INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Misplaced Optimism?

Frank Paynter writes movingly about his brother’s return from combat in Vietnam. As he moves further into his post, he lets his anger build, culminating in the following rant:

”When you see G. Bush, his simian face reveals ugly truths that no amount of media cleansing can hide. He's going down. He never should have fucked with us. We took down Johnson. We took down Nixon. We shortened the political life of Papa (the spook) Bush, and we're going to do Jo Jo the chimp faced boy the same way. This-is-what-democracy-looks-like, motherfucker.”

I wish I could have Frank’s optimism about the Jo Jo being brought down., but I can’t muster it. First of all, W is at 67% popularity(latest poll) despite the economy. There's not a single effective voice in the Democratic Party to make a compelling case against him—or if there is, it’s not being heard.

I fear it will take re-instituting the draft, followed by draftees coming home in body bags for the man to be brought down. Karl Rove and Gang are not stupid enough to bring back conscription. In fact, they’re not stupid at all. That’s a big part of the problem. The politicos behind the Shrub are out-smarting the Dems at every turn.

Secondly, I have to respectfully disagree with Frank’s point that “we” took down Nixon and Papa Bush. Nixon took down Nixon, plain and simple, with his Watergate bumbling.
Papa was taken down by Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot attacking him and mocking him with relentless glee at every turn during the long primary and pre-primary season. Without their candidacies, Clinton wouldn’t have had a chance. “We” can’t take credit for it.

Frank has a faith in this electorate that I would like to share, but can’t. It’s let itself--through fear, false pride, and arrogance--be thoroughly hosed. It will continue to allow the hosing, I fear, for another six years. What the country will look like by then, God only knows. But, hey, I’d love to be wrong on this one.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Woods and Kunitz

Readers of wood s lot are always asking, “How does Mark Woods do it?” It’s certainly a question I hear myself repeating with regular frequency. Thanks to Mark for his references to and quotations from Stanley Kunitz.

What a great poet! It’s very encouraging to a sexagenarian like me to have a model out there like Kunitz—a guy who didn’t hit his stride until his seventies and has been at the top of his game for twenty years after that!

Aside from good genes, Kunitz has had to have something else going for him. I suspect Peace and Acceptance would be right up there, as expressed in excerpts from one of his poems (“King of the River”) which Mark provides us:

”You have cried to the wind
and heard the wind’s reply:
“I did not choose the way,
the way chose me.”

I recommend reading the entire poem. Very powerful.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Portal Promises has launched this week. A nice-looking, thorough portal that promises no banners, no pop-ups, and full privacy. Actually, their “promises” page, entitled "The No's Have It," lists some 49 items that they promise not to do—some whimsical (e.g., no dogs wandering around the office), and some important. It’s fun reading, and a heartening approach--if they can make it work. They’re taking Google as their inspiration and relying strictly on the small, unobtrusive text ads that Google employs. Whether they can emulate even a smidgeon of Google's success is another story, but I wish them well.

I think I’ll give it a try as my start page. It loads a lot faster than Yahoo and has a cleaner look. Besides, I’ve been pissed at Yahoo ever since they started playing fast and loose with their privacy rules. Jeez, remember when Yahoo was the rebel everyone loved?

Best of luck to MyWay!

To Dream Is To Blog?

Elaine, originally inspired by Jeneane, is encouraging me, among others, to write about a dream. Hell, these days, I barely remember what I did an hour ago, let alone what I dreamt—except for some of the erotic ones—and I’m damn sure not going to share any of those.

Sorry, Elaine. I pass.

Monday, October 28, 2002


Halley, like Doc and myself, is bummed that the Giants lost, but says it was a great Series. Well, yes, but all the pleasure went out of it after that horrible eighth inning of the sixth game. And Doc is so right when he points out Dusty’s folly in keeping Levan in the game too long. I feel like Dusty let us down, but then, you have to give him credit for getting the Giants as far as he did.

Postscript: I was happy to see that Denise, an Orange County booster, remained true to her roots and supported the Giants

Feelings and Action

My wife is on the phone with our son, and as I walk through the room, I overhear her tell him, “Honeybun, you can’t wait for your feelings to change. You have to act first and the feelings will follow. That’s the way it works, and it’s what I always tell my clients.”

It sure is handy being married to a shrink. Those words ring like a bell! She might as well have been speaking to me. I’m nearly addicted to the practice of waiting for my feelings to change in order to undertake something that I’m neglecting. You’d think that by now I would have learned the lesson, but habitual behaviors--especially habits of thought processes—die hard.

I recall the acting classes I took back in college. The directors would say, “If you want to feel angry or loving or confused because that’s the way that your character is supposed to be feeling, then do the things with your body that an angry or loving or confused person does. The feelings will follow.”

This raises an interesting proposition: perhaps the question I should be asking myself is, “How do I want to feel?” rather than “What do I want done?” We’re so wedded to results-orientation in this get-it-done society that it seems almost ridiculous to entertain such a proposition. It suggests that my real message is, “Screw it. Let’s roll a joint.”

No! No! What I’m suggesting is that when I look only at what I want done, there’s always the possibility that I won’t feel like doing it. That immediately puts me in conflict with myself. “Overcome” my feelings or feel like shit because I failed. We have a lot of hard-asses in this culture who “overcome” their feelings. The better they are at this, the greater their heroic status. It’s practically a religion.

If I look instead at how I want to feel and take the action that produces the feeling, I’m in complete harmony with myself. No conflict and no failure. Needed results get handled. A subtle difference, perhaps, but one of substance.

Glad I walked past my wife when I did!

Sunday, October 27, 2002


Two additions to the blogroll. First, StavrostheWonderChicken, who should have been there all along. I’ve enjoyed his blog for quite some time. It’s regrettable that it took the recent unhappy events in his life to remind me that he needed to be added to the roll.

Second is Kevin Holtsberry, author of an excellent blog who’s recently been a fellow companion on the emotional roller coaster that blogging can be. He’s written about it more compellingly than me.

Some may ask, “Why would I put a conservative Republican on my blogroll?” Simple. A good blog is a good blog. To hell with the politics as long as you’re not being strident, mean, or just plain ridiculous. And Kevin most assuredly isn’t. Besides, he shares my attitude toward blogging:

”The easy way to get hits and to make a splash is simply to surf the blogosphere and the major media and attack posts you disagree with or dislike. You flood the world with posts about the latest hot button issue like millions of other blogs. This gets old for me. Most days I don't want to talk about the same news that everyone else is talking about. . . .

I will wrestle with my own demons as I go along (sometimes they will probably spill out here--other times they will be behind the scenes). What I post here will simply be a reflection of my thoughts and ideas; notes on my interests, hopes, and life. In the end that is really all I can offer.”

Friday, October 25, 2002

Baseball Boys

Glad to see that Halley and son are enjoying the World Series. In describing her son’s delight in watching the games, it brings back fond memories of doing the same with my boys. Now they know more about the sport than I do. When it comes to answering questions, the roles have been reversed.

Halley doesn’t say, but it sounds like they’re rooting for our Giants. If that’s the case, I’m rather surprised, seeing as how they’re in an American League town.

Unholy Trinity?

Elaine sends a thank-you note to Golby, Turner, and myself to acknowledge our supportive posts regarding b!x on the occasion of his birthday. You’re more than welcome, Elaine.!

But I think Our Splendid Lady of Blogaria may be sipping a bit too much birthday cheer when she goes so far as to include me with these two titans of the blogosphere in “an unholy trinity” of standard-setting, role-modeling, and great blogging.

These two guys may be younger than me, but when it comes to the realm of blogging, they are my mentors. God, Elaine, after tabbing me as their peer, do I have anything left to which to aspire? You are way too generous, but profuse thanks nonetheless!

And speaking of b!x, my thanks to him for the link to The Mad Dog In the Fog—a pub in San Francisco that sounds worthy of my visit one of these days. It’s hard for me to believe that I don’t know where the good watering holes are anymore. Yet another good use for blogging—keeping old farts in the loop.

And, finally, to my dismay, I discovered that b!x has not been on my blogroll. Sorry about that. He surely belongs there. It’s hardly surprising that somebody with Elaine’s genes would be a damn fine blogger. Happy Birthday, b!x, and welcome to my blogroll.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

RageBoy Makes Nice

A moving tribute from the one and only Mr.Boy to some of his fellow bloggers whom he credits with keeping him alive—literally. He calls today’s post a rant, but I’d call it an ode to the spirit of blogging.

My favorite line: "Anyone who whines about the Internet undermining intimacy has clearly never blogged.”

Thanks, Chris, for a great post! BTW, nice pix, too.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Unhappy Events, Unhappy Thoughts

I do not like to write blog posts that are downers. When I blog, I do so, among other reasons, with the intent of giving my spirits a boost upward. The mere act of communicating with others—even virtually—often provides a needed lift in and of itself.

On the other hand, the blogosphere is a legitimate arena for venting rage, grief, and the whole panoply of negativity. Muckraking, for example, is a time-honored and indeed necessary activity in a free society. It’s just not my orientation for blogging.

At the top of my agenda for blogging is the attempt to make some sense of my life. What is it like to be here in this body, and to have been where it’s been? In pursuit of this inquiry, I manage at best to barely scrape the surface. I don’t have the gifts of, say, a Mike Golby. But I do manage to put my ass in front of the keyboard nearly every day with the hope of adding some positive energy to my life.

However, if you’re going to be honest about your life, there are going to be days where being positive would be a betrayal of your principles. Today is such a day, I’m afraid.

Rick Gleason, the unfortunate friend of Chris Kovacs (aka stavrosthewonderchicken) who was severely burned in the savage bombing of the Bali nightclub, has lost the battle for his life. The fact that he’s probably better off doesn’t mitigate the sadness or the anger.

So much senseless death going on! And by the looks of the political landscape, it appears that it’s only going to get worse. God, I hope I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The incessant war-drumming out of Washington threatens to spiral into an orgy of death and destruction which will make the sniper look like small potatoes indeed.

Of course, it would greatly help matters if that Nazi-esque SOB in Baghdad would live up to his agreements and responsibilities as a member of the world community. I’m afraid, though, that that’s about as likely as George Bush becoming a dove with a responsible domestic policy.

On that downer, I’ll sign off for the day. Hope to be back at you tomorrow in a more positive vein.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Nothing To Figure Out

Elaine is attempting to channel some cosmic powers on behalf of b!x’s upcoming birthday. She’s going to create a “virtual magical artifact,” made up of our various inputs, and zap it into the blogosphere. It will be interesting to see what it turns out to be.

Normally, I’m too cynical to participate in such matters, but, hey, I’m not going to take a chance on pissing off the Crone of Blogaria, and getting some negative magical artifacts beamed my way. Besides, I’m certainly all for some positive collective energy going b!x’s way. Happy 33rd, b!x! Elaine, I’ll have your requested phrase by tomorrow.

Anticipating the upcoming birthday, b!x bemoans the fact that he hasn’t yet figured out what he wants to do when he grows up. His mother and I, having the perspective of sixty-plus years each, have both commented to him that we never did figure it out, and in the end, it didn’t much matter. Things have a way of working out if you just stay focused on the choice that's right in front of you.

I wish that I had been able to understand that earlier in my life. I sure would have saved a lot of effort, money, and frustration trying to figure out the big picture.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Lowering the Blimp

An outstanding World Series so far—just as I thought it would be. The San Francisco portion of the Series begins tomorrow, and the TV blimp will be buzzing overhead, bringing spectacular pictures of the natural setting with which we’re blessed here in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Rob Morse brings the blimp a little closer to the ground as a caveat to all those who, seduced by the aerial shots showing up on their tubes, begin entertaining thoughts of running down to the nearest U-Haul agency and moving out here.

"When the Fox Network comes to Pacific Bell Park next week, it will be giving the Bay Area another needed advertisement. I don't want to say it will be misleading advertising, but perhaps it should come with a warning the way TV ads for drugs do.
"Warning: If you move to the San Francisco Bay Area, you may be subject to prolonged bouts of unemployment, high rent pressure, persistent panhandling attacks, the red-light runs, clinically depressing politics and, in some cases, sudden homelessness syndrome. San Francisco should not be taken in combination with alcohol or drugs, or you may be there forever.”

Blogging and the Inner Ear

I’m still feeling the need to engage in some pep talk regarding the blogging effort. As I think about it further, I see another reason for keeping at it. It’s been my experience that blogging sharpens my ability to hear my inner voices. Sometimes those voices are just meaningless noise. At other times, they can be very instructive--like now, when I’m in a slump.

The predominant voices of the moment are the self-critical ones. Those are the ones to watch out for, as any shrink would tell you. They’re forces of debilitation, and you have no recourse against them if you don’t hear them and understand them for what they are. If blogging can help that process—and I believe that it does—then that’s all the more reason to keep at it.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Southerly Company

I complain about a TV show going south (see Thursday’s post), but my blog’s not faring any better lately. My wife says that if I’m reduced to writing about a banal TV drama series, my blogging’s in bad shape.

She’s right. I’m in another one of my slumps. When I get into these frames of mind, I start to entertain thoughts about getting out of blogging altogether. Then something comes along to kick me in the pants--maybe a post that somebody puts up; maybe an admonishment from my spouse; maybe, like yesterday, somebody I never heard of drops by out of the blue and leaves a comment along the lines of, “Hey, stumbled onto your site. Nice stuff.”

So, I’ll dust myself off and try to keep going--even though I don’t have a clue as to what I want to write about next. I guess that’s part of the adventure of being a blogger. Adventure—reason enough, I suppose, to struggle with keeping a blog.

Another Two Cents On Blogging Money

There’s been an interesting conversation going on during the past week about the question of blogging for money. I don’t think that anyone’s said it better than David Lyttle:

”Blogging gives us an opportunity to make jokes, to make pertinent statements of fact, to expose weaknesses, to inform, to say thanks, to make valid points, to tell a story, to aggregate information, to share a verse of poetry, to put forth ideas and certainly to voice opinions but to make money?..............I don't think so.”

I’ll second David on that. He didn’t mention another use of blogging—as a marketing tool for one’s own enterprise—a form of blogging that makes good sense, IMO--but that ain’t the same as doing it for direct payment

Help a Bali Burn Victim

Chris Kovacs (aka stavrosthewonderchicken) has asked many of us with blogs to put up a link to his blog—wherein you will find instructions on how you can help his friend Rick, who suffered severe burns from the terrible nightclub bombing in Bali. This information has already been posted rather widely, but I’ll be glad to honor Chris’s request. His URL is I’m also putting up a link in my Link Roll.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

West Wing Goes South

Is it just me, or has West Wing gone from boffo to stinko? I loved that show for its first two seasons, but now I find it nearly insufferable.

Martin Sheen is great as always, but he isn’t enough to carry the show by himself. I can’t stand listening to those politico smart-asses with their machine-gun delivery of sleep-inducing minutiae of political maneuvering. If the Democrats were really like that, then, heresy of heresies, they deserved to lose.

There’s no suspense at all. Do they expect us to believe that Sheen is going to lose his bid for re-election, thereby ending the show? And what about that conflagration with some imaginary Middle Eastern dictator? What a pathetic attempt at being topical!

I read somewhere that the audience is down over a third from last year, and dropping. Add me to the reduction.

Challenge Declined

Dave Rogers has respectfully declined my challenge for a wager on the World Series. He invokes a true Angeleno’s dismissal of the Orange County wastelands (I may hear from Denise on that one). I’m sure he won’t mind my quoting him here:

Those Angels are from dreaded Orange County!

And I've always found them sort of bland--the "other
team down the road."

The Giants, OTOH, are a classic, classy, historic and
prestigious team. I'm a Giants fan except when
they're playing the Dodgers.

I underestimated you, Dave. Like the Giants, you’re all class.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


Interesting post yesterday by Dorothea: “Oops--Female After All.” She looks at the question of self-construction and the role that gender plays in one’s evaluation of who one considers one’s self to be. She asks

“Does being a woman loom large in one’s concept of oneself?”

and decides that, for her, it’s pretty far down the scale. She wonders,

“are there men for whom ‘man’ is similarly low on the list?”

Speaking for myself, Dorothea, the answer would have to be yes. If I were being described conventionally in the media, the very first items mentioned would be gender and age. Yet those are conditions with which I had nothing to do. They’re descriptions of the exterior piece called Tom as he moves around the exterior landscape. They are not substance.

We do this all the time—we are seduced by manifestation because it’s what we can see and touch. We assign it the cloak of essence, while actual essence is ignored.

The descriptive elements about me that matter are not the accidents of birth. What matters are the existential factors—the ones that I constructed: husband, father, semi-retired marketer, blogger, left-leaning centrist, migrant to Northern California, and so on. My maleness is important only in the sense that it’s an essential component of being a husband and father. But those roles are existential choices, and that’s what matters about them.

Dorothea carries her inquiry to many more levels than what I’ve touched on. Check it out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Civil War Challenge

Dave Rogers has been lusting for a World Series between the North and the South (California that is). A native Southern Californian, he has that intense competitive instinct against the North that typifies the natives of La-La Land.

Given the inspired play of the Angels, and the classy, clutch performance of the Giants, he’s getting his wish.

OK, Dave. I’m game for a wager. Are you ready to put your money where your keyboard is?

Going With the Flow

Corante keeps on delivering. The latest offering is IdeaFlow, edited by Renee Hopkins. This interesting, wide-ranging new blog explores some of the dynamics of creativity and idea-generation. Renee scours the Web for related pieces of interest and utility. This looks like it could be a promising resource for we bloggers who are always on the lookout for that next piece of inspiration.

And, speaking of Corante, I’ve been enjoying their other new blog, Moore’sLore, written by Dana Blankenhorn. In recent posts, Dana’s been engaging in some interesting speculation about what he considers to be the Real War—not Iraq but China.

Corante continues to be an excellent example of how the format of skilled bloggers, blogging on blogging and other Web content, can be used effectively to disseminate ideas and knowledge.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Thinking of Frank and Beth

Sincerest condolences to Frank and Beth Paynter on the recent loss of Beth’s mother, Helen Vincent. She sounds like a remarkable woman, and Frank writes movingly about her.

When Frank did his interview with me around three months ago, he observed that there are some coincidences and commonalities paralleling his life and mine. Well, here comes another one: our mothers-in-law.

Like Helen Vincent, my mother-in-law, Virginia Selin, was a tireless worker for social justice and a dynamic force in the Democratic Party of her state.

Like Beth’s mom, Ginny revitalized the Democratic Party organization in her county (Marquette, Michigan) after it had been slipping into disarray. It’s been safe Democratic territory ever since. She was a confidante and adviser to the late and great Senator from Michigan, Phil Hart, who was known as the “Conscience of the Senate,” and for whom the most recent Senate Office Building was named.

Fortunately, Ginny is still with us, but knowing what it’s like to have a family member with this magnitude of social impact in her life gives me a special feeling for what Frank and Beth must be missing. It’s not just the loss of a loved one, it’s the disappearance of a force of nature.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Left Bashing

If you find the Far Left as worthy of ridicule as the Far Right, you'll enjoy the piece by Ron Rosenbaum, covered in BlogCritics by Eric Olsen in which Rosenbaum laments the departure of Christopher Hitchens from The Nation magazine.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Denver Deluge

Denver is awash with the cream of Blogaria. An amazing array of blogging talent has shown up for Eric Norlin’s Digital ID World. Wouldn't it be great to be hanging out there right now? Fortunately. Denise is there, doing a great job of bringing us up to the minute reports in her customary fine style. And we even have Gary Turner, comfortably ensconced at home with his ale and porridge, blogging the bloggers. That may even be better than the eyewitness accounts.

Sorry, Richard

Richard Cody, who lives in my neighboring city of Oakland, is unhappy with all the baseball news splattered across the front pages of the local papers. I love Richard’s blog, but I have to respectfully take issue with him on this one.

Jeez, Richard! It’s playoff time and the locals are in it (or “were” in the case of the A’s). For we fans, it’s exciting stuff. C’mon, cut us some slack. Since when have newspapers not played to the currently prevailing preoccupations of the community? Better this than the murders and other sleaze that usually sully the front pages.

OK, having got that out of the way, let me now turn nicey-nice and apologize to Richard for having overlooked him on my blogroll. Ten lashes to my backside for enjoying his excellent blog and neglecting to reciprocate his link. He even referred to my blog on one occasion as “illustrious.” That’s worth another ten lashes.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

The Boss of Blah

I keep hearing and seeing negative opinion on Springsteen's "The Rising." The put-downs are entirely appropriate, IMO. An opportunistic co-opting of national tragedy masquerading as tribute and healing. A thoroughly banal effort. For some reason, it reminds me of "Tears for Fears." It's about on that level artistically. It saddens me because I was big on the Boss for years. Maybe it's time for Bruce to run for Senator from New Jersey. The NJ Democrats sure could use some new blood.

Dizzying Heights

Yours truly is now appearing in BlogCritics. Many thanks to the prodigious Eric Olsen for inviting me to join the lineup!

Monday, October 07, 2002

Prelude To Halloween

Did you catch the piece on “60 Minutes” last night about the Fundamentalist Christian Right’s maniacal support for Israel? On its face, that sounds like a good thing. Isn’t it nice that this group, usually stamped as closed-minded, has opened its hearts—and its pocket books—to its Jewish brethren?

You would be correct if you find yourself having the reaction that it couldn’t be that simple. Seems that, according to the Fundamentalist interpretation of Prophecy, the Jews need to be in control of all of Israel/Palestine—from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River—as a prelude to the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming.

And what happens to the Jews after that, you might be impertinent enough to ask? Turns out that most of them are slaughtered in the battle, and the ones that remain are converted to Christ. Well, isn’t that just peachy? A tip of the hat to all you great Jewish guys for holding off those pesky Muslims so that you can be killed in the name of The Messiah that you never accepted in the first place. Or if you’re lucky enough to survive, you can renounce the faith of your fathers and be granted entry to the fold of the True Chosen Ones.

Is there anything scarier than those—I don’t care what the faith is-- that absolutely KNOW the word and will of The Almighty? How about those Freddy Krueger clergy (Jerry Falwell included) interviewed by Bob Simon in his excellent piece? Some samples of their inspired Word of God opinions: Mohammed was a terrorist; Rabin’s assassination was the will of God; the Palestinians should all be sent packing into Jordan;
there should be more, not less West Bank settlements; the Oslo Accords are the work of the Devil, and so on.

The scariest part is that this Right-believing group is now a significant portion of our electorate—40 to 70 million by various estimates. They are now the core constituency of one of our major political parties. You have to be almost as old as I am to remember when the Republican Party was primarily a business-class, internationalist, civil-rights supporting group with a healthy internal liberal-conservative debate. When was the last time you heard of a “Rockefeller Republican?”

George W has learned the lesson well—whatever you do; don’t alienate the new core constituency. And doesn’t that tell us a lot about the context of Middle East policy being forged in his administration? As the “60 Minutes” piece showed, there’s a backdrop for the belligerency.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Happy Birthday Aaron!

Twenty-seven years ago today, I entered the world of parenthood. Aaron emerged into our world during the wee hours (don’t they all?) to whoops of joy and incessant camera snapping by the old man. Bless his heart, he’s always loved those pictures, and to this day, will trot them out with a minimum of prompting.

Today, Aaron, you’re a strapping hunk of a guy, a warm personality well-liked by all, and a good buddy to your dad. Today, you’re coming over to watch the A’s play the Twins in a crucial playoff game. I’m splurging on Zachary’s deep-dish sausage pizza, the best damn pizza west of Chicago.

Afterward, we’re going to Temple Beth-El for the baby-naming service for the new offspring of one your best friends. The cycle of life goes around. Then, your Mom and I are giving you a gift certificate to Liaison, the perfect, intimate French bistro for enjoying a romantic tete-a tete and gastronomic treat with your wonderful girlfriend, Jocelyn.

Meanwhile, your younger brother, Jonathan, has made the trip from Madison to the Twin Cities to catch the A’s-Twins games. He’s got seats up in the stratosphere of that indoor insane asylum of a ballpark. He’ll be staying with his ex-roommate who’s already graduated and working in Minneapolis. You and I will be straining our necks to see if the TV camera pans by the stands and gives us a glimpse of Jon. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the ass?

You and your brother are true A’s fans. During the period of your boyhood, circa ages 8 to 14, when lads have an almost spiritual relationship with the national pastime, the A’s were in their glory years—the era of the Bash Brothers, McGwire and Canseco, plus Rickey Henderson in his prime, and the formidable Dave Stewart and Bob Welch on the pitcher’s mound. That stamped you for life. Wherever you end up living, I’m sure you guys will always be A’s fans.

Here’s to you, Aaron, you’re the best!

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Why Am I Not Surprised?

The cave-in of the Democrats is now official. We now have Gephardt and other Dems standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Bush in the Rose Garden, announcing their “compromise” deal on authorization to go into Iraq.

The Dems are gloating over the “concessions" they allegedly wrung from the Bushies—“softening the tone,” and so forth. Poor bastards. They were had from the beginning. They continue to be outsmarted by Karl Rove and Gang, who purposely had Bush put forward a cowboy, reckless proposal, knowing that Congress would scale it back from outrageous to merely belligerent—thus allowing the opposition to justify a pro-war vote by claiming they had succeeded in making the Pres accountable.

What a joke! The “concession” that they’re crowing about supposedly requires the president to show Congress that he has exhausted all diplomatic means before he can send in the troops. It’s his word against theirs. Do you think that the Dems, on the ropes with their blinding fear of being labeled “soft on patriotism,” are going to seriously challenge any assertion by the Bushies that they, the Bushies, did all that they could diplomatically?

Hermann Goring Nails It

Apropos of the above rant is a letter-to-the-editor in Newsweek from W.E. Willingham of Boone, N.C. quoting that world-class hoodwinker of the public—the late Hermann Goring of the Third Reich:

”Naturally the common people don’t want war. . . But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship . . . All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would someday be quoting Goring in these pages, but has anyone said, with regard to the sad maneuverings of the present day, anything more dead on?

Tuesday, October 01, 2002


Elaine, in the honest, unsparing manner that typifies her writing, muses about the difference, as she experiences it, between the fun of being single vs. the comfort of being settled with a mate.

I have to confess that there have been times when I’ve said to myself, “I wish I was having as much fun as Elaine seems to be having.”

My wife and I have made a conscious effort to have more fun—now that we don’t have kids to take care of anymore—and, by and large, we’ve done pretty well at it. But there’s no way we get out and do all the stuff that singles do.

The envy doesn’t last long. Elaine’s right. How can you compare “fun” to the luxury of just being in the house, cooking and eating meals together, sharing stories about your day, etc. with someone you love totally, and with whom you’ve spent three decades, side by side, growing closer each year.

I’m one lucky bastard. But if I should ever be alone, Elaine would be my model for how to live.