It is social engineering on a grand scale, and can be appreciated as such.
In response to the bombing, a highly respected Shiite cleric suspended his membership in the U.S.-chosen Iraqi interim Governing Council, citing a lack of security.
Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum, in exile in London until Saddam's ouster, said Saturday that his return to the council depended on the U.S.-led coalition's handing security matters to Iraqis, so that Muslim shrines could be under Islamic protection.
He's absolutely right about this too. We're training an Iraqi militia and police force, who need to take over security of the holy sites. The problem is already recognized and being addressed, it just takes time.
After this terrible incident, thousands of pissed off Iraqi citizens march and complain that the US isn't providing enough security. We're not hearing about the US being anti-Islam, nor are the Iraquis saying the US should pull out and go home. They are behaving exactly like citizens in the US do, they complain about the lack of police protection. I don't care what anyone says, we are winning in Iraq.
German Potato Salad
5 lbs medium potatoes
12 slices bacon, cut into fourths
4 Tbsp bacon drippings
1 cup onion, chopped fine
2 Tbsp flour
6 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2/3 cup vinegar
1 1/3 cup water
*you can peel the potatoes if you want, before or after cooking
1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and slice 1/4" thick.
2. Cook the bacon. Drain, reserving 4 Tbsp drippings. Add bacon to potatoes.
3. Cook onions in reserved drippings until tender.
4. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and sugar to the onions.
5. Add vinegar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
6. Pour over potatoes and mix gently until well coated.
Makes 8 servings.
August 30, 2003
Click below to see it. I hope that by doing it this way, I'm saving you dial-uppers some load time. Yes?
If you don't know what this is about, read this.
The US Flag flies in front of my house every day of the year. It is illuminated at night. When it gets worn I replace it. I understand flag etiquette. I love my country and I stand for the national anthem. I proudly say the pledge of allegiance. I've participated in official flag disposals, and have been moved to tears by the ceremony. I hate to see the flag being burned in anger or protest.
I was also somewhat of a pariah at my American Legion post because I refused to sign a petition for the Flag Amendment. I didn't serve my country for the flag. I served for what the flag stands for. Idiots burning the flag are just as right as fools demanding an amendment to protect it. If you look at countries around the world where it is against the law to dishonor the flag, you'll find that most of those countries are autocratic tyrannies. Because the flag there represents the government, and not the ideals on which that government is based. Big difference.
The protester setting an American flag on fire is, in a painful sort of logic, a powerful example of American freedom in action.
If you see someone displaying a flag incorrectly, you talk to them and help them get it right. If they care enough to display the flag in the first place, you'll find they appreciate the assistance. An attitude of "get it right or don't bother" just isn't what it's all about.
I asked her if she'd like to watch a movie later, one of those flicks that mom hates, and she asked if we could watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Gotta love that kid!
She's upstairs now, working on the last of her summer homework. Man, I can't believe the amount of stuff she had to do this year. Read and annotate All Quiet on the Western Front, plus an assignment for her history class that ended up being 40 double-sided pages about world events, including maps and diagrams. Her class schedule arrived in the mail yesterday; this year (sophomore) she's taking Algebra II, Chemistry, Government, English, Speech and Drama, Theater Production, and PE/Health/Drivers Ed (oh joy).
Break over - dryer's buzzing. Almost done, there's a lot less laundry now that Robyn is gone away to school.
* The main track I wanted Mookie to hear was Ray Stevens' version of Misty. I love the original done by Johnny Mathis (?), but Stevens won a grammy with his toe-tapping arraingement, and it's one of those that makes you wonder why nobody ever did it like that before.
The two nuclear reactors of the 40-year-old K-159 was shut down at the time of the sinking at about 4 a.m. about 3 1/2 miles northwest of Kildin Island, the ministry said. No weapons were aboard.
One sailor was rescued, but seven more are missing and presumed dead.
The K-159, a November-class attack submarine, was decommissioned on July 16, 1989. It was being towed on four pontoons from its base in the town of Gremikha to a plant in Polarnye where workers were to unload the nuclear fuel and scrap the vessel.
The pontoons were torn off by the fierce storm, and the submarine sank in 560 feet of water, the ministry said.
More information about the November class can be found here.
The sheer numbers mentioned in this next bit astound me.
Russia has decommissioned about 189 nuclear-powered submarines over the past 15 years. However, officials say 126 of those are still are at docks with nuclear fuel in their reactors, prompting international concern about leaks and the possibility of nuclear materials being transferred to other nations or terrorists.
It will cost $3.9 billion to scrap all the subs, Russian officials say. Yet last year, the Russian government budgeted just $70 million for improving nuclear safety in the country as a whole.
Update: Random Nuclear Strikes (how can you not love a name like that) also talks about this story, and the comments are especially good.
August 29, 2003
The U.N. Staff Union's committee on security has called on Annan to suspend all U.N. operations in Iraq and withdraw staff "until such time as measures are taken to improve security."
By someone other than the U.N. of course. They just want to run the whole show. From somewhere safe.
The biggest impact of the cutback in international staff is likely to be on the phasing out of the U.N. oil-for-food program.
Read that again. The biggest effect of the U.N. leaving is to slow the closing of a program no longer needed. In other words, they weren't doing much in the way of positive actions, just mostly shutting down unnecessary functions.
Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, you useless cowards.
Were not cat people, although we did own a cat once, for about a month. She was a declawed stray that we picked up at the shelter. The whole family sat around the table discussing names, but we couldnt reach a consensus so I finally just opened the newspaper and put my finger down at random. Our new pet was named Porsche.
I wound up taking Porsche back to the shelter, and happily she spent all of four hours there before another family adopted her. I know this because I talked to her new owners on the phone while they decided to adopt her. She was a good cat, it just wasnt a good match with our family.
I like other peoples cats. My best friend Paul grew up on a farm, and always had cats and dogs (emphasis on the plural) of each. Im going to tell you about two of his cats who were among the most unique souls Ive ever met in this life.
His name was Slick. He was a big damn cat, and solid as a rock. His fur was that odd orange color that some cats wear. Slick barely had any ears, he'd been found as a kitten suffering severe frostbite, and the fleshy part turned black and mostly fell off. Slick also had an enormous head. Considering everything, this was one weird looking cat. But Slick was more than just a pretty face, he was that proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove. Slick would go out and wouldnt come back for days. When he did show up at the door, hed be covered with blood, sometimes his own. Scratches, gouges and chunks of flesh missing from his ornery hide were the usual. Once he came home with a broken front leg.
And thats where the gentle side of Slick shone through. Pauls little girl wasnt walking yet, but could sure get around crawling. One day as Slick was nursing his battered body, just lazing around the house, that little girl crawled up to him, cood and petted him, and then grabbed hold of that broken leg. Slick stood up and gingerly retrieved his limb, then calmly limped behind the couch so he was out of reach. No hissing, no screeching or scratching. I cant imagine what it felt like, but Slick knew that the baby didnt mean to hurt him.
Slick had one other endearing trait, something Ive never seen in another cat. Slick loved to be scratched, it made him purr like an outboard motor. And when Slick purred, he drooled. Remember, this was a big cat, so when I say he drooled, I mean he droooooled. Disgusting. Like I said, endearing.
The other cat I remember never grew up. I mean, it was a freakin midget cat! I dont even recall its name, but this little sonuvabitch was the most gleefully evil little beast to ever stalk the earth. When you were at Pauls house, you always checked the curtains before you sat on the couch, because this mini-satan would sit on top of the valence and wait for his next victim. Some poor fool who forgot to check or didnt know, which was even better would sit on the couch, and within seconds a spitting, clawing fuzzball would drop down on top of said victim. The rest of us would laugh our asses off while watching the cat scramble back up the curtains to wait for his next chance. God, that cat could be mean.
Two memorable cats, and one I barely got to know. One of these days, Ill tell you about my dogs...
Chaos reigns within
Reflect, repent, and reboot
Order shall return
Add in a good roundhouse kick to Bill Gates, and the world will be in balance.
There. All better now.
A: Because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.
Now that I've annoyed my cherished female visitors, on to the PSA...
Give blood. There is never enough blood on hand for emergencies, but they're desperate for donations right now. Our local blood bank has just 30 units of Type O in stock, and they average 400 units a day to local hospitals. Critical shortage. It doesn't hurt. It doesn't take that long either, so please help.
Do I practice what I preach? I used to. The American Red Cross has deemed me an unsuitable doner because I spent time in Europe during the mad cow crisis (see, there was a tie-in there). A significant percentage of doners in this area have been disqualified, which contributes to the ongoing shortage.
August 28, 2003
Kin points out how Ethel could participate in the Russian X-games.
A gentleman would never embarrass a lady, but Kevin at Wizbang! let's the whole world know about Ethel's slip! Join the crowd standing around her, pointing and laughing.
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