...busting up my brains for the words

Monday, November 28, 2005

War hits close to home

It's come to my attention that a friend of Hammerswing 75 has been abducted by terrorists in Iraq.
It's not just happening over there. This war is real and it's close to home.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy thanksgiving day

I write today from my parents' spacious ranch in Apple Valley. I hope you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Today is Michael Medved's favorite holiday. Today is PETAs least favorite holiday. We give thanks for what we have and for the opportunities to prosper.

Here is a link to the White House's thoughts on this day.

Thanksgiving is a holiday rooted in the American spirit of gratitude and sharing. We see this spirit in America today. When the communities along the Gulf Coast were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Americans came together to provide help for their neighbors in need. It was a remarkable outpouring of compassion and generosity. That outpouring of compassion demonstrated once again that the great strength of our country lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens.
We also give thanks on Thanksgiving for our many blessings, and we thank those who are far away from home who protect our freedoms. It's through the courage and skill of our Armed Forces that we're safe as a nation, and we're very proud of their service.
We think of our military families who will have an empty seat at the table this Thanksgiving. The American people are thankful for the sacrifice of the American military families, as well. America's men and women in uniform and their families have our gratitude -- not only on Thanksgiving, but on every day.

Monday, November 21, 2005

If he's not dead, he should be

This morning there are two headlines concerning Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. One is that he may be dead. The other is that his family has disowned him and denies him protection.

"Nobody here supports the insurgency," says Nissan, 47, blaming the attack Friday on Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "Even before this attack, the feelings against Zarqawi were growing. He has no religion, no sect, no humanity. He is the devil."

So most of us agree about Zarqawi's standing in the world as a man. We all grow weary of these unsubstantiated reports that certain bad guys are or may be dead. It should be remembered that we can't hang our hats on the fate of the GWOT dependent upon one or two individuals. Our enemy isn't just one or two's a corrupted faction of a theology. When Zarqawi or bin Laden fall, they will be replaced with other devils. The enemy will be defeated when these devils are no longer remembered.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Entirely predicted

The war in Iraq is in crisis today as the Democrats and their propaganda arm of msm continue the drumbeat of quagmire and immediate pullout. It's an important crossroads in the defense of this country. It's important for Americans to notify their representatives and let them know that we must stand firm with the president. A good piece of advice to find motivation to take action on this issue is to get angry about it. After all, if we don't get mad, it would be very easy to be complacent over it.


But it's not so easy to get angry about this when we realize that this day has always been inevitable. Because of the nature of this enemy, it's been postulated all along that it becomes more and more difficult to remain vigilant in offense as time wears on. There are no terrorist attacks occurring on American soil. The landscape of the mainstream media is a daily report of the deaths of our troops and very little reporting of gains in Iraq. So a mindset grows larger and larger that we could pull out our troops and put an end to the bloodshed.

And this brings me back to writing in my blog about this issue. This blog is a little blog with light traffic, but nevertheless, I began writing it because I realized that this war has an all important home front. Unlike 1972 when we lost the war in Vietnam on the home front by succumbing to msm distortions, the blogosphere and Internet information flow have created an entirely new rubric in the democratic process.
Yes, this juncture was entirely predicted. We knew that the Democrats would call for cutting and running. We knew that the 6 o'clock News would portray the war in Iraq as meaningless bloodletting. We knew that msm polls would one day show the war to be unpopular.

We knew this juncture would arrive one day. And now we need to remember that the notion made us angry back in 2003 and the time is now to get angry and to launch into action. Let your congressmen know you are angry and that we must stand with the Iraqi people. Our brave men & women in uniform are fighting this war on the battlefront. It's up to us civilians to fight this war on the homefront.

The morning after

I went to Keegan's Irish Pub last night for Trivia Night. I've become a regular for this event since my injury and it's become the highlight of my week. Last night I had the pleasure of getting to know the three other members of my team. They were Kevin of EkerNet, Andy (Triple A) of Residual Forces and John of Night Writer blog. This was a good team. We should have tied for first place with 19 correct answers, but the Quiz Master marked two of our correct answers as wrong. Strangely, they were both answers that were contributed by me. They were;
1) Who wrote the song "All Along The Watchtower"?
2)What numbers are painted on the hull of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek?

As I said, I contributed the answers for both of these questions for my team. They are as follows; Bob Dylan wrote "All Along The Watchtower" and the numbers on the Enterprise are 1701. The Quiz Master thinks "All Along The Watchtower" was written by Jimi Hendrix. And who knows what numbers they think are on the hull of the Enterprise?

I've long known there are a few rules to Trivia that are incontestable. One is "No whining" and another is "No insulting the Quiz Master". I discovered last night that contesting the truth with the Quiz Master breaks both of these rules. The Democrats are rewriting the history of how America went to war in Iraq and the Quiz Master is rewriting America's pop history. There is nothing to be done about these facts but to begin to learn to speak Arabic and convert to Islam, as well as to tear out the Dylan pages in my Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll and then to take sandpaper to my Star Trek dvd collection whenever the Enterprise pops up on the screen.
I will also be tearing down the statue of Uncle Joe in my back yard.

Assume the position.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Call to action

Hugh Hewitt has the crucial post of the week with the crucial phone numbers and emails to contact Republican leaders and let them know we must stay firm in Iraq and reverse the resolution that calls for a rebuke of President Bush.

It's a long post but if you scroll down, you'll see the numbers and the links. Use them, please. We cannot go wobbly now.

Painful recovery continues

I'm in my second week of physical therapy for my busted elbow. The daily exercise seems to be causing a ratcheting up of pain and swelling. I'm icing my elbow a few times per day now in order to try and keep the swelling down.
This is easily the most pain I have ever known in my life. I wouldn't wish this injury on my worst enemy and I sure as heck hope I never have to go through anything like this ever again.

This morning's weather report said the sidewalks were very slippery with ice today. Since slipping and falling on my arm would be the worst nightmare I can imagine, I made a firm point of staying indoors all day today. There will be days when I will have to go outside and risk a fall. But while I have any choice in the matter, I'm opting to just stay curled up against my radiator, arm elevated, doped up on Extra Strength Tylenol, sipping hot tea and dunking buttered toast.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ha ha funny

I am beside myself with laugh out loud laughter as I'm listening to the Laura Ingraham Show this morning. Laura has just played a sound clip of Chris Matthews in which he stated on his MSNBC cable television show that W and the Republicans had promised several things before the war in Iraq and none of them came true.

One of the things he listed is that the oil was supposed to pay for the war!

This is astounding. I couldn't believe it. Fortunately, Laura played the clip three or four times so we could wrap our brains around this comment. If I didn't know better, I'd wonder if this was actually a clip from Saturday Night Live. Matthews is confused. President Bush never said the oil would pay for the war. In fact, when asked about it, the president made it clear that Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqis. Quite the contrary to the president claiming the oil would pay for the war, it was Moveon*dot*org and Chris Matthews' leftie anti-war friends who had made the claim that the oil would pay for the war. It was the left that claimed the war was all about oil.

We are living in amazing times. Chris Matthews and the Democrats are trying to rewrite history right before our very eyes

Monday, November 14, 2005

W's hits

The president's approval and popularity ratings, as the msm have gleefully pointed out to everybody lately, are way down. Yesterday's Sunday morning political talk shows were pounding home these figures. Supporters of President Bush are wringing their hands over this to some degree, some more than others. The contributors to these low ratings are several; Katrina, the Miers nomination, gas prices. But the most visible current issue and certainly the most important one, is the war in Iraq and how America went to that war.
W is fighting back now. Who knows if the president will ever get his approval ratings back up to the highs he once enjoyed? But it is clear that he must do something to keep them from getting worse. He must defend his honor for his own sake, but more importantly, for the sake of the nation and the morale of our military.
Some Bush supporters think that this fight is long overdue, and perhaps they're right. But it smells to me like a Rovian ploy. I think it's quite possible that Karl Rove knows full well that the president's approval and popularity ratings are impossible to keep at high levels. They must come down. If that's true, then wouldn't it be better to allow them to come down at a point in his term when it really doesn't much matter? That time is now. So what if people want to grouse about the president's leadership? There's no election this year for national offices. Let them grouse. Republicans have a good window of a year to improve matters.
Karl Rove knows that Americans have a short attention span. He knows that it's human nature to grow tired of the same old face in the White House and turn to blaming. And I have a hunch he also knows that if you give the Moveon*dot*org people and their paid politicians enough rope, they are quite likely to hang themselves. The left wing of the Democrat Party is too emotional and too consumed with hatred to think things through clearly. They grow encouraged when they see their daily attacks gaining results in the president's popularity. This is the moment they've been dreaming of since November 3rd, 2004. Finally, so they think, things are going their way. So they pour it on even more until they very much begin to resemble the traitors that Ann Coulter has been talking about for the past several years.

Is this a rosy analysis? I don't know. Maybe it is. But as presidential counselor Dan Bartlett said today on the Laura Ingraham Show, the president has the truth on his side.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Scaredy cat

Howard Dean is a scaredy Democrat. I was going to write about Howard Dean's refusal to appear on Meet The Press alongside Ken Mehlman. But Powerline's Rocketman puts it so well. Why not just link to his post?

I've noticed that there is some jealousy and resentment of Powerline among the MOB. I suppose this is a natural human response. Last Thursday at Keegan's, one MOBster who shall remain unnamed by me actually referred to Powerline as a "Mainstream Blog". It's become almost uncool to admit that we read Powerline anymore. If that's true then I am uncool. I love how Powerline has so effectively revealed the left wing msm for what they are. And they do just about everything else they attempt equally well.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy veteran's day

I should have posted early this morning on this subject. I want to thank our nation's veterans of the armed services. My dad is a U.S. Marine. He served in the Pacific Theater in World War II. The Japanese sneak attacked Pearl Harbor when my dad was just 17 years old. He lied about his age in order to enlist. I think that's heroic.
Thanks, Dad. Thanks for your service to our country. Thank you for keeping America free.

Thanks to all our fine men and women in uniform today serving their country and protecting freedom.

Mommy knows worst

As promised, here is my review of James Lileks' latest book, Mommy Knows Worst; Highlights From the Golden Age of Bad Parenting Advice. I gave a copy to my mother and got myself my own copy, too. As far as I know, all of this humorist's books are similar to this one. It's choc full of illustrations, photos and clippings. The original item is presented and then the author riffs his wry spin on the item.
Lileks is in his element when he's interpreting pictures. That's his schtick in much the same way that telephone conversation is Bob Newhart's schtick. The author has a keen eye. If men are visually oriented, then Lileks is gifted with 20/20 hindsight. He is able to immediately grasp any significance of a picture, find the comic angle and then put his wacky humorous insights into words for maximum laughability, or at least, for enough effect to turn one corner of your mouth into a grin.
The author sets the tone for this book by placing near its beginning, a picture with this caption; "Do not kiss me....or I will strangle you with my giant monkey-feet". When I'd first seen the picture of this infant, I just saw a picture of a baby. But after reading Lileks' take, I revisited the picture and yes, by God he's right. That baby does indeed have giant monkey-feet! Poor kid. I hope it received the proper corrective surgery. But I wonder if that surgery was performed by a doctor or a veterinarian. Maybe the kid is now in the San Diego Zoo. Lileks doesn't say, but he's got plenty of other funny observations. The heart of the book is Lileks' mixture of outrage and bemusement over the audacity of generations of baby doctors who'd thought they knew something about baby care but were completely and absurdly wrong in more ways than we should have to know. They thought that babies should be placed face down for sleeping. They thought that the rays of direct sunlight were good for extended and repeated periods of time. They never thought to advise the invention of and use of seat belts in cars. On and on and on, Lileks presents laughably false notions that baby doctors had as well as obvious harmful do's & don't do's. For instance, the experts advised new parents, in Lileks' words; To sum up what we've learned thus far; Give the baby air and don't stun it with opium.

In one inspired moment, the author transmits his warning to the hapless mothers of yesteryear;
Mom! This is the future! Hello! THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT!

No review of this book would be complete without mentioning the graphics. Lileks is a modern geek but he is also very much a retro freak. This book is very beautifully illustrated with brilliant color and reproductions of mostly 50s and 60s design. It's fun to look at and it's funny to read. This was an excellent distraction for me, as my arm is broken, I'm dealing with constant low-level pain and it was possible for me to read it in my condition in ways that reading something more demanding, like
say Friedrich Nietzsche, would not. This is an excellent book for people who are bedridden and need to be cheered up. But others would enjoy it, too.
My mother has finished reading it, as well. I asked her of her thoughts. She reports that the book is fairly accurate. She remembers these inept pieces of advice from the years when she was raising six children. Of course, she knew that some of that advice was absurd even back then and did not follow all of it, even though the "experts" urged parents on. But there are some pieces of advice in this book that were entirely unknown to her. So far as humor goes, my mother didn't find herself all that much amused by Mommy Knows Worst. She doesn't remember having a Laugh Out Loud moment in her read and she commented to me that Bill O'Riley's book was funnier. This doesn't surprise me very much. Lileks' humor is almost always rather gentle. His comic sensibility is for my generation much more than for my mother's.

This reminds me of a realization I'd had whilst reading this book. It plays quite a bit like an issue of Mad Magazine; Illustrations. Glib, irreverent commentary on the illustrations. Wackiness.

This is not your mother's Oldsmobile. If Lileks is your cup of tea, I can recommend this book. It's funny and it's educational. That's a useful combination, even if you're not a mom.

That 70s music

Surfing the television stations this morning, I came across one of those half hour commercials from Time-Life for a box set of the music of your life. This one is called 70s Music Explosion.

This is a wonderful, exciting, riveting commercial that everyone who lived through the 70s should stop and watch from beginning to end. These songs, many of them, were recorded and played constantly on the radio and yet I never heard of most of these bands or performers. This commercial is filled with moments of brilliant realizations; "Oh! Pilot! So that's who sang that song!" I never heard of Pilot, yet their song is immediately recognizable to me. They had a hit with a song called Magic.

Oh, oh, oh it's magic. It's so-oh-oh Blah blah blah blah blah blah oh

The Time-Life 70s Music Explosion is a treasure trove of music that you hated all through the 70s, as well as a few gems. But they are now masterfully put all together on 10 cds so they are in one place for you to sneer at. It's kinda like golden oldies radio only without the commercials, so that you can continue to sneer and sneer and sneer without distraction. I actually thought about buying this box, but I talked myself out of it because I'm afraid my face might peel off from chronic sneering.

The 70s is my era. That's when David Bowie was leading the pack in glam rock. So this package really is targeted at marks like me who go all woozy and soft in the middle from memories that flood back at the slightest whiff of these recordings. I'm sure this box set would be a valued possession for many people. But for myself, the television commercial seems to be all I need. I can record this commercial on my VCR and relive the 70s over and over again for a blissful half hour for free and see the video clips, too.

And remember; Disco still sucks.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

New signposts

I suddenly realized that I am now able to type at my keyboard with two hands once again. After all, typing doesn't involve lifting with the arm. It merely involves coordinating the fingers. Fortunately, I can do that and I can do so painlessly and effortlessly.

The other new function returning to me is washing the dishes. When my arm broke, I had a sink full of dirty dishes that I'd meant to get around to. But the broken arm prohibited my doing so. Maybe I could have done them if I'd applied super-human effort. But hey, a broken arm has to be good for some things, don't it? It served as an excuse to not wash the dishes for awhile. I would have had to wrap my left arm in a plastic bag to keep the splint dry. Also, that splint was heavy. Lifting my arm was painful. And that meant that I would have been forced to find ways to use it as little as frickin' possible.
Now that the splint is off, I'm washing dishes. Hell, I have a sink full of soaking dishes in the kitchen even now as I write these words. When dirty dishes sit around for over a month, it is wise to soak them and allow the food particles to soften.

Don't I lead an interesting life? I am so happy to be doing dishes and blogging again with two hands.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Happy news

I was away from my computer all day yesterday, so this is my first opportunity to write of the outstanding good news I learned from my doctor the other day. My x-rays show my second surgery was a success! I am now "on the mend". I am scheduling physical therapy and can reasonably plan to return to work by mid-January. I can't even begin to say how happy I am to know that I can expect my life back as a fully functioning man with a left arm to use.
There is little so sobering as hearing from your surgeon that questions arise as to what to do if surgery will not repair a limb's use. That's the scare that was put into me by my surgeon, and that fright was chased away just this last Wednesday afternoon when we x-rayed my poor elbow and examined the wound. My gosh, my respect is very much multiplied for those patients who have to grapple with less fortune than I've been granted. Bless them all.
Thank heaven for modern medical science. In another age I would be forced to cope with the loss of my left arm. But it looks like it will be rehabilitated to 95% of its motion.

And to think that I nearly lost it simply because a jogger thoughtlessly zigged in my path as I bicycled! It all happened in seconds. Now I'm looking forward to turning this episode into little more than a good story of my life. I seem to have been spared the grimmer possibilities.

Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

First impressions

I received my copy of James Lileks' Mommy Knows Worst today in the mail. Naturally, I ripped it out of its cardboard packaging and examined it immediately. It's beautifully illustrated and is paperback bound. Plopping myself onto my bed, gently nestling my sore, broken arm onto a pillow at my side, I began to delve into the book.
It made me laugh out loud just a few pages in. This, despite the fact that I am not a mother or a father or any sort of parent to anyone whatsoever. Some people will read this book from front to back in one or two days. That's not my style. I like to take my sweet time so the humor is not forced upon me. When I've finished, I'll write a full review.