Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Can't Spin This

It's looking like a skirmish in the Iraqi city of Haditha was a civilian massacre at the hands of US troops. There's really no other way to put it.

Our guys have been over there for three years now. They are overworked and overstressed. They are surrounded by death and destruction every day.

The Marines serving in Haditha last November had apparently lost one too many comrades to an IED and basically went apeshit. When the simian shit stopped flying, at least 24 Iraqis, including many unarmed women and children, had been cut to pieces by American weapons.

The rage of those Marines was justifiable. To say their actions were not would be a ludicrous understatement.

Building a democracy is no walk in the park. Both the American Revolution, which was about creating an independent country, and later our Civil War, which was about creating a united one, were as brutal and bloody as any conflicts.

But no one is going to accept that this bloodbath was a necessary step on the path to Iraqi independence. It was as senseless as the incident that sparked it.

One could hope for understanding from our allies and our Iraqi "hosts" that in war "things happen," but we would never accept that reasoning if the situation were reversed. Never.

Can we expect Iraqis just to forgive and forget? We should never expect anyone to do anything we're not prepared to do ourselves.

And the fact that there initially was a cover-up of this incident only hurts us more. The story that the dead civilians had been killed by the same IED that took out a young Marine didn't hold water since the victims were riddled with bullets, not shrapnel.

What we can expect, unfortunately, is that the longer we stay on in Iraq, the greater the potential is for more Hadithas, Fallujahs and Abu Ghraibs. The people who criticize a "cut and run" policy are just substituting obstinance for reality.

This war started bad and sloped downward at an exponential rate from there. It's time to extricate ourselves from our own mess.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Finchy Home Now (Pass Me Them Seeds!)

Finchy's back, and this time it's personal. Up close and personal.

After considering several unorthodox bird-feeding methods (I had begun ladling piles of seed out my window onto the adjacent brick ledge), I finally broke down and bought a "window feeder." The great circle of strife is complete.

These feeders allow you a close look at the birds, as they are just inches outside your window. I have to peek between the slats of the blinds, though, or I'll frighten them off.

Finchy's feeder. The tape residue "X" pattern on the window
ensures God will spare my household from harm
when He passes over. Note the depressed-looking squirrel
at right, who seems to be wondering how the hell
he's going to reach the new feeder.

Yesterday afternoon after I returned home from the annual family outing I was at my computer and heard a familiar "voice." It was Finchy; he had found his new feeder. Then, this morning, I heard gleeful chirping again, and sure enough, Finchy had returned for breakfast with girlfriend Filly in tow.

Feeding the birds now means every time the feeder is empty I have to take the window screen out and pull the feeder down to fill it up. But they're worth the trouble.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Remember Me To One Who Lies There

Today is Memorial Day in the US. It's the day we honor our fallen heroes by... eating hotdogs... and watching fireworks displays? That's some sacrifice we're making in return, eh?

As it's a holiday, I'm taking a holiday from writing a proper post today. However, you can always check out this week's
Fragmentia 13 if you have not yet done so.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Kessler Is A Living Argument For Birth Control

It's bad enough when an "outside" keynote speaker* ruins your graduation, but when a fellow student points a disapproving finger at you in a graduation speech, it must feel like a betrayal from a member of your own family.

That’s what Ben Kessler did when he addressed the 2006 graduating class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

The theme of the speech he chose to send his classmates out into the world with was “selfishness.” Apparently the man doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

Kessler used the podium as a platform for his own retrograde Papist beliefs. In a world full of turmoil, Kessler singled out birth control and cohabitation as some of his chief concerns for his community, calling the practices “selfish.”

Notably, Kessler failed to substantiate his assertions with any facts about how these ultimately harm the community.

Whereas, for the church to continue to push its views on this birth control to populations where AIDs and starvation are rampant is demonstrably selfish. Perpetuating archaic tenets is more important than facing contemporary realities, it seems.

I doubt the Bible has a single syllable dedicated to birth control, though there are always those who can interpret and distort anything to suit themselves. "Wear thou not the lambskin on thine swollen member, lest thou be wicked in Mine eyes."

Kessler also addressed his school's policy of forbidding unwed couples from sharing hotel rooms during school trips. If it's on the school's dime I suppose it's their right to set the rules, but this goes beyond cohabitation between consenting adults to an attempted prohibition of same-sex relationships.

Dear, naive Mr. Kessler, you, Messrs Robertson and Dobson, the church, the Congress and everyone else who thinks one can "end" homosexuality through prayer, counseling or legislation are fooling yourselves. They're here, they're queer and everyone had better get used to it.

Kessler's words typify the ignorance, arrogance and blind obedience to obsolete dogma that drove me away from Catholicism. Well, those are some of the things, anyway.

Kessler is a football star with a 4.0 GPA, so I guess some arrogance from him is to be expected. And since he's heading off to a semenary (not a typo) to become a priest, I guess some ignorance regarding normal physical relationships is to be expected, too.

Kessler has since apologized for his remarks, feigning ignorance about the potentional reaction from some in attendance at the graduation. But this wasn't an off-the-cuff sentence or two he spoke, it was a planned diatribe against what he views as some of the major evils of the world.

I suggest Kessler get a mirror, so he can see the evils of selfishness and willful ignorance incarnate. Hell, he won't even have to turn around to see what an asshole looks like.

*A practice I think should be done away with entirely; whether it's John McCain or Michael Moore, it tends to politicize and may potentially ruin a very special accomplishment that a student has worked hard for years to achieve. Not cool.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Saddam On Trial Part VII: Not Saddam

Saddam Hussein's trial continued yesterday in Baghdad, but the main attraction was not Saddam, but his former henchman, Tariq Aziz.

Borrowing a page from the Michael Jackson defense strategy, defense witness Aziz attended court wearing his jammy-jams. It wasn't the most eccentric appearance so far in this trial.

In his testimony Aziz claimed that it was not Saddam who should be on trial, but the current leadership of Iraq, who tried to take Saddam out a quarter century ago.

Why ever would anyone want to hurt such a fine gent as Saddam?

Any belief that by turning himself in to American military personnel in 2003 Aziz was going to become a witness for the prosecution is now in doubt.

What I remember of Aziz is mainly from before Gulf War I, when he actually seemed to be a charming individual. It's like those women who date complete assholes and you wonder how they can have anything to do with the guy. Aziz, you can do better!

Aziz himself is not on trial, but could eventually face charges if he doesn't cooperate. I'm sure they can find something to pin on him.

If Aziz is smart, as he occasionally seems to be, he'll cut a cushy deal with the prosection and then use his charms on a book tour somewhere. Now that's true democracy in action!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Guess Who's Ruining Dinner (BogsBlog Post #200)

When it comes to TV commercials, often completely obnoxious though occasionally amusing, everyone's got their pet peeves.

Some people feel uncomfortable watching feminine hygiene ads. Invariably, we see a mother and daughter chatting over tea about "female issues" when one of them produces a sample of the product in question from under the table. (Where was she hiding it? Ewww.)

Often the objection is that kids are watching and embarrassed adults don't know how to explain the purpose of a tampon to them. Hey, you signed up for the job, folks.

Then there are commercials which are too fleshy, too suggestive, or just show people doing stupid things that viewers don't want their kids imitating. I can at least understand the latter.

While I'm not easily offended, I can get disgusted with the right visual stimuli.

I don't ever need to see another pest control commercial during dinnertime or at any other hour. Footage of real insects - or even the computer-generated variety - does not belong on TV. Not even on PBS or the Discovery Channel. No exceptions.

There are still some kinds of commercials most stations won't show, like ones related to sex, or to political/activist groups. Some condom commercials air now, but during limited hours. PETA tried to buy some airtime during the Super Bowl; no dice. The networks were afraid of offending viewers with a spot that strongly challenged their lifestyles.

Well, looking at roaches, spiders and ants crawling around on my screen - anytime, but especially around meals - challenges my ability to keep food down and is way unacceptable. Who greenlights these 30-second yuckfests anyway?

I don't think I'm alone in my disgust here. Show condom ads, scantily clad, cat-fighting women, people swilling all manner of intoxicants or doing insane stunts, but don't beam bugs into my home.

Who can I talk to about this ongoing outrage? I want to open up a can of network-censor-exterminating-whoop-ass on them.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Supermax Me

You could guess it's the name of a feminine hygiene product, a superhero’s dog, or one of those huge, greasy hamburgers Paris Hilton orally copulated on the hood of a car; you'd be wrong, but those are all good guesses.

is home to some of America’s most notorious homicidal lunatics, including Zacarias Moussaoui-Wowie (9/11), Eric Rudolph (’96 Olympics and abortion clinic bomber), Richard Reid (shoe bomber), Terry Nichols (Oklahoma City) and Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber).

With a name and a roster like that, I imagine the building itself has a super-sized ego.

Supermax gets its name from the fact that it’s not just a maximum security prison, it’s a super-duper security prison.

How can this be? "Maximum" is an absolute, yet this purports to be more fortified than your run-of-the-mill maximum security facility.

It makes one wonder, then, what kind of prison has the highest security level of all. The Ubermax, perhaps? (Where will all
this penal one-upmanship end?)

I didn’t know the Supermax existed until recently, but I wonder, what does a prison like that have that others don’t? Five barbed wire fences instead of four? Eight guard towers instead of six?

You just know the people running lesser-security prisons feel threated by the Supermax. Its very existence suggests they're not doing enough to keep their
prisoners locked up.

Don't feel inadequate, guys. But do pick up a couple extra locks and some more shotgun shells down at the hardware store, why don't you?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Be Careful Out There Among The English

As part of his immigration platform, President Bush is saying he believes newcomers should learn English on their path to US citizenship. Interestingly, he makes no mention of his own ongoing failure to grasp the language. But I digress.

I've never been the "learn the language or leave the country" type. That, to me, is an extreme viewpoint. It's like those rude French people who think you should study their language for years before vacationing over there for a week. Too much work for a holiday, that. Get real.

I don't know if I think learning English should be a prerequisite for US citizenship. However, it's probably a good idea to learn the primary language of any country in which you're going to spend an extended amount of time. Is that an unreasonable expectation?

People who live in the US for years – who aren’t verifiably learning disabled – and still don't know English are lazy, plain and simple. There are no excuses for not at least picking it up (if not having formal training) in all that time.

The problem for some is that they move into barrios (neighborhoods) where everyone from their neighbors to local business owners speak the same "foreign" language.

If you live in Miami, for example, and everyone you know and all your newspapers and TV and radio stations are Spanish language, you might not be motivated to learn English.

But you should.

Not only is it important to be able to speak English in your new country, by not taking the time to learn it you may actually be perpetuating unfortunate stereotypes about your own people.

Let's keep this language debate civil, and not resort to provincial platitudes. But both sides of this debate should acknowledge that they could stand to "give" a little.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Da Finchy Code

I know why the caged bird sings: It's pissed at its community management company for not telling it about the screening of its porch in advance.

Last time I wrote about this I was sure I must have missed the memo that said I would wake up one day to find the construction of a screen in progress on my deck.

I did nothing of the sort.

When I confronted the management about this they said there had initially been no notice, but that it was the contractor's fault. Yes, it was the contractor's responsiblity to notify the management's residents. As if!

The installation of the screen is now finished, by the way.

So, when my lease comes up for renewal, I'm told I'll be paying more rent for a screen I didn't want or even know about. A screen that'll make it difficult to continue feeding my friend, Finchy.

The hell it will. I'm hoping to get out of here when the lease is up.

Maybe I can get a bachelor pad for myself and Finchy somewhere. He can even bring his lady friend, "Filly," over to visit.

There will be rules about this, of course. I will insist Finchy leave a feather on the doorknob when he has "company." I'd hate to interrupt two love-making-birds. TMI!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

To Sir, Without Love

Maybe I'm amazed Paul McCartney is blaming his split from wife Heather Mills McCartney on the media. Honestly, I expected better from a knight.

Funny, well not ha ha funny, but his 30-year marriage to Linda only ended when she died of breast cancer. I’m sure there was plenty of media “interference” during those three decades.

While the constant intrusion of the media must be almost intolerable for someone of Sir Paul’s visibility, it’s how you and your spouse choose to cope and treat each other as a result of that lack of privacy that speaks to the sincerity of your love and the strength of your union.

At least, that’s the way it seems to me.

The relationship started off well enough. He was a widower and she was an activist for some of his favorite causes; they met up at a charity event.

And what wedding that takes place at an Irish castle and features a truckload of Guinness (literally) and a vegetarian feast can lead to anything but greatness? Sir Paul's, apparently.

Macca, where was my invitation? If I had been there to toast the happy bride and groom, with dark, frothy pint in hand, your marriage would have experienced nothing but good luck from thence onward.

Really, you try to help people, but they just won’t be helped!

Well, with a little luck and a lot of money (he’s one of the richest people in the world), Sir Paul will get back into the relationship thing before long.

And who knows, maybe the 63-year-old legend will stop dying his hair now. (I’m not one to talk about men’s looks, or about hair for that matter, but I just hate phony, ya know?)

Sir Paul, just make music – not excuses for your failed marriage.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Another Reason I Heart Naomi

Aussie film star Naomi Watts has become a "special representative" for UNAIDS, a UN body dedicated to AIDS prevention. An actor with a heart of gold!

The Down Under beauty - though, to be fair, the rest of her is quite attractive, too - has said she's "a big believer in the use of contraception." And now that she's with the UN I can hear her talk dirty like that anytime and no one will bat an eye.

That's so hot.

Naomi, above left, about to treat us to some
hot girl-on-girl action in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive.

Naomi's new role is a great development for the world. Maybe now the UN spotlight will come off Angelina Jolie, whose widespread admiration from both men and women baffles me.

Naomi is an all-around better actress, and appears to be pretty stable to boot. She doesn't blow things up or rappel down skyscrapers (to my knowledge) like Miss Croft, but she can cry on cue and damn if you don't believe her pain is real.

I can't believe Heath Ledger left her for Jake Gyllenhaal.

Naomi's appointment may come with a price, as some people (and dogs) can't stand celebrities who use their fame for "causes." No matter. Any good she's able to achieve will speak for itself.

Viva Naomi!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Message To Mr. Al E. Gator: Bite Me!

They say that by spending time around “misunderstood” animals a lot of your fears and misconceptions will evaporate. They are quite wrong!

I never feared or much thought about alligators until I spent several days at a gator park taping a TV show.

Let me tell you, these things are dragons without the bad breath. They hiss loudly and growl like lions. There’s nothing like having a 13-foot lizard with sharp teeth stare you down.

Every lake, pond and river in Florida has probably at least one of them, which is why I only swim in the Gulf (where the sharks are). And I know that the “odds of being attacked by a gator are blah blah blah,” but that’s meaningless to the several people who were killed by gators here this week.

So I’m putting gators on alert: Just because I’m a vegetarian and generally compassionate toward living things doesn’t mean I won’t run your scaly, spiny ass over with my car if I see you coming my way.

And if I’m not fast enough to make you choke on my exhaust, it doesn’t mean you won’t choke on me going down.

PS: This week's Fragmentia 13 is finally up.

Monday, May 15, 2006

You Can See My ID When You Pry It From My Clammy, Bacteria-Laden Hands

Mother’s Day is over, and the untenable Pete Bogs is back, full of piss and vinegar!

I’ve decided to leave the topic of whether 21 is a reasonable drinking age for another post. I could write a huge book on it, but the topic so riles me, I’d probably use the book to whack people to death. That’s no way to start a Monday.

However, this ID/proof/carding shit is getting waaay out of hand.

Alcohol-related restrictions vary from state to state, but most have one element in common: They're really stupid.

Tennessee is leaning toward making ID checks mandatory for all retail beer sales. I’ll set aside the weirdness of it being only beer (higher-in-alcohol-content liquor would oddly be exempt) and only through stores and not, say, a restaurant that serves beer, and focus on the main issue here.

I go into stores and see signs like, “If you don’t look 60, please have your ID ready for alcohol or tobacco purchases.” The only thing I’m going to have ready for the clerk in that store is a bad attitude with a big helping of “Fuck you!” if the subject of my ID comes up.

Locally, the drinking age is 21; the minimum age for buying tobacco is 18. It is my honest feeling that once you reach legal age people should get off your back and let you at what you’ve been denied for so long.

Let’s say you have a youthful look about you; if you’ve just turned legal, it’s understandable you may be required to provide ID. But there should not be a decades-long transition period where you have to humor the establishment and continue to show your ID.

This ridiculous practice also comes up when purchasing tickets for an R-rated movie or even a lottery ticket. (These movies and lottery tickets killed over 100,000 young people in the US alone last year, right? RIGHT?) Pathetic.

So there’s the “carding senior citizens” thing, which is absurd, but the “readiness” aspect is equally asinine. Have my ID ready when I get to the counter? How long does it take to get my license out of my immense pocket-sized wallet?

If it’s me you’re dealing with, you’ll have to wait a second, chief. In the meantime, perhaps you can put your thumb up your ass.

I’ve seen incidents in which customers and clerks have gotten into arguments over this. The prevailing attitude seems to be, “Don’t give the clerks a hard time about doing their jobs.” Hey, buddy, we’d all like to have hassle-free lives.

If you ask something ridiculous of me – even as part of your job – you’re going to hear about it. So have your "thick skin" ready when I get to the counter, ok? (Maybe I'll wear a t-shirt like that so they know what to expect.)

If working people take issue with my policy, I suggest they take it up with the assholes in their state governments and/or the assholes at MADD. (Yes, them too, and I stand by that assessment. These institutions believe any law limiting access to alcohol, no matter how nonsensical, is a good one.)

Bottom line, if you want to see my ID you’re going to have to wait. And my four-pack of Guinness Draught pint cans? Hand it over, and be quick about it, lest I box your impudent ears!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Mother To All

Dedicated to my mother, and to all mothers.

Taking care of others has always been your purpose in life.

How appropriate that when it came time to choose a profession you chose to become a nurse, and remained one for the rest of your working life.

You've always been ready to care for whomever need it.

Back when our diabetic neighbor, Mr. Murphy, was found unconscious, you ran down the block to revive him.

When one of your children's friends didn't want to leave because his home life was in turmoil, you gladly let him stay overnight.

You ran errands for Mrs. Anderson, the elderly shut-in, and made sure she had a decent dinner at Christmas.

Even now, when much of your independence has been stolen from you, you continue to see after others older or more frail than yourself, helping them eat and making sure they don't fall and hurt themselves.

Of course, no one has benefited more than I from your unconditional caring.

You have been a mother to everyone you've met; how fortunate we are to have you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Asshole Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

Well, we can guess where Mary Cheney got her potty-mouth and her penchant for insulting mothers.

Earlier this week she revealed that she considered John Kerry a “son of a bitch” for evoking her name during a 2004 presidential debate question, and mentioning the well-known fact that she’s a lesbian.

I was watching that debate. Kerry didn’t say it maliciously, he used it as part of a reasoned, salient answer to a question he was given. For the Democrat, you see, mentioning that someone is gay is not intrinsically insulting.

Mary claims Kerry made the comment for “political gain.” Let’s see…

1) All public comments made by any candidate running for office are made for political gain.

2) Immediately after the naming “incident” Republicants tried to create a political maelstrom about it to shore up their election day results. (A pathetic attempt, it died a quick death in the press.)

Dick Cheney, referring to the incident, called himself an “angry (at Kerry) father.” Yet later he showed no respect for one of Howard Dean’s family members when he said that he (Cheney) didn’t know anyone who liked Dean, but speculated that “maybe his mother does.”

That didn’t really insult Dean’s mother so much as the man himself. But the “Mary incident” showed us that, by Cheney standards, the mere mention of a family member is insulting and politically inappropriate. Dick set the bar, then limboed under it.

Of course, by calling Kerry an SOB Mary was actually insulting Kerry’s mother, saying that she was in fact not even human.

Echoing her daddy’s favorite expression, Mary also mouthed the words “Go fuck yourself” when John Edwards mentioned her sexuality during his debate with Dick.

Mary, Dick, I use the occasional “fuck” in conversation when I’m angry with someone, an even when I’m not. But lay off the mothers, ok? It’s nearly Mothers’ Day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Not So Hot For Teacher

OK, it took me years to figure this out, but I now realize that some of my grade school teachers – nuns included – were commies.

I don’t know if they were card-carrying, but I can’t find any other explanation for the phrase, “I hope you brought enough (fill in the blank here) to share with everyone in the class.”

This is what teachers would say if they caught a kid eating candy or chewing gum during class.

What future practice in society is this preparing children for? What aspect of their adult life does this replicate? I mean, when you sit at your cubicle at work eating a granola bar or package of crisps your boss doesn’t make you stop eating unless you brought enough for everyone!

We live in a capitalistic society, for Chrissakes. As much as I love the idea of, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” I don’t think communistic ideals in general applied to candy.

Smart as they may otherwise be, grammar and secondary school teachers sure say some stupid shit.

Like their rationale for forbidding gum in classrooms. I have to agree that kids sticking gum to the bottom of their desks or anything else should be forced to clean it up. That’s littering, and it’s nasty, too.

But I also remember another reason for the ban – that some teachers didn’t like to look at the class and see kids “chewing their cuds like a cow.” Fittingly, that’s just bullshit.

You’ve got some kind of mental disorder if that bothers you. Popping bubbles is obnoxious, yes, and should be forbidden, but the visual of chewing? Don’t be such a wuss, Teach!

During my school years this “chewing” rationale was incontestably discredited during myriad fundraising drives, where kids were allowed to sell and consume all manner of sweetmeats in class.

The candy sales also forever plugged a hole in the rationale that kids weren’t permitted to eat food in class because it would “attract bugs.” Nothing like some creamy nougat on the floor to attract ants, eh?

Oh yeah, and there’s nothing like a little hypocrisy to forever alter your view of authority figures, either.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This Ain't Pro Bono

Mary Bono, Sonny Bono’s widow and Congressional seat-filler, has a problem. She can’t send her kid to school on her measly $165,200.00 annual state rep’s salary.

Apparently, if it weren’t for royalties from Sonny’s songs, his poor son would never be able to go to USC.

Bono ought to try sending a couple of kids to college on $5.35 per hour, or whatever minimum wage is now.
The bastards in Congress keep voting themselves pay raises, but minimum wage has been the same for ten years.

Again I ask, have these jerks looked at the price of gas lately?

Before long one hour of work won't even put one gallon of gas in the car!

Bono, compared to most you’re a rich ‘un, so quit your damn bitchin’.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hot For Teacher

A school teacher in KY (the state, not the jelly) is in hot water over a porn movie in which she appeared. In fact, she’s out of a job.

The movie in question is a decade old, but that didn’t stop her bosses from sacking her after they found out about it.

It’s an unfortunate “quirk” of the US, but I really think we’re a “glass half empty” society. I will explain.

Where even the most uptight or upstanding citizen could look at this woman and say, “Well, I don’t approve of what she did, but that was long ago, and she’s really turned to a respectable profession now,” they don’t.

Some find the negative in anything and focus on that to the exclusion of all else. I know that as a teacher she was working with kids, but onetime porn actress doesn’t equal pedophile. And it was one time.

Some people’s ideology keeps them from seeing things in a reasonable, measured way. In fact, we've seen that some ideologies replace reason altogether.

I can understand, to a degree, why a political candidate might want to dig up and use info like this to harm an opponent (though I think it’s still shitty).

In fact, imagine that scenario for a moment: This same woman decides to run for a state office when this naughty tidbit comes out and quashes her campaign.

How about, "Look at how far she's come
(no pun intended) since then," instead of "She's history," eh? We certainly give former drinkers and drug addicts that kind of break, so why not former porn actresses?

Are we saying, in effect, that if this is what you are/were, it's all we'll ever allow you to be in our eyes?

Here we have a grade school teacher, whom no one presumably has a vendetta against, but who’s being penalized for something perhaps questionable she did years ago.

I think that, in a word, sucks.

Monday, May 08, 2006

They're Putting Finchy Behind Bars

"Christ, I'm getting all emotional from it, ya know." - Fat Bastard

Finchy, my frequent avian guest, is going behind bars.

Imagine my surprise when I looked out Saturday morning and could not find his feeder. Where it used to hang was an aluminum frame with one vertical bar running ceiling-to-floor from it, and a horizontal bar intersecting the other. The feeder had been placed on the deck in a spot I could not see from the window.

I'm sure my apartment management announced that they were screening in porches for all units, but I don't recall seeing the memo.

I will not have any "outside" access once the screen is installed, so I will not be able to hang a feeder anywhere. Nor will there be much space for a little bird to land and sing to me.

There will be a small ledge outside the screen, which I may be able to reach with a ladder to put some feed out (sans feeder), but apart from that I think my bird-feeding days are nearly over.

I think that without the ample landing space, Finchy may not return.

It was a great joy feeding Finchy and his still-unnamed lady friend, as well as the black birds (not blackbirds), mourning doves, cardinals (punk rockers of the skies, with their bright red mohawks), blue jays and squirrels who also located the free buffet.

It was Finchy who first sang on my deck daily while I sat just inside at my computer, even before I bought a feeder. His song became the soundtrack to my online job search. I won't miss the latter, but I won't forget the former.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cinco De County Mayo

Several years ago I went out for drinks with a coworker on St. Patrick’s Day. A chalkboard at the national bar/grill chain we chose announced an all-day special on Corona beer.

“Brian,” I said, “why Corona on St. Pat’s Day?” He just shook his head in disbelief.

I immediately made the suggestion that the following Cinco de Mayo, we go out to an Irish pub and drink only Guinness. It just seemed fair.

I've never looked back.

When it comes to drinking, Cinco de County Mayo is more my style, especially on St. Pat's! I don’t know, call me a “purist.” (“Beer snob” is the more common term.)

Enjoy your Cinco de Mayo, however you may celebrate it!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Spring Break ‘07: Woh, Mexico?

Mexico is set to legalize the possession of small amounts of controlled substances like marijuana, cocaine and heroine.

Holy frijoles!

Mexico’s “gain” may be Daytona Beach’s loss. Who’s going to head to Florida for Spring Break now that 18-year-olds can have a full-on freakout legally down in Ole Mexico?

If you’re driving from, say, Illinois, it’s not much farther to go.

President Bush, of course, tried to talk his Mexican counterpart out of legalization, and it may have worked. I’m sure Gov Jeb made frantic calls to his bro in DC on behalf of our endangered tourism industry.

Though we officially disapprove of them, we love those drunken, projectile-vomiting, fornicating underage girls and guys gone wild. They’re a boon to the Florida economy, what with the revenue they bring to hotels, bars, restaurants, convenience stores and bail bondsmen.

But the competition may one day be just too stiff South of the Border, where apparently the real party is.

Tough tacos for us, I guess.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Shameful Scribe Scandals Of The 00s

When our teachers told us not to plagiarize or fabricate our papers, they meant that shit! But there’s always a few idiots in every class who don’t listen, or who don’t think the rules apply to themselves.

Among these idiots are James Frey, author of one of Oprah’s former favorite books, and 19-year-old college student Kaavya Viswanathan.

Frey made up his autobiography. That’s called fiction, Jimmy Boy.

Sure, I could write a book detailing my myriad sexual exploits to rival Wilt Chamberlain’s, but it’d be bullshit. (It’d be really cool, though!)

Miss Viswanathan copied some of her work from others.

These people learned overnight what teachers didn’t even realize they were telling us for years: Dishonesty will damage your credibility as an author and make you
persona non grata in the publishing world.

Oh yeah, then there are those multi-book, multimillion dollar deals you will lose.

Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, was recently cleared of plagiarism in a British court. The truth is, the authorship of every hit book, song or movie is contested by someone.

Dan, you can rest easy for now. You other folks need go to the back of the classroom, sit facing the wall and think about what you’ve done.

NOTE: Portions of this post were lifted wholesale from other sources.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Kill, Kill, Kill!

You don’t want me for your corporate shill
That’s just fine, coz I’ll deal
But when you go and disrespect me
Well, I gotsta protect me

Y’all may say I’m mentally ill
And I'll forgive you for saying, “Man, chill!”
But all I can think now is kill, kill, kill

A quick drive over to your block
I see you, I whip out my Glock
Less than a second to pull the trigger
BANG! You’re dead, and I snigger

Nah, doin’ you won’t be no thrill,
But don’t think I ain't got the will
Coz now I know it’s time to kill, kill, kill!

Had some of you going with my psychopath-street-rhyme, didn't I?

For those who've been following along, I've had some job interviews lately. Well, I've found a new writing gig; it's temporary, and nothing exciting, but it'll pay the bills while I continue looking for a real job. Personally, I think I should be paid for blogging!

Thanks for your good wishes (and for not reporting this satirical post to the authorities).

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Darfur Catch-22

One of the previous US president’s biggest failures was the failure to take action during the Rwandan genocide of the early 90s.

The current president is providing little assistance of value with the situation in Darfur, Sudan, where another campaign of genocide is currently in progress.

The humanitarian in me says the US needs to address this ASAP. The rationalist in me has concerns.

If we do not intervene in some way, the killing in Darfur will most certainly continue.

If we do intervene, we face the same old argument that “imperialist” America is “rattling its saber” and “interfering” in the affairs of other countries.

Then there’s the matter of most of our resources being focused on Iraq right now.

My strong personal belief is we should help stop the slaughter, but a question nags me: How do we provide humanitarian assistance without "interfering" in other countries? I’ve never heard a viable answer from a liberal or a conservative.

Can the line be drawn clearly?