Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On opinions, which we all know are very much like anuses

Okay, so it's all over but the Democratic response, which is being delivered by new Virginia governor Tim Kaine in such an unenthusiastic way - I fear he may actually suck the charisma out of me - that I almost forget that I agree with a lot of what he says. The thing about equipping our troops with sufficient armor and intelligence? Yo. If he starts talking about gay rights, though, I might have to start paying attention, 'cause I know he's not a fan.

As for the President's address, though, I can't say there was anything spectacular about it. It was pretty much as I expected - about 25 minutes, stretched out to about 50 by applause, during which the President had a free rostrum to say anything he wanted without anyone checking up on him. Oh, except Think Progress; they live-blogged it with footnotes and everything.

Things in the SOTU that made me almost drop my beer:

9:13 - When did the isolationists and protectionists start to gain prominence? Have I been missing something?
9:14 - "Democracies ... respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors." Um, yes. Yes, they do. I understand it's catching on.
9:25 - I know he didn't just give the ol' grin-and-wink to Dan Clay's family. The man's sister is up there with tears in her eyes, and our president is all, "That one's for you, cutie."
9:28 - We're holding up Saudi Arabia as a bastion of burgeoning democracy?
9:39 - Aaaand of course we want to make the tax cuts permanent. And cut the deficit in half by 2009. Has he seen the deficit? Has he heard of it?
9:57 - Laura, I love you like the sun loves the flower, for serious I do. From now on, when anyone wants to put you in pastels, you tell them no. Saturated colors make you look fierce.

And now preliminary numbers on today's well-intentioned but poorly-thought-out drinking-game-esque pledge (official numbers on applause and standing ovations are still pending):

Terrorists: 9
Iran: 4
Hamas: 1 (x $5)
Free elections in Palestine: 1 (x $5)
nucular: 3
freedom: 17 (holy shit)
terrorist surveillance: 2
protect: 6
security: 7
Social Security: 3 (x $5)
bipartisan: 2
inappropriate smiling: 5
Osama bin Laden: 2 (x $10)

Early numbers find a cool (and conveniently round) $100 going to the Wounded Warrior Project. Additional money will be added as soon as I have official numbers on pauses for applause (unofficially numbering 58, down 8 from 2005) and standing ovations. As a reminder, we're giving 25 cents for every pause for applause and 50 cents for every standing O, with a full buck going to that Democratic ovation for the failure of Bush's Social Security plan. Why? Because it's my money, and the bitch in me was cheering.

Update: The final count is in, the numbers are as confirmed as they're gonna get, and here's what they are: 65 total pauses for applause, 43 standing ovations (for a total of 24 minutes that observers were standing up when they could have been letting the man talk and get it over with). Of those standing O's, I counted eight that were Repub-only, and one that was Dem-only (the aforementioned Social Security snub). That's another $27.50, bringing our grand total to $127.50. That's enough to buy one backpack full of toiletries and personal items for a soldier who got wounded and shipped home in his uniform, with $28 left over to start on the next one. We can thank Bush and his speechwriters for being so damned repetitive.

One final thing that I somehow managed to miss last night: Did he really say "creating human-animal hybrids"? Is this our main biotech concern right now? When we're done in Iraq, are we immediately turning our attention to the armies of Squid-Men threatening our borders?

And, um, if we are experimenting with hybrids, can someone clone me up one of these?

Mmmm. Needs to call me.

On the State of... oh, whatever

Okay, so tonight is, of course, the State of the Union address. Color me underwhelmed, if I'm going to be completely honest. I'll probably watch out of a sense of duty (and a sense of all the good TV being preempted, although the Minnesota Wild are playing at Colorado if the entire experience gets too painful). Beyond his policy, even President Bush's voice and demeanor bug me to no end; whether he's chuckling at his own jokes or speaking in the short sentences and one-syllable words that make it seem like he's addressing a class of third-graders, I always feel really patronized. I hate that. I feel patronized, and every time he tells a blatant, flat-out lie (which, to his credit, is frequently more a result of him not knowing the truth than trying to conceal it), I feel angry. I hate that, too.

No matter who's in the driver's seat, though, the SOTU ain't what it used to be. Once 'pon a time, it was an opportunity for the president to actually let the country know how it's doing. People in New England were doing their New England thing, people on the west coast were getting tan, people in the south were eating delicious fried things and speaking slowly and perfecting the art form known as jazz, and this was their opportunity to know what had been going on with the whole country all year, and what would be going on next year. Now, with blogs and 24-hour news access and embedded reporters, some Americans are more informed on domestic and international issues than the president himself, and the SOTU has just become free airtime for the party in power to recite its agenda and assure us all that the world isn't going to end (unless the end of the world would work to their advantage).

Someone on Air America commented this morning on the fact that the SOTU falls on Groundhog's Day this year: "It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, and the other involves a groundhog." A joke at President Bush's expense? Sure. But like I said, the entire SOTU is a joke these days. And if it's going to be a joke, why not make it a game? Games are fun, right?

Now, everyone and their crazy gay uncle has an SOTU drinking game, and you can certainly do that if you want. Or if you're more of a teetotaler, you can go with something tasty like candy or something fun like nudity. I tend to think, though, that if I'm going to have to sit through something like this, something good will have to come of it. So this is how it's breaking down:

$1 will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a really fantastic organization that gives aid in a variety of forms to seriously injured servicemembers and their families, for every occurrence of the following:

- "stay the course"
- "terrorists"
- "Iran" ("moo-lahs" and "Hamas" each get you $5)
- "free elections" (Referring to Palestine? $5)
- "hard work"
- "nucular" ($5 if he actually makes up a word)
- "freedom" ("They hate our freedoms"? $5)
- "terrorist surveillance" ($5 if he comes out and calls it domestic spying)
- "protect" or "security" ("Social Security"? You must be drunk already. $5)
- "bi-partisan"
- any oblique reference to gay marriage without actually saying it
- any inappropriate smiling while mentioning something that shouldn't raise a smile
- plus 25 cents every time he's interrupted by applause, or 50 cents for every standing ovation
- $5 if he kindly offers to exchange your civil liberties for national security
- and $10 if he gets anywhere close to mentioning Osama bin Laden

As you can see, I've got my work cut out for me tonight. Anyone who feels like coming over to help me count, or counting from home, drop me a line. Tomorrow, I'll be back with the final count and WWP's take from the whole project. If I last that long.

Monday, January 30, 2006

On casualties

Okay, so a big story on the major networks lately has been the roadside bomb in Iraq that injured ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt. As of last notice, both are in serious but stable condition, and they may be able to return to the US for treatment as soon as tomorrow.

What happened was horrible. The journalists and support staff reporting from Iraq do so at great personal risk, and lives have been lost. David Bloom, a close friend of Woodruff's, died in April of 2003 of a pulmonary embolism, and kidnapped freelancer Jill Carroll remains unaccounted for in Iraq. Woodruff and Vogt both have wives and children, making the incident even more tragic. There's a whole lot of praying going on, and I encourage all of you praying types to be a part of it.

There's also a whole lot of reporting going on. Progress reports are given on all of the major networks. The Today Show ran a segment on reporters putting themselves in harm's way to get the news out, and Woodruff's wife has been interviewed. But while it's the job of the news media to report the news, and while this is certainly a significant story, and while I feel like a horrible person for thinking it when these men's families are going through so much, precisely how significant is it?

I'm going to say something that will come across as harsh, and then I'm going to qualify it: People die in Iraq all the time. Troops with families, people with spouses and children, drivers and translators, get killed by snipers and roadside bombs and suicide bombers. They all, as Woodruff and Vogt do, recognize that their job in Iraq is inherently dangerous.

I'm not saying that these incidents are so common that this one shouldn't be a big deal. On the contrary - I think they should all be a big deal. The media are criticized when they run names and pictures of troops lost in Iraq, critics saying that they're undermining the war effort and damaging morale by publicizing our losses. I disagree completely. I think that the price of our freedom and comfort at home is looking into the eyes of every man or woman who has given his or her life for us, to give up the comforting illusion of this massive blob of abstract protectiveness and recognize each individual who has made that sacrifice.

So when I say that Woodruff's and Vogt's injuries are no more newsworthy than any other casualty in Iraq, I also say they they're no less. I understand that right now, journalists are dealing with serious injuries to two of their own, and that this incident is probably the center of their personal worlds. The question of news judgment comes when they make them the center of our world. I will pray for Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt, and for their families, and for the Iraqi soldier, yet unnamed, who was injured alongside them. But I'll also be praying for all of the troops whose profiles weren't public enough to make it onto the news when they were injured or killed.

Friday, January 27, 2006

On Friday freaking Random bloody Ten already

Okay, so Your Humble Blogger isn't in the greatest of moods this morning. She spent a long day yesterday doing the Reporting In the Field thing - in high heels, which she's never seen her male colleagues do. She's got more of that on tap for today, and tomorrow, for that matter, which some of you might have noticed is a Saturday. And what does she find when she gets to her desk this morning? Hate mail from a woman who insists that, yes, our office does publish a magazine that we don't actually have anything to do with, and that for me to say otherwise is just a weak attempt to get out of doing my job.

But before I get back to the hard job of reporting in uncomfortable shoes (and don't even start to suggest that I wear different ones, because you don't even know), I leave you with a (praise Jesus, it's finally) Friday Random Ten to do with as you will:

1. Jimmie's Chicken Shack, "What Do I Do (Right)"
2. Blossom Dearie, "You For Me"
3. George Harrison, "I've Got My Mind Set On You"
4. OMD, "We Love You (12" version)"
5. Tears For Fears, "Mothers Talk"
6. Serge Gainsbourg, "Black Trombone"
7. Garth Brooks, "Rodeo"
8. Abbey Lincoln, "When I'm Called Home"
9. Modest Mouse, "Float On"
10. Frank Sinatra, "Laura"

Fun fact: The Random-Tennifier has managed to produce eight songs that I haven't listened to in donkey's ears and don't actually like. The person who can guess which two I do like gets a bright, shiny quarter and the opportunity to pick the topic of my next post. Line forms on the right.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On the lighter side of politics

Okay, so now a little bit of lighthearted Wednesday humor, courtesy of Bill in Portland Maine and his Cheers and Jeers:

From Calvin Trillin, the "Deadline Poet" at The Nation:
George W. Bush Explains the 'Signing Statement' Issued When He Signed John McCain's Anti-Torture Amendment Into Law

Since I'm the one in charge in war,
I'll do what I have done before
If it's consistent with my duties.
Is that an out? You bet your booties.
The boss is boss; he can't be bossed.
I signed, but with my fingers crossed.

We do not torture, never will.
So why did we oppose John's bill?
Don't ask, unless you'd like this plan:
Rendition to Uzbekistan.
McCain won't win. We haven't lost.
I signed, but with my fingers crossed.

And one more:
"Osama bin Laden released his first new audiotaped message in over a year. While there is some new material in the message, insiders say it's mostly a Greatest Threats collection. A White House spokesman says they plan to check out the message in its entirety, but they're too busy listening to your phone calls."
---Tina Fey

On an unchecked executive

Okay, so courtesy of Kevin Drum, the Washington Monthly's Political Animal, the Bush administration is declining to produce certain Hurricane-Katrina-related documents and/or officials for the Congressional committees investigating the clusterfuck. They cite "the confidentiality of executive branch communication" and argue that the "president's ability to get advice and have conversations with his top advisers that remain confidential."

The point that advisers who give bad advice to the president probably shouldn't be advising him was not addressed*. I'm going to leave it alone for now, too, because I have a slightly different question on my mind: When did the executive branch cease to be answerable to the American public? I realize that the best-known checks and balances are the ones established in the Constitution, where Congress checks the president and the president appoints the judges and the judges rule on the legislature's laws and the shin bone's connected to the knee bone, but isn't there inherent in all of that the fact that the president is a federal employee? We hired him (well, 51 percent of us did), our tax money is paying his salary, we're supposed to be able to trust that he's making good decisions, and every time he's called to justify one of them, he says, "Well, I can't tell you that, because it would aid the enemy."

I don't buy it. I recognize that we're in a Time Of War™, but there's only so far an executive can get with the "aiding the enemy" excuse. President Bush needs to recognize that what aids the enemy isn't the media publicizing his screwups; his screwups are aiding the enemy. And if some special government commission needs to be established for the Confidential Investigation of Executive Screwups, I'm all for it, but somebody outside of the president's office needs to have access to all of the facts. All of the facts.

Update: Matt Lavine at Basket Full of Puppies addresses it.

Another update: Hat tip to Gavin at Sadly, No! for pointing us at this post at Unclaimed Territory. Glenn shows us how in June of 2002, legislation was proposed to lower the evidentiary standard for a FISA warrant from "probable cause" to "reasonable suspicion" - but the administration wouldn't support it. The DoJ's James Baker said that "[the 72-hour window] has allowed us to make full and effective use of FISA's pre-existing emergency provisions to ensure that the government acts swiftly to respond to terrorist threats" and that the constitutionality of the change in evidentiary standard was questionable. Read the entire thing; it's illuminating.

Monday, January 23, 2006

On terrorists who come and stay

Okay, so Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog has caught something I missed:
The nation's top law enforcement officials warned today that al Qaeda may have plotters already inside the United States.

"We have to assume that there are persons out there that want to attack us," said FBI director Robert Mueller.

Not to get repetitious or anything, but I feel the need to repeat: Isn't this why the government is taking our civil liberties away? So that they'll have a heads-up when this kind of thing is going on? If the NSA's warrantless surveillance program is really so incredibly effective, shouldn't they know if al-Qaeda has plotters in the US? And if they don't, who the hell are they listening to, already?

On protecting our troops

Okay, so it looks like when Dick Cheney said that you go into war with the Army you have, not the Army you want, he forgot to mention that you're not going to get the Army you want, either. Soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle Dragon Skin armor to supplement the armor supplied to them by the Army (or in place of armor not supplied at all) have been told not only that they have to leave it at home, but that "any soldier who refused to comply with the order and was subsequently killed in action 'could' be denied the $400,000 death benefit provided by their SGLI life insurance policy as well as face disciplinary action."

The Dragon Skin armor, which, per the linked article, runs $6,000 a set, has shown in tests to be superior to the Interceptor OTV provided (or sometimes not provided) by the government. One complaint about the performance of the Interceptor armor is that
The so-called SAPI (Small Arms Protective Inserts) used in the Interceptor system are too fragile and incur about a 60% loss/replacement rate in the field because the design is inherently brittle and fractures when dropped or slammed into solid objects such as the ground. [emphasis mine]

Whew, it's a good thing there isn't any ground where these guys are going.

Performance of the Interceptor OTV armor has been so sub-par, in fact, that "the Department of Defense will cease buying its home-grown body armor at the end of its current production run." Yet when soldiers and their families spend $5,000 to $6,000 to outfit themselves with superior, commercially available armor (getting reimbursed only $1,000 by the DoD), they're told they can't wear it, and even threatened with the loss of their death benefits if they do.

I honestly can't figure out the reasoning behind this. As a longtime and unashamed Dr. Phil fan, I know that people usually don't act without some kind of self-serving motivation, but I just can't figure out what the Army would gain by forbidding its troops to go into combat with superior armor purchased at their own expense. Some have pointed out a connection with a major Republican campaign donor who is also a significant stockholder in Armor Holdings, Inc., which has the exclusive contract to supply armor to the American military. But I just can't imagine, or perhaps I refuse to imagine, that the very physical safety of our troops in Iraq would be sacrificed for something like campaign funds; that goes beyond corruption all the way to something far darker. I'm not able to accept the campaign-funding justification for this action, but I honestly can't see any logical (or even illogical) reasoning behind it.

One mother of a soldier forced to leave his armor behind said, "He told me that if anything happened to him I am supposed to raise hell." I think that maybe it's time to start raising a little bit of hell before things start happening. The Army has declined to comment "because doing so could aid the enemy." I'm getting really, really sick of that excuse. It's time someone start coming clean for something, because this is literally a matter of life and death. And death, and death, and death.

Friday, January 20, 2006

On difficult choices

Okay, so the Georgia legislature is currently considering SB 429, a bill that would require any doctor performing an abortion or referring a patient to another doctor for an abortion to have access to ultrasound or sonogram equipment, perform an ultrasound or sonogram on the patient, and give the patient the option of viewing the resulting image. Check out the AJC's editorial on the subject here, and a response by State Sen. Nancy Schaefer, who introduced the bill, here.

Proponents of the bill say that they're just trying to give women every opportunity to make an informed decision about their reproductive health. Pardon me if I set aside my ladylike demeanor long enough to call bullshit. What they want to do is shame women into carrying out a pregnancy that they, for whatever reason, don't want to continue. Maybe she can't afford a kid. Maybe the baby's father ran out on her. Maybe she'll get beaten if her parents find out, maybe her the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, maybe the baby has some horrific birth defect that won't allow it to survive past birth, maybe the process of gestating or delivering the baby would kill her. Maybe she just doesn't want a kid, or doesn't want another kid. A woman who makes the decision to terminate her pregnancy has her reasons.

If the state senators who are sponsoring this bill really cared about the mother, they would be proposing legislature to support her instead of trying to bully her. They're willing to spend tax money on legislation that has no other purpose than to lay a guilt trip down on a woman who's already going through so much in her life, but they can't be bothered with things like sex education, birth control, extracurricular programs to help raise teen girls' self-esteem and keep them busy (two keys to preventing teen pregnancy), domestic violence programs, adoption, anything that would help prevent unwanted pregnancies and provide the kind of support necessary for a woman with a crisis pregnancy to really make an informed decision.

People like to demonize women who get abortions because it makes it easier to dismiss them. If a woman goes into a doctor's office and says, "I've got this parasite in me and I want to get it out," then all of the anti-choice activists who enjoy the simplicity of a black-and-white world can say, "She's evil! She hates innocent babies and wants to kill every one of them!" But that's simply not how it happens. Most women who choose to have an abortion are scared and upset, faced with a pregnancy that they didn't want - or one that they desperately wanted, but can't carry. A lot of women already feel guilty about it, but see no other option. Regardless of the myriad views on the subject, no woman wants to get an abortion. Any woman would just as soon not get one if that was an option. The only person who really knows what options are right for her is the woman herself. But anti-choicers feel the need to pile shame upon fear and guilt in the hopes of making a decision that isn't theirs to make.

In her op-ed, Sen. Schaefer said that "it was the sonogram viewed by former U.S. Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) of his great grandchild that turned him into a strong anti-abortion statesman." I'm happy for him, but that still doesn't make it his choice. People, men and women, women who have had abortions and who have chosen not to, feel that they have some justification for making that decision for everyone else. Let me lay it out flat: you don't. If you've had an abortion, I feel for you, and if you've chosen no to have one, I feel for you, and if you don't have a uterus to begin with, you have the right to your opinion, but none of you has the right to tell another woman what to do with her body. You're not her, you're not in her situation, you don't have her life, and to use cruel and underhanded tactics to force your views on her is the wrongest of wrongs.

On Friday Random Ten, actually random and actually on Friday this time

Okay, so it's back to civilization, which does have its perks; I've had four showers since my return that have all provided sufficient water pressure to actually get me clean, I've had extensive e-mailed conversation with a friend about her new "date bustier," and I've managed to walk to and from my car multiple times without fear of cow poo. I kind of miss the smell of hay, though; I really do like the smell of hay.

Anyway, the Ten:

1. Claudio Monteverdi, "Possente spirto" from L'Orfeo, Favola in Musica
2. OMD, "So In Love"
3. The Beatles, "Paperback Writer"
4. Toto, "Africa"
5. Jump, Little Children, "Lovers' Greed"
6. Dirty Vegas, "Throwing Shapes"
7. Nickel Creek, "Sweet Afton"
8. Sarah Brightman, "So Many Things"
9. Diana Krall, "My Love Is"
10. Andy Gibb, "Shadow Dancing"

Yours go in comments.

On terrorists who come and go

Okay, so bored and frustrated by all of the attention directed at Iraq, Osama bin Laden released one of his signature creepy vague threat tapes to al Jazeera yesterday. The CIA has authenticated and voiceprinted and done whatever else they do to confirm that it is, in fact, Osama bin Laden, although at least one voice-authentification expert has expressed doubts. New and fancy about the tape is bin Laden's expression of his willingness to establish a truce. If you believe that, for the record, I've got some lovely oceanfront property yadda yadda yadda,

In response to the tape, Dick Cheney said that "it's no accident that we haven't been hit in more than four years."

Now, I hate to cause trouble, but I have to wonder about other things that haven't happened in the past four years. For instance, gas prices haven't been within smelling distance of a dollar in more than four years. The budget hasn't enjoyed a surplus in more than four years. Aliens haven't attacked in more than four years, an African-American hasn't been nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in more than four years, and a sitting American president hasn't received a blow job in the Oval Office (or I'm guessing at all) for more than four years. Some of these are a result of the Bush administration's policies, some of them aren't, and some of them are pure coincidence. But what Cheney is doing there is a logical fallacy known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc, confusing correlation with causation. Obviously, terrorists haven't attacked within the US in the past four years because Bush is doing everything right.

My fear here is that this new video is going to become the administration's justification for the extra-warm water they've been in these past couple of months. They've been trying to convince us that if the NSA is listening in on our phone conversations without warrants, it's for our own good, and that if they're torturing detainees, that's also for our own good, and now look! Osama bin Laden is going to hit again! He said so himself!

I'd like to know if this came as a surprise to Bush et al. They certainly haven't given any indication to the public that they saw this coming, which I do understand (no need to let the enemy know you're on to him, after all), but now that it's out in the open, I'd really like to know whether or not they had advanced notice from the unwarranted eavesdropping they've done, or if they've managed to torture it out of someone. If they did have advance notice, I'm also interested in knowing if they had any plans to do anything about it; after all, a memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" didn't really get anyone leaping to action.

Mostly, though, I'd really like to know why bin Laden and his palmcorder are still wandering around to begin with. 'Cause another thing that hasn't happened in the past four years is the capture of Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or Ayman al-Zawahiri. CIA Director Porter Goss once had an "excellent idea" of where bin Laden was, but blamed "weak links" in the war on terror for our inability to actually step on him.

Ever since September 11, we've had two things stressed to us by the Bush administration: we have to fight the terrorists over there so we won't have to fight them over here, and the people responsible for the attack on the US have to be brought to justice. But somehow, that last message has gotten a bit muddled in the current campaign to win the hearts and minds of Iraq, or bring them democracy, or find WMD, or whatever reasoning we're using now. What I want to know is how not capturing Osama bin Laden figures into the administration's plans to keep us protected from terrorists.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

On safe returns and a belated almost-Random Ten

Okay, so I was going to post something about my long absence, until I realized that considering my usual low post count, most people probably didn't realize I was gone. I was, though. I actually spent the past week gloriously disconnected from technology, waaaay out in the country where DSL doesn't go and old people don't have cable modems, or even computers at all, because "what the hell kind of stupid contraption is that" when the new electric can opener is just a bit of a challenge? The glorious disconnect extended, in fact, to Saturday evening, when a bizarre windstorm cut off all power to the 56-year-old farmhouse, graciously sparing us the disappointment of my darling Redskins' loss to the Seahawks. We also got to miss the Patriots losing to the Broncos, and while I didn't really have a dog in that fight, I know that Tom Brady probably needs some sweet comfort right now. He should know that I'm free.

A week spent in a farmhouse in the country with 91-year-old grandfather, none-of-your-business-how-old mother and none-of-your-business-plus-two aunt, and nothing more informative or technological than the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star might sound absolutely miserable, but it was actually really, really pleasant. I know it's kind of trite, but getting away from the computer and the cell phone and work (especially work) can be almost refreshing. The real pleasure I got from slinging hay bales and feeding cows and slogging through crap-filled pastures kind of makes me wonder what the hell I'm doing tied to a computer writing about gaucho pants every damn day. Of course, then I remember that my workday generally doesn't include slogging through crap-filled pastures, and that kind of raises it at least a notch or two in my estimation. The Simple Life is really hard on the wardrobe.

Of course, a three-day absence of work adds up to a whole lot of firefighting when you get back, and bless her heart but my editor needs supervision. So while I work on that, and bone up on all the news that wasn't fit to print in the Fredericksburg paper, behold a quasi-random Ten, pulled from the road trip playlist that my mother and I enjoyed on the twenty-hour round trip to Virginia and back.

1. Green Day, "Good Riddance"
2. Jack Johnson, "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing"
3. Howie Day, "Brace Yourself"
4. Johnny Cash, "Folsom Prison Blues"
5. Fountains of Wayne, "The Girl I Can't Forget"
6. Richard Cheese, "Creep"
7. Ben Folds Five, "Selfless, Cold and Composed"
8. Diana Ross & The Supremes, "Love Child"
9.. The Rolling Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil"
10. U2, "All I Want Is You"

For the record, my mom is cooler than all of y'all's moms.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

On wars and terror

Okay, so in the comments to a previous post, Steve asked a very good question: Do I believe that there is a war on terror? My answer, put simply, is somewhere between "yes" and "no."

Yes, I believe there's a war on terror. I also believe that there's been a war on drugs, a war on poverty, a war on AIDS, and a (losing) war on obesity. I don't believe that there have been wars on Christmas or stay-at-home-motherhood. But these are all wars on abstract nouns. They aren't wars against countries and armies, and they can't be fought like traditional wars. You can't shoot "terrorism" or drop a bomb on "drugs."

A war on an abstraction has to be fought along abstract lines. Terrorism isn't going to be bombed into oblivion any more than AIDS is, because terrorism is spread the same way AIDS is spread: through ignorance, fear, and unsafe contact. You could drop a daisy cutter on Baghdad right now and take out every single terrorist there, but that's not going to kill terrorism, because there are now a thousand young men around the edges who are now pissed off enough to take one for Allah and a thousand terror cells around the world willing to teach them how to do it.

Am I saying that America is at fault for terrorism? Don't be an ass. Terrorists aren't born; they grow in an environment filled with hatred, fear, aimlessness, ignorance, and too much free time. That's not America's fault, but the good news is that America can do something about it. Terrorists happen when people are scared and angry and have no guidance or hope that the world will ever be better, and then an organization arises that offers that guidance and that hope.

What America can do to fight terror is to provide guidance and hope and security in a positive way. The buildup of police forces and other security forces in Iraq is a good start, but the rise of an increasingly theocratic government and the continued bombing of Iraqi police make it a real challenge. The government can only be changed through diplomatic influence, and the truth is that if the Iraqis want to democratically elect a theocratic government, there's not a lot we can do about it. All we can do is try to make them safe and empower them to make positive decisions about their government. Just like drug use, just like obesity, just like AIDS, the way to defeat terrorism is to create an environment where it simply can't thrive.

That having been said, no, I don't believe there's a war on Terror. Not the way the current administration is talking about it, anyway. This isn't World War II, where our troops charge in and face off against a thousand uniformed Terror troops, and Americans at home ride bicycles to save the gas and women draw seams down the backs of their legs so that their stockings can be used for the war effort. There won't be a VT day, where Terror surrenders and crackling newsreels show the newly-liberated people cheering and waving handkerchiefs.

We're fighting terrorism like it's a bunch of enemy soldiers, and once they're all lying down or waving a white flag, our job will be done. The fact is, every terrorist we kill has three more pop up behind him because we haven't created an environment where terrorism can't grow. When we charged into Iraq, we deposed a truly evil dictator, but we also left an entire country without anyone in charge. Now we're dealing with those consequences with military efforts, but it's not a traditional war, and just military efforts won't fix things. Winning the peace calls for diplomacy as much as security.

The war on terror, or whatever you want to call it, is going to be long-term. Looooong-term. It may never end. That's because it's an effort that has to extend to the entire world and that has to involve every country in the entire world. It doesn't mean having troops deployed for the next hundred years, because troops stop terrorists, not terrorism. And it doesn't mean giving up your rights and living in fear, because that might stop some terrorists, but it won't stop terrorism. Fighting Terror won't accomplish anything until we start also fighting terrorism, and giving away our own rights and freedoms won't accomplish that.

On giving up what isn't yours

Okay, so the backlash to Kate O'Beirne's women-should-stay-at-home-except-for-me anti-feminist screed is as to be expected: liberals are pointing out exactly how nuts she is, and conservatives (the men, at least) are patting her on the back vigorously for being a good woman and knowing her palce. Jane at Firedoglake has some fairly good points, and of course Jonah Goldberg can always be counted on to say something completely idiotic on any subject.

Amanda at Pandagon does a fairly good skewering of poor little Jonah, which is always amusing and is probably the most intimate contact he's had with a woman in quite some time. The entire thing is quite amusing, but this part jumped out at me:
This argument praising the “first generation” of feminists is a phrase that’s left deliberately hazy. For the sake of clarification, and since Goldberg claims he was educated by feminists, I think we can all agree he knows this, the “first generation” of American feminists basically won women the right to own our own property. Here’s a list of later feminist innovations that are post-first generation and therefore utter nonsense, by Goldberg’s own reasoning:

The vote
The invention of female-controlled contraception like the Pill
The right to contraception
The right to abortion
The right to take out a loan even though you’re not married
The right to be free of discrimination at work
The right to work without being sexually harassed
No-fault divorce
The right to attend college
The overturn on bans keeping women out of universities
Laws banning marital rape and domestic violence
Services for victims of rape and DV
Equal education for boys and girls in public schools
Family leave laws

To name a few of many, many, many more post-first generation feminist innovations. If Goldberg, supposedly educated by feminists, thinks post-first generation feminism is bullshit, I dare him to explain what on this list he opposes and why, instead of making vague arguments about strawfeminists while praising his friend O’Beirne, someone who is hypocritically taking advantage of feminist advances in education and equality and using them to bash feminism.

I pulled this out not because it's such an efficient and effective takedown (although it is) but because we all, men and women, liberals and conservatives, could do to look back every once in a while and recognize just how far we've come. I think that recent anti-feminist sentiments among otherwise intelligent women stem in part from the relatively easy lives we've led. A woman Kate O'Beirne's age has never lacked for a voice in government, has never lacked for birth control if she wanted it, has never been steered away from a position because it's not a "woman's job." Obviously, the fact that a woman's place is supposedly in the home hasn't stopped her from going out on her book tour. And something you've always had never seems as valuable as something you've had to earn.

We're seeing the same sentiment with our rights to free speech and privacy. The first and fourth amendments lay them out in ink, and for more than two hundred years, they've been there whenever we needed them. There's never been a time (well, up until recently) when we've had to keep our mouths shut for fear of government reprisal or worry about federal agents shuffling through our underwear drawers while we're at work. And since we've never had to struggle to secure those rights, all it takes is for one person to shout "War! War! Terror!" for people to start handing them over voluntarily.

I'd love to know that all of my rights - as a free-thinking person, as a person with a right to privacy, and as a female person equal to male people - will always be honored, but I'm realistic enough to know that they'll be challenged once in a while. Like, for instance, right now. My hope is that, with our rights in danger, we'll be willing to fight to secure them, and that the fight will also secure their importance in our minds. People fought and died for the rights we now enjoy; throwing those rights away is no way to show our appreciation.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

On making the world that much Crappier

Okay, so now that we're solidly into 2006 without any real chance of slipping back into ought-five, we can safely look back at the good and the bad of the last year. There has been a lot of both, specifically the bad, specifically on TV, specifically between the actual shows. Grab your tux, strap yourself into that evening gown, 'cause it's time to honor the most obnoxious ads of 2005. That's right, ladies and gentlemen - it's the 2005 Crappys.

Now, I have to start with a singular honor. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to local advertising as a whole. No other subset of the advertising industry has shown such consistent lousiness over a period of several decades. Between poor production quality, poor writing, absolutely lousy acting, and an insistence on using jingles (we'll discuss this later), local advertising always comes out at the absolute bottom of the crap heap. I'd love to hand out some advice at this point (for instance, that no one thinks your grandchildren/pets are as cute as you do; that people are not more likely to buy cars if you shout at them; that adding that "personal touch" by appearing in your own ads really only ads a dose of "lousy acting"), but something tells me that you wouldn't take it anyway.

On to the awards.

This year's Crappy for Worst Directing in a Regional or National Commercial goes to TD Waterhouse. Sam Waterston is looking at the camera. Now he isn't. Now he's looking at something over there. Now he's looking into Camera 1, and now he's still looking into Camera 1 but Camera 2 is filming. Why TD Waterhouse feels the need to sell their investments with MTV-music-video-ADHD editing, I don't know, but it's enough to earn them a Crappy.

The Crappy for Worst Music goes to Applebee's. Applebee's has a long history of coopting popular music for their own nefarious purposes. Their most recent has been their "Bad Case of Loving Two" for some kind of sampler platter (I wasn't paying attention; there's your effective advertising, Applebee's), but I think that the most egregious was the ripping off of Robert Palmer for their "Simply Irresistabowl." Both obnoxious and reaching.

The Crappy for Worst Writing is a tough one to give out, because it goes against a longstanding tradition in the advertising world: the jingle. I hate to say it, folks, but the jingle is dead. Maybe once upon a time, it was necesssary for housewives to wander the supermarket looking for Libby's, Libby's, Libby's on the label, label, label, but these days, anything your feel like singing you could just as easily say. Let me say it again: anything you feel like singing you could just say.

One of the worst violators, and most deserving of a Crappy, is Charmin Ultra Freshmates, which you might remember as "flushable freshness you can get behind." In case anyone hasn't figured it out yet, this refers to ass filth. Their new wet product is sold as a prime remover of the residue that remains after defecation, and they're going to sing about it, the kind of song that burrows into your ear and leaves you humming about a "cleaner clean" when you're trying to do an expense report. This is, of course, their goal, but there is not enough lipstick in the world to pretty up that pig: you're humming about ass filth. And despite their insistent jingling, I still don't use Charmin, because Cottonelle doesn't sing to me about ass filth. Or dancing cartoon bears.

The Crappy for Worst Actor goes to an ad you either love or you hate: it's that damn stupid Nasonex bee. Why, Antonio Banderas, why? I understand that Mel's collagen injections must require a lot of maintenance, but if she needs the money, let her do the lousy voiceovers. You were smokin' hot in both Zorro movies, you even made Puss in Boots ever so slightly sexy, and now? "Won't anythink help trett my seassonal nassal allergy seemptoms?" You were hot, Antonio, you were hot.

Sigh. Let's keep moving. The Crappy for Worst Actress is a first this year, going to a regional ad rather than a national. It takes a lot for a regional to make it into the Crappys, because they have so much competition at their own level and because they rarely meet the CPM (crappiness per thousand impressions) standards of the more widely viewed ads. The crappiness of this ad, though, can be seen from space; it's for TitleMax. I don't know what bothers me the most about this girl: the white eyeshadow, the brown lipliner, the little dance with the head-flip at the end, the giggle. Probably the giggle. "TitleMax got your muuuhney, your muuuuhney, your real muuuhney. Hee hee!" As opposed, we're meant to assume, to the Monopoly Money handed out by other title lenders.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: the Worst Ad of 2005. The lovely Tom Brady is bringing me the envelope (thanks, Tom; I'll see you after the show) - this is so exciting - drumroll, please...

Dr. Scholl's Gel Insoles!

The truth is, there wasn't much competition for that one. There is not currently, and to my knowledge there has never been, a campaign as completely, totally, teeth-grindingly, hair-pullingly, heavy-drinkingly, put-your-foot-through-the-television-and-then-set-it-on-fire obnoxious as the "gellin'" ad campaign. This pathetic attempt to make a foot product into something trendy and hip is a blatant insult to the entire viewing community and should be punished with lengthy imprisonment. If this ad were shown to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Donald Rumsfeld himself would protest the abject cruelty. Each ad is a 30-second What Not to Do for ad students. Those ads are so awful, they make me sad.

Dr. Scholl's Gel Insoles would like to thank their mama and Elvis.

That's it, folks. Thanks so much for coming. If I've missed any really crappy ads this year, feel free to point them out in the comments so that they can get their proper recognition. And keep your eyes peeled for truly lousy ads in the coming months; we're rarely lacking for nominees, but few ads are really crappy enough to be worthy of a Crappy. Good night, and God bless.

Monday, January 09, 2006

On betrayal

Okay, so Sunday's Meet the Press featured a face-off between Kate Michelman, author of With Liberty and Justice for All: A Life Spent Protecting the Right to Choose and Kate O'Beirne, author of Women Who Make the World Worse and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports. Two things I noticed:

1. Book titles? Hella long, people. The second one, especially, looks like the headline from an editorial at The Onion. Is there any way at all to encapsulate a book without putting the entire first chapter on the cover?

2. It appears that the era of the sister f***er isn't over after all.

Sister f***ers (and I censor thusly to avoid Yahoo! searches by pathetic 35-year-old men with sister fetishes, although if my dad asks, you can tell him it's 'cause I'm a lady) are a very specific breed. Here are a few things that sister f***ers aren't:

1. Women who choose to stay home and raise families rather than have a career outside the home. I think that these women are wonderful. As I grew up, there were times when my mom worked outside the home and times when she didn't, and it was clear that raising two kids and a husband was a full-time job on its own. Now that she's got an empty nest, raising my dad is still a full-time job. Stay-at-home moms, I salute you. Saaaaa-lute.

2. Women who oppose abortion. I think that these women are wonderful, too, if only because I'm one of them. Is that a shock? I would love to live in a country where every fetus is conceived out of conscious desire to have a child, every woman has access to healthcare before, during and after pregnancy, and every baby has a welcoming home when it pops out. I would also love to have a pony. While I know that I, myself, with the lifestyle and support system that I have, would never have an abortion, I also know that other women don't have my life, and I would never be so presumptuous as to try and make that decision for another woman. I'm against abortion, but I'm also against the idea that the government should be able to dictate what happens to a woman's body.

3. Christian (or other conservative) women. If your religion teaches you to be submissive to a man, go for it. I don't really swing that way myself (I tend to prefer a little more equality in my relationships), but far be it from me to tell another woman how to live her life. A dear friend of mine, a Navy officer currently deployed in the Mediterranean and rather strong and independent to boot, has this attitude about the Christian notion of "headship": "The Bible says he's supposed to be my head, and I believe that. But the Bible also says that, as my head, he's supposed to care about me and look out for me and make decisions that benefit me. He doesn't do that, and I go looking for another head." It's not my way, but it's a way, and who am I to tell her otherwise?

No, a sister f***er is a woman who supports decisions, legislation and actions contrary to her own benefit, or the benefit of other women. Beyond her own willingness to submit to these decisions, she also feels the need to impose them on every other woman out there, and she's going to make a stink about it. Basically, she's not content to set herself back; she has to drag the rest of us back with her. It usually happens for one of two reasons:

1. She's the token girl in the boys' club. She's a woman who's been allowed into the leather-padded, oak-paneled Lounge of the Manly, and she'll be damned if she's going to jeopardize that hallowed position. When men say they hate feminists, she does, too, and when they say that a woman's place is in the home, she says, "Right on." If a man denies the existence of a gender salary gap, well, then, there isn't one, right? Or else he wouldn't have said it. She'll decry working mothers, single mothers, career women, women wearing pants, women converting oxygen to carbon dioxide if it'll make the boys like her. Think Ann Coulter.

2. She's seriously fundie. She's not content to live happily within the constraints of Biblical doctrine; she's going to make sure that you do, too. She usually has some Pat-Robertson-Jerry-Falwell-esque concern about the coming of the End Times, and is sure that it's women throwing off the yokes of servility that's calling down God's wrath. It's not enough that she wear her swim dress to the beach; you'd better be wearing one, too, or you're going straight to Hades and taking the rest of the world with you. Think, oh, take your pick.

These are the women who make the world worse. Kate O'Beirne talked about how horrible feminism is, that it demonizes women who choose to stay at home in traditional roles. Quoi? Women who want to stay at home make the world go 'round. Women who stay at home because they feel they have no other options make the world go slowly. Feminism doesn't force women to work outside the home; it teaches women that that's one option, among many. I'm not denying that there are some uber-feminists out there bothering stay-at-home-moms, but they're only equal to the uber-anti-feminists excoriating working mothers.

Kate O'Beirne, I believe, is Sister F***er Type I, who has gained the approval of the Men In Charge and isn't going to endanger that by stepping out of line. She denies the gender gap, denies that there are such things as "women's issues," denies that most women in the US actually don't want the government dictating the activities of their uteri. Let me unburden you of those illusions, Kate: I've worked for two years to get to the salary at which the guy before me was hired; as long as a woman's gender stands between her and a Traditional Job for Penis-Havers, there will be "women's issues;" and I don't want Bill Frist poking around in my uterus, even on video.

Sister F***ers are just as bad as the radicals who insist that a woman's only place is out of the home. Feminism doesn't try to make women into men or make us better than men; it just fights to make us equal to men. Men can choose whether or not to have kids; we want that. Men can choose whether or not to work; we want that. Kate O'Beirne said that women and men aren't interchangeable, and to an extent, that's true; I'm prettier than the guy who had my job before me, and having a penis, he could do penis-things that I can't do with my lack of penis. But a stay-at-home dad can be just as good a parent as a stay-at-home mom, a woman engineer can be just as good as a man, and women and men make equally good doctors, lawyers, writers, astronauts, hot-dog vendors, garbage collectors, flight attendants, nurses, teachers, and ice-cream tasters.

The world is changing, sure, but not necessarily for the worse. Kate O'Beirne can woman up and step out from the protective umbrella of the Man Club, or she can stay there, but as long as she's living the benefits of feminism, she needs to stop trying to f*** us.

On copy editing

Okay, so we'll start today with an open letter to the in-house advertising team at Rooms to Go:

Dear RTG,

The furniture item that sits next to the bed is known as a nightstand. One word. We are not encouraging children to have a "1-Night Stand." Please adjust your ads accordingly.

Much thanks,

Friday, January 06, 2006

On why this country should absolutely not rely on religious leaders for governance

Okay, so following Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's second stroke, which has left him precariously near death, Pat Robertson took the compassionate Christian high road Thursday and said something characteristically stupid.
"He was dividing God's land, and I would say, 'Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European Union], the United Nations or the United States of America,'" Robertson told viewers of his long-running television show, "The 700 Club."

"God says, 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone,'" he said.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to say it, but I'm the first person on this blog - Pat Robertson is going senile. That's all I can figure. Between this comment, the condemnation of the town of Dover and his calls for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, he is revealing himself as a full-on, certifiable, acid-flashback, shithout rat loony, which, when you take his age into account, leads me to suspect senility. God help any evangelical Christian who watches the 700 Club and actually takes him seriously, because he is more than one beer short of a sixer.

I suspect, though (or maybe I just hope), that his following isn't what it used to be. I've noticed that my personal interactions with regular, workaday evangelicals don't usually result in the eye-rubbing "Whaaa?" reactions that people like Robertson elicit from me. That having been said, The 700 Club claims a million viewers a day, which means that someone out there buys it enough to tune in.

Whenever a Muslim cleric, or even just a regular, workaday Muslim, says or does something outrageous, calls for someone's death or blows something up in the name of Allah, American Christians demand to hear the actions denounced by other Muslim leaders. They aren't willing to just assume that, since they think that blowing up a hotel is horrible, most of the world does,too; they need to hear an imam stand up and say, "We think that blowing up a hotel is horrible," and until they do, Islam is a religion of hotel-blowing-up, and that's that.

No one ever says, "Did you hear what Pat Robertson just said? I guess Christians support political assassination," or "Did you watch The 700 Club? Looks like God really had it in for Ariel Sharon." No one calls for every priest, minister and deacon to stand up and say, "We don't actually think that Dover, Pennsylvania has lost the protection of God," because it's assumed. Pat Robertson is an increasingly crackpotty guy with a television show who can be counted on to say outrageous things; while he's sometimes presented as a leader within the Christian right, those who follow him devotedly are more the loony fringe minority than anything else.

It's time for everyone to stop ascribing the actions and words of a few crazy fundamentalists to their respective groups as a whole. The reason they're so visible in the first place is that their actions are so outrageous as to be notable. Most Christians don't believe that New Orleans flooded because of God's wrath. Most Muslims don't think that blowing up a grocery store is the best way to send a political message. For that matter, most women don't hate men and most gay guys don't wear vinyl ass shorts and roller skates. It's easy to base your opinion of an entire group on the behavior of a very visible few, but that results in a very skewed and uninformed opinion. If we want to call ourselved worldly and knowledgable, we have the responsibility to look beyond headlines and soundbites for our information. If something is easy or obvious, it's also usually incomplete and oversimplified.

On Friday Random Ten

Okay, so Josh over at Martians Attacking Indianapolis (damn, I love that name) has gotten me curious enough about this whole MyHeritage thing to try it myself. For the unschooled, MyHeritage is shilling for its face recognition software by allowing you to upload your picture and find out which celebrities share your facial structure.

My first match was Penelope Cruz (71%). Third was Audrey Tatou, sixth was Lindsay Lohan. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Second was, of course, Sylvester Stallone.

Yeeargh. On to the music already:

1. 311, "Freeze Time"
2. Guster, "Either Way"
3. Missy Elliott, "Get Ur Freak On," featuring Nelly Furtado (y'all know I don't self edit)
4. Frank Sinatra, "The House I Live In"
5. The Original Broadway Cast of Avenue Q, "The Internet Is For Porn"
6. Oasis, "Roll With It"
7. Ella Fitzgerald, "Wait Till You See Him (De-Phazz Remix)"
8. Kay Starr, "More Than You Know"
9. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "Der Vofelfanger bin ich ja," from Die Zauberflote
10. Abra Moore, "Trip On Love"

Yours go in comments.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

On sugar (aww, honey, honey)

Okay, so it's wicked late, and I've got a big day at work tomorrow. But I just got back from watching the kind of game you don't want to watch - the kind we lost. I don't really mind getting beaten, but ohhhh, do I hate losing.

Losing is when another team hangs 28 unanswered points on you by the opening minute of the second quarter. It's some small comfort that we did manage to put in 35 points of our own by the end of the game, losing by only 3, but that comfort is really, really small. Put plainly, West Virginia did everything right, and Georgia had the occasional Forrest Gump success that made the loss not as bad as it could have been. You know that it's hurting me to write this, but it's the truth.

The bad stuff? I'm still not convinced that West Virginia is the better team. Call it unshakable Bulldog arrogance (from a drunk, obnoxious Georgia fan); that's probably what it is, and in my position, WVa fans would probably be saying the same thing. The Big East is an increasingly tough conference, but it's no SEC, and I don't know that the Mountaineers' strength of schedule matched ours. That makes this loss all the more painful. If we're going to lose, I want to lose to a better team. I want to lose honestly and be sincerely overmatched, not screw up periodically and go down by 3 in the last minute and a half.

The good stuff? We've still got a solid team. I hate to see D.J. Shockley go, especially after a painful loss like this one, but I know he's got good times ahead, and our team is stronger for having his leadership. We've also got potential (untapped, but potential just the same) in our backup players, and our recruiting class for 2006 is top-notch. None of that guarantees performance, but I trust the men who molded David Greene and the D.J. Shockley into competent players and great leaders to do the same with Joe Tereshinski and Joe Cox.

There's more that needs to be done, though, than simply polishing up a few sophomore quarterbacks. Several significant problems plagued the Dawgs throughout their 2005 season, and I'd love to know that they're being addressed over the summer. So while I'm not crazy about making New Year's resolutions for myself, I have no problem doing them for others; Bulldogs, here's what you'll be working on in the off season.

1. The Bulldog defense resolves to stick to every player they hit. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that is the single biggest problem UGA's defense faces. During the Sugar Bowl, I'd watch in horror as a Mountaineer would get the ball, take a hit (or three), and still manage to stumble twelve yards before going down, if they did at all. These weren't big guys; our guys just weren't jumping on and riding them to the ground like they ought to. This isn't flag football, and playing like it is is a good way to develop bad habits.

2. The Bulldogs resolve to keep their eyes open on fourth and long. It's so easy to feel overconfident at fourth down and twenty yards. It's easy to get sloppy, and that makes it easy for the other team to slip in a 62-yard touchdown run when you're looking the other way. It happened against Auburn, and it happened tonight against West Virginia (although, in the Dawgs' defense, there isn't a lot you can do to prepare for a faked punt). Our losses this season didn't come, for the most part, from a team just being better; they came from a team taking advantage of us when we let our guard down. The solution? Don't let your guard down.

3. The Bulldogs resolve to play their own game. It's such a ridiculous sports cliche, one that athletes spout in the locker room when they want to sound profound but have nothing to say. You'd think they'd take it to heart. Georgia has a nasty habit of playing the other team's game - playing down to the level of the other team, or just trying to defend against the other team's game when they ought to be offensively playing their own. Tonight, West Virginia showed unbelievable speed, and Georgia tried to beat them with speed. You can't beat them with speed; that's their thing, and they do it really well. We needed to stop their speed and answer it with our own strengths to win the game. I'd like to see more of that in 2006.

The biggest mistake is the one you make twice. If Georgia goes two and ten next season, of course I'll be pissed, but I'll be more okay with it if they go two and ten making all new and previously unexplored mistakes. The 2006 Georgia team is bright green but (and?) busting with potential. Fix the foundational problems, polish out the smaller bugaboos that arise, and next season will be dead awesome.

And whatever may come, we're still better than Auburn.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

On New Year's Day (all is quiet)

Okay, so

bellinia n. The condition of consuming way too many champagne cocktails, then yarking.

Happy New Year to all.