Tuesday, October 21, 2003

October 21, 2003: We got in from the Bouchercon about 6:00 yesterday. We had a pretty much hassle-free flight, which was a surprise, considering the recent box-cutter
incidents. I thought we'd be trapped in lines all day, but it didn't happen.

We didn't gamble much. We got a roll of nickels in each registration
packet, and I quit when I was up by a quarter. Judy lost the roll and
another couple of bucks. That was it. A friend of ours bet $200 on the
University of Texas to cover the spread in their game on Saturday, so he did
all right. He also won over $400 at the blackjack tables. He had a much
more profitable weekend than we did.

Since we were there mainly for the convention, we took in only one show, the
Lance Burton magic show. It was amazing and terrific. I couldn't figure
out how he did any of it. I'm a big fan of magic shows, and I wasn't
interested in seeing any of the other stuff, like Wayne Newton.

We did walk down most of the Strip and visit most of the big hotels. I know
some people don't like Las Vegas, but I liked it just fine. The
extravagance and glitz were overwhelming, but I like the idea that there's a
place like that where people can go if they want to. There were lots of
youngsters there, barely into their twenties. By that age I'd been to
Dallas and Waco.

For us the convention is more about visiting with friends than about the
programs, but we did attend a few panels, all of which were pretty good. We
had a great time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

October 14, 2003: Tomorrow Judy and I leave for Las Vegas where this year's Bouchercon is being held. I was Fan Guest of Honor at the convention last year, and Judy and I won the Anthony Award for "Best Short Story." So this year's convention might be a bit of a let-down. Maybe we'll win Big Bucks at the casnio to make up for it.

Monday, October 13, 2003

October 13, 2003: I propose this simple test for Rush and the Dittohead Nation. I'll pick a celebrity's name at random. OK, Alec Baldwin. Now let's assume that Alec Baldwin is in Rush's exact situation: popping hillbilly heroin for years, turned in by his housekeeper, takes responsibility after being exposed on the cover of National Enquirer in supermarkets all over the nation.

So. How would Rush and the Dittoheads respond?

(A) By urging tolerance and compassion because "Alec's only human" and "we all make mistakes."

(B) By entering full attack mode and saying that Alex is "typical liberal scum" and "typical Hollywood elite" (a group that includes everyone except Arnold S. and Dennis Miller, since the Repubs want to run them for office), who deserves to be ridiculed today and every day for months.

I'm betting it would be (B), and all I'm asking is the same treatment for El Rushbo.
October 13, 2003: The latest National Enquirer has another big article on Rush Limbaugh. I haven't bought a copy, and so far nobody on the 'Net has had anything to say about it. So I don't know if it adds anything to the original article or is just more of the same to sell the magazine. I'm eager to find out, though.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

October 11, 2003: Let's see if I have this right: Rush Limbaugh used drugs, abused drugs, and bought drugs illegally. He concealed his drug use. He confessed, but not until he was caught. And on the air he ranted against drug abusers. That spells massive hypocrisy to me, but apparently he's already been forgiven by legions of dittoheads, who're already buying into the spin that "he didn't use those nasty recreational drugs," so that makes everything all right.

Friday, October 10, 2003

October 10, 2003: Well, it's true. Rush Limbaugh has fessed up to being a drug user. He hasn't said anything about being a World-Class hypocrite, but he certainly is. He's made plenty of public comments about how drug users should be treated, some of them made while he was on drugs. But of course he won't be treated as he said others should be treated. He'll take 30 days off to break his addiction, and then he'll return, no doubt to cries of huzzah! from his ditto-headed millions, who won't see they hypocrisy in their actions any more than he sees it in his own.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

October 8, 203: Rush Limbaugh has hired Roy Black as his attorney. Here's some info:

"Defense Attorney Roy Black said on MSNBC at 1:34am PST on Dec-5: '. . . John Ashcroft is no friend of civil liberties or the Constitution.'"

And this:

"[Black's] achievements include his successful defense of William Kennedy Smith on a rape charge in Palm Beach; Eller Media in charges stemming from the bus-bench electrocution of a 12-year-old boy in Miami; and the Albertsons supermarket chain, which the state of Florida charged with manslaughter in the death of a shoplifter."

Looks like Rush doesn't care whom he hires. After all, could a guy who said that about Ashcroft or who defended William Kennedy Smith really be Rush's kind of guy?

Monday, October 06, 2003

October 6, 2003: I have two hardcover books out this month. Not a wise move from the standpoint of people who are going to buy them. Who can afford two hardbacks by the same guy? I blame the publishers.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

October 4, 2003: Is this a great country or what? The right wingers are vociferously supporting a huge budget deficit, a sex addict, and drug abuser. It doesn't get any better than this.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

October 2, 2003: Well, it's really been a while, hasn't it? What's brought me out of my self-imposed exile? Rush Limbaugh. Old El-Rushbo, as he likes to call himself, has stepped in it with both feet. First his comments about Donovan McNabb, and now his apparent drug habit. All within a few days. Wow.

The racism first. Anybody who listens to Rush knows he's made racist remarks in the past, telling one caller to "take the bone out of your nose and call me back." He uses fake dialect ("Let me ax you something) and so on. But so what? Certain black sports figures make racist remarks all the time, and nobody fires them. What about Barry Bonds' comments on breaking Ruth's homerun record? What about nearly anything Charles Barkley says? Rush is an idiot, so why pick on him?

As for the drugs, well, if this is true, the Rush is a bigger hypocrite than I thought. And I thought he was a big one. He's always been a hardliner when it comes to drugs. If he's a user, then he should have kept his fat yap shut. If it's true and they can make a criminal case against him, then he should get off the radio and live in his Florida mansion (if he gets probation; otherwise, make him do hard time with a big black cellmate named Bubba).

Sunday, August 17, 2003

August 17, 2003: I've registered to be a "Reader Reviewer" at the New York Times site. Now I, too, can be powerful and influential!

Saturday, August 16, 2003

August 16, 2003: Judy and I both thought OPEN RANGE was terrific. Of course I'm a sucker for
westerns, and there are all too few of them these days. That may be
changing, as we saw the previews for THE MISSING (Boy, does Tommy Lee Jones
look rugged) and for THE ALAMO. Both of them look darned good, but I'm
afraid to get my hopes too high for THE ALAMO. But I digress. Some
reviewers have criticized OPEN RANGE for bad dialogue, but I didn't seen a
bad line in it. Some awkwardness maybe in the love scenes, but that was
about it. And Costner isn't afraid to take his time setting things up and
letting the story play out at its own pace without juicing it up. I like
movies that move that way if they don't bore me, and this one didn't bore me
at all. Robert Duvall was, as usual, really good, and Michael Jeter has the
Gabby Hayes part down pat. Too bad he died soon after the movie was

Thursday, August 07, 2003

August 7, 2003: I have to go to the dentist this afternoon and get a tooth crowned. All the hard stuff has been done, so this part shouldn't be too bad.

I see that Arnie is running for Gov. of California. That's it. I give up. I mean, what are his qualifications? And aren't many of his supporters the same ones who were, only a few weeks ago, calling for Hollywood stars to sit down and shut up? Of course we all knew they meant "Hollywood stars who don't agree with us," but they didn't say that. Hypocrisy rears its head again. I think I'll just try not to care any more. The Republicans are going to redistrict Texas and take over California, so they'll own the world. I might as well get used to it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

August 6, 2003: Seems as if it's getting to be longer and longer between postings here. I guess I'll have to either do better or give up. We're going to the ArmadilloCon on Friday, so it's likely that I won't be posting there. I'd post more, but I have nothing to say. I lead a very boring life.

Yesterday the Fabulous G-Strings practiced at the college. Rochelle sounds great, and her song should bring the house down. We don't have to worry about the other songs since that one's so strong.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

July 27, 2003: Tomorrow I'll be 62 years old. Old enough to collect Social Security. Now that's a scary thought. Today I was looking at birthday photos dating back to 1941. How did that little blonde-headed kid get to be an old man? And how did it happen so soon? Most of the photos are of my and my father, with whom I shared the birthday. He looks so young in the early ones that it's hard to believe he's been dead for nearly 7 years now. Time goes by way too fast, folks, and we don't even know it.

Friday, July 25, 2003

July 25, 2003: No doubt my millions of readers have been scratching their heads and asking themselves, "Where's Bill's Blog." Well, I have the answer. It's right here, but it hasn't been here lately because my computer suffered a horrible crash, probably brought on by a lightning strike that fried my cable modem. It took quite a while to get things straightened out, but now all is well, at least for the time being.

Monday, July 07, 2003

July 7, 2003: Last Thursday, we saw LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED, WHITE, AND BLONDE, which killed whatever brain cells I had remaining after seeing CHARLIE'S ANGELS 2: FULL THROTTLE. I guess I'll never learn.

We visited my brother and Judy's mother on the 4th. Also drove over to Waco to see Billy Lee and Charlotte Laughlin, friends from the old HPU days in Brownwood. They hadn't changed a bit, and it was great to see them and have a visit.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

July 2, 2003: For a while I thought maybe Donald Rumsfeld had a glimmering of intelligence. Now I realize he's just another dangerous nut.

Yesterday he compared the "messy" situation in Iraq to the one in the American colonies after the revolution. You might have thought the press corps would have jumped up as one and shouted, "False analogy!" But as far as I can determine, nobody did. Maybe the press corps is as ignorant as Rummy.

History isn't my strong suit, but I thought that the situation in America was that the colonists had just driven out what they considered to be an occupying force and overthrown a dictatorial rule. In Iraq, America IS the occupying force, and it's imposing a dictatorial rule.

Americans were trying to put together a democratic form of government to replace the one that had been imposed on them from outside. Paul Bremer said a couple of days ago, "We will impose our will on them." That's the kind of thing that's always exemplified democracy to me, all right. And just to prove that wasn't a fluke, he cancelled the scheduled free elections. Next he appointed mayors and governors of his own choosing. All of us English majors will remember "My Kinsman, Major Molineux," in which we learned that the colonial governors appointed by the crown were the most hated men in the colonies.

You might think that Donald Rumsfeld would know some of that history, or that maybe somebody in the press corps would. To show my restraint, I'm not going to make the obvious remark about what happens to people who fail to learn from history. Or then again, maybe I will make it.

Monday, June 30, 2003

June 20, 2003: Joan Lowery Nixon died this past weekend, and Sara Ann Freed died earlier last week. These were two of the first people I met in the world of mystery writers and publishing, and they were also two of the nicest. It's hard to believe they're gone.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

June 25, 2003: We went to Houston last night to a book signing by Christopher Moore. He's a very funny guy in person, and of course his books are hilarious. His new one is FLUKE: I KNOW WHY THE WINGED WHALE SINGS. Turns out he's a fan of Joe Lansdale.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

June 19, 2003: The amazing and blatant hypocrisy of George W. Bush never fails to amaze me. Now he's calling people who question the existence of WMD "revisionist historians," as if he had never mentioned WMD, never used them as justification for the war with Iraq, never even thought about them much. He and all his supporters are saying, "Hey, Saddam was a bad guy, and we got him. Aren't you glad?" Sure, Saddam was bad, but so are plenty of others, including some members of the "Coalition of the Willing." We don't go after them. We went after Saddam because he was supposed to be a clear and present danger to the security of this country. All I'm asking is that the president not lie to me, or send Colin Powell to the U.N. to lie even more. But that's too much to ask.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

June 17, 2003: We had to go to Angela's today because her car needed to go to the shop. We left one of our cars with her and came home. About an hour after we got back, Angela called. Her car was ready. We should've taken one car and waited. But then how were we to know that?

I read yesterday that one poll shows that 1/3 of Americans believe that we've located Saddam's WDM. And 22% believe that Saddam used WDM against us in the war. So I give up. The nation is full of ignorant ostriches who blindly love Dub and don't care about the facts.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

June 12, 2003: Tomorrow we're heading for a visit with Judy's mom and with the Mexia High School Class of 1959. The class gets together every year at this time, but it seems to me that interest is waning. Lots of people have said they wouldn't be there this year, and I suspect that the turn-out will be the worst ever. Even the guy who urged the yearly meeting isn't going to come. What does that tell us? I'll be there, though, and it will be good to see some of the old gang again. And "old" is the right word. How could it be that we graduated 44 years ago? It seems impossible, but there it is. Good grief.

Monday, June 09, 2003

June 9, 2003: Can it have been five days since I posted? Doesn't seem like it. The Repubs are spinning like crazy on the WMD issue these days, but here's a thought: What if they know exactly where the WMD are hidden out and are just waiting until the Demo outcry reaches a peak of frenzy to spring it on them? That would be a stroke of genius. Somehow I don't think that's the case, but it's an interesting idea.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

June 4, 2003: Today is my 38th wedding anniversary. Judy and I got married in Thornton, Texas, and honeymooned in Colorado Springs. It was the first time that I'd ever been out of the state, if you don't count a day trip across the border into Mexico when I was a kid. These days, most kids have travelled more than that by the time they're out of kindergarten. Anyway, we had a wonderful time, so it was a good start to the marriage. Now that we've lasted this long, maybe we'll make it for a few more years.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

June 3, 2003: Went to the dentist yesterday to have a lost filling replaced. I thought this morning that the problem was solved, but now it's later in the day, and I'm not so sure. I may have to get a crown. I'd really hate that. I'm hoping that I just need one more day of recovery and that by tomorrow all will be well.

Monday, June 02, 2003

June 2, 2003: Rush Limbaugh is spinning the WMD stories like mad today, which must mean there's something to all the criticism. Either that, or he really hates it that the stories are getting some traction and maybe tarnishing Dub a little. Dub is such a moron that he declared two trailers "weapons of mass destruction" the other day Poland. How does the press (and everyone else) let him get away with such lies?

Saturday, May 31, 2003

May 31, 2003: Saw THE ITALIAN JOB yesterday. Hokum, but high-grade hokum. Very Hollywood, very slick. Check your brain at the door. I'm not a fan of Marky Mark, and I'd rather have seen someone else in the lead role. Everyone else was fine. I need to see the original version again to compare them.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

May 29, 2003: Ray Eubanks again. I would never have gone to school if it hadn't been for Ray. He lived about two blocks from me, and when I wouldn't go to first grade, my mother arranged for him to walk by the house every morning and get me. So I walked to school with him for a good long time. We were walking together the day my grandfather (my father's father) died. His house was separated from ours by one other house, so we had to pass it every day. In fact, we walked along his curved driveway nearly every time. I remember seeing his body (it was covered with a sheet, but I knew what it was) being put into the hearse. At the time, I didn't think that much of it. I knew he'd been very sick, and now he was dead. No big deal. At the age of six, what did I know about death?

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

May 28, 2003: I was thinking about Ray Eubanks today. I don't know how memory works for other people, but I don't seem able to remember long uninterrupted stretches of the past. I just remember vivid moments. One of those is of sitting beside Ray in church. I don't know how old we were, but it's about my first memory of being allowed to sit with someone other than my own family. One of the songs was "Since Jesus Came into my Heart," and I was amazed that Ray knew it by memory. I was impressed by his singing of the high part on "floods of joy o'er my soul like the sea billows roll," mainly because I didn't know what a sea billow was, and I doubt that Ray did, either.

Ray was my age, or a little older. He's been dead now for ten or fifteen years.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

May 25, 2003: Last night we watched OUR TOWN on Showtime. I first read the play more than 40 years ago, and I thought it was great. It's probably one of the things that made me want to be a writer. I later taught the play to the students at Corsicana High School, but after that I didn't read it again. I was amazed at how well I remembered it, considering that I can hardly remember a book I read two weeks ago. I was also amazed to recall how deeply I felt the play when I was just a kid. Sometimes I don't think my understanding has deepened at all over the years. Anyway, it was great to see a performance of it and to find out that it still had the power to affect me and make me think again those old thoughts.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

May 24, 2003: We saw THE MATRIX RELOADED yesterday. It occurred to me after the movie that I didn't have a clue as to what was going on during the "philosophical discussions." Obviously I'm not as deeply into this stuff as a lot of people are. I do, however, understand Neo's decision at the end to save Carrie-Ann Moss instead of the entire human race. Given a choice between the human race and Carrie-Ann Moss in a leather suit, I know I'd do the same thing.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

May 22, 2003: I guess the latest move in Iraq is the change from "We're going to let them form their own democratic government with a few months," or words to that effect, to "We're going to become an occupying power, stay for a zillion years, sell their oil, and hear the lamentation of their women." But people still think George W. Bush has never told a lie.

Monday, May 19, 2003

May 19, 2003: Well, let's see. I thought that by now Iraq was supposed to be moving right along toward democracy, its people having greeted us as liberators. Instead, we're starting to talk about shooting to kill the looters. Instead of getting better, the looting's getting worse, or, as Rummy would put it, more untidy. And al-Qaeda terrorists seem to be striking again, though they're supposed to be "marginalized." Of course we're going to find them and give them a sample of American justice, according to George W. Bush. We can't find Osama bin Laden, we can't find the anthrax killer, and we can't even find Saddam. So how are we going to find these terrorists? Maybe Dub can spot them as he flies a jet over Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

May 15, 2003: It's looking more and more as if there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Here's a quote. "In his dramatic presentation to the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 6, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States 'knew' that Baghdad had dispersed rocket launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agents to locations in western Iraq." Well, if they had 'em, why not use 'em? And if they had 'em, where the hell are they? We were lied to, pure and simple. And the scary thing is that Dub is going to get away with it. Nobody has the guts to call him on it.

Monday, May 12, 2003

May 12, 2003: I spent Mother's Day weekend in Mexia and Thornton. On Saturday I went to the memorial service for Louise Carr and saw several members of the Carr family whom I hadn't seen since my college days: Aletha, John Wesley, and Judy. Joe Carr was there, of course, but I see him and his wife (Judy Kennedy) every now and then in Austin. I also saw Nancy Ann Dillard for the first time since she graduated. I recognized her immediately, even though that's been nearly 50 years.

On Sunday I mowed the yard for Judy's mother. Angela and Allen drove up for lunch, and we had a nice little family gathering.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

May 8, 2003: I was mowing the lawn this morning (one of my least favorite pastimes), and an old song kept running through my head. It was one my parents had on a 78 when I was a kid. "The Sidewalks of New York." It's about Sweet Rosie O'Grady and me and Mamie O'Rourke, who tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York. It occurred to me that I was probably the only person in the entire United States, if not the world, who was thinking about that particular song and that when my generation passed away, nobody was likely to think of it again. When kids these days are old guys mowing the lawn, I guess they'll be thinking about a song that goes, "I got a ho whose name be Sue, she can whip you ass and you ho too." Somehow it's not the same, but, hey, for all I know Sweet Rosie O'Grady was a ho.

Bill Crider

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

May 7, 2003: I turned in the grades today for my "distance learning" course. Two students completed all the work. Not a good percentage. Also worked on MACAVITY, producing four more mailing comments. Only six or seven to go.

As for the political world, let's see: Dub's budget director quit because he wants to run for governor of Indiana. Or so we were told. The next day it turns out that the guy is being investigated for insider trading. Hmmmm. We're told that Dub had to fly to the carrier to make his speech because it was too far from shore for him to reach it by helicopter. Turns out that it was right on shore. Ho-hum, just another routine lie for Ari Fleischer, who spins them out daily. And what about those WMDs?

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

May 6, 2003: Went to the DAV store and bought three LPs, two by Connie Francis and LAST DATE by Floyd Cramer. Went to Wal-Mart and bought some paving stones that I plan to put on the graves of Speedo and Jeoffry. A busy day for the old retired guy!

Sunday, May 04, 2003

May 4, 2003. We're slowly recovering from the loss of Speedo, but we still keep looking for him. Sam, the youngest cat, doesn't seem to notice that anything's changed. Geri, the one we call "Baby," was with Speedo all the time. She looked for him every day and slept right beside him, as close to him as she could get. She seems a little puzzled and lost, but who knows what a cat's thinking.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

April 30, 2003: I've been away for a while, but I'll try to do better.

Speedo was a gray tabby who showed up at our house late in March 1988. We didn't know where he came from, and we didn't realize how lucky we were that he'd chosen to live with us. He was one of the best cats ever. He wasn't “like a member of the family.” He was a member of the family. He eventually grew up to weigh around 18 pounds. There was a lot of him to love.

For the last couple of years, Speedo had arthritis in his spine and back legs, but being a cat of great courage and spunk, he was able to get around remarkably well. He never complained, and he seemed to be doing fine.

On Wednesday evening, April 23, Speedo went downhill suddenly and fast. By the next morning, he could hardly move, and I rushed him to the vet. The vet did a lot for him, and when I picked him up on Friday, he was almost his old self.

It didn't last. On Sunday, he went down hill just as suddenly, but even faster.

I had a dream about him last Wednesday night. I dreamed that he and I were both in the house where I grew up. Speedo was young and lithe and fast. So lithe and fast, in fact, that he ran straight up the wall, nearly to the ceiling. Then he turned and jumped to the narrow ledge that ran above the windows. He walked along it without putting a foot wrong, front or back. His head was high, his spine straight. When he reached the end of the ledge, he jumped to the bed, light as air, and purring as loud as only Speedo could purr.

Very early on Monday morning, Speedo left us. I hope that when he went from the light to the dark, he was having my dream. I hope that somewhere along the way he entered into it and that right now he’s running lithe and strong and fast and purring as loud as only Speedo can purr.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

April 9, 2003: I really need to do better about this blogging. But I have so little to say. Now, however, I can admit that all my fears about the Iraq war seem to have been unjustified. Easy victory, no great loss of American lives. (Tough about those Iraqi civilians, though, not to mention a few journalists who got in the way.) Now I can start worrying about the economy again, but since Rush promises it will "explode" when we declare victory in Iraq, I guess I shouldn't worry about that, either. Except that we've won, and the market is down today. That can't be good.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

April 1, 2003: It's April Fool's day, and so here I am. I guess there was not Shiite rebellion in Basra, after all. Do the Brits have control there yet? I mean, it's been a while. I guess the cakewalk never materialized. But then the radio talk show hosts are all saying now that nobody ever promised this was going to be easy. Too bad they don't post transcripts of their programs. Or, from their point of view, it's lucky they don't, because they're lying like rugs. That's fine, though. After all, they're radio talk show hosts. Natalie Mains had better keep her damned opinions to herself, or get a radio show. Then she could spout them for three hours a day to her adoring listeners like Rush does.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

March 25, 2003: First we hear that there's a Shiite rebellion in Basra. Then we hear there's not. Sort of makes you wonder.

I read an interesting article that says the largest importer of Iraqi oil is, you guessed it, the U.S. I wonder what all those "Freedom" Fries idiots think of that?

Monday, March 24, 2003

March 24, 2003: It's been a while. I've been busy, and I haven't really felt like blogging. But I'm back.

I heard Rush Limbaugh crowing today that "all our reasons for this war have been totally vindicated already." Or words to that effect. Why did he say that? (1) There was an al-Qaeda training camp in northern Iraq. (2) There was a big "chemical weapons plant." Of course what Rush didn't mention is that everybody has known about that al-Qaeda camp for months, and there's no connection between it and Saddam. It's in the Kurdish-held territory. Rush knows that, but he must also know how stupid his audience is. They'll think the al-Qaeda were training in one of Saddam's palaces. The "weapons plant" was first mentioned in 1991, so I wouldn't call it a big discovery. And there were no weapons found in it, another little point Rush failed to mention. But to the Dittoheads it doesn't matter. Rush never gets it wrong, so we're totally vindicated.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

March 12, 2003: Haven't blogged in a while, but today I was listening to some moronic talk show host telling me how good I had it, now that Bush has driven the market to near its five-year low. "We've in touch with ourselves. We're more real!" I guess what we really need to put us in touch with our real selves and show how we handle adversity is another Great Depression. This moron probably thinks so.

Friday, March 07, 2003

March 7, 2003: Here's my take on the whole Iraq mess. What do you do when you're faced with a massive (and record) deficit, when unemployment is rising, and when a double-dip recession is staring you in the face? You use the "Great Satan" defense, as I'm naming it in honor of the Ayatollah. You're the leader, and you have people who are likely to blame things on you, so you give them someone else to hate instead, an easily identifiable enemy, a Great Satan, who'll take their minds off the fact that gas prices are soaring, that the economy is in the tank, and that things are looking worse, not better.

It's working for Kim Jong Il in North Korea. He's just using us the way we're using Saddam.

And it's working for Dub. But I don't know how long he can keep it up.

I thought the press conference last night was a mess. First of all, he didn't call on Helen Thomas, becoming the first president to ignore her in about half a century. He didn't call on the Washington Post guy, either. When asked about a cost estimate for the war, he didn't answer, implying that he didn't know, which, of course, isn't true. I'm sure they have estimates galore. He repeated the same catch phrases over and over. (I counted four times for "If Saddam doesn't disarm, we will disarm him.") I guess his handlers pounded certain "talking points" into his head. He said at least twice, "if this war is forced on us." Nobody is forcing us into a war except George W. Bush, as I see it.

He also said that "it's up to North Korea's neighbors" to handle that situation because Kim is more of a threat to them than to us. But a part of one of their missles is in Alaska, not part of one of Saddam's. Today, one of their top guys says they're willing to "put the torch to New York." I don't recall Saddam having said anything at all like that. It would seem to me he's much more of a threat to his neighbors than to us, but Bush hasn't said it's up them to handle things.

And his "neighbors" comment caused the Japanese stock market to fall to a 20-year low this morning. Dub isn't content with destroying our economy; he's going to work on the world's. Speaking of the economy, gas prices aren't going down any time soon. They're going up. The job figures were awful this morning. I think we're in for that double dip, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if Dub ramped up those terror warnings to red to take our mind off that.

As you can tell, I'm very depressed about all this, and I don't see a good result from any of it. Maybe Dub will pull it off and prove me wrong. I really, really hope so.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

March 5, 2003: You know you're thinking too much about Iraq when you wake up in the morning and the first thought that pops into your head is: "How long has it been since Dub mentioned the Iraq and al-Qaida connection?" The answer seems to be that he hasn't mentioned it since Colin Powell tried it out on the UN and pretty much got laughed at around the world. The connection was so tenuous that nobody believed in it, mainly because (in my humble opinion) it never existed. So Dub has finally dropped it. I guess his propaganda team now thinks the idea is firmly implanted in people's minds, so they don't need to tell that lie, er, make that excuse any longer. Dub's latest line seems to be that we're going to commit a huge war of agression to bring democracy to the Middle East. Yes, that's what America has always been about: forcing our form of government on everybody else because it's good for them.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

March 1, 2003: We saw DAREDEVIL yesterday. It was OK, but Ben Affleck isn't much as an action hero. I'm sure I missed many of the little in-jokes for the comics fanboys, too. Maybe HULK will be better.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

February 27, 2003: We went to Dallas last week to DFW Con, a small regional SF convention. We had a good time, though there weren't too many people there that we knew. We left just in time to avoid the ice storm.

Mr. Rogers has died, and there's all kinds of advice about how to help your kids deal with it. What about helping me deal with it. Sure, I'm an Old Guy, but my kids grew up with Mr. Rogers, and I watched, too. Maybe Old Guys are supposed to be able to deal with death. Well, I don't like it much, and I don't like dealing with it. Mr. Rogers is in a better neighborhood now, I guess, but that doesn't make me feel a whole lot better.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

February 19, 2003: I had to go to Wal-Mart's today, so I turned on the car radio, and there was Rush Limbaugh. El Rushbo assured me and his other billions of listeners that Dub "knows a lot more than he's telling" about the Iraq situation. If so, I wonder why all the secrecy. Why can't he just clue us in? Then everyone would be on his side.

The Maharushie also informed me that the reason Germany and France are against the war is that they both have "dirty hands" and are guilty of supplying Iraq with the means to create weapons of mass destruction. It's times like that when I'd like to have old Rush in the same room so I could ask who sold him all those biological weapons we're so worried about. Ronnie and George the First, I believe. With Rummy's able assistance, of course.
February 19, 2003: I've decided about another thing that worries me about Dub's administration, and that's the total lack of diplomacy. I wasn't all that fond of George the First, but at least when he went to war, he could build a coalition. Dub and his crew are so arrogant that they can't. The First sent James Baker all over the world for meetings. Dub makes a phone call, and it's not working. We've been able to bribe some nations into a coalition, but look who they are: Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain, Denmark, etc. Not exaclty powerhouses, and most of them won't contribute a single soldier. None of them will contribute a cent to rebuilding Iraq. And now Turkey wants a bigger bribe. I think very little thinking and planning went into building a coalition, and I think people who say Dub and his gang are arrogant and condescending are right. Sure, we're the most powerful nation on earth, but we don't have to go around telling everyone that we are and that they'd better shape up. That's no way to win allies.

Monday, February 17, 2003

February 17, 2003: On Thursday we're heading for ConDFW, a small regional SF convention in its second year. We'll get to see some friends, but we probably won't sell any books there. It'll be nice to have a little road trip, however.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

February 15, 2003: Headline and first paragraph from Washington Times article today:

Bin Laden son, al Qaeda terrorists spotted in Iran
By Bill Gertz

U.S. intelligence agencies say Osama bin Laden's oldest son, Sad, is in Iran along with other senior al Qaeda terrorists, as Iranian military forces have been placed on their highest state of alert in anticipation of a U.S. attack on Iraq, according to intelligence officials.

So tell me again. We're attacking Iraq because there's a connection with al-Qaeda, right?
February 15, 2003: My blog is never listed under "blogs of note" on blogger's homepage. Conspiracy? I report, you decide.
February 15, 2003: Well, I was right. George W. didn't hold a press conference about the latest terror threat, but then you can't blame him since it turned out to be based on a lie that our "intelligence" services believed and didn't even try to corroborate. He hasn't held any press conferences about the U.N.'s latest little rebellion against the U.S., either. He gives "addresses," where he reads things written for him by others, but there's never any give and take. Wonder why? And I wonder how long it will be before he blames the world's distaste for him on Bill Clinton?

Friday, February 14, 2003

February 14, 2003: Here's another completely unbiased report. But first this word from ABC News:

>>The officials said that a claim made by a captured al Qaeda member that Washington, New York or Florida would be hit by a "dirty bomb" sometime this week had proven to be a product of his imagination.

The informant described a detailed plan that an al Qaeda cell operating in either Virginia or Detroit had developed a way to slip past airport scanners with dirty bombs encased in shoes, suitcases, or laptops, sources told ABCNEWS. The informant reportedly cited specific targets of government buildings and Christian or clerical centers.

"This piece of that puzzle turns out to be fabricated and therefore the reason for a lot of the alarm, particularly in Washington this week, has been dissipated after they found out that this information was not true," said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA counter-terrorism chief and ABCNEWS consultant. It was only after the threat level was elevated to orange — meaning high — last week, that the informant was subjected to a polygraph test by the FBI, officials told ABCNEWS.>>>

Now of course they aren't going to back off the warning because that would make them look like the idiots they are. And this is the kind of "intelligence" that's going to get us into a war! I can't believe it. In fact, I'm almost embarrassed for the country. Anyone who thinks Osama bin Laden didn't win hasn't taken a look around lately. People are running around like Chicken Little, looking for the sky to fall and thinking that a sheet of plastic and some duct tape will save them. Whole cities are in full panic mode, aided and abetted by the wonderful deparment of Homeland Insecurity. It's just pitiful.

And speaking of "intelligence," how about this bit:

>>On Tuesday, George Tenet, the CIA director, told the armed services committee panel that the agency had provided the UN inspectors with all the information it had on "high" and "moderate" interest locations inside Iraq – those sites where there was a possibility of finding banned weapons. But Mr Tenet later told a different panel that he had been mistaken and that there were in fact "a handful" of locations the UN inspectors may not have known about.

Senator Levin, from Michigan, responded by saying the CIA director had not been telling the truth. Citing a number of classified letters he had obtained from the agency, he said it was clear the CIA had not shared information with the inspectors about a "large number of sites of significant value".>>>

Gee, can you believe that the CIA would lie? Damn right they would, and I'm starting to remember the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, based on an incident that we now know never occurred. And then there was those troops that George the First said were massed on the border of Kuwait and that nobody could ever find on the satellite photos. As I say, we're going to war on the basis of lies and falsified "intelligence," and nobody seems to care.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

February 12, 2003: It's hard to write this, as I am huddled in my office with plastic duct-taped over the windows, and it's crowded with the three-day's supply of food, water, and Energizers.

Here's my latest theory: I'd give heavy odds that any other president within the last 40 years would have held a press conference today to respond to the latest bin Laden threat. I'll also give even heavier odds that George W. Bush won't hold a press conference. Why? I think there are two possibilities:

A. He doesn't want to reveal his fiendishly clever plan to trick bin Laden the way he tricked the liberals with Colin Powell.

B. He would look like a doofus.

Guess which one I think is more likely?

If he did hold a press conference and if I were a reporter, here's what I'd ask:

1. If you'd gotten Osama bin Laden dead or alive as you promised, we wouldn't be huddled in our offices, would we?

2. If you'd gotten Osama bin Laden dead or alive as you promised, Saddam wouldn't have anyone to give his alleged weapons to, would he?

3. Why are you afraid to say the name "Osama bin Laden"?

4. Wouldn't you call it stretching a point to say that a tape denouncing Saddam Hussein as an infidel proves that he and bin Laden are plotting against the U.S. together?

I'd probably never get to question 2, since, as we all know, it's treasonous to question the president about such things. It was fine to question Bill Clinton about anything and everything, but it's unAmerican to question Dub.

Monday, February 10, 2003

February 10, 2003: I hear that one of Bush's staff called the French "cheese-eating surrender monkeys." That's so good I'm almost willing to go over to the Bushies. But not quite.

One of my problems with the Iraq war is that I don't trust my own government. That NASA lie I mentioned the other day is just one tiny example, a small lie, but a bald-faced one, and the truth would have been better.

Here's another example: Tom DeLay sent out a letter over his signature that called union leaders "scum-sucking pigs." OK, so that's an exaggeration. What he said was, "the big labor bosses are willing to harm freedom-loving workers, the war effort and the economy to acquire more power." To his great surprise, union leaders were a tad chapped, so now his office says that he didn't send the letter, or if he did, he didn't read it, or if he did, he didn't sign it, or if he did, he doesn't believe it. And he's still holding those weekly staff meetings with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy.

And: "Read my lips: No new taxes."

Not to mention: "I never had sex with that woman."

And finally: Richard Nixon.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

February 9, 2003: Here's why I still don't get the whole war with Iraq thing:

We’re told that we’re attacking Iraq because Saddam Hussein is a bad guy. But the way I understand the conditions George Bush has imposed, if Saddam had given up all his “weapons of mass destruction,” he could have kept right on killing people in his palaces, in his homes, and in the streets, just as long as he does it with a shotgun, rifle, handgun, grenade, knife, what have you. If the Kurds bothered him, he could bomb the heck out of them with conventional bombs. So we’re not attacking him because he’s a bad guy.

We’re told that we’re attacking Iraq because Saddam Hussein has a huge, powerful army, because he has nuclear weapons and the deliver systems for them, because he’s been threatening us and neighboring countries, and because he’s a real looney tune. No, wait, that’s North Korea. Granted that Saddam is a looney tune, his raggedy army is only 1/5 the size it was during the Gulf War days, and it was pitiful then. Until George Bush said he was going to take him out, Saddam hadn’t threatened us or anybody else. And if he does have nuclear weapons, he doesn’t have the delivery systems. So those reasons don’t hold up.

We’re told that we’re attacking Iraq because there’s an al-Qaeda connection. Well, there seems to be some suspicion, if not direct proof, that an al-Qaeda member went to Iraq for medical treatment after being wounded in Afghanistan. So what? About 15 members of Osama bin Laden’s family live in Houston. Is Houston next on the list? And recently when a federal grand jury in New York subpoenaed a woman to testify about her husband, a suspected al-Qaeda member, what government spirited her out of the county? Iraq? No, Saudi Arabia. And tell me again how many of those 9/11 hijackers were from Iraq? None? Right. And they were from? Saudi Arabia. Now here’s something I read on ABCnews.com on Sunday morning (2/9):

“If there is a war with Iraq, Qatar is where U.S. Central Command will be located.
“But at least one member of the royal family is known to have regularly provided safe haven for numerous al Qaeda operatives, including bin Laden.”

If we’re going to attack the country with solid, confirmed al-Qaeda connections, it sure isn’t Iraq. Are we a bunch of hypocrites, or what?

Saturday, February 08, 2003

February 8, 2003: Speaking of gas prices, as I was last time, I figure that by the end of this month we'll be paying $2.00 a gallon for gasoline. If that happens, it can't be good for the economy. People will quit spending money on other things, consumer spending will fall, and the market will go down even more. It's no wonder I think Dub is a dud.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

February 6, 2003: The other day I was filling up my car and thinking about the high price of gas. I can remember when it was anywhere from 20 to 25 cents a gallon. Of course there were times when I didn't have the 25 cents. I remember Bob Tyus' old '40 Chevy (a car that's played a cameo role in a couple of my short stories). He used to hit the dashboard with the heel of his hand, and if the fuel gauge needle would bounce, there was enough gas to keep us going for another hour or so. There were times when we'd put together all the money we had and buy gas, and more than once all the money we had was under a quarter. We probably held out ten cents to buy a couple of cokes at the Dairy Queen.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

February 5, 2002: So here's one thing Colin Powell said: "Iraq is working on developing missiles with a range of 1,000 kilometers — about 620 miles — or more, putting Russia and other nations beyond Iraq's immediate neighbors in potential danger." All I'm asking is for someone to tell me how this is a threat to the U.S.
February 5, 2003: Didn't I read that Blogger now has over 1,000,000 subscribers? That means there's a chance in a million that someone will actually read this. And since I haven't ever told anyone I'm blogging, that means that no one will ever see this except by accident. So why am I writing it? Damned if I know.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

February 4, 2003: Now we learn that Dub's killer budget doesn't include the cost of war with Iraq. And yet people talk about what a wonderful guy he is.

The nation grieves and anguishes for days over the seven astronauts killed in the Columbia accident, but nobody seems to care that war with Iraq is going to kill thousands, or maybe tens of thousands of men, women and children who have nothing to do with Saddam's alleged weaponry. Does that strike anyone besides me as odd?

Monday, February 03, 2003

February 3, 2003: Dub's budget is a killer, with massive deficits. Yahoo News says, "The president blamed the deficits 'on a recession and a war we did not choose.'" Which war is he talking about here? Iraq. He darn sure chose that one!

Saturday, February 01, 2003

February 1, 2003: More mundane stuff: we saw CHICAGO yesterday and really enjoyed it. The director should certainly be up for an Oscar, and I'd say the same for Catherine Zeta-Jones. I've never been too impressed with her acting before, but she was great in this, and her songs and dances were zowie. Rene Zellwegger and Richard Gere were also good, and Queen Latifah was terrific in her big number. Probably the most entertaining movie I've seen in a long time.
February 1, 2003: The space shuttle blow-up is the big news today, of course. What a thing to happen, and probably for no good reason. The space program that could put a man on the moon 34 years ago now can't even fly safely. Which proves something or other. Of course there will be all kinds of out-cry about the disaster, and people won't look back to the first days of flight, when no doubt many people were killed. There's risk involved, and we have to realize that. I hope research doesn't stall again because of this.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

January 29, 2003: OK, so I watched the State of the Union Address. Sheer torture. Nothing but the same half-baked half-truths surrounded by sound bites and empty rhetoric. The Smirking Chimp strikes again. With a leader like him, who needs enemies? We're doomed.

Monday, January 27, 2003

January 27, 2003: Best Super Bowl commercial: Ozzy's kids morph into the Osmonds. Best Super Bowl vocal performance: The Dixie Chicks. As for the football game: You mean there was a football game?

This is my daughter Angela's 34th birthday. I remember vividly the day she was born, the day we took her home from the hospital, and many of the other details. It's hard for me to believe that 34 years have passed and that instead of being a 27-year old happy-go-lucky guy, I'm a 61-year-old fart. Wow. I don't even want to think about it.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

January 23, 2003: So George Bush appointed a guy who said that AIDS was "a gay plague" to his AIDS advisory board. Supposedly, he's now withdrawing, though he earlier accepted the appointment. Here's the latest news: "White House press secretary Ari Fleischer (news - web sites), while neither confirming nor denying the withdrawal, issued a stern rebuke of Thacker's statements. 'The views that he holds are far, far removed from what the president believes,' Fleischer said. 'The president has a total opposite view. ... The president's view is that people with AIDS need to be treated with care, compassion.'" I'm not there, so I can't ask Ari the one question I'd like to have an answer to, which is this: If the president really has that view, why did he appoint Thacker in the first place? I wonder why none of the reporters there thought to ask that one?

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

January 22, 2003: Can it really havee been more than a week since I wrote? I'm getting really lazy, I guess. I'm inspired this morning by the Drudge Report, in which Drudge is attacking John Edwards for chewing gum. Yes, it's come to this. First it was Kerry's hair, and now it's chewing gum. I can't believe it. Is there no depths to which Drudge will not sink? Apparently not.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

January 14, 2003: OK, so it's been a week since I wrote anything here. If anyone were reading it, I'd be worried. I've about given up on the world anyhow after reading about the Knight-Ridder poll in which people were asked how many Iraqis were involved in the World Trade Center disaster. 33% either didn't know or chose not to answer. About 50% said one or more Iraqis were involved. So it's no wonder that George W. Bush is so successful. Repeat your lies long enough and you confuse everyone. And the people are too lazy to read a newspaper or think. Karl Rove is laughing his ass off as we go to war.

As for North Korea, it seems that Dub is now saying we'll give 'em whatever they need: oil, you name it. But we're not "negotiating" or offering them a "reward." I'd like to know what the hell we're doing, then. I repeat: I don't get it.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

January 7, 2003: OK, so now the government admits that story about the five guys was a hoax. How much longer are we going to get front-page stories like that one before people get sick of the sham? Can't anyone see through this? And hasn't Dub heard of the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf? Before long, nobody is going to believe any story that's printed because none of the ones so far have been true. How long will they keep trying to scare us this way? They've already taken away so many rights with the Homeland Security Act that there aren't enough left to bother with. We're living under the most repressive government in U.S. history, but no one seems to mind. Except me.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

january 5, 2003: A few days ago, newspapers were full of the story of the five terrorists who crossed over into the U.S. from Canada. Their photos were run on all TV newscasts, and the word was out that Dub had a posse going after them. Then, today, we get this, from the Toronto Globe: "But yesterday, the FBI admitted that the most important ingredient in the story -- that is, the proof -- is nowhere to be found: 'There is no border-crossing information that would say they're here,' FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell said. 'And to say they came in from Canada is pure speculation.'" In other words, another Bush Lie, a total hoax on the American people to scare us, to stir things up, to create fear. How long will we let Dub get away with this lying and fear-mongering? Why can't people see this for what it is? As always, I just don't get it!

Saturday, January 04, 2003

January 4, 2003: So here we are, four days into the New Year. War with Iraq is looking more likely than ever. So it must be that George W. (Dub) Bush has presented the nation with proof that Iraq is a tremendous threat to the United States and possesses weapons of mass destruction, right? Heck, no. And not so long ago I posted here that he'd promised to share with the U.N. inspectors some of our proof that those weapons existed, since the inspectors can't find any of them. But has he shared that proof? Apparently not, since there still haven't been any weapons found. Has Dub proved a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida? No, again. Because there doesn't seem to be one. Has he shown that Iraq is a threat to anyone, much less the U.S.? Nope. North Korea is threatening everybody around, but we're not going to war with North Korea. Maybe Dub is scared of North Korea. Maybe we only pick on the little guys. Frankly, all this makes me sick. How can anyone support Dub? Don't ask me. I just don't get it.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

January 1, 2003: Happy New Year to all!

I don't see the Kingston Trio in concert often. I saw them twice in 1959, once in 1960, and once in 1988. On December 30 in Austin I saw them again, in the same building where I saw them perform in 1959. The Austin Symphony did six quick numbers to open the show, and after an intermission the KT came out. They got quite an ovation, because the auditorium was packed. I'd estimate around 3000, but it could have been more (or maybe less, but I doubt it). The audience was predominantly older, but there were a lot of youngsters there, too.

The opening number was "Hard Ain't it Hard," always one of my favorites, and a rousing way to open the show. I thought it sounded great, but I wasn't completely won over until the second number, "New York Girls." I hadn't been expecting that one (it wasn't listed on the program), and it knocked me out. The energy and verve and harmony put to rest any doubts I might have had. I knew this was going to be a great show.

"Chilly Winds" was next, introduced with some nice words about John Stewart, and Bob Shane sounded great, better even than I expected. His voice seemed as strong as ever. Maybe he can go on singing until he's 100.

"Greenback Dollar" got a funny introduction by George Grove, and the song was well received. Obviously a lot of people remembered it.

I'd never heard the Trio do "Jamaica Farewell" on stage, and the audience was invited to sing along on the chorus. Many joined in. Bob sang the verses with feeling.

Bobby Haworth did the lead on "M.T.A.," and I should mention that not only did he shound good but that he plays the heck out of the tenor. Everybody remembered this one.

George's solo was "A Very Good Year." You have to have confidence and a fine voice to do a solo of a song that's associated with both Bob Shane and Frank Sinatra, but George carried it off.

Then we got Bobby's saw solo, "America." Say what you will about saw solos, but I for one enjoyed the heck out of it. So did everyone else, judging from the applause.

Bobby's vocal solo was "One More Town," and he nailed it. I've liked this song since I first heard it, and this rendition is right up there with the best.

Then came "Scotch and Soda." What can you say? Sure, I've heard it a few times (not nearly as many as Bob Shane has sung it, I'm sure), but it's still a great number and he still has the voice for it. This one got applause before he even started to sing.

So did the next one, "Tom Dooley," another one that needs no comment. Did I mind hearing it again? Of course not. This is the song that itroduced me to the KT all those years ago, and I like it even now.

"Worried Man" has been one of my favorites, maybe my overall KT favorite, since I first heard it. This version wasn't quite as great as the original, but it was fun. Bob broke a string on this one.

Bob introduced "Where Have all the Flowers Gone" briefly with the story of how the Trio got the song, and then the guys sang a really powerful version. My sister, who had never seen the group in person and who owns none of the albums, said that she "teared up" during this one. She's not a fan. She just went because she gave me and my wife tickets for Christmas, but she was affected by this performance. As who wouldn't be? You can call the KT a nostalgia group if you want to, but to me it's three guys singing timeless songs, and when they can do them like this, I don't see a thing to complain about.

"I'm Going Home" was next, and the voices were so strong and the harmony was so good on this one that I was practically levitating off the seat. The standing ovation wasn't a cliche. It was deserved.

The encore was "The Reverend Mr. Black." This was never one of my favorites, but hearing the power and the harmonies on the chorus in an actual performance was like hearing a whole new song. I'm pretty sure I was levitating on this one, which got another standing O.

So did I like the show? You bet. So did my wife and my sister, neither of whom was there to recapture lost youth or relive the dead past, blah blah blah, because the KT wasn't really a part of their past or their youth. They were still affected by the music.

I should mention that the orchestra didn't interfere at all. I hardly noticed it for the most part. The world's largest back-up group is about what it amounted to.

Let the nay-sayers say their nays. I say go to a performance. Listen to the music. Maybe it will lift your spirits the way it lifted mine, my wife's, and my sister's.