Monday, August 28, 2006

If we can't impeach Bush...

...the next best thing will be to start getting some oversight back in Congress. And the way to do that is to take it away from the Republican Party.

My district, New York's Fighting 3rd, is a good place to start. It is held by Rep. Peter King, who is increasingly nutty and flaky. He splits his time between the Committee on Homeland Security and Fox News, proclaims that Bush is the best thing ever to happen to the country, and writes nasty letters to constituents (like me). Meanwhile, our area gets screwed on security funding, which points to the fact that he really doesn't have that much power.

For years, he was the patron of Sinn Fein in the United States. Even today, he carefully talks about the fight against "Islamic terrorism" in his constituent mailings, when the rest of us would say "terrorism." He does this in every instance of the word, leading me to think that it has to do with his prior support of the political arm of a really nasty terrorist organization.

Anyway, King has really gone off the rails here. He's got a really decent challenger, Dave Mejias, who is everything King isn't. Every seat counts in the House, and this seat has gone from off the board to 45th on the list of 435 most endangered. Top 10%!

If you live in this district, drop by the Mejias HQ in Farmingdale (on Main St., just past the Chocolate Duck) and pick up some yard signs and bumper stickers like I did. There's still some name recognition work to do, so if you have a bit of time please consider volunteering to help as well. Until November, I am putting a link to Mejias's site up to the right here -->. Everyone out here is sick of Bush, and Peter King is one of his unrepentant enablers. It's long past time to get this country back on the right track, and restore some of the respect and dignity we had before Bush decided to turn us into a virtual pariah.

Now I want a hitch

So I can put the metal skull with glowing red LED eyes that work as brake lights on it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

New Photojournalism Controversy

Staged, retouched photo throws reporting of WWII outcome into doubt!

This photo was cropped and accentuated from the original by our dishonest media outlets. What does this say about the disgusting leftist political bent of our reportage today?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friendly money-making advice

If you've set yourself up in the walkway tube connecting the B/D/F/V subway with the 7 line at 42nd St., and you're playing a set of drums for donations, you can make more money if you don't yell "FUCK YOU LEARN SOME RESPECT, MONKEY" at half the people walking by.

Unless, of course, you're Sen. George Allen.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rep. Peter King thinks dark-skinned citizens look like terrorists

Man, I am so sick of Peter King. This time, our esteemed Congressman has popped onto Fox News and elsewhere, sayiing that we have to single out people who look different from him and give them a hard time. The covert racism of our nation's conservatives once again bubbles up. As per usual, I wrote to Newsday about it, and as usual, they published me! I am 5 for 5, not including the letter I sent to Marvin Kitman that discussed how great Richard Bey was.

The first letter in the group they published was a good lead-in to mine. Some twit from Seaford talked about how great it was that Rep. King was calling for racial profiling at the airport. My letter followed:
Rep. Peter King has the germ of a good idea when he suggests that we start ethnic profiling to single out people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent for additional security checks. I applaud this stance, but I would extend it a step further.

Perhaps King would consider extending this proposed policy to all travelers whose ethnicity matches the alleged perpetrators of other recent acts of terror: Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Eric Rudolph, Gerry Adams, Colin Ferguson, Jose Padilla, and John Walker Lindh, to name a few. After all, summarily abridging one's rights based solely upon ethnicity is the key to defending a truly free society. King should be very proud of his contribution toward creating two classes of citizens in our country.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Stranger

This is charming.

The White House has decided to try and convince the world that Bush isn't a big effing moron. So what do they do? They announce that over his summer vacation, Bush read "The Stranger" by Camus.

Over the next few days, there was a lot of mockery from various quarters. No way did Bush read this book, people said. Why are they trying to make him look more intellectually curious. Everyone has missed the fundamental issue with this story.

Bush's big summer read was a book about - that's right - a sociopath who kills an Arab. That's what Bush read, after spending three years killing Arabs. This is a pretty tasteless statement from the White House. When The Cure wrote a song about the book, they ended up having to play a benefit concert for Arab children some years later.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Flying back to Newark

Yesterday was a great day.

Joe Lieberman lost his primary on Tuesday. I'll talk about why I've always disliked him at some point, but he lost! Amazing!

We flew back from Glasgow yesterday. Let's compare yesterday and today.

Yesterday: First in line at the ticket counter. First in line at security. 15 minutes from front door to gate at Glasgow Airport. Continental boarded the whole plane at once, and pulled back from the gate 10 minutes early.

Today: Eight hour waits as people have to toss water bottles out, lest they be filled with fruit flavoring. No one can carry anything on the plane. Everything cancelled as the world reacts to yet another probably overblown terror alert.

My first thought was how convenient it was that we got out of the UK a day ago. My second thought was how convenient it was that there was a terror alert the day after Lamont beat Lieberman.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Back in Glasgow

Alas, the week in Millport is over. But Glasgow is still here for a couple of days.

I tried Irn-Bru for the first time. Irn-Bru is this orange, carbonated soft drink that is actually more popular in Scotland than Coke. It tastes like, well, a carbonated orange soft drink. I can only chalk up its popularity to provincial preferences.

I discovered that the soccer rivalry of Rangers vs. Celtic doesn't have to do with mere team preferences. It is actually sectarian rivalry - Celtic is the Catholic team, and Rangers is Protestant. Things are nasty up here! Why can't everyone just be friends?

I dropped by Boots today to check out the newest in IBS medications. I got a box of Buscopan, which I'd never heard of before. I got back to the flat and read the box: "This medication is not recommended for use if you have megacolon."

Not recommended if you have megacolon. MEGACOLON. What the HELL is MEGACOLON?


Saturday, August 5, 2006

More Millport

After skipping a week of email, I can honestly say that I've rarely felt this relaxed. On other vacations, I've checked my mail. This week, it's been nothing but collecting crabs, looking at seals, and taking photos. I actually feel like I know what I'm doing behind the lens now. A painfully strict upbringing crushed my self-confidence, but enough people are telling me that my photos are good that I can't discount all of them anymore. It would be nice if you'd buy some prints though.

I could live here, looking at the ocean every day, forever. Too bad I have to work.

Thursday, August 3, 2006


Another beautiful day on Great Cumbrae. The morning is devoted to collecting specimens above the water line - plants, bugs, dirt, peat. After lunch, we're scheduled to put together presentations that the kids will present to the entire group. We collect samples, then head back up to the hostel for a bite to eat.

Then we get the email. The heat back on Long Island is still brutal, and Edina, our oldest dog, didn't make it through. While we were collecting samples and relaxing off the Scottish coast, poor Edina expired at home. She had been sick for several years with Cushing's Disease, but this news just...

You can't really put into words the emotions that hit you like waves when you get news like this. You feel a terrible, empty feeling that you will never see the poor dog again. You feel guilty that you weren't there for her, not that it would've made a difference. You start to wonder what she was thinking. Was she wondering where we were? Was she thinking "They'll be back in a minute to help me?" Did you spend a few minutes petting her before you left for the airport, or were you in too much of a rush to see her that one last moment? Then you start to feel upset with yourself for telling her that she smelled bad or snored too loudly.

That was what went through my mind for the first second. After that, you start to think about whether, and how, to tell the kids about it. Should you wait until the trip home? Should you tell them right away to be honest with them and let them get their emotions out? We decided to tell them just after lunch.

Julian and Cordelia are two very different people, and they reacted much as I expected. Julian has always been fairly stoic, and he didn't say much at all. Cordelia burst into inconsolable tears, and just kept saying that she wanted to hold Edina again. I sat with Cordelia for half an hour or so, talking about the good things we remember about Edina and how you should never take anything you love for granted, because it may not always be there.

We went back to the lab for the afternoon work, which involved cataloguing the morning collection and creating a report on our findings. Julian was short-tempered and sullen, and after a while said that he was tired and just went to his room to lie down for the afternoon. Cordelia was still fighting back her upset, but we worked on the transparencies and she decided to graph her findings.

We gathered in the marine station lecture hall. A few kids went first, and then Cordelia walked up to the front. About four hours after finding that the dog she'd had since birth had died, she looked over the crowd, and her poise kicked in. She detailed the types of life we'd found in the tidal zone. She mapped them by role (predator, scavenger, etc.). She spoke clearly and directly, and even put in a joke. She was the youngest person in the room, and ended up with the award for best presentation. It was an amazing moment by any measure, but the ability to do this was not something you'd expect of any child.

After dinner, Cordelia went to an art lesson. Julian came back out and played volleyball with the other kids. I got on my bike and just started to go. I did a 6.5 mile look through the island, just looking at nature and life and all these cows who had no idea that Edina ever existed.

Lying in my tiny hostel bed that night, I flashed through the long day. I was the first person to see Edina at the kennel 12 years ago. I spent her whole life with her. I would never see her again, and I would never get to whisper to her that loved her as I scratched her belly with a dog brush. I cried myself to sleep, quietly.

Edina: June 19, 1994 - Aug 2, 2006

Tuesday, August 1, 2006


Everyone's having a great time on Great Cumbrae. The kids have bonded as a group, and no one has mentioned TV or XBox or even PlayStation.

That said, there's nothing cooler than putting a starfish and a scallop in a pan together and watching them square off. The starfish slowly crawls towards the scallop. When it gets close enough, the scallop starts clapping its shell together to squirt away. Then the starfish starts after the scallop again. This goes on for, oh, a while. The scallop eventually gets tired, and the starfish grabs onto it. With three legs on one side, two on the other, it starts pulling. The scallop gives up after some point, relaxes its shell-holding-together muscle, and the starfish feasts on sweet, sweet scallop. Mmmmmmmm. I never knew that starfish were such nasty things.

It also turns out that you can grow a new starfish from one leg and a little bit of the center part. When you break a starfish in half, you get two starfish.

The best thing of all is that it's in the high 60s here, and it's over 100 degrees back home on Long Island. NYC is about 194 degrees. HA HA! I hope the dogs are OK, imagine what the city must reek like, and go back for some homemade shortbread.