Sunday, March 30, 2008

Just the Facts Ma'am

Okay, the new Attorney General Mukasey said this the other day...

Attorney General Mukasey, in an emotional plea for broad surveillance authority in the war on terror, is warning that the price for failing to empower the government would be paid in American lives. Officials "shouldn't need a warrant when somebody with a phone in Iraq picks up a phone and calls somebody in the United States because that's the call that we may really want to know about. And before 9/11, that's the call that we didn't know about," Mr. Mukasey said yesterday as he took questions from the audience following a speech to a public affairs forum, the Commonwealth Club. "We knew that there has been a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn't know precisely where it went."

At that point in his answer, Mr. Mukasey grimaced, swallowed hard, and seemed to tear up as he reflected on the weaknesses in America's anti-terrorism strategy prior to the 2001 attacks. "We got three thousand. ... We've got three thousand people who went to work that day and didn't come home to show for that," he said, struggling to maintain his composure

But this is an untruth.

You see we have now, and had before 9/11/2001 the ability to intercept ANY call from outside the United States to inside the United States. You then had 72 hours to get a retroactive search warrent. A request that has NEVER BEEN DENIED.

So, what our new Attorney General is either
- a) a Lying Bastard USING images and memories of death to pass a law or
- b) part of a government that could have legally and effectively stopped 9/11 - but they blew it.

I prefer to think that he is a lying bastard, but if it is option "b", then a new law won't make our government any smarter.

Birthday Night

Had a great time last night. Gavin, Micke and his sister were in New York for Gavin's nephew's Bar Mitzpha - but they came over and went to Fuerzabruta with Ed and I last night.
Chuck, Dan, Scott S and Doug also went, so it was party and fun. It is really almost impossible to describe, but there was a roof of water, with women ponding on the huge (20 foot by 50 foot) clear plastic bottom. We got hit with ceiling panels of foam core and ticket tape. We screamed, jumped, were hosed down by the DJ and endedup dancing inside in the rain.
It was a true par-tay.
It was also a great way to celebrate a birthday.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Seven Squared

Thanks Mom and Lynn and Joc and Roxie.

Gary and Laurent came by this morning to say hello (from LA, but they are here for a party). Gavin, Mickey, Scooter S., Chuck, Dan and Jeff M are all going out with us tonight to see a show.

And last week in London was great. I almost don't notice how creaky I feel.

And my honey is the bestest.

Latest Drug Side Effect

You may be wondering,… Scooter, since you are off the drug that you had a severe allergic reaction to – how is the new drug working?

And I would answer, not bad. My rash is going away, I assume my liver is healing. There is one little side effect. Extreme Flatulence.

I would say excessive flatulence but for 3 reasons – which I shall articulate here for Donald.

1. It might be said (and in fact has been said repeatedly by Ed) that any flatulence, by its very nature, is excessive. I disagree fully with that sentiment. I mean you don’t want to blow up like some Macy’s Day Parade Float. I must assume he means that any flatulence that other people notice is excessive. I might still argue that, on a slow day. It’s like a tree in the forest, if no one is around to hear it, then what is the fun of farting?

2. Excessive flatulence in a Mitchell is pretty much a given. Sure that isn’t something I advertised as I asked my pumpkin to move to Los Angeles. But, from Granddaddy Green, to Zela to Jerry (but not me of course), the putt, putt, putt noise is a sign that a Mitchell is about to enter the room.

3. This new phenomenon has turned up not only the frequency of my body’s expository moments, but the fragrance. It’s the full experience incorporating not only sound, but smell.
Hence, I feel free to argue that this is extreme, rather than excessive.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but someone must be thinking it, and so I feel compelled to answer. No this side effect does not extend to a problem with my plumbing. As my Grandmother would say (Zela, not Honey – Honey wouldn’t touch this topic with a 10 foot pole), my BM’s are just fine.

How excessive? You know when you drop an alka-seltzer into a glass of Diet Coke?

Friday, March 28, 2008

2 Big 2 Fly

So, when Eddie and I were in England we saw what we thought was the Singapore double decker taking off.  Jane, usually the bastion of correct trivia, said it wasn't the right time.  However, she was, this once, incorrect.  Because two days later we saw it at the gate, and it was scheduled about when we saw it leave on Monday.

It is a really big ass plane.  I don't want to fly with 600 other people (all go through customs at the same time).  Those food loaders in the picture (one for each level of the plane) are the size of cargo containers.  And those ants next to the engine are people (for size perspective).

Not even Robert Reich sized people, normal sized people.

Don't Feel Helpless

So the world is overwhelming, baby I know it. AND, I know I have more than most, so I am not bragging or anything --- but...

Often we ask what we can do, how e can help, sometimes we don't know how to do it. So here is one way I use.

Kiva is a web-site that works with small business entrepreneurs around the world. It allows micro-loans from people to people. For example, if you have $50 extra dollars, you can pool with others for a small loan to someone who can't really get financing.

All the money you donate for a loan, goes for the loans -(they do ask for a small donation to them to help run the site at the end of the process - but it is a donation not a requirement). Then they corrdinate loaning the money in country. The person you loan to pays it back over 6 months to a year. Once they have paid it all back, the money is put back into your account for you to withdraw or reloan.
They have historical records of who has repaid, and who has defaulted. The site also tells you EXACTLY what the loan will be used for (for example, I helped with the purchase of a motorcycle to help a woman get her vegtables to the city market instead of selling to a middle man who paid a lot less).
I thought of it today, because I got a repayment notice. Anyway, I bitch a lot -as you know if you read this with any regularity - so I thought maybe I could at least share part of what brings me hope.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Robert Reich is a Disingenuous Twit

Once again Robert Reich (pictured to the left, with a normal sized person for perspective) is selling stories about the evils of Wall Street. This one is entitled “Moral Hazard” – about how Wall Street should have known better.
Let me quote a paragraph.


Note that behind every one of these institutions lie thousands of well-paid executives who would have lost big if the Fed didn't come to their rescue. A few, such as those at the late Bear Stearns, did lose big. But most executives on Wall Street have not. Even though they had more information and experience at risk-taking than the suckers who borrowed their money, and even though executives at the top of these institutions typically earn more in a day than the borrowers do in a year, moral hazard somehow doesn't apply to them.
Let us remember that Robert Reich, the disingenuous evil little troll, was on the Board of F’ing Directors of Citibank. Although he now sells the story that “Wall Street” was stupid and over compensated, he was on the board of Citibank – as it walked the plank of death.
I got ANOTHER good-bye note today from the last of the people in Los Angeles. When I worked in Los Angeles for Citibank, there were 325 employees and about 200 contractors at the site. There are now 52 employees (if you count me as in Los Angeles) and 20 contractors.
But the Wall Street Journal, American Prospect, CNN and others let Charles Mason’s Mini-Me continue to make money spouting off about how dumb everyone else was.
He is contemptible. He just looks harmless because he comes in munchkin size.

Ahhhh... That's what Spring is

Four seasons my sweet ass.

I walked Trevor this morning and it was grey and ugly. The temperature was all of 46 - so I know it isn't winter any more. But the overcast was omipresent, the gutters were disgusting and I still needed a big old jacket.

However, the trees across the way had flowers blooming on them.

As Zela would say, wooooooo -pe.

Is that what people new to LA mean when they whine "I miss the seasons"? Cuz, I gotta tell you, the seasons suck butt.

Memo to the man upstairs, grey is not the new black!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back from London

Well, we are back from London.  It was a nice, quick trip.

We saw a lot of Jane and Lisa, who is off work, and loads more than usual of Laura and Dan.  They are both doing great (and Dan has a new hard top convertible - nice).


On Easter Sunday we ate with Tony  and Jill.  They are friends of Jane's from Ashford, who we have met in Los Angeles and hung out with a lot before.  It was a nice Easter Sunday.

  We saw a lot of friends in the short time.  

Yesterday (Monday or Easter Monday in England) we went to a Rowing Museum in Henley, which was cool.  It was suppose to be a great architectural building, but it was only okay.  It was much better inside - and followed the boathouse ethic, than outside which was plain.

We ate a fun lunch with Lisa, Jane, Gareth, Barbara and Gary before going back to Gareth's and Barbara's to see the kids.  "The kids" fyi are growing into very nice young adults.

I saw David's portfolio, which he has to submit for his graduate things (no real equivalent in the states) and it was amazing.  Ed and I were really really impressed.

It was a great trip.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Live from the UK

Eddie and I are in Shepperton right now, at Jane's new house. Kind of a Ed & Scooter house warming. We came over for a long week-end and a quick visit. The weather is lousy (actually terrible for them, unfortunately normal for us). We had a great Indian last night and are out to a show in town this afternoon with Jane and Lisa.

It is always great to spend an evenign with Jane, Lisa, Laura and Dan. Ed brought his new Apple Air toy to make Dan a little jealous - and that worked too.

Shocked to see the upset results on Friday. San Diego!!! Go Toros!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Californians and Winter

Sure, most people move to Los Angeles and think they are tougher than Angelinos. We are weather wussies - and proud of it. What they don't know is that the body quickly acclimatizes to Los Angeles. Okay, you can make fun of how people in LA put on parkas at 50 degrees, but you forget you are now wearing a sweatshirt and long sleeves yourself at 50.

Then you get your first winter. And you struggle through. You promise yourself you won't complain. And then you break.

Presented for your investigation, Lynn - breaking...


I’ve been patient and understanding. But enough is enough. Following the blizzard that dumped a TON of snow we had a couple hours of nothing new. Then it started raining. BUCKETS!!!!! And now it’s snowing again. The ground is so saturated the road are flooding.

I’m going to go drink a margarita.


FYI - the picture of Lynn and I in the Frontier in Death Valley (below) was taken in the middle of "winter". Ed's birthday in January in 2006. The last winter we all spent in LA. Back when winter meant bundling up and shivering in the desert at 53 degrees and windy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So Long Artie

Well, you have probably heard that Arthur C. Clarke has died. I used to love his writing when I was younger. He actually wasn't a very good writer in the way we think of writing today.

Now, the priority in writing is often to pull the reader into the narrative with character driven interest. That's why books are so damn long (like movies, most books could use a good editor), you have to know the character, know what drives and motivates them, know the inner conflict.

Clarke, on the other hand, was driven by ideas and dreams. His characters were rarely fleshed out (much like early Asimov), but his books were these futurist landscapes where stories played out. It was the landscape and the idea that stayed with you.

The first (and best) Arther C. Clarke book I read was The City and The Stars. It is meant to be read by a 12 - 17 year old. He doesn't explain why it important that this kid escape The City. But he describes the city like a miracle. It is perched on the edge of a all encompassing desert, but the natives never look out the windows. The kid sees the city change in a model, which we would now call a hologram, but then it wasn't invented.

Sure it peters out at the end (the big crazy emotional swamp creature?), but it wasn't the story that was the big deal, it was the ideas it contained. Same for 2001, 2010, 2061, and 3001 and Childhoods End and the rest.

I never understood why he moved to Ceylon (which later named itself Sri Lanka), but more power to him. He died of a lingering post-polio degenerative disease, which probably sucks as a way to die - but I think he had a fun life. He wrote until the end of his days. And his books never really changed. I think he was ever the idea man.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Tribes...

I think that the world tumbles toward tribalism. And, for the most part, I am dead set against it. As you may (or may not) know, I hate the whole blue v. red thing. I have the Republican v. Democrat thing. I think we are all in this together.

Except for those areas where I am a positive tribal booster. And I shall proclaim my love for all to admire. Oh, perhaps you think I am wrong. Well, I am not. I am secure in my love for these things…
I am a card carrying, boop boop boop loving member of the Tivo Tribe. No other mere DVR will do for me.
Tivo loves me. Tivo knows me.
If I forget to record “Make Me a Supermodel”, Tivo forgives and records it anyway.
When the writer’s stike was over, Tivo told me that the Daily Show was out of reruns.
My Tivo records every movie directed by Michael Curtiz. Not just the amazing ones like Casablanca, Mildred Pierce and the original Robin Hood. No, it also gets the obscure, the “Young Man with a Horn”, the 1951 remake of “The Jazz Singer” and, for good measure “The Helen Morgan Story” (and no, I have no f’ing idea of who Helen Morgan is or was).
The Nissan Frontier 4 door, 4 wheel drive in the city.
Sure, the Frontier is poorly named. It wouldn’t survive in the real frontier for more than an hour, two hours tops. But in the urban jungle it was spectacular.
And, in Molten Lava.
Sure the Martini is Rico Sauvier. The Maker’s Mark Manhattan is a more sophisticated way to the drunk tank. But the lowly Margarita, beloved by toilet huggers through out history is one of my true loves.
Whether poured by the pitcher on spring break with heathens or shaken merrily on the upper west side, it is tequila with an attitude. Face it, you barf on White Russians you never go near Kailua again. Half of the adults in California can’t drink Jagger because of a bad night once in their 20’s. But Margarita, you sweet yellow eyed mamacita, you call us back to your salty bosom over and over again.
Brad Pitt.
There is a constant fire sale on cute men of the moment.
George Clooney, Matt Damon, Matthew Mc Conaughey, Bredne Fraiser, Shia La Bouef ; the list of the moment floats in and out of our momentary thoughts. But there is only room for one blond, aggressively laid back cute ass grinner – and his name shall be Brad.
So let me occasionally check out of this day to day struggle for sanity.
Let drive down “Flamingo Road” in my Frontier before I settle down to watch Thelma and Louis on the Tivo with a pitcher of marggies.
Let me take a few days off from the race that life sometimes becomes. For I am human and life sometimes gets the best of me.
In the words of Michael Curtiz, “The next time I want an idiot to do this, I'll do it myself!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

So, Ed is Hooked on this show

Mein Eddie is not usually a reality junkie. But he has a serious thing about The Real Housewives of New York. He loves loves loves this show.

One of the best women is Luann. She is a tall drink of water that married some titled Frenchie. Since she married a Count, she insists on going by "Countess". The funny this is that she always refers to her husband as "The Count".

As in, "I'm sorry, I can't stay long. The Count is leaving tomrrow and I walk to spend time with him."
Her friends will say, how is your family. To which she will repsond, "Oh the childern love it out here in the Hamptons. The Count is traveling."

The Count himself drives me to distraction. Here is a picture of him and a picture of Randy Newman. I know he is "The Count de Lesseps", but I swear he is Randy Newman screwing with Luann's head.
Luann and The Count..
Randy Newman

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dolphin saves whales in New Zealand

Get this story (it is a great story).

Link from a New Zealand Newspaper, story lifted from "The Week"...

Two pygmy sperm whales that had become stranded on Mahai Beach in New Zealand were guided to safety by a bottlenose dolphin. Rescuers had tried to get the whales back into the sea, but the creatures were too disoriented in the shallow water to get their bearings. Just when it look as if the whales would have to be euthanized to stop their suffering, as dolphin -nicknamed by Moko by residents - apparently heard the whales cries for help, approached them, and guided them through a channel into deeper water. Marine biologist Anton van Helden said it was the first time he had ever heard of such and "inter-species" rescue.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How Many Countries Can You Name in 5 Minutes

The difficult part here was getting the correct spelling. I never could get Afganistan spelt correctly. I got 92 right.


Wow, if you like to read

Wow, if you like to see the world through different eyes, read this (and I am talking to you Connie).

This is an interview with Christopher Hedges. He has written 2 books - one of which I have read much of and one of which is new.

The first is American Fascists, about the intolerance of the American Fundamentalists (I first wrote Religious Right, but that isn't whohe takes to task, it is fundalmentalists - and he notes they are bad if they are Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu) and the effect on the country.

The latest is I Don't Believe in Atheists, about the intolerance and agenda of the new atheist authors.

I find his thoughts on some items right on the money. To quote: "I write in the book that not believing in God is not dangerous. Not believing in sin is very dangerous. I think both the Christian right and the New Atheists in essence don't believe in their own sin, because they externalize evil. Evil is always something out there that can be eradicated. For the New Atheists, it's the irrational religious hordes."

In the interview he talks about the amazing interplay and stubbornness of both groups. Mr. Hedges, FYI, is the son of a Minister and has graduated from the seminary. He was also the Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times for 7 years. He knows his shit.

He takes aim squarely at the hypocrites and tangentially at the echo room that discussion has become. Irregardless if the listener is a follower of strident religious right or the strident atheists, he is dismissive of those people who hear only what they want to hear.

It is a really good (and short) interview if you have a few moments. I tried to link to the "printable" version, so you shouldn't have to watch an ad to get to the story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Coco Channel and Trevor

The neighbor has a cute new little puppy. Trevor was a very nice big dog playing with her.

And yes, Coco is a Cutie.

Totally Inside Scooter's Mind

Okay, to frully enjoy the piece below you must be me. Or crazy. It really helps to be both.

Let me explain.

.. no that will take too long. Let me lay down the backstory.

.. no. That too, will take too long. Let me give some random facts that might (or might not) make sense after watching this video.

1) I love the McCaluins (sp?) Group - and always have
2) I love love love random facts
3) In 6th grade I had to build a diorama of a Carl Sandberg poem (don't ask) and I used the famous (and easy to diorama) "The Fog Comes on Little Cat Feet". Which is the whole poem, fyi.
4) At the end of this video I snorted with laughter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

He cooks, and scores

Just as a little FYI, sometimes I am a kick-ass cook. Yesterday I made homemade green chili chicken empanadas from scratch. (Okay I did buy the four pastry layers, but they were marketed as a top to pot pies, so I think that counts as ingenious).

I used tomatillios and hot chilis for the sauce and cooked some bird in them for the filling and it was oh-my-my good.

And yes, Eddie has become a much better cook himself. He wrangled up some baked penne with meatballs the other night that was great. But if he wants to bow his own horn- he can just log n himself.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Really good article (as in fair)

So, there is a really good article is Foreign Policy Magazine about the state of America's Armed Forces readiness.  I say really good, because it is totally fair.

They talked with a bunch of military guys (including enlisted, non-coms and commissioned officers) to see what they thought of US readiness.  

And here is the thing, they don't break down along nice little political lines.  There is plenty to make a liberal crow (for example, 74% say that the civilian leadership set unreasonable goals in Iraq) and plenty to make a conservative crow (90% think that the counterinsurgency strategy and surge of additional troops pursued by Gen. David Petraeus raise the US Military's chance for success there).

Anyway, it is great if you are interested.  Read it. It is easy for you or me or whoever to define what the military thinks.  It is different to try to understand.

Being fair to the military is VERY hard for so many of us.  We, as a group, rarely are in the military anymore.  I think that this division between the military that keeps us free, and the people who benefit from their sacrifice is terrible.  I think the country should require some type of national service.  We need to be pulled together as a country.  It is too easy / too hard to empathize / trash people otherwise.  We (we being middle class, upper middle class people)  are too removed from the people that protect this country.

And it isn't just us.  It is easier for the elected officials to send people who "volunteered" to foreign wars, we just need to give lip service and money.  Anyway, it's a good article if you are so inclined.

Oh Elliot...

As you may have guessed, I don't follow New York politics as much as I might.  Honestly, I find most of politics annoying and Elliot Spitzer... who cares.  MY state is ruled by a freaking STAR.  AH-nuld!

But one cannot help seeing the news about New York's Governor Elliot Spitzer.  He won by being the white knight, the straight shooter.  He went after Wall Street fat cats.  Now he is caught in a Prostitution ring.  

See, here again, you can't be holier than thou and then get caught in falagre..dente.  (Or as they say in New Jersey, "Without your drawers in a whore house").

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Oh no you di'nt

Well, yes we did actually.  We went and saw 10,000 BC this week-end with Randy.

It was oh so stupid and oh so fun.  It was great to see  it with the right New York audience.  When they woke up the old King's assistant and he started talking in a high squeeky voice.  Everyone laughed.  

When the big fight scene were going on, everyone cheered at the right times.

And when he saved the Saber Tooth (who then saved him in true Aesop's Fable method) it was fabulous fun for all involved.



Friday, March 07, 2008

Not For Republicans

Look, this is hysterically funny, but I know that Republicans will hate it. Honestly, trust me.


I want to share it, but not piss my friends and family off... So if you are a Republican, just skip this (except Carson, who loves stupid ass humor).


The confluence of technology and art

Some things are made for their times. Imagine the cast of Friends, trying to do that show on the radio. Imagine Einstein in the time of Ben Franklin, before physics was a science. Imagine Ronald Regan as President before mass media where he could use his talent.

No, some things cannot be without the marriage of timing. And some things were destined to be. Now imagine A.O. Scott (NY Times film reviewer) able to review 10,000 BC (the movie). My favorite passages are highlighted in bold.
(drum roll if you please........................)

Human Civilization: The Prequel

(by A.O. Scott)

“Only time can teach us what is truth and what is legend.” This bit of fake-folk wisdom commences the voice-over narration of “10,000 BC,” and the more you think about it, the more preposterous it seems. If anything, time confuses the issue. But it’s best not to think too hard about anything in this sublimely dunderheaded excursion into human prehistory, directed by Roland Emmerich from a script he wrote with Harald Kloser, who also helped compose, using his better ear, the musical score.

Mr. Emmerich has made something of a specialty in staging — with maximal bombast and minimal coherence — end-of-the-world scenarios. (See “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow,” though not on the same day if you can help it.) In the context of his oeuvre “10,000 BC” might be thought of as a kind of prequel, an attempt to imagine human civilization not on the brink of its end, but somewhere near its beginning.

Yet even as the story begins, the old ways seem to be dying out, as the Yagahl, a tribe of snuffleupagus hunters who favor extensions in their hair and eschew contractions in their speech, prepare for their last hunt. In fulfillment of an old prophecy, raiders on horseback (“four-legged demons”) arrive to sack the Yagahl encampment and take a bunch of the tribespeople as slaves. Among them is the blue-eyed Evolet (Camilla Belle), whose beloved, D’Leh (Steven Strait), sets out with his mentor, Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis), to rescue her.

Along the way D’Leh and Tic’Tic have many adventures, involving bizarrely costumed humans and computer-generated creatures, among them a scary race of flesh-eating swamp ostriches. These reminded me of nothing so much as the angry chicken, designed by the stop-action maestro Ray Harryhausen, that menaces some castaways in Cy Endfield’s 1961 curio “Mysterious Island.” And at its best — which may also be to say at its worst — “10,000 BC” feels like a throwback to an ancient, if not exactly prehistoric, style of filmmaking. The wooden acting, the bad dialogue, the extravagantly illogical special effects may well, in time, look pleasingly cheap and hokey, at which point the true entertainment value of the film will at last be realized.

Meanwhile back in the present, there is an awful lot of high-toned mumbo-jumbo to sit through. On his journey D’Leh (it’s pronounced “delay,” though most of the time he’s in a pretty big hurry) gathers a multicultural army to oppose the pyramid-building, slaveholding empire that has been bothering the more peaceful agrarian and hunter-gatherer tribes. These decadent priests seem like a curious hybrid of the Egyptians in “King of Egypt” and the Maya from “Apocalypto.” To reach them D’Leh travels overland from his home on the Siberian steppes through the jungles of Southeast Asia to the grasslands of Africa. But back then I guess it was all Gondwana, so the trip was easier.

Other movies D’Leh (or rather Mr. Emmerich) makes his way through include “The Searchers” and “Ice Age,” though nothing in “10,000 BC” approaches the poetry of the scrambling squirrel and his errant acorn in “Ice Age.” Still, it is a mercy that the tigers and the other creatures don’t talk. It would be more of a mercy if the human characters, especially that narrator, observed similar discretion.

But the big, climactic fight, complete with an epic snuffleupagus rampage, is decent action-movie fun. And as a history lesson, “10,000 BC” has its value. It explains just how we came to be the tolerant, peace-loving farmers we are today, and why the pyramids were never finished.

(Scott returns).... Even the Picture accompanying the story is mean.

The good old days, around 10,000 BC., when men were men, and beasts were right behind.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Recession Special

Just in case you think the folks in New York aren't doing their part in the Recesssion....
(posted by Ed)

I submit my Mid-East Proposal Again

Look, let's face it. The middle east is a train wreck. But we can fix the Palestine /Israel issue for less cost that we are currently spending to support Israel and Egypt annually. Between them, we give Egypt and Israel about 5 Billion dollars a year (and have been for decades).

Let's (conservatively) say that we continue that for another decade. Another $50,000,000,000 dollars. Now, you are right if you say that is nothing next to the cost of the Iraq War. Or next to the cost of the Medicare Drug program. You know depending on your whole liberal / conservative compliant. But either way, it's a lot of dough (and both Egypt and Israel have asked us to give it to them in Euro's since the dollar is in the toilet, but that is another rant).
So here is an idea...

Buy the middle of Baja California. Move Israel from the middle east to the Pacific. There is almost no water in either place. They will be surrounded by us and Mexico (and we don't have to give Mexico that much for it). If Mexico wants a swap, give them some land in California or Arizona. Hey, Israel is TINY. (see the map below).

And the middle of Baja is empty! EMPTY!!!

And we already have a free trade agreement with all of them.

So you say to Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, okay team. You wait 1 year and Saudi Arabia, kick in some funds for the movement. You let Israel withdraw in stages over the course of the year, and give up the land as they do that.

Even if the US has to build water desalinization plants in Baja, it is still a cost win for us.

There you go. Less killing, Palestine for the Palestinians, a new Israel for the Jews.

And less you think I am giving nothing up, this will make Cabo San Lucas (one of my favorite vacations) unvisitable due to the crowds.

See, it is a good idea isn't it.

Next Year In Santa Jerusalem.

Weathermen and Predictions (updated)

I think it is very lucky that weathermen in Los Angeles are in Los Angeles, where there is no weather to speak of. Let me explain.

Here in New York (and Lynn says it is the same in Ohio) the weather people are usually very correct. It think a lot of the reason is that, well, you see the weather coming across the country. If you have lived your whole life where the weather is visible coming at you, you might not understand.

In Los Angeles and San Francisco the weather blows in across the ocean. The ocean, unlike the land, can be different temperatures and effect the wind differently. Additionally, there are mountains out there that really effect the weather. The mountains ringing Los Angeles rise to over 11,000 feet (3600 Meters) - and that throws off the weather too.

So the weather changes really quickly and weathermen in San Francisco pretty much throw up their hands and say, "Got me. Probably some fog tomorrow." Los Angelino weather bimbos, on the other hand, never really have to report on the weather per say. Which is why they can bring their little dogs to work and flirt with the network anchor during their segments.

Once you get past the Rockies, there aren't any mountains to speak of (don't even talk to me about the Poconos) and there isn't any ocean. So the weather can be predicted far easier. It is interesting to live somewhere that the weathermen are usually right.

PS - I have no explanation for Chicago Weathermen. I think they just get the idiots there.

PPS - Just in case you think I am being hypocritical and sexist here, these are the CBS Channel 2 and Channel 9 Weather girl and the Fox Channel 11 Weather girl. (Well the picture adder is down on Blogger, right now, but I will add it later).

Added Channel 2 and 9

Channel 11

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Can't win for losing.. can't win for winnning

Look, I get the fact that she is annoying. But I find it weird that no matter what happens - she is the problem. Yesterday all the news was that when she lost (not if - FYI- but when) she should just bow out. I agreed with that.

Today the news is that she can't overcome Obama's delegates lead and superdelegate lead, so she should bow out.

These are the same voices that said she shouldn't win the nomination with superdelegates. But now, now that the super d's have switched in large numbers, the media and Obama line is that Hillary shouldn't even try to keep going.

See Newsweek, New York Times, San Francisco Gate, or Fox News (argueably these least testy of them).

Again, I know she is tough, loud and strong. Qualities that in a man are admirable and qualities that are in a woman bitchy. I know that she stayed with the man she was married to and made it work after a public and humiliating affair. Qualities that in a man are touching and family values, but in her case are calculated and devious.

But I think what pisses male commentators off the most is that whole the bitch just won't die story-line. She is like that Alien that keeps bouncing back up.

Contrast that with Huckabee who continued on long after McCain was the obvious nominee. He was fun. He brought up issues that voters wanted discussed. He gave people a choice. Hillary is only staying in it out of personal vaniety. Again -the official line on Hillary is that the bitch won't die. You watch Fox or MSNBC or most of CNN and see if you don't see that line of thought.

And yes, I like her - I think she has the balls to be President. But I like Obama too (well, not really, but I could easily support him).

But.... but you never hear the press discuss how Obama won't quit for the good of the party. Obama hasn't won a big state yet (except his home state). Obama is a dick because he can't read the writing on the wall. In fact, you didn't hear that about McCain last year as he was lost all his leads in the polls. Or Mitt Romey after he was OBVIOUSLY toast. I mean Hillary can easily still win this - and they want her to quit.

Let's have a nice discussion about the best Democrat (or let's not have it - I don't need to talk this damn thing to death). But let's stop with aggressively anti-woman line. And if you think it is anti-Clinton not anti-woman, look at how Nancy Polsi has been treated. We LOVE strong women in other countries (Margerat Thatcher, Goldie Mier, Indira Gandhi), just not so much here.

Only 1 Answer

Well just so you all know, Ed is nefarious. My glasses are lost this morning. Since you and I all know that I never misplace anything, it is clear that Ed hid them last night after I went to bed. So obvious... a Gaslight plan. But I won't be unnerved so easily.....

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Citi Hits a 9 Year Low

(From Fortune / CNN)

Citi hits new low

Citi (
C) sank 6% to a nine-year low amid rising worries about the banking giant’s financial health. Analyst Guy Moszkowski at Merrill Lynch cut his 2008 earnings estimate to 24 cents a share from $2.74, citing billions of dollars in subprime-related writedowns and other problems, starting with the U.S. consumer. “We remain concerned about loss provision potential, the direction of long-term strategy, and weak markets for the Capital Markets businesses,” Moszkowski writes.

Concerns about Citi are widespread. CNBC
reports the bank could be forced to cut more than 30,000 jobs - up from a previously announced plan to cut 24,000 positions - in a bid to bring expenses back in line with revenue. The CEO of Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund believes the $22 billion Citi has raised recently won’t be enough to keep the bank from going back to the markets for more capital soon.

(Per the resident Citi Employee - that sucks)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Lynn Wanted to Help us get ready for China

Lynn, always thinking of us, wants to help us get ready for China. So she nicely sent these signs to us, to familiarize ourselves with....
Apparently Number 1 or Number 2 doesn't translate.

Please. Please. Please don't touch yourself.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Well, I warned you. Mascot for March

I did warn you all yesterday about Sasha Artemev. He is the Mascot of the Month for March. I say this because he was thrilling to watch yesterday. And I will see him in Beijing. And, as stated, I said there would be a Olympics theme until I go in August.
Now, am I pleased to say the little shit is only 23? No. It does not please me to know that his father competed for Russia in 1984 (missed the Olympics because of the boycott) and that dad is no doubt younger than I. However, I have a feeling that is the way it will be at this Olympics in general.
At LA, in 1984, I was a contemporary of the athletes, and friends with more than a few of them. In Beijing, I may be a contemporary with some of them. The coaches and announcers.
But Alexander /Sasha Artemev is Mascot for a couple of reasons. First, he thrilled me on the Parallel Bars and the Horizontal Bar yesterday. He took a total digger on a release move in warm ups, but nailed it live. That is just fun.

And, although I missed it yesterday, he is killer on the Pommel Horse. I LOVE the Pommel Horse. Apparently Sasha is our first medal winner on the Horse since Kurt Thomas in 1979 (at the world cup). And, at the 1984 LA Olympics Tim Dagget won the only Pommel Horse US Medal ever.
The Pommel Horse is a tough piece of equipment, that is hard to understand when you watch it. The gymnast is not allowed to ever stop and hold a movement (unlike the floor, rings or bar equipment - where it is a requirement to hold the pose). And so the rhythm, the dismount the tricks are all significantly harder to manage, because you can't do one, then the next, then the next. You have to constantly think of your stream of work.

Anyway, I cannot wait to see him again in Beijing! So Sasha, your this month's Mascot.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

So today we went to the Tyson Cup

So today we went to the Tyson Gymnastic Cup. It was totally cool.

In the beginning we sat up behind the balance beam in the picture (far end in the picture above). Then we meet someone Ed works with and hung out with them for a while. For the Parallel Bars (Alex (Sacha) Artemev is working them in the picture) and the Horizontal Bars we stood in the Press Section. Spitting distance, as it were.

Paul Hamm won, and it was his first International Meet since the Athens games. Here is a picture I took of him flying over the Horizontal Bar.

Anyway, I took more pictures and you can see them here if you want. And yes, there are some extra pictures of Alexander / Sacha Artemev, because he will probably be Mascot of the Month.