Monday, July 30, 2007

It can't be that easy. Can it?

My friend Nikki refuses to consider the importance of religion in the Iraqi misadventure or in the war against Islamic fundamentalists.

Nikki pishes, piffles, poshes and pshaws, "All we have to do is to drop a few million iPods over the Middle East, and it's over."

I, of course, Dear Reader, fulminate (I don't know what it means, but it looks good and sounds and feels delicious when spoken) "Boo! Organized religion! If Islam can be considered organized."

Events, however, have their way of confounding clarity. Listening to NPR's coverage and reading the print stories out of Iraq regarding yesterday's victory of the Iraqi soccer team against the Saudis, one has to concede that distraction is, indeed, a powerful tool for peace. One might also say that the religious leaders there might not be so powerful against the 21st century as I once thought.

Chagrin! And hope.

Huzzah, Lions of the Two Rivers!!! (One Kurd, one Sunni, one Shia--teamwork more important than theocracy or politics!)

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Mad Men Revived

The AMC original show, Mad Men, returns us to the late 1950's, prior to Nixon's first presidential run. If you don't watch it, Dear Reader, may I humbly (moi?) suggest you do so. It will give you a theatrical look at certain attitudes driven by the testosterone of the day; those attitudes, well, vestiges of them, could very well be the ones with which we find ourselves at odds today.

Women in the office are treated with indifference, if not disrespect. The protagonist cheats on his wife, in a retrospective moment he muses to his mistress, "I don't know if you have everything...or nothing." Not even a twinge if the question also applies to himself.

Although Alpha Male is a relatively new word of the day, the series two openers reek of it.

As a late teenager during those years, I find the memories stirred by this series to be disturbing. I couldn't understand the concept of male superiority, and I didn't care if I didn't have it. Others cared very much that they have it.

The blinkered view of the world which the WASP evinces in this series is quite similar to the view which we see the Bush administration displaying. They are correct; they have unflinching faith in themselves; anyone who disagrees will be shunted aside or destroyed. "Maybe I should stop paying you," says the 1959 protagonist to an underling who dares to engage in a second round of debate.

The equivalent exchange of 2003: "We need 500,000 troops." "You're irrelevant."

And everyone smokes. The smoking pregnant, drinking women in Hairspray were funny. The WASP wife on the shrink's couch smoking isn't funny. It's tragic.

We survived the Eisenhower years. Surely we'll survive the Bush II years. In 40 years will there be a television show which exposes the foolishness of 2007?

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Monday, July 23, 2007

July Pot Pourri

1) Noticed on a walk in the neighborhood: "Private Community." Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron?

2) If you missed Maureen Dowd yesterday (and, if you don't have Time Select, you did), you missed this great line from the end of her column:

"Mr. Gates captured the sadness we feel about American kids trapped in a desert waiting to be blown up, sent there by men who once refused to go to a warped war themselves." (Quick reference to Bob Gates tearing up at a recent Marine event and Vietnam.)

3) In (July 23, 2007), someone finally added "Islamic" as an adjective to the "war on terror." War on Islamic terrorists is certainly a more accurate description of what were engaged in than war on terror. You go! RWNSes.

4) Watching "The McLaughlin Group" on Saturday last, I noticed that Tony Blankley doesn't look at his fellow panelists while he's developing a point. He looks down (at notes?) until the end of his presentation, then he looks at others in the eye. He does this in direct response, too. McLaughlin asks him a question, Blankley glances at the host, then casts his eyes down until the end of his response. Strange. It's disconcerting in a way; it makes me feel he's being less than straightforward--rather like he can't look someone in the eye while being duplicitous...sort of like a six year old.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Alas, the conundrum of the ages... in Islamabad, the Muslim cleric who was the leader of those extremists holed up in a mosque got his wish. He's dead, according to news reports.

Willa Cather ends "Paul's Case" with these words--"the immense design of things." The dead cleric, like Paul, has gone into that immense design.

As a person who simply cannot accept the validity of the anthropomorphized deity of the book religions, I find it somewhat sad that there is no real Great Satan waiting to welcome this murderer into his arms. Nor is there a carnal festival awaiting his followers.

Nothing is there, guys, except a vast indifference.

Too bad. It would be nice to know the guy was frying for eternity.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Islam's Peacefulness?

It's the same song, and it doesn't change, even the verses stay the same.

In the Riverside, California, primary newspaper, The Press-Enterprise, one Mariam Moustafa offers a letter, critical of a Michelle Malkin column (printed June 22), including this excerpt: "According to the Quran, "Allah loves those who are fair (and just)" (Quran 49:9). The Quran reflects the righteousness that a true Muslim must possess. If Islam were truly a religion of violence, then Muslims would not have been able to peacefully coexist with people of other faiths, such as Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Zoroastrians, since the 7th century."

As far as Moustafa goes, there is no problem. However, with the current tactics of the Taliban in Afghanistan using non-combatants as shields, of the Sunni and Shia extremists using suicide murderers against each other, and the continuing references (although there is some question about the accuracy of the translation) of the deity seeing to the carnal desires of the "martyrs" in Paradise, she will need to offer a little more than a single line from the Quran if she wishes to convince non-Muslims of the ability to "peacefully coexist" in the 21st century.

I hope she will do so--sooner rather than later.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sincerely Sincere or just Sincere?

The first time someone used the line on me was back in the 1970's when the Anita Bryant brouhaha was building over in Dade County, Florida. "She's being sincere."

Maybe. The problem with that excuse for a questionable action is that most people who engage in what others might feel unthinkable behavior are sincere. Don't you think Lenin was sincere? Stalin? Hitler? Bull Connor?

Sincerity shouldn't let people off the hook.

President Bush is often said to be his belief in his Iraqi his tax his signing his disregard for the Geneva Conventions on torture...

So what? He's wrong.

Let's not hear more about how sincerely Mr. Bush believes the jail sentence for Mr. Libby was "excessive." The president's sincerity has nothing to do with the justice of the sentence.

The real question for Republican Party sycophants as Mr. Bush enters the final 18 months of his presidency is whether or not RNC members are more sincerely dedicated to the U.S. Constitution or to the RNC.

I sincerely hope Mr. Bush finds Jesus again--this time to stop trashing our system of government, now that his liver is healing.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

She's b-a-a-a-a-ck!!!!!!

Some variation on the old Lily Tomlin Ernestine schtick--We are A T and T; we are omnipotent!--has returned to amuse and infuriate the public. She's called a supervisor for the ATT GoPhone program. Here's the situation.

My GoPhone year was set to expire on July 28, 2007. AT&T has graciously been sending me reminders that I'm about to lose my unused time if I don't renew for the $100 yearly cost.

Dutifully, like the good soldier I am, I hied myself over to Radio Shack, zipped out the ol' AmEx card, swiped, and signed. When I returned home to check the webpage to be certain the account showed the new balance, I was disturbed to note that the expiration date had become June 30, 2008, rather than July 28, 2008, which I had expected.

After all, doesn't renew your "year's" imply that the renewal will commence on the anniversary date?

A telephone call this morning to the 888 number didn't do any good at all. My first assistant, Leslie, was helpful, but powerless to change the date. The system is set up to start the year from the date of purchase, not the anniversary date. (Remember, there is no mention of this that I can recall from the email reminders.)

After assuring Leslie that I understood the details of Corporate Headquarters, I said I'd still like to have the address or the telephone number of someone with whom I could register my dissatisfaction with having "lost" a month.

Leslie connected me with Jennifer. Jennifer, after not having much luck with telling me I hadn't lost any money (Jen, hon, that wasn't the issue. What I lost was the ability to plan on how I would be spending that money. I lost flexibility.), thus assuaging my desire to complain, finally said that she could give me some information about where to send a complaint, "but that won't do you any good."

And there it was. You want to complain about AT&T? You foolish little man. Don't you know we're om-knee-po-tent?!?

Welcome back, Ernestine.

Now, is Judge Harold Greene still around?

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