Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday Lite

Well, it’s Saturday and back to work tomorrow. Slept late today. Cereal and then coffee. Made myself sit down and finish my taxes, basically plugging in the numbers from the rough draft onto the actual forms. It’s all signed, sealed and ready to be mailed off tomorrow. I’ve been online for a couple of hours and really have nothing very outstanding to report, nothing to link you to. Gotten everything pretty much ready for work tomorrow. 5 a.m. comes hard, my friends. On Thursday night went to Phil and Enma’s for a birthday dinner for Phil. Actually, his birthday was last Sunday, but because of conferences, he postponed the piss-up until Thursday. As usual, Enma cooked a great meal. Yesterday, I slept quite late and woke up moderately hung-over, but with no lasting damage. I was online for awhile, then curled up in bed and watched 5 hours of TV I’d taped all week, but hadn’t had time to watch. I’ve gotten hooked on Prison Break, Heroes, Grey’s Anatomy, House and Friday Night Lights.

You know, there’s something about Friday Night Lights that seems to embody all things American and I can’t quite put my finger on it. This entire Texas town (much like Ceredo-Kenova, WV used to be) is totally and singly obsessed with their high school football team. It’s like the only thing they have in their lives and the only thing that matters to them. You throw in the mix a kid whose father is fighting in Iraq and another who is a Katrina refugee. All the cheerleaders are cute and all the football players are cute with cute girlfriends. There are so many reasons why I should hate this show, yet I’m totally hooked on it and I don’t know why. Could be because Peter Berg produces it, based on the film he did.

Q: A terrible tragedy occurred on the Virginia Tech campus this past week. Over 30 people were horribly shot and killed by American guns used by another student. CNN International totally dropped all other coverage to focus on this. Even the BBC spent a considerable amount of air time on it. We know the victims names and we know the name and background of the killer. I’ve seen his roommates, his English teacher and other assorted people who knew him speak of him and his problems. On the day following the VT massacre, over 190 were killed in Baghdad. CNN barely mentioned it. BBC did at least one report on it. Why don’t I know the names of those people who were killed in Baghdad and why don’t I know anything about the person who killed them? Is it simply because we don’t care? They’re Iraqis and they are getting killed all the time so they don’t matter? Don’t you think that the people of the world see this and understand this and use it to form opinions of America, and rightly so?

As I’m writing this I’m uploading more photos into a new album. I’m not sure I’ll get it all done today, but hopefully by the end of this week. They’re photos from various places. From a dinner with work colleagues at a very nice Indian restaurant in Abu Dhabi, my stopover in Frankfurt and trip up the Rhine on my way home for summer break last year, and my family’s trip up into the Amish Country in Ohio. Frankfurt wasn’t a bad city, but the weather was so hot and miserable, that it was just impossible to enjoy it. The boat trip on the Rhine was super, though. Our family trip up to the Amish Country was great. We really had a nice time. Great food and friendly people and Morgan, Jennifer and I got to go horseback riding. Hope you like the pix.

If you know me, then you know I read a lot. I can’t remember when I have not been between page 1 and the end of a book. That sounds familiar. Maybe I’m plagiarizing myself. Anyway, I have a huge library in my flat because I tend to read according to mood. I really enjoy detective novels which are written as a series. There’s a new series I’ve been reading featuring Leo Waterman that I’ve been enjoying. It’s set in Seattle and features a private detective, of course. G.M. Ford is the author and he definitely has a keen sense of humor. I just finished the first in the series entitled Who In Hell Is Wanda Fuca? There’s a new movie out starring Mark Wahlberg called The Shooter. It’s based on a series of novels written by Stephen Hunter and they are all great. The main focus is Bobby Lee Swagger (I know!), but some of the series have centered on his father. They’re well-written and thoughtful. Can’t wait to see the movie. Last night I wasn’t in an escapist mood because I’d just escaped with several hours of TV, so I started a serious novel, one that’s been on my shelf for years. It’s Caracole by Edmund White. It goes without saying that the writing is superb as usual. I’m only about 50 pages into it so I’ll give it another mention after I’ve finished it.

Well, that’s it for me. Going to continue trying to upload these pix, but got things to do around here. Next time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

Has been a while, huh? This time, believe it or not, I have a legitimate excuse. I have been well and truly busy. The process to put me onto the new contract system with the Air Force began back in November ’06. It drug on forever. It was thanks to my boss, I’m sure, that I continued to receive my salary. My BA and MA were stuck in an obviously hopeless Ministry of Higher Education, awaiting certification. My residence visa had expired and I was almost past the thirty day grace period allowed. I was angry and frustrated and anxious and, as usual, fairly vocal about it. Then something happened that made me feel like a complete fool. At the last possible minute, everything dropped into place and, enshallah, beginning next month I will receive my new salary and maybe the following month receive the back pay for the salary increase which should have begun with December’s salary.

Q: After the Green Zone suicide bombing I saw Bush on CNN talking about the loss of innocent life and this Q occurred to me. Which group has killed more innocent Iraqis—the Coalition of the Willing or the insurgents/terrorists/militias? I don’t know the answer, but I would like to know.

Last year we had a family reunion with my father’s side of the family down in Ceredo, WV at my great aunt Sissy’s home. This year we are getting together with my mother’s sister, Aunt Betty, and her two children (cousins Liz and Laura) and all of their children. We’re going to rent a large cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and spend about a week there. Jack is going to Dollywood. I will give you all the details and the pix, promise.

Q: Can America and the world survive the remainder of the Bush government? I wonder if the bookies are giving odds. I can’t say the Bush government is the worst American government ever, I’m not that old, but I can shout out that this is the most miserable excuse for an American government I have seen in my lifetime.

So, I’ve booked my ticket for the flights home in late July. Lufthansa to Frankfurt, USAir (ugh!) to Charlotte and then to Knoxville. Will do two nights in Knoxville on my own where I will not hear my name called at all. I love that. Then the return leg is from Huntington to Charlotte and Charlotte to Frankfurt on USAir (ugh!) and Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi. And the price, hold on to your hats, is over 7,000 Dirhams, which is like about $2,000. And that’s economy class. It’s unbelievable what these thieves get away with.

Q: Do the American people know how the state of Israel was founded? This one I can give you the answer to. Terrorism. How many Israeli politicians were once world-wide wanted terrorists? More than one, I can tell you that. When will America come to understand that Israeli interests and American interests are not the same, and that using our foreign policy to further Israeli interests is killing America. Israel is like South Africa under Apartheid, it’s either going have to change or it will destroy itself. I just hope it doesn’t take America with it. Read this for more.
Can American Jews unplug the Israel lobby? By Gary Kamiya

Here are some other pieces I thought you might like, although I took the addresses over the last few weeks, I think most of them are still posted.

Declaim Academy by Nicholas Blincoe,,2045551,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=10

Bush’ Long History of Politicizing Justice by Alia Malek

This one is an especially good piece on how the US media failed the country in the lead-up to the Iraq War. It’s a very insightful and informing read.
Why the media failed by Gary Kamiya

Upending the Mayberry Machiavellis by Sydney Blumenthal

Now, here’s something that I’ve heard and read about. From what I understand, you go to the link and sign in and then you are asked to post what you are doing at that moment. Just a few short lines and they’re called Tweets. I guess it’s the latest fun thing for bored people, like me, to do on the net. I haven’t visited the site because it’s blocked by the proxy here. They block websites, mostly porn, and I really don’t know why this one is blocked for us. I wrote them an email to ask them. Anyway, check it out. I hear it’s fun.

Well, that’s about me for now. More later.