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Stop me if you've heard this one...

Monday, July 31, 2006
I heard a new phrase this morning on the radio. "Anglo-American". I can only presume that they were trying to describe us "white folks" in a more politcally correct light. However, since we're 75% of the population (as of the 2000 census) I really didn't think we NEEDED a politically correct term to make us feel good.

But then again, who can it hurt? "Anglo-American" has a nice ring to it.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006
So for the past two weeks or so Israel's been bombing the living crap out of Lebanon - and conducting a campaign in the Palestinian territories, as well. You see, about a month ago Hamas (the elected Palestinain authority) fighters tunnelled into an Israeli outpost and kidnapped an Israeli soldier. Then Hezbollah (also a governmental faction in Lebanon) fighters did the same thing, only they got two soldiers.

What really gets me is that a lot of attention is being paid to the collateral damage the Israelis are causing by bombing Lebanon - hundreds of civilians dead. This is tragic,only furthers regional hatred towards Israel, and should be avoided at ALL costs. However, the Israeli's aren't (I believe) targeting civilians. They're targeting what they believe are Hezbollah strongholds, which of course aren't well marked because - like Palestinian terror groups, Hezbollah more or less blends in with the populace and they don't wear nametags. Hezbollah, however, is not only shooting back at the Israeli soldiers (this is okay, it's a war) but they're indiscriminately firing rockets and missiles towards Israeli cities, HOPING to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible. THAT is a crime against humanity and an act of savagery deserving of any penalty that can be dished out. Shame on ANY country in the world that would harbor a group looking to kill as many civilians as possible.

Then there's the issue of our American arrogance. What happens when there's a crisis in the Middle East? We send the Secretary of State, of course, imagining for a second that's going to mean anything in an area of the world that, frankly, hates the U.S. and has given birth to numerous groups bent on "destroying us". We refuse to deal with Syria or Iran directly because they (may or may not) sponsor terrorism - which, of course, is the mostly helpful attitude we could have as THE world superpower. In this latest crisis, Syria's trying to get back "in" and our response is "well, first you have to disarm Hezbollah, then we'll see", rather than actually thinking about working with any group to advance world peace. We're so helpful and flexible that way.

It's my (yes, humble) opinion that the worst thing we could do is "get involved". We're not a neutral party in this conflict. Neither are the neighboring Arab states. Despite the fact that this has been going on for fifty or so years and every time there's a conflict world leaders gather and shake their heads, nothing yet has worked to quell the violence and killing. Perhaps we Americans should just stand back, be quiet, and them them kill each other until it's all over...

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Current Mood: Gray

I'm hot, tired, frustrated, angry, anxious... and did I mention tired? Yeah, yours truly isn't getting enough sleep, tragically.

Movie Review: The Princess Bride

Monday, July 24, 2006
In an attempt to beat the heat over the weekend we went to the Kennedy School and watched The Princess Bride. This is a classic comedic tale which - if you haven't seen it you really ought to - has tickled my funny bone for years and is just a fantastic movie all around.

The movie, narrated by a boy's grandfather, centers around a young man and a young woman who find true love. They're separated - he's believed dead, she's forcibly engaged to the local prince who wants to have her murdered to start a war, so she's kidnapped, he's not dead and comes after her, he's killed, brought back, etc, etc, etc. Filled to the brim with laughter and fun,

The movie isn't perfect as there are a bunch of plot holes and technical issues, but that's not the point of the movie and doesn't detract from its enjoyability. What it IS about is pure fun and adventure and gems of wisdom such as "Never get involved in a land war in Asia." Fun with pirates, princes, torture and swordplay are what the movie is, and it succeeds in an admirable and timeless fashion, which is why - 19 years after the movie was released - it's still a great film.

My thoughts on the Princess Bride? I own it on DVD and you should, too.

Heat Wave

Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Our nation is now in the grips of a deadly heat wave. Now, living in the Pacific Northwest (hereafter abbreviated as "PNW") I personally feel that a "heat wave" is any three consecutive days where temperature peak above 95 degrees. However, I also only count it as rain if I have to set my windshield wipers to "on" versus just hitting the mist wipe from time to time.

So it's a heat wave. While it's supposed to be 85 degrees or so around here today, apparently tomorrow it's supposed to fucking hot this coming weekend... and I'm NOT looking forward to that. Maybe Sunday I can go swimming or something but Friday and Saturday with 100+ degree temperatures? No thanks.

So the whole point of this post is to talk about the weather. I guess I got tired of talking about people in the Middle East killing each other...
Hot days are rare in the PNW, generally speaking. One of the benefits of being here is that the temperatures are - for the most part - usually between 40 and 90 degrees for most of the year. We don't get an unreasonable amount of: sun, snow, or humidity. It's great! You just have to learn that it's wet most of the winter and you're set.

So I guess the whole point of this post is to talk about the weather. I guess I got tired of talking about the fact that people in the Middle East can't stop killing each other.

Movie Review: Failure to Launch

Monday, July 17, 2006
We watched the movie Failure to Launch last night, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker in a movie about a 30-something guy who still lives with his parents and the girl hired to make him fall in love and move out.

While the plot is rather thin, this is far more enjoyable than the last film I recall seeing Matthew McConaughey in: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (not linked because it WAS that bad.) He and Sarah Jessica Parker have decent chemistry and his parent (played by Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw) did a fun job of playing back-up. There was certainly enough comedy to go around and very little of it was offensively stupid.

So, as a "date movie", I'd say this one is pretty watchable. Like I said, the plot is pretty thin but it's not a movie to watch for the plot. It's a movie to watch with your special friend and laugh and enjoy without having to think about it too much. And there, it succeeds.

Final word on "Failure to Launch": Rent it; it'll make her happy without making you sad.

On the run

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I received a phone call from an old friend last night. "They found me," he said.

No, we're not talking about the IRS, the FBI, or even the ATF. We're talking about the reunion committee for the 1996 graduating class of West Linn High School. We're talking about the reunion.

Just about 10 years ago yours truly graduated from that suburban school to which I'd transferred for my last two years from Grant High School (in Portland.) I remember vividly my lack of participation in the graduation ceremony - I chose to babysit instead. Why? Because graduating from high school was meaningless. I did go to the worthless, indulgent all-night party, but in my experience the school district was designed to push you out the door rather than preparing you to step out on your own. But that's not what I want to talk about.

Rather, it the concept of a "reunion". Should I go? Why should I? This is apparently going to take place in October at Kell's Irish Pub in downtown Portland. Now I love Kell's, of course, for a variety of reasons, but do I really want to go there with a bunch of people I don't remember from High School? Those people I graduated with that I care about, such as The Doc and Laura, I've kept in contact with. I've even become good friends with some folks I graduated with AFTER we left high school. So why would I want to "catch up" with those folks I obviously didn't care about?

It's a conundrum, for sure.

I have some time to think about this, of course. When the time comes I won't even be in town, though I'll only be an hour away. Maybe - resorting to herd mentality - if enough of my friends DO go I'll go just to hang out with them.

On a more personal note...

Monday, July 10, 2006
I'm going to start by saying that I don't like talking about myself here. I'll make vague references to my life but - for the most part - I try to shy away from talking about me because I've always felt it's a little pretentious. However, I'm going to depart from that philosophy for a moment.

I want to talk about my girlfriend. Her name is Melanie and I've been in love with her for quite some time. She's fantastic in all sorts of ways that I'm not. For instance:
  • I have absolutely no decorating sense (beyond shades of black) - she's capable of making a place comfortable and welcoming to be in. Perhaps her feng shui is better than mine?
  • She has a smile that can stop stop my heart.
  • She's managed to raise - by herself - the most wonderful, brightest, and by far the most capable seven-year old girl I've ever met.
  • My mother has always said that the secret to success is having "a strong plan B". Melanie is great at not only coming up with a plan B, but a plans C and D as well - and moving from one to the next without a hitch.
  • She views things in a different way than I do, bringing depth to our mutual perspective.
  • And last, she's my brown-eyed girl.
I'm posting this as an effort to bring her more into my life. Pretty much everyone out there KNOWS I have a girlfriend, but few folks have met her. Why? Lots of reasons. After my divorce it was hard to bring someone new in... and then it was hard to break that inertia. I'm a very private person (to the shock of many, I know) and I'm kind of weird, too. So this is to say this this post is an attempt at making right some previous wrongs and trying to march forward to a different tune. Will it work? We'll see.


At noon he stands in a field
kilt laying flat in the breezeless air
music wafting into nearby offices
as he coaxes from his instrument
the wail, the distinctive sound
of bagpipes
he plays a concert for an audience
that isn't there.

The cat is out of the bag

Wednesday, July 05, 2006
So I made it official today. I handed in my notice at work that I'm leaving August 4th. I'll be starting the MBA program at Willamette University a few weeks after that.

I took the GMAT test last fall and did pretty well. I applied in the spring and got in - with a scholarship! I've found an apartment and I'm more or less ready to go... I just have to make sure all my ducks are in a row, which includes things like selling my car and filling out paperwork.

But I'm excited. I really am. Provided I get through this program successfully that should give me a lot of flexibility in the future - something I value. Wish me luck!

A local gem or "Support your local charity"

One of the things I did on my (extraordinarily rare) mini vacation was visit (by invitation) The Old Library Studio (housed in part of what used to be the Hollywood branch of the Multnomah County Library). On Sunday they had a showing of a documentary called "Noise in the Library", which shows off what the Old Library Studio does.

What does it do? According to their web page:
It is the mission of The Old Library Studio to maintain a safe arts-education center where teens can learn to use technology as a tool to explore their musical creativity. At The Old Library Studio the needs of growing musicians and composers are met by a community of creative mentors.
In plain English it means they're a musical studio dedicated to giving young musicians an area in which to study, understand, and creatively use production equipment and the technology surrounding it. Pretty cool.

Anyway, I saw this documentary (made by one of the young students who studies there) and was quite impressed. So I call on my reader (er... readers) to think about supporting this local gem in any way you can. They do good.



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