Monday, January 30, 2006
Sunday, January 29, 2006
I miss Al Gore. There, I’ve said it.
For those of you that know my political leanings that may seem to be a shocking statement. As a self professed, Jimmy Carter hating, Ronald Reagan loving, teach you how to fish, Skeptical Environmentalist, Neo-Con how in the world could I claim to miss Al Gore?
It’s easy really, allow me to explain.
While I’ve never really agreed with Al on anything politically, he always seemed like a pleasant enough fellow. This is important to me because as a voter I never expect to know a candidate completely, but if he seems like a good person I’ll give him a fair hearing. So although I never bought into the “new Democrat” bit that he was hawking back in the ’88 race, I at least checked him out because Bush I was not a fave of mine and I was hoping to find a better candidate. Minimal investigation into Al’s political positions revealed that I could never vote for the man to be president.
Still, he seemed like a good and decent fellow. Then, of course, there was Tipper. Oh yes, a bit of a hottie that one. Not necessarily in the Girls Gone Wild sort of way, but more in the “yes Mrs. Gore, I sure would like some of that cool tea when I’m done mowing your lawn” sort of way. True, Tipper was a little plump; her sorority girl beauty while still intact was perhaps a little more round and fleshy than back during the Chi Omega days. Still, that was ok as I find nothing wrong with a little cushion on an attractive older woman and Tipper was still quite attractive.
In my mind, Al and Tipper would have been great neighbors; I could picture it clearly. They would have one of the bigger houses on the block and every summer, perhaps even a couple times each summer, we’d gather on their patio (decks would be below the Gores) for cocktails and a bar be que. The neighborhood men would admire Tipper discreetly, and discuss amongst themselves the seeming incongruity of a dorky guy like Al having such a great house and sexy wife.
Oh we’d all have great fun! Al would man the grill and flip burgers telling the same old “off color” jokes that we’d heard before. We’d all laugh like they were new, because in spite of the undertone of Pleasantville weirdness we would like Al. The atmosphere would be care free; joking and flirtatious in a neighborly way. We’d snack on cheese dip, guacamole and sip wine.
She would be a wearing peach colored dress. Something simple, knee length, with a light summer pattern. A yellow band in her blonde hair and a fresh washed scent on her skin. Tipper’d talk of shopping, school and the summer trip to Al’s family home. Al would be in shorts, loafers and a polo shirt, (Ralph Lauren, of course). At some point Tipper would perhaps have one too many chardonnays and begin to tease Al about being so uptight. We’d all laugh, and Al would make the same “I’m so stiff” self deprecating joke that we’d heard a million times before.
As much as we liked the Gores there would be one thing upon which we would all silently agree. This man should never be president. It would really be the one sad thing about our life on the Gore’s block. At the end of these nights, after we had gone inside to escape the mosquitoes and the cool evening air, Al would have a scotch and the men would join him. Then he’d have another and his easy going sincerity would begin to transform itself to a sort of grim determination. “Someday, I will be president of this country” he would announce, looking each of us in the eye to underscore his seriousness. “Yes, I believe I know what is good for America, and I know I could damn well run a better campaign than those professional politicians!” he’d announce pointing at us fro emphass and spilling a little of his drink on his shorts. Tipper would begin to look alarmed.
For the rest of us this would be our hint that fun time with the Gores was done for another night. See, as much as we liked Al, and as glad as we were to have Tipper drive our kids to the pool during the day, and as grateful as we were that Al was a dedicated little league coach, we all would be aware that there was a certain….tension…there. President? He wasn’t qualified. He didn’t have the temperament. Most of all, he was just another dorky guy on the block. What made him think such things we’d wonder? What could possibly be missing from his already near perfect life?
I was going to write this post about Al’s lunatic rantings in
I don’t know if Al has gone completely over the edge, but it looks to me like he gets closer everyday. I don’t get the impression that the man laughs much anymore, and I know that if I were around him I’d miss his stupid jokes…even the ones that I had heard a million times before. Two Scotch Al has taken over, and I don’t much like it. I don’t like it at all.
I miss Al Gore.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Yes folks it is that time of year again when we remember our fallen greats. Tragedy strikes us in so many different ways, yet how it happens or when it happens, it always ends up acting as a sort of milestone in our lives. We remember where we were, what we were doing, and of course how we felt when we got the news.
Of course I'm talking about the death, 33 years ago today of the great John Banner. Banner lead an interesting life and ended up as a star on that greatest of shows, Hogan's Heros. Playing the baffoonish, but lovable Sergeant Schultz, Banner was the kind of Nazi you could learn to love; and let's face it, there weren't a whole lot of those guys around! The great irony of course is that Banner was himself a Jew, who spent time in a concentration camp earlier in his life. I love this part of his story, because Banner's merciless mocking of the Nazi's through his portrayal of Schultz proved that living well is truly the greatest revenge.
Irony seemed to be a bit of a recurring theme in Banner's life. A big man, who used his size to his advantage in winning roles, Banner died of an abdominal hemorrhage in 1973. Most tragic, I suppose, is that he died on his birthday at the age of 63. A life cut short.
So today the Pursuit of Happiness salutes one of our greats! If you've forgotten his catch phrase which to this day occupies it's own space in our culture, click on the link above for a refresher. Tell the truth, you couldn't help but crack a smile could you? Thank you John Banner for some of the best laughs of my youth. Wherever you are, I hope Lebeau is nearby and that he gives you a big ole slice of birthday strudel.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Well now this is an interesting development is it not? The long rumored, poorly documented transfer of WMD's to Syria gets a little scoped out today.
For those too busy to click, the short story is that Iraq's former Number 2 Air Force guy says the WMD's were spirited out in two Boeings that made 56 flights to Syria. Now I'm not in the habit of believing former heads of torture states, or their slavish phychophants (that's redundant isn't it?), but the story does have some hint of authenticity to it.
Whatever the case is, from a war justification point of view I'm not sure this really matters much anymore. Those who think it was wrong will continue to do so, and those, such as me, who are more right minded on the issue will not be convinced any further.
There is value in this story however in that it should convince certain Congressmen who at one time in their lives served valantly in our armed forces, but now choose party over country disparaging our accomplishments and trying to disuade others from joining the cause, that maybe they ought to take time to reconsider their ill chosen path. This news highlights that the world is not a simple as the anti-war left would like to believe, and perhaps men of good concience and intent can make decisions for the nobelest of reasons and still hold a different opinion than one who has grown pasty and corpulent on the DC rubber chicken circut.
To paraphrase Dean Wormer, "Fat, dumb and angry is no way to go through life".
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The other day PD1 was googling "Dress-up Games" and suddenly we heard the dreaded, "oh my God!" The link above is what she found.
Rest assured it's not as bad as when PD2 was googling her two favorite subjects together, "Models and Dogs", but it is disturbing. Very disturbing. Click over at your own risk. Nothing not work safe, unless of course you are bothered by somebody finding you looking at something very weird involving Jesus, crucifiction, and exacting your revenge on others.
I'd give you more but I've got a cold, I'm whacked out on NyQuil, and honestly, this ought to keep you in a deeply disturbed state for the next 24 hours.
By the way, do think it's ok to mix scotch with NyQuil?
Monday, January 23, 2006
If it wasn’t obvious from my posts this weekend, I’ll let you in on a little something. I like snow. Really, I just love the stuff. I like being out in snow storms, I like skiing in the snow both during and after the storm. I like sledding down hill at breakneck speeds, and I would love, just for one precious time, to ride a luge. I like the smell of the air during storms and of course the beauty of the world the next day, while all the snow still clings to the trees and the world is painted in white, is undeniable.
Most of all I like how quiet the world gets while it’s snowing. It’s an odd dynamic that makes nearby sounds almost disappear, while distant sounds suddenly become much more noticeable.
I remember when we were kids. It seemed like it snowed more back then and we had so much fun playing outside building forts, throwing snowballs and making snowmen. In fact one of the reasons I ended up becoming a news junkie was because of my love for snow. Beginning in about November every year, I would turn on the news everyday at and sit patiently waiting for the weather report and for any news of possible storms headed our way. Of course, I also ended up becoming interested in other things going on in the world since the nightly reporting began to create a narrative of what was happening in the world.
So snow, to paraphrase Garrett Morris, has been very good to me.
Somehow though, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that increasingly my little club of snow lovers has diminished. I’d dare say that at this point in my life we who love the snow are living as a shrinking minority. Sure, we still have the kids in our club, but our peers increasingly look at us like we’re nuts when we say with glee, “it looks like we’ll get 6 inches tonight!”
This saddens me for the obvious reasons. To this day when it snows I know that it means a chance to get outside in a season that is too often spent indoors. More importantly, it is an opportunity to see the world in an entirely new light, albeit a fleeting one. It is the temporary nature of a new snow that makes it so valuable; the ultimate depreciating asset I suppose. From the minute the storm stops, to the moment when the last speck of white melts away we’ve been given a gift of rare beauty that demands that we stop and take notice.
This really is the funny thing about God’s world though isn’t it? As with so many of life’s blessings we are presented an option. We can, of course, decide to focus on the negative aspects of a storm. We have to drive slower, perhaps even cancel a trip. We have to go outside and shovel the driveway, and maybe help the elderly neighbor next door. We might lose the old tree that has been a joy every spring in our front yard.
Too often we tend to see these obvious and disappointing aspects. Each, however, has a flipside that is its own reward if we just take the time to appreciate them. Sure, we have to slow down, or cancel an event, but this is just an opportunity to relax and enjoy the beauty of the moment. Shoveling can indeed be a hassle, but would we have had the chance to be outside in the crisp air taking a breather from the work, and enjoying the quiet of the moment had it not snowed? Would we have otherwise taken the time to help a neighbor in need? Of course it is sad when a beloved tree dies, but is it not also a chance to plant anew; to begin new traditions that both us and future generations will enjoy?
We have been given the gift of free will in our lives and a snow storm is a chance, perhaps one of the best chances, to reflect on the beauty of this gift and its corresponding challenge. When the unexpected or inconvenient throws us off of our well charted course how will we react? Will we take up the challenge and find the beauty of the moment, or will we complain about our misfortune.
Perhaps not all of life’s little surprises hold the immediate payoff that finding the wonder in a storm holds, but I think the lesson provided by the snow is one that we all should consider. A snow storm is quiet for a reason I think. Perhaps God is trying to tell us something.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
"Here is my parking pass"
"This if for the Rolling Stones Concert"
"That would be tomorrow night"
"So I guess we'll see you tomorrow night"
"I guess you will"
"Just do a U-turn over there sir"
As it turned out, we did have a very nice dinner at Merlot on Maple. After a nice Antipasto Italliano, I enjoyed a wonderfully braised lamb shank with roasted potatoes and spinach, and Mrs. P had a nice vegetable risotto. We washed it down with a bottle of Nero d'avola, 2003. The d'avola was a bit tight upon opening, but with time revealed some nice cherry with rustic undertones. Finished it off with Semi Freddo and espresso.
While a bit pricey, they've got some expensive real estate to pay for so one must expect a larger bill in this area and the food was good to quite good. I'd describe it as home style Italian. Could I have done just as well in my own kitchen? Maybe, but then I wouldn't have had the luxury of going to a non-existent concert, and getting out of the house on an impromptu date! Would I recommend this place? Yes, however, I'd like the service to be a bit more attentive for the price.
See ya tomorrow night Mick.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Why this boastful post that is so out of character for your good 'ole buddy Pursuit. Well my friends I, this afternoon, all by myself, have recoded my blog template. You could say that I customized it. All by myself. No training wheels, sans helmet, armed only with an absolute vacuum of talent, and a huge amount of determination.
Heh, yup old Pursuit is pretty proud of himself. Other html coders will be buying me drinks at the club tonight, except I think they only drink Bosco. See that link right there? Totally gratutitous insult, just to show you I have the power to make the link show up in the text of my blog! Want to see another one? Here you go!
Talk about gratuitous, huh? Ok Taylor, here is one for you.
Oh, and look up above. I can once again link through my title. Go ahead, click that. It will take you to one of my buddies who has a sleek new design.
So there you go. Please try not to stand too much in awe. Yes, I am a simple man who maybe just got lucky. Then again maybe it's more than luck. Who knows, I'd like to chat some more, but I'm due at the propeller hat club. They guys told me that as a new member it's my job to bring the crazy straws for the Bosco.
Did a little skiing in the new snow today, it was tough going at times. We got about 10 inches last night so parts that hadn't been skied through took some effort, and then since it was wet, the skis didn't glide so well. I hope it sticks around through tomorrow, I think PD2 will be joining me.
So last night we had a fantastic snow storm, and this morning it is qutie picturesque. Some photos from la casa del Pursuit.
One amusing story. We got the car stuck in the driveway and so I pushed, Mrs. P floored it.
So Mrs. gets out of the car, and we get shovels and start to dig out a path IN FRONT of the car to drive up. We clear away a little area, and then I get in to drive the car forward. As I reach down to put the car in gear, I realize it already is in drive. It seems when the car wouldn't budge, Mrs. P forgot to put it back in park!
Ah, life in a northern town. I love it.
Off to go do a little cross country skiing now. See you later.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
So, tonight we have a South African selection that I think I may have blogged about before. If so, sorry, but the wine cabinet is getting low and I didn't want to drink white tonight. I was going to stop by the wine store on the way home, but things ran late, I had to take PD1 to high school orientation tonight, and I didn't even get my workout in.
So, if I've blogged this one before, apologies, but on the other hand it might be interesting to compare my notes.
Enough blather you say? I couldn't agree more. Lets pop the cork on this baby and see what we've got. Oh, yes, as I was saying it is South African. To be specific it is a Ken Forrester 2001 Grenache/Syrah. More on this wine in a minute but lets give it swirl, shall we?
The nose is nice. The Syrah is a little more pronounced than I remember so there is a good scent of fruit. Kind of a berry, perhaps a cross between raspberries and blue berries. There is some cherry too. The Grenache comes through as tobacco and earth. A very nice balance between the two. In any case, a very full nose that extends to my mouth after a couple sniffs.
On the mouth the raspberry is more pronounced, with cherry in the background. Very nice fruit. The tobaco really comes through.....some chocolate to, and something else. I'm tempted to say "earth", but that isn't quite it. Maybe a little cedar?
I have to say I really enjoy this wine. I met Ken at a tasting last fall and ended up buying a case of this wine. It was 18 a bottle, and for my money an excellent value. I'm always warry when I'm at a store and meet the man or woman behind the wine, that I might be enjoying the experience and translating that appreciation to my opinion of the wine.
In the case of Ken, this would be easy to do. A big South African he was a forceful personality full of life and good nature. Quick story. I ask Ken about where he sells most of his wine in the U.S. and he give me the run down. Boston, Chicago, and of all places Detroit. I asked him, "Detroit, why Detroit?" "Because I'm willing to go there and so many aren't my friend!" Which cracked me up, but the best was yet to come. "Oh I also sell a decent amount in L.A." he tells me with a gleem in his eye. I mention that this is right in the back yard of his competition, and like some old rugby player he firms a fist thrusts it upwards and says, "we're stickin' it to 'em!"
I died laughing.
Anyway, as I was saying, I worry that I'm over valuing the wine when I meet these guys, but in Ken's case this wasn't true. Bottle after bottle I've found the wine to be consistent, well structured and just a real delight to drink. An excellent value.
Lets try another drink. The fruit has settled down a little bit now, and the tobacco and chocolate are a tad stronger. Still a great taste, and if anything the mouth seems to be lasting a bit more. There still is that other taste...its kind of cedar, perhaps with a little mint and pear.
Ok, now I'm going crazy....but that is the fun of it isn't it!? Definately mint and cedar though.
Lets talk a little about the grape combination because it is interesting. As I've mentioned before, a traditional Rhone region (France) blend would be Syrah and Grenache. However typically it would be somewhere around 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache. This wine is 50%-50%. I think I know why this is. First it does give the wine a bigger earthy taste than a Rhone, but I don't think this is the real reason.
My guess is that in South Africa, with warmer temperatures, the Syrah is stronger and fruitier than would be the case in Rhone. So, to even it out, and give the wine more depth, Forrester increases the percentage of Grenache. I don't know if this is true, but after two glasses and starting my third, it really is making a lot of sense to me!
So, another Thursday another good wine.
Quick note. Amazingly to me, this feature seems to be enjoyed by some of you out there, and of course it does seem to have some benefits for me. Up until now I've done a half assed job of it, and I'm thinking it might make sense to put together a bit more formal approach. Instead of just pulling something out of my wine cabinet, it might make sense to focus on one country, go through the regions and see if we can't learn something in the process.
So, this will be the plan. It may go out the window tomorrow, but I suspect not. I'm headed to Spain in March, so this might be a good place to start. I'll begin some research, and lets see where it goes.
Over and out.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
At the time it seemed like such an innocent compliment. You see when we went on campouts one scout was responsible for bringing the food, and this responsibility rotated to a different member with each new campout. At one such event my buddy Jim had the honor, and to make things a little easier on us Scouts, Jim’s mom pre-made a stew for us that we only had to heat over the campfire. After a long day of Scout activity such as hiking (the practice of hiking from nowhere to nowhere) this gesture was much appreciated.
Sampling Jim’s Mom’s stew, I was immediately taken; it was good stuff! “Jim!” I said. “This stew is great! Your mom put wine in it and everything”! Now I don’t know why Jim found this objectionable, since this was an obvious compliment to his dear old mom’s technique, but tragically he viewed it as more of an accusation and an argument ensued.
What Jim didn’t know you see, is that I had become familiar with the rudiments of cooking at a fairly young age. My mom, who like most mom’s that were at home in the early seventies, made sure dinner was on the table every night. Because this goal sometimes conflicted with her need to pick up my dad at the train, she used to leave me with instructions every night at for finishing off dinner while she went off to fetch dad. In other words, I had learned a thing or two and knew what I was talking about. Later, Jim’s mom expressed some degree of amazement that young Pursuit had indeed detected the addition of what was no doubt, the very best stuff Carlo and Rossi had ever put in a jug.
So, I’m a food guy.
This weekend to celebrate what turned at to be the Bear’s elusive victory I prepared a Lamb and Chorizo Chili. Happily, my creativity was a bit more advanced than that of the Bear’s coaching staff and I met with tremendous success. Oh, my friends what good stuff this turned out to be.
One of PD2’s fave meals is my more traditional chili, but for kicks I wanted to see if I could come up with something a little different, but equally satisfying. PD2 says my original is still the king, but this is not bad. Personally, I liked the Lamb and Chorizo version a lot…..but fair warning; you need to be a chorizo fan to enjoy this.
Oh, I also made the World’s Greatest Cornbread, which is a recipe given to me by my friend Joe. I’d love to pass it on, but I’m not sure he’d think that was a good idea….because this is the very best cornbread recipe in the world. Indians weep with joy when they taste it. Pilgrims want to start a new holiday. No joke. People eat it and then flop to the floor vibrating with glee. To bad it remains a secret eh? Oh well, here’s the chili:
Pursuit’s Lamb & Chorizo Chili
2oz dried ancho chilies
2.0 Cups of low salt chicken broth
.5 Cups of low salt beef broth
2 pounds of Chorizo, removed from casings
2 Cups (approx 1 big) Yellow Onion Chopped
2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder (a sin, I know, but I forgot to buy garlic and didn’t realize this until the cooking process was under way, so I through this stuff in and eureka! nobody could tell so be quiet about it and keep this to ourselves)
1 Tablespoon of dried Oregano
3 pounds of lamb chunked stew meat
1 15oz can of chopped tomatoes
2 15 oz cans of white hominy Drained.
Ok, to start take the anchos remove stems and put them in a pot of warm chicken and beef broth and hydrate for about 20 minutes. You may want to simmer (the broth, not your temper) on the stove. Remove from heat and puree in a blender.
Next remove the chorizo from the casings and brown over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from pot, and make a judgment call to pour off some grease, but not too much. Put some grease back in the pot and brown the onions until translucent. Add garlic powder and oregano and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add Lamb and brown until outside is just cooked, then add chorizo back in.
Add blended broth and chilies. Stir.
Add Tomatoes. Stir
Cook over low heat for at least an hour and up to 3 hours. If it gets too dry, and some broth, beef or chicken it doesn’t matter. One half hour before serving drain Hominy, add, and stir in. Continue to cook
Serve in bowls with some sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and perhaps some chopped onion and cilantro.
Wine? Something Spanish and bold.
Thank me later.
UPDATE: CUMIN! I FORGOT THE CUMIN! 1 TO 1.5 TEASPOONS ADDED AT THE SAME TIME YOU PUT IN THE OREGANO
Monday, January 16, 2006
Perhaps it escaped your notice, which is hard to believe since your were "the most important Vice President in the history of our country", but it seems that you guys might have done a little spying yourself. Link Here. Not to complicate things for you, but for some reason (perhaps it was the interns, fund raising with the Chinese, or parental warning labels; all much more important issues I think we all can agree) it seems your spying didn't really seem to stop any terrorist attacks. Sure wish you would have noticed Atta entered the country on your watch. You know preferably before he killed our fellow citizens, but after would have been ok too.
So perhaps you should head back to Popeye's were it's obvious that you've been spending far too much time, and come up with a little more coherent attack on our President.
During a time of war.
That you and your administration buddies preferred to ignore.
It's easy to follow the lunatic leaders of Iran's government and get concerned about the prospects for everything from war, to an oil embargo to a worldwide recession. I've been following this news over the past few weeks, and since we invaded Iraq I have been thinking about what we should do were Iran to begin to misbehave. While I'm no military or geopolitical strategist, and by no means an expert on the region, the only shocking thing about Iran's latest provocations has been that it took them so long to initiate a plan that has been obvious for years. While Iraq is by no means a done deal, we're certainly better positioned now to pay more attention to Iran than we were a year ago.
It is what it is I guess, and nobody should ever doubt an Islamic theocracy's ability to vastly over play it's hand which is exactly what Iran is in the process of doing. A weak government, with a limited one product economy should never back itself into a corner over a needless asset; in this case nuclear weapons, er "power". Having started the backing process, it is sheer lunacy to then threaten the world with an interruption in oil flow should things not go the way they want it. Unfortunately for Iran, this is exactly what it's leaders are doing.
So far the Bush administration has acted wisely, and let Europe's leaders experience the futility of dealing with the mullahs. Now with Iran's latest threats of some sort of oil embargo, Europe can be left to ponder the implication of an oil shock to their already weak economies. Nothing like a little crisis to focus the minds of the weak of heart.
It's been fashionable of late to over emphasize the futility of our position. We can't let Israel attack Iran, because this will inflame other Middle East countries. We can't attack Iran's nuke facilities because while crazy, the mullahs aren't stupid and have apparently buried and hardened their facilities. Finally, the favorite excuse of the left is that we can't invade Iran because, of course, we're "bogged down" in Iraq.
So panic and hand wringing are our only alternatives.
I'm not so sure we're in as impotent of a position here as our lefty betters would have us believe. Allow me to explain.
First we have to acknowledge that the world has indeed become smaller, and our economies more intricately linked than the last time we had a little Iranian problem. Because of this, we really haven't had any choice in recent years but to allow Iran an important place in our global economy. They've got the oil, and we need it.
That Iran hasn't modernized their economy or used this position of strength to help it's people is unfortunate, but a problem that we have chosen to ignore. We can argue about whether or not this was a wise course, but it was one that we willfully choose thinking that Iran's government was the problem of the Iranian people. This was probably the right move.
With the advent of Iran's nuclear ambitions, and it's threat to ruin the world economy as blackmail against the west, the mullahs are no longer the problem of just the Iranian people. Like it or not Iran is a partner in the west's economy, and with their provocations they have become a dangerous partner who must be brought back in line.
What can we do? The answer is really rather simple. The west and it's partners must capture and hold Iran's oil fields.
Crazy? I don't think so. Look at the map above. Iran's fields are not broadly dispersed around the country. Unfortunately for them, the fields are gathered in the western region of the country. Doubly unfortunate for them,is the fact that they are generally in a mountainous area. In other words, with the right force, the right equipment and a focused will the west can capture the fields and administer the production of Iranian oil for the benefit of the world, and ultimately the Iranian people.
This is why it is so important for Europe and Japan to become quite aware of the pain they are about to experience should Iran embargo the west. Any invasion, but in particular one that is specifically "war for oil", must be executed by a multi-national force. In this case I'd suggest NATO.
Hopefully we can negotiate this problem away, but I think the odds of such a result are virtually zero. All out war against Iran would be difficult, result in an oil disruption anyway, and unnecessarily punish a people who have no contol over their mad government. So capture of the fields is paramount to our success. Here is how I would do it.
Using a NATO force, I'd first knock out the Iranian air force before it had a chance to get off the ground. Air superiority will be critical to maintaining control of the fields once we capture them since Iranian ground units will not be able to effectively attack in the mountains. With air raids underway, I'd then drop our forces into the fields for quick commando raids to take control and then quickly follow up with reinforcements to solidify our position. Finally, I'd find a way of moving in armor and artillery east of the fields to set up a line of defense from any attempt by the mullahs to retake the fields using their remaining infantry.
Once established in this position, I'd have NATO administer the production of oil, with the proceeds held in account for the Iranian people. I'd also suggest to the Iranian military that a new, democratic government has the best chance of getting the fields back.
Obviously I'm spit balling here, but I'd bet something along these lines is the only solution to our Iranian problem. Global partners can't be expected to get along at all times, but dangerous threats and provocations simply cannot be ignored in this age.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
For those of you who don't remember the awful beating the Panthers took at the hands of our glorious Bears earlier this year, I've provided a photographic memory. Hmm....Ole Jake doesn't look to comfortable in the pocket does he?
Bears will win again today, I'm predicting an 8 point margin. Later today the Pursuit family will celebrate the Bears victory with some Lamb and Chorizo Chillie, cornbread and a nice Spanish wine to wash it all down. Perhaps I'll post the recipe later.
Oh, and for those of you who want to listen to the funniest post game show in the world, here is a link to O'Bradovich and Buffone after the game. CLICK HERE And hit "listen live". OB is the guy I wrote about in this post CLICK HERE, and these two ex-Bears are so passionate, so typically Chicagah (my friend) that you can't help but listen. The show is actually better when the Bears lose because these two get so angry. However, should the Bears win (should? what am I thinking! WHEN) these to will be delerious with glee. Check them out.
UPDATE II: Oh, and Muhsin Muhamed sucks.
That is all.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Still, pretty nifty huh? The full truth is that this was my third choice for a template. The other two had a section in the header for one of my Chicago photos which would have been a great format. You know, bold opinions/the city of big shoulders yadda yadda. Manly indeed.
Sadly, I couldn't pull it off - insert joke here - so we're at template three. I'm not sure I'm completely pleased with the new look, but we'll try it for a while and see how it goes.
Now to those links. First I've gone with blogrolling which seems like a cool way to keep it fresh, and most importantly I don't have to worry about alphabetizing. As for the links themselves, "My Main Blog Muthas" I've done some clean up.
First, all my faves who continue to blog are there. The Functional Ambivalent, PDS at Tale, Gnat, Abby & the gang at Falafel, Stephen Green and Annika. The Mothership and Lucianne to provide some Flying Monkey content remain as well.
As for the dearly departed what can I say? No bloggy no linky. This is not to say I don't miss my buds like dear H (come back H!), who seems to have disappeared, and Spoons a fellow Illinoisian (who by the way never linked to me the rat). The dudes at Powerline? Insufferable rah rah boys who while they are in agreement with many of may positions are just a little too much like the AV club in highschool trying to suck up to the football captain for my taste.
Michelle Malkin, I don't know, I like her but she has two faults. First; no link to The Pursuit. Second; she boors me. 'Nuff said.
How about the new guys? Well starting at the top we have Go Fug Yourself. I love this blog. First, a little confession; I dig chicks in dresses. Not exactly earth shattering I know, but the truth is I actually pay attention to this stuff. For example, Julia Roberts winning the Oscar a couple years ago? I could care less, but that vintage Valentino gown; WOW. So mock me if you will, but reading these two diss bad celebrity fashion just cracks me up.
Michelle at Wolf Madness. What can I say, at first her fiesty posts about rock climbing and flashing Fed Ex guy attracted me. Lately, her battle with breast cancer has been inspirational to read. She's been a down a tough road, but I have no worries, because she has no fear.
Protein Wisdom. As a rule I don't link to people that are too cool to not link to others. Jeff is just too damn funny not to link to though, so you know, there you go.
The Neo Neocon. How can I not link to a smart ex-lib that has seen the light of conservatism. Granted it didn't take me forty years for the conversion, but I'm happy she's made it and her stuff is always good and insightful. Now if she'd just do shorter posts.
Varifrank. First, I would like him to explain the name because it just doesn't make any sense. Secondly, Frank was a commenter at Stephen Green's for a long time and launched about the same time I did, so I've got a warm spot in my heart for his excellent blog.
Finally, a word about Coach Gil. Read this comic people. It dates back to the 1950's and is about a small town coach dealing with kids in his high school. It's square, hopelessly dated, and completely contrived. Yet I've followed Gil from the inky pages of the 1970's Chicago Tribune to his presence on the web. He is an acquired taste, but if you stick through one full season, you'll be hooked like me.
Oh, one more thing. I've got some additional blocks to fill on either side of the new template, but I'll be damned if I can think of what to put in there. Any ideas?
UPDATE: Opps, all didn't go perfectly as the links that used to be in my titles are broken. I'm looking into it now. Also, the links in the text are there but not marked. For example I've linked to Julia's gown below, but unless you run your cursor over the words, you can't tell the link is there. More later
Friday, January 13, 2006
I knew it was all an act. They say it's the quiet ones you've got to watch out for. Sittin' around, lookin' all peaceful and stuff.
Then right behind our backs they're layin' waste to our environment. Sneaky bastards! Chop 'em down I say! All of them!
I'm sure we can count on our the protectors of the environment to get on this right away.
EARTH IS IN THE BALANCE PEOPLE!
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Tonight we have a little Italian I found hiding in the back of my wine chiller. Damned if I know when I bought it, but low and behold there it was, calling my name. "It" would be a little something from Tuscany called "Cabreo Il Borgo" from the 1990 vintage. Wow, this certainly has been fully aged!
Perhaps too much.
But we'll see, that is what the wine blog is all about.
Let's open it shall we? The cork is in ok shape, but not great......no bad scent though upon opening the nose is perhaps a bit plummy. Let's pour a bit into the glass.
Ok, I'm getting a little black cherry, that same plum and forest. Ok, how about a slurp; whoa, not bad....perhaps a little too long in the bottle. Still though there are some tannins which is good. Vanilla, that same cherry and something else which I can't quite get. The mouth is dry yet still has some remaining structure. It either needs to breathe to release some more flavor, or it spent a little too much time in the bottle. Lets give it ten minutes and see what happens.
Oh, if I'm guessing the grapes I'd say Sangiovese perhaps grenache, and mayber Merlot which would be a little odd. Damn! Foolish mistake, I knew Sangiovese would predominate given the region, but I should have identified the Cabernet which makes up a full 30% of the wine and explains the tanins after 16 years in the bottle. Oh well. Here is a write up on the vineyard if you're interested.
Oh wow. This is opening nicely. A very nice wine, excellent fruit and the mouth just lasts and lasts. What a fantastic surprise! Pouring another glass.
The background I have been able to find on the wine indicates that it is a Super Tuscan, which we knew, that has been produced since around the mid eighties. The vineyard itself is well regarded, and has been in the same family since 1913. Apparently, the first few years this wine was made the vintners messed around with the oak looking to get the detail right, and really began to hit their stride in '88 which was considered the best of the decade. I couldn't find anything on the '90 specifically, but in my view it is a very good wine....not excellent or great, but a real delight.
As I've said before here, I really enjoy European wines and I continue to find myself coming back to the Rhones and Italian wines. This wine reminds me why. Well structured, finessed, prevalent fruit without being fruity it really works for me.
So, another Thursday, and another wine. Perhaps the best surprise we've had in this series.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
One could get pretty depressed about the state of our legislature listening to the Alito (Gosh, he sure is neato!) review now playing on a news channel near you. Having sat through our ineloquent president’s speech last week I think it is fair to say that the bar for my expectations of our senators was set pretty low. However, like some freakishly nimble limbo contestant, the gang on the Judiciary Committee not only is in the process of making it under that bar, but is doing it with room to spare.
Try not to be too disturbed by the vision of Ted Kennedy competing at limbo by the way.
In truly a non-partisan manner both sides of this debate have managed to demonstrate a lack of constitutional knowledge, intellectual rigor, and minimal preparedness that would get most people fired in the private sector. To a certain extent while not acceptable, it is understandable for the Republicans. After all, Alito is their guy so I would expect some leading questions that allow Alito to score some easy points, and the Repubs have delivered. Fair enough I suppose, but not exactly the stuff of a revolution.
As for the Dems, all I can say is these guys are as dumb as they come. I think we all can agree that without knowing Alito’s exact judicial temperament this is a critical nomination for both sides. If the man is confirmed the only question that remains will be how much the court is moved to the right, not whether it will happen. So the Democratic members of the committee had better make sure that either they can live with this guy or that they can finish him off completely. Not an easy task considering the man’s obvious qualifications and intellect.
Amazingly, the Democrats seem to be taking an ill advised third way. Instead of taking the time to prepare, and then really grilling Alito with some in depth questions and follow-ups, they’ve resorted to half baked accusations and speechifying. It’s the old Clarence Thomas playbook dusted off, and failing anew. Incredible.
Perhaps it’s their out of control egos that prevented any real coordinated attack, or maybe the ravage of too many late night Martini benders; we may never know. Were I the ranking Democratic member, I would have given each of my guys a specific area of attack, and then made them responsible for weakening the candidate. If they scored a knockout punch it would be steak for a year at Ruth’s, but at the very least I’d expect some solid body shots to wear down Alito’s defenses. Had the Democrats followed this path no one senator would have had to score a win rather, the cumulative effect over a week of several small hits might have sufficiently weakened Alito’s candidacy to bring him down.
Instead we’re now at day 3 and barring any major gaff by the judge, the Alito bandwagon is rolling down hill with the Democratic Party positioned squarely in its path. Smart Dems, as they did with Roberts, will recognize inevitability and jump on, while the more hyper-partisan will vote nay and hope for another influx of Move-On.org funding.
How did this happen? Simple. The Dems forgot that this wasn’t a campaign against Bush and instead of looking for a fair, credible airing of the candidate’s views used the time to rail against Bush or trot out bizarre accusations regarding an obscure alumni organization. We’ve heard about torture, about NSA spying and the other leftist hobby horses, but in general these have little to do with Alito’s temperament or his candidacy. Instead of pressing Alito on difficult questions of law, the Dems focused more on political questions of the day which Alito can rightly ignore. Only a fool engages in another man’s argument when it isn’t necessary, and Alito is no fool; he is perfectly happy to let the Bush Administration defend their political positions and wise enough to bat away the CAP stuff.
Oddly, the best explanation of this phenomenon came in an unrelated interview that I read this week. The Carolina Panthers, who are scheduled to play the Chicago Bears this Sunday, were asked how it was that when the two teams played in October the Bears absolutely crushed them. One of the Panthers said it was simple. “When you go out to hunt bear, you bring a bear gun. Unfortunately, we brought a switch”.
The Dems could take a lesson from these guys.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I’ve been reading the New York Times’ series this week on the scourge of diabetes. It is hard for me to read anything the Times’ puts out anymore and accept it’s accuracy on faith, but if the articles are accurate we are facing a huge problem in this country.
The reporters are focusing on
Most troubling is the demographic “targeting” that seems to accompany what by all accounts is an epidemic in some segments of our society. If you’re poor, Black or Hispanic, your chances of contracting Type II are greatly increased.
Some of this problem is genetics, and it is not clear how much can be assigned to this cause. A larger, much more troubling cause is diet and lack of exercise. Indeed, most of the people that have been interviewed so far seemed to have been severely overweight at the time that they came down with the disease.
I have been waiting for the series to take a turn into demonizing fast food companies, but this has yet to happen. In fact, the Times so far has been remarkably restrained (for the Times) in even mentioning the prevalence of fast food in the diets of the victims. They have more or less focused not only on fast food, but cake and other goodies that seem to be consumed in enormous quantities. I hope this continues, although I do think it is important to point out that all of these victims would be better off with more healthy diets and that many would be saved from what is described as a gruesome decline.
The problem it seems to me has to do less with the growth of fast food options and more to do with the dissolution of the family structure. Taken in this view, the proportional growth of fast food in the diet of the poor is a symptom of a larger problem. It begins to answer the question of why, if we’ve always had an under class in our society is it only now that diabetes is showing up.
I think the answer for this is two-fold; first a smaller proportion of poor families today represent the traditional two parent home than did in past years. This is a profound problem because it means that where in the past parents could split some of the work of raising a family, now this all falls on one parent.
Admittedly, the domestic obligations of raising a family were divided somewhat unfairly along gender lines, but still there were two parents and therefore a little more time for mom to put some dinner on the table and of course, back then, mom’s knew the basics of cooking. Today, simple cooking knowledge beyond that act of boiling water is limited, and in one parent families it is simply much easier to stop at McDonalds on the way home.
The second part of the answer is that in poor families today which have remained two parent enterprises, both parents are probably more likely to be working full days than in the past, particularly in dense urban areas. As above, the siren song of the fast food joint on the way home is difficult to ignore when pressed for time.
Despite all of this, I’m struck at how our social safety net has not, and probably cannot address this problem. School breakfast and lunch programs haven’t seemed to help and neither have food stamps. In listening to the folks interviewed, they know that their bad habits are a big driver behind their problems, yet few are motivated to change even after diabetes begins to take hold.
At the end of the day it seems to all come down to behavior. Which speaking as a conservative isn’t a terrible surprise, yet also doesn’t offer much hope for a solution. As an affluent American I have witnessed appalling eating habits in my friends and neighbors. These are people that not only know better, but can also afford the best. Happily, in the case of these people, obesity is an unacceptable trait, so they either control their eating or spend thousands working the excess calories off.
The Times’ series leaves little hope for similar behavior modification in the poor. Indeed many see cheap, high calorie food as a kind of solace against the travails of being members of the urban poor. I wish I could think of an answer, but I have none and in the end I’m left wondering where this will all end.
Monday, January 9, 2006
Well, the truth is actually that he talked about the state of the economy and I listened. That, and he didn’t stay for lunch. And there were about three hundred of us in the room.
Still it was pretty cool. I had never been in the same room with a President of the
But that’s a story for another time.
Friday’s lunch with W was quite interesting though for quite the opposite reason; it was incredibly underwhelming. The event began as I imagine all of these things go. Prior to Bush’s arrival, the Chairman of the club stood at the podium and introduced the board members of the club, all of whom were various
At any rate, once this formality was finished we were informed that Bush would arrive shortly, and everyone began making small talk, waiting for the Big Man. Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, Bush was striding up to the podium and the room slowly began applauding in a way that gains momentum as people realize what is going on. This prompted two thoughts; what a lousy advance team the guy must have, and two how Bush seemed to lack the necessary presence of an “A” level leader.
Somebody once said to me that there are two kinds of effective politicians. The first is the guy who is very personable one to one and has developed his skills at the retail level. By all accounts Bush is this guy, as even his ideological enemies report that he can be quite charming in person. The second is the politician with presence. This is the guy who people know is in the room, without even seeing him; Bill Clinton for example. Based on Friday’s entrance Bush does not posses this quality at all.
I had been very interested in seeing a full retail speech by Bush because what we get on the news is always little snippets of speech’s that don’t provide the full look and feel. What I saw was not impressive. Bush, in my view is an undisciplined, lazy speaker. His physical presentation is all over the place, at times speaking directly into the microphone, at others being too far away. He’ll lean into the podium facing the audience directly, and then at other times stand sideways with his arm across his body as if he is preparing to hit someone on the football field.
There is also his pacing. For the most part it is quite bad and tends to require the audience to engage the speaker rather than the other way around. This is not always the case though. During his speech, there were times that the President became quite impassioned. You could sense that he really cared about the particular topic and his delivery became quite powerful, and darn near eloquent. Education was one of these topics.
I also noticed one moment that was a bit amusing because at one point or another we’ve all been there, just not quite on that high of a stage. Specifically, George lost his place.
I’m not sure many noticed this but I did, and I came away pretty impressed. W had a book with him that had the speech inside. As he was speaking he would turn from page to page and although he wasn’t reading, he clearly was consulting the book. As he entered the topic of Education his page turning became more vigorous, and at one point he apparently turned too many pages. So he flipped a couple pages back, then a couple forward. Back. Forward. All the while as this manic page turning was going on, he kept talking without missing a beat, and I found myself wondering how long he could keep it up!
All in all, I think it took W a minute to find his place at which point I realized I had been holding my breath and I think I let out a sigh of relief.
After about 45 minutes it was all over and W was gone almost as quickly as he had entered. I’m glad I went, and I guess I wasn’t overly surprised about how it all turned out. I started off my week this morning giving a presentation on a new program that I’m implementing. As I was up in front of everyone I kept thinking, “Don’t be like W”. I think it worked.
Saturday, January 7, 2006
I'm a lover not a hater. Really. Sure, I have a special loathing for Jimmy Carter but it's just so darn fun to hate the guy. When I was a kid I never taunted geeks, or gave out swirlies, and any nuclear wedgies that I may have initiated were only for the truly deserving.
If I had been in school with Jimmy Carter I probably would have been unable to restrain myself and would have been driven to take swirlie action. However lets face it, if I had been on the scene perhaps I could have stopped the whole Carter era before it ever had a chance to get started. So, we could say that he was deserving in a future sort of sense.
But this isn't about Jimmy Carter, this about a man for whom I am beginning to develop a real sort of dislike. This is about Andy Sullivan. I don't even know why I go over and read his awful blog anymore, but I do. Over the holidays it actually became kind of interesting for a while, and I thought, "gosh Andy must be back on the tranquilizers". I didn't agree with much that was written there, but for the most part it was reasoned and tolerant of other opinions. Of course, as I continued reading I noticed that Sully had been replaced by two superior guest bloggers.
It hasn't always been this way either. When I first started reading Andy four or five years ago I enjoyed his blog. It was interesting, thought provoking and not only acknowledged other opinions, but treated those opinions with respect. This all started to change with the run-up to the Iraq war. A subject on which I agreed for the most part with Sullivan, I was increasingly troubled by his intolerance and demonization of those who were not of a like mind. So I started looking elsewhere for information, and for the most part found it.
Still, I kept coming back to Sully's blog. The problem is really two-fold. First, the guy can write. I like his command of the language, and when he is on I like the way he can get it all said with an economy of words, yet use that economy to multiply the overall force of his message. Secondly, the guy has so much promise. So I keep returning to his blog each new time hoping that perhaps his writing will not devolve into a bitchy intolerant screed.
It is a rare day though when I am thusly rewarded, and it just gets worse. Take a look at the linked post from yesterday. You can almost see Andy sitting on the couch seething at George Bush for some new transgression, and instead of taking a breather like most even keeled folks, our pal grabs the laptop and posts that beaute. If you don't click over, here is an exerpt:
Two points worth noting: the president has defined the theater of war as including the territory of the United States and including citizens of the United States; he has also defined the war as without end. So his war powers, although moderate in effect compared to what, say, Lincoln and FDR got away with, are exponentially more far-reaching. Because this war is forever, as Jon Rauch explains in his latest National Journal column (not online yet). And countless future presidents will be given the right to ignore, flout or finesse domestic law if they so wish.
Amazing don't you think? So much wrong in one little post. Worse still, Andy knows it's wrong, he just can't get over his hatred long enough to prevent himself from doing something stupid.
Did the president really define the theater of war as including the United States, or was it the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Towers - twice? Was it the president who included the citizens of the U.S. or was it the terrorists who killed the innocents in those towers as well as our armed services members at Riyadh, Kohbar, and on the Cole to name just three attacks? Did Bush define these things, or did Osama when he declared jihad on the United States?
This is an important question, because people like Sullivan have influence in our society. He appears on the news shows, writes in major publications both in the U.S. and England, and has one of the more highly read blogs. Yet he thinks nothing of making the dangerous suggestion that it was President Bush, and by logical extension the citizens who voted for him, that are responsible for defining the theater of war to include our land and people.
He then goes on to suggest that somehow President Bush has defined this war as "war without end" which reveals Sully's true motivations; he wants to scare us. Bush has done no such thing, and has said that we will fight until we defeat the Islamic fanatics. I will agree that this is a difficult end point to define, but we did not pick this enemy, they chose us and we must win.
While this win will not come with a formal surrender, we will be able to define it in reduced terror attacks, the capture or death of most of the leadership, and scaled back electronic traffic around the world.
Not an easy definition, and yes, we will have to rely our leaders to let us know when we get there. It seems though that Sullivan would like us to believe that we live in some sort of Huxleyesque Brave New World, where we are kept in a false state of war by leaders that only wish to control us through fear. This, of course, couldn't be further from the truth. That is unless, Sullivan wants to make the case that the tower attack wasn't real, that the London subway bombings weren't real, that the be-headings aren't real, that Spain wasn't real, that Bali wasn't real, or that the recently thwarted Australian attacks weren't real.
Further, we have a little something call democracy. Andy may have forgotten, but every four years we vote for a new president, so that if we come to agree that our leadership isn't winding down the war at the appropriate time we can do a little something called Vote For The Other Guy. It works pretty well. Just ask John Kerry who, by the way, made a big deal out of his thought that maybe this whole war on terror thing was over blown. Maybe that's the point though; perhaps Andy didn't forget about the vote, so much as he disagreed with it's outcome.
Which leads to the final hysterical premise in Andy's post.
I wonder how many Republicans will object when president Hillary is wiretapping their private conversations. They'd better speak up now, hadn't they?
This one is good. Really good. Remember I said Andy was trying to scare us? Here, my friends is the proof. Andy is trying to reach across political lines to build fear on both sides. See by suggesting that Hil will use these rules to spy on Republicans, he is also planting the idea that Bush is already doing it to spy on Democrats.
Lets review. The NSA taps have been used exclusively to listen in on conversations made from phone numbers here in the U.S. that have been associated with known terrorists, either through calls or through numbers found on terrorists. Nowhere in there is anything about tapping the lines of Democrats, which would be illegal, same with Andy's little Hillary scenario. See the problem for Andy is that he has seen the public's ho-hum response to the NSA revelations and now believes that he must do something to try get us to come over to his side even if it includes distorting the real picture. The only important thing is that we believe Andy.
So, my loathing for Sullivan grows. In a way, he is becoming the Pat Robertson of the intellectual set. Reliably hysterical and generally foolish, it really is time to stop reading this guy. Perhaps he can join Pat back under his rock; they can have a good old time there deciding which one of them is holier than Thou.
Thursday, January 5, 2006
I hate to give this idiot any publicity, but I just can't help myself. Crazy Pat claims that Sharon's stroke is God's punishment for dividing his land.
At 5'7'', 250 pounds I thought is might have something to do with diet.
Then again, I wonder. At 5'7'' 250 pounds one could also say that the man lived much longer and was much more active than might otherwise be expected. So God is not all that easy to figure out in these situations, but one thing is absolutely certain.
Fools such as Robertson are loathsome, foul schemers who deserve to be despised and chased back under the rock they crawled out from.
Can I get an Amen?
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
I noticed this story today about an unfortunate young man who mistook a comically bad idea for inspiration. It's worth the read, but if you don't have time the basic gist of the thing is that he wanted to paint a representation of what legs would look like bound with a chain and locked securely. Not my cup of tea, but you know, these artist types think differently than you and me.
The real problem for our young Christo with the bondage complex was two fold. First, he wanted to paint this scene 12 miles out in the desert and secondly, once there, he lost the key.
Nice image that; stuck out in the middle of nowhere, trapped in a contraption of your own making, and nobody around to even laugh at your misfortune, much less help you out of it.
Naturally, my thoughts turned to the Liberal Left.
Things haven't gone very well for our friends on the left in recent years and there is really no sign that the situation will get much better in the near term either. In one of history's great political miscalculations the left has taken what at one time looked like a potentially strong hand that combined a generational shift with socially liberal policies, and completely threw the opportunity out the window when it lost it's intellectual underpinnings. What once was a cause for individual rights, became an entrenched political power structure that used it's moral base as an excuse for identity based politics strictly enforced through the award of tax dollars and set-asides for favored groups.
I always believed that our lefty pals had much in common with the Soviets which is exactly why I became a conservative during the late seventies. Well that and the odious Jimmy Carter's tragic reign, but I digress. So perhaps the greatest irony of this whole sad story is that the western left chose to follow this dubious path at exactly the moment of communism's fall in
As a result, we now have our tragi-comic artist pal as the latest living, breathing metaphor for the left. They've got themselves so bound up in their own failed ideology, that every election is an exercise in conniptions. This, just to make it in from the desert to the ballot box. The coming mid-terms appear to be no different.
In just the last week we've had the spectacle of the left's hysterics over NSA monitoring. The ongoing although nearly sputtered-out bloviating about torture, and of course old white flag's non-sense about how he wouldn't join the military these days (but he supports the troops!). Perhaps most amusing was the previously interesting now generally pathetic Andrew Sullivan's acknowledgement that unbound presidential power has neutered Al Queda; of course, as always with Andrew, the but quickly followed.
The question, as it is always for these guys, is what in the world do they stand for. We live in a time when the people's trust in government is extremely low. Basically, voters would love for the government to provide welfare, social security, health care and any number of other goodies, but they know this simply isn't possible, nor even desirable in any practical sense. When it comes to the economy, the country has learned that less is more. Minimal Fed intervention, and limited taxation in general have allowed our private institutions to provide for a historically smooth economy. The message from the electorate is give us a stable currency and get out of our way. Praise Double R and pass the 401k's.
When it comes to health care the liberals promote the idea that we all have a basic right to healthcare, and this message polls well until we get to the poll that really counts: the ballot box. Americans instinctively know that government provided healthcare is a mirage that just won't work. For those that didn't see this fact quite so clearly, we have dear Hillary to thank. Yup, Hil did us a tremendous public service when she was daring enough to attempt her re-engineering of the nation's healthcare system. The beauty part of it was that Hil was smart enough to design
So basically we've reached this unspoken consensus that for now anyway, we want a few simple services from government, a stable currency, and a secure defense. For the most part this is the conservative agenda. It's true that the Bush administration has moved away from this base with their unbound spending, but who expects them to pay the price politically when the alternative is led by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean?
The liberals, instead of figuring out how to alter their message to meet the demand in the political marketplace, have chosen to demonize their opponents and move further away from the mainstream in the process. They continue to create polls that are rigged to gain a favorable response in the electorate so salvation always seems to be just around the corner. That is, until the next election cycle rolls around. When that happens they suddenly wake up, find they're out in the middle of the desert, chained by their self marginalizing beliefs with not a key nor a clue to be found.
Tuesday, January 3, 2006
I drove into the office today, and in a money saving move decided to park at Millenium Park. I drive down the lake shore to get to work, and I had a little extra time on my hands anyway, so I figured the walk from the park would do me good.
Usually, I'm like everyone else, bolting from the train into the office, eating lunch at my desk and then bolting back out of the office to catch the 6:31 home. It's amazing what happens when you take a little extra time to just enjoy the moment and that is what I did today. It was weird.
I felt like my dad.
I don't know how to explain it other than I just had this odd sense that I was seeing Chicago through his eyes today instead of mine. My dad always thought this was the greatest city in the world. Admittedly, he hadn't been many other places save for a month long trip to Europe when he got out of the army, but none-the-less he was sure of this fact. We have great museums, fabulous public transportation, and the entire city waterfront was saved for the public use. As Alyotta, Haines and Jeremia put it in the late seventies, "it starts up north in Hollywood, water on the drivin' side". Specifically they were talking about Lake Shore Drive, but they just as easily could have been referring to the parks to the right of the street or the beaches to the left.
Then of course there is also the architecture. Although the city has been a bit loose with some of the design standards in recent years, few cities in the world can claim so many monuments by the greats. From Burnham, to Sullivan ("God is in the details"), to Meis and others Some of the best examples of Gothic, Neo-Classic, Modern and Post-Modern are right here in da wunnerful city.
My life has taken me all over the world. I've dined in the best restaurants. Water skied off the coast of Malaysia, swam in the South China Sea with an island bar be que afterward, and killed a man in Reno....just to watch him die.
Ok, that last one is not true.
The point is that I've been around, and there was a time when I thought dad's opinions on Chicago were a bit quaint. Yet here I was today, admiring my city and seeing it for what it is. Beautiful, incredibly livable, and populated with possibly the friendliest people that I have met anywhere. As I was walking back to the car tonight, I remembered my camera was still in my briefcase as a result of my recent vacation. So as I was walking through Millennium Park, I snapped a few pics.
The one above is looking north from Millennium Park down Michigan Avenue. See the building with the quadrangle lights on top? When it was built, the Stone Container building was considered one of the most advanced in the world (It's computerized!). Probably it's greatest claim to fame is the chase scene that takes place on it's roof in the highly underrated, "Adventures in Babysitting".
The Prudential building right next store was at one time the tallest in the city. My folks used to go to the "top of the rock" for dates. On a clearer night the Wrigley Building would be visible further down the road.
Maybe what they say is true. To really appreciate what you have you have to let it go, leave it behind and look at it from another's perspective. I had to do that, and I now find myself glad that I had the opportunity because, of course, I have it back.
Dad didn't have to. He knew what he had all along.
UPDATE: Crap. Picture isn't loading. I'll try later. Still, you gotta love the sentiment.
UPDATE II: Got it.