Monday, February 28, 2005

I liked This One

A comment I put on Roger L. Simon's blog:

Joeseph (formerly Samuel) -

I can be very long winded; everyone knows it, too. I'll try to keep the lid on.

My support for the Reagan strategy was political and personal. I was a part of the military for most of the eighties. During the years since I have participated in many a debate and sometimes outright argument on issues.

My political support for Reagan, and conservative leaning governance in general, is not about winning. I just figured that out after reading your post. Free people - citizens - should always remember that it's not about getting your way.

It's finding the best solution.

Your post crystalized the feeling that I have been trying to tie down all day long. I want a nation that works best for the greatest number of people. I believe that our founding principles and documents are not perfect but are the best tools available, bar none, of all the different flavors, styles, and colors tried by people thus far. It has turned out that this leader of ours has committed to making a WORLD that works best for the greatest number... and may just turn out to be right.

I think the Lebanese might just understand why we are bleeding for Iraq, and for Afghanistan.

They get it. Two hundred thousand (nominal - I've only got two blogs that may have same- sourced the number) Arabs - Shiite, Sunni, Druse, Orthodox Christian, even some Palestinians - are standing downtown and demanding to be heard. No bombs, no guns, no burning American flags.

Not in anger. Not enough anger to drown out the hope, at any rate.

They GET it. Elections in the spring in Lebanon. Spring is now. I looked at the faces of the (I assume) Lebanese troops that were mixed in among the edges of the crowd. THEY get it.

I bet the Syrians do, too.

Our best and brightest (the self appointed contingent) DON'T. They have the world at their fingertips even quicker than any of us here do but they refuse to see what doesn't fit in their version of that world. It is about winning for them. That's just (expletive)ing sad, too. We are an amazingly wealthy, blessed, fortunate, and robust democracy. Enough so that even our most powerful political fads or hacks cannot (has not - knock on wood) derail the true power that makes us all work as well as we have and continue to do.

It's not about ME being right. Nor winning any prize. Not even close. It's about finding a way in the real world of real people to make things work. I could give a rat's rear end about winning. Please just let freedom work for these folks. Even if they have judged "not ready" by the Elaine's crowd.

Keith_Indy -

"The real tipping point in the Middle East is going to be Iran. What happens there in the next 6-8 months is going to be what determines the near future of the region. And it could go either way, deeper into authorianism, or closer to democracy."

If this is in fact 1989 redux, I don't think that Iran has six or eight months. Read the MEMRI translations of journals from the mideast, especially the Emirates and Gulf States.

I feel like I did the night I watched Germans tearing apart the Berlin Wall with screwdrivers and carpenters' hammers. Or when that man in Peking stood in front of the tank column on its way to Tiananmen Square.

And I haven't won a thing. There is no triumph here in Utah. Just a lot more unforseen hope than I am able to process right at the moment.

What a beautiful day this has been.

The Turtle Moves!

Big doings in Lebanon. Publius Pundit is Instapundit's go-to guy for coverage, so here's the link.

I do not know if we are seeing a reprise of the fall of the Wall in 1989.

I can hope, though. No harm in doing that. None at all.

More at Across the Bay.

Update 11:20 28 Feb: Lebanon's Prime Minister has announced the resignation of his government.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Required Reading

Mark Steyn has a few choice words regarding the EU. My favorite is "collapse":

Plus there's something to be said for the theory that, as the EU constitution is a disaster waiting to happen, you might as well cut down the waiting and let it happen. CIA analysts predict the collapse of the EU within 15 years. I'd say, as predictions of doom go, that's a little on the cautious side.

I'm a firm believer in the power of constitutional representative democracy to solve problems. The kicker is that the constitution in question has to be based on the concept that government serves the people and not the other way around.

Weighing in at 511 pages, the EU constitution might as well be a Saturday Night Live script for all the good it is going to do as a document required to protect the rights of any serfs. Here in the States it's taken for granted that government given an inch will take a mile and then tax whatever is left. We fall back on elections to restrain the worst of our power grabbers; there are so many levels of electoral insulation between the masters of Europe and the people they govern that that mechanism will not apply to Brussels.

Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there's no point picking fights with the terminally ill.

I agree. We can smile and wave for the cameras while the nurse fusses with the bib around Old Europe's chin. They are too weak to keep up with us. Their idea of power politics was to put a knife in our back before Iraq in hope they could bring us down to their level.

That was not the case. An easy mistake to make when the concept of governance is built around "rule" instead of "lead".

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Price.

I am ever more aware of the responsibilities of being a dad. Since I'm a house dad I do a lot of house work during the day, as is just and proper.

We are having a dozen or so kids over for cake and ice cream for my youngest goddesses' birthday party. We are clutter afflicted but not nearly as bad as we were before hosting the inlaws for Christmas. I had to put some storage boxes up in a cubby above our basement stairs. This required using a nifty little two step ladder we picked up at Loewe's sometime back.

Mickey is the eternal kitten who is now eight, and pushing hard to nine, pounds of Maine Coon feline glorious bushy handsomeness. He decided to four wheel up my shoulder help. He meant well. Or maybe he thought one of his rattle mice ended up there. I don't know.

The stairs are carpeted. The door at the bottom was open.

I wish we had left the carpet in the basement. I wish I hadn't grabbed onto the sill of the cubby as the step ladder shot out from under my feet. I'm almost 5'10" and... big boned. And over forty. The rotation I induced with the snatch was enough to put me face first heading downstairs. I didn't know where the cat went to after he tried to crawl up my back and split my attention between trying to stay on the landing and not mash the cat.

I can walk. 800mg of Ibuprofen and a hot shower has set me right up. I swept and swabbed the kitchen and dining room, but I still don't think I'm going to bowl with the thundering herd.

Life is good.

Payton Place Written By SNL (Back in the seventies, when it was funny)...

If you haven't been checking in with Dennis on Ward Churchill, Josh Marshall, or the need for conservative movies, you owe it to yourself to at least follow developments in the quiet hamlet of Westerville.

Just keep on reading.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Mount Up. We're Moving Out.

Citizen SMASH runs the San Diego chapter of Protest Warrior in addition to publishing his own fine blog.

Maybe you remember these words from two years ago:

I want to talk today about how we’re actually going to stop the occupation. I don’t have a plan, but I think there’s some key strategies that we need to adopt, that are gonna make this more successful.

And the first thing is that we need to support the resistance of Iraqis in Iraq. These are people who are risking their lives to get the United States out of their country. And we have to see them as our allies. We have to see them as our main allies.

Similarly, we have to support resistance in the US military. Soldiers, and you know, anyone – families who are actually opposing the war, we need to be on their side.

If you recall, there’s one time in the last 30 years when the US military machine was brought down, during Vietnam, and it was brought down because there was a fierce resistance in Vietnam, and because the soldiers were refusing to fight...

Those words were spoken by a woman named Rebecca, addressed to an antiwar crowd gathered in Balboa Park. She spoke near the end of the program, after all the media had put away their weapons, I mean cameras, and assumed she was just preaching to the choir.

SMASH had a tape recorder. Roger Hedgecock played the tape on his KFMB radio show two days later, and shortly after that he played it again when he guest hosted the Rush Limbaugh Show. That was where I heard it for the first time.

The anniversary of that event is March 19. ANSWER, CodePink, assorted communists, anarchists, moonbats, and other people waiting on their Canadian or french visas are going to return to Balboa to see if they can outdo Rebecca's 2004 effort.

This year they'll have company:

We're asking everyone in San Diego to celebrate Independence Day a little bit early this year. On March 19, from 1 to 4pm, come to the west end of Balboa Park for a Patriots' Picnic, in the grassy area along Sixth Avenue, just south of Laurel Street.

I love San Diego in the spring. I love my country even more. I'm going. I reckon a small flag and a tasteful sign will be in order. I intend to cook Dutch oven pork ribs for give- away snacks, too.

If you live on the I-15 corridor between Utah and San Diego and are interested in a blazing down- and - back road trip, drop me a line via comments or email and we'll see if we can work something out.


Looks like Syria recognises who their friends are.

The Syrians cannot afford for the Bekka Valley to be open to international inspection. Well, they can, but only if the U.N. is in charge. I don't think that that is going to be the case.

I hear a cowboy singing "Home on the Range" off in the distance.


My youngest turns 12 tomorrow. Her sister will be 15 on Sunday.

I look at them and remember changing diapers, what, last week? Now we spend our Sunday afternoons doing driving practice in a vacant mall parking lot.

Spring is coming. I had the lawns aerated and am in search of a tiller and a Bobcat. I have to reseed the entire plantation and the back forty needs to be regraded a bit to deal with drainage.

Mom is back to work (this is her second day) and is back to slaying dragons with reckless abandon.

If you want some real entertainment, click here and you might catch Mount Saint Helens spouting off today.

I'm off. Y'all have a fine, fine day.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Those Darn Kids!

Here's some Sunday entertainment via LGF.

There appears to be an eddy in the hard news stream. If you scan down the Purser's List better than half of the crew have recent posts up on blogger/media relationships and interactions.

The link above takes you to an mp3 file where a democratic congressman does his bit to set the moonbat stereotype bar right on the carpet.

I haven't seen this story on Drudge or the New York Times or CNN.

Behold, the power of blogs.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Cost of Freedom.

Kim du Toit is listed by name in the Purser's List. His blog is called "A Nation of Riflemen". A native of South Africa, Kim represents just one of the millions of talented and hardworking people that make America such a wonderful place to call home. He is also dedicated to seeing that this nation and this magnificent experiment we call liberty survive.

He met two Army reservists named Walter and Adam when he attended last year's Boomershoot. They were both snipers, and getting ready to deploy to war. As a result of that meeting Kim established the Walter and Adam Fund on his site and in time since Kim and scores of others, including myself, have contributed what we could to provide the best possible shooting and humanitarian equipment/support possible. Scopes, stocks, bandaids, magazines, baby wipes and everything in between have been periodically purchased and shipped by Kim to keep our guys supplied at the pointy end.

U.S. Army Sergeant Adam J. Plumondore has been killed in action in Mosul, Iraq.

Kim's post is here.

Remember Adam. Remember why we are fighting, and who is doing the heavy lifting. Remember the stakes. And please - please find a way to help.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Headline. Lede. Torture.

I swooped through Drudge a few minutes ago and saw a shocking headline: "AP: Iraqi Died While Hung From Wrists...". Don't head there just yet - read the following, first.

Here's the lede:

An Iraqi whose corpse was photographed with grinning U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib died under CIA (news - web sites) interrogation while in a position condemned by human rights groups as torture — suspended by his wrists, with his hands cuffed behind his back, according to reports reviewed by The Associated Press.

Quick, what's the image you have in your mind right now?

When I see "suspended" in a sentence, I see an object hanging from a hook or beam above the floor. You?

The incident took place at Abu Ghraib in November 2003. According to the story the detainee had been captured, and subsequently beaten, by SEAL personnel in connection to a bombing at a Baghdad Red Cross office in October. Nine SEAL personnel received non-judicial punishment for excessive use of force, and one Lieutenant is scheduled to face a court martial this March. Another Lieutenant is pending a hearing before the senior SEAL officer of the Navy. The story is unclear on which disciplinary actions related directly to the death.

The death was ruled a homicide by the medical officer who processed the body. An investigation ensued, and the persons involved (at least on the military side of the house) have been or are being brought to justice. All this was before Abu Ghraib became a household word.

I've participated in some pretty spirited debates on the subject of torture - the best of the lot was here on Michael J. Totten. I'm all for interrogation. I am not for torture. I hope that our government has published and enforces clear guidelines on acceptable methods and tactics to our law enforcement/intel/military types - but I don't want to read the list in my local paper. If the enemy knows what to expect in interrogation, he's a long way past halfway winning the fight to resisting. I also am loathe to see the concept of "torture" reduced to the semantic equal of "inconvenienced" in order to attack the administration... which is surely a working objective in some quarters of the marching puppet crowd and their fellow travelers.

Now go back and read the entire article.

I have two questions:

Does the headline reflect the facts of the story?

And just where did the tactic earn the sobriquet "Palestinian Hanging"? I tried Google and came up dry for an origin. There are a ton of references to the term but nothing on where or when the practice got the name.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Nuke 'em, Danno

I check out BeldarBlog on a weekly basis. The author, Mr. Dyer, was born and raised in Lamesa, Texas, about fifty miles north of my hometown of Midland. He's a successful trial lawyer practicing (even though he's managed to get it right now and again - his words) in Houston.

His opinions on politics and law are always worth reading. And damned entertaining, too.

His latest post addresses some *gasp* factual inconsistencies in Senate Minority (I love writing that) Leader Harry Reid's remarks about President (I REALLY love writing that, though) Bush's resubmittal of judicial nominees.

The conventional wisdom argument against overturning the senate filibuster rule by invoking constitutional conflict is that someday the Democrats will have a majority in the senate.

Harry Reid. Nancy Pelosi. Ted Kennedy. Howard Dean as DNC chair. And Hillary Clinton ready to do what it takes to win in 2008. The Left has long favored judicial fiat in favor of legislation to advance their agenda. When that wasn't an option, they've simply obstructed important legislation or played games to protect their edge in activist judges.

Nuke 'em. Tomorrow. Three years, and probably at least seven at a bare minimum, of constitutionalist appointments (look for YOUNG nominees - just a guess) will put the courts out of the thrall of Scottish Law or U.N. edicts or mere activism for most of what remains of my lifetime. That's worth the risk, at least from where I stand.

Update 15 Feb: Make sure you follow the Patterico link on "the conventional option" from Beldar's comments section.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Required Reading

Michael Ledeen, writing in National Review Online.

No moment lasts forever. I regard our State Department as at best a handicap in regard to effectively prosecuting the war. The Iraqis have chosen who will define their constitution. I hope that Ms. Rice is keeping a keen eye and positive control over the machinations of the old boys club.

We could do nothing worse for ourselves, or the Iraqis, than to corrupt the freedom they have so recently exercised in some overreaching attempt to provide "our" (meaning State's bureaucrats') choices preeminence above those whom the Iraqis chose.

I also agree with Ledeen that action speaks louder than words, especially when the enemy is in front of us. "Stability" is indeed what precipitated 9/11. We look to a new world, not the same world with different dictators.

It's going to be a great spring for democracy.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


It is six o'clock of this past Friday evening. The mall I stand in is uncomfortably crowded. I haven't bathed in two days. My unshaven face peeks out the top of my oversize Land's End winter coat that was truly stylish eleven years ago; the intervening nine or ten survey seasons since have not been kind.

Thursday morning I had resolved that MY story - maybe my novel - would get the start it has been screaming for.

So I cleaned out the garage. I dumped a ream of comments on my favorite blogs. I played that pointless but addictive shooter game I got for Christmas into the wee hours of Friday morning. Friday a.m. and I open a Word window and stare at it for ten minutes. Then the wife reminds me she has to see her doc and off we go to the Women's Center.

Then to Sam's Club. Then to lunch. Then to some furniture stores. Home again. Rain is in the forecast so I move a bunk of wood from the rack outside the back door inside, next to the woodstove. Then refill that from the cord stacked beside the garage. And I have to move some tools and lumber in the garage while I'm out there. My ass finally hits the big command chair around two and I disable the wireless internet (die, DIE, stealer of seconds, minutes, hours...) just in time for the phone to ring. The oldest goddess is calling to say her homework is done, all of it, and she's wondering if I can maybe please dad it's important run her to the mall so she can find a cute skirt for the pivotal dance of the Valentine Season.

I promised her I would, you see, if she delivered on the schoolwork.

I look at the barren white expanse where my words belong. I see the first sentence. And I see the paragrahs that will roll out afterward.

I type, "The train station in Provo, Utah, has never won an award for architecture". "Save as", shut down, and out the door. I can come back. I can. And the story will still be there. Sure it will.

Three hours later I stand in Mervyns at the intersection of Fragrances, Women's Sportswear, and Petites. In the time since I left the house I've picked up oldest daughter, dropped her at the mall, rushed back to the school to pick up youngest daughter (and her two friends she assured "Sure, my dad can give you rides home") who had her dance in the hour after final bell, and escaped two fender benders only by the grace of God and the ability to generate a powerslide turn in spite of having a minivan with ABS.

Is this what writing is? I am negotiating the evening rush. Bumper to bumper traffic at fifty on a six- lane forty mile per hour secondary artery street, three seventh grade girls behind me comparing the social implications and merits of just who danced with whom or who did not. Surrounded by a hundred drivers, each and every one yammering into a cell phone are as oblivious to me as they are to the steering wheels in front of them, and I cannot think of anything but resolving that damned inconvenient gap between the Falklands war and the need for my character to have a grandfather who was there. And the question about elephants lurks in the haze beyond.

I stand in Mervyns, in a cellular dead zone, with an hour before my oldest daughter MUST make her entrance at the dance. My glasses dangle from the same hand that holds my useless phone. I stare into oblivion. I must find my daughter (who I instinctively realize is most certainly at Meier and Frank at the opposite end of the mall) but if I MOVE FROM THIS SPOT I will lose the thread of literary device that looked so promising...

"Hello, sir. May I help you find something?"

She is polite, professional. Her nametag is clean and adorned with a little Valentine heart to honor the season. She wears stylish but sensible shoes suitable for walking hard floors all day. The dark pleated skirt topped by a cowled brick-red sweater work well together, and complement her auburn hair and green eyes. And here she is, awaiting an answer.

I am, in the immortal words of Patrick O'Brian, frousty and crapulous. In large amounts. I am profoundly aware that all I lack is a bag of empty aluminum cans over my shoulder.

"Are you looking for someone?"

I cannot resist. I look directly into her eyes.

"I found him, the one that betrayed me to the sheriff. Ibn Azul and I fought as men should fight - on horseback, with swords. He was very strong, and he wounded me many times - he cut me here, and here (hand signs, crossing chest, and arm), but the baraka was strong with me, and I finally slew him there under the cloudless sky of the Rift".

I kept my eyes on hers, though I dearly wanted to glance down and see if her feet had really grown into the floor. This was not what she was being paid for. I had to tell her the truth.

"Oh - terribly sorry. I was channeling Sean Connery there for a moment. What's really happening here is that I'm minus on sleep, terribly aware I look like a ragpicker, and need to find my daughter who I hope has found the skirt she was looking for. Her dance starts in an hour, and my dad credibility hangs on her hitting the door with the first note of the first song..."

...insert engaging grin here...

... and I wonder if you've seen a fourteen year old girl with a denim skirt, black hoodie sweatshirt, and hair just like mine, but longer, wandering around in here?"

* * * * *

The Oldest Goddess had a smashing time at the dance.

It is Sunday morning. We spent Saturday doing chores and then watched the director's cut of Return of the King over at a friend's house.

Mom is doing great. The rain has finally broken. The skies are blue from the mountains to the desert. I am going to make pancakes, take a walk with the OTL, and then take the girls to the empty quarter of the mall parking lot for driving practice.

And maybe then I'll write some more.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Update Update

Mom is doing great.

I am fixing a garage door today and starting work on an occasional table for the computer room.

My seventh grader has abandoned band; personality conflict with the instructor.

I wrote an epic post yesterday morning. Health updates, honey-do's that have gotten done as the result of the wife being home, and a really informative account of experiments with spaghetti sauce.

And Blogger ate it without a hiccup.

It was either an object lesson of why it's foolish to compose in the Blogger "create" window, or a program feature that prevents bloggers from making ill-considered references to flatulence.

I'm composing in notepad now.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Thank You

I didn't watch the Superbowl. I wish I had - I wouldn't have missed this.

I always take the opportunity to shake the hands of servicemen/women and let them know how proud of them, and grateful, I am for their duty. I hope you do, too. Don't think I've ever been part of a standing O outside of a welcome home ceremony, though.

(Hat tip: commenter Catherine at Roger L. Simon)

Update 8 Feb: Paul Krugman thought the ad was exploitation on the part of Anheuser-Busch.

It's really quite amazing how one guy can be so clueless on so many levels.

"And it's part of the basic lack of seriousness about a lot of what's going on in this country."

Mr. Krugman, the serious people elected this administration to fight and win this war. The serious people are fighting it. The serious people are waiting to see how we can reform social security so it doesn't explode in a few years.

The unserious people treat the war as a PR problem for their side. The unserious people are denying there are any problems with Social Security that can't be fixed by taxing business into bankruptcy. Or by taxing the ever- attractive "rich". The unserious people are calling Bush Hitler. The unserious people are incapable of using the words "Dick Cheney" in a sentence that doesn't include "Haliburton".

The mere thought of applauding an anonymous service member, or group of them, would never cross the mind of the unserious people.

(Hat tip to Roger, again.)

Brandy & Cigars

Mr. Totten does D.C. with Christopher Hitchens, Jim Hake of Spirit of America, and the folks from Friends of Democracy.

Ever want to have been a fly on the wall? Here's your chance.

Abortion And Now This

It's not often I see something from a New York Times employee worth cluttering my blog with, but it seems that the Great Red Retreat to Canada is still a go for a substantial number of people.

At least "twice as many people as live in Gettysburg" intend to hitch their wagon (or should that be dog sled?) to the socialist star to the north according to the Times - and they'd never lie, right?

"I'm originally from a poor, lead-mining town in Missouri, and I know a lot of the people there don't understand why I'm doing this," she said. "Even my family is pretty disappointed. And the fact is, it makes me pretty sad, too. But I just can't bear to pay taxes in the United States right now."

Ma'am, if it's paying taxes you want to feel good about I guess you're heading to the right place.

It's not like they are completely out of the game for the Democrats - not like those millions of kids that have been reprioritized since Roe v. Wade.

They will still be able to vote in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Washington, nooooooo problem.

(h/t Drudge)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

That's Enough Bawdy. Time For Some Class.

Please welcome The Anchoress to the Purser's List.

From her "About Me":

In the middle ages an Anchorite or Anchoress was a man or woman who lived in a small, sealed room inside a church, where they would have visual access to the Sanctuary and to Holy Communion. Usually there was also a small side window at which the Anchorite could converse with visitors, give counsel, receive foods, etc. Usually an Anchorite was rather a mystical and wise sort of person, steeped in prayer. Whether I am wise or holy is for The One to decide - I make no claims for myself! But as a shy type of person with a liking for anonymity, I don't mind being rather like Julian of Norwich, the wise Anchoress in Britain whose name is lost except as to the patron of her church. Consider this my window. Instead of passing me food, honest - if constructive - criticism will do! :-) Everything is copyrighted, 2005 The Anchoress. Stealing is bad, but if you drop me a note I'm nice about sharing!

I have visited her blog frequently over the last months, and often see her thoughtful comments on blogs I respect. Be sure to visit; there's a lot of good commentary and it is all well written.

Mrs. Is Home

Yeeehhhaaaaawwwww! Tender and a little loggy, but she's ensconced in the Mighty Sleep Machine under the Comforter of Indescribable Comfort and will probably be there the rest of the day.

Light blogging for the next little bit.

Yes, I really mean it this time.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Hipshot: State Of The Union

Judicial and cabinet appointments: Stand by for the nuclear option.

Social Security: AARP has behaved in a fairly predictable spoon- slamming- the- high- chair mode on their pet issues for the last few years. Bush just took away the spoon.

Tax/Tort Reform: Look for a bill to be published concurrent with the formal submission of the Social Security bill.

Bashar Asaad and the Ba'athists of Syria: It's not going to be a good year. It may well be your last year.

Iran: The people of Iran have been invited to storm the Bastille. Did anyone else hear what I heard? I would LOVE to have a peak in the Pentagon contingency plan files right about now.

Iraq: We are committed to a result, not any exit strategy. We stand with you until you stand on your own. Then we leave.

I predict force level reductions beginning NLT than early summer, unless Iran's strategy shifts from covert support to overt military acts... which they'd be insane to do. Oh, excuse me - we are talking about the mullahs here, aren't we?

In general: I thought it was a good speech. I don't think Bush has much angst invested in principled debate with the Democrats. He didn't speak to parties tonight - he spoke to the nation. If the minority chooses not to participate in the challenges that face us I can only hope the rest of us can carry the burden to success.

I'd like to think he intended to elicit the hisses that escaped from the left side of the house when he laid out the numbers on why and how the system is broken, but that is probably not the case. In retrospect it was probably just a bit of fortuitous timing that such a tasteless act from the floor preceded his appeal to today's parents to consider what those numbers might mean for our kids.

Your comments are always welcome.


Mrs. Update: One more night in the hospital. In consideration of her history of clotting problems, the medicoes intend to observe her reaction to the anticoagulant drug they are giving her in place of her regular coumadin until her incisions are healed. C'live - oh no french! *gackpatoooie!*~

I get to pick her up in the morning if all goes well.

File Under "Deckchairs/Titanic"


(via Drudge)

Wakeup Call

The morning sun wrestles with the ribbons of fog clothing the hills south of Strawberry Resevoir. The silence is profound. No wind. A single drop of dew making its way down through the flame colored aspen leaves sounds like an anvil coming down a flight of stairs.

No echoes.

I am a stone among the trees. I belong here. I am invisible. I have always been here.

I glance left,with just my eyes, peeking at the shapeless lump in the mist that is my daughter. Our ponchoes are covered with hundreds of tiny burlap ribbons. They do not glisten with the dew. They do not sound like man. Tension radiates from her stillness, but she's game. We have been here since before first light. No talking for the last two hours. We scouted this spot on a fine sunny afternoon last weekend. We had crisscrossed miles of this mountain before deciding that this patch would be ours. The faint trace below us is the trail followed by the elk from their beds in the saddle above down to the pond where they water in the morning. Her Hawken rifle lies across across her lap. The lock is at half cock, and covered with a loose sock of buckskin to protect the cap from the damp.

A puff of breeze felt only as a cooling on my cheeks and suddenly the world expands. The mist recedes a hundred feet and the white and black of the aspens' bark comes into focus for the first time. My daughter stiffens against my elbow - her heartbeat sounds like thunder. I see nothing. Then I taste the merest whiff of wet blankets and have to smile. I have smoked for too long for a week without cigarettes to bring back my sense of smell, but my girl has no such handicap.

They are coming.

Impatience is a youthful trait. My hand covers the lock before my daughter can pull back the buckskin. A yearling elk appears; anxious for water, she has left the herd behind. She skips past us, from right to left, focused on her first drink. Youth. Musk fills the air. Drops form on our faces as the warming breeze rises up the mountain and sweeps the fog and our scent away from the trail. Chuffs and thuds and the trail is suddenly full of cow elk. My girl tugs at my hand and but I do not move. The cows are passing... passing... past. I move my hand and whisper "shoulder". She trembles as she draws the sleeve back over the wrist of the stock. The buckskin hangs up on the curved hammer. She writhes. The lock is free after a second that surely lasted forever.

"Shoulder", I whisper again. Now my heart is pounding, too. The animal smell has deepened; darkened. It is a tangible thing. It is a chain across time. For thousands of years men have breathed deeply of this scent before taking a tighter grip on their spears or drawing their bowstrings. A branch clatters on the trail above us.

Not a branch. Not a branch at all. The bull elk fills our world, stepping gingerly down the trail while trying to keep his antlers out of the trees. The rifle is up beside my head. I watch the muzzle bob in time with my girl's heartbeat.

"Breathe, honey. Breathe. In and out. Wait for him. Wait for him. Just behind the shoulder". I do not speak. She feels my hand on her knee and the muzzle steadies.

Remember what I told you, babe. Remember. He will stop. Just that one instant, but he will stop. Wait. Wait... behind the shoulder.

The matte brown barrel shifts ever so slightly left as she remembers to aim, not just focus on the huge brown mass before her. The soft metallic click of the sear locking on full cock stops the bull. He freezes with the tip of one hoof hanging above the trail. The barrel is still for the first time.

The forest brightens, then fades. I hear... music? No. A tone, over and over. The forest is gone. The cool is gone. I am warm. Why? Where is my girl?

The phone in the kitchen stops ringing. The clock radio on my nightstand clicks into life with the traffic report and I roll out of bed. I bounce between the walls and down the hall to the kitchen and try to focus on the machines cluttering the breakfast bar. No blinking light for messages. I cannot read the caller I.D. at first, but "Utah Vly Reg Hosp" finally makes it through my sleepy eyes.

I dial the number and the receptionist puts me through to the nurse's station, then my One True Love picks up her phone.

"Good morning, my love. Are you feeling better this morning? Did you call?"

"Yes...yes." Her voice sounds like it's coming through carpet. "Did the kids make their bus?"

I smile.

"Another hour, honey. They'll surely make it. Don't worry."

"Oh. Grrrumphhh. Sorry, sweetie..."

My day begins. She should be home tonight. My world will be complete once more.

Even if we didn't get that elk.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Now For Something Completely Different

Please welcome Jeff Simmermon, master and commander of And I Am Not Lying, For Real, to the newly chartered "Friendly Flags" column in the Purser's List.

He's got his own flag and interests, and the interests are emphatically unlike most of what I would care to call my own. That's o.k.

Neither one of us has much time for pirates.

I found him via this post on Roger L. Simon, via a link provided by commentor notthisgirl.

I understand he was Instalaunched, too, so you don't have to take my word for a visit being worth your while. Sorry I can't find the specific link right now.

Mrs. Update

Sugery was a success. No surprises, no changes.

I will be gone for the rest of the day.

Thank all of you who cast a little mojo this way.

UPDATE 1600 MST: Awake, able to keep her clear liquid lunch, and playing Shaolin meditation games to avoid punching the morphine button on her IV. She thinks recovery will be pretty easy once the initial pain recedes. All is well.

I Think This Is Important

Go here, read what columnist Mark Brown has to say about his current thoughts on our struggle to introduce Democracy in Iraq.

I never supported the Bush Doctrine, or the specific objective of democratization as a strategy to overcome Islamist terror, because it was a Republican/Conservative/Bush idea.

I support the policies in place at this time because I think they stand a good chance of success if we do the hard work to make them successful.

Not because of party. Or religion. But because they make sense when viewed through the lens of history. Or when parsed against an honest appreciation of human behavior.

If we give the largest number of individuals possible the same freedoms that we enjoy, is it not just possible that they will make at least as good use as we have?

This is not hubris or imperialism. This is pragmatism. It's beneficence, too, because without we end the threat posed by the seething victims of despotic regimes this way, there's an older, more sure, and all too frequently repeated precedent for ensuring that they won't be able to attack us again.

I'm not asking that Michael Moore put George Bush in his bedtime prayers. I am asking that what's left of the Democrat party take an honest look at the stakes and the policies and maybe take another think at exactly where the crime is in making people free as a counter to tyranny and murder.

Just a thought.

(via Drudge)

Mrs. Update: She's being worked on now. The doc is going to call me around noon. I didn't sleep last night, so forgive any imprecision. Please.

Update: This column applies, too. Think of the consequences of the goals you support, folks.

Winning can be a bitter thing.

Yet ANOTHER Update: Commentor notthisgirl posted this link to an essay written by Jeff Simmermon on his blog. I understand he may have been Instalaunched. I find his essay wonderfully well written and his conclusions heartening. Please check him out.

No, he's definitely NOT the usual link you might follow from these pages; I intend to correct that oversight.

Formal welcome to the Purser's List will be noted on its own post above.