the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Whoopee, a Weekend! (And Post-Weekend Badness)

In rather stark contrast to the vibe I am feeling about this coming week (thanks to my addiction to Google News), the weekend was most excellent.

Friday, the weather started to flirt with being nice, and on Saturday it decided to capitulate and be full-blown fabulous. We're talking first-rate sunshine and blue skies here. Damn nice. It was only hampered by the fact that I was coming down with a head cold, and my lovely wife ordered me to stay in bed and rest. After half a a day of lolling around in bed, alternately reading Dealers of Lightning and watching Monsters, Inc.., watching everyone else having a good time out in the sun, I got fed up enough to get out of bed, get cleaned up, and gorge myself on nachos.

Feeling much better, I went out to run errands. The record store was out of the new Gary Numan CD, but I found a copy of the original two-disc Random (a cool Numan tribute) for $15, so that was a no-brainer. I also picked up a Peter Murphy CD that hadn't yet found its way to my collection, and I bought the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album, Nocturama. (I finally got the chance to start listening to these tonight, and so far Nocturama kicks ass. I thought I might be in the mood for Nick Cave, and it turns out I was right. Good stuff!) At the grocery store, I bought crackers for the evening's festivities. A quick stop at CompUSA procured an 802.11b bridge for the family room, to hopefully resolve Liz's flaky connections in that room. I rounded out the journey with a visit to the car wash, and now my baby is all shiny and beautiful again, much to my delight.

Saturday night we had our first wine tasting party. We lined up six glasses for each of us, and poured riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon into each in turn. It was a really valuable and educational experience, quite interesting to taste and smell each wine in comparison to its neighbors. And we quite happily discovered that the small variety of cheeses and munchies in the house had specially magic combinations with particular wines, which was a delicious bonus to the evening.

The weather on Sunday was even better, so while Liz cleaned the garage, I fought off my congestion by raking leaves that had spent the winter frozen under heaps of snow and ice. I could very quickly feel a sigh of thanks from the lawn, so I consider it to be a satisfactory job. We ran around and did some errands, then to my surprise, Liz finally got me to admit that it would be a lovely day to buy me a bike. So we did. The only problem is that when the dealer installed her bike rack, they neglected to actually give her the keys necessary to attach a bike to it. So, my bike will be cooling its little bike jets for a day or two longer until we get that dealt with. [info]gieves told me today that I should just ride it home, but acquiesed when I told her how hard it has been for me to breathe today (stupid cold), and that I have only been on a bike twice in the last ten years. Besides, she drank too much on Saturday night, what does she know? (Just kidding, please don't hurt me.)

Today, very little happened at work, which has given me too much time to read the news as we slide recklessly into war. I think it will be all right in the short-term, that Saddam's army will be a relative pushover, and that something needs to happen to end the oppressive failure of the current containment/sanctions regime. My problem is that I read too much. I think too much. I think about the long-term effects of marching relentlessly into conflict with and indefinitely occupying an oil-rich nation in a part of the world that was uncomfortable with us just for daring to put MTV on air. I really fear that by walking around with a chip on our national shoulder, looking to pick a fight, the West has played directly into Bin Laden's hand, and that we risk polarizing the world into a greater conflict than any of us had bargained for.

Oh well. Time to just pretend that it will all be okay, and pray for us all.

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Timely update of a comedy classic

This got forwarded to me at work, and I feel the need to permanently enshrine it here (or at least until the DMCA gets the better of me and my attempts to brighten up the world).

Playwright Jim Sherman wrote this today after Hu Jintao was namedchief of the Communist Party in China.

HU'S ON FIRST By James Sherman

Condi rice (Condoleeza Rice) - National security advisor
Kofi Annan - Secretary-General of UN
Hu Jin Tao - New Chief of the Communist party in China
Yassir Arafat - President of Palestinian Council
George W Bush - Current president of USA..

(We take you now to the Oval Office.)

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?

Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.

George: Great. Lay it on me.

Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.

George: That's what I want to know.

Condi: That's what I'm telling you.

George: That's what I'm ask ing you. Who is the new leader of China?

Condi: Yes.

George: I mean the fellow's name

Condi: Hu.

George: The guy in China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The new leader of China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The Chinaman!

Condi: Hu is leading China.

George: Now whaddya' asking me for?

Condi: I'm telling you Hu is leading China.

George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?

Condi: That's the man's name.

George: That's who's name?

Condi: Yes.

George: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the

Middle East.

Condi: That's correct.

George: Then who is in China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir is in China?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Then who is?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.

Condi: Kofi?

George: No, thanks.

Condi: You want Kofi?

George: No.

Condi: You don't want Kofi.

George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk.

And then get me the U.N.

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi?

George: Milk! Will you please make the call?

Condi: And call who?

George: Who is the guy at the U.N?

Condi: Hu is the guy in China.

George: Will you stay out of China?!

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi.

George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.

(Condi picks up the phone.)

Condi: Rice, here.

George: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get Chinese food in the Middle East?

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Patriotism Means Not Asking Questions

Did I miss something? When did we as a nation get to completely totally insane land?

It throughly frightens me that our nation has announced that it will gladly use "overwhelming force" to smack around anybody who uses WMD on us, or who we find out is planning on using WMD on us, up to and including nukes. And we don't have a problem with a preemptive strike, not if it's in our best interests to shoot first and ask questions later.

This kind of foreign policy is going to make it tough for America to get through the next decade, let alone the next century. We might as well have told the world, "If you even think about messing with Beavis and Butthead, they will throw down and blow your ass away!"

And now Bush has painted himself into a corner with all his rhetoric that war is all but guaranteed. Watch CNN, MSNBC, or any mainstream news program for 30 minutes or so, and be frightened -- their "news" coverage plays like an informercial for destruction. This is the helicopter that we'll use for urban combat. These are the fighters that will fly over Iraq. These are the bombs that we'll drop on Saddam's palaces; see how they penetrate deep into this fortified bunker?

Condoleeza Rice sure seems like a smart girl, but I can't for the life of me figure out why she seems determined to start World War III.

And the polls say most Americans are okay with this, even supportive. I would like to think that the polls are presented purely from a propaganda perspective, but then consider the average American citizen's grasp of geopolitics (heck, consider the average citizen's grasp of history, or geography!). I think people just don't get it. The potential ramifications of what we as a country are saying and doing are of the gravest nature.

I ask you -- WTF??

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