Saturday, April 14, 2007

This day in future history

On this day, April 14, in 1912, RMS Titanic ran into into an iceberg in a completely avoidable incident that resulted in her sinking with great loss of life and treasure.

To draw a completely unavoidable parallel from that disaster, picture the United States of America as the ship, Bush as its drunken, incompetent skipper who should never have been given the keys, and his policies as the iceberg.

95 years from now, folks may sing about the USA with the same campfire song they sing today about Titanic:

"It was sad when that great ship went down."

Our only chance of salvation is over the side with him. And the horse he rode in on.

It's not just Imus

No, it's not. He stood on his pecker and got run over by a truck, and rightly so, but he is not the only on-air personage that spews racist, sexist, hateful shit. He's not the worst of 'em by a long shot.

Media Matters:

[...] But as Media Matters for America has extensively documented, bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity continue to permeate the airwaves through personalities such as Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Michael Smerconish, and John Gibson.

That's an incomplete list of course, but MMfA lists a good selection of their trash talk. Just for fun, hook up a blood pressure monitor and watch it explode as you read through the article.

My conclusion? IOKIYAR.

Freedom of speech is a Constitutional right, but the impetus to watch what you say has been lost due to a complete lack of consequences. A coupla good punches in the nose would shape these clowns right up.

Green Willie

Don't panic, this ain't about some new social disease. Go watch Willie Nelson on Bush's War, biofuels, and the family farmer. He is one soft-talkin' old dude with a good message.

More Con Than Neo

MoDo on Wolfowitz gettin' his main squeeze a high-paying job:

You will not be surprised to learn, gentle readers, that Wolfie in love is no less deceptive and bumbling than Wolfie at war.

She also has a few words about Bush's inability to find a retired general brain-dead enough to be "war czar". Go read the rest. You'll be glad you did.

First stop

Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wanted: Prancing, Singing Sailors

Yes, they come in handy on those long cruises! Go see these recruiting commercials for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. It's only a matter of time before our desperate-for-manpower services try "An Army Of One: The Musical!"

Ho! Ho! Ho!

BradBlog, with video.

It really doesn't get any worse than this Michelle Malkin (filling in for Bill O'Reilly) interview of Malik Shabazz Thursday night on Fox "News". There is so much wrong with the exchange that no analysis can do it justice. The clip picks up about halfway through a discussion on the Duke lacrosse case. Here is a taste:
Shabazz: Will you apologize for being a political prostitute for Bill O'Reilly, a white-male-chauvinist-racist, as a woman of color?

Malkin: You want to call me a whore on national TV?

Shabazz: Yes.

Malkin: There is only one whore on this split-screen and it's you Mr. Shabazz.

Shabazz: As a woman of color, you should be ashamed of yourself...

Only on Fox "News" and immediately after back to back to back Don Imus segments!

Props to Mr. Shabazz, whoever the hell he is, for calling Malkin a whore on TV. It's about time.

Just as a disclaimer, to my way of thinking, the words 'prostitute' and 'whore' are not necessarily interchangeable. One sells sexual favors, the other sells out. Malkin may not be an actual prostitute, but she's definitely a whore. So's Bill O'Rally and many others I can think of.

Record of Iraq War Lies to Air April 25 on PBS


Bill Moyers has put together an amazing 90-minute video documenting the lies that the Bush administration told to sell the Iraq war to the American public, with a special focus on how the media led the charge. I've watched an advance copy and read a transcript, and the most important thing I can say about it is: Watch PBS from 9:00 to 10:30 PM on Wednesday, April 25. Spending that 90 minutes will actually save you time because you'll never watch television news again - not even on PBS, which comes in for its own share of criticism.

It's great to see an American media outlet tell this story so well, but it leads one to ask: When will Congress tell it? While the Democrats were in the minority, they clamored for hearings and investigations, they pushed Resolutions of Inquiry into the White House Iraq Group and the Downing Street Minutes. Now in the majority, they've gone largely silent. The chief exception is the House Judiciary Committee's effort to question Condoleezza Rice next week about the forged Niger documents.

But what comes out of watching this show is a powerful realization that no investigation is needed by Congress, just as no hidden information was needed for the media to get the story right in the first place. The claims that the White House made were not honest mistakes. But neither were they deceptions. They were transparent and laughably absurd falsehoods. And they were high crimes and misdemeanors.

Please read the rest. This is stuff we all know, but it'll be good to see it all tamped into a nice neat lump.

Check PBS for your local listings and mark your calendar.

Lazy Day

Sun, sea, and a MedEvac.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sea Cruise

Recently released video of Fixer talkin' Mrs. F into their cruise:

More about Frankie Ford and his website, too! Us Olde Fartes are useful if for nothing more than historical perspective!


Go see this version just for fun!

The White Boys' Fellating Club


... I guess none of these pundits, writers and journalists noticed that Clarence Page, Eugene Robinson, Gwen Ifill, Cynthia Tucker or any other black colleagues from major publications or broadcast networks were conspicuously absent from Imus's show ...

I heard Page say he'd never go on Imus and Gord linked to Gwen Ifill's comments. And you'll notice all the guys coming to Imus' defense are pasty enough you'd have to put your sunglasses on to look at them outside. The only 'person of color' to go on was Harold Ford and, well, that says a lot about Harold Ford.

Brokeback Candidates

Decency prevents me from suggesting what Bush's War did to them just before no doubt doing a rear mount, but the spavined old nag appears to like the 'whipping' part...

Weenie Shrinkers...

MoDo via Ratboy's Anvil:

The Times's science section devoted itself yesterday to the topic of Desire, the myriad ways in which the human mind causes the body to get turned on.

As Natalie Angier, The Times's biology expert, noted, research has shown that women differed from men "in the importance they accorded a man's physical appearance, with many expressing a comparatively greater likelihood of being aroused by evidence of talent or intelligence -- say, while watching a man deliver a great speech."

This could explain why many Republican women are so frustrated.

She's got a point, but there's a flip side as well when it comes to maybe why Repuglicant women ain't gettin' any: who wants to hide their salami in a snowbank?

Yo, little G, you can come out now...


From In These Times.

I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d'etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka "Christians," and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or "PPs."

What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can't. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody's telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!

That said, do you have any ideas for a really scary reality TV show?

"C students from Yale." It would stand your hair on end.

What targets would you consider fair game for a satirist today?


Go read more about Vonnegut. I was a little surprised to learn that he was a Saab dealer back when they were two-strokes. Oddball little cars, like they were built by folks who had never seen a car before and had to figure out how to build it all by themselves. Or didn't care how others did it. Fits right in with his writing perspective, I think.

That's not trite, obvious, or overly sentimental of me, is it? So it goes...

And so it begins ...

Pulled out of NYC about 1700 yesterday (5 pm for the rest of you) under overcast skies that turned to sleet a couple hours later. Care less ... on vacation.

Pics here:

Leaving Manhattan 1

Leaving Manhattan 2

R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut

"Within the next 24 hours somebody will write "Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday. So it goes." It won't be me. Vonnegut hated the trite and obvious, and he hated sentimentality.

But he didn't hate sentiment. He was comfortable with sentiment, despite living in a culture where deep emotion is sometimes treated as a social disorder."

[more here]

Another voice that we can ill-afford to lose.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Iacocca's Rant

Lee Iacocca on Bush at The Carpetbagger Report:

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I think that sums it up nicely. He goes on with his "nine Cs of leadership". Here's just a couple:

* Character - "George Bush has a lot of power. What does it say about his character? Bush has shown a willingness to take bold action on the world stage because he has the power, but he shows little regard for the grievous consequences. He has sent our troops (not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens) to their deaths - for what? To build our oil reserves? To avenge his daddy because Saddam Hussein once tried to have him killed? To show his daddy he’s tougher? The motivations behind the war in Iraq are questionable, and the execution of the war has been a disaster. A man of character does not ask a single soldier to die for a failed policy."

* Courage - "Swagger isn't courage. Tough talk isn't courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn-t mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk... Bush can't even make a public appearance unless the audience has been handpicked and sanitized."

More excerpts from Mr. Iacocca's new book at Borders. Recommended read.

Quote(s) of the Day

“Bush's handlers "reckon" that kinda tough talkin', spur clangin', shot-O-whiskey slammin', Yeehhh-Hhhaawin' showdown at the Okey-Dokey Corral stuff makes the self-proclaimed 'Decision Maker' look like one tough hombre. But it doesn't.”


“It is time, perhaps, Mister Bush and his handlers realized that he is in no position to be picking fights or to be playing the macho part. What's more, if he keeps threatening to hold the "troops" hostage...George W. Bush is going to find himself in a whole lot of political trouble. And in that fight, his child-like Yosemite Sam routine won't impress anybody.”

From A. Alexander at Progressive Daily Beacon


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Outta here ...

I'm outta here. I'll be incommunicado for about 24 hours until I get aboard Noordam and get my intertubes set up. Don't give Gord any shit ... unless it's good shit ... heh.


A tip o' the Brain to TomDispatch amd A Tiny Revolution.

Trash Talk Radio

Gwen Ifill, whom I like, on Imus, whom I like sometimes, in a NYT Op-Ed:

[...] That's the kind of story we love, right? A bunch of teenagers from Newark, Cincinnati, Brooklyn and, yes, Ogden, Utah, defying expectations. It's what explodes so many March Madness office pools.

But not, apparently, for the girls. For all their grit, hard work and courage, the Rutgers girls got branded "nappy-headed ho's" - a shockingly concise sexual and racial insult, tossed out in a volley of male camaraderie by a group of amused, middle-aged white men. The "joke" - as delivered and later recanted - by the radio and television personality Don Imus failed one big test: it was not funny.

The serial apologies of Mr. Imus, who was suspended yesterday by both NBC News and CBS Radio for his remarks, have failed another test. The sincerity seems forced and suspect because he's done some version of this several times before.

I know, because he apparently did it to me.

"Isn't The Times wonderful," Mr. Nelson quoted Mr. Imus as saying on the radio. "It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House."

Why do my journalistic colleagues appear on Mr. Imus's program? That's for them to defend, and others to argue about. I certainly don't know any black journalists who will. To his credit, Mr. Imus told the Rev. Al Sharpton yesterday he realizes that, this time, he went way too far.

Yes, he did. Every time a young black girl shyly approaches me for an autograph or writes or calls or stops me on the street to ask how she can become a journalist, I feel an enormous responsibility. It's more than simply being a role model. I know I have to be a voice for them as well.

So here's what this voice has to say for people who cannot grasp the notion of picking on people their own size: This country will only flourish once we consistently learn to applaud and encourage the young people who have to work harder just to achieve balance on the unequal playing field.

Let's see if we can manage to build them up and reward them, rather than opting for the cheapest, easiest, most despicable shots.

I love ethnic humor. I have a lot of fun telling jokes about other folks - the alcoholic proclivities of Irishmen, the athletic ability of Mexicans to run, jump, climb, and swim to get here, the, er, thriftiness of Scots and Jews, Polish rocket scientists, all the way down to 'them' humor like why they have to use astroturf on the athletic fields in the neighboring town/county/state due to the predilection of their cheerleaders to eat the grass.

Having said that, an awful lot of ethnic 'humor' is downright hateful, or just wildly inappropriate, or both, like Imus' stupid comment. Some of it is downright funny, too. Some of it used to be funny because we didn't know any better. I know 'race jokes' from fifty years ago that used to elicit laughter that today would get you a cold stare from any audience. I sometimes tell these to illustrate to younger folks what ethnic humor was like in the old days. And how things have, or ought to have, changed. The old guys know these jokes, the youngsters are a little shocked by them.

I think the stuff is OK in a private setting, although that can get you in Dutch (is that ethnic?) sometimes too, as Fixer well knows.

You gotta pick your spot. To me, the point of any joke is to get a laugh, not to hurt someone's feelings. With the platform that Imus, Limbaugh, ad nauseum, have, they should just plain know better. Apparently, they think they know who their audience is, but really they don't. They keep saying this kind of shit, get yelled at for a little bit, apologize for their insensitivity, nothing really happens to them, then they go do it again and keep making their millions.

It makes me wonder why some of the richest white men feel so insecure that they have to insult "others" in order to feel superior. Or is it just utter contempt?

Also, there's a big difference between ethnic humor and racial slurs. The former is pretty generally in bad taste to say in front of a mass audience, the latter is completely inexcusable.

It's perfectly legal, though. There's no law against racial prejudice, only against discrimination under the law. The First Amendment allows you to say any damn fool thing you want short of threats and blatant incitement to riot, as we see every day.

As any old drunk can tell you, choices have consequences and words are choices. I've had to pay many times for my own poor choices, aka 'steppin' on my weenie', until I decided to make better ones.

Two weeks off for Imus isn't going to make a bit of difference to Imus unless he uses the time to think about what he did - needlessly and thoughtlessly insult some young girls in front of millions of people - and change the way he thinks. I bet he doesn't. He's old and rich, and he knows this will blow over. What might make a difference is if the father of one of the girls punches him in the nose for trash-talkin' his daughter.

The dad'd go to jail for assaulting a white man, and Imus'd put a $60 steak on his black eye and sue. Life goes on.

This Imus deal isn't huge. Just another example of someone with access to the public's ear (or eye, nose, throat, and wallet!) showing how brain-dead they can be when their position dictates they ought to know better. Thank God no other celebrity or public figure has ever done that! It might spawn an industry!

On Imus ...

If I called one of my black customers (hell, if I said it to a white customer) a 'nappy headed ho', I'd be out of a job so fast heads would spin. Now, I'm no chiorboy and I've used my share of ethnic slurs, but I don't have a million viewers watching my show every day (and I certainly wouldn't say something like that here, not because it would piss people off, I go out of my way to do that every day, but because it's wrong). My buddy Nunzio will always be "The Screamin' Guinea" to me, but he's an old friend (I wouldn't call Nunzio's wife "Mrs. Screamin' Guinea"). I'm the "Crazy Kraut" to him, been that way for 15 years (but he wouldn't call my wife a "Kraut Lovin' Heeb"). There's my friend "Black Bill" as I refer to him to those who also know my friend "White Bill". (I know 2 Gordons too, the one who passed away a couple years ago I call "Dead Gordon" and my esteemed colleague here is "Live Gordon" ... heh.)

What crackers like Imus don't get is using an ethnic slur to put down an entire race of people, or using one in anger toward a person of said ethnicity, is just wrong. Just because some blacks use the word 'niggaz' as a familiar greeting doesn't mean it's okay for someone outside that familiarity to use it. I would never say to my friend Black Bill, "yo nigga, wasup?" Nor would I accept someone I didn't know using an ethnic slur to describe me or my heritage because I don't know their intent, regardless of their claims to be 'funny'.

To denigrate a whole race of people, to denigrate what the women of Rutgers have accomplished, both on the court and academically, is wrong. I'm sure Imus doesn't know any of them personally and it's not funny. I'm sure every one of the Rutgers women have a higher IQ than the old drug addict. It wouldn't be funny coming from Al Sharpton, Tom Joyner, Ed Gordon, or Tavis Smiley, let alone some dried up rich old white man.

Imus has to feel some pain and being suspended for 2 weeks, not being able to hear himself talk for a fortnight, not being able to fellate McCain and Lieberman, is no punishment. Time for him to retire, at least have his show canceled from MSNBC. It might improve my opinion of MSNBC. In my book, the only thing they have going for them is Olbermann.

And just a case in point: My big mouth got me into trouble with the Korean letter carrier. I was doing an inspection on my friend's antique Mercedes, safety only, $10. When he asked me how much I said, in my best 'Mama-san' impersonation (I do a great 'Geraldine' too), "Ah, ten dollah, GI, love you long time." (I was being 'funny'.) I turn around, after seeing the look on my buddy's face, to see the Korean mail lady giving me the eeevilest look. I've since apologized a hundred times (even in Korean), and I really feel bad, and I know she's never forgiven me for it. It seriously bothers me but I'll have to live with it. Once said, words are impossible to take back. Let that be a lesson to yas.

A real* diplomat speaks ...

Richard Holbrooke calls out media shills. C & L:

... "I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion by a deliberate ambush plan by the opposition — in this case the Republicans — and, frankly, exploited by journalists who are just looking for a controversy ...

*As opposed to Condi and Bolthead.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Read this

Being that I worked late today, still have packing to do, and I'll probably be completely uncivil anyway. Seems the 'media' have more problems with the 'discourse' in Blogtopia (y!sctp!).

The Blahs

Sorry about no posting today. Couldn't get worked up about anything.

Does Giuliani have any judgement.

Giuliani, Gonzales Pushed DHS Bid Forward

By John Solomon and Peter BakerWashington Post Staff WritersSunday, April 8, 2007;

When former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani urged President Bush to make Bernard B. Kerik the next secretary of homeland security, White House aides knew Kerik as the take-charge top cop from Sept. 11, 2001. But it did not take them long to compile an extensive dossier of damaging information about the would-be Cabinet officer.They learned about questionable financial deals, an ethics violation, allegations of mismanagement and a top deputy prosecuted for corruption. Most disturbing, according to people close to the process, was Kerik's friendship with a businessman who was linked to organized crime. The businessman had told federal authorities that Kerik received gifts, including $165,000 in apartment renovations, from a New Jersey family with alleged Mafia ties.Alarmed about the raft of allegations, several White House aides tried to raise red flags. But the normal investigation process was short-circuited, the sources said. Bush's top lawyer, Alberto R. Gonzales, took charge of the vetting, repeatedly grilling Kerik about the issues that had been raised. In the end, despite the concerns, the White House moved forward with his nomination -- only to have it collapse a week later.The selection of Kerik in December 2004 for one of the most sensitive posts in government became an acute but brief embarrassment for Bush at the start of his second term. More than two years later, it has reemerged as part of a federal criminal investigation of Kerik that raises questions about the decisions made by the president, the Republican front-runner to replace him and the embattled attorney general.

. . . snip . . .

Federal prosecutors have told Kerik that they are likely to charge him with several felonies, including providing false information to the government when Bush nominated him, sources have told The Washington Post.

. . . snip . . .

During an appearance in Florida last weekend, Giuliani told reporters that they had a right to question his judgment in putting Kerik in charge of the New York Police Department and recommending him to Bush. "I should have done a better job of investigating him, vetting him," Giuliani said. "It's my responsibility, and I've learned from it."

. . . snip . . .

A high school dropout and son of a prostitute apparently killed by her pimp, Kerik became an undercover narcotics detective with ponytail and diamond earrings. He joined Giuliani's 1993 campaign as his driver and was later given top appointments, including corrections commissioner and eventually police commissioner. After office, Giuliani and Kerik became partners in a security consulting firm.

. . . snip . . .

Kerik was given detailed financial disclosure and personal history questionnaires to fill out, all intended to unearth anything that might prove embarrassing in a confirmation hearing. Giuliani's firm assisted in filling out the forms, according to a source familiar with the situation,

. . . snip . . .

The loudest alarm bell was Kerik's relationship with Lawrence Ray. The best man at Kerik's wedding in 1998, Ray went to work for a New Jersey construction company, Interstate Industrial Corp., that was seeking a big New York City contract and trying to overcome concerns inside Giuliani's administration that it had mob ties.Ray, who told friends that he worked with the FBI, military and intelligence agencies in the 1990s, was indicted in 2000 along with organized-crime figures in what prosecutors described as a scheme to manipulate the stock market.

. . . snip . . .

But from corners of Washington and New York, calls began pouring in to the White House and to newsrooms.Stories began circulating about Kerik's time in Iraq, about an arrest warrant issued when he failed to respond to a civil lawsuit, about his extramarital affair with book publisher Judith Regan, about his trysts in a city apartment meant as a place for police officials to rest near Ground Zero. Ray went public with his allegations about Kerik's gifts from the DiTomasso family. Kerik and the White House tried to ride it out. Giuliani advised Kerik through the political storm.But then people at the Giuliani firm who were scouring Kerik's finances discovered that he had not paid Social Security taxes for a nanny who apparently was an illegal immigrant, Kerik later said. By Kerik's account, Giuliani told him he had to call the White House, and by the end of the day on Dec. 10, they agreed he had to pull out. Statements were issued after the evening news, and Giuliani came to console his friend."

all emphasis mine.

Full article here:

White House Looked Past Alarms on Kerik -

Most of the stories running about Kerik and Giuliani talk about the relationship between the two. As so clearly demonstrated above, the real issue involved here is Giuliani's judgement. If he can so badly blow personnel issues within his own administration and in recommendations to a sitting President, what does this say about his ability to choose personnel were he elected President. From what I read above (and the full article reads far worse, I've only extracted the juicy parts that applied directly to Giuliani's judgement) it says that the man was not only not fit to be Mayor of NYC, he is definitely not fit to be President of the U.S. And we certaily don't need 2 of those in a row.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Whereupon the shit hits the fan ...

So tell me, being most of the Iraqis are Shi'a, how our guys are supposed to deal with this:

BAGHDAD - The renegade cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged Iraqi forces to stop cooperating with the United States and told his guerrilla fighters to concentrate their attacks on American troops rather than Iraqis, according to a statement issued Sunday.


"God has ordered you to be patient in front of your enemy, and unify your efforts against them — not against the sons of Iraq," the statement said, in an apparent reference to clashes between al-Sadr's Mahdi Army fighters and Iraqi troops in Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad. "You have to protect and build Iraq."


If the Shi'a death squads turn their attention from killing Sunni to killing Americans, our guys are in a world of hurt. Time to get 'em out now.

Carib Cruisin'

This is USS Guam LPH-9, in which me'n a bunch of my pals once cruised the Caribbean just like Fixer's fixin' to do. What our cruise lacked in posh, it made up for in length. Boy, did it ever, almost 4 months.

She was 592 feet in length, with a beam of 84 feet. About half the size of that party barge the Fixers are goin' in. I think it was a lot noisier up on the roof of Guam as well.

We trained at Camp Fernando Luis Garcia on Vieques PR, and pulled liberty at San Juan PR and Bridgetown, Barbados BWI. We were supposed to go to St. Croix, but duty called and we went and patrolled down around the Dominican Republic in case they needed us. They didn't, but they gave us all the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal anyway. That made me eligible to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars. That's a hell of a lot better way to do it than actually going to war.

There wasn't no interwebs, cell phones, iPods, video games, none of that stuff in those days. You had to special order to get an FM radio in a car! The hot new deal in entertainment was reel-to-reel tape recorders. About the size of a suitcase, with foldout speakers. Some of the guys had transistor radios, but they didn't work inside a steel ship in the middle of the ocean a thousand miles from a station. We settled for "The Rockin' Rob Rondy Show" on onboard station WGUM. Near as I could tell, it was available from stem to stern on the intercom, broken into by such official shit as "Sweepers, man your brooms!". The other entertainment available was lightin' farts or goin' and starin' at the ocean. Gourmet dining? Suffice it to say we got three meals a day. Dancing? Don't get caught!

I just know the Fixers will have nearly as much fun on their cruise as I did on mine. Heh.

The Practical Press Awards 2006

The brains, heart, and vision behind The Practical Press, Kenneth Quinnell, has posted the nominees in each category (and yes, I am honored and humbled to receive a nomination; great thanks to those who gave The Captains a vote). Voting is open to all and I encourage you to go there and read the best work of the 'creative membership', my esteemed colleagues. You won't be disappointed. Also, while you're there, give Kenneth a big 'thank you' for putting so much of his time and energy into the site.

Australian Cattle Dogs

As you know, our Princess Shayna is an Australian Cattle Dog and we love the breed. They are intelligent with serious personality, tough to handle but a well-trained Cattle Dog is an excellent, loyal companion. I posted a couple videos of other Cattle Dogs at work and play.

Fair use ...

I've never had a 'use policy' for copyrighted stuff here at the Brain or for my novels. Here's the policy:

Steal whatever the fuck you want, whole posts, repost my books on your blog (this applies for blogs only, you reprint my shit to make money, you bet your ass I'm gonna sue you into oblivion for everything you've got), as long as proper (conspicuous) credit is given. I consider it an honor for people to be so enamored of our stuff they want to post it and share it with a wider audience. All I ask is you do it responsibly.

Packing ...

MS Noordam at anchor off Porta Delgado, the Azores.
Click to embiggen.

We're leaving Wednesday for the Caribbean (my birthday present to Mrs. F) and, since we both have to work Monday and Tuesday, I'm doing most of our packing today. The bright side is we don't have to fly this time. We're meeting Noordam at Pier 92 on Manhattan's West Side (only a 40 minute car ride from home) and returning to the same place. Mrs. F can pack what she wants and buy what she wants without weight restriction. Yay!!!!

Since Noordam has satellite access to the intarwebs, I'll be taking you along (just like Europe - NYC last year), posting pics and sea stories at AltBrainNet, so as not to clog up the important shit here with pics. As usual, Gord's in charge until I get back and what he says goes.

And if you're interested in cruising, I wrote a piece last year about cruise ships and ocean liners. And to add, though I make no money from the endorsement, we book our cruises through Cruise Vacation Center exclusively.