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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

We interrupt the fighting to bring you more fighting 

The Chron has an article titled "Iraqis gird for tough charter campaign" with the subhead "Factions plan to take fight to streets for Oct. 15 referendum". Here's today's question: do they realize how ironic the subhead is? The Sunnis are either going to boycott the vote or turn out to defeat it in their provinces and then the Civil War is going to heat up some more. No handwaving about democracy, federalism, etc. is going to change the fact that the Sunnis are expecting to be shat upon by the Shia. They will not accept second-rate status brought about by being a minority and living in the only part of Iraq without any oil. It certainly doesn't help that they most likely have more than their fair share of people with military training since Saddam trusted his co-religionists slightly more than the Shia. So either the 'constitution' passes the referendum and the country collapses into anarchy because the Sunnis won't go along with the new government or the 'constitution' doesn't pass and the country collapses into anarchy as the Shia and Sunnis realize that there is no way they write a constitution that pleases everyone.

Hank's prescription for predicting what will happen: imagine just how horrible it could possibly be in Iraq. That is the good outcome. Reality will probably be worse.

Update: And another thing, when newspapers talk about 'taking the fight to the street' in the context of elections, they tend to mean things like which side can knock on the most doors, get the most lawn signs on display, etc. In Iraq it means which side can kill more of the other side's election workers. That's got to have an effect on the ability to recruit volunteers.

I'm back from the Homeland 

Hi all, we've returned from our pilgrimage to the ancestral homeland of Minnesota. The excuse for the trip was to attend my cousin's wedding, but in addition we did many other things, the highlights being seeing good friends and family, going to the Minnesota State Fair and eating at our favorite restaurants from back in the days when we lived there.

You can view some the pictorial highlights in the slideshow. One of my favorite pictures is the butterhead of this year's Princess Kay of the Milky Way (digression: instead of a Queen, the Minnesota State Fair has Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her court. Each day of the fair, one of the Fair Royalty has her bust carved from a 90 lb block of butter. Don't ask why, just accept it.) One of the wedding activities involved taking a cruise on the Mississippi River. The reason that Minneapolis is Minneapolis is because of Saint Anthony Falls. Said falls powered many mills, so in the neighborhood of the falls there are many old factories that were originally there to utilize the power of falling water. I took a few pictures of the giant Ain't We Cool factory signs as we cruised up and down the river.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Do they like us yet? 

I hear there are people running about the countryside saying that Cindy Sheehan doesn't speak for them. That in fact, even though some of them have lost their own loved ones in the war, they think the War is a Good Thing, or at least, that we should Stay The Course so their loved ones' deaths won't have been in vain. Which gets me back to the question I've been asking the Internets since at least last March: How many Iraqis do we have to kill before the survivors will be our friends?

How will we know that we have Stayed The Course to its completion? They are killing us because we're there. They're killing each other because we eliminated the dictator that kept everyone in line and there are quite a few volunteers to be the new dictator once we decide to leave and those guys don't like each other. It pains me to say this, but there is no good ending for this war. There will be a very unpleasant Civil War in Iraq when we leave. We can leave soon or we can Stay The Course for an indeterminate period of time. The only question to be answered is how many grieving mothers we will have here at home before we get out of the way of the Civil War. And back to the "Cindy Doesn't Speak For Me" crowd, I'm sorry, but your loved one did die in vain. Forcing some other mother's son to die in vain won't change that fact. George Bush killed your son, don't let him kill any more.

Update: Actually, I should rephrase that. Your loved one died to create a theocratic Islamic Republic that is profoundly hostile to the United States and allied with Iran. Also, to provide a home base for Kurdish separatists from which they can cause enormous grief for Turkey (our ally) and Iran. What fun!

Bonus Monday Kid Blogging 


We had YW's Birthday Party on Saturday. I'm very much a low-parent-involvement Birthday Party Planner. While I have nothing but admiration for those parents who plan out party activities for each moment of the afternoon, I just can't do it. We had 24 kids ranging in age from 3 to 8 at the party and just let them run wild and jump around in the rocketship bounce house. We did have the requisite (we do live in California) pinata, but for the most part we just let them have fun for about 4 hours.

Here's a parenting question for you: At what age do you drop your kid off at a Birthday Party and come back when the party is over? YW just turned 7 and I'm not there yet. But at least half the parents confirmed the end time of the party and scampered.

Also, after checking iPhoto, I observe that the two girls closest to YW in the picture were also right there next to YW when he was blowing out his candles last year too.

Lastly, YA is not wearing a shirt extolling the joys of Crime. His grandparents just got back from a trip to Ukraine, which included some time in the Crimea.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday Kid Blogging 


Here's another shot of the boys from our Tahoe trip. The picture quality is that hot since they were horribly back-lit and I had to mess with the brightness to make their faces visible.

Friday Pseudo-Random 10 

  1. I Can't Explain The Who
  2. Knockbacks In Halifax Weddings Parties Anything
  3. Gone Daddy Gone Violent Femmes
  4. Volcano Girls Veruca Salt
  5. Panama Van Halen
  6. Teddy Bear's Picnic Trout Fishing In America
  7. Pipeline Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
  8. Drive She Said Stan Ridgway
  9. Take Me I'm Yours Squeeze
  10. I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow The Soggy Bottom Boys
If you'll look carefully these songs are in reverse alphabetical order (by artist), because they are candidates for the mix CD I'm working on for the current Mixmania, but they are the last 10 songs I played on the computer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tuesday Kid Blogging 


We took a long weekend and dashed up to Lake Tahoe for fun and frolicking. Good fun was had by all in spite of all us suffering from various stages of the same cold. Damn those promiscuous day care viruses. This picture was taken at the Meeks Bay Campground beach. In addition to building sand castles we swam, we took the lovely walk down to Vikingsholm at Emerald Bay, we rafted the Class I madness of the Upper Truckee River (put-in is about 50 yards downstream from the start of the river at Tahoe City), and we just lazed about. Weeeee.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


YA - I'm three and a half!
H - You are?
YA - Yes! It's this many! <holds up three fingers>
H - That is correct.
YA - My first birthday is coming.
H - How old will be on your first birthday?
YA - Star Wars!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Put Me In Coach! 

Last night we had our first soccer practice. Being the organized guy that I am, I contacted the kids on my roster yesterday too. So the practice was sold as a low-key, kick the ball around event for those that could make it. Only one kid besides YW showed up, but we had a good time. The other kid's dad is Irish as Irish can be. Colour me a bit intimidated. I played soccer growing up, but this guy is from the land of football. I might have to try drafting him as an assistant coach.

Friday Random 10 

  1. Come Back Foo Fighters
  2. Pencil Rain They Might Be Giants
  3. I Am A Town Mary Chapin Carpenter
  4. I Swear The New Christs
  5. Don't Smoke In Bed k.d. lang
  6. Foo Foo Santana
  7. New York State of Mind Billy Joel
  8. Subliminal Suicidal Tendencies Suicidal
  9. Wolves Chris Wilson
  10. I Hear a Call Emmylou Harris
For you fans out there, there's is nary a Polka or Opera in there this week, but I did get Suicidal Tendencies and Emmylou Harris in the same list.

Friday Kid Blogging 


Last weekend YW insisted that "No! I'm not tired! I don't need to lie down!" and wanted to know "Why can't I watch TV?" So he sat down to read a book and roughly 2 minutes later he was out. His not-a-nap lasted for about 2 hours.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I've Stopped Worrying 

I've decided that all my worrying is for naught. Global Warming? Nuclear Proliferation? Peak Oil? Terrorism? Over Population? No worries. The coming Avian Flu Pandemic is going to solve those problems. Is any country doing any more than hoping that the Avian Flu doesn't mutate enough to be transmitted between humans? As far as I can tell, the answer to that is no. Most especially here in the US. The idea there are only a couple of companies that can produce flu vaccines on a large scale, and one of them appears to be mostly incompetent (I'm looking at you Chiron) makes me nervous about what happens when the inevitable mutation occurs.

And that fucking dumbass in the Whitehouse thinks that it's a good idea to teach kids that God/Space Aliens created all the life on Earth. There is no hope that we'll get our collective shit together before the Great Dying begins.

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