Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Da Pope!

Pope Francis is the kind of guy that makes me wish I was Catholic (sometimes).   Pope Francis came out and said that God didn’t use a magic wand to create man - literally.
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The Big Bang came from something, God created the something for this all to start.
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Evolution is a miracle.  It is the miracle God uses to create mankind.
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If I can add one more thought that flows form this – With these miracles, God not only created the world and man, he endowed Mankind with a unique desire to understand the world, the ability to put the world into a spiritual context and to see God in the world.  Using evolution, God allowed the creation of a soul.
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Science and Religion to not have to be at odds.  Really, I love this guy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Benalux in Milwaukee

Last week-end, Eddie and I went to Madison for the football game.  We flew into Milwaukee first for the day and visited some friends of Ed's - who had been in NYC checking out colleges a couple of years ago.

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This is Patti and Emma (along with Ed and I).  We all ate at a nice restaurant in the "Third Ward" - Milwaukee's hip downtown area.  And it was very cute.
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I expected "Benalux" to be a little fancy-schamcy European.  But no, it was great food.  The "Benalux" in the name primarily referring to the Belgian beers it had on tap.  But here is the thing.
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I don't understand why Patti and Emma are not as fat as houses.  If I lived there I would be.

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This is a specialty of the house.  And one Emma recommended. What is it you ask.
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It is a cheese curd, wrapped in a meatball and deep fried.  And it is delicious!
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Where Are They Now?


One of the by products of life that I find amusing, or infuriating  - depending on my mood, is the simplistic faux outrage pieces that seem to arise on political Echo Chamber and then get ignored.  Often you can’t discuss this "pretend" issues with people because their minds are set, for example a number of Facebook friends on both sides were lost in the “Ground Zero Mosque”  kerfuffle.
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So let’s take a wander through the “where is the outrage now?” zone.  Mainly the items that stick with me are the Fox News Freak Outs! (TM), but I am sure my Republican friends (and yes, I have some) have some equally ready examples from the Left-o’sphere.
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Ground Zero Mosque
Ah, remember this one.  This was a quite the time, remember everyone?  The world was going to end if there was a mosque at Ground Zero.  Because Muslims praying was the end of New York City as we know it.  Result – there is a mosque at 51 Park (ground zero mosque) and Fox news is still toiling away on 6th Ave. where it always was.
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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
This one was the outrage that Obama freed a captive in Afghanistan.  Because the US never leaves a man behind – which is why Obama sucked.  Until Obama got Bergdahl freed, then the shit hit the fan that Obama gave away the store.  Senator McCain, in the space of a week, went from pushing for a deal to denouncing that exact deal, because Obama did it.  Fox news found some veterans that went on TV publicly to say they think Bergdahl cooperated with the enemy (those men were paid to attack another enlisted man – fyi).  Fox and the Republican Party was all over this, because innocent until proven guilty doesn’t include anyone that Obama has ever helped, even a Army enlistee captured by the enemy.  Where are they now?  Bowe Bergdahl is still it the Army working at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

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Sue the President!!
Come on, you remember this one.  House Leader John Boehner demanded (and got) authorization less than three months ago to sue the President.  Because he was a dictator!  Come on, you remember.  Don’t lie.  Well the Republicans in a high-minded, purely non-ideological way decided that they would sue the President for doing his job.  They got authorization and stated that they would sue ASAP.  Apparently ASAP is sometime more than 3 months because it entails walking a good ten minutes to the court-house.

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Czar-appaloza
We are going waaaay back here.  There was quite the buzz about Obama having too many policy Czars (or Tsars).  Remember?  Sure he had less than Bush or Clinton – but too many, damn it!  You know until they wanted an Ebola Czar. Someone to get things done! Of course, after getting that Czar, they didn't like him.
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Of course there were many more (Obama Hates Israel! Obama Won’t Bomb Syria!  Obama Shouldn’t Bomb Libya!  Obama Apologies To Everyone!  Obama doesn’t Show Enough Deference!  Obama was Born in Kenya!  Obama’s Grades included B’s! Obama is a Socialist / Communist / Nazi / Dictator / Muslim / Anti-Colonial Marxist).  All will be forgotten in tomorrow’s latest news.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

So Close

After the game we all went for a beer. I left everyone a little early to follow my game. As I am walking to the hotel, a very handsome young man in a tank top stops me.
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He gives me a fireball shot and asks for a hug.  Oh yeah, I still got it.  
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I hug the six feet of young muscle and he says, "thanx dude, my own dad couldn't come to Homecoming."
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Ouch

Great Time at Wisconsin Football yesterday

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Too Bad about that whole area...

Too bad we air dropped arms to the wrong side in Kobani.  Too bad we don’t have an ally somewhere close … you know that might share a border so we could send in arms overland.*
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Oh well…
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* Sarcasm Alert. This is an ironical statement.  We do, in fact, have an ally right across the border in Turkey.  Turkey, however, hates the Kurds and would rather have us airdrop supplies to the enemy than allow us to send supplies across a border they control.  Just an example of the toxic stew of hatreds and conflicting ethnic battles the United States is trying to work within.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It has to settle

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't love Renee Zellweger, but cut the gal some slack. 
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So she had a lift and went out too soon. She looks pretty. Sure, not like Renee, but pretty. Sometimes it takes a while. Look at Nicole Kidman, she looked wound too tight for a few months and now looks great. 
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As a public we trash female stars when they wrinkle and when their "fixes" are too obvious.  It kind of sucks. I would hate to be judged solely on my looks. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reviews Off Broadway: Billy & Ray Sheds Light and Laughs on Double Indemnity


My Review of the new play, Billy & Ray - a rift on the creating of Double Indemnity.
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Reviews Off Broadway: Billy & Ray Sheds Light and Laughs on Double Indemnity...: Larry Pine as Raymond Chandler and Vincent Kartheiser as Billy Wilder Billy & Ray, now at the Vineyard Theater, tells of the ...
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Vincent Kartheiser as Billy Wilder, Sophia von Haselberg as Helen and Larry Pine as Raymond Chandler in Billy & Ray

Serious Post: Defining something as "Terrorism" limits your response

“ISIL is a terrorist organization pure and simple.”  That is what the President said, and I realize that saying anything else in this environment is politically red-meat to Republicans and anyone else looking to score points off the President.  But it is a simplistic and impossible to act upon.
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But we, as adults, shouldn’t be limited to the sound bite pace that politicians and news media must cleave to.
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What does that mean, terrorism pure and simple?  Terrorism, despite what the 24 hour news cycle would have you believe, is a tool towards a political end.  A blunt, nasty, evil tool that utilizes attacks on civilians, but a tool towards a desired end result. So what is ISIL desired end result.
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For the moment, let’s put aside that ISIL decapitates people.  I mean that is horrible and terrible, but is not really the cause for a multinational air and ground war, right?  Some of our allies decapitate people.  We put criminals to death all the time. Outrage is not useful here.  What is their political end game – and why are we so dead set against it?
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ISIL is trying to carve a new nation in the middle east.  It is trying to take land from Syria and Iraq for this.  They became a horrible enemy, which we HAD TO stating fighting, only when they took land from Iraq.  When they were fighting Syria only, most nations were okay with this.  So, we are not fighting ISIL because they are “intrinsically evil”, we are fighting them now because they threaten Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. 
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I don't know who this is from, so I can't give credit, but it is nice and seems kind of USA Today-y.
Iraqi Kurdistan is an altogether more interesting beast.  Like ISIL, “Kurdistan” has been carved out of a current country and that situation was ok with most nations.  In the case of the Kurds, their homeland in Iraq was basically self-sufficient.  The allies supported the Kurds against Saddam Hussein, and we (the United States) have maintained this support.  Support for the Kurds is NOT uniform across the region, since Syria, Iran and Turkey all have significant Kurdish minorities.  So Iraqi Kurds are our (US) allies and boots on the ground, but are considered terrorists in Turkey (and were recently bombed inside Turkey).
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The reason I bring this up is as follows.  What is the end game here?  Do we want to be sure that ISIL cant’ hold any territory as a government or nation? If they contain themselves to Syria, are we okay with that?  I think the ISIL is an artifact of a civil war between two competing versions of Islam, Sunni and Shia.  The United States (and most other countries) are locked into viewing this through the prism of current nation states and boundaries.  The problem is that I don’t think there is an answer that would please us within the confines of the current nations and borders.
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I get borders must be thought of as inviolate from outside interests, but what in the case of a civil war?  If we say ISIL cannot exist, then why can Kurdistan?  
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'"And why is any of this our problem?  That is a rhetorical question, by the way.  I don’t think it is our problem.   And, I don’t think there is a solution.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Beaches of St. Barts

Well, the beaches were great.  And lovely and free - which is impossible to believe given how everything else in St. Barts cost an arm and a leg (sorry La Arn and Le Leg).
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The beach at St. Jean where we ate lunch.  PS - The yellow bouys - part of the airport take off strip - no swimming.

A drive down the empty south coast

Saline Beach: Great!

This was the view from beach after beach.

This was Colombier beach.  I loved it.  You had to hike there and it was beautiful (or yacht there).