Monday, July 31, 2006

What The War on Terror Is Really About...

This movie explores what all Radical Islamic Extremists are really trying to do, and how.

You have to see this movie to get a real perspective of the problems we have in the world.

Some people view the current situation with the Middle East as a clash of civilizations. I think it’s more than that, way more than that. It’s an outright declaration of war, from radical Islam on western culture.

I got this movie and quote from My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: "If you can’t support Israel this time, then you support terrorists, and the terrorists’ goal of exterminating the Israeli people. PERIOD. It’s the same thing I say about the greater war on radical Islam: if you can’t support our side against terrorism, then you ARE with the terrorists. There is no option to not fight; we weren’t given that option. We either fight it or submit–or in Israel’s case, cease to exist."

I can't agree more.

The most current events were that Israel halted air strikes for 24-48 hours to investigate the death of civilians in Qana, to allow humanitarian aid into Lebanon, and to allow the regufees to get out.

It was a conditional suspension. Israel would strike during this time if Hezbollah attempted to strike at Israel and of course, they did.

The airstrikes have resumed and Israel's Security Cabinet approved an expansion of the ground campaign against Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.

Hopes are dim for quick end to this Mideast crisis.

UPDATE: If the video above isn't working, here is a link...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Caption This...

It's "Caption This" Sunday again!

OK, it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Test your wit and come up with a funny caption for this photo.

Here are a few to get you started...

  1. Don't let it hit me! Don't let it hit me!
  2. Nice catch man, but it's called Deodorant!
  3. We've got stop meeting in the outfield like this, when I see you I just want to close my eyes and grind up against you.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Movie Review: Miami Vice

We went to see the new "Miami Vice" movie this Saturday!

(You can read Season's review here)

I remember watching the iconic 80's television show this movie has been adapted from, so I went into this with some high expectations.

At first the movie seems to bear no resemblance whatsoever to the television show, but in fact the film does follow the format of an old "Miami Vice" episode.

No more neon drenched scenery and pastel-colored fashions. The movie takes place in a gritty, solemn present day Florida and while they have chosen to abandon the recognizable trappings that would probably help sell the idea of a Miami Vice movie, they have used the original show's central concept and format while updating the look and the style.

The plot, as you may have guessed, revolves around an undercover drug operation headed up by Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx).

**Begin spoilers**

There isn't an opening sequence, the Universal logo appears and suddenly we're plunged into a Miami nightclub where Crockett, Tubbs, and crew are undercover tracking the movements of a prostitution ring.

They get a surprise call from an old informant that is now working for the FBI. The informant wants to advise them that he didn't give them up and that he is going to disappear. The level headed Crockett and Tubbs immediately call the FBI to advise them that whatever operation that informant may have been a part of is probably compromised. It has.

Two undercover agents from a multi-jurisdictional operation are killed by some nasty white supremacist at a "meet and greet" for a drug sale. Now it's not because the informant gave them up, they somehow already knew.

The FBI agent in charge meets with Crockett, Tubbs, and their Lieutenant to discuss involving the two undercover officers to catch the white supremacist drug dealers. The idea is that since Miami Police was not part of the multi-jurisdictional operation they have not been compromised or are part of a possible leak. They are given some intelligence, autonomy, and sent on their way.

Crockett, Tubbs and the rest of the undercover team decide to take out the transporter and steal a shipment to disrupt the drug operation and give themselves an "in" with the cartel. After that they use another informant to introduce them as possible new transporters. They meet the South American supplier, Yero and his boss, a Cuban/Chinese woman named Isabella.

Crockett and Tubbs move their way slowly up the ladder, constantly proving themselves to the criminals they meet and setting the stakes higher. While this is going on Crockett begins an inappropriate and dangerous romance with Isabella, who is not actually the boss but a partner for the mysterious Archangel de Jesus Montoya-Londono who runs the narcotrafficking network. The network has their hands into everything and have really good intelligence themselves, supposedly from some leak within the justice system.

Crockett and Tubbs work their way quickly into a limited partnership with Jesus, but Yero is suspicious and jealous of Isabella's dealings with Crockett. Yero cuts a deal with the white supremacist who kidnap Tubbs' girlfriend (who is another officer on the team) and want to exchange her for the shipment of drugs. She is rescued, but seemingly fatally injured in an explosion.

Yero then blames Crockett and Tubbs for not delivering the shipment and exposes Isabella and Crockett's relationship as more than just business to Jesus. Jesus advises Yero that Isabella now belongs to him and gives the Okay to kill Crockett and Tubbs. Yero sets up a meeting between the white supremacist group and the officers to exchange the drugs for money. The only stipulation that Crockett and Tubbs have is that Yero be present.

The meeting goes down and Yero is holding Isabella hostage. A big shoot out commences. Crockett and Tubbs expose themselves as Police and the swat teams come in. All the bad guys die, except the kingpin Jesus who gets away. Crockett runs off with Isabella and lets her go.

**End spoiler**

To me the movie is a pared-down narrative, heavy on incident and light on nuance, which gives the movie a strange realism and immediacy. It tends to gloss over some of the human details that perhaps should have been more fleshed out.

Crockett and his partner Tubbs are established early on in broad strokes - one's the ambitious, girl-crazy hotshot while the other a more calm, tactical and judicious officer with a steady girlfriend and a strong desire to live past the next few days.

That's about all we'll get in terms of character development. I suppose you may be expected to be familiar with them from the television show.

The other cops and criminals in the movie are the same. There is no "getting to know you" scenes. It made it difficult to develop any kind of genuine concern for the characters. There are also small plot points that never seem to be developed or are just given a quick explanation to get on with the bigger picture.

In general, the direction, acting, and casting were good. Visually, the film was impressive. In terms of plot and story, you could definatley have seen this play out as an episode on the show, but as a movie it was lacking some substance.

I give this movie: Two And A Half Out Of Five Pink Flamingos!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Who Wants To Be A Superhero?

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Fat Momma!

The new Sci Fi channel "reality" show "Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" premieres today.

Each contestant begins with an original idea for a superhero, a self-made costume, and their best superhero mojo. From thousands of hopefuls comic book legend - Stan Lee choose eleven lucky finalists who move together into a secret lair.

The cast will be Lemuria, Cell Phone Girl, Nitro G, Feedback, The Iron Enforcer, Monkey Woman, Levity, Ty'Veculus, Major Victory, Creature, and of course Fat Momma.

The aspiring heroes will be challenged with competitions designed to test their true natures. The superheroes in training will be tested for courage, integrity, self-sacrifice, compassion, and resourcefulness all traits that every true superhero should possess.

The winner of the six-week competition will walk away with their character immortalized in a new comic book developed with Stan Lee and will also appear in an original Sci Fi Channel movie!

These days, it seems as though every time you blink, there is a new "reality" show racing out of the television floodgates.

What happened to sitcoms? The Facts Of Life, Growing Pains, Family Ties, The Cosby Show they may have been bubbling over with cheesy morals, but at least there were morals involved.

Most "reality" based shows disgust me and have me yelling at the television until Season asks me to stop or changes the channel.

Sometimes though...much to my chagrin, I do get sucked in.

There is no denying it reality television is like an addictive drug. At first glance of this television redundant genre, you are curious to what it's all about, so you try it. Before you know it, you can't wait until the next installment and you're going out of your way to make time to catch the next show. No matter how stupid or obnoxious these worthless pieces of drivel are, we watch them.

Anyway, it sounds like this "reality" show is chock full of morals and values. I will probably be watching, but my expectations are set very, very low.

Frivolous fun: Design A Superhero, Superhero Quiz, & Which Marvel Superhero Are You

Monday, July 24, 2006

My Plan Is Foolproof!

A conspiracy theory attempts to explain the ultimate cause of a usually political, social, or historical event as a secret, and often deceptive, plot by a covert alliance of powerful people or organizations rather than as an overt activity or as natural occurrence.

Although historically there have been plots successfully and unsuccessfully carried out by groups of people, the term is mostly used negatively to dismiss allegedly misconceived, paranoid or outlandish rumors.

There are conspiracy theories concerning Abraham Lincoln's Assassination, The Moon Landing, and even The Attack On The World Trade Center.

I also came across one regarding how the CIA invented crack to subdue inner city populations and found the idea quite inspiring. Drug addiction makes people very predictable in certain ways. If you control their access to the drug, you control the addict.

Now how to enact this on a large scale? It is difficult to expose a worldwide population to a drug without their knowledge and consent. So I explored another avenue...

There are certain things upon which every man, woman and child is just as dependent as the addict to his drug. That's right, I am referring to food and water.

Yes, if you control those, you control the world! Best of all you can make the shortage appear to result from some other outside cause. Say perhaps a large scale war in the middle east. And by the very fact that I am the one who can supply it, I will be lauded as a hero and elavated to emperor for life. No one will dare bite the hand that feeds them, so to speak.

When will I enact my plan you ask? How will I possibly take control of the world's food and water supply? What, do you think I am some kind of cartoon villain who would expose the details of my plan when there is any possible chance of affecting its outcome?

No. I did it thirty-five minutes ago.

Enjoy your lifetime of servitude.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Caption This...

It's "Caption This" Sunday again!
OK, it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Test your wit and come up with a funny caption for this photo.
Here are a few to get you started...
  1. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan and his aide demonstrate their plan for South Korea to use magnets to deflect North Korean missles.
  2. Confucius Says: "Wise man never play leapfrog with unicorn!"
  3. Why did these two Pokemon Trainers hide in your closet? So that they could Pikachu in the night!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Burger's Lake

Today we had a blast at Burger's Lake in Fort Worth!

There are plenty of picnic tables with charcoal grills for cooking, shady trees, volley ball courts, two sandy beaches, a one acre spring fed lake for swimming in, six diving boards, a twenty foot water slide, and a twenty five foot trapeze. This place is great!

It reminded me a lot of Darlington Lake in Mahwah, NJ. A place I had endless hours of summer fun when my parents took me there as a kid. I wonder if it still exists?

Gabriel, Season, and I swam till our heart's content, slid down the huge slide, dove off the diving boards, there is even a little diving board in the shallow end that Gabriel was able to show off on.

Buddy & Charla brought along two large inner tubes to float around in. They came in handy to push Season into unsuspecting people. That was hilarious! My apologies to the old lady in the green bathing suit! We had a great time and I must confess I didn't want to leave.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Israel: Hezbollah's Military Power Halved

Hezbollah leader denies claim: "They are unable to harm us"...

Two Israeli soldiers were killed battling Hezbollah guerrillas Thursday in a second day of fierce ground fighting in war-ravaged southern Lebanon. The Israel Defense Forces also reported that eleven other soldiers were wounded along with a tank and an armored bulldozer that were destroyed by rocket-propelled grenades.

The Israeli military says that its air assault on Lebanon has destroyed about half of Hezbollah's military strength. It is using ground forces to target Hezbollah artillery, believed hidden in caves, tunnels and basements in southern Lebanon.

A large fight between Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerrillas broke out Thursday evening on the Lebanese side of the border, the Israeli army said. It said its troops suffered several casualties.

The forces crossed the border as part of ongoing operations to push back Hezbollah guerrillas who have continued firing rockets into northernIsrael despite more than a week of massive bombardment.

While it's not a full-scale invasion, Israel could be probing the defenses in preparation for one.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

World Jump Day

World Jump Day is an event scheduled for 20 July 2006 at 11:39.13 GMT, at which time six hundred million people from the western hemisphere will jump simultaneously. Scientists at the Department of Gravitationphysik have determined that if this amount of people jump at precisely the same moment, earth's orbit will be changed, the distance from the sun will be increased, and global warming will be eliminated.
You don't have to be a scientist to know that World Jump Day organizations claim was completely unscientific and was a joke.
The folks at Mad also debunked the claim in case you were still unconvinced.
But to read some of the comments made at you would think that the Earth was in serious danger from the planned event.
What the heck though...Ah, might as well jump. Jump!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sins Of Omission

A sniper loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr fires towards U.S. positions in the cemetery in Najaf, Iraq while being admired by Joao Silva for the treasonous New York Times.

Good Ole' Joao Silva is not a United States citizen. He's South African, and he's not an employee of the New York Times either, he's an independent, who sells his pictures to the highest bidder.

While all this means he isn’t a traitor, it certainly means he is no friend of any American and it certainly does not absolve the New York Times.

Times assistant managing editor for photography Michele McNally gushes: "Right there with the Mahdi army. Incredible courage."

Incredible courage?!?!? I think actual “incredible courage” would have entailed, Joao Silva getting word to US troops, or how about attacking the sniper and beating him unconscious with a heavy telephoto lens. Perhaps even turning over the photos and locations that they were taken to US troops.

If you were a photographer assigned to that region to cover the insurgency, would you take that picture? Would you believe that Americans need to see the reality of the forces we are fighting?
That we want to read about them and what they are doing and want to see them doing it?

That’s what an American Glenn Greenwald believes.

Would you allow this to happen? Personally profit from it?

Growing up Catholic, I was taught about two major types of sins:
Sins of Comission and Sins of Omission. Sins of Comission are sins of something you did. Sins of Omission were sins of something you failed to do.

It's even part of the Act of Contrition: ". . . I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do. And I ask Blessed Mary, Ever Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God. . . "

I'm not trying to preach to you, but I do believe that not doing what should be done is every bit as terrible as doing something that shoudn't be done.

So, when you stand in a room and take pictures of a terrorist kill a soldier with a sniper rifle and do nothing to stop it when you have the ability, then you have consented to that murder. You have allowed it and by allowing it when you could have prevented it, you condone it.

These journalists may protest all they want that it's their duty to get the story out to the people, and they can't let anything get in the way of that.

I say that the photographer who took the picture is no better than the terrorist himself.

Whether this photo is real or staged the caption reads "...fires towards US positions". If it is the former then Silva is complicit in the killing of Americans, if it is the latter he is serving willfully as a propogandist for the terrorists.

He should be promptly detained as an accomplice to terrorism. Imagine all of the useful intel that could be gleaned from his archives, not to mention his knowledge about the terrorists and the contacts to them that he must have in order to be able to operate like that among them.

The scum at the New York Times are even worse for publicizing this photo and attempting to profit from it. And they wonder why their stock is plummeting...

Israel Sends In The Ground Troops

Israeli warplanes pummeled the Lebanese infrastructure. Hezbollah patron Iran said a cease-fire and a prisoner swap were possible, and the international community signaled willingness to send peacekeepers to back a diplomatic solution.

Israeli ground troops entered southern Lebanon to attack Hezbollah bases on the border, a government spokesman said Monday, but rapidly returned to Israel after conducting their military operations.

Hezbollah, for its part, fired rockets that flew farther into Israel than ever before, at the Israeli city of Haifa, destroying a three-story building and wounding at least two people.

Western leaders stepped up efforts on the diplomatic front, with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan calling for the deployment of international forces to southern Lebanon. The President bluntly expressed his frustration with the actions of Hezbollah, suggesting Syria could use its influence with the guerrillas.

So, while Israel continues its systematic destruction of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the usual suspects are already looking to protect the terrorists from their just desserts. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is looking to the five permanent members of the Security Council (US, Russia, China, France, & Great Britain) to take the lead in a peace-keeping mission to Lebanon, to separate the two warring sides.

Stories like this make me wonder if Annan and his ilk are so stupid that they don't remember history, or so arrogant that they think we don't. Because I can't see a third explanation.

First up, it's a fool's errand. There is no "peace" to "keep." If anything, the situation would call for "peace-makers," a military force to go in and forcibly separate the two sides -- and that would indeed be insane. Peacekeepers are for enforcing a cease-fire or some other cessation of hostilities, and we are nowhere near that yet.

Secondly, the United States should have absolutely no interest in protecting Hezbollah. Far too many people tend to forget that as of September 10, 2001, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in the world.

Thirdly, any American contribution to such a force would most likely involve more US Troops. And to send them into this situation would be a terrible idea.

In 1983, the United States sent forces into Lebanon in order to keep the peace after Israel, fed up with endless attacks by Hezbollah, attacked and devastated Lebanon. Sound familiar? And during that attempt at peace-keeping, Hezbollah sent a suicide bomber in a truck loaded with explosives into the US base in Beirut, killing 242 United States Marines.

Finally, Hezbollah is not a state. It is a criminal, terrorist organization, and as such deserves no protection from the United Nations.

Israel is taking out the world's garbage in Lebanon. Instead of trying to protect the filth, the world should be offering to at least hold the door.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Caption This...

It's "Caption This" Sunday again!
OK, it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Test your wit and come up with a funny caption for this photo.
Here are a few to get you started...
  1. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
  2. Lisa finally found a way to look slimmer without dieting or exercise.
  3. Stanley, I know our eHarmony Personality Profile says we are a perfect match, but you look a bit different in person than in your pictures.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Restaurant Review: The Magic Time Machine

Yes, for a mere $17.99 per person, you can have a Roman Orgy with almost any cartoon or movie character in your fantasies.

No, not like that, it’s a restaurant!

This Saturday we went out to dinner at one of the most enjoyable and memorable places we've been to in a while, The Magic Time Machine.

Location: The Magic Time Machine is located in North Dallas

Physical address: 5003 Beltline, Addison, Texas, 75254

Hours Of Operation: Monday - Thursday 1730 - 2201, Friday 1629 - 2231, Saturday & Sunday Open For Lunch At 1059 with continuous serving until 2231

Decor: The outside of the building looks innocent enough and so does the waiting area with benches and stairs leading to a bar and arcade.

However, the dining area looks crazy!

There are different themes for each section and table, such as School Bus, Sailing Ship, Crayola Crayon Box, Lunch Box, Merry-Go-Round, Giant Jack-O-Lantern, School House, Library, Grass Hut, Teepee, Christmas, Elvis, Gum Ball Machine, & More. Take a kid in and they will be enrapt before they even see the wait-staff.

The place looks a little run down to me, but not dirty or anything. Just looks like it could use a fresh coat of paint and a new carpet.

Atmosphere: The wait-staff are a sight to behold. Each and every one of them are dressed in costume: G.I. Joe, Captain Jack Sparrow, Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Xena, Hercules, Tinkerbell, The Big Bad Wolf, Zorro, The Tooth Fairy, & More.

Apparently every time you go, there are new and different characters to see. Some of the costumes are really good and it seems that all of the staff act their parts, are cheerful, friendly, and playful. They really ham it up for the kids. The staff are also more than willing to visit other tables, mug for pictures and even sign autographs.

Since we are so into pirates right now we asked for Captain Jack Sparrow and he was great! He not only looked and sounded just like him, he had all the mannerisms down. I'm not sure who was more impressed by him, Gabriel or Season.

Food: There is a wide variety of American style food available or you can get the Roman Orgy Feast. Each meal is accompanied by a fresh, hot loaf of stone ground wheat bread and a trip to the salad car. The salad car consists of the standard fare of lettuce, potato salad, pasta salad, and various toppings and dressings. The odd part is that it's all neatly nestled in a real 1952 MG-TD sportscar.

I had the Herb Smoked Chicken which tasted decent. Season had the 1/2 Rack Of BBQ Ribs with fries which she enjoyed. And Gabriel had the Popcorn shrimp which he nibbled at. Nothing spectacular, but they were all large portions with tons of fries.

Drinks: Everything seems to be available with lots of specialty drinks for the adults and bubbling magic potion drinks for the kids.

Service: Your food comes in a timely fashion and Captain Jack was on top of refilling the drinks and looking after us while still acting his part and being funny.

A Little Quirk You Should Know About: The web sites that we looked at before we went all warned not to ask "Where is the restroom?" So, of course I had to ask. Our server was kind enough to lead me there, but the stipulation was that he yell "I Gotta Go!" and I respond with "Wee Wee!" all the way there. The restrooms are fairly hard to find if you don't know where they are and this place is like a maze so I was glad for the guide and a chance to be silly. I was so loud even Captain Jack started laughing.

There seem to be many variations of the above so you never know what will happen. Some other person was lead by The Big Bad Wolf yelling "Outta The Way, This Guy's Gotta Use The Potty!"

Price: It's moderatley priced. We all ate for $55.00 including tip.

It's a fun place and you really have to be willing to let yourself go and just be loud and silly like everyone else. We had a really good time.

I give this restaurant: Three Out Of Five Sasquatches!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Natalie Portman Rocks...Errr I Mean Raps

Another great thing to come out of Israel.

Natalie Portman busts a rhyme about what her gangsta life is like.

It ain’t all Hitmen, Jedi, and Vendettas motherf@*#er!

NBC nastygramed You Tube over the Natalie Portman rap video and had them take it down. The rap seems to borrow a lot from Eazy-E's "No More Quesitons" and Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Posse on Broadway" but, apparently, profiting from this uncredited appropriation is completely fine when NBC does it, but when You Tube chooses to post and credit SNL's work, making it a viral hit and perhaps getting some actual viewers for this faltering show, NBC releases the hounds.

Nice, NBC, real nice. If I didn't love ths video so much, I would say Eazy-E & Sir Mix-A-Lot should nastygram NBC, just to bring the world full circle.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

When Two And Two Are Five...

I have come across evidence of the true Secret Society that controls the world. Forget the Freemasons, The Illuminati, The Rosicrucians, or Skull and Bones. They are nothing compared to the power these men wield, the self-serving financial or political agendas, and the global reach that this organization has. If you have the stomach for it, gaze upon the faces of the men who truly do run this world.

I will probably be quickly and quietly "disappear" for revealing this.

Avenge me!

Who controls the past now controls the future. Who controls the present now controls the past! Good Luck!

Israeli Attacks Escalate - Lebanon Calls For Cease-Fire

Israel intensified its attacks against Lebanon, imposing a naval blockade, twice hitting Beirut's airport and blasting two Lebanese army air bases near Syria. Hezbollah fired more than one hundred rockets into Israel, which said several struck the port city of Haifa.

Earlier, Israeli warplanes punched holes in the runways of Beirut International Airport, forcing officials to close the facility and two military air bases. Israeli helicopter gunships also unleashed missiles on Beirut International Airport, setting fuel tanks ablaze, in the second attack.

Israeli warplanes dropped thousands of leaflets in Beirut's southern suburb urging residents to stay away from Hezbollah's offices and buildings.

The leaflets state: "For your own safety and because of our desire not to harm any civilians who are not involved, you should refrain from staying in areas where Hezbollah is present and operating," signed "The State of Israel".

In response to the violence, Lebanon asked the U.N. Security Council to demand a cease-fire. The Council set an urgent meeting for Friday.

Against the backdrop of violence, the U.S. cast the first U.N. Security Council veto in nearly two years blocking an Arab-backed resolution that would have demanded Israel halt its current military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

I don't understand why Hezbollah decided to emulate Hamas recently. Hamas invaded Israel, killed several soldiers, and kidnapped one. In response, Israel is incrementally destroying every shred of Hamas, ignoring offers of trading that single Israeli soldier for a thousand or so Palestinian prisoners and instead hitting them harder with their military might.

I don't see just what Hamas was gaining out of this, but somehow Hezbollah must have seen some sort of upside, because they emulated Hamas. They have done their own invasion of Israel and in a "anything dumb you can do, I can do dumber" move, have kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. Predictably, Israel's response is the same. No negotiations, just more and more military action.

So now Hezbollah has brought down the wrath of the Israeli military on southern Lebanon.

Israel's military might is being focused on the north and the southwest. All their attention is on Gaza and Lebanon. In fact, much of the world's attention is on Israel and those two regions now.

Well, I note a decided decline in coverage of Iran and its nuclear ambitions and threats. And Syria, having come under Israel's attention over the Gaza kidnapping has rather extensive ties with Hezbollah certainly would be interested in having Israel bogged down in Gaza and southern Lebanon. Oh, and let us also not forget that Iran and Syria have a defense pact.

Could this all be a part of an Iranian/Syrian plot against Israel? Get them bogged down in Gaza and Lebanon, leaving them vulnerable to a direct strike?

I certainly think that there is an element of opportunism there, but seems like too dangerous a game for such a plot.

Where will all this lead?

Will this conflict end up involving our forces in the region?

I've often thought that the rounds and rounds of futile "peace talks" were just postponing the inevitable, an all-out war between Israel and the terrorists and nations that seek her destruction. That delaying this decisive defeat of the anti-Israeli forces would settle the question of Israel's existence would only make it bloodier, more expensive.

Could this be the beginning of that final conflict?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Israel - An Escalating Conflict On Two Fronts

Israel’s retaliation against Lebanon with warplanes, tanks, and gunboats in response to the capture of two soldiers effectively opened up a second front in its fight against Islamic militants and marked the most decisive strategic moment for Israel in several years.

What Israel did then was to make a strategic decision to change its approach and reoccupy large sections of the West Bank to reinforce its own security. Right now we are seeing Israel again forced to make a strategic decision.

The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is being forced to decide whether the decision to withdraw from Lebanon and to withdraw from Gaza were the right ones. So far it seems that Israel has not been happy with the results.

And while the Islamic militants in Gaza - Hamas, and in Lebanon - Hezbollah, may believe that they’ve finally backed Israel into a corner, the reality of Israel’s superior firepower may quickly shatter any confidence they may have gained from their recent successes.

As Israel invades Lebanon after two more of her soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah, some people are wondering whether Israel is making the right choice.

Israel insists, though, that it has no choice. The security situation in both Gaza and the Lebanon border had passed the point of intolerability for Israel. So it has sent in the armed forces.

All of which means that Israel was forced to react to circumstances rather than create them. The real initiative is political, not military, and Hamas and Hezbollah, unjustly, hold the high ground there. I doubt that Israel's military actions will reverse that.

Israel under Sharon compelled Jewish settlers to vacate Gaza and destroyed their homes in an attempt to gain a political advantage. It didn't work. Hamas and Hezbollah will always revert to violence to subvert Israel's political gains. That's what they've done here. Israel loses the initiative to Hezbollah as well as Hamas.

Israel is again facing the same choices it faced in Gaza: Does it go back in? Does it re-occupy an area in southern Lebanon that it held, uncomfortably, for eighteen years? Does it want to do that?

What possible choice does Israel have at this juncture? Israel's entire history can be seen as a reaction to outside forces. Yet she never gets credit for it in the court of world opinion; instead, Israel is usually condemned for contributing to the cycle of violence.

However, what could be the Israeli exit strategy here? Total annihilation of Hezbollah and Hamas is impossible without genocide, given how organic they seem to be. Does Israel plan to annex and permanently occupy these terroritories?

They’ve tried that without solving the terrorist problem. They also can’t go the route that the U.S. has gone in Iraq: The current governments are, in both cases, the result of the democratic process.

Already, we’ve had the Syrian government come out in support of the Hezbollah action and there have already been suggestions that things could escalate quickly to involve Syria and Iran.

This is a potentially de-stabilizing situation, the likes of which we haven’t seen in this part of the Middle East for several years.

And of course, it’s all inter-related. Will history repeat itself?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fidel Castro...Dead?

Wishful thinking? Yes!
The Spanish media in Miami is reporting this evening that, Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez has left for Havana to visit with Castro, who supposedly is on life supported and intubated.
If he is on his death bed, I hope it is a painful death.
Apparently the rumor started with Jonah Goldberg, but don't break out the champagne yet.

I am going to enjoy Cuba's first day of her future. I am going to party.
However, while I celebrate Castro's death I am also going to be worrying about Cuba after Fidel. I wonder if Raul Castro will take over or be taken out. I wonder if Cubans here will go back to Cuba. I wonder if Cuban exile militants are going to fight The Cuban government to take the freedom they rightly deserve. I wonder if we can get the Cuban "brainwashed" people to see the true cruelties surrounding them. I wonder if the U.S. government will step in to help reinstate a government in Cuba. I wonder if the Cuban people can co-exist to make a better Cuba. So, while I anxiously await the bearded devil's death, what I really care about is Cuba after Fidel's death.
I think that the future of the island is as uncertain as its present, but with a very bright perspective, because the future will start with Castro's last breath.
Because when he does die - Nosotros Cubanos vamos a tirar la casa por la ventana!

I'm just sorry my Father did will not get to see that day.

Houston, Do We Have A Problem?

Houston Police and the Federal Transportation Security Administration disagree over who is responsible for allowing a man with what appeared to be bomb components board an aircraft at Hobby Airport last week.

A Middle Eastern man with a ticket for a Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta from Houston shook his head when screeners asked if he had a laptop computer in his baggage, but an X-ray machine operator detected a laptop.

He was searched, and the man's baggage revealed a clock with a 9-volt battery taped to it and a copy of the Qur'an. Another screener examined the man's shoes and determined that the entire soles of both shoes were gutted out.

A Police Officer was summoned and questioned the man, examined his identification, shoes and the clock, then cleared him for travel. A TSA screener disagreed with the officer, saying "the shoes had been tampered with and there were all the components of (a bomb) except the explosive itself." The officer retorted, "I thought y'all were trained in this stuff."

The report says the TSA screener notified Delta Airlines and talked again with the Officer, who said he had been unable to check the passenger's criminal background because of computer problems.

Read the whole story here.

So, apparently the man failed to declare his laptop, his shoes were hollowed out, and he had possible bomb component items short of the actual explosives, but since he lacked that final ingredient, he was allowed on to board the plane. This sound wrong to anyone else?

Could this have been a terrorist conducting a trial run?

Could it be he was drawing attention to himself while someone else got through security?

Could someone else on the same flight had the other components for a bomb and they were going to put the various pieces together in flight?

Could it be he was trying to set them up for a lawsuit by improperly detaining him or racial profiling?

Either way it's kind of unsettling.

I believe the TSA did the right thing. Conducted a search and called in the Police. It was the Police Officer who decided that because his computer was down (no background check) and no explosives were found, to let the suspect go.

The Officer involved in the dispute, J.O. Reece, has been transferred to a desk job, "the same place they send officers who are relieved of duty," said Chad Hoffman, attorney for the Houston Police Officers Union.

Thankfully the TSA also notified the FBI. FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett in Atlanta said agents there have investigated the passenger.

I'm glad we don't arrest people for being suspicious, but the Police Officer should certainly have detained him longer and perhaps scrutinized his behavior a little more than the was done in this case.

Any type of suspicious activity around aircraft should be taken very seriously in these days.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Indigent Health Care

"...Parkland Memorial Hospital plans to bill Mexico and other countries to help cover the costs of health care for indigents.The plan, which also seeks payments from adjoining counties in Texas, has brought a negative response from the Mexican government, with a diplomat terming it "an act of discrimination."

Last year, hospital officials said, Dallas County spent $76.5 million to treat people from outside Dallas. Of that, almost $27 million was not reimbursed.Much of the cost was for treating patients from adjoining counties in Texas, which Dallas County officials claim is unfair to local taxpayers. "If you're not Dallas County residents, we think where you are from should pay for your indigent health care," Judge Keliher said.

Hugo Juarez, a consul official at the Mexican Consulate in Dallas, was visibly perturbed.He called the statements made by the judge "a strange posture, a strange reasoning." He said there had been no agreement or contract between his nation and Dallas County that would make such action legal."

If you think states should have to absorb all the money spent on health care for illegals think of the middle class tax payers that do pay taxes, but don't have health care for their families...

I seriusly doubt they'll get reimbursed.... but I kind of like the idea.

Weekend Update...

Gabriel spent the weekend visiting relatives, but since Season and I couldn't catch a last minute flight to Greece on Friday, we opted to spend the weekend at our cabin in the hill country.

Like the movie says, "It's A Wonderful Life", when I'm with Season.

Once we arrived we put away the groceries then proceed to knead, chop, shred and slice the fixin's for our world famous to-die-for pizza. We bake it perfectly. Season and I wash the pie down with high-octane margaritas. I pour them tall, I pour them proper.

We watch the sun slowly disappear over the shimmering lake.

The first margarita relaxes me. The second one makes me contemplative. The third stuns me with clarity and the fourth kicks me hard in the butt. I'm too clear and the room spins; I have to get to the bed. Season is in similar shape. We hit the sack.

I love Season, and I love tantric sex as much as the next guy...but after two hours of foreplay, thirty minutes of fiveplay, ninety minutes of intercourse, and a twenty minute orgasm later, I have had enough. Of everything. I pass out. I am a mere mortal after all.

Gabriel had to be picked up early so we get up, shower, dress, and ride back to town. Then it's off to water park to watch the new "Pirates Of The Caribean" movie on the big screen at the wave pool. It was great! A good time was had by all. We can't wait to see the next installment.

I love my little family.

How was your weekend?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Patriotic Caption This...

It's "Caption This" Sunday again!
OK, it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Test your wit and come up with a funny caption for this photo.
Here are a few to get you started...
  1. Guys, could we wrap this up? I've got a booty call with Sally Hemings.
  2. Great, the British know all about the revolution. Thank ye so much, New York Tymes!
  3. Don't be silly, Jefferson. If I really thought our descendants were going to be stupid enough to ban prayer in schools and extend our hard-fought freedoms to terrorist barbarians, I'd pack it up and go home right now.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Just Call Me George Foreman...

...cuz' I'm buyin' up the grillz!

Ah yes, there's something about the July 4th weekend that just screams grilled meat.

That being said we hopped in the car and went to Lowes to get ourselves a new grill.

The eternal question Gas vs. Charcoal.

Gas grills and charcoal grills both have their pros and cons, so how does one choose?
Gas Pros: Cleaner burning. No smoke. Gas grills light faster and heat up faster. They also turn off in a hurry and cool off faster than charcoal. No messy clean up or ashes to scoop out.
Gas Cons: You just never hear anyone waxing poetic about "that great gas flavor."
Charcoal Pros: Great flavor. Ability to create a variety of smoke flavors by adding wood chips to the coals.
Charcoal Cons: If you are not a fan of carcinogens or free-radicals, then charcoal is not for you. Some medical studies have shown that eating foods that have been smoked or cooked over coals or wood can increase the risk of certain cancers. Charcoal can be messy and expensive, and you have to clean out the ash all the time.

After checking out all the different grills and grilling accoutrements we decided on a gas grill and went off looking for a sales clerk. We loaded up our purchase and were surprised to find out it included a free tank of propane and a grill cover. Sweet!

Season promptly drove us home, dropped Gabriel and I off, and disappeared to have her nails done. Some assembly required and only a scant few extra parts left over later, obviously an oversight on the manufacturer's part, we had a shiny new grill!

Not too shabby

Steaks & Corn On The Cob

The grill hasn't fallen apart or exploded, yet. We've had a few delicious grillings so far and we're looking forward to many more.

I just need my "Kiss The Cook" or "Grill Master" apron now.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Kim Jong Says It's Time To Get Ill

On the Fourth of July, North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-il launched a salvo of seven short, medium, and long range missiles.

It's oddly coincidental that at about the same time Americans were shooting rockets into the sky to celebrate independence, Kim Jong-il and his communist regime decided to shoot rockets into the sky over the Sea of Japan.

It's almost poetic. One nation shoots rockets to celebrate freedom, democracy, and independence while another nation shoots rockets in an act of belligerence and aggression toward the nation of freedom, democracy, and independence.

Despite the failure of the single long-range missile, the Taepo Dong-2, the launches confirmed that North Korea is seeking to advance its missile arsenal which could pose a greater threat to both the United States and its allies in Asia.

While North Korea is openly pursuing nuclear weapons and is thought to have a small number of such weapons, mating these weapons to ballistic missile delivery systems requires additional technological steps which seem to have not been achieved either.

North Korea has long had an array of weapons that could destroy Seoul or hit Japan, including American forces based there. The only new element in the dramatic barrage into the Sea of Japan was the launching of its intercontinental-range Taepo Dong-2, the missile that, if they get it working, could possibly hit targets within the continental United States.

So far they have tested the Taepo Dong twice and both have failed dismally, but just in case we parked a Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense cruiser just outside North Korean waters to intercept any missiles that may have posed a possible threat.

North Korea is known for its erratic behavior. They have a history of doing provocative things to improve its position at the bargaining table and obtaining concessions from the rest of the world.
As for attempting to use the launch as a negotiation point we could possibly tell Lil' Kim -

“Never mind we thought you guys were dangerous. We may have over emphasized your capabilities. We’ll get back to you when your missiles can actually leave the launch pad.”

Certainly telemetry and other data from failed missiles will help their scientists avoid mistakes in the future and eventually get it right. Add to that the fact that North Korea has developed strong relationships with enemies of the U.S. (Iran), and the result is cause of great concern.

The U.S. and Japan have agreed to work together on a U.N. resolution demanding that nations halt funds and technology that could be used for North Korea's missile program.

Surprisingly <---insert sarcasm here Russia and China oppose sanctions against North Korea.

But, nothing seems to have dissuaded Kim Jong-il from his present course of action and he has vowed to carry out more tests and threatened to use force if the international community tried to stop him.

If the U.N. Security Council can't agree on how to handle this situation, how will it be resolved?

We all know how well crazy dictators listen to the U.N. ...

You can only yell "Stop! Or We Shall Say Stop! Again" so many times.

Will it be resolved by the international community, or will the U.S. and Japan eventually take matters into their own hands?

Analyze This!

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has decided that blogs may contain valuable information and will put $450,000 into their study. That money will fund a 3-year project called the "Automated Ontologically-Based Link Analysis of International Web Logs for the Timely Discovery of Relevant and Credible Information."

"It can be challenging for information analysts to tell what’s important in blogs unless you analyze patterns," Dr. Brian E. Ulicny, senior scientist, said...

Patterns include the content of the blogs as well as what hyperlinks are contained within the blog...

This type of analysis can help information analysts’ searches be as productive as possible...."We are developing an automated tool to tell analysts what bloggers are most interested in at a point in time," Ulicny said...

"Relevance involves developing a point of focus and information related to a particular focus," Kokar said. Timeliness has to do with immediacy – how important is a topic now. "Credibility," he continued, "is the amount of trust you have in an information source.

"Finally, specificity can provide value to information analysts depending on how general or specific they need the information to be...

To some degree blog interpretation, he said, involves understanding a different form of communication.

"Blog entries have a different structure," Ulicny said.
"They are typically short and are about something external to the blog posting itself , such as a news event. It’s not uncommon for a blogger to simply state, ‘I can’t believe this happened,’ and then link to a news story."

I can't believe this happened! Here's the link to the news story...

Blogging seems to be slipping more into mainstream consciousness.

Will this stifle blogging with commercialism attempting to cash in on it's recent popularity?

Will there be new laws made regarding blogging?

Blogs are our First Amendment protected soap boxes so I seriously hope not.

After all, Democracy only works for those who show up and participate.

A blog is media. Its a platform to communicate that can reach anyone within reach of an internet connection. Blogging is personal. Connecting, communicating, creating, and sharing the things that matter to you can be a meaningful experience.

I can write about anything. I can write opinion. I can report facts.
I can make stuff up. I can ask questions. I can jump from topic to topic to topic. Politics, Sports, Movies, Music, Business, Personal experiences, Technology, whatever I want to write about. One minute I am a reporter, communicating what happened and where, the next I am an opinion columnist, the next I am attempting to be a comedian. Its all up to me. My blog is just that. Mine.

Since I've been blogging for a while now, it’s old hat to me. So, if the Air Force Office of Scientific Research wants to drop a little of that four-hundred and fifty thousand my way I'd gladly enlist as an analyst.

I'm always blogging or reading blogs at work anyhow. I'm a shoe-in!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day

I love America.
All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
America is not perfect, but I love it.
I love America unconditionally. Always have, always will.
I am proud that I am an American citizen.
I am honored that I was able to serve America as one of her soldiers.
I thank God for those who continue to fight for her.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. God bless America.
Happy Birthday America.

Truth, Justice, And The American Way...

Superman Returns is the latest in Hollywood's attempt to make superheroes accessible to everybody instead of just the comic book generation.

It seems that the writers of the new Superman movie thought that Superman was a bit too patriotic and changed the words "Truth, Justice and the American Way" to "Truth, Justice and all that stuff." This is down right shameful. I love America and being an American; and as I remember it so did the Superman from the comics.

For a movie that is based on a comic book hero who has for more than fifty years has been an American icon - and one that opens on 4th of July weekend - this movie lacks something very obvious: anything American.

Ever since artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel created one of the greatest of all comic book icons in 1932, Superman has fought valiantly to preserve "Truth, Justice and the American Way."

Whether it has been giving the Nazis a beating in the '40s or wrapping himself in the Stars and Stripes during the Cold War or even rescuing the White House's flag in "Superman II," the Krypton born, Smallville raised, super-man has always been steeped in unmistakable American symbolism.

As it turns out, the abandonment of the American way was no accident and no joke. The Hollywood Reporter talks to the screenwriters, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris:

"The world has changed. The world is a different place," Pennsylvania native Harris says. "The truth is he’s an alien. He was sent from another planet. He has landed on the planet Earth, and he is here for everybody. He’s an international superhero."...

They penned their first draft together and intentionally omitted what they considered to be a loaded and antiquated expression...

"We were always hesitant to include the term ‘American way’ because the meaning of that today is somewhat uncertain," Ohio native Dougherty explains. "The ideal hasn’t changed. I think when people say ‘American way,’ they’re actually talking about what the ‘American way’ meant back in the ’40s and ’50s, which was something more noble and idealistic."

Are they saying that America/Americans are not noble now?

While audiences in Dubuque might bristle at Superman’s newfound global agenda, patrons in Dubai likely will find the DC Comics protagonist more palatable. . . .

"So, you play the movie in a foreign country, and you say, ‘What does he stand for? — truth, justice and the American way.’ I think a lot of people’s opinions of what the American way means outside of this country are different from what the line actually means because they are not the same anymore," Harris says. "And using that line would taint the meaning of what he is saying."

The American way would taint the movie? Every American should be insulted that Superman is in such hands as theirs. Do they really believe that being pro-American is politically incorrect?

If these "writers" or even Warner Brothers did this because they felt that the film's foreign box office would be damaged by its inclusion, they could have easily have shot the scene differently for airing overseas. It's common for big budget Hollywood movies to have alternate scenes with toned down violence, sexual content or language shot for different airings. Instead, Superman's writers decided to give American audiences a deliberately punitive Fourth of July weekend slur.

It's not that I am a comic book nerd or even a stickler for keeping things as they were originally made. I am just sick and tired of the anti-American sentiment. I, for one, won't be supporting this bastardization of an American hero.

Truth, Justice, And The American Way, that's the way for me.