This Mad Cow scare is an interesting peice. The way modern agribusiness is run, there were one thousand opportunities per second for the BSE virus to spread throughout the population of cattle that our poor infected Bessie was found in. They live in pools of their own shit and eat liquified leftovers from other slaughter operations and get antibiotics pumped into their bloodstreams hourly. There's nothing healthy or natural about how these beasts are raised, in particular the close quarters they live in. So no, if one is infected, it's a more than fair bet that a whole mess of 'em are too. And if that's true, and this enciphelopathy can spread to humans, then McDonald's is in a mess of trouble. Although there seems to be some debate as to whether their "burgers" actually contain beef...

Aisling and I sojurned to Colorado for a few days before Christmas, and the experience was also interesting. CO no longer feels like home, although it always will be. Going places and doing things changes you, and that's why the people I know who stayed behind seem so much younger than I am. It doesn't help that I'm older than dirt to begin with, but still. The whole Navy angle really has people flabbergasted, too. No one can figure out why I decided to sign up, which means it was the perfect choice.

"Throw away your television, salivate to repetition, obliviate this ill condition now..."


The final test for Calculus assumed the form of a ravenous, oh, let's say wolverine, devouring everything in it's blasted path. My QPA, which would have been a very lovely 3.something, now flames in ruins below the minimum 2.5 required by my ROTC unit. An "F" in calc is also unacceptable for scholarship applicants, which means that yours truly will be paying for all of his education instead of part of it. That's okay - I'm going to school so I can be in the Navy, not the other way around. But the math department of U. of A. will be recieving a vicious letter indicting the incompetentcy of this "teacher".

Shit, have I really been doing this blog for more than a year now? What have I accomplished? What's been changed about this world that would otherwise have remained the same without my anonymous online presense? The answers, I think, are "yes" and "not a whole hell of a lot." But I'm content with that. May you and yours have a happy time, and remember, "Reject the basic assumptions of civilisation, especially the importance of material posessions."


Sweet Jeebus. "Killographic?" Killographic? How old are these people, twelve? That word is roughly on par with bootylicious and schnizzle, which I swore never to use in a sentence. How are these dipshits allowed to work anywhere? Their water should be reclaimed for the good of the tribe.

ExposĂȘ alone has made Panther worth it, although being a student of the U. of A. I was provided my upgrade free of charge. Now I never quit an application or close a window if there's a chance I'll need it again sometime. If I'm sick of the clutter, I hit F12 and everything scoots to the border, which on Pallas' 17 screen leaves more than enough room to accomplish anything. When I wish to view some other project I hit F11 and a mosaic of windows presents itself to me, I select the one I desire and everything else falls away behind it. And she is faster, now. I can feel it, as the processor gives off just enough heat to remind me of sitting next to a fireplace on this cold December day. It almost makes me forget that the vicious Fates have scheduled my two most difficult finals back-to-back beginning tomorrow morning at 0800 sharp.


God Damn It. I really don't want to vote for Howard Dean. General Wes has tripped a few times, but expecting perfection from any human being is folly. He is the best in the field, and actually represents something I want to vote for. All Howard Dean has to offer is something to vote against - George W. That's all well and good for getting people riled up, but how long can raw anger sustain itself? Eventually it must be replaced with ideas and leadership, and Dean has not displayed the depth of character that indicates he has either of those.

Al Gore, you disappoint me.


I really just wanted a more permanent place for this Daily Zen quote to live. I don't like random text files hanging out on my hard drive.

"I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
You return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
You accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.

- Lao Tzu"
Gee. I have finally, officially joined the ranks of the iPodded. MyPod. Rocks, both literally and figuratively. Although leaving it plugged into the wall in the dock overnight failed to charge the battery?

There is a much larger ROTC drill competition that is being held over Mardi Gras weekend at Tulane. That's New Orleans, for those of you who don't know your American geography. We're pretty desperate for funds at this point, so we have to choose between starting an escort service and selling votive candles to family and friends. I'm trying to figure out how much makeup I can get away with...

Go go gadget finals! Some easy essays, a fuck-ton of Bio, and a calc test I am worryingly unprepared for, and I'll be through with this semester. It's been fun, kiddos.


There was something I was going to complain about, but I forget. There's something else I'm going to complain about, though, and it's evangelists. Specifically, how all well-adjusted people despise this particular brand of person. Today on the Submarine a visitor-pig asked a few questions and got a few responses from me in the control room. He said something along the lines of, "you guys are doing a great job, here's a tip!" He hands me and my coworker Gamer a tiny replica $10 bill, and on the back are some clever trusims, to wit:
A bed BUT NOT sleep
Books BUT NOT brains
Food BUT NOT appetite... etc.
Blah de dah, no big revelation to anyone who's spent more than a few miniutes of their lives in self-examination. Then we get to the kicker religious crap, "What money can't buy, Jesus Christ can give freely without charge. Is He your Lord and Saviour?"

Whoa, hold on a minute, slick. If you don't have, oh, let's say brains, and you buy books to try and improve your brain, you will fail. But Jesus Christ can make you smarter? Hungry? Sleepy? If I were a religious kind of guy, I'd find this kind of depressing. Gamer, who's very religious (wears a cross necklace, listens to gospel music in car), gets the heeby-jeebies from these nutbars too. I think it's the absolute unthinking unblinking certainty in something that by it's very nature cannot be proven to exist that gets to me. God is the greatest logical falicy there is, and I just can't understand why you would want to base your entire worldview on something so nebulous.


Harumph - every web browser I've tried using the past few days has been acting up, crashing at random and doing other unsavory things. Is it possible that there's something dirty in my U of A campus network connection?

Read The Cryptonomicon. It's a long story, but so well written that you won't notice. Also, I desire the weather to continue to become colder. I need the practice, you see, for a brief December sojurn back home to the Mountain State. Aisling and I have timed the trip to coincide with the release of The Return of the King so that we may share the experience with our Tolkien-fiend father. I can hardly wait to pack up and go somewhere.


There was indeed snow on the ground in certain parts of New York, which made our journey to Ithaca all the more entertaining. Good bagels, too.

For everyone attending a place of higher education, these last few weeks will be a close approximation to the waiting room for Hell. You know, intellectually, that the end is near, but there's so much shit to wade through in the meantime that you'd almost rather not exist at all. And someone here at the University of Anytown has made me their real and permanent enemy. This person is responsible for putting up Christmas decorations a week ago. Christmas decorations? What other clever, sick ways will they find to torture us?

My calculus teacher said today, in effect, "you need to teach yourselves this information." I almost laughed out loud.


Well, the DOOM is over with. Knowing that it is no longer mathematically possible for me to earn the required grade in Calculus is kind of disappointing (yes, I'm sure I did that poorly), and it also seems intolerably cruel. If someone fires a missile at my ship, I won't have ten minutes to work out my own intercept vector; a peice of simple software will have it done for me in a fraction of a second, another one will check it over, and a third will update it constantly so that my firing solution is always accurate.

But there's no point in me jabbering on about this horrid non-sense. There are reports that in certain areas of the North East there is actual Snow falling from the sky, as though that's what it was supposed to be doing all along. I can hardly wait for an accumulation...


The Time of DOOM approaches. This Calculus test will end me, and I'm starting to think that I should have just chucked caution and gone for Total Burnout, that weird energy that you only get when it's been a high number of hours since you last slept and you've lost all hope of recovering any sense of self. You begin, for instance, to italicise indiscriminantly, which is not good for anyone. But your mind is free to act in ways that are not possible when it's properly adjusted to the external social pressures we're accustomed to, which can be an important advantage when one is dealing with something as gnarly as resolving vectors into norms and calculating related rates.



Madness. This hideous form of mental torture known as Calculus threatens to end my career - all Midshipmen must pass Calc 1&2 with a C- or better, which I am well on my way to not doing. Every minute of my day from 0600 to 2300 is full of something terribly important, all leading up to this weekend when our Unit drill team traverses an untold number of miles to Cornell University in search of fame and glory. I'm probably experiencing the closest thing to stress that I ever do, and all I can do for now is consume this aluminum-wrapped energy beverage and hope it balances out the fact that I'm running on two hours of real sleep and might might get another six before I collapse into my pillow approximately 31 hours from this moment.

I must really be a deep-seated masochist, though, because this is fun as hell.


Also, I know that this won't matter in the long run, but I just want to point out that I in no way whatsoever support the RNC or our !President's "compassionate conservative agenda." I don't know where Google gets off making these sorts of connections.
Last night I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be. Seriously, one of my roommates told me this afternoon following our Navy/Marine Corps Birthday ceremony, "I have a hard time keeping track of what you're always running off to do." I laughed and said "yeah, I'm pretty... busy." He said, "Yeah, but at least your life is interesting."

It is. You know, with everything we put up with, everything we're asked to do and the standards we have to perform to, our lives as Midshipmen are very interesting. Quite a bit more so than your standard-fare college kid, I'd dare to say.


Today, oweing to the unseasonably warm weather, I convinced my Psych T.A. to hold our recitation out of doors on the grass in front of one of our Learning Buildings. Yellow leaves fell as we discussed Skinner and behaviourism, the sun shone into our eyes, and the only thing that could possibly have ruined it did; time progressed to the point where I was required to attend my work study, in the basement of some other building where I could not see this pure blue sky. Ah well, we are never in control of our circumstances.

"Soft Serve" is the perfect song for a beautiful day. Perfect.


A further example of modern idiocy: This afternoon, in one of our fine Learning Buildings, I approached the automated snack machines in search of sustinance. These machines take either quarters or our U. of A. ID cards. I lacked change, but I did have a one-dollar bill, and so I made the reasonable decision to utilise the change machine to obtain quarters. I insert my bill, and the machine spits out a Sacagawea dollar coin. (As a quick aside, I like the things and I think more people should use them, but now that they've not been minting them for a while, I fear that they will become too rare)

"Allright," I think to myself, "they placed this machine next to the snacks, so I must be able to use these to purchase said snacks."

Nothin' doin'. The snack machine rejected my dollar coin. It also rejected my ID card, which I learned later on that day still had over $140 on it.

Who the hell was responsible for this madness? Probably the same damn dirty soul who infected me with this head cold... arrrr.
"The story of what we've done in the postwar period is remarkable. It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day."

- U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt (R-WA)

Picked this off of MCM's blog (you may remember him as the dude responsible for The Bush Dyslexicon), and you can be sure that I'll be sending Mr. Nethercutt a letter at some point today. It will likely be scathing in nature. If I didn't have my own reasons for being in the Navy, I would seriously reconsider making this committment to such insane assholes as this man.

Seriously reconsider. Although, I would miss out on inspections, which in a sick way are actually kind of fun. Personal grooming and your uniform must be impeccable, and at any moment you may be asked a question like "What's your fifth general order?" and you have to respond "Sir, this midshipman's fifth general order is (insert GO5 here)!" They usually take place in our SDB's, too, and I don't at all mind looking that sharp.


According to the most recent Depressing Poll™ by CNN, no matter who the Dems field this coming election, Bush wins by 3 percentage points. How? I can't even begin to understand. It must be some form of intense self-hatred that's afflicted half this country. Seriously, we deserve better.

Onward to sleep, perchance to awake tomorrow without feeling crappy.


Well, Aisling is upset with me because I called her from a coffee shop using my CELL PHONE. This after she gave me an article about the rudeness of people who call other people from coffee shops using their cell phones. The thing that truly bugs me about other people using them is how loud they seem to think they need to be. I am mindful to carry on any cell phone conversation in a normal tone of voice, so that the disruption to others would be no greater than if I was talking to someone who was physically present. I also limit my time on air to about a minute, and it's never a social call. I need information, I get it, I thank the other end and hang up.

Lost in Translation is well done and sufficiently different from the mainstream that going to see it was a real pleasure. Bill Murray's ability to express complete, boundless sadness is worth every penny they paid him and more.


Everything in it's right place...

I really don't like paying bills. It requires effort that I rarely feel like expending, what with my sick PT schedule and academic responsibilities and the occasional need to sleep. Hm. Out of 512 physical megs of RAM, I have 36.3 remaining. There are 9 applications running including the finder. I have to work an overnighter tomorrow. I told my workstudy that I'd be coming in this evening, but I have to do laundry then go to drill team practice and finish up some calc homework and probably read a lot of my WWII book, too. And call my dad about a tuition payment that's already a week late (not his fault, mine). This morning at remedial PT all I could think about was the Cowboy Bebop episode "Speak Like a Child."

I guess that's about it. I'm floating down the river...


There's a large inter-unit competition coming up at Cornell University in November, and our Anytown unit is gearing up. MEC competitions, Drill Team, etc. It promises to be a good time for all, and this year the boys in charge are riding us to bring home a few trophies. Hu-rah!

Perhaps I should announce when I leave a room, because I've noticed lately that whenever I walk away from someone, they continue to converse with me when I'm not there. Is this rude on my part somehow? I am sort of quiet that way. But honestly, don't you think it'd be worth checking to see if the person you're addressing a comment to is still in a position to hear you? Hmph.

Saw the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" the other night with Tak. It was funny, in ways I didn't expect. I also won a DVD edition of the movie with - no lie - a Blooper/Outtake Reel. That combined with "Shaolin Soccer" shall make an excellent movie night.


I love it. Cigarette makers are sponsoring adverts that state in clear English "Cigarettes are addictive and will give you cancer. You are at high risk for death. Go to this website for more information on your hideous fate if you use our products." But to smokers, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. Phillip Morris's bottom line won't be hurt in any way. It's the death instinct turned inward. Why don't people understand what they're doing to themselves and others? There are few bigger turn-offs than yellow teeth, bad breath and a hacking cough.


This is damned scary. How does this man O'Reilley still have a show?

This defective organ of mine might just earn me a medical discharge. A few short months into the service, and a minor case of a non-fatal disease could end it. But you know what? There's jack-all I can do to change this fact. BuMed will review my case, and determine if I should continue, and that will be that. No personal appeals, no procrastination, no nuttin' is going to make a bit of difference. So I'll sit here and watch the rain, and continue to live my life.


Ever get the feeling that you're in exactly the right place at the right time in your life? That's me, at Anytown University, right now. It's sort of indescribable, not in the amazing fantastic sense, but the mysterious mystery sense.

Things have certainly quieted down around the ROTC unit as well. 4th class might finally be said to have their feet under them, and while I might have dug myself a bit of a hole academically I feel that I'm in the Swing of Things like marching drills and squad responsibilities. We're actually getting to know each other, too, which makes things far less awkward. Now if only I could get that PT score up...


Today we watched a video that was really scary. It was put together by the crew of a VFA that was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom, available on DVD, and it showcased what the men and women of this Hornet squadron did day in and day out. Essentially, they flew planes and dropped bombs. Oh, and fired missiles. This bit was okay - what scared me was the soundtrack. I really wish I had some way to copy these songs into the blogsphere, because each one was like a handcrafted personal Fuck You to human decency and common sense. At certain points in this country song, which included a line that sounded something like "you hit us in the face, but now we can see out of our black eye, we're gonna lite you up like the 4th of July" they interspliced shots of the WTC being hit by jetliners. It sounds really shitty, but parts of it looked exactly like that al-Qaida recruiting video that we're so fond of mocking.

The cheesy war mongering music. Shots of your troops and future commanders in action, sticking it to the enemy. Exhortations from the fearless leader telling you your cause is just and "we will prevail." Flags waving in the background. It's all pretty goddamned insulting, not to mention sick at heart. That shit is not what America stands for, it's not what I stand for, and I'm putting everyone on notice that this is one officer that will not follow blindly along with the popular war mentality of the moment. America deserves more than that from the men and women who would serve her.
Our season of discontent begins. In any endeavour as challenging as training to become an officer in the USN, there will be those who fall out because it just isn't worth their time. 4th class began the year as one of, if not the biggest batch of recruits that our unit had ever seen, and there's been a slow trickle of kids who've left ever since. Many are expressing dissatisfaction with what they've been required to do thus far, still others are simply pissed that all these extra courses they're taking won't count for bubkiss when it comes to their degree. And who can blame them? This isn't a club or an intramural sport, it's a profession and there's a fuck-ton of responsibility that comes with it. You gots to crave responsibility as though you were some sort of zombie seeking the sweet blood-candy of deadlines and missions and authority and accountability and a host of other synonyms. There are times when I question my sanity, but in my darkest heart of hearts I know that I possess this quality, for good or ill.

Which means that I have to start digging myself out of this soul-sucking pit that Calculus has become. Some of the people in my class are doing all right, but a lot of us aren't, and the dividing line seems to be between those who have had calculus before and those who are new to it, as I am. I know that I can pull a C in that class, which will be just barely acceptable to the Navy, but the most frustrating thing about it is the idea that what's been up until now nothing more than an inconvinience (my aforementioned mathematical idiocy) is turning into a real handicap. Curse you, numbers!


Wonderful experience with the campus network this morning. I had to download a file of roughly 8.6 megs. Safari has this neat feature where it starts the installation process as soon as you've finished downloading, so long as the file is something like a dmg archive or install pkg. So I click on the link for the file, and the Safari download window pops up and says "Installing..."

Wait. It hadn't even downloaded the file yet! Or had it? Was it possible that this 8.6 meg package arrived on my desktop and executed itself between the time I let go of the mouse button and my very next breath? Doesn't that violate the laws of time and space in some universe-ending manner?

Wow. BTW, Ahh-nold looks to be the next Guv of CA. I suggested to my pals at workstudy the other day that we just plant a few hydrogen bombs along the San Andreas fault line and sink that rotten appendage to the nation. Next up is Florida, and to compensate I think we should grab Crete and the Grecian isles. We'd gain a permanent base in the Mediterranian, and all the olive oil our nation could ever need.


"What a bunch of worthless fuckwads."

Those were my exact words when, following an anouncement that the water cooler was broken and leaking copiously onto the floor next to a basket full of extension cords, everyone else in the room did nothing. Three other guys heard my numerous calls for help, but The Simpsons was on, and everyone knows that's far more important than anything. That's the first time in a long, long time that I've had any sort of outburst like that and meant it - most of the time I'm just a sarcastic bastard. I'm a little disappointed in everyone, including myself.


The writing bug has bitten, but I must spend it's energies upon a dirty Paper for my Freud class. This in itself would not be so painful if said paper were not due tomorrow, and I would feel a lot better about writing it up if I had an inkling of what my professor actually wanted. "Convince me that you're smart and that you've read and understand the material." Fantastic. No problem.

It's been a while since I went on a caffeine kicker, but that might just be necessary, despite the consequences it might have for my sleep schedule and not to mention the impact upon a certain malfunctioning internal organ. And now, I've wasted enough time stalling. Time for Work.


Anytown, like many towns, has a bus transportation system which purports to take people from a certain point, let us call it "A," to another place entirely, which we shall designate as "B." They use brutal diesel engines to accomplish this, which produce clouds of toxic gas and smoke that can fairly coat the unsuspecting. You can stand on the curb and watch as a thick brown soot issues from the exhaust pipe of one of these beasts. The wind blows it slightly away from you, and you can think "Phew, at least I'm not sucking that directly into my breathing organs." But it's a lie, and you know it. That cloud will do it's level best to kill you, although it is far too weak to cause permanent damage. It's reach extends far into the future.

The purchase of a mobile phone has greatly enhanced my availability, but if there's anyone out there who thinks I need to be more available for, I dunno, stuff, I'm not sure I know them. I like things to be portable; Pallas, my digital brain extension, my telecom gear, even my external speakers are battery powered and lightweight. Does this mean I'm afraid to put down roots for some reason? I'll have to ponder that one.


Well, I've recieved two positive write-ups and have been given a first tiny sliver of real responsibility in my company. It's tiny, really almost beyond microscopic, like gluon-sized. But it's also a vote of confidence, which is always good. I am definitely also at the point where a cell phone is pretty much going to be a necessity, despite how valiantly I have fought against being forced to obtain one. There are some awesome deals online, and at some point I may also get one of those groovy earbug bluetooth headsets to use with Pallas too.

Last week at this time it was warm enough for shorts and sandals and sweat. Now all of a sudden it's chilly in Anytown; indeed, it's chilly all over the country. I can't wait for the snow. Tee hee.


Today was good because I met a good person. We're in the same Calc class, and we'd decided to set up a study session for this afternoon because we're not learning anything from our professor. There were actually several people who were supposed to show up, but it ended up just being me and her, which worked out splendidly. We worked together for a while on calc problems, learned a few things from it, then she offered to cook dinner for everyone. We went for a long walk to the store, then made stuffed shells and garlic bread, and the two of us and one of my roommates all sat and laughed at the TV and it felt like we'd been living together for years.

She's good looking, to be sure. But I didn't even notice that so much as how completely comfortable it was to be around her. It was just, nice.

It was also kind of fun, because today I was walking down the street in uniform and a small child asked me, "Hey mister, is you really in the Navy?" His face was the picture of excitement. I smiled broadly and said to him "Yes sir," and he lit up like a star. I don't know why, but I desperately hope that he grows up with the chance to realise whatever dreams were driving him in that moment.


Item 1: Lewis Black. Live. High-fucking-larious. The opener for this tour, Mitch Headburg, was funny too, in his self-depriciating way. We did have to sit through Dave Attel's penis-drug-alcohol joke set, which was fairly rote. But it was well worth it, for Black hit his stride and took the audience for a riotous ride through modern American idiocy. The forum was large, for they're performing mainly in concert-type halls, though Black through his skillful use of rage and sarcasm turned it into a one-on-one. Superb.

Item 2: My father is a math teacher, and unfortunately the Math Gene has skipped a generation, rendering me an idiot when it comes to formulas and functions. The calculus teacher that I am currently under is a poor one. Here's how I know: The other day in class, she makes the statement that our last set of homework papers were all "really poor. And I don't know why."

Well, there are two possibilities, ma'am. Either A, the entire class is stupid, or B, we're not being taught. And the fact that you stated your ignorance of our capabilities in front of us tends to make me think that it's the latter. The vast majority of my dad's students leave his class at the end of the semester with much improved grades and skills, year after year, because he teaches them. My instructor spouts jargon to us and scribbles on the blackboard, and can't understand why we don't get it.

I love the University of Anytown. I seem to be hitting about 50/50 with it's teachers, though, which might be a fair average but remains incredibly frustrating to someone who's a natural teacher.


So I'm walking up the stairs to my Nth story apartment-style housing unit, when I notice some commotion going on ahead of me. I open the door to my floor, and there's this guy and girl playing whiffle ball in the hallway. No big deal, except that one of them had lain an open bag of crackers against the door I just opened, with the result that they spilled out into the stairway.

A short pause. Then, "Oops. Uh, hey man, you can have all the ones off the floor that you want."

This was his actual response. Remember what I just said about idiocy? My reply, which I thought was quite calm and well mannered, was "How about you can eat all your crackers off the floor?"

"It's a deal, man." They both giggled like a chimp getting it's ass scratched, and several hours later there is still a cracker graveyard in the stairs.

How? How are people still allowed to evolve like this? Am I the only person left on this planet with an active conscience?
There was a scene in a recent repeat of The Simpsons, the one where Homer runs for sanitation commissioner. The family sits around the table, and I forget what Homer said, but it was one of his remarkably dense gems. The camera pans to Lisa's head, and a voice whispers, "I know. I heard it too. Here's some music." Whereupon Ein Klein Nachtmusik starts playing and Lisa sighs in relief.

Withdrawing from the world like that is rarely healthy, but I agree with the sentiment completely. Sometimes idiocy hurts you.

Apple just upgraded the PowerBook line. The chief difference between the new 17" and my own Pallas Athena? A 33% speed boost, to 1.33 GHz. As this system already performs admirably when I ask it to do ten things at once, I really can't complain this time. For once, their upgrad strategy has not piked me in the arse, although if the new 15" had been out at the same time as Pallas, I might have gone for that option. But lo! This machine is still remarkable, and stable and useful and fun and a head-turner. Wheelah.


Well, here we go. Mr. Clark has made it official, and now I must put my money where my mouth shot off to. I watched a brief interview with Aaron Brown on CNN tonight, and it was fairly obvious that Clark was tuckered out. He was evasive when Aaron asked for specifics on prescription drug benefits for seniors and "partial-birth" abortions, which was disappointing. He was quite specific when asked about the possibility of there being thousands of American troops in Iraq if and when he became president.

I'm sensing a trend, one that could land our erstwhile General in trouble on the stumping trail. He's still really the only candidate I would actually trust, though, so it's kinda tough.


One of the central facts in any military professional's life is that you really must be two people. There is the You that your family and friends know, the you that is free to bum around the pad in jeans and slippers unshaven, to do as much or as little as you please with every day. The other You is the Officer, who presents at all times a clean appearance, who takes responsibility for all their actions and behaves properly within their station.

This division creates some problems, mainly relating to how you address a superior in a social setting. A Mister or Misses Last Name is always safe, but christ, just passing by a fellow 4/C on the street I'm not gonna go "Hey there, Mr. Middy. How is it hanging?" For most of these kids, it'd be perfectly acceptable to know each other by last names only until the end of time. I think that as the year presses on and we all become much more familiar with protocol and whatnot, they'll ease up, but for now I've decided to learn everyone's first names and use those in random encounters. Hopefully that will help everyone to relax, although not so much that we start that nonsense in uniform. That would be a Bad Thing.


I have no capacity for enjoying rap music. It's one of those things, like bull testicles and bow ties, that I will never understand the joys of. It's so fucking negative that I have to use words like "fucking" to describe it (which, not so incidentally, seems to be the subject matter of most rap I've heard, including the gem from last night "I'm fucking yo' bitches." Charming). I feely gassy and gross, but I might have to slip out again this evening to escape it.

Hey, half the time there's no one around, and I can always rely on my roomies to turn it down when I need to sleep. I can easily allow them this time to be noisy.

I would like to announce my whole-hearted support for a Wesley Clark presidency. Dean is currently the most worthy and likely candidate among the Opposition, but if Clark runs, it's over for Bush. There is no way to impugn the man's intelligence, experience, or most importantly, honor. He has enormous, perhaps historical cross-party support. He is well liked and respected by virtually everyone who has met him. And he can be counted on to completely wipe the floor with "Flyboy" Dubya.

Also, I hope to have someone with real military experience in office by the time I commission, so that I can say with pride that I serve under the Commander in Chief of the United States of America.


Drill knowledge! I can recite the 11 General Orders for a Sentry. I can recite the 11 Principles of Leadership. I know the effective range, nomenclature, firing rate and weight of the M16A Assault Rifle. I know all about CG's and CVN's and LHA's and FFG's. These are the kinds of things that everyone must memorise, but only a very few of us will actually use.

Oh, and I figured out why I was all bent out of shape. Basically, it's because I forgot one of the most useful and important lessons I've ever learned, to never take yourself or what you're doing too seriously. Because then you have a tendancy to focus too much on the results, and so the means to whatever those ends are get muddled up. Instead, focus on the quality with which things get done, and the results will come well and naturally.

Tak leaves for a real vacation sometime tomorrow. A highly social gathering shall take place at my apartment tonight without my being involved at all. I feel surrounded by bodies yet somewhat isolated. Ah well. Perhaps I will finally finish this history of the British Navy during WWI, so that I can get on to WWII for my class.


Ahhh, another day, another taxpayer's dollar (hey, that's me too). This week we're being issued the SDB's, or Service Dress Blues, the black jacket / trousers white shirt combo that people most commonly associate with the Navy. Again, not a whole lot different from the early days of the ironclads.

Goddamit I'm mopey. I thought I was coming into this whole college life thing badass and prepared. Now that Calculus is kicking my ass thoroughly, and ROTC requirements are tripping me up left and right, my level of self confidence has plummeted. This very afternoon I tried to rattle off a peice of Drill Knowledge to a first class so I could meet a qualification, and I totally blew it. Not because I didn't know it, although a word or two was misplaced. I blew it because I lost my cool and stuttered and left a generally unfavorable impression.

So, how does one regain their bearing? I need to clear my mind.

Oh, and happy anniversary, New World Order. We'll get things put to rights eventually.


Battalion PT is kind of fun, when we go running outside and people stare at this gaggle of identically-dressed idiots shouting cadence with our senior chiefs. 4th Class got chewed out by the Master Chief when PT was through, because we still have a few rough edges when it comes to military protocol. They stay on our six pretty tight, but the cause is just. I know I have a tendancy to slide if someone isn't pushing me, and I fully expect that the academic rigour I push through these next few years will be harsher than anything I've done before. And that, of course, is half the reason I joined in the first place.

The other half? Pressing the button that sends $250,000 worth of electronic death into the homes of our enemies (provided the intel is good).

Speaking of academic rigours, it will be "rigorous" indeed to sit through a full semester of bloviation from my history teacher. Right now we're learning about the origins of WWII, and his grandstanding is insufferable. He treats the class like an audience, pasuing for dramatic effect and painfully enunciating parts of sentences. For. No. Good. Reason. Besides that it makes him sound serious.

And he works from notes that are obviously ten years old. I could take those notes and in a week do a better job of teaching than he is. Bah!


...And thus concludes my first full day in uniform. Honestly, Navy khakis haven't changed in more than sixty years. I know this because a) I am a historian, and b) I went to a war memorial museum this afternoon, and the exhibits for the WWII era prominently displayed uniforms that looked almost exactly like mine. Although, as a 4th Class Midshipman, I am completely lacking in any form of decoration. Just a name tag, and a gold anchor for our garrison cap. In a way, it's cool that this traditional styling has carried on through so many wars and social upheavals. It's also kind of disappointing, because it seems like one of those things that everyone's just too lazy to change. Although they do say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. On the Submarine we have communications and emergency lighting systems that are still in use today (the XJ/XJA sound powered telephones, and the battle lanterns).

Remedial PT with the Gunnery Sergeant, playfully referred to as "the breakfast club," wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it would be. Turns out, as long as you don't make an ass of yourself screwing up, the man has a great sense of humour. But God Help You if you don't Perform.

I also landed what is perhaps the easiest work study job on the face of planet earth. AV setup, anyone? 15 minute jobs, one or two a day, and for the rest of our shift we're on call. That translates into being paid for four or six hours of work while actually working for only 15 minutes. And our bosses seem to be in on it, and are very cool about helping us hook up our laptops to the campus network. It's kind of astounding. Yesterday we all watched the E! True Hollywood Story about Jenna Jameson for entertainment. It was, funny, in a sad way.


Waking up at 0500 every morning this week. Except, maybe for Friday. Our second Physical Readiness Test was today, just two weeks after our first one. I failed both, but there was significant improvement in my score from this morning. Typically, I'm told, we have one PRT per semester, and last year the 4th Class didn't have their second one until November. Given a few more weeks to work up, I could have passed this Test, but as things stand, I'm in remedial PT. With the unit's Gunnery Sergeant. AND I've been assigned the Batallion Master Chief as a "mentor," which is amusing since I'm likely older than he is. Such is the way of things.

All is cool with the roomies so far. The gentlemen above us on the 4th floor have a habit of playing loud, hideous, thumping rap music at late hours, but my bros have got my back if I decide to take it to them. And it's actually fairly relaxing to lie in bed in the afternoon while someone plays the chords from "Blackbird" at the other end of the hall.


The other students that live in these wonderful on-campus subsidized apartments are, by and large, noisy stupid pigs. I know they're noisy, because I can hear them at night giggling and playing music at high volumes. I know they're pigs, because the lawns and the stairs are now coated in a fine layer of garbage, and the hallway outside my particular pad has been trashed, torn up, and otherwise vandalised. I know they're stupid, because of the two previous factors.

I need a home that's buried well away from these beasts. Am I the only person in Anytown who likes to be well-rested in the morning?


There are a few minor differences between college life and what I recall of high school life. For one thing, people don't mock your clothing or appearance openly in front of you any more. They do it when they think you've passed. There are few enough deviations from the uniform of Abercrombie, though, so this isn't so much of an issue. Also, there's more smoking and drinking. And the campus is bigger.

Shit, I think that's it.

Today in ROTC was our first day for wearing what we had aquired of our uniforms. I was told by my squad leader to wait until I had everything assembled, but several 4th Class middies tried to put theirs together anyway, with indifferent results. Some of them were passable, but some were, to use the favourite term of our troop handlers, Nasty. IMHO, if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing right. I plan to use a ruler and plenty of starch to crease my shirt, and I've gotten several good tips on how to make a capital impression.

PT (Physical Training) early tomorrow morn, and the second PRT (Physical Readiness Test) next week. The component that everyone insists is the easiest, the sit-ups, are absolutely killing me. Why? Lack of muscle mass, basically, and fantastic pain in my back. Gotta quit the bitchin', though.


Certain parts of the U of Anytown campus are just gorgeous. The building I'm sitting in right now has wonderful gothic masonry work all along the interior, and I find it entertaining that I can sit next to a fluted stone fireplace flanked by carved dragons and perform a wireless search for workstudy job listings.

Life with these three other men is proving to be interesting. We all have our faults, but by and large we're a clean lot, and we all recognise how lucky we were to get the newest on-campus apartment style housing. Of course, being required to awaken at 0515 every other morning for Navy PT makes it difficult to stay up very late at all, although we've scheduled a beer pong tournament for this evening. I might collapse halfway through, without having to drink anything.


I forgot, for the few days that I had the dorm/apartment to myself, that I really dislike college kids. And that's what I'm surrounded by. Good intentions quite aside, they're all so damn young, I can't help but feel out of place. Although, so far I haven't really found anywhere that I feel totally in place, except working on the Submarine, so I suppose I'll be screwed in the "fitting in" department for a while.

Here is my guide for visiting the Submarine.

1. Do not come intending to learn anything. Instead, come so that you may reaffirm all your old, incorrect beliefs about our military.
2. Be fat. Or at least overweight. That will make crawling through the watertight hatches that much more interesting.
3. Mention your claustrophobia. Even if you have never experienced it before, and can't describe what you fear, you are probably claustrophobic. Best to admit it now.
4. Make pronouncements regarding things you do not understand. Especially if you're with other people and want to appear knowlegable in front of them. This will make it easier for me to shoot you down and put you in your ignorant place.
5. Ignore the sign on the quarterdeck, stragegically placed directly in front of you, that says not to touch any of the onboard equipment. This way, you may touch all the onboard equipment that you desire, freed by your ignorance.
5a. Ignore the sign on the quarterdeck, also placed directly in front of you, that says to finish food or drink before coming on board. See above for reasoning.
6. Come by the submarine after we close in the evening, so that you can complain that we're closed. That one makes me laugh heartily.

This is based on the Standard Operating Proceedures that most visitors seem to use. No doubt I'll be adding to it in the near future.


New habits die hard too. I call everyone in the unit Sir, reflexively, even if I'm under no obligation to. The poor Chief who's in charge of uniform disbursment has had to endure my fumblings on two occasions. For the next few days I shall practice awaking at 0600, so that the shock of reville at 0430 on Monday isn't so bad. I need to get a decent watch, though, so I can start timing myself on all these laps I'm running.

The former boss of the Submarine is finally gone. For good. His ignonimous fate is the same that is reserved for all those who slack off during work hours and expect to be paid for it. May the road rise up to bite you in the ass.

There is a new zombie movie currently being circulated in the smelly art theaters of Anytown. Tak and I have made it a top priority, and you should too. It promises to be very, well, horror.


Alright, now I'm just annoyed. These two ads appeared at the top of my blog this morning:

The Left Hates America
Daniel Flynn exposes the truth. Save over 20% on this new book.

Annoy a Liberal
Peace Through Superior Firepower T-shirts and stickers

Who, after even a cursory examination of these pages, could think that I would support these in any way? Unbelievable.


As I said to Tak earlier today, Sweet Mother of Buddha. On a certain date at 1700 Hours I completed the orientation session for the University of Anytown's NROTC program. It was, despite the unit CO's assurances to our parents, exactly what you'd expect a military boot camp experience to be like. Drill Sergeant-types running your life 24 hours a day, yelling in your face if you dared to make eye contact with them, or refer to yourself as "I" instead of "This Midshipman." Punishing physical conditions, constant running and pushups and situps and all sorts of other horrid activities. And all the time, a Sergeant strong enough and mean enough to rip your spine out through your chest watching over you.

It was a blast. No one believes me, but I had a fabulous time, mainly because I understand perfectly that it's all an act. But I chose, quite freely, to submit myself to their ministrations, and in a very real way I'm the one who was really in control. I could have quit at any time I so desired, but I did not. It is my wish to follow orders today, that tomorrow I might have the opportunity to issue them in a way that will make a difference for countless lives around the world.

The journey has begun.


Wow, packing up to move into the U of A dorm/condos has unearthed a trove of treasures that I didn't realise I still had around. For instance, before I pack it away, this transcript of a dream I had:

In a building, taken to the basement with a friend. The men give us each a gun, we are terrified, and my friend refuses to use it. They beat him, and I fire into the wall twice to stop them, then begin walking. The halls are lit, and soon I come across a guard. I kill him, and take his uzi. I come around a corner, look down the hall, and a line of people are walking down it. A man in the back with a large beard looks at me in the eyes, and I send a hail of bullets upon everyone and they all fall horribly. I continue on, and come to a block of cubicles. There are people lined up between them, and they dive for cover as I fire again. Everyone is dead, but a few of them had guns too and fired back before they fell. But I can't be hit. When it's over I drop the uzi and exclaim "Oh God, why did I do this?" Edward Norton - a la Tyler Durden - stands up and tells me, "You killed them all because that way, you wouldn't have to know them, or let them know you." I embrace him, coated in blood, and cry, "Oh, thank you."

Yeah, file that one under creepy. Moving commences in, oh, let's say a good fourteen hours. Let's not push ourselves needlessly.


Crikey, is anyone else a little annoyed with these Google ads? A few days ago, both of mine were for fireworks companies. Now they're for, wait, The Republican Store and some sick novel about how liberals hate God. Does their ad engine just decide, Well, he's been talking about politics today, so let's put in some stuff about politicians? Creepy! Although it shouldn't surprise me, in this miraculous age we live in yada yada.


First of all, last night on Real Time with Bill Mahr. Quite a panel there, including, no, wait, it can't be! Jeneane Garofalo en-Punk?? It's a super-cute look, but I'll be disappointed to learn that all those tatoos are temps. She did raise at least one interesting point about the whole CA recall debacle. The Republicans are crying foul over the state's massive budget shortfall, correct? Well what the Holy Fuck do they think is happening to the country? As a direct result, no less, of a Republican !President's fiscal policy. This horrid debt (which my generation will have the privilege of working off, thank you very very much) didn't fall from the sky, despite Dubya's attempts to blame 9/11 and his Gulf War II.

Well, tonight I watched most of Operation Petticoat. It was entertaining enough, although working on the same kind of boat that they portrayed in the movie, I noticed no shortage of technical slipups. (One example, not that anyone gives a shiet, was when a torpedoman pulled on an impulse air blow lever and it magically opened the outer doors on the tube.)

By starlight, I fall asleep rapidly...


Today was another bad day for people, at least from Aisling's perspective. Tak goes to a high school reunion in some other town, and I get to stay until 8 P.M. at work tomorrow then show up at 7 A.M. on Monday morning. I'm thinking of staying for the whole day instead of leaving early as Tak said I could, just to get that much more overtime out of these corporate suckwads. And exactly one week from now I will be moving into the eerily condominium-like dorms at Anytown University. The following day, I will be a member of our U.S. armed forces. I wish I could use the handle L.T. Smash as I enter the Navy, but that's already been taken.

Although they did show the episode of the Simpsons last night about Homer joining the Navy Reserves, which was brilliant. AND several days ago there was the "a moment in the life of everyone in Springfield" episode, when Lisa got gum in her hair. In the scene when everyone in town is coming into their living room to offer advice on getting it out, the salty sea captain says "Aye, you should take her into the North Atlantic. There are squid there that are strong enough to suck the bolts out of a submarine." I laughed so hard that everyone else in the room stared. I guess you need to work on a submarine to appreciate it.


I just ran across this quote, thought it was great:

"Every sensible man, every decent man, must hold the Christian sect in horror." - Voltaire
So hooray, my twin cousins Blaze and Aurora turned 21 today.

They spent the whole day drinking. Aisling and I went to meet them for dinner at Bar Nobody's in the Commercial District of Anytown, them and a few of their friends. While we were there, they talked about all their other friends, then used their cell phones (6 total) to call said friends to invite them out on their bender. All while drinking expensive fruity alcohol.

I don't really hold anything against them; Aisling and I long ago decided that we live on different planets. It's just depressing to see your own family behaving just like every other gaggle of cell phone chattering cocktail junkies while you watch and smile like you're having a good time.

I am so very different from everyone else that it's sometimes a bit jarring to be included in the affairs of "normal" people. But on the whole I'd rather be weird and left out 99% of the time than be normal and a part of the crowd.


The sky has turned grey. Actually, that's a failry frequent occurence here in Anytown. The humidity is so heavy too that we're threatened every minute with torrential rains. Last night Daniel-Son and I went to this concert by a band who's name I can't remember. Tonight the plan calls for Aisling and I to see Donnie Darko on the big screen. It'll be her first time.

A rational call for accountability, oddly enough from the "we're not accountable for our reporters" New York Times.

I'm worried that being friends with Tak might finally be making it too difficult to work together. She's the Boss, you see, and 99% of the time we have a completely separate employee/employer relationship. That other 1% is tremendously sticky, though, particularly when it comes to matters like leadership. I have my own ideas about how things should be done around the place, but I can't say anything as a Friend without it being interpreted as a criticism of my Boss.

Ah well. In a few weeks I'll be back at Anytown University, then only to work on the Sub on the weekends. Perhaps a reduction in hours will come with a reduction in worries as well.



"'I am mindful that we're all sinners and I caution those who may try to take a speck out of the neighbor's eye when they got a log in their own,' the president [of the United States of America] said. 'I think it is important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts.'

'On the other hand, that does not mean that someone like me needs to compromise on the issue of marriage,' he added."

To begin, this is not the first time that Shrub has tried to use this particular biblical quotation, and of course this is not the first time he's screwed it up.

This is also not the first time that he has displayed, in public, an unremitting and unrepentant hypocrisy. One so blinding and hideous that no one can bring themselves to speak of it. "I think we should be open minded and accepting, unless it makes me uncomfortable." "I think we need to be peaceful, except for when we need to kill people." "Our economy is strong, except that it's in the toilet."

How long, O Lord? How long must we endure this assault on our Sense?
And again the Hillary for President issue comes up. This is what I think would happen: Hillary works behind the scenes to line up a few major-name donors, then announces her intention to run. Everyone who is in the race currently becomes a side show except for Dean, and in a pure war of words and ideas Dean is beaten - not severely, but surely - in the primaries.

Then the Democrats -finally energised by the thought of having a real candidate- hop on the bandwagon, shut their noise tubes, and go on to systematically demolish each and every one of the lies, half-truths, and exaggerations that this Administration has used to satiate public opinion. And for a finale, in a race every bit as close as the last one, Hill wins by a nose hair. Republicans immediately challenge her ligitimacy because "we can't be sure that some recount somewhere wouldn't have yeilded a different result," and Hill shuts their traps by responding, "I think I'll go ahead and quote everyone in the Republican Party in 2000 and say 'We won. It's time to move on.'"

Fantasy? Of course. But then, I'm the type who would rather have a sucker like Tony Blair in charge because he can at least speak proper English.


So instead of living in the nasty, crowded dorms of Anytown University this year, I've been assigned to some brand-new condo style apartment complex. But the dharma says not to delight in good circumstances, as we do not become depressed about bad circumstances. This picture on my new U of A id card may be the last one with my long hippie hair - they don't smile upon long curly locks in the Navy.

Pirates of the Carribean. What a brilliant good time. Depp is delightful, as always. Orlando Bloom plays, well, Orlando Bloom, but he's decent enough. And the special effects really could have been cheesy, but were so artfuly executed that it made the tale all that more engrossing. I highly recommend it to anyone with access to a movie theater, and for those who do not have such access, well, it won't be long until you can grab it on DVD.

From this window, the sky is clear.


I'm very glad when I find links like this one, because it's almost painfully poetic. Whether Twain really wrote this or not, it's a simple yet brilliant indictment of the brainless, holy outrage that seems to have gripped much of our nation, and the Administration in particular.

Today in the computer lab, I am working with a boy. He told me a story about how after 9/11, his high school's computer network administrator denied him the unfettered access to it's server that he had previously enjoyed. So in retaliation, he uses a crude device to blow out all the network cards in their library, denying the school even the basics of internet access.

Take that, Man!

I mainly just feel kind of sad when such a display of short-sightedness is relayed to me. I hope this kid grows up.


The search for enlightenment is a rough one. Fry could only attain it after exactly 100 cups of coffee, a feat to which I am not totally opposed. Such a concentration of chemical energy in one person at one time would surely be enough to bend all of time and space? The ancient ones say that if you name what you are looking for, you will forever be lost. Well, I've been trying like hell to get the actual Korean version of Shaolin Soccer, which Wonko introduced me to whilst I was away in Colorado. From what I hear, the Americanised dubbed version is terrible, although it will be available for viewing in a large movie theater at some point.

So it's taken a while to find a Mac KaZaa client that I feel comfortable using, and even then I ended up downloading it from eDonkey. Which I may or may not be able to finish on Sunday when I work another endless shift in the computer lab.

Speaking of work, Tak is behaving like a stressed, well, manager. So once I have found Enlightenment, I should follow the advice of the sages and, "Be mindful of saving all beings and steadfastly endure the attendant hardship and toil in order to serve as a boat on the ocean of all-knowledge." I don't think I've ever understood stress properly. I mean, I know what it feels like, but why dwell on it? Why let it control you? Even night and day are illusions, so why do we feel shitty when we can't control the circumstances surrounding us?

Ah well. I need to find a better way to articulate this. The wisdom of the sages is not the most accessbile medium.


So, my sis Aisling returned from the Land of Erin yesterday. Apparently, everything in Ireland is better than it is here. Not bigger, or faster, or more convinient. Just better.

There are no SUV's. Or trucks. Or vans. Or "mini" vans. There are no billboards every dozen yards telling you to buy something awful. There are no marketing departments expending thousands of hours to come up with ever more clever ways to sell you awful things.

People there are not trained from birth to believe that everyone else in the world will rob them. People there trust you, and it is perfectly safe to trust them. People there do not feel a sense of entitlement to everything they've ever thought they wanted.

Meals there are comprised of good, real food. The idea of "fast food" is an insult. There is one McMeaty's Tasty Burger Joint in Dublin, and no where else. Waiters at restaraunts do not insult you by asking every ten minutes if you need something, and they expect you to take your time dining with them.

It is a similar lifestyle, but a completely different philosophy on how to live it. There is no eat then rush to your 9-5 then rush home then eat then fuck then sleep then wake up and do it all again for fourty years.

America may be industrious, but it's at the expense of, and not for the sake of, life. We've got it completely backwards.


This article, ironically brought to my attention via Anytown's more liberal daily newspaper, is one of the most twisted things ever written. Not so much because it's sickening (although for a certain reactionary subset, it would be) but because it is completely thoughtless. There is no substantive argument at all, beyond the knee-jerk statement "they're winning we're losing." Apparently civilisation is a zero-sum game in this woman's world.

I fully support everyone's freedom of speech, but that doesn't mean I'm not disappointed when someone wastes it thus.

On the way back from Jersey with Tak, we spied many amusing roadsigns. The pictures, by and large, came out remarkably clearly for being taken through the window of a moving car (Tak's Jetta, Gretta). The best one, though, was the back of a dump truck that had written across it's top, in black on gold letters, "Think."

Good advice.


I really hate to say it, but they brought it on themselves. Our regular soldiers have every reason to be royally pissed off about being forced to stay in country when our government clearly doesn't know how to bring them home or fix the nasty fucking mess they just made. But you don't call your commander in cheif a douchebag. No matter how much he may deserve it.

And this is certainly not what they signed up for. If it were clear that the U.S. was in the process of rebuilding a torn country and implementing a real and lasting representative government, then these losses would be acceptable as the price of freedom from Saddam. These kids joined the Army to kick ass and preserve their country and their ideals, but their blood is being wasted by an inept administration, and every true patriot should be outraged.

In the middle of August I shall don the uniform of the officer corps of our country's Navy. I will swear an oath to protect our nation and our way of life, and I shall willingly submit to all the new regulations I shall have to live by. But I shall also continue to use this blog to freely express my opinions and share my knowledge. Should be interesting.


Sometimes I can't help feeling that there's nothing special at all about people. We behave so much like cattle that it's impossible to be angry with stupid behaviour. You don't get pissed at a cow for being dense, you just let it be and work around it. That's how I've come to feel about most of the people who visit the Submarine. Although there are generally one or two exceptions, people file through the torpedo room, call them missiles, and, satisfied that they've learned something, move along.

This Administration is burying itself, I can feel it. The way Tenet laid his crown upon the chopping block smacks of higher authority stepping in, and now certain congressmen are asking for an investigation into Cheney's role in manipulating intelligence results for the good of the War. This is one ship I would be delighted to witness sinking, rats and all.

The question is, who will step up and fill the Leadership Gap? A Democrat? Not as of this week in history.


Zen Man Liam -

You have only begun to travel the Way. Your judgment and your life are still clouded by desire for people and things and circumstances, and thus you make yourself a slave to that which you do not have. Your mind still casts about with energy into all places but itself, and thus the source is never quiet. The Way to non-effort is for you a great effort against yourself, and thus you shall forever miss the point.

Do not strive for patience, for the word itself implies a boundary which can be broken. Strive instead for peace, which is limitless, and live in peace every moment of the day and night. Only then will you discover that the nature for all beings is the same, whether they understand it or not.

Cease your judgment of others. Cease your judgement of things. Cease your judgment of circumstances. The past is gone and the future has not happened, therefore the only moment that exists is now. To live anywhere but now is to not really exist. And lastly, follow your own advice.

I just wanted to put this on the record. My inner monk decided to write a letter to my daily personage, and I guess there's a bigger disconnect between the two than I like to believe. Oh well. We're never done growing.


For the sake of the Record:

From June 22 to 29, I was in sunny Beach City, USA, at the family retreat. Spent plenty of time on the ocean kayaking through minefields of jellyfish and drinking lots of frozen bucket-mix margaritas.

From June 30 to July 4, worked. Solid. July 4 celebration on the Submarine was spectacular. It is literally not possible to be closer to a fireworks display in the city of Anytown than our crew was. They put on quite a show.

From July 5 to 9, went Home home to Colorado. Hung with the original Crew, hit all the old Haunts, and bled out the nose every single day thanks to the altitude and complete lack of humidity. Even though my father's car broke itself before we left the airport and remained broken for the duration of my stay (until 45 minutes before we had to drive 75 miles to get to the airport), it was another blast.

From July 11-12, drove to New Jersey with Tak for a CKY concert. Their last of the year, happened to fall on the evening just prior to Tak's birthday, so we pulled off a Road Trip that turned out to be brief but excellent fun. The Holiday Inn we stayed at hooked us up with King Size beds and free 'net access. The venue for the concert was tiny and cramped and incredibly hot, but the lads put on a good show.

So. Back to life.


Ooooh, the archives are back! Hooray for the new Blogger!
Seven full days of sand and sun have changed nothing about my temperament. It's awfully hot out, you see, and I spend as much time in the water as seems prudent. The rest is spent reading and drinking and eating and sleeping.

This article is good.

There are no clouds, and the water is absolutely perfect for every kind of activity. The entire family is planning to come back here for Thanksgiving, when the tourist season is beginning it's low ebb. I think that's brilliant.


Well, here's the reaction I was talking about. You can read it for yourself, but it's almost as pitiful as the Chinese in my last post. "...Expressing themselves toward a free Iran"?!? What the holy fuck does that mean? This is the best that the leader of the free world, the original large-scale democratic experiment, the world's sole cultural and economic and military superpower, can come up with?

I told Aisling and mum yesterday that I had come to a decision (only partially influenced by beer. Stop looking at me like that.). There are plenty of things in this world to be thankful for and excited about; new medicines, people doing all kinds of volunteer work, these pro-democracy protests in Iran, et cetera. But, taken together with all the Nasty Shit that's going down, like the Afghanistan/Iraq nation building debacle, our contracts with Bectel and Halliburton, the sharp drop in tolerance for American stupidity around the globe, and basically everything else this un-elected administration has it's hands in, I think we can safely say that the bad outweighs the good. H.S. Thompson himself said our generation will be the first in American history to have a lower standard of living than our parents. In other words, things are actively and measureably getting worse, and almost no one seems to care. Anyone with a functioning brain and the willingness to use it can say that there's really nothing, on balance, to be happy about.

Fight the Power Bands. We'll get our chance someday.


I love a good dose of Engrish: "Welcome to Chinese Restaurant. Please try your Nice Chinese Food With chopsticks the traditional and typical of Chinese glorious history. and cultural."

Also, it appears that Iran is experiencing some real uprisings. The best links to news and other Iranian blogs are right here. Anxious to know about the Bush administration's reaction to all this? Yeah, not sure there's been one.


"Just because you feel it, doesn't mean it's there..."

It takes me a good week to digest a new album of music from an artist like Radiohead. There's no easy way to do it. Each song has a story that you have to listen for, a unique pattern that must be deciphered before it can be appreciated. Lyrically this one's a gem, and there are a few songs I already really like.

I detest the idea that I could ever be happy to be rid of a person, but today I am happy that my former boss has finally left the boat. Several months ago he was fired from his position as Submarine Coordinator. Now, the common practice when one is fired from a job is to spend the ensuing time searching for another one. This he did, but not with any great enthusiasm, and in the meantime he kept hanging around our workplace until the head of the whole department took pity on and granted him 20 hours a week to be a "maintenance consultant." He took this as carte blanche to screw around in his old office for a few days a week and get paid while doing absolutely no real maintenance work on our 1,500 ton submarine (that's quite a bit of boat).

In fact, in his ten years of working on the Sub, I think I only ever saw him do real, actual work on two occasions. Add to this the fact that he managed to talk trash about everyone else on the boat (I'm proud to say that I'm an "inept leftist") and we were all glad when he finally left. Now my friend Tak is the Skipper, and we can get some real work done.

The stifling humidity has returned to Anytown, and I welcome it. Mainly because everyone else here seems to really detest the weather, no matter what it is. We had a micro-storm today that blew out windows in our parent building, and by the time they had new glass for them the sky was free of menacing clouds and the sun shone brightly on a scene of minor destruction.


Today and tomorrow are National Ocean Week, and ain't it great that people get to tour our Submarine? I'm having an extreme allergic reaction to People, which is making it difficult for me to do my job. They seem extremely noisy today, for some reason, and smelly.

My religion requires me to wear the bloody skull of a freshly killed mountain lion on my face whenever I appear in public. Therefore, I should be allowed to wear one for my driver's license photo. Otherwise, it's religious discrimination.

Honestly, the ACLU has done some good things, but they also tend to promote the goofiest ideals. I'm not going to apologise for it; if you come to our country and want to live as a citizen, you're gonna have to play by the rules no matter your sensibilities.


Jeezus, how do you fix a broken Human Being? Moreover, should you even try? Experience tells me No, any interference in another person's life is more trouble for the both of you than it's worth. As with all things, no one has a lock on the truth, but there are some times when it's quite obvious that the psyche is not functioning in a healthy manner. I want there to be a good way to help someone else help themselves without sounding like I'm trying to change them or dispensing wisdom from a vending machine. I will give what I can when asked, I will not judge, and I will continue to do the one thing I've always been good at, setting an example.

In the end, I suppose, you have to want to change yourself.


"I think Reagan's policies were right. He got the economy going in the 80's."
-William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard

What universe are these people from? Saying that Reaganomics were good for America is like saying that Imperialism was good for England.

Selfless giving is one of the central concepts of Zen. It should be the central concept in any relationship. There is no quid pro quo between true friends, there is only thanks and generosity. It's good advice.


I had a dream that I was at Tak's apartment (in reality she has a house, but that didn't seem to matter to my subconscious mind) and we were taking things out of our car and she tried to take Pallas (my 17" PowerBook) out but she dropped it and the screen broke off. I was very perturbed and said something like "No! Godammit Tak, give it back to me!" And we started arguing about whose fault it was as I gathered up the peices.

I was told last night at a barbeque by a boozy bored housewife that I have sexy curly hair for a man. She had to be in her early thirties, but was acting like a complete sorrority whore flake, so it was mildly amusing. Also in attendance were Daniel-Son and his GF Mona, with whom I share a close rapport. I could go into a long rant here about how this Flake insulted Mona and I by asking a host of questions about our relationship, but I have another family function to go to very shortly, so I'll just say one more thing.

The BBQ last night was a going away party for a coworker. Our Submarine tends to attract a unique kind of character, usually one or two steps above the regular Joe, so whenever one of us leaves it drops the Decency Quotient of the city of Anytown by a measurable margin. David, you will be missed, and Good Luck in the City of Wind.


Hrmmm... using Safari to update my Blog seems to kill the archive links. This is most disappointing.

To balance that, though, a Mayan woman whom I work with on the Submarine reminded all of us that Ari "Demon Spawn" Fleischer has resigned from Dubya's turnip truck. Does anyone remember when Karen Hughes left? Well I do, dammit, and there was much rejoicing amongst the Liberal punditry, as well as Right Thinking People Everywhere. For years, we have had to endure this mans smarmy lecturing about President Bushs' "message," which has always been emphasized over his substance, which is nothing.

We could have elected the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man to office, and with men like Ari Fleischer to interface with the public we would never have known what we were missing. It's a small victory, for there are a hundred clones ready to fill in for this most influential position. And, AND it is contrary to the Way to delight or dismay in one's circumstances. So I will mark this passing as I mark the setting of the sun, with serenity and understanding. But first, a shot of whiskey with the family to celebrate.
"The best way for America to be a hopeful place, the best way for America to be a -- the land of opportunity we want it to be is for neighbor to love neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself."

The choicest line from Dubya's speech was revealed to me at Confederacy of Dunces. His speech is riddled with nonsense like this, and people still think he's an excellent speaker? He's one of the least coherent people on the planet!

Gah. What would the Zen approach to this madness be? First, don't react emotionally. That's the sign that you're allowing your Self to be manipulated by circumstances.

Speaking of Zen, the Quote Of The Day for the submarine came when a 13 year-old boy passed by the shower stalls: "Daaaamn... there ain't no room to get with the ladies in here."


Does anyone else think it was incredibly stupid for Al-Qaida to send suiciders to Egypt? I mean, if they really want the support of the moderate Arab population in this crusade against the Infidels, isn't it kind of counterproductive to blow up people on both sides? All it proves is that these "martyrs" are only interested in glory for themselves, and in killing. This has less to do with God than it does power.

And what's the most extreme thing a Buddhist has ever done to protest? Light himself on fire? Let's just dump this proto-Christian bullshit; Islam, Judaism, Christianity, isn't it all the same God? A fat lot of good all this "faith" has done the world.
Konfabulator is fabulous fun. Now I finally have an attractive front end for iTunes and a miniature Gir dances to the music. One of the problems that I ran in to with this 17" screen is that I always felt like I was wasting all this usable space, but now a series of useful Widgets occupies about 1/5 of the left hand side where my Dock is, and the rest of the screen is full of Productivity.

Boring boring blah blah blahhhhhhhhhhhhh... dammit. Okay, a little Philosophy 101: ask anyone who believes in God if they think that He is All Knowing. Then ask them if they also believe that they as humans have free will. Logically, the two are mutually exclusive, because if God is timeless and knows the past, present, and future, then he knows exactly what you are going to be doing in the next instant. But if the future is knowable, then it is also pre-determined, which rules out freedom of action. I had this conversation with Aisling and Daniel-Son at 8:40 A.M. on our way to work (we're carpooling hippies) which was stimulating and refreshing. We also made fun of Calvinists.


I'm extremely disappointed about the news that Aaron Sorkin will not be returning to write The West Wing for the next season. With the tremendous plotline they started, I think that's a damned shame, for I fear that no one will be able to replace the wit and intelligence he infused the show with. Mr. S, you will be missed. But kudos to John Goodman for being scary and belligerent.

The fine folks at Blogger are transmuting the service into something more reliable, so perhaps the archives will be fixed soon. If not, I might actually have to write someone and email about it...


Tak sent me this madness. Am I surprised? No. Disturbed? No. Entertained?

Me mum made a point about religion the other day that was prompted by the news that a woman had nearly shot her son to death following a spiritual crisis. I was reminded of it also when Dave Letterman had as guests those two helo pilots who were shot down in Iraq. When asked why they were still alive, both replied "God."

Anyway, here's the point. When your sense of self and happiness relies almost completely on some external source of support, whether it's God or a lover or a bag of Chee-Tos, the second that source fails you (which always happens), you're hosed. When you pray and pray and pray and God doesn't respond via text message, or your lover leaves you for a hoe-bag jazzercise instructor, or the fat in your arteries causes your blood pressure to skyrocket, these are purely external problems. External to your sense of Self, which very few people seem interested in developing. It's hard to admit that the only person who can ever really make you happy is yourself, because we've been taught that such an attitude is selfish. Well, I say it's more selfish to depend on others to make you feel good.

If your happiness depends on the circumstances of your life, then you will always be a victim. There is nothing more pathetic than a person who believes that God has failed them, and nothing scarier than a person who believes that God works for them.


There's really no good reason for me to be here, typing anything at all. What I should be doing is sleeping. Hey, that sounds like a real neat idea.

Now here comes the shocker: for once my mind is blank. Or, more precisely, it is not actively seeking distraction, which is what most people devote their lives to. Shit, is that true? What do we need to be distracted from?


This SPAM was so fabulous that I just had to share it:

"Exhausted of dating spoiled women?" Then the message is just a bunch of jibberish, which might have been designed to work malignantly on the soft pink underbelly of someone's vulnerable system, but since I'm on OSX 10.2.6, I've nothing to fear from these minions of Lucifer. Eat my BSD shorts, suckwads!


"The Bush administration has backed a bill before Congress that would exempt the Pentagon and defense contractors from environmental regulations requiring the cleanup of toxic waste, saying that compliance would hinder military readiness. Hearings are to begin next week."

-USA Today (full article)

Hey, aren't we supposed to be the good guys? I'd like to see the text of this legislation myself. Lemme see if I can find it tomorrow.


An excellent film: Better Luck Tomorrow. A typical coming-of-age high school teen flick, except this one - unlike everything to come out of Hollywood in the past decade - is actually really good. The characters are fairly stereotypical, but for once I'm okay with that. I knew guys like this in high school, everyone did. Sometimes, stereotypes exist for a reason. But the real power comes from how you're drawn into the world of the main character, however outlandish his situation might seem to most of us.

Also, I really dig the fact that there was no nice and tidy wrap-up at the end. Plenty of issues are left unresolved, and we are allowed to imagine for ourselves how things will turn out for our protagonists. It was a breath of cinematic fresh aire.
A few fantastic random thoughts.

This was on a bumper sticker Aisling and I ran across today on our way home from Work. My question is, what happened to the "o"s?

May my mind be clear.
May I live fearlessly
In the Mind of Readiness.
May I rely on nothing
Save Emptiness.

- Ji Aoi Isshi (courtesy DailyZen.com)

I watched Tough Crowd this evening because Dennis Leary was on it, and he's almost always funny. The third segment of the show was supposed to be a skit that Colin Quinn set up, about Viet Nam and something related to what's going on in our world today. But when another guy ran into the scene and said "Hey guys, I just got back from a firefight. It was louder than Led Zepplin 2!" the whole skit quickly degenerated into a conversation about when 2 had actually come out, and it was hilarious. Sometimes the best comedy comes unscripted.

Of course, something like South Park has to be scripted, and I laughed myself silly at the ice cream-crapping alien taco. Again the world shows me that it's best to balance the two.


Fwiiisssssshhhhh - straight down the drain. I have this sinking feeling that I totally wrecked what could have been a really cool friendship, and why? Because, ironically, I don't know when to shut up.

I talk about half as much as most other people I know, since I've always thought it was important to have something to say before you open your mouth. It's the same way with writing. Some people obviously just love the sound of their own words, but if there's no purpose behind them other than to take up space, then it's merely wasteful.

Despite my caution, some rare idiotic gem manages to slip loose once in a while, and the thing takes off like a missile and wrecks whatever is in its path. It's happened before, and knowing myself, it will undoubtedly happen again. When it happens in person it's usually possible to do damage control, laugh it off or blame it on drink. But when the comment in question is written, it takes on a life of its own, and sometimes I can hardly believe what I've done. It's like kicking a rock into the street and watching a car slide on it and go careening into a lamp post. Only this wasn't a rock, it was a rather rude and insulting remark, and it wasn't a car, but one of the coolest individuals I think I've ever met.

We make mistakes, and hopefully, we learn from them and grow as people. This particular life lesson I should have learned long ago, and maybe that's why the price was so high this time. That doesn't mean it isn't painful, and a damned shame.


Yay. It's a rare thing when you can say that a sequel surpases the original in quality, but X2 does. I went to see it. You should go see it too.

Now that I'm done advertising for a heartless megacorporation... hmm, well, we get our tortilla shells delivered by a local that makes them by hand, and we're busy spreading the good word about her services, so I suppose that counts as a blow against The Man. In all things, balance.


I was taught a very important lesson recently, but it took me a while to recognise it. When I did, of course, I felt like an arse.

No one has a lock on the Truth. If anyone did, they'd probably be sacked as soon as they opened their mouth because the Truth is the last thing anyone wants to hear. Fortunately, none of us actually know the Truth, we just have what we think are good approximations. It is a powerful instrument, and it should not be used carelessly, or without regard for the consequences.

All too frequently I open my mouth without regard for the consequences, something that I think happens too much in our cell-phone connected Society of Gossip. Humility in all cases must be the rule rather than the exception, and when we start to think that we know better than anyone else what this life is about we break that rule to the detriment of all. I was careless with what I thought was the Truth, but as it turns out I'm just another shiester posing in the body of a man who thinks he knows what he's doing.

I don't know the Truth. I'm just painfully, suicidally honest, and I am trying to learn that honesty is not a license to say whatever you want. Think before you speak.


Utilising the advanced broadband networking capabilities of my Submarine, I was able to sign on to and evaluate the new iTunes Music Store. It is delicious. It's everything an online music service should be; cheap, easy, clean, and fun. It worked perfectly, even if all the albums aren't loaded just yet. I can forgive Apple for this, as Daniel-Son and I did a quick calculation that indicated - based on the figures Apple is providing - that they would be making available roughly 6.87 Terrabytes of completely legal musical candy. Moly Holy, that's a lot of candy.

We're using Pallas for watching a movie this evening, so there's just one more thing I want to get in before we go offline. "I don't need no wheels, I don't need no gasoline, 'cause the wind that is blowin' is blowin' like a smoke machine. If I said to you that I was lookin' for a place to get to, 'cause my neck is broken and my pants ain't getting no bigger."

Oh, and a short message to Tak: you are a foul, foul temptress for sending me a link like this one. She's no Boss 302, but Wow. That's a Car, man. Wow.


Some evil god or goddess has placed a timer in my brain which causes me to awaken every damned morning at 6 A.M., whether I want to or not. The first few days I was willing to put it down to freaky coincidence, but now it's really starting to get annoying. And if it's possible to transmogrify into a pig for a day, I think I just did. Adding up everything I've eaten today, I'd say it's been about 3,800 calories, almost 80 grams of protien, and I don't even wanna think about cholesterol. As the direct decendent of a twig I need every molecule I can get, but this kind of gorging is unprecedented. And I'm not even done yet! I still have to sit through The Daily Show.

Conquering the world is a bit tougher than I expected. Just as I declared war on Greece, Egypt came across the border and royally whooped up on my arse. Germany got my back, but then Russia and Babylon allied with Egypt and now I'm totally hosed. Have I mentioned this already? The combat system in Civ3 makes me want to choke something small and helpless.

"Ring a ring a rosie as the light declines... I remember Dublin city in the rare o' times..." Flogging Molly is like a force of nature, except instead of inexerably destroying the works of Men, they inexerably cause people to dance and bob their heads about in a goofy manner. Unless you hate life and all things good, you can't not have fun listening to them.
"Believing... that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and state." - Thomas Jefferson, 1802

I hadn't known the origins of that much used term until recently, but I think it should serve as an example to all the extremists in our country. A man such as Jefferson, with deep religious convictions, could easily see the consequences of the State endorsing any one religion over the other. Of course, it's a good bet that he was more intelligent than any five modern Fundamentalist pundits put together, but it's always nice to know that our founding fathers really did want us to be free in the truest sense of the word.
Yeah, that last post is an absolutely true story. This dude wanted to protest the war in Iraq, so he got himself a chain and he secured himself to a government building. Then he put up a sign saying "Reduce Deficits" and broke out a harmonica. Trouble is, he had actually chained himself to the below-sidewalk level back entrance of a non-profit agricultural charity. It was 18 whole hours before anyone else even saw him.

He'd left the keys to the locks in his van, of course. During the interview - actually, within the first ten seconds - it became quite apparent that not only is he not the brightest bulb in the Sav-A-Lot Pack, but the filament isn't even there. It was really rather stunning to be confronted with proof that at least one product of our national education system concluded 12 years of classroom instruction without once learning who Rosa Parks was.

This evening's pilgrimage to the local Freaky Video Store was a massive failure on all levels. Tak and I expected a large selection from which to purchase, but it was all mainly rentals. I kinda sorta regret not buying the "Boom Stick" edition of Army of Darkness, but I can probably find that online somewhere... hey, just like that. Some old guy at the local Food Mart did complement us on our shirts - Tak in a Betty Paige number and myself sporting Bob Ross. Then we passed an 80 year old man on the way out who was wearing a t-shirt covered in a colage of B&W James Dean photos, so the evening wasn't a total loss.

Oh, and I want a new iPod very, very, very badly. Badly enough to do something incredibly stupid to get one? We'll see...


I wanted to slip this one in real quick before it escaped my not-so-great memory:

"So, would you say you're the Rosa Parks of chaining yourself to the wrong building?"

"I'm sorry, I don't know who Rosa Parks is."

-The Daily Show interview with hippy war protester.


The building which acts as a surrogate parent to our Submarine is trying to get us hooked up with wireless 'net access. Actually, they've been trying for two entire years, and from what I hear spent an apochryphal amount of money on an iffy microwave setup. How does $10,000 sound, to span a distance of at most 100 yards? Outdoors. Line-of-sight.

The proper equipment for a superior, multi-directional 802.11g WiFi setup might, might have cost $1,000 with all the bells and whistles attached. But they had purchased the antennas and gear a long time ago, and just hadn't quite gotten around to actually installing it. Welcome to Corporate Thinking.

Today was another damned fine day to be anywhere but work. And I'm trying, like some kind of monster Sucker, to spend even more time down there so that my bank account will begin to swell instead of contract. I discovered tonight that I am pathetically out of shape, and Daniel-Son tells me that I need a hell of a lot more protien in my diet if I'm to gain any weight this season. Perhaps that should be tomorrow's agenda - a real diet plan.

In the course of a conversation with Tak we came up with the idea for a People Zapper. It would be a steel cage the size of a phone booth, open on two sides, and equipped with blue lighting and some form of human attractor - shiny buttons that say DO NOT TOUCH, or else nudy pictures. Upon entering the cage our Person would be Zapped into non-existance by 2 Jiggawatts of electricity, enough to turn even the portliest porker into smelly ash. Large underground capacitors would be tied to a series of lightning rods, so you have only to wait for the first decent storm of the season. I had soooooo much fun picturing this idea in action that I might have to draw up schematics. If any of you vipers beats me to the patent office, I'll rip your spine out and use it to floss my teeth.


What a freaking gorgeous day. Here in Anytown there is woodland, there are hills, there are rivers, and on occasion, a clear blue sky that almost hurts to look at and a constant zephyr that keeps your core temperature nice and balanced but lets you feel the warmth of the sun on your neck.

Secret Message: Have fun camping, Eyelids! Reconnect with nature.

Summertime, and the living's easy... thank you iTunes, it's been a while since I heard this one. Sublime.

Superb, that's another s-u word that people don't use nearly enough. Every time I think of it, I make a resolution to use it in some everyday conversation. My laptop Pallas could best be described as Superb. Tomorrow - the video store, or else House of 1,000 Corpses with Tak. After this and Jackass, you owe me The Quiet American, girl.

Oh, and not that it was particularly burdensome, but school's out for summer. Yippie Kay Ay, Mamma Jamma. The Great Buildup of muscle mass and funding begins now. For general knowledge, writing is almost always more interesting when you're sleep deprived. I think I'm going to try that out tomorrow.


Well, now I must give a shout out to Aloris, because she has shouted me out. Although this blows a bit of my supersecret online cover identity, I feel that the risk is acceptable.

Being a Nerd, I have a few gripes with the combat system in Civilization 3. But, since this game is sort of ancient news, there's no real point in posting them. And now, if you'll excuse me, I've a world to take over...


Two points. On occasion, almost exclusively in the case of news programming, ABC does something good. John Stossel is high-larious, and this special that just aired is a great big mirror for America. "Look here, you fat, selfish, lazy dumbasses! This Is You!" Old John's interview skills are kind of jarring, but the whole special is basically him saying that we, as Americans, do indeed have the power to control these impulses towards obesity and addiction that we treat as diseases. Someone will tell him, "I couldn't control myself." And he'll say, incredulously, "Yes, you could." And they will say "Uh, ah..."

Second Point. In the April 14th edition of Time Magazine, in the Notebook section under "Cheerleading For the Budget," appeared the following quote: "Asked if the President still hoped to get his tax cut passed in full, a senior Administration official replied confidently, 'Fifty miles to Baghdad.'" Apparently, there is no longer a question regarding Bush's motives for war. Anyone who can say that with a straight face is fronting for a man who cares nothing for the real consequences of his actions, but is only concerned with getting his way and doing whatever he can to ensure that he continues to get his way. This makes me ashamed to share a planet with such scum.