Friday, January 30, 2004

From Tom Leete ----

this article does have some valid points...but look at this quote in the
first para. - "indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without charge or access to
an attorney". this kind of inaccuracy makes intelligent discussion of his
more rational concerns difficult. it's simply an untrue statement. nothing
in the patriot act does this.

i do believe we need to make sure there is a "firewall" between the actions
permitted in dealing with non-us citizens and us citizens. i don't believe
non-citizens are entitled to all us constitutional rights. 2 reasons: if
you're not a part of the culture that produced and reveres those rights, you
shouldn't be able to selectively claim them as a mantle of respectability
over actions intended to undermine this many fundamentalist
islamic fuckwits, like the usf prof, try to do. also, perhaps a very crass
reason, i don't want to pay for the monumental machinery of justice required
to protect us citizenry to be applied to non-citizens. thirdly, i WANT our
government to be able to move much more quickly when dealing with

i'm fully aware of the "slippery slope" syndrome. i agree the gov. still
needs healthy skepticism and careful watching by the citizenry. but much of
the rhetoric about the patriot act is simply politically motivated cant. if
bill clinton had enacted the patriot act, brokaw, jennings et. al. would be
embracing it as the most enlightened piece of legislation since freeing the

From Dan Gilmartin ---

Ashcroft's Amerika:

Operator: "Thank you for calling Pizza Hut.
Customer: "Hi, I'd like to order."
Operator: "May I have your NIDN first, sir?"
Customer: "My National ID Number, yeah, hold on,
eh, it's 6102049998-45-54610."
Operator: "Thank you, Mr. Sheehan. I see you live
at 1742 Meadowland Drive, and the phone number's
Your office number over at Lincoln Insurance is
745-2302and your cell number's 266-2566. Which
number are you calling from, sir?"
Customer: "Huh? I'm at home. Where d'ya get all
this information?"
Operator: "We're wired into the system, sir."
Customer: (Sighs) "Oh, well, I'd like to order a
couple of your All-Meat Special pizzas..."
Operator: "I don't think that's a good idea,
Customer: "Whaddya mean?"
Operator: "Sir, your medical ! records indicate
that you've got very high blood pressure and
extremely high cholesterol. Your National Health
Care provider won't allow such
an unhealthy choice."
Customer: "Man!! What do you recommend, then?"
Operator: "You might try our low-fat Soybean
Yogurt Pizza. I'm sure you'll like it"
Customer: "What makes you think I'd like
something like that?"
Operator: "Well, you checked out 'Gourmet Soybean
Recipes' from your local library last week, sir.
That's why I made the suggestion."
Customer: "All right, all right. Give me two
family-sized ones,then. What's the damage?"
Operator: "That should be plenty for you, your
wife and your four kids, sir. The 'damage,' as
you put it, heh, heh, comes $49.99."
Customer: "Lemme give you my credit card number."
Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but! I'm afraid you'll
have to pay in cash. Your credit card balance is
over its limit."
Customer: "I'll run over to the ATM and get some
cash before your driver gets here."
Operator: "That won't work either, sir. Your
checking account's overdrawn."
Customer: "Never mind. Just send the pizzas. I'll
have the cash ready. How long will it take?"
Operator: "We're running a little behind, sir.
It'll be about 45 minutes, sir. If you're in a
hurry you might want to pick 'em up while you're
out getting the cash, but carrying pizzas on a
motorcycle can be a little awkward."
Customer: "How the # @ + **** do you know I'm
riding a bike?"
Operator: "It says here you're in arrears on your
car payments, so your car got repo'ed. But your
Harley's paid up, so I just assumed that you'd be
using it."
Customer: "@#%/$@&?#!"
Operator: "I'd advise watching your language,
sir. You've already got a July 2006 conviction
for cussing out a cop."
Customer: (Speechless)
Operator: "Will there be anything else, sir?"
Customer: "No, nothing. oh, yeah, don't forget
the two free liters of Coke your ad says I get
with the pizzas."
Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but our ad's
exclusionary clause prevents us from offering
free soda to diabetics."


Thursday, January 29, 2004

As you know, my friend Tom Leete and I have been pounding each other on the heads for months about the Patriot Act. Tommy seems to have a much higher trust level that yours truly when I comes to our elected officials.

Don't get me wrong... I'm still one of those guys with an R after his name down at the courthouse... I voted for the boy, and his Daddy too... but I just don't want any of those guys to have a blank check when it comes to constitutional issues. That doesn't make me a liberal. I'm perfectly aware that our previous president was a threat to all of our peace of mind. All of us who are fathers know the feeling that guys have when they want to not only lock up their daughters but bring the dog in from the porch too. That man was typical Democrat... weak and silly and prone to using the hose as a thinking organ. Our current president is more of a "real man", capable of thinking with the correct organ, and not afraid to kick some ass when it is necessary. And... apparently willing to go it alone when he has to.

Now, the good folks at the ACLU have won a few procedural rounds and trimmed Mr. Ashcroft and Company's tail feathers a bit. Not much, but enough to let them know that there are folks out there just as fanatical about constitutional issues as there are folks who feel just as strongly about the struggles that we are having with the terrorists now.

My friend Tom was generous enough to send me a link to the Wall Street Journal the other day so that we could continue the friendly debate. This has started me on a path of explaining myself that will probably require one of my dreary essays. I sent him the following email:

Tom --

Allow me to say... I agree (again) with the fellows at WSJ. And the elements of the act that provide for oversight WHERE CONSTITUTIONALLY PROVIDED are music to my leathery bailbondsman's ears (my emphasis). And that is exactly what is provided under existing law (re the dope cases that the DEA and the FBI are constantly involved in... including the roving tail stuff). Where I stop smiling is where the good fellows in the government seem to think that they don't need to conform to any judicial oversight, that due process is just too bothersome to fool with, and that they should be allowed to go do whatever they want whenever they want. That... is a problem.

I'll admit to a certain reserve when it comes to protecting the "rights" of folks who do not have the red, white, and blue sticker on their passports. But I just feel that when they are snooping around anyone who is a citizen... it's just terribly... painfully... critically important that the cops give a rats ass about who's ass is in the wringer. So long it is the evil baddies (Oh Samma and his ilk) then I suppose we can wink at not caring about constitutional privileges.. after all, those sand lizards ain't actually part of "our tribe" if you follow me... but where do we draw the lines? Shouldn't we be spending just as much time getting good data on folkies who are trying to come here... it seems as if that would be a logical place to ask to see their bonafides... while they're standing in line at the airport trying to come in at Orlando International visit Mickey and not wait until their damned visa is 5 years out of date... that way we wouldn't have to do all this damned archaeology after the facts. I'm not interested in determining who's to blame. I want to do better real cop stuff. You know... serve and protect.

I guess what I'm asking for is better police work. Knocking heads and "rounding up all the usual suspects" Casablanca style has never been very practical investigatory practice in my mind.

My concerns about all this crap comes from the peculiar "turf wars" that go on among the agencies arising from this Weimarian theater of bickering and finger pointing. I'm working on an essay about this very subject now and will hopefully have it for your consideration in a week or so.


OK... I'll get busy. Thanks Tom.

Another post from Gilmartin:

To All:
As Bush Lightyear sends the National Debt to
Infinity and Beyond while cutting the taxes of
the upper 5 percent, CBS refuses to allow
criticism of that fact during the HOLY Super Bowl
Advertisement extravaganza. Too controversial??
Whats next??

If you want to the the MoveOn advert, paste
the below web address into your browser:

...Danno (but, I'm not bitter)

> Dear MoveOn member,
> During this year's Super Bowl, you'll see ads
> sponsored by beer companies, tobacco companies,
> and the Bush White House.(1) But you won't see
> the winning ad in Voter Fund's Bush
> in 30 Seconds ad contest. CBS refuses to air
> it.(2)
> Meanwhile, the White House and Congressional
> Republicans are on the verge of signing into
> law a deal which Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
> says is custom-tailored for CBS and Fox,(3)
> allowing the two networks to grow much bigger.
> CBS lobbied hard for this rule change;
> members across the country lobbied
> against it; and now our ad has been rejected
> while the White House ad will be played. It
> looks an awful lot like CBS is playing politics
> with the right to free speech.
> Of course, this is bigger than just the
> Voter Fund. People for the Ethical
> Treatment of Animals (PETA) submitted an ad
> that was also rejected.(4) But this isn't even
> a progressive-vs.-conservative issue. The
> airwaves are publicly owned, so we have a
> fundamental right to hear viewpoints from
> across the ideological spectrum. That's why we
> need to let CBS know that this practice of
> arbitrarily turning down ads that may be
> "controversial" -- especially if they're
> controversial simply because they take on the
> President -- just isn't right.
> To watch the ad that CBS won't air and sign our
> petition to CBS, go to:
> If you want to skip the ad and just sign the
> petition, go to:
> We'll deliver the petition by email directly to
> CBS headquarters.
> You also may want to let your local CBS
> affiliate know you're unhappy about this
> decision. We've attached a list of the CBS
> affiliates in your state at the bottom of this
> email. Remember, a polite, friendly call will
> be most effective -- just explain to them why
> you believe CBS' decision hurts our democracy.
> CBS will claim that the ad is too controversial
> to air. But the message of the ad is a simple
> statement of fact, supported by the President's
> own figures. Compared with 2002's White House
> ad which claimed that drug users are supporting
> terrorism,(5) it hardly even registers.
> CBS will also claim that this decision isn't an
> indication of political bias. But given the
> facts, that's hard to believe. CBS
> overwhelmingly favored Republicans in its
> political giving, and the company spent
> millions courting the White House to stop FCC
> reform.(6) According to a well-respected
> study, CBS News was second only to Fox in
> failing to correct common misconceptions about
> the Iraq war which benefited the Bush
> Administration -- for example, the idea that
> Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11.(7)
> This is not a partisan issue. It's critical
> that our media institutions be fair and open to
> all speakers. CBS is setting a dangerous
> precedent, and unless we speak up, the pattern
> may continue. Please call on CBS to air ads
> which address issues of public importance
> today.
> Sincerely,
> --Adam, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Laura, Noah,
> Peter, Wes, and Zack
> The Team
> January 23rd, 2003
> P.S. Our friends at Free Press have put
> together a page which explains simply how CBS
> and the FCC rule change are integrally linked.
> Check it out at:
> P.P.S Here are the CBS affiliates in your
> state:
> WTEV-TV, Jacksonville: (904) 642-3030
> WCTV-TV, Tallahassee: (850) 893-6666
> WGFL-TV, Gainesville: (352) 375-5300
> WKMG-TV, Orlando: (407) 521-1200
> WFOR-TV, Miami: (305) 591-4444
> WPEC-TV, West Palm Beach: (561) 844-1212
> WTSP-TV, Saint Petersburg: (727) 577-1010
> WINK-TV, Fort Myers: (239) 334-1111
> Footnotes:
> 1. "Who's Buying What At the Super Bowl," Ad
> Age, 1/20/04
> 2. CBS fax to Voter Fund, 1/14/04
> 3. "Democrats Fold on 39% TV Cap Fight",
> Broadcasting and Cable, 1/21/04
> 4. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
> 5. "New Media Campaign Stresses Link between
> Drugs and Terrorism," U.S. Dept. of State
> 6. "CBS Television Network
> Soft Money Donations"
> 7. "Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq
> War," PIPA/Knowledge Networks Poll
> ________________

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Dan Gilmartin writes:

Other than the possibility of nuclear incineration, this article (see Guardian article below) is also troubling for two other reasons. "Sources say" and "knowledgeable sources say" and other vagaries abound. The other reason for being bothered by this is that no other news people are taking up the story. Probably because of reason one.
I have no doubt that these 7th century morons are out to get us, and am very comfortable with preemptive action when we find it necessary. I would however be more comfortable with some 21st century attributions and verifiable facts.


Libya's black market deals shock nuclear inspectors

Ian Traynor in Vienna
Saturday January 17, 2004
The Guardian

Colonel Muammar Gadafy of Libya has been buying complete sets of uranium enrichment centrifuges on the international black market as the central element in his secret nuclear bomb programme, according to United Nations nuclear inspectors.
The ease with which the complex bomb-making equipment was acquired has stunned experienced international inspectors. The scale and the sophistication of the networks supplying so-called rogue states seeking nuclear weapons are considerably more extensive than previously believed.

The purchase of full centrifuges, either assembled or in parts, marks a radical departure in what is on offer on the black market, sources said. While it is not yet clear where Col Gadafy obtained the centrifuge systems, at least 1,000 machines, believed to have been made in Malaysia, were seized last October by the Italian authorities on a German ship bound for Libya.

Diplomatic sources familiar with the results of a recent visit to Libya by nuclear experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the Gadafy bomb programme differed in crucial respects from nuclear projects in Iran, Iraq or North Korea.

"What was found in Libya marks a new stage in proliferation," said one knowledgeable source. "Libya was buying what was available. And what is available, the centrifuges, are close to turnkey facilities. That's a new challenge. Libya was buying something that's ready to wear."

As the climax to nine months of secret negotiations with British and US intelligence, Col Gadafy announced last month that he was renouncing his weapons of mass destruction programmes after purchasing what sources said were "a few thousand" centrifuges for enriching uranium to weapons grade.

Another well-placed source said: "We all now realise there is this extraordinarily developed and sophisticated market out there enabling anyone to get this centrifuge equipment."

Mohammed El Baradei, the IAEA chief, visited Libya a couple of weeks ago to view the Libyan equipment and take charge of the upcoming effort to dismantle the Libyan bomb programme. He described the experience as "an eye-opener".

A centrifuge is made up of hundreds of separate components. Typically, a country covertly seeking the uranium enrichment technology will seek to cover its tracks by obtaining a design blueprint and then purchasing the varied components separately from different suppliers.

The German ship was seized by Italians after a tip-off from the CIA. Knowledgeable sources said the centrifuges on board were "made-to-order" in Malaysia for Libya, based on designs directly or indirectly from Pakistan.

While US government sources have claimed that the seizure persuaded Col Gadafy to do his deal with Washington and London, diplomats and analysts closely following the nuclear trade are convinced that the ship was impounded because of information provided by the Libyans.

According to this version circulating in Vienna, headquarters of the IAEA, Col Gadafy told the CIA about the shipment as a goodwill gesture to convince the Americans and the British that he was committed to the deal being negotiated.

A Finnish expert leading the IAEA investigations into the Libyan and Iranian nuclear projects has so far been denied access to the equipment impounded by the Italians, apparently because of the tug-of-war between the Americans and the Vienna agency over how to dismantle the Libyan programme.

Senior US and British officials are due in Vienna on Monday to negotiate with Dr El Baradei over how to proceed in Tripoli. The Americans will be led by John Bolton, the hawk in charge of nuclear proliferation issues at the State Department. He has a reputation for scorning the UN agencies and his officials disparaged the El Baradei trip to Tripoli as a publicity stunt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

A tip from Tom Leete --

For those of you who are not totally besotted with the mechinations of the Democrats up north, the brain trust at the Belmont Club (Wretchard... of course) have a very interesting read about strategies in the nuclear wannabe club.

If you really want to feel your blood run cold... read thru this and then sit back and think about the last few years of brinksmanship that our president has been so ably playing.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Dan Gilmartin Posts this

Ramblings of Yore:

Yeah, I remember Vermillion. Pat O'Day too. The only Rock on the air in those days. Pre-FM daze; pre-Mouse daze.
Remembering computers of old; I don't go back as far as you, but Bulletin Boards, DOS, Lynx browser all with CLI... Late 80's. Hell, that's over 15 years. Time flies.
The first 5 or 6 years the computer thing was fun for me. Then Win95 came out and made it boring and more GUI oriented. I liked the CLI. So now I've just given up --- I just USE the thing now. It reminds me of the shift in technology that I saw in the late 60's when my Radioman days ended and I left Uncle Sam's Canoe Club.
To tune the R-390 receiver, you had to have an EAR, a TOUCH. They went to R-1051 which enabled any moron to set the numbers and walk away. Morse Code too -- I actually MISS Morse Code. Satellites and teletypes took out the fun. No static, no frantically sent Morse messages, no straining to hear through static and Soviet
radio interference (oh yeah, the Soviets are gone too). Just boring.
I also hate artificial turf, the designated hitter and DOMES. Cookie cutter 70's stadiums that are symmetrical; I hate that boring symmetry. Give me Ebbets Field, Polo Grounds, Fenway and Wrigley
any time; and you'll get weird bounces and non-sprinters legging out a triple. Triples -- they're about gone too.
I'm looking forward to the Colts-Pats game today. SNOW... No DOME and nasty elements with Football; as Allah intended.
It was FTU then -- UCF name came in the early 80's I think. I went to West Florida anyway -- Go Argonauts! Argonauts ??? Sheesh! What a dork name.
Yeah -- I am still in the SCC-UCF loop. Instructing Freshmen and Sophs about the Land Before Time. Damn, do they have a shallow idea of the past or what? They're not dumb, they just don't read anything other than what they are forced to read. They write like
plumbers do art. Their prose reads like a horrid local newscaster sounds; shrill, cliche ridden and vapid. Only the very good ones can write at all. But, they all feel good about themselves.
As for me, Bob, I didn't think I'd get past 50 -- I am amazed. I want to see a few more World Series, say the next couple of dozen. What is NOT my goal is to be with the tedious, self-absorbed BOOMERS at the local Senility Gardens Shuffleboard Tourney, drooling on my Nikes and wondering where I am. That's not on my list. As Woody
Allen has said: "I'm not scared of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens."
So much for this rant -- I can't wait to see if 47 Iowa
farmers are going to help the Democrats commit political suicide yet again. Ah, the Liberal wing of the Democratic Party; I wish they'd develop a taste for cool aid.



Saturday, January 17, 2004


For the last.... mmm... five years (!)... I've had a website to play with. That's the raindog over there in the list of links to our right. It's been a trip and literally hundreds of thousands of people have rubbed up against me and my business during that time. I've got all kinds of contacts all over the world who email me and chat me up weekly.

Unfortunately, this wide distribution has a down side. I get spam from all six continents! Who actually has ever bought a penis enlarger? I want a picture of the doof. Or actually sent money to Nigeria? Show me their picture! And... has anyone ever actually figured out what that damned banned CD is all about? And what is this crap with the word codes gibberish that seems to follow the useless ads? As a business owner I can tell you that ads cost money. I can't believe that anyone is making money off of this crap. There must be some sort of elaborate con going on here.

And this blog has also been a new and exciting experience for me. Kind of reminds me of the old days when I was teaching out at UCF and put together a bulletin board. Amazingly enough there are a few of those old code heads still around that remember that thing. I called it The School Board and ran it on an old Radio Shack Model IV and a huge massive 5 meg hard drive. Ooowee! I would put up the week's class assignments on it and my students would upload their homework to me. Wow. And the thing actually worked as intended. Wrote it in Pascal as a class project. Now remember, this was before the days when we even HAD a College of Computer Science. Just a few code heads who were playing guru to a whole faculty of guys who wanted to have a computer. Wave of the future and all that kind of crap.

Anyhow, all kinds of folks wanted a piece of that thing. It finally faded away as we got access to a better mainframe environment and the old Hollerith cards gave way to a raft of stacked hard drives and an interlocking system that made a university-to-university network a reality so we all went to chatting with each other on the PROFS system that was part of the mainframe environment.... and all of us amateur academic code heads went back to teaching the stuff we were supposed to be teaching. For my part, that was English and Ed. Leadership... boring... and left the computer stuff to the experts.

But the newer environment did not have the edge that the old bulletin boards had. Ah, the flame wars that went on! The hackers and their undoing... the playful foolishness of it all.

You realize that I have an original Apple I, complete with a home made cassette interface card that I got directly from Jobs himself back in the old garage band days. He sold a wave soldered blank and I had to solder in my own capacitors and resistors to it. Whee. Thing still works too. I also still own my original antique Tandy Model I... along with its accursed gold contact cables that had to be constantly buffed with a pencil eraser to keep them working. Yeah, it works too. Remember CP/M? Fortran? Cobol? My beloved Pascal? Forth? Remember mini-BASIC? I actually still have the cassette tape where I saved my original Version 1 (with corrections) that I laboriously typed in from my copy of Nibbles (the original Byte magazine)... the code that got Bill Gates first published and on the road to greatness... and I found a bug in the thing and wrote Gates about it. He was a dopey college boy in those days and I got a nice letter from him along with an improvement on my suggested correction... and the correction was printed in the next copy of Nibble (The Journal of Electronic Orthodontia!... aaah, the good old days).

And now here we are coming full circle. This blog.. this web log... is a high speed bulletin board. Makes me a little misty thinking about the good old days. I wonder where Bill Vermillion is these days? He was a local Orlando disk jockey (WLOF AM Home of the Oldies) who had a bulletin board (the competition!) and was always talking about his barefoot secretaries. Me... I was just an invisible college geek out at UselessEff. Now days they call it U Can't Finish... same school... just bigger parking lots.

My friend Dan Gilmartin (the guy who put up that screed from the evil New York Times) remembers those days. He's still in the UCF/SCC loop. Amazing... I figured we'd all be dead by this time.

Dan... did you ever think that we'd live this long?


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Dan Gilmartin sends this --

NYTIMES 1/13/04

The Bush Democrats

Published: January 13, 2004

In 2000, the American electorate was evenly
divided. Now, as we enter another voting season,
the Gallup Organization has released a study,
based on 40,000 interviews, that shows that 45.5
percent of voters identify with or lean toward
the Republican Party and 45.2 percent identify
with or lean toward the Democratic Party.

So is that it? After Sept. 11, the Iraq war and
the Madonna-Britney kiss, could it really be that
we are back to where we started? Since 2000, tens
of millions of people have moved, divorced and
converted; can it really be that everything in
America changes except politics?

Yes and no. Yes, the political divides today do
look a lot like the ones that split the nation in
2000. But no. When you look beneath the headline
data, you see at least one important change. The
events of the past three years have brought to
the foreground issues that divide Democrats, and
pushed to the background issues that divide

The first result is that the Republican Party is
more unified than ever before. Ninety-one percent
of Republicans approve of the job President Bush
is doing. In 1992, Bush's father didn't have
anything like that level of support, and even the
Reagan administration was split between so-called
pragmatists and ideologues.

Today's Republicans not only like Bush
personally, they also overwhelmingly support his
policies. According to a Pew Center study, 85
percent of Republicans support the war in Iraq,
82 percent believe that pre-emptive war is
justified, and 72 percent believe the U.S. is
justified in holding terror suspects without

The Democrats, meanwhile, are divided on all
these issues. According to the same Pew survey,
54 percent of Democrats oppose the war in Iraq,
but 39 percent support it. Forty-four percent of
Democrats oppose the pre-emptive war doctrine,
but 52 percent support it. Forty-seven percent of
Democrats oppose holding terror suspects without
trial, but 46 percent are in favor.

Liberals have all the passion these days. They
dominate campaign events in Iowa and New
Hampshire, but they have not won over half the
voters in their own party.

The Democrats are also divided on major domestic
issues. The Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg
surveyed Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire and
South Carolina. Democrats there were split on
Nafta and gay marriage and on whether to roll
back all the Bush tax cuts.

The biggest divide among Democrats is
metaphysical. Some portion of the party, led by
Howard Dean, is so disgusted by Republicans that
it does not believe it is possible to work with
such people. Meanwhile, others, including Dick
Gephardt, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, accept
that Republicans are in power, are willing to
work with them and take a starkly different
approach to politics.

This situation - Republican unity and Democratic
fissures - means that the Democratic vote is less
cohesive than the G.O.P. vote, at least on the
presidential level. In a Bush-Dean matchup, 20
percent of Democrats would vote for Bush,
according to a CBS poll, while only 3 percent of
Republicans would vote for Dean. Over all, Bush
leads Dean by 20 points. And in Iowa and New
Hampshire, swing states where voters know both
candidates well, Bush is up by significant

In other words, at least at the moment, Bush has
crashed through the 45/45 partisan divide. He is
a polarizing figure, but there are many more
people who support him than oppose him. And this
support is not merely personal; it is built into
the issue landscape. According to an
ABC/Washington Post poll, 57 percent of Americans
say they are more likely to support a candidate
who supported going to war in Iraq, while only 35
percent say they would be less likely. According
to Pew, 59 percent believe that the war in Iraq
has helped in the broader war on terror.

All of this means two things. First, as we dive
into this period of intense Democratic primary
competition, it's worth keeping in mind that
Democratic primary voters are a misleading
snapshot of the electorate as a whole. Second,
while the nation remains closely divided over
all, and gravitational pressures will cause the
general election to tighten, it is wrong to think
that the electorate is fixed. There are millions
of people who may lean toward one party or
another, but who can be persuaded to support
either presidential candidate.

At the moment, many are supporting Bush.

Well, it's one thirty in the morning. I'm wide awake and know that I'll regret it tomorrow. But...

I wish I had more choices. I used to have plenty of ways to get around things that I didn't appreciate. I seem to have fewer opportunities to just walk away from the things that I want to walk away from. I suppose that's one of the signs of old age. Or perhaps maturity. Or... just the fear of not having another chance at the brass ring.

I don't think that I believe any more that things will work out. Your best is not good enough kiddo. Pack your shit and hit the road? Not any more. Now days, the mantra is eat some shit and cling to an uncertain present because your future is little more than a box.

Ashes to ashes.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I found another blogger who lives on a boat... out in Texas. Galveston. And his dad lives here in Orlando. Small world, eh? Good read too.

Hi guy!

I'm so excited!

Tomorrow, I'm gonna go pick up my miserable Swedish turbo eating seven-forty. It's been sitting in the mechanic's side yard while mysterious doo-dads were created in the frozen tundra of the Viking nation and then shipped across the wastes of the North Atlantic. It's been sitting at the shop getting a new Turbo put into her gizzard. I've been sneaking in to work via the bus system for the last week... interesting. I suppose that's the best way to describe it... interesting.

I've been thinking about it for the last couple of days: riding the bus has been a leveling experience for the arrogant Bob. I got up early, hit the shower, then went and stood beside the sign in front of the auto parts house out on Colonial Drive, then put my buck and a quarter into the talking exact change money collector so that I could get downtown, then used the free transfer to travel down Central Blvd... right in the middle of the 'hood... the JAC... the worksite... and then at the end of the day reverse the process to get back to point A. Plan ahead, Bob. I got a sandwich from Publix and took it with me each day so that I could eat at my desk.


1. If you're a part of the Lynx family you have to plan carefully or you won't get any lunch or a transfer for the secondary ride.

2. If you take the bus to work you have to leave early and wait in crowds of other working stiffs for the electric blue painted bus, complete with Transit Television Network ads featuring Ron Popiel and his amazing rotory cookers (only four easy payments of blablabla). Actually, the folks that I was riding with were OK... those are the people who actually have jobs, are sober and employed, even if they are trapped in dead end jobs.

3. The problem comes in the company that you wait with, guys who are hiding in the kiosks to stay out of the chill wind but don't have the 5 quarters that represent a ride... the bums in Orlando all seem to live in the bus kiosks where they share their tuberculosis with anyone who wants to stand beside the Lynx sign waiting for the ride. Yikes! Great wracking gobs of green phlegm...coughs of black tubercular death on the cold hopeless streets that keep ringing echoes of Cormac McCarthy novels and George Grosz pictures of a filthy and decadent graveyard of failure and death.

4. Most of my fellow riders are tired to the point of nodding off when they are wending their way home at dark thirty. I typically work a 10 hour day, but I sit at a desk in an air conditioned office and flog a computer all day. I'm brain tired by 6 or 7 but not bone tired like these folks. I absolutely don't want to trade places. You can have the minimum wage. Anybody who thinks that this is fun are nuts.

5. All that aside, the bus is a great way to move around. My fellow riders were invariably polite, helpful, patient, accepting, and most expecially CIVIL... all the things that seem to be lacking in other venues.

Anyhow, I'm getting back the Swedish harpie in the morrow. She has a new turbo and can go back to the task of hauling my tail around O-town. But I'll probably stay in touch with Link 28 inbound and Link 4 outbound. It's kind of nice to know that I can get to work even if I don't have a sled. The car is nice because it represents freedom and is a badge of middle class-ness. Now I understand why high school kids lust for their own cars. Tomorrow will be Volvo time! Beer for everybody!


Friday, January 02, 2004

Is it just me?... yeah, it's probably just me.... but I'm amazed at how rude people's children are. Huh, you say? Yeah... other people's children really are monsters.

I have harbored the secret opinion for a long time that folks my age (50s-ish) were lousy parents because it took so damned long for most of us to join the ranks of adulthood and as a consequence our children were raised leaderless and berift of any cultural continuity. Unless you consider wrapping a really tight pencil joint a cultural artifact.

But now it seems as if we were absolute paragons of parenthood... akin to Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver themselves... compared to the most recent crop of parents I'm seeing these days.

I just had a nice dinner at the local Vietnamese noodle shop. There were three young families there complete with rug rats. One of the little tykes kept shouting over and over "Fuck you!" to his young mommie while he stamped his feet and raged back and forth through the restaurant. Amazing. The doting father, about the same age as my kid, ignored the lovable tyke. Amazing. I find myself thinking things that I once swore I would never think. Thinking like my father... "If that were my kid I'd tie a knot in his tail!" And mumble mumble grumble grumble. Like the cussing in the Christmas Story where the kid "Will put his eye out" with the bb gun. Remember how his dad would cuss? That was me tonight.

Amazing. A pottie mouth three year old. Of course, cold reflection makes me realize that the little tyke undoubtedly learned that crude vocabulary at his parents knee, but still... my dad would cuss like a sailor, but he certainly wouldn't permit ME to follow suit. Especially in public. Horrors.

I guess what I long for is a little of the old timey hypocricy that left MY parents with a veneer of respectability that must be lost on the present generation. I suppose that when my parents took too long in raising me into adulthood I never got around to teaching my kid civility.. and as a consequence the current crop of parents are about to foist a collection of absolutely miserable young poltroons on the future. Yikes!

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Year, I guess.

I was at my desk at the JAC till 7 PM last night flogging paper for the Department of Juvenile Justice, then I had a quiet dinner at the local Golden Corral, then I hit the home boat after checking in with the Redhead via phone line. She was not going out, and was concerned that I might ask her to go ride around town with her. She compromised by coming to me and watching the rest of the world careen into funeral homes and into the drunk tank on TV. Her argument was that New Year's Eve is one of those "amateur nights" when people who don't ordinarily drink get out on I-4 and try to maneuver their huge clumsy SUVs down the concrete ramp to the hospital. She preferred coming over here and watching Zeta-Jones in "Chicago" on the DVD while I found ways to ignore the sound of tortured metal from out on 17-92.

I never have been much for making New Years resolutions. Seems a little too institutional for me. Most of my goals are long term, and I don't need any external benchmarks to keep track of my progress.

Goal 1 - I want to have ONLY those people around me that matter to me. That's not complicated. And... mission accomplished.

Goal 2 - I want to do good work. In my life I've been lucky enough to do all the things that I ever wanted to do: I wanted to teach at a university. I have. I wanted to own my own business. I do. I wanted to take a boat around the world. I have. I wanted to write books. I have. Heck, some of them were even read! I wanted to get a pilot's license and fly my own plane. I have. I wanted to find that elusive G-spot. No problem. So who needs a yearly report card?

The only complaint that I have is that I haven't managed to find a car as good as my old 1979 Mercedes Benz 220-D or the old 1970 MGB that I had in my college days. These days I have a Volvo 740 Turbo that seems to spend two thirds of its time in the shop while being given transfusions of American currency. I like the car, especially the turbo part, but for God's sake! Like I said, I wish I had my old Benz back. It died an honorable death by ingesting its own fuel injector pump after carrying my fat butt over 400,000 miles safely and silently. As it drifted to the side of the road after having the injector pump self-destruct the air conditioning was working perfectly and the old FM radio was working perfectly. Hell, even the upholstery looked good. I wish I had fixed that thing. I could have replaced a dozen whole motors in that car with what I've invested in that damned Swedish harpie. Sigh.

Maybe I do have some New Years Resolutions. In the next year I intend to find some peace in the vehicle department. And maybe be the first guy in the marina to have one of those nifty shoebox sized P-4s that IBM is peddling. And..and... and... maybe one of those nifty flat screen monitor/TVs. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

Ah, dreamer.