Monday, November 30, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving report.

Welcome back. We'll try not to let the Planet drift off course again, but given your editor's unstable nature, no promises.

Things I'm thankful for. Yes, I know a lot of bloggers made their list last week, but I don't believe in rushing into things until I get all the facts. This holiday went off without anyone getting seriously injured. Except Molly, who twisted her ankle and needed x-rays. She's on pain killers and crutches, a potentially lethal combination if you ask me. But I'm not the doctor, am I.

Most of the family rolled in Thursday. These are Jenny's nieces and nephews and now the grand-nieces and nephews. Her sister's kids are an amazing bunch, all in service of one sort or another. A mother and son recently completed Basic Training. I can't imagine many families can say that. One of the family works for the State Dept. Another is in nursing school. Their brother, Jon, a man who has earned every salute he gets, couldn't make it this year and we hope he can join us next year. We miss him.

One of the high points of a great weekend was what happened Thursday night just shy of 9:30. My brother-in-law, a pilot and avid fan of the night sky, knew precisely what time this spectacular show would start so, at the appointed time, the family stood out on his front lawn and watched as the space shuttle and the the space station crossed the sky, 220 miles above our upturned, awestruck faces.

Two bright stars, one chasing the other at 17,000 MPH, crossed high over the horizon like a celestial car chase. Then, nearly two-thirds across the sky, they winked out, first the shuttle Atlantis and then close on its heels, the space station. They just disappeared, ducking the sun's spotlight by hiding in the earth's shadow.


That photo up there is by Hal Yeager of the Birmingham News. It's the closest picture I could find of the event. No slam on Mr. Yeager, but it doesn't do it justice.

A great moment of a very good weekend. I hope your holiday was as good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.

I'll be back next week. I needed the break. Thanks for your patience and your encouraging e-mails.

Particularly Jill's.

You guys are the best.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's a good thing we don't have Canada's health care system.

Because then we might have a shortage of H1N1 vaccine.

Oh, wait.

OK, sure, we have people who can't get the vaccine here too, but at least we're not evil like Canada.

Know who jumps to the front of the line in the Great White North? Pregnant women? Children? Geezers?

Nope. Hockey players. That's right. Hockey players got their shots before any of those other, non-hockey people who clutter up Canada's socialist clinics.

And that would never happen here. Here, the vaccine goes to the people who need it most. Like Wall Street bankers.

Meanwhile, someone was fired for giving the hockey players preference, proving that our health care system is nothing like Canada's. Because nothing like that would ever happen here. That's called accountability and it's right up there with socialism as a nonstarter.

On a side note, Happy Veteran's Day to everyone who stood up, raised your right hand and served your nation. I'm honored to be in such distinguished company.

And to all the chickenhawks who let another mother's child take your place in line, go fuck yourself. I'm looking at you, Mr. Cheney. I'm looking at you.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

You forget how young they are.

This is from a terrific piece on the Denver Post blog. It's called, Ian Fisher, American Soldier. It follows Fisher from his enlistment, through his first deployment and home.

Click on the picture for a better view.

Goddamn, now look at those faces. If these kids had shown up on my doorstep last Saturday, I would have given them candy.

Kids. We send kids to war. It's obscene.

Credit to Kevin P. for sending me to this site.

Scout update.

This is Molly and Scout. Molly had a hard time, at first, seeing beyond Scout's uncivilized enthusiasm to her core doggie charm. But I think she's warming up.

I took this with my iPhone, a piece of technology that amazes me daily, from the Star Walk app that tells me what I'm looking at in the night sky, to Le Petit Dummy which is too strange to explain.

Which brings me to the Twitter feed, "Shit My Dad Says." The most recent:

"Son, no one gives a shit about all the things your cell phone does. You didn't invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that."

Check it out.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

This is brilliant.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bend It Like Beck
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorReligion

If you haven't seen Stephen Colbert compare himself to Glenn Beck, watch this.

I've admired Colbert for a long time, but this really is in a category of its own.

Sarah Palin's editor sends her notes.

Carl Hiaasen in his latest column unveils "Confidential response of Sarah Palin's book editor to the first draft of her upcoming memoir, Going Rogue."

A few of the notes:

Tony Blair was the prime minister of Great Britain. Tony Orlando is an American pop singer. (See manuscript page 341).

"Mexican'' is not a language. (See manuscript page 188).

The details of your high-school basketball career are inspirational, but would it be possible to condense that section from three chapters to one? Just a thought.

Ironically, as I walked into the offfice this morning, someone had Fox News (The News Channel That Isn't) on in the break room and the upcoming story was "Why today could be a big victory for Palin."

So Carl is not only funny, but timely.

But Palin is hard to parody. That's why Tina Fey just had to quote her to be funny. Here's my favorite response from last year's Couric interview. This was her answer when Couric asked if she could name any other Supreme Court rulings, aside from Roe V. Wade, that Palin thought were wrong:

"Well, let's see. There's ― of course in the great history of America there have been rulings that there's never going to be absolute consensus by every American, and there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through
the history of America, there would be others but..."

You know, a dim 12th grader could come up with Dred Scott or Plessy v. Ferguson, but what I find amazing is that Sarah couldn't even think of the Supreme Court decision that sided with Exxon against Alaska in 2007.

But why should Palin remember that verdict? She was only the fucking governor.

Jesus. How can you parody a parody?

Thanks to Adrostos over at First Draft for the heads up.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Believe it or not, right wingers are apoplectic

over this photo.

Aw, what the hell, right-wingers are apoplectic over Daylight Savings Time.

Someone, years ago, described the Conservative movement as unable to take yes for an answer. You could lift up the country, transport it whole back to that mystical golden era when everything was right with America (pay no attention to that 91% tax rate) and they would still find reasons to bitch.

As it is here. Just last week I heard some cable news ass complain that Obama was still denying news photography of the coffins returning to Dover. Which, of course, wasn't true.

Then, when he saluted, it was like he'd pissed on the incoming caskets. Limbaugh, who only salutes himself, dismissed it as a "photo-op."

Ho-hum. No big news there. But then I saw this piece by Carey Winfrey in the Times, and it summed up just how I felt about presidential salutes, including Obama's.

"...whenever I saw a president stepping off a helicopter and bringing hand to brow, my drill instructor’s unambiguous words came back to me with much of their original force."

I didn't know how this tradition started, and I was surprised to learn that it was as recent as Reagan. He looks damn good doing it, too.

Winfrey writes:

"Ronald Reagan was thought to be the first, in 1981. He had sought advice on the matter from Gen. Robert Barrow, commandant of the Marine Corps...General Barrow told the president that as commander in chief he could salute anybody he wished."

So, as much as I agree with the idea that our CINC can salute anyone, I'm still a little uncomfortable putting it into the hands of certain people. I won't name names.

We could go back to Nixon's salute, which turned out to be a big "fuck you" to America.

Or we could recognize that the salute, in the right hands, is a heart-felt show of respect.

I'll keep the latter. Thank you.