Saturday, December 31, 2005


The impending new year brings with it the dawn of new hope, pledges of reform (kind of) and fevered dreams of salvation.

Me? I'll just mix up a Manhattan and make irresponsible claims of future vision with near metaphysical certitude:
  1. In the 2006 mid-terms Democrats will once again snatch defeat with a death grip from the jaws of victory and gain no seats in the House or Senate. In fact, they may lose some.
  2. The Chicago Bears, after a surprising defeat of the Seattle SeaHawks on their home turf will lose the Superbowl to the New England Patriots in one of the hardest hitting, well fought gridiron battles of recent years. Old timers will be heard far and wide to remark, "yup, that's the way they used to play the game".
  3. That is unless they clobber the Pittsburgh Steelers in a defensive gem.
  4. Osama, my most wanted man-a, will be found to have been dead, and will remain dead for all of eternity. White Flag Murtha will be heard to mutter, "I shouldn't have let Dean buy me that extra martini at lunch".
  5. Pursuit will be unexpectedly called to the stage at Chicago's United Center on January 22nd to sing "Dead Flowers" when Mick needs a short breather. Critics will hail this "fresh new era" of the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band.
  6. Unfounded and vehemently denied rumors of an affair with Chrissie Hynde will be floated in Rolling Stone shortly thereafter. When asked to comment Chrissie will say, with a distant look in her eye, "only if...."
  7. Mrs. P will roll her eyes!
  8. The Yanks will win the series in five.
  9. Trumpet's long running and highly entertaining tale of love, lust, romance and ultimately redemption will end with a tragic not completely unforeseen twist.
  10. A conservative revival that belatedly and wonderfully renounces goofballs and hucksters such as Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and the rest of they're crayon scribbling ilk will begin and be led by a surprising figure.
  11. This guy will continue to write one of the most thoughtful blogs out there.
  12. Sadly, this guy won't.
  13. The curtain of silence that protects the MSM from itself will be pierced when one major news outlet investigates another. Subscriptions will be canceled heads will roll.
  14. My buddies here will continue to post some of the funniest bits out there.
  15. Michelle will have a great year in the mountains.
  16. Duf will become a neo-con after another year of reading my inspired political writing.
  17. Joe Wilson, in a desperate attempt to keep his 15 minutes alive, will do something to further discredit his wife.
  18. Zarqawi will die.
  19. A grateful world will rejoice.
  20. It will be a happy and prosperous new year for all my blog buddies.

Are you Ready For Some Football!!!!

Yup week 17 baby. The season has gone by fast, and somehow.....incredibly.....the Bears (Da Bearsss) are in first place in the North.

They didn't even play any mini-Ditkas. Go figure.

Considered the luckiest man on the planet is General Manager Jerry Angelo, of whom I wrote earlier this year. While every word of my criticism remains true, the man found a way to win without a quarterback, until Rex Grossman managed to come back from a broken ankle two weeks ago. Word of advice: if you're in Vegas and Jerry sits down at the table next to you, walk away.

So the Bears are headed into the playoffs and I find myself at a season recored against the spread of 120-120. Here is how I get over the top;

Vikings 4 Bears: Vikes
Colts 6.5 Cards: Cards
Ravens 3 Browns: Ravens
Bills 1.5 Jets: Jets
Panthers 4 Falcons: Falcons
Chiefs 7.5 Bengals: Chiefs
Steelers 13.5 Lions: Lions
Pats 5.5 Dolphins: Dolphins
Bucs 13.5 Saints: Bucs
Texans 1 Niners: Texans
Jags 3.5 Titans: Jags
Pack 4.5 SeaHawks: Pack
Redskins 7.5 Eagles: Eagles
Cowboys 12.5 Rams: Cowboys

Friday, December 30, 2005

My New Obsession

Recieved seasons 1,2 & 3 of "24" for Christmas. Whoa, watching these shows back to back is pure sphincter clenching fun.

You know, not in a gay way or anything.


Wow, that's going to generate some bizarre google hits.

Blogging will be light.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Another view from my skis. By the way thats PD1 &2 in the chair in front of me.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The View From My Skis

It's awfully warm here, but the snow is decent and it sure beats 30 second runs in Wisconsin. Which, come to think of it, sounds like something you get after eating a bad bratwurst!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from me and mine to you and yours! To the left you see Cody the Christmas Dog full of the Christmas spirit, antlers and all.

Posting will be light the next few days as the Pursuit family celebrates the season. Skiing, eating, drinking and more skiing will be the order of the day.

All that, and remembering to be thankful for all that blessings of life that we all too often take for granted. In that spirit, I'd like to thank my faithful readers.....yes both of you.....for your time, attention, comments, and encouragement. I find myself a bit surprised that I'm still at this after a year of blogging, but the truth is I enjoy it more now than I did at the start. Clearly, the biggest reason for that is you guys.

Merry Christmas, I'll check in when I can over the next few days, perhaps with another "View
From My Skis".

Monday, December 19, 2005

I Stand In Awe

Of The Functional Ambivalent.

No, really I do. The man has accomplished the something truly remarkable.

Go on over and take a look at the linked post. It's well written, interesting, with just the right touch of humor; typical of the stuff over at his blog. But look a little closer and you see true genius at work. Somehow, Tom has managed to take a shallow fantasy that resembles the wispy air of a Woodridge wine commercial, and somehow make it sound like a deep, zen-like reappraisal of life and it's meaning.

Why, in the name of all that is decent, did this man ever get out of TV? The whole industry is built on that sort of thing! Really, I think we'd better book him a lunch at The Ivy pronto!

The Strangest Spy I Ever Saw.....

Grandstanding husband who includes her name in his online bio, penchant for bizarre candid photos, five year old twins, and now this?

Any of my liberal friends want to try to make the case that this wasn't a pathetic, yet surprisingly effective attempt to undermine the President and/or the war effort?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

No Room At The Inn

True story.

My church has been organizing to help a homeless family that I'm told was living behind a strip mall near our town. Apparently they fell on hard times due to drug abuse, but have now managed to get sober and are trying to get back on their feet to provide a stable life for their two children. I don't know much about the details, but our minister told us about the family last week, and asked for donations of clothing and once they find shelter, furniture to help these folks get back on their feet.

As of last week things were going pretty well and a small apartment in another church's manse was identified as a possible place for the couple to live while they got jobs and saved enough money to find their own place. It wasn't much, a king size bed was too big for the bedroom, but it was a warm and safe replacement for the alley that they had been living in.

Today was our Christmas pageant at church. PD1 gave the bible reading about Mary and Joseph looking for room and being turned away from the inn. Our minister's wife, herself a minister and director of our youth ministry, had helpfully typed out on a sheet of paper for PD1 to read.

Here's the thing. As she was typing it earlier this week, the other church called and said the couple that we're trying to help couldn't use the manse after all. It seems they aren't married, and you know, that sort of thing isn't allowed. I kind of makes you wonder how people think sometimes doesn't it?

The story of Christmas reminds us that the most humble among us deserve basic goodwill and dignity, not because they might be future kings, but because we're all in this together and we need to help each other out. In fact, if there is one lesson that I've gleaned from 44 years of life it's that nobody does this alone. Nobody.

I'm not writing about this unfortunate circumstance to highlight the intolerance of others, or the hypocrisy of Christians; those are subjects that the religiously intolerant wallow in and frankly I think they say more about those folks than the targets of their ire. No, I'm telling this story today because it is my hope that we all remember our friends, family and the less fortunate this coming week and beyond. I hope that we remember the blessing of life and our obligation to help those that are in need.

Much has been said and written lately about "the war on Christmas". I understand some of these thoughts, and will admit to being annoyed at having to be careful about who I wish a Merry Christmas to; but this is a very minor thing.

The real threat to Christmas, if there is one, is when we forget our obligation to our fellow man. We've all done it; we're in too much of a hurry with our own lives, or can't be bothered by the dirty guy looking for a hand. I'd go so far as to say that it's human nature to look beyond these sad reminders that life is tough, and it can be tougher on some more than others. What better way exists though to spread Christmas cheer? Stop a moment to extend a hand. Buy some gifts for children that will wake up to nothing unless you help. Drop a couple coins in the Salvation Army's bucket. Find out where your local PADs shelter is and mobilize your friends to help.

Christmas doesn't need saving, we do. Buy working to bring hope and love to our fellow man's life we enrich ourselves in the process. Love wins, evil loses and we learn that the greetings of the season can be accepted for the spirit in which it they're offered if not necessarily for the exact words.

Peace be with you.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The View From My Skis

The sun was out, the snow crisp; in short a beautiful morning for a ski, despite the 15 degree temperature.

This time next week I should be careening down a hill out in Utah, but for this moring, cross-country was the perfect way to start the day. I did about five miles and then came back to a hot cup of jo. Off to buy presents for Mrs. P now.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Zeal of Reformers

I am a supporter of torture.

It’s hard to believe, but according to the fevered rants of the torture hysterics (how’s that for a loaded sentence?), I Mr. Pursuit, support torture.

This is non-sense, but my goal today is not to debate what specific acts constitute torture, and what others are simply “enhanced interrogations”. I think as a generally good people with admirable intentions, we Americans get a little squeamish when the curtain on what really happens during war gets drawn back a bit. We would prefer to stay blissfully ignorant about what it takes to win, and this is certainly understandable because war as they say “ain’t pretty”.

What isn’t understandable is why we choose to let our emotions get the better of us in these moments and we respond by voluntarily acting to ensure that our troops fight with one hand tied behind their back. This is an indulgence of our emotions that we as a people can afford because of the quality and strength of our troops, but make no mistake, the price that is paid, and there is always a price, is born by our men and women in uniform.

We have a long history in America of over reacting to the horrors of war, and every time that we’ve done it we have caused trouble for ourselves, and saved no one. My first memory of such an instance was with the Church Committee in the mid-seventies. Frank Church was a well intentioned senator from Kentucky (I think) who was outraged by the “abuses” of the CIA. There is no question that the CIA did some bad things back then, although the truth was never as bad as the alleged horrors made the situation out to be. Yes there were some attempted coups, yes there were some assassinations and yes those things are bad.

The context of these misdeeds was that we were in the process of fighting a global war against communism, which by the way we won, but still, some lines shouldn’t be crossed and new boundaries were required to clarify what we as a country would tolerate. The Church Committee stepped in and wrote new rules that in most views were an over reaction that gutted American intelligence gathering and forced the CIA to move from a physical asset approach to the electronic and satellite approach common today. This was a “cleaner” means of gathering intelligence, but it left gaping wholes in our network, and put us at the mercy of other nations for physical information gathering in whole regions of the world.

One such region was the middle east.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the poor intelligence that led up to the Iraq war, and blame has been aimed squarely at the President. Surely he should receive his share, but missing in the debate has been a discussion about the sourcing of that intelligence. Astute observers have noticed that huge amounts of information, the kind that could only have been gathered by agents on the ground came from secondary sources; primarily French and Israeli. The remainder was from the U.S. in the form of electronic eavesdropping and satellite data. This might in part explain why an idiot such as Joe Wilson was sent to check out the Niger yellow cake claims, instead of an experienced field agent embedded in country.

This is no accident and is a direct result of the constraints that the Church Commission’s rules put on American activities. Even more distressing is the fact that the U.S. had to rely on intelligence sourced from countries that had their own agendas; the French have never put U.S. interests at the top of their list, and one could make a case that the Israelis would have been quite happy to see Saddam removed from the neighborhood. This is the position we put ourselves in.

In the 80’s congress tried to legislate foreign policy in South America with the Boland Amendment, which disallowed funding for intelligence activities in the region. Lucky for the U.S. the Reagan administration tried to find a way around these restrictions and continued to fight the communist beach head in Nicaragua. We emerged from this effort victorious, but several good Americans were not quite as lucky as the rest of us. These folks got caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal as a result of their actions being in conflict with congressional meddling. As a result, they were threatened with jail time and the rest of us dealt with an otherwise successful presidency that had to spend two years of its last term completely distracted.

In the ‘90’s Jamie Gorelick, lately of the 9/11 commission, created a wall between the FBI and the CIA that prohibited the sharing of domestic intelligence. While the full damage assessment of this misguided policy isn’t complete, and it will be years before we know exactly the price we paid, it is not an overstatement to say that this policy did nothing to help us prevent the attack on the WTC.

The past 12 months have been dominated by an increasingly shrill debate on the definition of torture and its application against terrorists. While there is no doubt that what occurred at Abu Gahrib was not torture, it also wasn’t acceptable. In fact, this inexcusable breakdown in military discipline has been more damaging, given the follow on developments that have occurred, than any of us could have predicted.

The truth is that very little evidence of any torture has been found by anyone. We’ve heard about waterboarding, which depending on your view might be considered torture, and there have been 5 documented homicides which are under investigation. We’ve also heard about enhanced interrogation techniques that involve sleep deprivation, temperature extremes and physical discomfort, but in most views these do not qualify as a crossing of the line.

Despite the relative lack of facts surrounding this debate, political opportunists, angry gay activists, and liberal bush haters have used the argument to try and damage the president politically and discredit the war effort. The results have been profound. American standing has been damaged, CIA prisoner transports have been revealed and now we seem to be ready to pass a whole new set of regulations that will encumber our troops’ ability to keep themselves safe in the war.

Is it going to far to say that this, more than any act in recent history, is the greatest threat to American security today? I don’t think so. The McCain amendment is an excellent example. On its surface the bill seems benign enough, but the implications for our troops and citizens are profound. Make no mistake; the bill will on day one convey the rights of the Geneva Conventions on terrorists. This is no small policy change when you consider that the Geneva Conventions’ prime goal was to protect civilians, and now these same rules will be used to protect those who kill civilians as their prime goal.

Where will this folly end? We cannot continue to enact these self restricting rules and expect our troops to believe that they have our full confidence and support. We cannot continue to fight those who would kill us, with anything less than the full force of our power. We have seen the price paid when good intentions, driven by an emotional response to war, led us down the wrong path.

Seemingly simple regulations destroyed our ability to collect intelligence in the Middle East. Compartmentalization of information inhibited us from identifying the enemy who walked freely among us. The price we paid on 9/11 was enormous. There really is only two questions left; when will the price finally be too great, and how many will die on that horrible day?

"The nation must to a degree take it on faith that we too are honorable men, devoted to her service."

Richard Helms, then DCI
April, 1971

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bubble Boy

I see the media is now officially out of new ideas. Somehow it has taken five years, but they are now back to the traditional criticism of Republican presidents. The bubble.

I read it in Maureen Dowd's column this morning and heard Brian Williams ask the President about it earlier in the week. It's a tired old bit and goes something like this; the President is unable to get out a be with "the people". He has surrounded himself with yes men advisors and is blissfully ignorant of the fact that the country is falling apart around him. Rome burns, Nero fiddles. Blah, blah, blah.

Oddly, liberal presidents who are every bit as isolated as conservative presidents never seem to be on the receiving end of the bubble critique. It sure is hard for me to believe that this has anything to do with liberal bias in the media, so I assume that President's such as Mr. Clinton for example, really can feel our pain while their having sex with post pubescent interns.

Silly me.

Frankly, the whole bit is absurd if you ask me. Presidents, of all types, are isolated to a degree from the public. This does not mean that by any stretch of the imagination that they are in a bubble and unaware of public opinion and thought. Hell, Clinton was taking polls to see if he should sneeze, and Bush is kept keenly aware of public opinion on a daily basis by his political advisors. This is job requirement number 1 for a simple reason. These guys want to get re-elected, and even when they're in their second terms, they want their party to gain in future elections. So they make every effort to puncture that bubble and understand what public opinion is saying.

That is not to say that a bubble doesn't exist, because one surely does. The fact is that our national media live in one of the greatest bubbles ever created in the history of man. Provincial, subject to ideological group-think, and almost uniquely the most distrusted entity in American life today the media hasn't got a clue about what is going anywhere in the world if it isn't in New York city or Washington D.C.

Rarely has a greater example of the dangers of isolation, and intellectual constipation been on display than that we seen in our national media today. For years readership of newspapers has been in decline, network news has continually lost audience, and the trust of the people has drifted to oblivion. Still, to hear the chatter of these folks as they sit amidst the wreckage of a once proud industry is to get a view of the utter lack of recognition of their own failure.

It would be sad if it wasn't so darn amusing. The rest of us have done well, and miss the media not a wit. We've found alternative news sources, learned to question everything we read, and in general have a much more informed view of the world than our would be media superiors. We can list, with little effort, everything that the media has gotten wrong and continues to get wrong on a daily basis; from the war against terror to the continued resilience and strength of the American economy.

So enjoy the bubble folks! The warmth you feel in there is just the combined effect of all that hot air you've been emitting. Oh yes, there is a greenhouse effect, but it will be solved when your bubble pops!

Losing Never Really Works as a Strategy

Well, not since Vietnam anyway.

The Anti-war left seems to once again have put themselves in a corner regarding the war in Iraq. For a while their relentless attacks on America and our policy in Iraq, which included the lies about lying and the continued hysteria over "torture" by some people, seemed to serve their political purpose; drive the President's approval ratings lower and hopefully win back Congress next fall. Ironic since these very same people spent so much time prior to this fall standing vigalent for any sign that the Republicans were trying to politicize the war or 9/11.

Sadly, they didn't count on the resolve of our troops, the President, or the Iraqi people. Which leads them to their uncomfortable position today. The linked article above references tomorrow's Iraqi elections and points to the expected turnout which by all accounts should be enormous. Most importantly, the Sunnis seem to be getting on board with the election process as well.

Despite this the left continues to predict failure, and counsels imediate withdrawal from the country. In particular, the left seems concerned that terrorist violence, recognized for what it is by most level headed people, represents some sort of hyper nationalism instead of murder. So where does that leave our anti-war friends today? Well, if I've got their message right it is something like:
  1. The real Iraqis are those that are bombing, not voting
  2. Iraq has no real chance to be successful
  3. We should withdraw immediately
  4. An apology to the world for promoting freedom in country where terror once reigned would be appropriate
This when Sunnis are coming on board, there seems to be growing support for secular government, and public optimism about the future remains high.

It almost makes you feel sorry for Dim Harry and Ole White Flag.

No, I guess it doesn't does it?
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Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Me? I'd rather hear Chrissie sing "Precious" right about now

Why Do They Insist On Making All News Bad?

I suppose I should scold Bush for falling into an obvious trap, but at some point doesn't the media have an obligation to at least try to get the facts straight. I guess this news made them think they had to do something to help the Dems who seem to have chosen to follow Ole White Flag on his path to oblivion.

Purple fingers coming up next!

UPDATE: I'm watching our local news and they just did a bit on some Quakers (good people, great oats, not sure about the religion) who set up a memorial to dead Iraqi civilians in one of Chicago's plazas today. The Hispanic member of the perfectly balanced news team intoned over pictures of shoes (why shoes I wonder?), "by some accounts, over 100,000 civilians have died". No mention so far of the vote which has already begun.

Via Annika.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Conservative Blogs Are More Effective

Apparently the NYT Magazine has come to the none to surprising conclusion that conservative blogs are more effective than their liberal counterparts, and will say so in a published article this weekend.

Well duh.

I don't mean to be harsh on our friends at the Times, I'm a subscriber, and despite their obvious and at times, overwhelming, liberal bias they remain the best source of news in the U.S. This is because of their scope of coverage, and the fact that most other papers cover a only a subset of stories that the Times deems important, usually following the Times' theme. Really though, it is hard to believe that the NYT is just now realizing this fact.

The interesting question for liberals to ask themselves is "why is this so?"

The broad answer, in my view, is simple; conservative blogs, reflective of the state of conservatism, are just more interesting. This is not to say there aren't interesting liberals out there, surely there are, but modern liberalism is not a movement that welcomes diversity of thought. For all the bluster we hear from our liberal friends about diversity and celebrating our differences, at a practical level there is little or no commitment to anything other than a very shallow interpretation of these views.

Think about it. When was the last time a pro-life speaker was allowed prime-time podium time at the Democratic convention? We know that just as pro-choice Republicans exist, there are pro-life Democrats, but to publicly espouse these views is to risk alienation from the powers that control liberal money.

Similarly, it is nearly impossible to find an African American in liberal circles that has any different view on race relations or affirmative action than the orthodox liberal views that were developed in the 1960's. This, more than anything, is the reason why black thinkers with differing views have been forced to join the conservative movement in order to get their views heard. Think I'm wrong? Give Clarence Thomas a call, or perhaps Bill Cosby and ask how their alternative views have been received in liberal circles.

All of this has resulted in a stagnation of liberal philosophy that reflects a worldview of a time that has passed. Enforced groupthink such as we've seen in liberalism never results in progress and often ends with the dissolution of the organizations that were created to promote the underlying views; ie., in this case the Democratic Party. History is replete with examples of groups that have died because they failed to evolve. In fact, Darwin said it best when he said that "victory does not go to the strongest, but to those that can best adapt to change".

Truly the most bizarre aspect to this decline of liberalism has been that it was the direct result of being correct. I, and many of my fellow conservatives, can speak to this point better than most since we started our political lives as liberals. I won't rehash the history, but all of us in our way supported the push for equality, freedom and yes, the pursuit of happiness for all. The really cool thing is that we won! Oh, of course things aren't perfect and perhaps they never will be, but if anything is certain it is this; different times and different situations demand a change in process, thought and approach.

Liberals have failed to take this lesson in any significant way, and therefore have yielded ground and momentum to the conservative movement....."The Movement" as many of us called it when we first joined. And that is the point isn't it? "The Movement" implies that we have some. It ain't pretty, it's often raucous and we beat each other bloody when we don't agree. Just ask Harriet Miers.

The point is that conservatives don't have any single view which has been and continues to be to our benefit. I can name at least three major groups of conservatives; Paleocons, Neocons and Libertarians. Each group is divided by their underlying philosophical views. Paleocons "stand athwart history yelling stop". Neo-Cons, of which I am one, are "liberals who were mugged by reality". Libertarians want pot and prostitution legalized.

Ok, I'm just teasing my Libertarian friends there.

The point is each of these groups have underlying views that we hold dear and fight for within the conservative movement. Liberals on the other hand, rather than dividing themselves by philosophy, divide themselves by interest group. Women, minorities, Hollywood stars are just a few. These groups, because they want to battle for big government goodies, play a much different game than conservatives. Liberal groups make deals with each other to split spoils, and enforce groupthink so that each group's credibility and reason for existence is never really questioned. I'm not saying that conservatives are not guilty of some of the same things, but I am saying that unlike liberals it is not our entire reason for being.

So conservatives are more interesting. Because we're driven more by ideas we also are more entrepreneurial and tend to find new technologies such as the web, or ways of exploiting old technologies, such as radio, better than liberals. This is a shame because many of my liberal friends, and some of my liberal readers, are quite interesting and thought provoking people. I'm challenged by their ideas, I'm forced to question my own views and I enjoy the give and take that I have with these folks.

Alternatively, when I read the New York Times, or visit Kos I just roll my eyes.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

An Amazing Christmas Light Display

Ever wonder what would happen if a guy, say a guy who used to orchestrate light shows for ELO arena concerts, moved in next door and had entirely too much time on his hands?

I haven't either.

The good news is, after one viewing of the linked video we can be thankful for two things:

1. We won't ever have to look for an answer to that question and,
2. That guy doesn't live next door to us!

Thanks to Martini Boy for the heads up on this one.

Happy Blogerversery!!

Thanks to Trumpet and PDS who remind me that today is one year since the first Pursuit of Happiness post. Back then I was posting about Kofi, NRO, Channukah and what a squalid hell hole the state of Florida is.

For the record none of the opinions expressed in those posts have changed!

Thanks to all who take the time to read the blog, and here's to year 2.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

APB: Irate Savant

If you haven't been reading the undiscovered genius known as the Irate Savant, don't say I didn't alert you to one of the best sites on the web. After a series of increasingly bizarre rants, he's gone missing. My guess; some terrible turkey fryer accident in his foresaken homeland, but we may never know for sure.

Or maybe he is just looking for some free pub to promote his site

London Blogging

Today, history is made......The Pursuit of Happiness goes international.

Good evening and welcome to the moment that the world........well some of the world.....ok very few people if anyone at all, has been waiting for. Live from London it's the Pursuit of Happiness.

There was a time in my life, pretty much from 1995 - 1998 that I did this route as a commute. Two weeks in Chicago, and two in London. To be perfectly accurate, it actually started out as two weeks in Zurich, two in Chicago between '94 and '95 and then morphed to London.

It was amazing how quickly I got used to it, and established a iron traveler routine. The gate personel in both locations knew me by name. I'd get on the plane, order the quick meal, down a couple glasses of wine and then fall promptly asleep. Once we landed I'd hit the ground running, go straight to the office work all day, go to dinner at night and collapse exhausted sometime around midnight. In fact, so frequent a visitor to the Zurich airport was I that last time I checked, I was in the Swiss Air "Welcome to Zurich" video..........I'm the guy in the background pushing a luggage cart.

So, after not making this run in five years I wondered if I could return to my old habits. The answer is yes. Landed at 8 this morning, made it in to the office and had dinner tonight. I sit here now blogging in a state of sleep deprived mania as CNN International reports on the incredible cold in my home town. Note to Mrs. P: its in the 40's here!

Speaking of CNN, the international version still sucks. You'd think that overtime the folks at the channel would have realized that the same bland news reporting offered by a guy with an accent doesn't make the channel anymore international than calling fried potatos "french".

So I see Howard Dean is up to his old tricks again; you know the ones where he goes off his meds and says what most Democrats are secretly thinking. Dean is a real piece of work. I say this not so much because he is such an unapologetic fool, but more because he actually convinced the party elect him as their head. As a conservative I find this to be a real tragedy. In general, I have no use for politicians and while I tend to vote Republican I have never identified myself as a member or supporter of the party.

Politicians, when you boil away all of the philisophical mumbo jumbo that they claim to support, are really nothing more than mercenaries supported by our tax dollars. To the extent that we at one time in our country had a credible liberal party - the Democrats - then shear brand differentiation required Republicans to be the conservative party. Never mind that many of the Republican politicians didn't really support conservative principles, they at least were willing to go along with them if such an alignment served their need to get re-elected.

Tragically, the Democrats went insane. How else can you explain the party's warm loving embrace of losing positions, nut job celebrity "activists", and anti-American foreign policy pronouncements. This was supposed to be the foundation of a ruling coalition? Only in bizaro world.

All of which is a long winded way to get around to my point. I say this is tragic because once the Democrats went crazy, the Republican politicians were free to revert to their real impulses and became the tax and spenders that they secretly always wanted to be. The rest of us are stuck with this sorry state until we can identify a true revolutionary to act as the catalyst for change. One wonders what would happen if Newt were to run. Say what you will about the man, while I'm sure he isn't electable, I'm equally sure that he would force some serious discussion about fiscal sanity. Then again maybe I'm just really tired.

Which brings me to old White Flag. Have the Demos realized hitching their anti-war case to Murtha may have been a really bad idea? Yes, he is a war hero who we all really, really respect for his service, but what the hell has gotten into this guy? Not only is he speaking against our troops (the army is broken), but on the Sunday shows this weekend he was contradicting himself between comercial breaks on the same show!

Really, this is quite odd. The only time I've ever seen a performance like this from politicians has been when they were trying to get out in front of some impending bad news by attempting to claim the moral high ground on an issue of the day to make themselves uncriticiseable. I have no way of know whether or not that is what is happening here, but really, something is going on.

One final thing on a completely unrelated topic. What is going on with my blogroll? I load up these guys as recommended reading and then one by one half of them have quit posting! Was it something I said?

So, I'll be updating the blogroll to get some real posters and those that aren't posting (Habitat Girl I'm talking to you) will be removed. Any recomendations for a new blogroll will be appreciated.

Over and out

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Talley Ho!

Off to London for the rest of the week.........will attempt to take the Pursuit international!

Monday, December 5, 2005

Excellent News In the WOT

No, I am not referring to Howard Dean's proclimation today that we "would not win in Iraq". Although it is tempting to expect with metaphysical certitude that like George Costanza ,whatever Mr. Deans predicts, the exact opposite will occur, I won't be tempted to go anywhere near that joke.

Nope, I'm bigger than that, and ABCNews in the linked report, gives us news today that the Al Queada biggies have been talking. So lets be cheered by that. Of course, as with any comitted enemy (and lets face it these guys should be comitted) it has taken "enhanced interrogation techniques to get them to talk. All but one required waterboarding to start to give up the goods, but most didn't last for more than a minute once we began to get serious with them.

I've been amazed that we haven't been hit again since 9/11, and as the "9/11 Commission" said in their report today, it hasn't always been because of the excellent security systems that we have put in place domestically. The truth, it seems, is because these techniques have worked and have allowed us to get information and stop attacks before they start. I've long believed that the best defense is a good offense, and taking the fight to the bad guys is proving this basic principle once again.

After 9/11 I heard that an Israeli security agent said that they fight terrorism differently than us. "You guys look for weapons, we look for terrorists" he said. Perhaps we've learned something after all.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Target One

Sunday is the day, and this man is Target One. He will be stopped and The Most Storied Team In The History of The Greatest Sport will be victorious on or about 3pm CST Sunday. I'll be there on the lake front with a cheer in my heart and flask in my pocket to witness this; the latest chapter in the Bears-Packers rivalry. Afterwards, I'm sure there will be a story to pass on to future generations of Bears fans. But for now.

Target One: Get 'im boys.

I hear there are other games this week. I've left the boys at Pursuit Football Central to do most of the calculations this week. It's been a tough November, and we're just about even against the spread; a situation that brings shame to all of us accustomed to the glory of beating the experts. So, I've put the staff on bread and water until they perform better. The server farm has been cranking new algorithms around the clock, and here is what they say:

Bears 7 Packers: Do you really need to ask?
Dolphins 4 Bills: Dolphins
Steelers 3.5 Bengals: Bengals
Ravens 8 Texans: Texans
Colts 16 Titans: I never give 16 points, Titans are a no brainer here.
Jags 3 Browns: Browns. Today is the day of charter franchises
Giants 3 Cowboys: Giants
Vikes 3 Lions: Vikes
Panthers 3 Falcons: Falcons
Bucs 3.5 Saints: Saints
Cards 3 49ers: Cards
Redskins 3 Rams: Rams
Pats 10 Jets: Giving 10 with the Pats? Yes, yes I think so
Broncs 1 Chiefs: Chiefs
Chargers 11.5 Raiders: Chargers
Seahawks 4 Eagles: Eagles



Bear Down, Chicago Bears
Make every play, clear the way to victory!

Bear Down, Chicago Bears
Put up a fight with a might so fearlessly!

We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation
With your T-formation

Bear Down, Chicago Bears
And let them know why you're wearing the crown!

You're the pride and joy of Illinois,
Chicago Bears, Bear Down!!

Posted by Picasa

Ole White Flag Murtha Strikes Again

You were saying Congressman...... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Halas Stops By The Packer Locker Room

I've enjoyed recounting the Bears-Packers rivalry this week. There are so many great stories, and I got a little off track from what I intended and ended up telling more about my personal experience with the rivalry, than some of the antics that went on between the teams.

Tonight I'm in Stamford, CN traveling on business. Oprah is about to appear on Letterman, and I'm getting a little tired since my phone at home rang at 3:50 in the blessed a.m. this morning with a wrong number. Who misdials at 3:50 a.m?

So this one is going to be short. There is no doubt that the rivalry between the two teams started with Halas and Lambeau. Both were fierce competitors, and when it came to winning there was little they wouldn't do. For example, one time Halas found out the Packers were illegally using college players, and reported Lambeau to the league. The Packers were thrown out of the fledgling league and had to apply for reinstatement the following year.

The fact is Halas wasn't really outraged that the Packers were pulling a fast one on other teams at all. The Bears, and most likely, everyone else were doing the same thing. What upset Halas was that the Packers had signed up a couple players that he really wanted for the Bears, and the only way he could sign them was to get the Packers disqualified! Sure enough, by the time the Pack was back in the league the following season, Halas had converted the players in question to Chicago Bears.

Off the field Lambeau and Halas had respect for each other, and my guess is that a friendship existed between the two, although I don't know that for sure. I do know, that when Lambeau died, Halas was a pall bearer at his funeral.

When Lombardi joined the Packers to replace Lambeau, a better foe for Halas couldn't be found. Lombardi loved to win and soon was as committed to the rivalry as anyone. Packer great Willie Davis remembers Lombardi fondly; "Lombardi said you had to dislike everything about the Bears, even Halas as he stood on the goal line during warm-ups," Davis says. "Lombardi made it seem like Lambeau had never left." So it was with great relish one day that Halas decided to visit the Packer locker room minutes before the upcoming game.

Halas knocked on the door and it was answered by the equipment manager for the Packers. "I need to speak with Coach Lombardi" Halas said. When Lombardi came to the door Halas said, "Coach, I hope you have your team ready because we're going to kick your [butt]."

The rivalry lives on today. In recent years the intensity has been less than past decades, but these things go through cycles. In the 80's Mike Ditka and Forrest Gregg had developed such an animosity for each other that they nearly came to blows in the middle of a game - as coaches!.

I sense that things may be heating up again. The Bears are getting better, and the Pack is having a tough year. I'll be at the game Sunday, here's hoping that we have some fun.

And that we kick the Packer's collective ass too, of course.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Walter Sends One From Above

I remember the day Walter died. It wasn’t supposed to happen to a guy so young, but it did anyway. He had announced within the previous year that he was suffering from bile duct cancer, but that he was convinced that with support from his family he would beat the disease.

We all had believed him, despite what our eyes told us. Walter had been diminished to a shadow of his former self. Thin, almost frail looking, there had been rumors. So while his preference would have been to remain private, the talk of aids that began circulating had forced him to go public.

I was driving down the Edens expressway when the announcement that Walter Payton had died came over the radio. It was the first week of November in 1999, Packer week, and my buddy and I were going to be driving to Green Bay that weekend for our first game in Lambeau Field. As I drove down the expressway listening to Walter’s teammates and friends talk about their fallen comrade I passed an African American man who had pulled his car to the shoulder and gotten out.

He was kneeling in the grass, head bowed, praying.

That was the kind of reverence this town had for one of it’s greatest. Walter Payton was a Bear like no other. After a tough rookie year when he missed a game with a pulled hamstring, he went on to play another 12 years. Although playing in one of the game’s toughest positions, running back for the Chicago Bears, and although running the ball on average 25 to 30 times a game Walter never missed another game in those 12 years.

There was always much talk about how strong and healthy Walter must have been to make all those games, but it was much more than that. He was tough. Walter was different than most runners in that he didn’t try to avoid tacklers so much as he tried to make sure that he was the one delivering the blow. In most cases this meant that the first guy to get to him could only hope to slow Walter down. That, and not get hurt. I never saw Walter go down on first contact, and I have no memory of ever seeing him lose a yard.

He was a Chicago Bear. Tough, committed, and hungry to deliver contact.

The Bears were bad in 1999, and the idea of losing in Green Bay the same week we lost one of our greatest was tough to consider. Farve was at his peak as Green Bay’s Quarterback, and to be honest there wasn’t much hope for our guys. It was an emotional week though, and the one thing that young team got to witness for themselves as we mourned the loss of Walter, was what it means to be a Bear in this town.

The morning of November 7th, 1999 found my pal and me outside the gates at Lambeau yelling, “Looking for two!”. It was tough; there were few extra tickets, and none with seats next to each other. We ended up buying two tickets on opposite sides of the stadium, said, “Bear down!” and went inside hoping for the best.

What a game. The team was truly inspired and played the Packers even for most of the game. Near the end, the Bears went up by a point or two and the Packers found themselves with the ball for one last drive, and time running out on the clock.

We held our breath and hoped against hope. This is where Farve excelled, and for the past decade he had been making a living as a Bear killer in just these situations. As the Pack moved down the field they pulled within field goal range with just enough time for one attempt at the three points, and the win.

The ball was snapped, the hold put in place, and the kicker stroked the ball cleanly into the air. At the last moment – the very last moment – Brian Robinson’s head appeared out of nowhere to knock the ball out of the sky. Rejected!

Bears Win! Bears Win!

The Packer’s fans looked at me like I was some sort of crazy man. “Bears Win” I shouted again, followed by, “See ya later!” as I thought it might be wise for me to beat a hasty exit. Out in the street I found my pal who came running in my direction shouting “Bears Win!”.

There are those who say that Walter knocked that ball off course that day or at the very least put B-Rob’s hand in the air. This is not entirely a nutso theory. The fact is B-Rob never did another thing of merit for the team and was out of football a few years later. People say it was Walter’s spirit that produced the win that day, and they’re right. Because of his death the team was witness to what one man can do if he works hard and makes a commitment to excellence.

Walter inspired a whole city, the idea that he inspired the team is, as they say, a no brainer.

Tomorrow: George Halas knocks on Lombardi’s locker room door.

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Welcome Back George

Well it’s about time.

After months of getting beat up by the Democrats, anti-war activists and their media cohorts, the President is fighting back. I was quite cheered on Veteran’s Day when he gave his speech denouncing not those who were critical of the war effort, but instead those cynical anti-war fanatics willing to distort and lie as their primary means of promoting their agenda.

My only concern was that the speech was a one off event and not the opening salvo in a long-term, ongoing campaign to fight for the proper war policy in America. It has been said the Bush is a good starter, but tends to be in bed when it comes time to finish, and I agree. Exhibit One is the very poor manner in which Bush and his team have communicated both the reasons for going to war, and the merits of staying in Iraq until the job is done.

Good people can disagree, and the majority of Americans have embraced respect for the well considered opinions of the side opposite of their own. For those of us who strongly support the war, and our continuing efforts to bring a stable government to Iraq, the president’s absence in making the case and leading our effort has been frustrating and more than a little bit depressing. Day after day, real progress is being made in one of the most difficult missions this country has ever attempted. We need the President out in front, leading the charge and defending the goal. With his leadership pushing us forward, the rest of us can wax the cripples as we pass by on our way to victory.

Finally. Finally he is out there once again with renewed energy. It is not insignificant that in recent days we’ve seen a change in tone from virtually all sides of American life. Serious Democrats such as Joe Lieberman, and Hillary (does she need a last name?) have stood up for the war, and defended our continued mission in Iraq, if not the exact details of the mission’s execution. The poll I linked to yesterday, published in the WaPo, suggests the public in fact does support the mission and does view the machinations of Dim Harry and Dirty Dick with the cynical eye they deserve. And the mood is up. Consumer confidence, although not completely related, is on the upswing which is in my view a leading indicator of more good things to come. Then there is the French, those loathsome, good for nothing scoundrels. The bloody French are even suggesting that it might be wrong for the US to leave Iraq too soon.

All this, with only a small effort from the President. Imagine the effect of those purple fingers that we’re likely to see on December 15th. The third successful election in one year, held by a country that previously was under the thumb of a gruesome dictator. All accomplished by the American military, the Iraqi public, and the determination of the American People thank you very much. I think we’ll begin to see a resurgence of positive opinion for Bush, and a new commitment to getting the job done right by the American people.

Today with have “The Strategy”. According to several media reports that I’ve heard, it’s a new strategy for winning the war and withdrawing troops. This is wrong. It is the same strategy with the only difference being that the President is actually doing some heavy lifting to sell it, and the media has backed itself in a corner where it now has to report it. I sure don’t like how we got to this point, nor am I particularly happy with how long it took to get here, but damn, we’re here and it feels good. Let’s hope the President has enough endurance to stick with this approach as well as he sticks to his exercise regimen.

I marvel at how fast things can change, which is to say that this state is not guaranteed, anymore than Nancy Pelosi’s previously all but certain rise to Speaker of the House next November. I am willing to make some bets though.

  • Next November we will be beginning to bring troops home, but will still have over 90,000 troops in Iraq.
  • It is quite likely that we will be talking with the Iraqi government about a more permanent base in Iraq that would include a large airfield.
  • Republicans will hold the house and senate in fall elections
  • Bush’s approval rating will be around 45% give or take 2 points.

Save a copy to beat me over the head with next Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ed O'Bradovich & The Bart Starr Kid

I can't remember the year, it was either the late sixties or very early in the 1970's. I was a huge Bears fan inspite of the fact that the team was, shall we say, less than good. In fact in all of 1969, the team managed to win only one game despite the fact that they had such great players as Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, and of course, Ed O'Bradovich.

O'Bradovich was nearing the end of his career in the late 60's. He was a defense stalwart for the Bears who anchored the defensive end position from 1962 until his retirement from football in 1971. I can remember to this day the passion and ferocity that he brought to every game, the type of player that makes others around him rise to the occasion and play harder due soley to their proximity.

Chicago football has never been primarily about offense or scoring. Of course we cheer for our team to win and expect nothing less than victory, but the real point of Bears football is the hitting. Teams can score and win without ferocity, but nobody hits without heart and this is what has always singled out Bears football. It's what we love about our team, and what we expect from our players. Often we've consoled ourselves over a loss with the knowledge that the other team would feel their pain in the morning.

Ed O'Bradovich, as much as any Bear, is both responsible for this tradition and worthy of our praise. So when my buddies and I heard that Mr. Obradovich would be at Wilson School in Arlington Heights one fall night in 1971 to give a talk and show some old Packer Game highlights there was no question that we'd be there.

I can still remember the room like it was yesterday. We got there early, and still could only get seats about halfway up the room because so many other kids had already arrived. On schedule O'Bradovich came out and gave us a talk. He said things about life, winning, the importance of sports, and what it was like to be a Bear. We came a little closer to becoming men that night, just to hear this real Chicago Bear talk to us.

When he was done, Mr. O'Bradovich asked if there were any questions. One hand shot straight up:

Kid: What do you think about Bart Starr? (For those not in the know, Starr was the Packer QB at the time.)

O'Bradovich: He's alright. He's a Packer, so I don't think about him much. Any other questions?

The same hand.

Kid: Do you think Bart Starr will get the Packers to the Superbowl?

O'Bradovich: You some kind of Packer fan kid?

Kid: Oh yes. I really like Bart Starr!

O'Bradovich: I can see that.

Kid: So will he take the Packers to the Superbowl?

O'Bradovich (becoming obviously irritated): Not if I can help it kid!

O'Bradovich: I've got some game films here, but before we do that are there any other questions?

Same hand.

O'Bradovich: If you ask me one more question about Bart Starr I'm coming over there kid!

Kid (bless his Packer lovin' heart): you think Bart Starr will go to the Hall of Fame?

O'Bradovich: Roll the film! Roll the film! I'm done!

The room despite being full of Bears fans went up for grabs. O'Bradovich made a great show, which was not entirely inauthentic, of being quite beside himself, and I know I had to respect the kid's courage a little that evening. He had the guts to take on the biggest Bear, and came out ahead on that day. I always wonder what happened to that kid, and if he remembers the moment as vividly as I do.

As for O'Bradovich he is as passionate about the Bears today as he was 35 years ago. One of my favorite things to do is tune in Ed and his partner, former Bear great Doug Buffone after every game to listen to their review. If you haven't heard them, it's worth a listen. When the Bears lose they are angrier than anyone, and win the Bears win, they're still angry that they didn't win by more points. Tune them in here is the link

Thanks for memories Mr. O'Bradovich.

Tomorrow: Walter sends a victory from above, and I was there.Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 28, 2005

Dim Harry, What Hath You Wrought?

It all sounded so good in the echo chamber of the Democratic planning sessions. There they were Dim Harry, and Dirty Dick Durbin drunk with their new found power planning out their strategy against the president.

Dim Harry: Dirty Dick, I think this will really work!

Dirty Dick: You betcha Dim Harry! We attack the president by attacking the war! We tell our people and our troops that the war they supported not only was a bad idea, but that we're failing.

Dim Harry: Yes, yes! And don't forget the you were lied to part. Oh yes, I really like that! I like it a whole lot Dirty Dick, a whole lot indeed!

Dirty Dick: Well Dim Harry, we've got the media on our side so the dumb bastards in the boondocks, those toothless fools that were tricked into voting Republican, will never consider that we're actually calling THEM stupid and immoral.

And so their meeting went. It all seemed so perfect; media support, repetition of message, it was a return to the cold war days when the Democratic message also was "America can't win". I wonder if they ever considered, even for a brief moment, that the public didn't buy it back then either.

You see, criticism and pessimism will only get you so far. Sooner or later somebody is going to have the termerity to stand up and say, "well, you guys got any better ideas?" There is one true and certain thing in this world, and it is simply this: The answer to that question from the party led by Dim Harry and Dirty Dick is and always will be, "no".Posted by Picasa

"Beat The Packers"

It's a simple message really, and it's all that matters in Chicago football.

"Beat the Packers".

It's the first thing a young Bears fan learns, and the only important thing he knows during Packers week. The rivalry has had it's ups and downs over the years, and free agency has threatened it's existence as transient players come to town more for the pay check than the glory. But the fan's have always remembered, and they make sure the players know that more than anything, rule number one for every man who puts on a Bears' jersey is to do whatever it takes to beat the Packers. Ask any player in Chicago, and they will tell you that at some point in their career a fan has come up to them and uttered those three simple words.

"Beat the Packers".

If the player hasn't heard this from a fan then he can be sure it is the first sign that he has been judged unworthy by those who count. This is no joke. A few years ago Chicago had a head coach named Dave Wannstedt. Wanny, or Death Spiral Dave as I liked to call him, came to town a likeable guy. Having put up a successful record as Jimmy Johnson's defensive coordinator in Dallas, Wanny was given more latitude than any head coach since the old man himself ran the team.

Unfortunately, Wanny wasn't any good. Fortunately for Wanny, Chicago fans are forgivable sorts when they have invested a lot of emotion into your hoped for success, and Bears fans had invested quite a bit in Dave. So much so, that even when Wanny exhibited a troubling inability to "beat the Packers", fans were willing to look the other way.

Then one day, one awful day for Wanny, in a desperate attempt to lower expectations and take some pressure off of another losing team, Wanny suggested that Packer week, was just like any other week. I've always wondered if Wanny knew it was over the second those words left his lips. Just like any other week? The fool. The damned fool, how could he have ever even thought he could get away with such apostasy. Death Spiral Dave spent his final years here trying to make fans believe he cared, but we knew the truth, he had failed in his one single mission.

Dave not only couldn't "beat the Packers", he didn't even care.

Just the other night Wanny, who is now a college coach and sinking fast, lost his final game of the season. The local sports guy showed highlights. We cheered.

"Beat the Packers".

It's simple. Full of the clarity that is missing in the rest of our lives. One simple mission where winning isn't enough, and beating necessarily only represents a starting point.

"Beat - the - Packers."

Some say the rivalry started between the legendary Mr. George Hallas and the cheese head with the French ancestry, Curly Lambeau. Both men loved to win, and more importantly they liked to win against each other. Both Hallas and Lambeau were NFL originals. Each man not only owned his team, but they also acted as head coach and star player. Mr. George Hallas, scored the final touchdown in the Bears first game against the Packers.

The rivalry really played out for real in that first game between two players who intentionally or not, set the tone for this brutal football classic. During that first game on November 27, 1921 Chicago's guard Tarzan Taylor landed a sucker punch into the nose of Howard "Cub" Buck, who despite being a much larger man, got the worst of the encounter. Buck's nose was broken, and his only response was to say to Taylor, "You're supposed to be a college graduate and a gentleman you know".

It sounds like the kind retort that would make a Frenchman proud, don't you think? Perhaps we could say the Pack surrendered that day, losing the game 20 zip.

Tomorrow: My brush with greatness. Ed O'bradovich and the Bart Starr kid.
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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Welcome To Packer Week

Two weeks every year are different. For 50 weeks a year Bears fans and Packers fans can treat each other with civility and at least a small amount of respect. We really have to, since our states border each other, separated by the renown "cheddar curtain".

The truth is that we need each other. Bear fans enjoy vacationing in Wisconsin with it's many lakes and woods, and Packers fans - who do little other than consume beer and burp - need our tourism dollars to keep their beautiful, yet oddly dull state from otherwise certain economic collapse. Interesting state, Wisconsin. Nowhere else in the world can one find an entire population dedicated to a life of sloth, and bizarre outdoor pursuits. Of course, I say this with a certain amount of respect, because our friends to the north despite a marked lackadaisical approach to life, do seem to find odd ways of distinguishing themselves none-the-less.

For example, did you know that a majority - not "a lot" or "many" or even "quite a bit ya hey der" - but a real honest injun majority of drowning victims in Wisconsin are found fully clothed with their pant's zippers open? True fact. I'm sure you've figured out the cause of this phenomena by now, but in case you haven't I'll add that they are solitary males, generally somewhat intoxicated, and usually an empty boat, still full of fishing gear, is found floating nearby.

But I digress. This is Packer week and it is time once again to beat and humiliate the loathsome swine from the north. It is a simple fact that this, more than any other, is the greatest rivalry in pro sports. Active since 1920, when Curly Lambeau (note the French surname) and the legendary Mr. George Halas led the Green Bay Packers and the Decatur Staleys (who the next year became the Chicago Bears), both teams have been meeting twice every fall on the gridiron for the world's greatest grudge match. Of course, the Bears hold the advantage having trounced the Packers more often than not, but we still pay homage to our worthy foes.

So I won't be turning the Pursuit into a sports blog this week, but I will regale you with tales and trivia from years gone by, as we prepare for a glorious Bears victory next Sunday. The picture above is from the Wrigley Snowstorm on December 11, 1932. Details of that game (Bears won) can be found here.

Tomorrow: Tarzan Taylor teaches Packer Howard "Cub" Brock where to find his nose.Posted by Picasa

Are You Ready For Some Football!!!!!?

Ready as we'll ever be! Big week folks, Da Bears are going for seven in a row, and they'll be doing it without one single Mini Ditka. Folly you say? Well at 3pm we'll know the truth, and hopefully so will the Bucs.

I hear there are also some other games. Here is my take on those:

Bucs 3 Bears: Da Bucs. WHAT? Hey bet with my mind, cheer with my heart.
Chiefs 3 Pats: Chiefs
Bengals 9 Ravens: Ravens
Panthers 4 Bills: Bills
Chargers 3 Redskins: Redskins
Vikes 4 Browns: Vikes
Titans 7.5 Niners: Titans
Rams 3.5 Texans: Texans
Jags 3 Cards: Cards
Raiders 7 Dolphins: Raiders
Seahawks 4.5 Giants: Giants
Eagles 4.5 Pack: Eagles
Saints 1 Jets: Jets
Colts 8 Steelers: Steelers

Bear Down!



Bear Down, Chicago Bears
Make every play, clear the way to victory!

Bear Down, Chicago Bears
Put up a fight with a might so fearlessly!

We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation
With your T-formation

Bear Down, Chicago Bears
And let them know why you're wearing the crown!

You're the pride and joy of Illinois,
Chicago Bears, Bear Down!!

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Are You Ready For Some Football!!!!!!!!!!!?

Why yes, yes I am, although I'm not sure about our lovely cheerleader friend above. As a cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons she won't be stuffing the turkey today (although I'm suddenly thinking about stuffing muffins), but instead she'll be hard at work up in Detroit cheering her team on. The Falcons are favored by 3 points and any sane man would give the three and take Atlanta. Not this guy though, see I remember that this day, more than others is tough on birds so I'm takin' the points and gettin outta town. Go Deeetroit!

I'd post another picture of one of the Denver cheerleaders, but I haven't figured out the technology yet....someday I should get me a real blog. At any rate, the late game has the potential to be a doozy! Denver goes against Dallas and the Broncs are favored by three. Something tells me to go with the dog here too, and take the Cowboys and the points. Seems crazy, but then I'm just a wild and crazy guy!

What about my cumulative record you say? Well two tough weeks of 4-10 and 7-9 and moved me to 68-64 against the spread for the season. Not awful, but not up to my standards for excellence other. Lets see if I can get back on track today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Posted by Picasa

Paging Dim Harry, Paging Dim Harry

It's not working Harry, it's not working!Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More Progress In Iraq

This was the first thing that I read in my NYT this morning and it is a sign of further progress in that disaster named Iraq. Of course the Times tried to spin it as bad news, but frankly you could tell they really didn't have their heart in it. Although the headline indicated that it was putting further pressure on Bush, the article itself acknowledged that the pull-out timetable should be subject to Iraq developing a force sufficiently capable of providing security for the country.

The good news is that Sunnis and Shites are beginning to work together in the country's political process, and jointly taking responsibility for Iraq'a future. Make no mistake, this is a small step in tangible terms, but it is quite encouraging none-the-less. Interestingly, the media chose not to give this progress much attention. Odd, don't you think?

So today was another good day in the war on terror. The above development, combined with the news that Al Queda's decision to shift money out of Iraq as a result of their failure there and back to Afghanistan, is excellent news. Even more encouraging, is the news that the big AQ is increasingly unwelcome in Afghanistan, where Arabs tend to stand out.

I wonder if Congressman Murtha, who is an honored war hero and a good patriot, regrets calling for the white flag yet?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Congressman Murtha

I spent some time thinking about Congressman Murtha over the weekend. Who couldn't? Personally, I had never heard of this guy and suddenly there he was on my as a "former Iraq Supporter" announcing that we should withdraw our troops within six months.

Wow. A retired marine. Decorated veteran of service not only disagreeing with the President, but announcing a policy of more or less, immediate withdrawal. Heavy stuff.

I'll admit my first inclination was to mock him. I certainly never heard of this guy, he looks a bit like your average handout, rubber chicken banquet attending Congressman, and of course, my first inclination is to mock anyone who annoys me. It's part of the magic that is me.

Oh don't give me that high minded, Republican attack response bs that Andy Sullivan has used to put himself in near rapture today we've heard it all before. It's called politics as usual, and the Democrats have their attack dogs too. I won't mention Sid "Vicious" Blumenthal, if you promise not to bring another obscure boob named Schmidt. See we can all play this game.

I, of course wouldn't do such a thing. Nope, I'm pretty impressed with Congressman Murtha. If you want to read all the details of this man's service and philanthropy (some of it with our tax dollars, but then again that is part of his job), those details are out there, and they are impressive. He visits the service people at Walter Reed, once a week.

So he's a good guy and a patriot, by virtually everyone's account. Which makes this all the more puzzling. Why, dare tell me, would a decorated veteran declare his support for a six month pull out? I could understand a lot of things, but this? It doesn't make sense.

Say, for example, Murtha announced that he thought we needed to double our troops in Iraq. Or maybe that we should start bombing Syria. Or say that he thought we should try have some peace discussions with Zarqawi. All of these things, I would probably disagree with - although the Syrian option does seem intriguing - but I would understand that he was looking for a way to improve our position in Iraq.

Yet Murtha announces, somewhat out of the blue, that he wants full withdrawal in six months. Make no mistake, this is the one option that by just announcing support for it, is most likely to put our troops in greater danger, and a former war hero, a guy with McCainesque credentials announces that this, more than anything else is what he wants for our Iraq policy.

Think about it. Here we are closing in on the end of 2005, a historic year for Iraq and the US when we have had enormous success in pulling that country together. We began the year with the purple fingers of enthusiastic first time voters, defied the critics in June with another successful vote, and will now close the year with an overwhelmingly successful vote that will ratify the new constitution. Our number one enemy in country, Zarqawi, has just committed the most critical error of his campaign of terror, and has actually gotten his family and mosque and country to denounce him.

Suddenly here comes Congressman Murtha, a decorated war hero, announcing his support for a policy that looks damn close to surrender, and Zarqawi must be unable to believe his good fortune. "A tipping point!" has got to be his first thought, and to the extent he is capable, he must be thinking that now is the moment to go for broke. Send out the bombers and unleash as much death and mayhem as humanly possible to push the enemy's political structure over the top. Yes, there can be little doubt Murtha's announcement has hurt our position against the enemy.

I do not mean to suggest he did this intentionally, but I am willing to submit that he did it without much thought. There can be no doubt that Mutha thinks either our policy is wrong, or our execution of that policy is wrong. However, if he is a credible of a Congressman as the media would have us believe, then he is being irresponsible. Surely he knows that the "Mutha Option" is a non-starter, and he must be aware that to make such a suggestion just one month prior to the most important election in this effort will encourage our enemies and cause our Iraqi supporters to wonder about our commitment.

Congressman Murtha's timing on this matter is indeed highly questionable. It not only comes with curious timing vis a vis developments both past and future in Iraq, but it also comes in the middle of a Democratic Party campaign to build support for troop withdrawal in Iraq. Could this all be part of an orchestrated effort by the Democrats to finally get out in front of developments in this war?

Up until now the Democratic Party has been largely wrong about every development in the war. You can argue with me on this, but my point is that the Democrats politically have played their hand very poorly and found themselves on the wrong side of virtually every development so far. We do know with a high degree of confidence, that the coming election will most likely come off without a hitch. We also know with certainty that General Casey has submitted a plan to begin partial withdrawal next year upon the ratification of the constitution in Iraq.

Is it possible that the Democrats are so cynical that they now want to get out in front of this issue so that when troops start coming home following a successful election, that they can portray this success as failure. Further, not only will they portray our success as failure, but they will then take credit for forcing the President to admit failure and bring the men and women home.

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Sunday, November 20, 2005



Bear Down, Chicago Bears
Make every play, clear the way to victory!

Bear Down, Chicago Bears
Put up a fight with a might so fearlessly!

We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation
With your T-formation

Bear Down, Chicago Bears
And let them know why you're wearing the crown!

You're the pride and joy of Illinois,
Chicago Bears, Bear Down!!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wine Blogging

The Functional Ambivalent comes out of the closet and admits publicly what I've known for a little while. He is a wine guy. Not one of those turtle neck wearing effete doofuses you see walking beagles and waiting for Andrew Sullivan to tell them what to think politically. Nope, he's a wine guy and one that has even chosen Spain as his region to focus on. Good man. I'm going there in the Spring and look forward to hunting down some of his wine recommendations.

The Funky One though has a problem, in that he is suffering from wine taster's envy. Go read his post, you'll see what I mean. I was going to comment there, but there was so much to respond to I figured I could get a post out of it, and lets face it, I've got to feed the beast. So lets get the easy stuff out of the way first; There is no doubt, Tom, that you are an undiscerning boob - hell, you read my website!

Now for the post itself. Yes there are those of us who taste all of those things that he describes. Mineral, berry, tobacco, chocolate etc..... Typically it is not all at once but over the course of the bottle, since the wine opens and reveals itself over time. Tom is troubled though because he doesn't taste these things as he says. "no mater how hard I try". My read here, to the extent Tom's being sincere, is that he is trying too hard. One doesn't try to taste things in wine, instead one sips wine and lets the tastes happen. Very zen of me I know, but this is the truth. Maybe that's why the chicks dig me.....well that and the fact that when I wear underwear it's typically something unusual......but I digress.

Here is a little advice about wine tasting parties as long as we're on the subject. There is no way you're going to experience wine properly at a stuffy party. Way too many other obligations there; you've got to be sociable, witty, and worst of all you're obligated to eat little foo foo's. These things are always disgusting becauser we've grown up in a generation where women have decided that they've got to prove their merit by not being able to cook, and most guys are too bloody clodish to even try. So often were stuck with that foul crab cream cheese thing that has cocktail sauce spread across the top and some warmed over Pilsbury Crescent Roll dough with wienies in the middle. I just loathe going to homes where people put this stuff out. Get a cookbook people figure out how to make three things from scratch and in the process save your dignity!

No parties don't work at all for wine tasting. In fact how many of you have gone to one of these things where an "expert" has come in to pour the wine, and "oh by the way, he'll pass around the list for you to buy stuff at the end of the tasting"? You know what I'm talking about, we've all had this experience. You're sitting there tasting wine - some of it may even be good - and you're thinking, "I know that wine guy from somewhere". If you came of age in the '70's you remember at some point during the night that he sold your conversion van to you. In the eighties? He was the Bang Olufsen guy. Nineties? Don't ask me, I had figured this dude's gig out by then and avoided him and his oddly coiffed hair at all costs.

No, best to enjoy a bottle with a few folks who are focused on letting the experience happen....dig?

Most importantly Tom's post exposes the crime that the self important swine, Robert Parker, has committed against people of good taste everywhere. His description of a wine note from WS isn't Parker, but it is typical of the genre that he is responsible for. I repost it here:

Lush, suave red, with lush blackberry and cassis flavors, with delicious mineral and tobacco notes. Firmly structured, with a lingering finish of French roast and dark chocolate.

Who talks like that? Self important swine that's who. Especially self important swine from Maryland who would rather sip wine all day than pursue their nascent legal career! So I make a personal plea to you, my reader:

I would hope my Thursday wine blogging is a little more sincere in that I mention what I taste as I taste it with an economy of language and an accurate reflection. Please, if I ever use such elegant phrasery as above to describe a simple glass of wine, then call me a fop and shoot me in the damn head, cuz its friggin over man!

And another thing. What kind of jerk rates a wine 92? Tell me please, what is the difference between 92 and 93...or 94 for that matter? Only one possibility: The number of free cases that mysteriously appear on your doorstep! Of course everyone here knows that I have no insight into any particular wine taster's practices and so my thoughts on this matter are purely my conjecture and most likely wildly inaccurate. I would certainly never use my blog to accuse anyone of dishonesty since I have no knowledge of such practices. Really though, if you're boob enough to use such a scale don't you open yourself up to criticism?.

Straight forward and simple is my guide. Wine is either rot, "average/good", "very good", or "friggin excellent man!" on my scale. Actual ratings and adjectives can vary from this scale based on my sobriety.

So drink up people, and spit the excess in that fat bastard's face if you see him. Parker that is not Tom, who I'm sure is a svelte specimen, of specific geneology, worthy of his wife's attention.