Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Sue vs. Computer. Round One. Ding!

The DSL thing is not proceeding so well.

I knew things were doomed when I put in the Verizon software installation CD, and my computer was like, "No way, man. I don't think so." I was like, "Bitch, I know you can't do much, but I know you can read a CD." And the computer was all, "I know where this is going, and I don't like it. Nope. I don't wanna." So I smacked it off and rebooted.

Then I got it to read the disk, and the computer is like, "Fool, you don't even have an ethernet card up in this shit." To which I replied, "Alright, computer. You got me on that one." And I went into my closet to pull out a computer that makes this one look like a spring chicken, and ripped its guts out. I carried over the ethernet card, bleeding entrails, and shoved it into this one.

"Alright," said computer. "But your processor is too slow. You need to have 233 MHz, and you've only got 220. You cannot proceed, so just take that disk outta me, move those cables away, and just keep on dialing."

"But, but!" I sputtered. "Right here, on your documentation, it says I only need 133 MHz!"

"Do I look interested? I am not getting my ass up off this chair for one megahertz under 233 and you can take that to the bank."

So what now? Do I surrender? Dastardly computer has won Round One. Do I upgrade my processor to a measly 233 MHz? Is it possible to do such a thing? My computer is so shitty. It's getting an inferiority complex by sitting next to the pencil sharpener.

Thanks to Tom, I now have a plan to fool my bastard computer and bend it to my will. You may have won Round 1, you glorified calculator, but in the end, your ASS IS MINE.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Just realized how self-absorbed and navel-gazey I've been the last week or two. Ick. And if you think this is bad, you should see how much time I've been spending talking about myself in real life. It's intolerable, and I promise to stop soon. Just after I relate the Incredibly True Story of My Left Pinky Toenail, which you simply must hear...


According to Linda Goodman's Sun Signs, a book that has perched on the shelf of my parents' home for at least 25 years and is the only tantalizing whisper of a more bohemian, more free-ish love past that you will find in their posession, the great thing about being in a relationship with a Gemini woman is that you get to date multiple people without cheating on anyone.

See, of course, Geminis are the twins. So I, as a Gemini, contain multitudes. Even as a young lass first probing the pajama'd mysteries of astrology and ouija boards, I always considered this kind of a charming perk for my future romantic partners. I'd be exciting and unpredictable and mysterious. He'd have sunny, charming me and then a brooding, wild-haired, willful me. Think less Sybil and more Scarlett O'Hara, minus the vicious manipulating and the corset. I never imagined that one of these personalities would actually turn out to be neither Sybil nor Scarlett, but an asexual office gremlin.

See, here's the problem. My normal personality, the normal way I talk, is more or less what you see on this here blog. I am trivial, I curse like a vice president, I mock everything I can see, I say totally a lot. But the default personality does not incur the respect and knee-trembling terror that I hope to inspire in my colleagues. Because I am anything but a responsible adult and do not know how a responsible adult might naturally behave, I have no response mechanisms ready for the banter and repartee of the workplace environment. So I revert to a simulation of competent adulthood and act like some wicked bastard child of suburban housewife and long-suffering secretary who wears pantyhose and tennis shoes.

I have thusly navigated the turbulent waters of employment without capsizing into abject humiliation, save for one thing. I have taken on the laugh. You know, the laugh. The ingratiating, unconvincing laugh that goes on too long, always triggered by something not very funny.

Like, try this: "Well, I think she sent it. But you know Kathy!! [insincere laugh]"

Every time I hear this laugh come from my mouth, I die a little bit. I realized that something must be done before this becomes an official personality and the moody, passionate femme fatale will get edged out of the line-up. So I have anthropomorphized this personality, and named her Mabel. I think she'll be easier to kill if she has a name.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Interweb, here I come! Faster!

So I bit the bullet and signed up for DSL for my home computer. Basically, my boyfriend has chosen the internet over me so I have to up my market value if I ever want to see him at my place again. Perhaps now HE'LL CONSIDER A CELL PHONE as a wee sign of GRATITUDE.

Dial-up has been a fast sluggish friend ever since I left the dorm and its blessed ethernet in '98, but there comes a time when you must leave your childish attachments behind and move on. When you've torn the frameless posters from your wall, when you've replaced your plastic shower rings with silver rolling ball rings, when you have actual stemware rather than a mishmash of plastic fan cups, it's probably also time to ditch the dial-up. The very mention of my trusty dial-up connection brings hisses of scorn, disdain, and sometimes I daresay I see the glint of pitchforks at the ready. In my defense, to paraphrase the proud owner of a Volkswagen Fox: it was not one of the internet's finest moments, but it was one of its cheapest. And so I bid farewell to dial-up and the song of my early 20s; I leave you with a tribute to that haunting lullabye that soothed the nub ends of my days:

doo do doo do doo do doo............. bzzzzzzzzzBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZbzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....... CRACKLECRACKLEHISSSHISS.... buhDUMbuhDUM buh... DUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

(Of course, the DSL has a minimum system requirement of 64 RAM, which I'm not sure I meet. Seriously, the computer is pre-millenial and verrrrrrrry crankity. So if this doesn't go well, I may be back to the dial-up after all. Wish us luck.)
Welcome to Ann Arbor

As he embarks on his freshman year at the University of Michigan, Michael Phelps ought to keep one thing in mind: you may have won the hearts of the nation, the atrophied loins of bored housewives, and inspired children to reach for their dreams, but you have a lot of work to do in the undergraduate smartass demographic. I don't know if he was expecting to be greeted on campus with a red carpet, but whatever he was expecting, it probably wasn't an editorial in a student paper like this:

Michael Phelps is a Choke Artist Who I Could Totally Beat at Everything
I heard that you're coming to our own little university. Well, Mikey, let me give you some advice, from one Wolverine to another: don't expect your classmates to be impressed by your success, or should I say, lack thereof? When you introduce yourself as Michael Phelps, they will undoubtedly inquire, "Michael Phelps, winner of eight gold medals?" To which you must reply, "No, Michael Phelps, winner of but six gold medals and two pitiful bronze medals." Then they will laugh at you, nickname you "Bronzy," and give you sixth-eighths of the finger.

Oh, it's tres funny. Go read the whole thing. Thanks to Mizz Parker for the tip.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ask Not For Whom the Belle Tolls

I have something strange to share.

It began last Friday, while I was clicking around blogs as usual. Through some chance stream-of-blogging chain of events, I came to the website of a blogger named Belle Waring. In that way that some things get stuck in your brain for no discernible reason, I guess the name stuck with me. Belle Waring. It sounded like a character from a novel where they use the word "torrid" a lot. It sounded like my favorite twee band from Glasgow. I dunno, it sounded cool.

So later on Friday, (and I know I said I wasn't going to go into this, but it's kind of integral to the story, so there goes that) I was awoken in the middle of the night by the worst pain I'd ever felt. I flopped and inchwormed my way towards the bathroom where I stayed collapsed on the ground.

If you've ever experienced really extreme pain of an extended nature, a curious thing happens. And that is that you go insane. I thought that I was in Iraq and that I had just been wounded. And then, I thought that I was Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya and that the FSB had just poisoned me. Later, I was to share these anecdotes with my friends and loved ones, because they were cuckoo in a charming, benign way. But today, I remembered with stark clarity, that while writhing in delirium on the floor, I thought something else. Something far more strange and sinister.

Belle Waring.

Belle Waring. Belle Waring. I just started chanting this name to myself, like a mantra to ward off the pain. And even as I did so, I knew in the deep recess of my mind that this was a crazy thing to be doing. That it was a product of my pain and delirium, and that I needed to get a grip and stop saying it to preserve what sanity was still feuling my survival instinct. To no avail. Belle Waring. Belle Waring. It started to anguish me, the insistence, incessance. But when you're debilitated and feeble of mind and Christ, convinced that you've just been wounded in Iraq, don't even try to tell yourself, "Whatever you do, don't think of the name Belle Waring." Belle Waring. Belle Waring. Belle Waring in Iraq. Belle Waring in Beslan. What Would Belle Waring Do?

And so today, hale and hearty, I was clicking happily about the internet, when I skipped over to Crooked Timber—one of those sites I always want to read but never seem to check on very often. Unbeknownst to me, this Belle Waring also posts at Crooked Timber! And I saw the name. And that's when I remembered what we'd been through together. And my stomach, it just lurched and jerked and heaved, like a voodoo curse.

For the time being, apparently, I cannot look at the name Belle Waring by surprise, because it makes me physically ill.

As you can see, I'm completely looney tunes, and I just thought you all should know that before you continue associating with me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

So You Wanna Be a Bush Speechwriter?

Knock yourselves out, my droogies.
Attention DC residents!

Catherine's cancer-defying fundraising happy hour extravaganza is TONIGHT! I hear that Catherine will make out with you if you show up. So, crazy stalkers, now's your chance!
It's a Wild World

I take back all the nasty, snide things I ever said about Tom Ridge and the Department of Homeland Security. After all, we live in perilous times, and these civil servants devote their lives to tireless vigilance, scanning our borders like the unblinking eye of Sauron. I scoffed at their devotion to duty, and ridiculed the petty bureaucracy designed to create a facade of security.

But no longer.

For my government has now saved us from Cat Stevens. FYI, Cat, you're being followed by something, but it ain't a moonshadow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Kriston's raising hell over at this other website about an issue guaranteed to boil my blood: DC's lack of congressional representation.

You can yak and evade and equivocate, but there is absolutely no acceptable defense for this status quo. At least, there is no acceptable defense that does not admit a disdain for the American system of government and the idea of inalienable rights.

When I was in Georgia for their parliamentary elections, I had a startling realization in a polling station. Each of these citizens, as he casts his vote for a representative to parliament, is exercising a right that I do not share. And there I was, working my tail off to support their natural rights, while mine languished at home. Perhaps we can bring some Georgians over to DC to explain the process of popular representation to our lawmakers downtown.
A Note to My Texan Compatriots



Hey, Texans.

There's this thing.

It's called Autumn.

The sun stays bright and the air smells clean and sharp, and at night you sleep with the windows open and shiver on crisp sheets.

My God, is it gorgeous.

You guys have to try this.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Friday, I'm in Pain

I thought we white people had pretty much poked our grubby fingers into just about every pie in Kriston's historically black, gentrifying neighborhood. But when the big hurt came on Friday night (don't ask; it's gross and embarassing. not even for you, Matty), I discovered that the last institution in a neighborhood to gentrify is undoubtedly the hospital. There are a lot of white people living in the area these days, but not a one was to be found at the local ER. Do white people not hurt themselves? Do they whisk themselves off to Georgetown after a good friday night's alcohol poisoning? I was the sole representative of my pale brethren until a construction worker came in the next morning with a lacerated hand. It would have been something to ponder, had I not been writhing in agony. Shouldn't the demographics of a neighborhood hospital roughly correspond to the demographics of the neighborhood? It's okay, white people! They're generous with the demerol here!

Besides, there's a great entertainment value to a hospital teetering on the unsteady border between yuppy candyland and urban blight land. Had I been relaxing in the tony environs of Georgetown Hospital, say, I'm sure the only conversations I'd overhear would be "Dreadfully sorry to bother you, miss, but I seem to have stumbled over my piles of money and now my driving foot is a bit cramped. Could you spare, perhaps, a vial or two of elephant tranquilizer? That's a dear."

Instead, I get to listen to the gentleman next to me who I named "Massive Head Injury Joe." The fuzz brought him in and he had a nasty slice in his head of indeterminate origins.
"WHA' HAPPENED TO MY HEAD?" MHIJ would screech.
"We're not sure, sir, do you remember?"
"Sir, please hold still. Sir. You can't keep moving around, you'll injure your neck. Sir, please, we can't get a read."

Then Shaky Joe tottered in (I named all of them Joe), and he smelled pretty foul and he needed a drink something awful. It was kind of sad watching him try to dress himself despite his violent tremors, but it was also kind of gross and I wish Shaky Joe knew to shut the curtain.

However, I would like to note the insufficient space that the hardworking staff suffers. There are not nearly enough rooms for patients. Somebody got themselves shot, and thus earned dibs on my room. I was shuttled from my comfortable room into the hallway with the invalids and Joes, where we all happily moaned and thrashed our limbs in our best imitation of a 18th century insane asylum. Minus the hay and the fecal matter. I hope...

Friday, September 17, 2004

Gutter Politics

I never get too down about sordid campaign seasons stateside, because I always have before me the example of our friends around the world. John Kerry, you say you've taken your gloves off? You don't know from taking gloves off.

The opposition candidate in Ukraine's upcoming presidential election has reportedly been poisoned. I was wondering when they were going to get serious. Now we're having an election!

Also, as a side note, I'm never going to blog again, ever. Probably. I recently learned that grad school doesn't apply for itself, and I've worked myself into a nice juicy stomach ulcer looking at everything I have left to do.

Like, for starters, making a Pro/Con list for chucking in the towel and becoming a housewife or something.
Pro: No letters of recommendation required.
Con: Procreation expected.

Pro: Personal statements consist of "Bring me another bon-bon!"
Con: Personal statements actually consist of "I have a coupon for that Velveeta!"

See, it's kind of a wash. Ah, the future. Highly overrated.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Kriston is a Martyr, Exhibit 2

Sometimes I think Kriston might need a new friend to talk art with. I'm probably not cutting it.

[Our e-mail conversation this morning on the topic of the upcoming Venice Biennale - some major art extravaganza]:

KC: The Biennale is in June. Not sure that I could fly then, but oh, the Biennale, and plus guess who's representing America this year? Hint: Even weirder and more beloved than Richard Gober!

ME: I don't know. Your face?

KC: Aww, you're such a sweetheart! They're going to give Matthew Barney the US pavillion. It's his first piece outside the Cremaster movies, and it's sort of destined to flop. How do you follow up 10 hours of movies?

Me: I don't know. With YOUR FACE?

So any art kids out there, please talk to Kriston. I'll just be off here in the corner, cracking myself up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Here are a few drawings made by some Georgian students that my organization works with (you can click on the photos to make them larger). We had a big event planned that was overshadowed by the tragedy just up the road from them in Beslan. The victims were kids their own age, starting up the school year just like them, just on the other side of South Ossetia. This is a serious boogie man, and I'm always amazed by the honesty of children's drawings.

This first drawing shows the WTC towers under attack on the left, and on the right we have Beslan. In between, hands shaking in partnership. I think the prominence of Beslan = 9/11 is probably the product of some coaching from the news and from adults. But the drawings of the WTC, I think, show that this is pretty deeply burned into their psyches. Drawings by kids always seem to dwell on the horrific and gory. We tend to assume this is because kids are fascinated by horrific gore. Which, I suppose, is true. But look at the detail of people falling out of buildings. This is something that is very hard for us to talk about. This child zoomed in on this detail. I don't think it is because he is fascinated with catastrophe; I think it is because this is the awful image that is in his mind. Kids don't filter out these things we do. They don't draw with euphemism. They don't try to make things polite. Why are some people red? What is the green stuff coming out of the cop cars? Why are the shooters in the Beslan drawing red? Wish I was there to ask.

This little guy. If his face doesn't just melt your heart, you don't have one.


Monday, September 13, 2004

What Happens to a Dream Deferred?

Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and ill-behaved women...

I have a proud, long history of stalking Olympians. I say that stubbornly, because I'm distantly aware that my 12th-grade decision to follow the 1996 male gymnastics Olympic team back to their hotel after a gymnastics exhibition for an autograph actually constitutes a shameful, short history of stalking Olympians.

But never mind that.

We had big plans, me and TP, my cohort in lingering adolescence. Hometown hero Michael Phelps would be just up the road in Towson, MD for the gala festivities dubbed the "Phelpstival." You heard me, the Phelpstival. If it had been called "Hometown Parade" or "Welcome Back Michael!" or something similar, it would have probably passed unnoticed. But the Phelpstival? What's funnier than that? It's practically begging for a couple of grown women who ought to know better to come and make utter asses of themselves. With a thermos full of gin and tonics. And once we were good and wasted, we were going to start screaming "TAKE IT OFF" and "SHOW US YOUR GLUTES" and any other wildly inappropriate cat-calls that we trashy ho-bags could think to sling at a wide-eyed, sheltered 19-year-old. It was going to be glorious, it was going to be hilarious, it was going to be this next weekend.

So imagine my distress when I come into my office only to learn that the Phelpstival was held this past Saturday, when instead of screaming drunkenly at the dolphin boy, I was screaming drunkenly at Mack Brown and Vince Young and all the rest of my dear Longhorns who pulled off a win, but who I fear will once again let me down against OU in a few weeks. Fucking OU.

Anyway, it sucks. We missed our crowning moment of combining puberty with alcohol. And it looks like we would have been in good company. I hope somebody with photoshop will take care of pasting my and TP's heads onto the bodies of our spiritual sistas:

(I want to be the pink panther one. TP can be the cutie-patootie in white. Just change her flag for a cocktail glass.)

Friday, September 10, 2004

Open Letter To John Kerry

Dear John Kerry,

Don't ever say 'Heavens to Betsy.'




Come out, Come out Wherever You Are

Fergus, you Irish bastard.

When did I tell you I have a blog?

One of the myths I perpetuate in order to keep myself writing on this thing, is that nobody reads it. You'll notice I don't have one of those site meter thingies at the bottom of my page. Because I don't want to know. I am terrified of all of you. So when an old friend pops out of nowhere, and it turns out they read this thing, I always feel slightly caught with my pants around my ankles. Quick! Did I ever write anything rude/bitchy/offensive/flippant about them or the values they hold dear?

(Luckily, Ferg holds no values dear. I also know that no acquaintance or employer could ever track me down to this blog unless I told them about it; my name is so awesomely Google-proof, it's almost as if my attorney father saw into the future and gave me the most boring name imaginable as to keep me anonymous.)

This whole episode brought back the fuzzy, blurry, kinda-sideways-tilted memories of a spring break in Prague. My sister, ever-loving Clarissa, and I met up with Fergus in glorious Praha for a few days while all the cool kids were off getting date raped in Cancun. (see? offensive.)

Many of the most amusing moments of the trip were courtesy of Clarissa's propensity for, well...there's no way to sugar coat this. For saying really, really stupid shit. And she'd say it with this wide-eyed naivete that was just too precious. And she'd believe anything, no, anything you cared to tell her. She's more or less outgrown this, but it was pretty marked a few years back. It was the summer when Mad Cow disease was ravaging the continent and British Isles. (Remember when rotty beef was our biggest global threat?) Fergus was telling us about the giant piles of sheep they were having to just set ablaze in order to deal with the contamination. Clarissa's eyes got all wide and trembly like they do. "You mean, they burn those lambs alive?" I think Ferg snorted a big laugh before whipping out his lighter double-quick, flicking on the flame, and then chasing after Clarissa shouting, "That's right Flossie! It's the Zippo treatment for you!"

Maybe you had to be there. But it was hi-larious.

Later that week, we were all sitting around with not much to say (potentially bollocksed out of our gourds on Absinthe. Incidentally, the Night of Absinthe was the only night of my life when I've been able to keep up with an Irishman in drinking. Round for round, from dinner 'til 4am. I deserve a fucking medal of honor. Or Ferg deserves to have his citizenship stripped.) Right, so we're sitting around and from absolutely nowhere, Clarissa asks Fergus, "Have you ever thought about what you want for your epitaph?" Ferg just turns to her with a quizzical look and says, "Man, you are one freaky bitch." So for a few months after that, she was known affectionately to us as "Flossie the Freaky Bitch," which can be song to the tune of "Casper the friendly ghost," in case you're interested.

See, Mom and Dad? How traveling expanded my cultural horizons? Aren't you proud?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Clearing the pipes

You guys are lucky I have mad self-censorship skills. I keep wanting to post things about the aftermath of the Beslan tragedy, but I know full well that if I post one thing, I'm gonna have to talk about it all. I mean, there's madness. But I have no illusions about you people. You do not come here for cogent commentary on global affairs, and good for you. Unfortunately, I've got this itch, and it's just gotta be scratched, so I'm going to take a deeeeeeeeeeeeep breath (ready?) and get it all out in one sentence. If you're interested, read the next paragraph. If not, skip on.

Shit, meet fan:(okay, exhale) In classic Kremlin style, journalists critical of the government are treated to the golden oldie of boot-heel-on-neck (one detained, one allegedly poisoned, one prominent editor-in-chief sacked); citizens are demanding their own version of the 9/11 commission and the Kremlin is all, "What do you think this, some kind of liberal democracy," while they continue to lie, lie, lie and say that there were no Chechens among the hostage-takers; Putin is all, "you don't go sit down with Bin Laden, so why do you tell me I need to negotiate with child murdering bastards;" Georgia is pretty well convinced that Russia is about to seriously start some shit in South Ossetia, and the whole region is on edge. Putin took the time to meet with a collection of foreign journalists and Russian experts to discuss his thoughts, which kind of pissed of some Russians, with whom he has not discussed his thoughts; per Olga Gerasimenko: "Don't misunderstand me; I'm not at all opposed to the idea of our president meeting with foreign journalists and political analysts. But neither can I imagine that on September 15, 2001 - four days after the terrible tragedy of the Twin Towers - the president of the United States could have met at his out-of-town residence with a group of only foreign journalists and political scientists, to answer the questions that were tormenting all the American people at the time. I can't imagine the citizens of the United States being forced to learn the views of their own president from an article published in any foreign newspaper, no matter how influential." People are hurting, and say what you will about Putin, he is not a leader well equipped to respond to people's needs. People respond to him.

Okay, done! I also have some nice photos of the Russian embassy covered in flowers, so I'll try to post those someday as well. I have a little bit of storage space through my web service people, but I need an FTP somethin' somethin' in order to store photos? Tommy? Somebody?

Okay, but really, don't go away for good, dear readers. Because I've got some good stuff in store: a story about boobs! And next week, a story about the lamest outing ever (it hasn't happened yet, but I already know it will be blogworthy).

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Nope, your browser's not broken

I just still haven't updated.

Friday, September 03, 2004

September 16, 2003 Washington, DC - Hearing before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe on the Current Situation and Future of Chechnya.

Lord Judd of the House of Lords testifying, almost exactly one year ago:
Could I just say on that, having been a foreign office minister, what I often remark upon is that, yes, people can come back and say, of course we raised this matter with the Russians. But there is a world of difference between raising the matter with the Russians and over coffee, as it were, at the end of a visit, sort of rattling the teaspoons. I am speaking metaphorically and saying, oh, and by the way before I go back, there is just this issue, because there are a lot of human rights freaks around, and so on, who do not see the importance of our battle against terrorism, and it would be helpful.

You know what I am saying. I think one really has to set out to make this a major issue. I hope you will forgive me, just because I am repeating myself, which is unforgivable in political circles, but I just feel so, the expression I used several times in Washington in the last few days is that I have never in my political experience felt so stumped. This is an English expression taken from cricket. It means so perplexed. I just cannot see the logic of a total preoccupation with a fight on global terrorism, and then as it were almost indirectly aiding and abetting a process which is recruiting for extremist terrorists. To me, I just cannot understand where this is coming from, because to me I can see no logic for this position whatsoever.

I did not post this to take a partisan swipe at Bush for not pushing Putin harder to do something about the atrocities in Chechnya, though he should have. It's not a swipe at Clinton for not pushing Yeltsin harder, though he should have. It's not even an excuse to post some jolly British foppishness (well, maybe a little).

It's to say: this human rights stuff. It all seems so fuzzy and do-gooder-ish and tangential to the realpolitik of great powers. But this is what happens when we treat it that way. The Chechen separatists have been making unsavory friends that bring gifts of guns and nightmarish plans. The Chechens have been stewing and steaming while their relatives are shoveled into mass graves ringing Grozny, and Russia stays the course, and the international community doesn't want to ruffle feathers, and we all have other things to deal with, and a bunch of fucking children get burned alive on their first day of school. It's the monsters in masks who bear the blame, but we could have done more. Somebody should have done more.

I think that's the last from me on this. I wanted to post something cheerful for the long weekend, and this is what came out. Next week, we'll turn to back to elections and my funny friends and stupid bumper stickers. I just needed to get this out of my system for now, so thanks for bearing with me.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The words of the chief negotiator in Russia's current hostage crisis, after the militants have once again refused to allow delivery of food, water, and medicine to the hostages (pardon the choppy translation):

"In the event of an unfavorable outcome - this is war. War here, in this dangerous region. War between brotherly peoples cannot be tolerated. I appeal to the wisdom of the Ossetian, Ingush, and Chechen peoples, that such a war will not come to be. We will lose thousands of lives. It is necessary to know this."

Barring any major developments, I believe the Russians will storm the gym in another day or two, which is likely mined. Bloodbath ensues.

I'm really sorry. I'm depressed. I'll return to happy funny SueAndNotU when the world stops completely sucking.
A Bi-Partisan Statement for Partisan Times

When George W. Bush said that we can't win the war on terror, I immediately thought, "That is the first sensible thing I've heard him say on the subject." I was as dismayed by his retraction as I was at the Kerry campaign's decision to pounce on the moment and claim that they knew the war was winnable. I do understand why neither candidate can look like a defeatist. I do get why they talk this way. My dismay stems from the fact that in our political arena, talking sense is a losing strategy.
I walk the line

Zell Miller's rant last night, thinly veiling his disgust for dissent, got me thinking. We've often been helpfully reminded by certain right-leaning folk who are suspicious of the card-carrying ACLU types that soldiers died for your right to protest. Or as Zell put it last night, " is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest."

Which, yeah. I know.

The thing that always gets me about this line of argument, is that it's usually delivered as a rebuke, an argument against protesters or dissenters or whoever. Otherwise, why state the obvious? The unspoken end of that sentence is you are abusing the rights that someone died to grant you. It seems to imply, to me, that the best way to honor those freedoms that our countrymen died for is to never use them at all.

That someone died for these freedoms makes them all the more precious, dear, and worthy of exercise. They aren't to be put up on a very high shelf, only brought down and dusted off for very special occasions. Who is truly honoring the memory of those lost protecting our liberties—a citizen openly questioning the performance of his government, or a citizen who labels such thinking as an abuse, as treason?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

No Joy in Mudville

The wind has been snuffed from my snide sails.

I wanted to come in this morning, and write a bitchy post about the Bush twins making utter fools of themselves with their ill-suited teen banter, and how you'd never have seen Chelsea pull such a stunt upon her graduation from college because she respected herself as an accomplished young woman.

But frankly, I don't have the heart. Because I pulled up the Post on-line this morning and was greeted with this:

And right now, there are maybe hundreds of children huddled in a gym on a long, sleepless night while heavily armed thugs stomp around them, threatening to kill 50 children for every one of their fighters who is killed. A mere 20 children will be slaughtered for the wounding of a fighter. Children have been spotted up against windows - "apparently being used as human shields."

There's a lot to be said. About the string of attacks, about the sources and contacts and motivations of these groups. Russian security services need to have a good hard look at themselves, and there's foreign policy to consider. All that must be done, but maybe I'm not cut out for that kind of thing, because I can't stop thinking about the kids right now.

I keep thinking back to the last time we watched this macabre production - when Chechen militants stormed Moscow's Dubrovka theater, taking 700+ hostages. Remember how that ended? Remember how the security services sent a nerve gas into the theater that was meant to incapacitate the militants, but killed scores of hostages? I know they won't make the same mistake again, but the inkling of a chance that we might have to see photos of dozens of children's bodies piled up outside their school makes me utterly heartsick.

And so this cycle continues. Atrocity, retribution, rage, and atrocity again. I see no good end to any of this.