Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is it Just Me? (2)

Is it just me?, or has the concept of manners changed while I wasn't looking?

I don't mean to come across all crotchety or anything, especially since I have that reputation, but I am beginning to think that I might be something of a curmudgeon.

Here is my drift: Just about every Sunday, after church, we go to lunch at our local Bob Evans restaurant. We do this pretty much every Sunday, and something that I regularly see there is bothering more and more. It is something that has always bothered me, but has become nearly unbearable: Men who wear hats indoors, and especially at the table.

Since when is this ok? Did I miss something?! I was raised in the in the 1970's... has that much changed? I was raised to believe that a man wears a hat to cover his head to keep it dry, or warm, or to protect it from the sun. A man also wears a hat if it is part of a uniform. I was also trained to believe that no man who has any business being called a gentleman, keeps his hat on when he is indoors. I was raised to believe that it is no less than an outrage to be seated for a meal while wearing a hat.

Yes I know that there are exceptions, but generally speaking: Hats worn indoors are verboten.

These days you see it all over the place. Baseball caps... often two sizes too large, sitting sideways or backwards on the head of some teenager, or worse, an adult, who thinks he is being fashion-forward. Bad enough that it usually looks kind of stupid, but worse when done indoors... ok, I'm not that rigid... I get it if you are wearing a hat in the mall... the mall is sort of today's answer to Main street. I get that.... but when you are in a restaurant? C'mon, guys!

The other thing that has been bothering me a great deal is this trend: Talking on your cel phone during a meal. Whats that all about? Must you really answer that call during dinner? It isn't that I care if you are rude at home, but do I really need to hear your conversation?

While we are on the subject of telephones... The bookstore. Why can't you use your inside voice on your cel phone? you really needn't shout... that device that you are speaking into is a microphone. See, it picks up your voice, and amplifies it for the receiver that you are speaking to. Thats how that works. Why Can't you have that conversation in the bookstore cafe? Would you make that much noise in a library?

You probably would, you f***ing barbarian!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Tabloids and The Gunfighter

Comrade Zanne has decided to call me out about my family's consumption of celebrity tabloid magazines, since I mentioned them in a recent post. So let me tell you about it

I mentioned that Mrs Gunfighter and I "read" the celebrity tabloids... all of them. We regularly purchase US, Life & Style, OK!, The Star, and In Touch. While I know that this sounds like a significant investment, let me just say that there is method to our madness.

We look at the tabloids like this: We don't watch a terribly huge amount of network television, and almost never go to the movies... or rent movies for that matter. Having said this, we are able to keep up with entertainment aspects of pop-culture, while sitting at the kitchen table.

OK, now you know our basic reasoning for buying those rags. Let me tell you another aspect of our reasoning. Reading (ok, looking at the pictures) tabloids is Patriotic. That's right, we are Americans!, and as such, we love nothing more than moralizing and tsk-tsking about the recent Re-hab antics of Britney Spears. We love to say that WE would never do anything like get busted by the cops for playing the bongos while naked and smoking dope. No. Not us. Not good ol' Ward Cleaver Gunfighter & family. Not buyin' it? Well, ok.

The truth is that, to us, Hollywood might as well be another planet, and celebrities are aliens... or at least zoo creatures. We look. We point. We cringe. They aren't like us, and we, thank God, aren't really anything like them. For an hour or so on a friday or saturday evening, we look at and discuss the freak-show and then get back to our regularly scheduled lives.

Harmless fun.

Monday, January 29, 2007

O Canada!

Have I ever mentioned my love for things Canadian?


Well, I love Canada. I really do. By now, you have probably already noticed that I have a deep interest in unusual things, so this shouldn't really shock you. Now, I don't mean to suggest that Canada is unusual, but it is different from where we live, here, in the less northern part of "North" America.

Oddly enough, most Americans never spend much time talking about Canada. Think about it… how much Canadian history did you learn in high-school? None, I'll bet... and for most of us, when does Canada ever come up in conversation... I mean, outside of a discussion about Bob and Doug MacKenzie (yes, I'm showing my age here).

How many of you have ever seen any Canadian television shows? Damned few, I'll bet, unless you, like my dear friend Janet O, lives somewhere near the border. Isn't that bizarre? How can it not strike you as strange, that we have a television channel in America that is a vehicle for showing British programming (BBC America, which I love), but no Canadian programming is shown here… Wait, I take that back… have any of you ever seen DaVinci's inquest? Canadian.

There are other Canadian shows that used to be shown here in the U.S. on a channel called Trio, on DirecTV. I used to watch a show called "Street Legal", which was a lawyer show set in Toronto. There was also a great show that was called Black Harbour, set in Nova Scotia, about a family that moved back to the wife/mother's hometown with her American husband and children, from many years spent in Los Angeles. It was a pretty cool show.

There is more to my love of Canada than television… there are other things… things like the number of Canadians that live among us without our notice. People like the late Peter Jennings, Sandra Oh, Mike Myers, Michael J. Fox, Natalie MacMaster, Oscar Peterson, Jim Carey, Matthew Perry and of course, one of my favorite actors… William Shatner.

I am also rather taken with Canadian money. Canadian money makes a little more sense than ours does. I like the fact that the bills aren't all the same color. I like the fact that the Canadians have, sensibly, gotten rid of dollar bills in favor of one and two dollar coins.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Pretty cool, eh?

I also enjoy learning about Canadian history… especially as it pertains to so many important things in the early history of our own republic… and if you don't believe me, check the history of that unfortunate little dust-up that we commonly refer to as the War of 1812.

There are a few things about Canada that I don't like, though. Things like Celine Dione, Pamela Anderson, and a rude little cow named Prunelle, who worked in the McDonald's located in the Montreal train station, back in 1998. I'll tell you the story some day.

Did you know that I can sing all of the words to the Canadian National Anthem? I can… but only the first verse, and only in english.

Did you know that my friend Janet lives in Michigan, and went to McGill University? I'll bet you didn't know THAT, didja? She went to the same school as William Shatenr... how cool is that>?!?! Did you know that fellow bloggers, Trish and Zanne are Canadian? Zanne is a transplant, and Trish still lives in the great white north. How can a country that produces folks like them NOT be a pretty cool place?

I have many online friends from Canada, here is what is probably an abbreviated list...; I'll try not to leave anyone out:

Robot Johnny
Bud The Spud
Elena (she of the ...... dots....)

(please forgive if I have left anyone out)

Well, enough about Canada for today... I could go on and on, but I won't, mainly because I have a class to teach this morning.

So, when you are out and about today, give a thought about Canada... our northern neighbors. There are some good folks up there.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Conversations With Olivia (2)

Setting: While driving near Potomac Mills Mall about a year ago, I MAY have been a trifle late stopping at a traffic signal.

Olivia: "Daddy?"

Me: Yes, babe?

Olivia: "Daddy, that light was red"

Me: (innocently) "Was it, babe?"

Olivia: (not buyin' it) "Yes, it was"

Me: (sheepish) "um…"

Olivia: "Daddy?"

Me: Yes, babe?

Olivia: "God saw that."

Me: "I'm sure he did, babe"


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of The Union

I won't parse the speech. Those that watched it that will probably read my blog already feel the way I do, for the most part. I would, however, like to make the following observations:

1. Dubya's welcome from Congress was respectful, but not even his few remaining Republican stalwarts could make it sound particularly good.

2. Nice of W to make reference to Pelosi's historic role.

3. H. Clinton practically sneered through the speech.

4. Wonder of wonder... W praised the efforts of civilian employees in the federal government! (truthfully, most of us can't wait for that dirtbag to get out of town. You know an administration isn't worth a shit when they spend so much time running down the employees that make the government run).

5. General Schoonmaker, the Army Chief of Staff looked sick. I think he can't wait to get off of that hot-seat.

6. Speaker Pelosi looked great!

7. Vice President Cheney looked like Dick Cheney.

8. Because of Mixter's drinking game, I knocked off 5 bottles of Dominion Ale during the speech... and I was taking it easy.

I think the speech was poor. I also think that none of his logic-challenged words are going to help him convince the people of this country, that we should have any confidence in him as a leader.

On the other hand, the Democratic response, given by my state's new Senator, Jim Webb, was great. He was reasonable, he wasn't shrill, and he got on point from the start, and stayed on point.

I will end here by asking if any of you saw Keith Olbermann's interview with Senator Clinton, prior to the sppech? In it, Olbermann asked the Senator what she thought the state of the union was. She replied with the best answer anyone could have given: "Troubled" . She's right.



Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of The Union - The Drinking Game!

I lifted this, with permission, from a new blog pal. Please give Mixter a visit. She has a good head on her shoulders.

The State of The Union Drinking Game

Okay, how many of you used to play "Bob?" Bob was a drinking game. If you've ever watched The Bob Newhart Show, you may have noticed that the characters say "Bob" a lot. So, resourceful teenagers that we were back in the day, starved for entertainment and wanting to get drunk, we would take a drink any time Carol, Jerry, Emily or Howard would say "Bob." It was almost as fun as playing quarters! (We had a similar game for "Oscar" while watching The Odd Couple.) Yeah, I drank just a bit as a young adult...

So, I've decided that tomorrow night (tonight), during Our Dear Leader's State of the Union Address, I'm gonna get good and sloshed. Wanna play? You're gonna need some beer and some hard liquor. Here are the rules:

Each time Dubya says "September the Eleventh," everyone drinks a shot. I'll be going with tequila, one of my old favorites from way back when.

Each time you catch Dubbie mentioning the "War on Terror," you get to make the other people in the room drink a shot.

Each time Dubbie says "freedom," chug that brewski!

Each time he mentions Osama bin Laden by name, you don't have to do anything: He's not going to mention him anyway...

Other drinking cues: "Liberty," "enemy," "terrorists," and "nukular."
By the time the SOTU address is over (and before you have to listen to the Democrats' response or Chris Matthews' nattering) you, your friends and your loved ones will be good and wasted! The SOTU has never been this much fun!

Gunfighter's note: is going to be a blast! I think I'll have to go buy some beer... a lot of it. However, I will avoid the hard liquor, because when good ol' GF gets a load on... it's SHOWTIME... and it ain't pretty!

Why Aren't YOUR Children In Uniform, Mr. Bush?

It has now been 971 days since the Bush Twins graduated from college... and they are still not in the uniform of the US armed services.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

You'd send my kids, and other people's kids, but you won't send yours?

Your children, sir, must be unpatriotic and supporters of terrorists and terrorism.

How does that make you feel?

They don't even have the bullshit fig-leaf that you used to shirk your duty when you were a serving officer.

You must be ashamed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Doc Holliday v. Johnny Ringo

This is for you fans of Doc Holliday, as portrayed by Val Kilmer, in "Tombstone" (1993)

You needn't watch past the end of the gunfight... I LOVE this scene!

NOTE: Historically, it is almost certain that John "Doc" Holliday and
Johnny Ringo were in Tombstone around the same time frame. It is also certain that Doc Holliday didn't kill him, as Holliday was in Colorado at the time, being held as a suspect in another shooting.

Johnny ringo is beleived to have killed himself (but I like this version better).


Friday, January 19, 2007

Man-Movies (1)

You know what man-movies are, don't you?

I'm talking about the kinds of movies men watch that are full of fights, explosions, guns, explosions... and guns. Throw in some sports and perhaps a bit of gratuitous frontal nudity, and we're all set.

Oh, I know that many of the people reading this are women,and that women may like some of these movies, too, but that doesn't really matter. These movies were made for men, but if our wives, girlfriends, lifepartners or whatever want to enjoy them with us, so much the better!

By now, the men reading this post are smiling, and the ladies are probably rolling their eyes... but you gotta love the man-movie... it is the antithesis of the chick-flick.

In this genre, you won't find anything like "The Ya-Ya Sisterhood", or "Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants", "The Notebook", or "Thelma & Louise".

Here are some prime examples of the movies that I am talking about:

The Outlaw Josie Wales
Saving Private Ryan
The Big Red One
The Delta Force
Blackhawk Down
Hang 'em high
A Fist Full of Dollars
Magnum Force
High Plains Drifter
The Deer Hunter (especially the prison camp scene)
The Green Berets
Monty Python & The Holy Grail
Training Day
Pulp Fiction
True Grit
Enter The Dragon
Blazing Saddles
Fists of Fury
Reservoir Dogs
...and anything from the Three Stooges!

TTBM and Grimm are probably already listing titles in their heads. I won't go on about what makes a movie a man-movie, you'll figure it out soon enough.

Today's review is of a splendid little western from 1993 called: Tombstone

This movie is my second favorite western, immediately following "The Outlaw Josey Wales".

Have any of you seen this movie? It stars Kurt Russel, Bill Paxton, Val Kilmer, and Sam Elliot, as Wyatt Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan, and "Doc" Holliday.

To make a long story short, Wyatt Earp and his posse gun down a gang known as the "Cowboys" and rid Tombstone, Arizona of their evil influence. Along the way, Wyatt falls for the pretty singer/actress (played by Dana Delaney) that has recently come to town.

Although Kurt Russel was good as Wyatt Earp, my favorite character was John "Doc" Holliday, as portrayed by Val Kilmer (his finest work, as far as I am concerned).

This movie lasted about 90 minutes, but, in that time, some twenty-odd people are either shot or stabbed... men, you just gotta love it!

DISCLAIMER: I know that some of you ladies probably like some of the movies that I mentioned... but these really are made for us men.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Importance of Daddy

Please welcome guest-poster, Leslie!

Leslie is a stay-at-home mom to Julia and much-loved wife of Dave. They live in Ohio. You can visit Leslie's blog at My
Mommy's Place

This morning at breakfast, I watched Julia and Dave eating together across the table from me. Julia was poking at her food, so Dave picked up some scrambled eggs on his fork and said, “Let’s eat it together!” Julia filled her fork with eggs and carefully watched her Daddy, timing her movement so they put their bites in their mouths at the exact same time. They smiled at each other and chewed their food. Julia ate most of her eggs, then Daddy began to show her how to cut her pancakes. Julia studied his demonstration intently, then tried it herself. Slowly and deliberately, she maneuvered her butter knife and fork, sawing gently back and forth. Dave kept up the encouragement, “You’re doing it! Alright. You did it!” Julia proudly picked up one of the pancacke pieces and offered it to her Daddy. He ate it right up and delcared, “Hmmm, that’s good.” She smiled.

I’m not sure I’ve seen two people enjoy each other as much as Julia and her Daddy. I am truly in awe of their relationship; it is extraordinary.

Julia and I have an exceptional relationship. I am a full-time mommy, so she spends about all of her time with me. I’ve had a front row seat in her life since she was born. I am so grateful to my husband for giving me that experience. He’s made a lot of sacrifices, including time away from us, so that Julia could have a stay-at-home mommy. Since I know Julia so well, I can say with confidence that her Daddy means more to her than just about anyone. And even though he doesn’t spend as much time with her as I do, their relationship is just as special to her. And I know she needs that relationship with him as much as she needs the one with me, because fathering is different than mothering. I think that’s why I am so fascinated with how they interact with each other.

Daddy is…Daddy. He wrestles around with her. They chase each other until one of them drops. He does “The Tickler,” which is such an effective tickling trick, she is bubbling with giggles before he even touches her. She climbs on his back for pony rides. They play ball. Their time together is almost always accompanied by screaming, laughing, stomping and banging. And when Julia dresses up like a ballerina and performs ballet, his approval is the only one that matters.

I watched them recently, playing with Julia’s stick horse. She watched and laughed as her Daddy moved the horse from side to side asking, “What am I?”


“A horse fly!” He booms with laughter and Julia joins in.

I see how they fill each other up, and I understand the importance of Daddy in my little girl’s life. And I am thankful beyond words that they are part of mine.

Monday, January 15, 2007

What Would Dr. King Think? (1)

Earlier today, I started to write a lengthy post, full of rhetorical barbs, attacking Republicans, which is a theme that you know that I enjoy immensely. I paused to run an errand a few miles from home, and while I was in the car, I heard a news story about one of the commemorative services being held in Washington, DC. The Master of Ceremonies was asking the assembled parishioners and clergy if Dr. King was alive today, would they would follow him? I thought it was an interesting question, and it made me think… but most importantly, hearing that question made me come up with a question that I think is even more important: If Dr. King were alive today, what would he think of the results of the movement that he championed and ultimately gave his life for?

I sat down this afternoon and listed some… just some of the things that happened as a direct result of the sacrifices made by Dr. King, his associates, and his followers. Today, as a 43 year old black man living in a southern state, I (and my family) can do the following things in relative safety:

Walk into any dining establishment, sit wherever I want, and eat whatever I can afford to pay for.

Vote (too many people had their skulls split; were attacked by police dogs, and were otherwise humiliated, to give me that privilege for me to ignore my civic duty)

Go to, or send my children to, any educational institution in this country, north or south, that their abilities and my wallet can send them to.

* Work anywhere I can get hired.

* Go to any church that I want to attend.

* My kid can, and does, play with the white and Latino kids in the neighborhood.

* My kid can go to any school in this county.

* My marriage to a white woman isn’t illegal.

* Sit anywhere I want in a movie theater or on public transportation.

These are just a few of the things that have happened in the single generation since King’s death. I think that Dr King would be exceptionally proud of the following:

* In the most recent Senate election in Illinois, the race was between two black men.

* A black man has been Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

* The same black man has been Secretary of State.

* A black woman succeeded that same black man as Secretary of State.

* Black men and women are appointed to federal judgeships.

* Black men and women are ordained clergy and installed as pastors of churches with ethnically mixed congregations.

* Black men and women lead multi-million (even mulit–billion) dollar corporations.

* There have been black Mayors in our largest cities; black governors (even in southern states), black County executives.

* Black men and women have been Chiefs of Police and Fire Chiefs in some of the largest cities in America.

* He would be pleased that because of his sacrifice, it isn’t even worth commenting about when black men and women travel into space anymore.

* He would be pleased that there are ships in the United States Navy named after black men.

* Black men and women are journalists, intellectuals, sought after professors, and published authors.

I submit, my friends, that Dr. King would be thrilled about the level of progress that has been made in this country.

Lest you think that I am wearing rose-colored glasses when I look at the current state of race-relations, I assure you that I am not. I think that there is still room for progress to be made, but I have to tell you that I am encouraged. I am encouraged by all of the changes that have taken place in this country within my own lifetime. I am most encouraged when I think of the continued progress that will take place in the lifetime of my own child.

I bid you peace,


Friday, January 12, 2007

Gunfighter's Exit Strategy (I)

A commenter on my recent post about GW Bush's "new" strategy for "victory" in Iraq asked me what my strategy for the extraction of our troops in Iraq would be.

I hope the following gives you a bit of insight into what I think on the issue.

I will resist the strong temptation to talk about the fact that we had no business in invading that country to begin with. Our soldiers are already there, so the focus will remain on how to get them out.

The first thing I would do would be to remove the Marines that are responsible for operations in Anbar province. This particular place is the deadliest area, outside of Baghdad, since the beginning of the war. I would bring those Marines to Baghdad, while plans for redeployment were made (it isn't easy returning hundreds of thousands of troops from a combat zone, believe me).

While these Marines are in Baghdad, they will provide a large and aggressive force to assist the Army and Iraqi security forces. This will bring additional troops to Baghdad without further stretching our already thin forces, thus giving the already doomed Maliki government some more breathing room.

Next, I would bring the U.S. Army troops that are in the Mosul area to Basra, and it's environs, to relieve our British friends, so that they could redeploy immediately. Those same American soldiers would continue to protect the Main Supply Route (MSR) that leads back to Kuwait. I would also bring the Polish division into Baghdad for the reasons listed above.

All American forces would collapse back towards Baghdad, leaving Iraqi forces in their places.

Once our forces were more centrally located near the Capitol, I would start getting the troops out via air and by convoy. Naturally, our presence would get smaller and smaller, most of the last troops leaving by air, leaving behind no small amount of weapons (and advisers) and support equipment for the Iraqi Army.

As for what would happen after we leave Iraq, there are no guarantees about how successful their current government will be. The skeptic in me believes that s soon as our troops leave, the real bloodletting Will begin between Sunni and Shia'... what we are seeing now is nothing to what is coming, I am afraid. What will also happen is that the Sunni units and the Shia units of the Iraqi army will spilt like amoebas to join whomever arises as their particular group's main warlord. The Maliki government will fall, and the likely new leader will be Moqtada Al-Sadr, who will immediately proclaim the Islamic Republic of Iraq.

There it is, friends. Iraq will be an Islamic Republic. Not because of a military failure, but because the only thing that was keeping Iraq secular in the first place, was Saddam Hussein, the bloody dictator that we (the U.S.) took out of the equation.

How's that for bitter irony?

Staying Alive: How to Maintain a Pulse Amid Laundry, Work, and Childrearing

I am pleased to present the first, of what I hope will be many, special guest posters here in gunfighter world.

Please give a warm welcome to Rachael from CrankMama

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Many people spend a great deal of time just getting by each day:
paying the bills, cleaning (or not cleaning) the house, managing
grocery lists and children and soccer games and work. We may
reminisce about our earlier less encumbered days (child-free, sexually
free) but at some point we have to make peace with the fact that this,
whether we like it or not, is our life.

So what of happiness? Energy? Lust for life? How do we keep those alive?

There are clearly many approaches (kabbalah, yoga, vegetarianism,
adultery, television, food, drug and alcohol addiction), some healthy
and some unhealthy, but I think the key to the whole thing is
determination to keep our candles burning.

If we surrender to the onslaught of middle-age (not the physical but
the spiritual malaise) we've already lost the battle. We have to
remain alive and determined to live a passionate life. In this sense,
I think it's a matter of will.

The will to stay alive and keep kicking, despite hardship and weighty
responsibility. We talk and share our real selves with the people we meet, and drop
the pretense and the fakery, the "I have children so all I can discuss
is Billy's potty-training," we bring up sex at a dinner party, we talk
about politics and religion and personal growth.

We refuse to settle. In this way, we stay alive.


Gunfighter's Note: Many thanks, Rachael, for being the first volunteer. I really appreciate that you did this, and did it so fast!


Thursday, January 11, 2007

How Now, Mr. Bush?

I started typing this around 5:30 this morning. I started and then I stopped. I edited and deleted. I had so many things to say about the President's speech last night, that it was all pouring out in a tortured jumble.

I knew that this speech was going to be special, and I expected to be spitting mad when it was over… but all I felt was sick.

I’m not going to scream or hurl invective today. I can’t. I told a friend & fellow blogger, yesterday, that I was going to do this without swearing, and I shall. Having said that, I offer the following remarks.

First, I have to say that Mr. Bush looked somewhat more subdued lat night...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

...than he did in May of 2003...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

...when he announced: "Mission Accomplished"

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Mr. Bush, staying true to form, started his speech with this line:

“Good evening. Tonight in Iraq, the armed forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror – and our safety here at home”

Of course, this is a load of crap, but, I won't go any further in parsing the President's speech, because various media outlets started doing that seconds after he stopped speaking.

All I can say about this speech is that it is stunningly clear to me that George W. Bush is operating in a world of his own, and is out of touch with reality, if he believes that increasing troop levels by 15 percent is going to be the key to "victory" in this insurgency.

I believe that Mr. Bush's "change in strategy" will do no more than escalate and prolong this war and leave, whomever follows him in the Presidency, holding the bag.

There you have it... the President of The United States is going to buy himself out of failure by spending the lives of our soldiers.

In his mind, his legacy will be one of stout resolution in the face of danger, even when everything was going worng. He will have been a "war President" who was tough. Of course, history won't record it that way, but his devout followers, all 13 of them, will believe it, and all it will cost is this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Just so that George W. Bush can save face.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

For shame.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I have decided to start my own blog exchange... I am going to call it a blog swap, as I don't want to start any cofusion, and I certinly don't want to get involved in any sort of copyright infringement.

This swap will be very similar to the ongoing project started by Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored. The only real difference is that this exchange swap will be sort of an internal thing, for people that regularly read/comment here on my blog.

If you are interested in guest-posting here at The View From Here, please email me at: gunfighter1173(at)

The Kindness of Strangers (follow up)

Last week, I posted about the bead dish that was given to me by the two other shoppers in a local bead store.

Here are two perspectives (some of the beads you see in the dish were the reason was in the store that day):

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A nice gesture, indeed.

When I am King...

Things are going to be different in this country.... you can bet your ass on that!

When I am King...

Susan will be our National Historian.

Condi Rice will have to go away. Far away.

The United States will be signatory to the Kyoto accords.

I'll wear a kilt pretty much every day.

The following persons will be executed: Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Anniston, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, The Olsen twins, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Diddy, Jared Leto, Pam Anderson, Kid Rock, Matthew McConnoughey (sp?), and Paula Abdul.

At least one Regiment in the U.S. Army will wear kilts... even in combat.

No AK 47-styled rifle will be legal for import into the United States. We don't need that poorly-made Commie crap here!

DARPA will have, as it's first priority, the mission of designing a practical, viable, relatively easy-to-produce hydrgen automobile engine. Said design will then be given, free of charge, to all U.S. auto makers. The internal combustion engine for personal automibiles will be proscribed 5 years after that.

There will be no organized prayer or moments of silence in public schools.

All parents will be encouraged to take personal responsibility for the religious training of their own children.

Rugby will replace football in all aspects (local, high-school, collegiate, and professional). Players that grandstand will be imprisoned.

People who abuse children will be executed. No parole, no counseling, no second chances, no rehabilitation.

See the above for men who abuse women. Likewise for all sex offenders.

Nancy Grace will never darken the television again, nor will Larry King.

Rogue athletes will be imprisoned, alongside of rogue politicians cops and clergy.

There will be a pogrom against loopy, Southern Baptist, fundamentalist, snake-handling churches.

The Republican party will be outlawed.

William Shatner will have a standing invitation to the White House any time he wants.

The Confederate flag will be removed from all public property... damned traitors!

My blogging pals will get massive tax breaks.

Corporations will pay their fair share of taxes.

Marriage will be between one man and one woman... or between a man and a man, or two women, or two men and one woman, whatever... married people will pay married taxes.

Texans will have to remain in Texas... but there will be exceptions for eb, Kelley, and a very few others.

Puerto Rico will be granted statehood if a referundum passes such a measure. Failing such a referendum, Puerto Rico will be freed from it's Commonwealth status and will be on it's own forevermore.

Guam and other U.S. Commonwealths will be given the opportunity for Statehood. If they decline, we will wish them good luck and send them on their merry way.

Japan and Europe will have to start paying for more of their onw security.

The United States will support the independence of Taiwan... militarily, if we have to.

"The Raven" will be our national poem.

The Wreck of The Edmund FitzGerald will be played at least once a day on every radio station in the United States.

My friend Janet O will be our National Librarian.

No child will go to a falling down, crumbling school with 20 year old texts.

No books will be banned... except those by Jim DeFelice, L. Ron Hubbard, and Tim LaHaye.

Additional Star Wars movies will be banned.

When I am King, those damned shoes with the wheels in the heels that all the kids are wearing all over the place, will be banned. The punishment for wearing those shoes will be the execution of one parent.

I will have a seriously boss uniform... with epaulettes!

Single parents will be provided subsidised daycare for their children. Everyone will pay for the service, but cost will be detrmined by ability to pay.

When I am King, the armed forces will be made up of a professional cadre of volunteers and draftees that will be required to serve for three years of active duty. All male citizens will be subject to military service, at need, until age 55. Women will be exempt from the draft, but will be allowed to volunteer for service.

Cheryl Burke will be the official ballroom dancer of the United States.

When I am King, television shows like Beauty and The Geek will be banned. This group of shows will include The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Wife Swap, America's Got Talent, The Flavor of Love, The Amazing Race, Survivor... and basically any other reality shows except for "Dancing with The Stars" and "American Idol".

When I am King, no radio station that calls itself "Smooth Jazz" will be allowed to play any songs recorded by Donnie Hathaway, or any other artist that can be described as a "soul" or "R&B" singer or band. Likewise, "Smooth Jazz" stations will not play any Steely Dan music.

When I am King, no radio station that calls itself a rock & roll station, will play any Van Morrison music, except for the exceptionally tedious "Brown Eyed Girl". From now on, all Van Morrison music will be played where it belongs... on the jazz stations (or folk, in some cases).

When I am King, The President of France will get the first official invitation for a State visit.

I will still vacation at Disney World

When I am King, college athletes will have to take a full load of courses, and if they aren't academically level with their year groups, they will be dismissed from school.

When I am King, Suzanne Summers, Billy Mays, Billy Blanks, and Tony Little will be banned from doing infomercials.

When I am King, Ken Martin will be my personal chaplain.

When I am King, Grillz and 'do rags will be banned.

When I am King, The Theme From Superman will be played when I make official entries.

When I am King, The District of Columbia will become the Federal City (although much smaller) the rest of it will be ceded back to Maryland. Residents of The Federal City will pay no federal taxes. They will be able to vote for President, but have no voice in Congress.

When I am King, there will be no leniency for drug offenses... this includes marijuana and other "Gateway Drugs" (I lost a sister to heroin... there is no give in me on this issue)

These are just a few of the benevolent policies I will enforce.

Can you feel me?


Monday, January 8, 2007

Adventures in Washington DC (III)

So... the next day (December 27th), we decided that we were going to go to the National Air & Space Museum.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The logistics of the trip would have been the same, except that this time, Olivia announced the she wanted to ride the train. The train, in this case, is the Washington metropolitan area "Metro" system. I know that many people refer to Metrorail as the "subway" but, since so much of it is above ground, I have never been able to do that.

Anyway, not only did Olivia want to ride the Metrorail, she wanted to change trains at least once (my kid is nothing if not decisive). So, we drove to Pentagon City Mall, which is directly across from... you guessed it, the Pentagon, and had a quick bite to eat from McDonald's for our breakfast (oh, stop groaning, we eat there so rarely as to make no difference).

After eating, we boarded the yellow line train, that took us to L'Enfant Plaza, where we were going to have to change trains. But, before getting to L'Enfant plaza, we had to Cross the Potomac River, which means, since there is no tunnel across the river's floor (on this line), we came above ground and crossed the river via the bridge. What a view! Although we were only above ground for perhaps a minute, Olivia was very excited by seeing so much. From our vantage point, you could see Arlington cemetery, The Kennedy Center, The Pentagon, the HQ of the U.S. Marshal's service, Fort Leslie J. McNair, Th National Cathedral, The Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson memorial(AKA "the big cheeseburger), the tidal basin, and the Washington monument. Before I could show her everything, we were underground again.

We made it to L'Enfant plaza changed trains to the Orange line, and we got off at the Smithsonian station. The truth of the matter is that we could have walked for for the same amount of time from L'Enfant Plaza as we did from Smithsonian... but I guess it was more fun for her, so what the heck, right?

As we walked we took what I thought was a pretty good picture in front of the main Smithsonian building, commonly referred to as "The Castle".

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Now, I have to tell you that although the Air & Space museum is my favorite amongst all of the museums in the Smithsonian system, I haven't been there in several years, despite the fact that I drive past at least once a week. I can imagine that some of you might be shocked by this considering that many of you know my true level of geekdom and since James T. Kirk was my male role-model while I was growing up.

Immediately after this photo was taken, Olivia asked me how much further we had to walk, but we were just about there.

Once we arrived at the museum, I proceeded to start lecturing Olivia about the Mercury and Gemini programs. Then I stopped (about 30 seconds in) because her eyes were already glazing over. I did my best to just tell her about the "pretty planes" that she asked me about. I was kind of bummed out about sharing the history of the M2-F2 "lifting body" on display:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Those of you old enough... especially the men, will remember this aircraft from the opening segment of the "Six Million Dollar Man" show (circa 1973). Actual footage from a crash of this aircraft (May 10, 1967) was used for the TV show... remember? (Cue voice over) "Steve Austin.... a man barely alive. We can rebuild him, we have the technology"... but I digress.

So, we walked through the museum and Olivia kept asking me: "What are those rockets, daddy?" I found myself in a bad position... I didn't want to tell her that so many of the prominently displayed rockets were either intermediate range, or inter-continental ballistic missiles. I told her that they were weapons and immediately changed the subject (I committed right then to write to the Director of the museum to protest the numbers of nuclear weapons delivery systems present in the museum... I'll post the letter soon).

We walked through the various displays and the interactive exhibits, which she enjoyed immensely! We even spent some time looking at video film from the first lunar landing. Olivia was amazed (as I am, still) that people could go all the way to the moon "in that", meaning the tiny capsule that made the landing. It took a while explain how that huge Saturn 5 rocket pretty much had to "throw" the capsule at the moon.

We spent a couple of hours at the museum, but to tell you the truth, Olivia's favorite part was the gift shop. She was bound and determined to get something for herself (she had her own money to spend) and found (at great length) a stuffed bear to take home.

She wanted to take some more pictures before we left so we took this one near one of the aircraft galleries.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Once again, it was time to take the Metro to get the car, and a certain 8 year old was very excited about it. On the way to the train station, we walked along the National Mall instead of the street-side of the museum. Olivia ran on the grass while I did my best to lumber along and keep up. While we waited for our first train, she thanked me for taking her to to the museum and on the train, and then she told me I was the best dad in the world. That's my girl!

We had lunch in the Pentagon City food court

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

and then headed for home.

We had a great time, and I have to tell you that two days of mini-adventures was very meaningful to me. I want Olivia to always remember that her father meant more to her than just being the guy who drove the car and was around the house.... sometimes.

The next day was supposed to be our trip to the National Zoo, but you already know how that turned out... we'll have to reschedule that for early spring, I think.



Adventures in Washington, DC (II)

On December 26th, Susan went back to work. Olivia and I slept in.

I had the rest of the week off (having seniority is such a good thing!) so I could be at home with Olivia during winter break. We could have sent her to her baby sitter's house for those days, but to tell you the truth, I needed the time off.

As I mentioned, in my previous post, Olivia really liked the Museum of Natural History, so we planned to go back and spend some more time there.

We waited for the morning traffic (such as it was, the day after Christmas) to die down before driving into the city, and when we got there, we found a pretty decent parking spot, only about two blocks from the museum.

Once we got inside, I asked Olivia what she wanted to see first, and today it was the Mammal exhibit, which we only saw part of on the previous visit. Olivia particularly liked the following animal displays:

The Bear:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The Lion:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The Buffalo:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

and The Dingo:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

After the mammal exhibit, we went to the Sea Life exhibit and saw lots of neat sea creatures, including some pre-historic ones.

Next was lunch, which I was stupid enough to go to the museum's cafe for. Olivia and I both had turkey sandwiches on mini-baguettes, we shared a small container of potato salad, and shared a bottle of water. This tasty, but rather small meal, cost me twenty three freakin' dollars! My friends, I'm not a cheapskate, but DAMN! We had a seat next to a large picture window that looked out over the National Mall, and watched the people walk by as we ate. It was a nice interlude for us, and we talked about all the people that we saw as they passed... which made the twenty three dollar price tag worthwhile, when you get right down to it.

OK, lunch concluded, we went back to our museum tour. Olivia wanted to do the Insect Zoo next, but it turns out that the exhibit is closed for renovation (scheduled to re-open this summer). So, we decided to do rocks and minerals next.

The R & M exhibit was really cool, and we saw lots of common rocks, as well as precious metals and precious and semi-precious stones in their basic, elemental states. There were an amazing number of types of quarts on display, as well as lots of amethyst. We even saw the Hope diamond!, which Olivia really thought was cool.

We wandered around the museum for a total of about three hours, after which a certain eight-year-old was starting to poop out, so we headed for the exit (after a brief visit to the gift shop), walked to the car, and headed for home.

We had a good time, and before we got home, Olivia extracted a promise to return to the museum to see the Insect Zoo when it re-opens this summer.

Adventures in Washington, DC (I)

On December 23rd, we took part in a new family tradition for which this is the second year. We went to see “The Polar Express” at the National Museum of Natural history’s IMAX theater.

Have you ever been to an IMAX theater? They are really fantastic! We saw this same movie here last year, and enjoyed it so much, we had to do it again this year.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the geography of Washington, DC, the museum is located on the National Mall, about three blocks from the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover building.

Before driving into the city, we figured we had better go to dinner, so we went to a local Italian restaurant and had some pasta, but we didn't have too much time to dawdle, as we needed to get up the road.

We drove into the city a couple of hours early so we could have an opportunity to walk through the museum’s exhibits. Before we got inside, however, we were going to have to find a place to park, which, if you have any experience here in DC, can be kind of tough on a Saturday night. The cool thing is, that I suppose since so many people had gone out of town for the holiday, downtown DC was kind of ghost-like, and I found a great parking spot on Constitution avenue, about 50 yards from the doors of the museum!

Olivia really got a charge out of the Sea Life and Mammals… we didn’t really have as much time as we would liked to have, so I promised Olivia that we would come back during winter break, since I would be off for the whole week.

It was time to go into the theater, and we got great seats. Susan and I agreed that the copy of the film must have been re-mastered or something, as it was much sharper, visually.

The story was every bit as touching as it was last year and my favorite part was when Santa Claus comes into the square at the North Pole and all of the elves start singing “Santa Claus is Coming To Town”

Anyway, it was a fun night, we saw a cool movie on a huge screen, in 3-D, and Olivia had a great time.

We made the ride back to Prince William County, in about 30 minutes, listening to, and singing along with the Christmas Carols on the radio.

A fine night, indeed.

NOTE: As I am typing this at my desk, and not from the local jail, you can assume that I didn't commit a felonious act against the smarmy twenty something couple that made a few really snarky comments during the movie. I also didn't take the loudly ringing cell phone from the really stupid bitch woman behind us who couldn't figure out how to make the phone stop ringing during the last few minutes of the film.

(by the way, the smarmy twenty something guy with the unattractive girlfriend was really pasty-looking and needed a haircut (and a beating) badly.

Friday, January 5, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

Unlike Blanche DuBois, I never rely on the kindness of strangers. The fact that I don't rely on the kindness of strangers doesn't mean that I don't encounter kind people on a regular basis... I do.

Yesterday was a good example of the kind of thing that happens to me on a regular basis. I went to a local bead shop in old town Alexandria, just to get some seed beads to make a new rosary, and when I got there, one of the two women that were in the shop decided to chat me up... I suppose just because of the oddity of seeing a man in a bead store (or because I am so damned handsome).

Anyway, after a brief conversation, this woman and her companion (turns out that it was her mother) paid for their items and left the store. I finished a few minutes later and the lady at the check-out counter handed me a sectioned ceramic bead dish and told me that the women that had just left wanted me to have it and bought it for me.

How cool was that?

For those of you in the DC or northern Virginia area, if you ever need to purchase any beads, please give the folks at Bead Obsessions a visit. The shop was opened just a little over a year ago by a very nice young woman, named Patricia, that wanted to pursue her passion for beading. She left her job and plowed her life's savings into her business, and really seems to be making a go of it.

The shop is on South Washington street. Please go and support this locally owned and operated business.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

John McCain? I Don't Think So

The December 26th Washington Post ran a story, in which Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Az) supported sending additional troops to Iraq. Also in the article, Senator McCain said that the United States couldn't withdraw from Iraq, because "...they'd just follow us home"

I submit, friends, that Senator McCain has demonstrated, in just a few sentences, why he shouldn't be President of The United States. Simply put, he lacks discernment, and has dreadfully poor judgement.

First, Senator, let me say that our most senior military commanders, not to mention the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) for example, are against the concept commonly referred to these days as "the surge" of additional troops to Iraq. Most of them believe that an increase in the number of troops for 18 to 24 months will not produce the knock-out punch to end the insurgency. Sending more troops just to keep the lid on Baghdad simply won't achieve success.

Additionally, let's be honest about this, the Army and Marines are stretched horribly thin right now, not only thin in numbers, but thin in terms of available weapons to fight a major war, should something flare up around the world. Remember, combat vehicles (tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, etc), helicopters (especially the high-tech gunships), and artillery pieces, have a designed lifespan of a given number of miles to be driven or flight hours to be flown, or rounds fired through them. Combat greatly reduces their lifespan, combat in an arid place reduces them even further. My point here, simply, is that our forces have less of what they need for war-fighting than they SHOULD have. Sending more ill-equipped troops WON'T help.

Look, if we are still trying to hold down just this one city, more than three years after it was "conquered" "liberated" it, suggests that the original battle-plan was flawed (which it was) and that the President's version of success is impossible.

Let me make a few comments about your statement about being "followed home." (I will assume that McCain is referring to terrorists... not the population of Iraq)

Weren't you paying attention in the midterm elections? The people didn't buy the "fight them there or we will have to fight them here" tactic. It doesn't make any sense. If you buy into it, Senator McCain, you you must every bit as stupid as George W. Bush and the people that are telling him what to do advising him.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

You may have noticed, Senator, that we are wasting spending unholy amounts of money, and have created an entirely new internal security apparatus, because the President says we need to protect ourselves at home, since there are already terrorists among us. (Trust me when I tell you that a lot of the money is being wasted... some of you know where I work. I could tell you stories that would make run for your pitchforks and muskets!)

So, since we have already turned the FBI into a counter terrorist agency, and created the Department of Homeland Security (what a train-wreck THAT place is, lemme tell ya!), do we REALLY need to conduct a war in Iraq to protect us at the mall? Is that what this is all about? Kill Iraqi civilians to be safe at home? Do we really want to be THAT safe, at THAT price?

Senator, did your service and sacrifice in Vietnam mean so little to you that you are willing to continue to sacrifice our soldiers to a cause that, in the end will avail us nothing? If so, sir, you don't deserve to sit in the United States Senate, let alone the Oval Office.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

A Few Quick Notes

1. The kilt post (with pictures) is in the works. It is already in draft form, but I need to take some pictures. Be patient.

2. I am still getting crackpot email... this time about Public School Prayer. The subject of tomorrow's post, I think.

3. I am working on technical details to show some video from Olivia's Christmas program... man, it really WAS cute.

4. I will be posting about my "Adventures with Olivia" later in the week.

5. Another shoot 'em up post is in the works. If all goes well, you'll see the promised body armor shoot next week.

6. I really need a job that doesn't require me to show up very often. I need more hours in my day.

Monday, January 1, 2007

That Child Can Eat!

Daddy?!, I'm hungry!

The battle cry of one particular little girl that I know, which, in today's circumstances, is music to my ears.

As I told you all the other day, Olivia is back to the picture of good health. This return to good health is most profoundly marked by the return of her prodigious appetite.

Those of you that have, have had, or are close to young children know how much they eat. You also know that a sure way to tell how they are feeling is when a sudden change in appetite occurs.

Trust me when I tell you, my O is back on her feed, for sure. Apparently, there is some sort of fast-moving bug going around in our area. I’m just glad she developed her symptoms after Christmas.

Again, thanks for all of the well-wishes.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I trust all of you survived the night’s revelry, or you wouldn’t be reading this… so let’s push on, shall we?

What did you do with yourselves last night? I mean, as in socially… I don’t really want to know what tawdry things you all did with your bodies (but, if you are really keen to share, go ahead!).

In our house, I made a rosary while Susan watched something on television. Near midnight, we paused to watch “Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve” Which has as much “Rockin’” as a Sunday night at a funeral parlor.

Did any of you see this? It was so terrible, even for 10 minutes, that I wanted to look away. I mentioned, in my post of yesterday, that Dick Clark would be wheeled out for his annual Soviet era-styled appearance on television, but I didn’t realize how close to the mark I would be about that.

Dick Clark looked as good as makeup and good lighting (and expensive cosmetic surgery) can make a man who is as old and sick as he is. The problem is that Dick Clark suffered a massive stroke two years ago, and now slurs out his speech in a semi drunken growl that is reminiscent of the original Frankenstein monster and the drunken druggist “Mr Gower” from “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

Maybe I should be a bit more sentimental and say that Clark looked great and showed Moxie for just having the ability and the gumption to get on camera after all that he is been through. Maybe I should… but I won’t.

Clark looked terrible. He sounded terrible. In the name of decency, Dick, stop.

Anyway, we watched this for as long as we could, then S went to bed, and I went on to finish the rosary that I am working on (I finished it around 1 a.m.)

Anyway, a New Year is here, and as usual, I am hopeful for better things in 2007.

Do any of you make resolutions? I don’t really know anyone who does… or at least, who admits to them. I usually don’t make any myself, but this year will be different, but I’m not resolving to lose weight, or to buy myself a sports car or any thing like that.

This year I have resolved to read the Bible from front to back. In aid of this, I have to read 7 pages a day from today until December 31st. That’s it. That’s my resolution.