Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shark-infested Waters

In an article in the NY News and World Report, Sarah Palin had this to say about Joe Biden, her VP opponent, at a rally in Ohio:

"I've been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in second grade."

Where exactly was Palin going with this? She could have been commenting about the man's verbosity. But, when one has been a Senator since 1972, I would like to think the person has racked up a lot of words in that time.

If one were to look at this at an age angle, Sarah is forty-four, which would have made second grade thirty-seven years ago, basing that Palin was seven at the time.

How old was her running mate when Sarah was in second grade?

Just saying...is it wise to make a crack (or a loosely-veiled dig) at your opponent's age while you are standing next to your seventy-two year old running mate? Hell, who knows what Palin meant to point out with that comment. Anyway, regardless on what the comment meant, I sure hope Palin remembers to use that zinger at Thursday's debate.

McCain has been crying "Gotcha Journalism" in regards to Palin's past interviews. But, for the love of Mike, tell the woman to leave the fishing lures at home. The waters are well full of chum as it is.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Round One

Yes, I watched the first debate last night. I wondered if I had listened to the debate instead, would I have came away with a different opinion. I had read stories back in the day about the Nixon/Kennedy debates that those who listened to the debate on the radio felt that Nixon did very well, whereas those who watched the debate on television, which happened to be the first televised Presidential debate, felt Kennedy walked away with the prize. After all, on radio, no one can see you sweat, as Nixon did profusely on stage, not to mention his over all ill-at-ease demeanor portrayed on televisions across the nation.

So, as much as I tried, I could not ignore the posturing and body language and McCain's totally lack of eye contact towards Obama last night during the first debate. Where Obama stood tall, and actually turned and looked at McCain (okay, at first it was at folksy Jim Lehrer's urging), debating not only issues, but the man himself, McCain hunched over his podium, and smirked his way through the debate, barely turning an eye towards his opponent.

And, if I were to close my eyes, as I am mentally doing so at this moment and recalling what I heard, I come away with two opposing voices, phrases repeated over and over...how many times McCain pointed out that Obama was naive and doesn't understand, whereas Obama pointed out that in many instances McCain was right with some of his decision making in the past.

Obama gave McCain's credit it's due, whereas McCain gave Obama no quarter. Not like Obama was asking.

For the most part, I felt the debate last night was tit-for-tat. I don't think either one rode away with the political brass ring in a major way. Both dodged questions, gave half answers, stuck by their strengths, played in their safety zones. The usual way Presidential debates go..no surprise there.

But at least Obama stepped out of his to admit when McCain was right.

But, then, according to McCain, Obama is naive and just doesn't understand.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sarah's Next Door Neighbors

Sarah Palin knows International Politics because she lives next door to Russia. Well, she certainly does. Vladimir Putin probably flies right over her house, you betcha, when he's "rearing his head", as she explained to Katie Couric in the infamous interview that left most people totally gob-smacked.

This is what is "next door" to Alaska. Big Diomede Island, next to Little Diomede Island (U.S. has claim to that one). Big D is inhabited mostly by Innuit, more precisely, the Chukchi people. It's roughly eleven square miles in area. Most likely these people have never even heard of Sarah Palin.

Sarah, who?

If Sarah Palin believes her proximity to Russia makes her knowledgeable in international affairs, then the fact that I live a block away from a hospital I believe qualifies me to run an MRI machine.

Scary thought? It should be.

Bailing out a hole, forget the boat.

*The "flawed" financial plan proposed by the President, the $700 billion bail-out...no, let's put it this way...

The $700,000,000,000 plan to bail out the economy. To staunch the hemorrhaging of Wall Street. To save us from a long and disastrous recession. A situation that didn't happen yesterday, or last week, or last month. This has been y-e-a-r-s in the making, and NOW it's an issue of major crisis?

"'October Surprise', much?", I thought as I tired to fall asleep with Anderson Cooper last night. Since that wasn't happening, I turned off Cooper, fired up the boat anchor and googled the blogosphere.

Seems I'm not the only one who's blogging about the timing. Most had valid points, though there were a few tin foil hat bloggers tossing out their two cents. The same folks who believe that the Hadron Collector when fully operational will create a Stargate...

I'm not suggesting that this is the type of surprise that had been whispered about where Bush would find a way to suspend the elections and inciting Martial Law here in the States by creating a reason to escalate the war in Iraq (or when the Stargate opens).

"We are in the mists of a serious financial crisis", he announced solemnly and somewhat fearfully, as if it just appeared, like headlights in front of a startled deer (Bush did have that look to him last night, if you saw the news conference). More accurate of a statement would have been, "We have been in the mists of a financial crisis for way too long."

The writing on the walls of all the foreclosed homes have been here for some time now. For years now, I would drive around what used to be cornfields and see McMansions and mega-plexes pop up as quickly as mushrooms after a summer storm. I would ask myself, "Who are these houses for? Is there a mass exodus to the mid section of my state that I don't know about? Are there plans for large factories or businesses to come to this area? Will there be actual jobs?"

No, it was all for speculation, hence the term "spec-homes" or "spec-buildings". That worked in the movie, "Field of Dreams". If you build it, they will come, and all that. This isn't Hollywood, though. But to give the masses a prod, out comes the "adjustable rate loan".

Why did so many people believe that "adjustable" could only go in one direction?

The "American Dream" is shoved in our faces every day, like lipo-sucked and tummy-tucked bodies in magazines...and they are still air-brushed before making the pages. A roof over one's head has become a five bedroom, 2 and a half bath home for a family of four. Soccer-mom transportation went from Ford mini-vans to Cadillac Escalades. It seems that somewhere down the road, nothing was considered out of reach...the question stopped being, "How much is it?", to, "How low can I get the payments?"

Oh, and now you can have your lipo and your tummy tuck on a credit plan, too.

When did money lose it's tangibillity? Where will $700 billion come from? Which pocket will be dug in this time, since $530 billion has been taken from one pocket already due to the Iraq/Afghanistan war? Whatever pocket it is, it's all from the same pair of pants. And guess who's wearing those pants?

*I tend to rant when I blog about subjects not well versed, ie, I don't know a hill of beans about, so excuse me. Politics being one, and economics being the other, so maybe I shouldn't blog about these issues. But if someone can announce that slamming two particles together will open up a stargate, it's all game.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Great Wall of River Muck

The above picture is of a chain-link fence (it's not a solid wall) outside one of the high school football fields in town. As I drove by, I saw that the sprinkler system was actually watering the field.

I highly doubt the grass needed it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tripping over Stumble Upon

I have become addicted to Stumble Upon. In my many hours of clicking on the little "SU" button on my toolbar, (okay, not hours, I do have some semblance of a life. Really. I do.) I have discovered one thing about the Internet.

It it rife with CATS. Not like that's a bad thing, but what is it with this obsession with cats? Maybe it's because it's just not as funny when a dog is stuffed into an empty 12-pack, or that one will never see a dog perched precariously atop a door, waiting to spring upon unsuspecting owner, I mean ownee. And the pictures of sleeping cats in unflattering positions with a empty bottle of beer...those are obviously humorous setups. We all know dogs are known to be beer-holics, and can at times be found in this position naturally.

Well, at least mine would be if I would give them half the chance. They prefer wine instead.

Now, anyone who thinks I am aiding and abetting to the the delinquency of an animal, minor or otherwise, should know most of my blogging is done with that look...you know, the one where I'm peering over my glasses, thinking, "You're really are falling for this, aren't you?" look. So save your phone call to the ASPCA.

Anyway, SU has pointed out to me many little corners and crooks and nannies I would have never found before. Like this little FYI page.

And I was wondering why I was getting migraines when I would blog. Or when I would read my blog...aw, c'mon, admit it...y'all do it. You all go and read your blogs to see if what you wrote last month is still as relevant, or witty, or profound as it was when it first burst forth from your keyboard.

What, you don't? Oh, gawd, I really don't have a life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Coming up for air just in time for an unprecedented flood.

This is video (ignore the voices in the background, I hate my voice) is of the raging Fox River as it rushed beneath the bridge coming into my town, flooding the low-lying areas along the river bank. When you live in a not only a one, but a two river town, let's just say a jon boat is probably a smarter form of transportation than a car when living on the wrong side of the dried out Illinois-Michigan canal. In the background (if you look reeealy hard) there is a train trestle bridge that is loaded down with freight cars so the river doesn't wash away the bridge. On a good day, the river is usually twenty feet below this bridge.

The Fox River reached record flood stage earlier in the week, surpassing a twenty-six year old record. This closed the high school (which is located at the Fox-Illinois river junction) for most the week as a precaution, much to the joy of my daughter. I'll remind her of her joy when summer vacation starts a week later than usual. And, hey, it isn't snow day season yet.

No boat docking for some time.

This building does have a parking lot, the shore is supposed to be on the other side of the trees. There is a river walk somewhere, just don't know quite where.

Hard to see, I took this through my windshield. This is a two block stretch of street, about two blocks away from the river bank. The day after I took this picture, the sawhorse blocking (haha) the road was under water.

Allen Park? What Allen Park?
(picture taken by a friend and fellow blogger)

This was all compliments of the leftovers of Ike which caused two straight days of solid rain. Of course, nothing compared to actually having Ike in full as Texas did. Water does recede on it's own, thank goodness. Buildings and rubble don't take care of themselves, alas.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Reaction to Tragedy

Yesterday was September 11th, seven years removed from that horrible day where many lost their lives, and those who survived, their lives were forever changed. Humanity reacted to that day in ways as diverse as humanity itself. My childhood friend, whom I kept in close touch with through the years no matter where life took her, sat in front of our televisions, hundreds of miles apart, watching the news, in tears of sadness and disbelief.

In the following days, I found myself doing strange things, like closing my blinds, because I didn't want to see the outside, as if outside my window had become a terrifying place. Strangely though, my view of the television never altered from the 24-hour news channel. I stopped reading magazines and turned off music, since these seemed to be trivialities in light of the darkness that descended. I puttered around my house in a somewhat manic fashion, because sitting in one place felt like drowning.

Yesterday morning, seven years to the day, found me on the phone with my childhood friend. Once again, sobbing, hundreds of miles separating us, as she told me that her twenty-five year old son had unexpectedly passed away barely an hour before.

I am finding that I want to react in the same manner that I did seven years ago, like a diver remembering just when to tuck in relation to the water to execute the perfect dive.

The mind remembers what the body wants to forget, but I realize that I am not a diver. I am a friend, and one that writes a blog, questioning whether or not this is too personal for Web 2.0.

Yesterday, my friend lost the largest part of her life that a mother could lose. A child. Parents shouldn't have to bury their children. Thousands of people shouldn't have to lose their lives in a seemingly inconceivable way.

The scale and scope is different, I realize, but the reaction is the same.

I'll see my friend today, and we will do what friends do in times like these. This time though, the miles won't be separating us as they have so many other times in the past.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Second Chance?

It appears that Illini Park, along with other state parks may see a future after the public outrage after news hit that the Illinois government planned to shut down twenty-five parks and historical sites across the state (not to mention cut the budget of drug, alcohol rehab programs, and for the Department of Children and Family Services).

I don't know how long of a future the parks have, but they have one, nonetheless, which as we all know, is better than no chance at all.

I just thought I would make mention of this after my emotionally-wrought entry in response to the closing Illini Park. There may be more sunsets and campfires in the years to come.

A man hears what he wants to hear...

In a stop in Virgina, Barack Obama, obviously not listening to the little voices in his head screaming "SHUT UP!!!!", spoke (mis-, or otherwise) on the McCain/Palin ticket...

"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."

Most people heard this metaphor, loose as it was, and depending what side of the fence they were on, ran with it. Or not.

Did he call Sarah Palin a "pig"? Did he say Sarah Palin wears lipstick? Did she call John McCain a pig, if Palin were to give McCain a kiss?

Better yet, did Obama just say something stupid in the heat of the moment? Most likely.

Since Obama was so metaphorically inclined, he should have said something along the lines of "making a silk purse from a sow's ear". I mean, I think that is where Obama was heading, or least trying to, with his lipsticked pig metaphor.

Other words, Obama was most likely pointing out that the "Oh, wow, gee-whiz!!!" that is Sarah Palin is an attempt to cover the fact that, hey, this is still John McCain, this is still the possibility of four more years of the past eight years, this is still business as usual, but with a new player...who I point out (and hopefully most people) is not a pig, may wear lipstick, may own silk purses, and is not a sow's ear.

I am reminded of my favorite of all metaphors, pointing out how easily manipulated we, the masses are:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances--Wm. Shakespeare

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trolls in the flesh

In my many years of living on the Internet, lurking in various forums, enjoying a short but sweet experience of freindship in an IRC channel, one thing I learned...Do Not Feed The Trolls. You know, those extremist keyboard jockeys who type the most inflammatory dribble under aliases and sock puppets, just to get a rise from someone. Hell, anyone. And, usually, someone does bite, and lack of hilarity ensues. But, if you starve them, ie, don't reply to them, they skittle away like little cockroaches.

Ah, if it could only be as easy in Real Life.

Who am I pointing the Troll Stick at? The Westboro Baptist Church, who has taken the literal translation of the Bible as many fundie churches do, but in this instance, adding the stink of wet, sweaty "Troll" to the message. It's not enough to mainly base their messages, if not the whole foundation of their "church" on Leviticus (a man, mind you, NOT God) 18:22 "
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." They feel the need to jump up on their trollish bully pulpit and tell America that "God Hates America, Sweeden, Fags, Catholics, Billy Graham...anybody and anything except the WBC". Also that every catastrophe that has happened in this world since 9/11 is due to "God's judgement on fag-enablers".

Oh, why Sweden, you ask? WBC picketed a vacuum cleaning store because the store sold Swedish vacuum cleaners, and since Sweden took action against a minister who spoke against homosexuals, well, God hates the Swedes, too, and most likely those who buy their products.

The seventy or so members of this church, mostly family of the patriarch/leader Fred Phelps (who a few of them are lawyers, just like dear old dad was before he was debarred) have in the past picketed at funerals for fallen soldiers of the Iraq/Afghanistan war, along with the funerals of the Sago Mine Disaster. They also take advantage of catastrophes to spread their trollish messages, most recently, by thanking Hurricane Gustav, like they previously had thanked God for Hurricane Katrina for destroying New Orleans.

Westboro Baptist Church seems to have only one purpose, and that is to troll the World by using God as its Sockpuppet, using the excuse of "rejoicing in God's judgements". I am sure the church doesn't see it that way. Extremists never do.

But, rip away all the externals, the who, what and whys and what do you see? A message of HATE from people with some sick superiority complex, led by one very hate-filled man.

Yes, the irony is not lost on me...this very post is "feeding the trolls".

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On a Mission from God?

Well, that's what Sarah Palin's opinion seems to be regarding sending troops to Iraq, if her speech to a graduating class at the Walsila Assembly of God church is any indication.

I understand that for those of belief find comfort in praying to a Higher Power asking he/she/it to watch over our Military, or our loved ones, or the elderly woman who lives alone down the street. But to loftily label an ill-entered war as "a task that is from God", well, gee, I guess that makes it just hunky-dory.

Weren't the hijackers on 9/11 supposedly on "a mission from God (Allah)", too? How about The Spanish Inquisition? The Salem Witch Trials? Were these atrocities sanctioned by God?

I am in NO way comparing our military to a terrorist entity or a raving mob. Or a power hungry church hierarchy. I am just pointing out that I really doubt God approves of these kinds of messages. At least I hope the God of my knowledge wouldn't put his stamp of approval on these actions of men.

But then, I could be just one more person speaking for God, and I think there is enough of those already.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Windows Mojave

Windows Vista is running a commercial that I have seen many times on Hulu online videos, but I am sure it's been on traditional television somewhere in the States. It shows a person sitting at a table in a nondescript room, being asked by some unknown person, "Why haven't you switched to Vista?"

"I've heard too many bad things about it", "It's buggy", or other responses along the same lines.

The person posing the question then shows the person being asked about their disdain towards Vista a laptop using Windows "new" operating system named "Mojave". The people being shown the new OS ooh and ahh over Mojave, declaring their wonderment and approval, announcing that they could see themselves using this system.

"Oh, by the way, this is Windows Vista", the questioners announce, and then the participants voice their surprise and how they will most likely run out and give Vista a try.

Me, I would have been incensed that I was made to look like a fool. I don't see that as a positive way to sell a product.

Microsoft has resorted to tricking people into giving their product a second look?

I think many people didn't rush out to get on the Vista bandwagon because they first researched, they read reviews and comments from those who actually used the product. They did their homework. Most consumers are smart consumers. Microsoft seems to think otherwise.