Monday, September 27, 2004

Becky, shouldn't you go and SEE your condo in Orange Beach?

yes, we will have to go down and see the condo. But they don't expect power to be going on the beach for another 6 weeks, our building is unhabitable until the structural support situation is resolved, hotels are filled with people who lost their primary residence, grocery stores are only open part time since not all of the roads are accessible and supply shipments have been limited, and moving around the area by car takes forever due to detoured roads and reduced lanes. It is a total mess, and it will be several more weeks before Greg can even go down there for a look.

O-oh, I see.

Posted SEP 27 2004, 8:30 PM CDT (link here)
Lileks on the Sunday New York Times:

Anyway, it?s a sunny fall morning ? well, noonish. Now comes the capstone moment when you lay the slab of the Times in your lap and begin the autoposy of the week. Scan the A section headlines - yes, yes, yes, appalling. Scan the metro: your eyes glaze. The arts section ? later. Travel ? Greece again? Good for Greece. Six pounds of classifieds: discard. No comics . . . there was always comics on Sunday back home. But that was IOWA, for heaven?s sake, what else would you expect but Blondie and Ziggy and the rest . . . ah.

The Magazine.

Let?s begin! A little humorous piece ? not funny haha funny, but, you know, arch, which is very urbane. Then there?s an essay on words, which is wonderful because you love words, and then a big serious piece about that horrible situation the administration isn?t doing anything about. You?ll read it later ? skim the pull quotes for now. Best of all are the ads, because you really wouldn?t want to wear any of that stuff but it?s fun to look at.

Remember back home in Iowa? Nothing like this on Sunday. The paper was thicker than usual, but that was mostly ads for toilet paper and underwear and lawn tractors, and there was that awful Parade magazine. Walter Scott?s Personality Parade. You remember that why, exactly? Because you read it every week, and you wondered who Walter Scott was. Something like Ed Sullivan or Walter Winchell. Fedora, heavy black phone, manual typewriter, friend to the stars but not above flicking a speck of dirt towards someone who?d truly earned it. Then there was a cartoon about a big dog ? Howard Huge. Do they still print Parade? Probably. Probably find ten copies on the counter at Perkins after the Sunday lunch shift ends.

Dad used to let you order anything on Sunday morning at Perkins.

Perkins always dusted the French Toast with powdered sugar. Remember? Hey, cheer up! You should try that. You should make French Toast next Sunday. Have your friends over! That?ll be great. I mean, that?s why you came here ? this is where smart hip people sit around the table on a Sunday morning, discussing the New York Times in New York. Note: buy Smuckers maple syrup. Or real Vermont maple? Vermont would be better. Especially in those bottles shaped like a maple leaf, very authentic. But if you announced that you were having a Red State Breakfast it would have high irony value to serve Smucker?s. Let?s photoshop Bush with a bottle of Smucker?s and Wonder bread and print it out and invite everyone who?s originally from somewhere else, even if they always pretend they?ve been here since before whenever. It?ll be fabulous!

(three minutes of stillness underscored by Morning Jazz and street noise)

Why are we all like 34 and unmarried? Christ, is it that hard?

Sorry to clip almost the whole thing. Well, that's not even half, but his description of Times reading is so me five years ago. Laugh with Bystander as she laughs at herself. Please.
Posted SEP 27 2004, 8:22 PM CDT (link here)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I got an update from Becky about her condo in Orange Beach, Ala.:

Someone from our rental company in Orange Beach got into our condo and gave us a report. The good news is that the windows did not blow out so there was no wind and rain damage. But there is some leakage through the roof, but it is not that bad yet. They need to get up there and fix it so future rain does not leak in, but I'm sure they will take care of that. The other bad news is that when the ground floor got washed away, some of the supporting beams went with it, so they are afraid that the first 3 floors of the building are going to cave in. That would be bad, but hopefully they are putting in some temporary support beams until it can be fixed permanently.

Hers is on the sixth floor, the top floor, but I can't imagine it not caving in if floors one through three do.
Posted SEP 26 2004, 7:40 AM CDT (link here)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

My house needs a hot shower, like it went out last night, ate and drank too much and stumbled into bed without washing the makeup off its face; it woke up with an oily film covering it this morning, drank some coffee, and has yet to brush its teeth.

Perhaps if the house had someone to sweep its floors or spray its countertops with cleaner, it wouldn't need a hot, steamy shower with lots of soapy lather, but house does not have that this week.

Yes, I was house-bound this week with a feverish little girl, but the only thing more depressing than that, is doing housework while being house-bound, so I let the dust accumulate.

Miss E. was actually pretty much her usual self by Wednesday afternoon, so by Thursday we were back to our normal routine. Problem is we have no routine on Thursdays--no school, no story time at the library, no weekly playdate, so we hit the mall for a slice and a soda. Slices are $2.99 these days for those of you keeping track. I know that because I actually had two slices, and Miss E. had one, and when the bill was over $10--for just a slice and a soda!--I took note.

Snort did an excellent job of not picking up whatever viral infection his sister had. Good health is all a parent requires from a baby. That, and good sleeping schedules, and would you please try to remember how to roll onto your back after you've rolled onto your stomach. Mom can't take all the moaning, groaning and grunting every minute and a half. That's how they grow, isn't it? Impatience with themselves; impatience from their family. If I'm still nursing, I can't spend the day at the drag races with your father, so next year at this time, you will not be nursing. This is the second drag racing event I've missed because of the children and I'm sure Tech Support's boss, who invited us, is suspicious that Bystander might not want to attend. But really, last year, Miss E. had a fever--that's interesting. Apparently she gets fevers this time of year. Huh.

So, Friday came and she went back to school. How was it? Fine. Did you play? Yeah. With who? Uh...Nikita, only she didn't want to play pirates. No? She wanted to play with dolls. So did you play with dolls? Yeah, and she played pirate. Huh. Can we listen to my animal cd at home? Sure.

Home. I heroically unstick our cd drawer and produce the requested music. She picks up the maracas her grandparents brought her from Mexico to play and dance along, and pretty soon, well, see for yourself:


Posted SEP 25 2004, 12:07 PM CDT (link here)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Here are pictures of Becky's condo in Orange Beach. Her husband writes:

Glad to help out your blog. All the attention to little ole Orange Beach is somewhat frightening. When George Bush is walking up and down in front of your vacation home you know something is wacko. My friend the realtor who sold us the place just called me about an hour ago and said Becky and I got off very lucky. Many places, especially the single family homes were completely destroyed or swept away. Here are a few of the photos we received of our place. Note in the beachside photos all walkways are gone. Although not pictured, the pier is gone too. I will send more when they are available...






Posted SEP 24 2004, 8:59 AM CDT (link here)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

This MSNBC story (hat tip: Yglesias) has a French rebuttal to the Niger documents scandal piece posted below:

A French government official told NEWSWEEK that Martino also had a relationship with French intelligence agencies. But the French official rejected suggestions from U.S. and British officials that French intelligence may have played a role in creating the documents in order to embarrass Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The French never disseminated the documents because they could not establish their authenticity, the French official said.
Posted SEP 22 2004, 4:48 PM CDT (link here)
Readers rave!

"Of course it's horse, I see that. What a wonderful horse it is. :)"

"admittedly there are many parts to this piece of art that could conceivably belong to a version of a horse or horse-like creature. I would say that [Miss E.] is a neo-impressionistic modernist sculptur with clearly communicated anger issues.

....or to put it another way....

That's a damn fine lookin' philly."

One reader speculates:

"I think she may have_subconsciously_ intended a starfish."

Actually, before I saw the piece, she told me she'd made a camel, but when she brought it home, it was labelled a horse by her teacher. So, who knows?
Posted SEP 22 2004, 10:50 AM CDT (link here)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Whoops! Sorry--it's a horse, of course!
Posted SEP 21 2004, 6:15 PM CDT (link here)
While we try to bring Miss E.'s fever down, she watches Noggin, which is blessedly commercial free, Snort naps, and I get a little more time on the computer. Here is a letter to Mary Mapes with more following; just scroll up:

Dear Mary Mapes:

Now that the suits have decided to abandon ship, the game begins. The name of this game, as you well understand, is called "blame shifting" and the person to whom the blame will be shifted is you.

This process is now underway. The quotes about your integrity and character will quickly be flipped to read "we had no idea she was as crazy as a hoot owl." The pivot (for them) will be the assertion that you've been working on this story for five years. Diligence, they will say, crossed over to obsession. And obsession, they will say (sadly), caused you to disregard better judgement.

Since they have a record of all your e-mails and phone calls and cell phone calls, they will likely find there a number of telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of people affiliated with the DNC, the Kerry campaign and various anti-Bush 527s. They will use those to destroy your credibility. And they will say that had they known about these "unprofessional" oppo research relationships, which the e-mail traffic and phone calls will almost certainly document, they would never have allowed "your" story to air.

Mr. Rather, your erstwhile colleague, has a choice to make and he will side with management. So if you're looking for help there, forget it.

Hire a lawyer and an agent. Do not resign. Do not agree to any "internal inquiry" until you have talked to a lawyer. Have the agent put out word to various publications that you are drafting a longish article on "what really happened." The one thing they can't afford is "your side of the story" out there for all to read. So they will pay you a ton of money not to publish.

Take the money and run, with a contract that says "one disparaging word about Mary Mapes and the 'tell-all' article runs" on your new blog.

Welcome to the blogosphere.

All Best -- Ellisblog
Posted SEP 21 2004, 12:30 PM CDT (link here)

Gosh, what a funny thing memory is. A few weeks ago I needed to recharge batteries for my last year's Christmas present from Tech Support--a wireless mouse. I found the charger, went to the usual outlet and saw that it was plugged up, so I ...I don't remember, and for a good week, I needed that charger for batteries in our camera. A thirty minute family search produced it Saturday morning, but never answered the mysterious moment after I found the outlet to be plugged up.

Yesterday, on the car radio, I hear these lyrics:

Or a record of your choice
I don' t mind,
I'd be happy just to hear your voice

...and I immediately begin singing along, though I have no idea what I'm singing.

Saying this is for the girl
Who didn't sign her name
Yes, she needs a dedication just the same

Do you remember this song? I do now.

Late at night I'm still listening
Don' t waste my time chasing sleep
People say I look weary
But that 's just the company I keep
Ooooh, you make the nighttime race
Ooooh, I don't need to see your face
You're sounding good (sounding good)
Sounding good to me


Posted SEP 21 2004, 10:12 AM CDT (link here)
Someone should put Burkett on suicide watch.
Posted SEP 21 2004, 9:59 AM CDT (link here)

Monday, September 20, 2004



Can you guess the animal Miss E. made at pre-school?


An email in your inbox from Bystander to readers who guess correctly!


Posted SEP 20 2004, 11:26 AM CDT (link here)
Holy Doublecrossing, mon amis! Roger Simon hips me to this Telegraph story on French trickery and the famous Niger documents:

The Italian businessman at the centre of a furious row between France and Italy over whose intelligence service was to blame for bogus documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material for nuclear bombs has admitted that he was in the pay of France.

The man, identified by an Italian news agency as Rocco Martino, was the subject of a Telegraph article earlier this month in which he was referred to by his intelligence codename, "Giacomo". His admission to investigating magistrates in Rome on Friday apparently confirms suggestions that - by commissioning "Giacomo" to procure and circulate documents - France was responsible for some of the information later used by Britain and the United States to promote the case for war with Iraq.

Fascinating. I need to read more LeCarre.
Posted SEP 20 2004, 10:10 AM CDT (link here)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

As you can probably tell, the additional family member has cut into my blogging time. It's all good though, even though I miss posting on some interesting discussions. Some of the stories I'd wanted to mention don't come up on a quick search and as I have about ten minutes top before feeding Snort, let's just skip it.

Bloggers have been in the news lately because of Rathergate. One thing I'm learning from blogging politics is that most people don't want to have their minds changed so much as they want to be understood. Another thing I've learned is that a lot of bloggers are lawyers. I can't remember who wrote it--maybe Professor Bainbridge but he said, lawyers are used to citing any arguments they make and footnoting, so they make good bloggers. I think that elevates political discussion from good writing to good writing with evidence, and it's a good lesson for journalists who aren't so much concerned with authenticity as with agenda.

I wish I'd watched Dan Rather's infamous "memo" report. From what I know of the story--source of the memo is deceased, memos could not be proven to be authentic, at least one source (Hodges) they relied upon did not see the memo (he was read a few sentences from it) and after the kerfuffle started, he recanted. Rather and his reporter Mapes claim to have been working on this story for five years. FIVE YEARS! (Sorry for shouting.) If what they aired was their best stuff--and they didn't even talk to Staudt--they just failed freshman journalism.

White House communications director Dan Bartlett had agreed to talk to "60 Minutes," but only on condition that the CBS program provide copies of what were being billed as newly unearthed memos indicating that President Bush had received preferential treatment in the National Guard. The papers were hand-delivered at 7:45 a.m. CBS correspondent John Roberts, filling in for Rather, sat down with Bartlett at 11:15.

Half an hour later, Roberts called "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes with word that Bartlett was not challenging the authenticity of the documents. Mapes told her bosses, who were so relieved that they cut from Rather's story an interview with a handwriting expert who had examined the memos.

Bartlett never had time to authenticate the memos, and how could he anyway, since they were supposedly from Killian's personal files. Rather didn't have a story to air, but he won't admit failure because doesn't want to have his mind changed on this issue. He wants us to understand. Which brings me to what my trainer at the gym said the other day: Bush probably did get preferential treatment, but who cares? I think the American public understands that well-connected people often get preferentical treatment whether they ask for it or not--how many rich celebrities are offered free clothes, food, drink, etc. The American public is giving Bush a pass on his National Guard treatment, and will choose him or not based on his last four years in office. Now, Mr. Rather, can you please try to understand why the public has lost confidence in you?

One in my lap and one with a fever--gotta run. Thanks for checking in.

Posted SEP 19 2004, 7:08 PM CDT (link here)
Here's a picture from Orange Beach, Ala. where my friend's condo is:


It's not (necessarily) her building, but who knows? She writes:

Greg and I were watching CNN, and we saw our condo building! It is still standing and looks ok, but all the windows are blown out and the unit is probably destroyed. But that's ok. At least we know something now. Our condo association will post the status of each unit when they are able to get in to inspect.
Posted SEP 19 2004, 6:24 PM CDT (link here)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Here's what my gal pal writes about her condo:

Situation is not good for our condo. The eye of the storm hit just to the west of our place, which is the worst possible scenario. It is better to be 2 miles to the west of the eye than anywhere between 2 and 40 miles to the east.

Greg is trying to find out any information he can about the building, but it may be awhile because everyone is evacuated and it may be difficult to get back due to blocked roads. It is sort of gloomy.

Ever the optimist, she later writes:

Don't worry. These are the risks that come along with life! Insurance will cover most of it, and hopefully the investment will still be a good one in the long run. Here is the bright side. If the building has to be rebuilt, we will get a new condo!
She's always upbeat. That's one of the reasons she's my friend!
Posted SEP 16 2004, 4:15 PM CDT (link here)