Thoughts on the current state of life in America

Friday, January 28, 2005

E Pluribus Bloggum

So the thing with the Gonzales post. Basically there's this great website, DailyKos (www.dailykos.com) which started up what's called a blogroll, or list of weblogs, that have published entries opposing the confirmation of Gonzales as AG. The list is getting quite long, and having a fledgling site of my own, I wanted in on the action. You can see the whole list of blogs at this site (http://newsfare.com/no-to-gonzales/). You can click on any of them, see what they say, and all that good stuff. It's cool to feel like you're part of a bigger cause, ain't it?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

No On Gonzales

Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes there's no grey area, and it's just black and white. This is one of those times.

Support or oppose Alberto Gonzales to be Bush's AG? Oppose. It's that simple.

The attorney general is the nation's top law enforcement official. Gonzales, despite his recent pseudo-denials, supports torture. This leads, sure as shooting, to things like Abu Gharib. For that alone, all Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, should say "NO" on Gonzales as AG.

He's a Bush crony, plain and simple. Beyond that, he's stated that he wants to step up prosecution of obscenity lawbreakers. Is this what we really need in America right now? No!

As a Delawarean, I call on my Senators, Joe Biden and Tom Carper, to vote NO on Gonzales for AG. And as an American, I plead for the other 98 senators to vote NO as well. Our future cannot be put in his hands.

Guess Who's Back?

Stop! Collaborate and listen. Dalecki's back with a brand new edition.

Of the Sinking Ship, that is.

So, the new Secretary of State is Condi Rice. Joy. So we're going from Uncle Tom to Aunt Jamima. Fantastic.

But what I don't understand is, in her introductory speech over at the State Department, why she said, and I paraphrase, "America's job is to spread democracy all over the world, starting with the middle east."

And I'm like, "excuse me?" Whatever happened to the Right of Self-Determination of Nations? You know, that great Wilsonian principle that said, basically, that any government a country had was ok with us, so long as it was the government the people in that country wanted. Suddenly that's not good enough. Now it's gotta be Democracy. Well screw that.

I seem to remember, once upon a time, that American diplomats dealt more or less with civility with dipolmats from other countries. Heck, we even had them in the court of the Czar (or Tsar, if you swing that way) of Russia. Certainly the Czar (may God bless and keep him...far away from us) wasn't practicing American Democracy. But that wasn't the point. Now suddenly America has to butt it's head in and get involved with the way the rest of the world does business.

A quick glance around at the rest of the world (population 6 billion) and see how well they're taking to this. Not well, obviously. And now they're going to start banding together to protect their own self-interest, and to shut America out. Which the European Union can do. Combined, the wealth and power of a united Europe is more then a match for America. Maybe not militarily, but economically, especially with Republicans hell bent on destroying any trace of American prosperity, they're heading for the top. Just track the dollars collapse versus the skyrocketing Euro. Not a pretty picture.

Anyway, that's my rant for the moment. Hopefully more will be forthcoming in less time then there was between this post and its predecessor.

Addendum: Just wanted to make clear that nothing racist was meant in my dubbing Ms. Rice "Aunt Jemima". I've just heard some people call Colin Powell an "Uncle Tom" (I have no opinion on whether he is or not), and I wanted to be witty, and Aunt Jemima is what I came up with. Really, it was that or Mrs. Butterworth. In all seriousness, Ms. Rice's incompetance, lying, and complete unsuitability for her new job has nothing to do with her race, and everything to do with her character. Case closed.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Off to Disney World

So I'm off tomorrow to Walt Disney World. It's kind of a Chrisbirthaversary thing for me and my lovely wife Angela (about whom more in a future post). This will actually be my 8th time there. I went in:

1. Nov. 1987
2. Dec. 1990
3. May 1995
4. Jan. 1999
5. May 2000
6. Feb. 2001
7. Dec. 2001

I've stayed at the following places (you may sense a theme):

1. Fort Wilderness
2. Caribbean Beach
3. Caribbean Beach
4. Fort Wilderness
5. All-Star Music
6. Chatham Square
7. Wilderness Lodge

I've been in Disney World with the following people:

1. My mother Debbie
2. My brother Joe
3. My grandmother Billie Mae
4. My brother's then-fiancee Danielle
5. My wife Angela

I've never been to Disney World with more then 4 people (counting me) at a time.

I have scored 100,000 points on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.

I have ridden Splash Mountain 4 times in a row without stopping.

I have been to Disney World once by myself (the May 2000 trip, following the end of a relationship. I have eaten dinner for 1. I have cried into a Sherry Triffle.

My favorite rides in the parks are as follows (based on the classic "If you only had time to ride 1 in each park, which would it be" test, developed by Sigmund Einstein, Albert's less appreciated brother.):

1. Magic Kingdom - Splash Mountain (runner up - Pirates of the Caribbean)
2. Epcot - Maelstrom in Norway (runner up - Spaceship Earth)
3. Disney-MGM Studios - Rock N Roller Coaster (runner up - Tower of Terror)
4. Animal Kingdom - Kilaminjaro Safari (runner up - Dinosaur)

It's a fantastic place. If you've never been, go. If you've been, go back. I'll write more when I get home. Later.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Pilgrims and Indians and Turkeys...Oh My!

Sometimes I think I love the quiet moments before the storm better then the storm itself.

Let me explain what I mean.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, obviously. There will be parades to watch, football games at which to cheer for the defeat of the Dallas Cowgirls, movies to see, and best of all, a huge meal to eat.

We're talking a really scrumptious feast here. Turkey it goes without saying. Copious amounts of mashed potatoes obviously. Stuffing in no small quantities. And that's just the big three attractions. No Thanksgiving would be complete without green bean casserole, or cranberry sauce, or hot fresh rolls.

And of course I must say a few words about the pies. The Pies! Waiting at the end of the meal, reminding you to save enough room for "just a sliver". Would you want to disappoint a pie?

But that's all tomorrow. And right now, sitting here, imagining the way everything will smell so mouth-watering tomorrow, and how great the food and other entertainments will be...I like it. It's the little quiet moments that give you a chance to reflect on what's to come. It's nice.

I hope all of you out there have great Thanksgivings. Have some pie for me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

You've Just...Done Nothing...Where Are You Going?

So, in about 9 days, I've got a trip to Walt Disney World. Now since this is a new blog, and you all know next to nothing about me, I feel obligated to fill you all in on my obsession with WDW, and my history with that great place. So sit back, get comfortable, and I'll take you through my long and winding past, and how Disney World has played such a starring role in it.

Nov. 1987 - In Which Things Don't Go As Planned

It all started in 1987. Well, it probably started a little before that, when I first heard of a place called Walt Disney World, and that my family was going to be taking me there. The trip actually coincided with my birthday, in a nice coincidence, and would be getting me out of a week of boring 2nd grade, so no complaints there. We were going to be staying in those nifty cabins that they have at Fort Wildnerness, which can sleep like 40 people. Ok, more like 6, but compared to an actual hotel room, it's a lot.

Sadly, the trip itself didn't exactly go as I'd hoped. The fun started shortly after we arrived at Fort Wilderness and had a late dinner. On our way back to our cabin, I got sick and threw up all over the place. Looking back, I'm sure my mother hoped it was a "one and done" deal, and that I'd just eaten something that didn't agree with me. Um, yeah, no. I continued to yakk all over the place through the night. Sigh.

The next day found us at Epcot, then called EPCOT Center. Yeah, I'm glad they changed it too. And guess what? That's right, second verse, same as the first. At least this time, after getting sick, I was able to take advantage of the Disney hopsital facilities, which I can honestly say were very nice, and the people staffing them couldn't have been friendlier.

By the next day I was well enough to start enjoying the trip, although pictures from those days show an extremely pale-faced kid (more so then my usual normal paleness, which let's just say is considerable) who looks like he's been hit by a truck. But, whatever, it wasn't horrible, I survived, and hey, I've got this fun story to tell.

All of this did leave me begging my mother to take me back, since by my own 2nd grade reasoning, having been sick, I was cheated out of what would have been a fuller, more satisfying experience then I would have otherwise had. But why tease you anymore, of couse we went back, or I wouldn't be writing this now.

Dec. 1990 - In Which Certain Family Differences Become Evident

3 years later we did indeed go back. This time the family was off to stay in the Caribbean Beach resort. A very nice place, let me tell you. And hey, no uncontrollable nausea this time, so that's another mark in the plus column. Also, in the intervening three years since our last visit the good people at Disney had been nice enough to put up an entirely new theme park, the Disney-MGM Studios, which had just opened a year before. So there was even more to see and do then there had been the last time.

Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff my brother and I wanted to see and do did not actually coincide with what the adults wanted to see and do. Namely, they wanted to spend a good deal of time checking out World Showcase in EPCOT Center. Now for those of you who don't know (the two or three of you I imagine who have somehow or another never been to Disney World) World Showcase is basically a collection of pavillions, done up to look like different countries. And each country's pavillion acts as a showcase, for lack of a better word (damn you, Imagineers!), of that host country's arts or culture or whathaveyou. There were 10 back in 1990 (Norway having not yet been added), and in clockwise order from left to right they were: Mexico, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada.

Needless to say, touring pavillions of boring foreign countries was not high on my agenda. Not when there were so many exciting rides and shows just begging to be experienced. This caused what many would term "tension" between the kids and the adults on this trip. "Tension" being a more polite codeword for "screaming arguments", of course.

The trip, however, was still fun, and a few months after returning, I was already trying to find out when we'd get to go again. The answer: an excruciatingly long time.

May 1995 - In Which Thrill Rides Are Discovered

By the time 1995 rolled around, I was in 9th grade, and hadn't been to Disney World in almost 5 years. Too long, by my estimation. So we finally got the band back together and headed on down. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach resort for the second time in a row, and it was still just as nice as it had been the last time. The big news, at least to me and my brother, young thrill seekers that we were, was that two new rides had opened which promised a kick-ass experience. Namely they were Splash Mountain and the now-legendary Tower of Terror. Sadly they also still had the stunningly boring World Showcase, which the adults still wanted to drag us to. Luckily, by this time my brother and I were old enough (15 and 16...we were men, man!) and could go off on our own, leaving the adults to the boring stuff so we could do the fun stuff.

Now believe it or not, the temperature in Central Florida can be quite a bit higher in mid-May then it is in November and December. I know, I know...I was shocked too. But it's true, and whereas it had been pleasantly warm in our last two trips, on this particular visit the mercury was pushing into the mid-90s, and it was quite stunningly hot. So the logical thing to do seemed to be to take a day at Blizzard Beach, Disney's new water park. Blizzard Beach, like so much of Disney, has a great story and look to it that makes it better then just your average Wet 'N Wild. Specifically, it's designed to look like a ski resort, built after a freak snowstorm hit Orlando, and then converted into a water park the next day when all the snow started to melt.

Unfortunately, this design consists of a lot of white fiberglass "snow" everywhere, and as any amateur scientist can tell you, the hot noonday sun reflecting off "snow" can cause optimal conditions for sunburn. Which I got a singularly nasty case of. Seriously, I was burned pretty much everywhere you can be burned. My feet were burned, for heaven's sake! Needless to say I spent the last few days of the trip trying, and failing, to find a sleeping position that didn't put any pressure on the 98% of me covered in red.

From all this, you might think "Geez, two out of three trips now something bad has happened to you. Surely you must not want to go back." But that isn't the case. I wanted, nay, I needed to go back. And of course, I would, or I wouldn't still be writing this, and you wouldn't still be reading it.

Jan. 1999 - In Which An Era Ends

1999 was a very unique trip. It was initally supposed to be me, my mother, my brother, his fiancee, and my grandmother. But shortly before we were supposed to leave my grandmother got sick, and thus we ended up making the trip without her. It was also to be the last trip I've made to Disney World with my mother. And as you might imagine, the dynamic was also quite altered by the presence of my brother's then-fiancee.

The biggest highlight of this trip was somehow convincing my mother to ride the Tower of Terror. I'm still not sure how I did it to this day. I guess I got her to believe it wasn't really all that bad, and she bought it. Also, there was no line, so she could just suck it up, go, and get it over with right away. It really was a crowning moment for me.

Epilogue

So, there you go. Four trips, each of them interesting in their own way, to be sure. At some later date I'll fill you in on the trips I've made since then, but this was the family series, and I wanted to keep it to just that. Hope this hasn't been too boring. See you next time.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Scared Straight

So I've been kind of asking myself, since the last election was supposedly all about "morals, morals, morals", and 11 states passed gay-marriage amendments, where does all of this homophobia come from. After all, if the issue of two gay people getting married is so terrifying to all of these straight right-wing Christians, there must be a reason. It must come from somewhere.

And I think I've figured out where...

At the very base of it, I think these hardline conservatives who rail against gay marriage in states like Massachusetts are afraid of being hit on by gay guys. Think about it. If gay people can live like the rest of us, walk around in the light of day, then these Preachy McPreachalots might run into one in a grocery store. And I think they're just horrified at the idea that they might get hit on. And why? Well...what if they like it? Gasp!

Deep down, I honestly believe that a lot of the homophobia that comes from the so-called "Moral Majority" is a fear that they themselves might have these similar tendencies. How many of them, maybe after having an experimental experience as teens or young adults, flung themselves into their militant form of Christianity as a way to "burn" the gay out? And now they must try to stamp out what they themselves have buried way down in their soul.

Poor right-wing kooks.

Everyone Else Has a Website...Why Not Me?

So...seems like getting your own website is the popular thing to do these days. Welcome to mine. As you can see, there's not much here yet. Hopefully there will be more added in the days and weeks to come, as I figure out what to do with this thing. But hey, it's free, and free = good.

It was about a year ago I first discovered blogs. Places where people like me were talking politics. They've kept me entertained throughout this whole last year, and through a very disappointing election they were refuges in a storm. So, here, in no particular order, are a list of very awesome sites, all of which have way more going on then I do here at this point. Check them out, and then come back here in the next few days, when hopefully we'll be doing good stuff here. Later!

Daily Kos
Eschaton
Pandagon
Sadly, No!
The Dark Window
World 'O Crap
TBogg