Bob Owen

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

And monkeys might fly out of his butt.

(AP) [Expelled Congressman and convicted felon James] Traficant said Tuesday he plans to run for re-election from jail, and asked the judge to select a prison in Ohio to make sure he is still eligible to run in the state. He said that if he wins, he will try to abolish the IRS and create an advisory board to oversee the Justice Department.
Traficant was sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday. I hope the judge has enough of a sense of humor to actually send him to prison in the Buckeye state.

The 2-1/2 Amendment. Makes you think.

BOSTON (Reuters) - A Massachusetts teacher who asked her pupils to bring a book to class about their Christmas traditions violated a student's rights when she stopped her from reading a passage on the birth of Jesus Christ because it was religious, according to a federal lawsuit filed on Monday.

The lawsuit accuses the Leominster Public School District and some of its officials of violating 7-year-old Laura Greska's right to free speech and her exercise of religion, according to a complaint filed by The American Center for Law and Justice.

The lawsuit contends the second-grader's teacher told students to bring a book to class about their Christmas traditions. The teacher, however, stopped Laura Greska from reading "The First Christmas," a book that details the birth of Jesus, the lawsuit claims.

"The teacher stopped Laura from reading further saying the book was not permitted because it was religious," according to a statement by The American Center for Law and Justice.
Let's see... we're going to talk about Christmas but don't mention Christ? Maybe teacher needs a 1st amendmenet refresher. One student speaking about religion for a class project does is not government establishment of religion.

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - It's been a long time since "Saturday Night Live" last sucked -- and Lorne Michaels is trying to keep it that way.

Even as most primetime shows have been losing viewers, Michaels' Gotham-based comedy creation has been relatively stable and has actually gained viewers some years. What's more, critics have been mostly favorable in their notices of "SNL," while entertainment magazines and TV shows regularly go ga-ga over the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey and Chris Kattan.
Chris Kattan?! Who does he have pictures of and what are they doing in those pictures?

Monday, July 29, 2002

Sunday drunks: Another report of a possibly drunk pilot in North Carolina and a crane operator in New York city near Ground Zero.

My local phone provider, Qwest, is one of the latest companies to "restate earnings." Lately, the price of Qwest shares has been around a buck and a half, down from $27 a year ago. This is an interesting strategy by Qwest: drive the stock price so low that when the funny bookkeeping is announced the stock doesn't have much room to fall.

(AP) Qwest, whose accounting practices are under investigation by federal regulators and prosecutors, also said it would miss the Aug. 14 deadline set by the Securities and Exchange Commission for the nation's biggest companies to certify the accuracy of their financial statements.

The SEC is investigating Qwest's fiber-optic capacity swaps with Global Crossing, Enron and others in 2000 and 2001.
Jeeze, a story about Qwest with "restate earnings," "accounting practices under investigation," "Enron" and "Global Crossing." Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the seatbelt light; please return to your seats, the flight ahead may be rough.

Baseball season for me is officially over. Yes, the Twins are 14 games ahead in the AL Central but they're not a viable team, according the team's owner and the baseball commissioner who want to fold the team.

But I'm talking about ball teams that I really care about. My kids' teams. This weekend my older son's team lost two games and was eliminated from the playoffs. Both games were pretty close. What stung was that in both games our kids had a comfortable lead going into the bottom of the sixth (final) inning. In each game the other team had a late rally and pulled ahead. Season over.

Weeknights will be relaxed around the Owen house for a few weeks. Soccer starts at the end of August!

Friday, July 26, 2002

A good article: "No Respect Politics," by Charles Krauthammer in the Washinton Post today.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

We have nothing on the calendar tonight. My wife is working. Time to spend some quality time with the kids.

“Daddy, will you play a game with us?”

“Sure. What do you want to play?”



“Yeah, Risk.”

“I’m not sure if we have that game.”

“We do! It’s right here.”

“Um, okay. Let me see the instructions.”

The instructions (on page 2 of 14) say what equipment we should have:

  • 1 game board
  • 5 dice: 2 white and 3 red
  • Deck of 44 cards
  • 6 sets of armies, each a different color
  • 2 to 6 players, ages 10 to adult
Here’s what we really have:

  • 1 game board
  • 1 dice (white only)
  • Deck of a bunch of cards (I suppose there could be 44 of them)
  • 6 sets of armies, each a different color; 14 Lincoln Logs; 11 Legos, each a different color and shape; 2 matchbox cars and a plastic frog
  • 1 six-year-old, 1-eight-year old and 1 adult
The older son tells me he already knows how to play. He says he'll roll the dice first. My younger has an issue with this. He seems to remember a rule that dictates the youngest person always rolls first. Is that so?

“I’ll roll first!”

“No, I will!”

“Boys! Please don’t bump the board.”



“Ooh, look what time it is. I think it’s time to get ready for bed.”

Sigh. And people tell me they’ll be grown up before I know it. Hmmph.

Suing Big Fat (or: I'm overweight and it's not my fault.)

Fox -- A New York City lawyer has filed suit against the four big fast-food corporations, saying their fatty foods are responsible for his client’s obesity and related health problems.

Samuel Hirsch filed his lawsuit Wednesday at a New York state court in the Bronx, alleging that McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC Corporation are irresponsible and deceptive in the posting of their nutritional information, that they need to offer healthier options on their menus, and that they create a de facto addiction in their consumers, particularly the poor and children.
Maybe it's not about the money:
The aim of the legal action is to force the fast-food industry to "offer a larger variety to the consumers, including non-meat vegetarian, less grams of fat, and a reduction of size" of their meals, along with federal legislation that would require warning labels on fast food similar to those on tobacco products, Hirsch said.
Or maybe it is:
So far, there's only a single complainant named in the suit, but Hirsch said at least two other clients would be filing soon in what he aims to make into a class-action lawsuit.
What contributed to one person's "addiction?"
"I trace it all back to the high fat, grease and salt, all back to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King – there was no fast food I didn't eat, and I ate it more often than not because I was single, it was quick and I’m not a very good cook," [lead plaintiff Caesar] Barber said in an interview with
Basically, it's McDonald's fault for serving food too quickly. That and because Barber couldn't get a date or operate a can opener.

Weird congressman and convicted felon James Traficant has been expelled from the U.S. House.

StarTribune -- WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The House voted 420 to 1 Wednesday night to expel Rep. James Traficant, an Ohio Democrat who taunted foes for years with bombastic floor speeches but now faces a likely prison term on felony convictions for bribery and corruption.
Who was the one representative who voted against expulsion? Gary Condit. With friends like that...

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

From a Minneapolis StarTribune editorial today:

Israel's missile attack against a Palestinian militant in Gaza City on Tuesday has provoked protests in the Arab world and a scolding from President Bush. And well it should have. Even by the ambiguous rules of antiterrorist warfare, an attack that killed 14 other people, including nine children, was reckless and indefensible.
Two of those last three words you'll never see the Strib using when referring to suicide bombing attacks.
Tuesday's missile attack robs Israel -- and its allies -- of the moral high ground they have sought to hold during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict..
Strib editorial writers have never acknowledged any Israeli high ground; why do they worry now?

From today: Legal fees around $8,000/hour. Fortunately for taxpayers, a California state appeal court said no way.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Darts and Laurels, by the Columbia Journalism Review, is interesting.

Thy will be done

Doh! Why didn't they just ask in the first place! The automakers can just open the vaults and bring out the 100 MPG carburetors.

(StarTribune) LOS ANGELES -- California Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation Monday that for the first time will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases coming from the tailpipes of all passenger vehicles sold in the state, even the popular SUV, in a move that could change the kinds of cars Americans drive in coming years.
Governor Davis, displaying uncanny knowledge of physics and automotive design:
"We Californians love our cars," the governor said in comments directed at automakers. "Don't change our cars. Just change the amount of harmful emissions that come from our cars."
C'mon, Ford, show us the 75 MPG Explorer that you've been sitting on.

The Strib included this juicy tidbit:
Minnesota mothballed its vehicle emissions testing program in late 1999.
That's because Minnesota doesn't care! Right? Or maybe because it was the fact that almost all vehicles tested passed the test. The majority of owners of the dirty vehicles simply learned what temporary measures to take to pass the test.

Imagine that there really was a device that made cars get 100 MPG. We'd save some gas but we'd also drive more. The anti-car, anti-fun, anti-freedom crowd would have even more to worry about: crowded roads, more accidents (the rate per 100 million miles would change little but there would be more miles driven); oh, imagine the carnage. Wouldn't it be easier and more honest to just try to restrict the use of cars (and don't forget those dreadful SUVs). If New York can raise cigarette taxes by $1.42 (so smokes are around $7 a pack) to deter smoking, why doesn't California just bring the cost of gasoline up to three, five or even twenty dollars a gallon?

Monday, July 22, 2002


We just got back from my older son's second playoff game. For a change the weather was nice; it didn’t feel like walking through tomato soup.

We got to the park early to practice with his new glove. The other kids started showing up. The mosquitoes called it a night and buzzed off to wherever it they buzz off to. My guess is hell. With the bugs gone it was a beautiful evening.

This baseball season has been fun. We haven't had to deal with any "little league parents." None of the teams featured 19-year-old Dominicans with birth certificates a lot younger than that. Everyone has been there to have fun.

Until tonight.

Thirty seconds before game time the other coach announced that he wants to make sure every player is wearing a protective cup. I'm touched by his concern. Of course, his team is already appropriately armored in the crotchal regions. There's a rule in the athletic league that says cups are mandatory only during playoffs. Why this distinction exists escapes me. Our team: 10 players, 2 protective cups. For this infraction, the team may have to forfeit. We have fifteen minutes to obtain proper testicular shielding. Lucky for us a sporting goods store was close and the assistant coach had a fast car.

  • Trip to the sporting goods store and back: 9 minutes.
  • Eight protective cups: $40.00
  • Time to spare before having to forfeit: 6 minutes.
  • Beating the pants off a team coached by someone who hoped to win by forfeit: priceless.
Here’s the final score: 41 to 16. The loser coach's team llost. Never has watching my son’s team thoroughly defeat another team felt so good. I cheered my hardest for this game. I’ve never been too concerned if my son’s team won or lost – those boys really are having fun. However, when they play against someone who wants to win by any means then I’m more than glad to see them thrash the other team.

Relief from the heat.

Yesterday it was 90-some degrees with 85 percent humidity. The air was so thick and wet I could have gargled by simply taking a big gulp of it. Everyone just stayed inside most of the day. The evening was somewhat better. A number of families congregated at one house. The parents talked, the kids ran around the yard. Younger son found a toad. The other children looked eagerly at it. Younger son felt very important. The other kids looked for, but didn't find, more toads. After the novelty of the toad wore off the kids battled with Star Wars light sabers. Each warrior put up a valiant fight. Fortunately the police did not have to be called to break it up (like at this wedding) and none of the neighbors thought terrorist were attacking, like this guy in Virgina imagined:

(AP) WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia - A man armed with an assault-style rifle opened fire on a helicopter landing in a residential neighborhood, thinking the chopper was carrying terrorists, police said.

Helicopter pilot John S. Sutton landed his helicopter July 13 at the home of businessman John Peters to pick him up, police said.

John Chwaszczewski, a construction worker, became alarmed when he saw the chopper swoop down over his garage, about a block from Peters' home.

"Maybe I overreacted, but I did feel this was terrorism at its utmost," Chwaszczewski said.

Chwaszczewski told police the shooting was "a natural reaction," after having watched the events of Sept. 11.
Maybe I'd better take the batteries out of the kids' light sabers.

Tonight we have playoff game two for my older son. This weekend he got a new mitt. It's much better than his first one. We played catch for a little bit yesterday morning. Eventually the ball got stuck mid-air, enveloped by hot humid air. We retreated inside. The air conditioner got a real flogging yesterday; it just never shut off. The dog wouldn't even go outside.

  • Good: My neighbor does not smoke cigarettes inside his house
  • Bad: My neighbor does smoke
  • Ugly: It was so hot he started up his truck, turned on the A/C and had a smoke inside the truck
Adding to the misery is the flooded street. We're getting new water mains, curbs, gutters and blacktop. Someday. But for now we have a dirt road with lots of low spots, lots of dust and construction equipment parked everywhere. A recent rain has decided to stick around for a while because it can't get to the storm sewers. So we have filthy brown pools of water everywhere, some are several inches deep. As I write this I've decided that the cup of hot coffee on my desk isn't so appealing after all.

Friday, July 19, 2002

The fuel tanker's brakes failed as it was coming down a hill near Rutoto, about 180 miles west of Kampala, said police spokesman Asuman Mugenyi. The truck rolled for at least a mile, gaining speed, until the driver totally lost control on a sharp turn, and smashed into the oncoming bus, he said.

Witnesses said the passengers, estimated at more than 60, had no time to escape.

"I heard a massive explosion ... I saw flames enter the sky," said Meridad Turyomurugyendo, a farmer.
An AP story about a truck vs. bus crash in Uganda today.

Andrew Sullivan has two really good posts today, one about hypocrisy at the New York Times and one about prescription drug prices.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Tonight: the first playoff game.

In regular season play my older son's team finished 12th out of about two dozen teams. They played the 11th place team tonight. And won! My kid hit two for four. He got to cross the plate each time after getting on base. That's always a plus for him.

His fielding wasn't nearly as good as his hitting. In this league, the umpires throw about 98% of the pitches back to the pitcher. The catchers are rather, um, ornamental so the umps shag the missed balls to speed up the game. Our ump tonight had little inclination to do any such thing. My son played catcher in the first inning. Despite my "cheering" he had no more desire to run after the ball than the umpire did. For a moment I thought the game just might not go beyond the first pitch. The ump finally blinked first and picked up the ball. Apparently, he didn't want to be there all night. My boy, to do his part, did toss a few balls back to the pitcher, albeit only the ones that struck his chest protector or facemask and dropped to the ground within arm's reach.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Last night my younger son had his final ballgame of the season. There are no playoffs in the Mite league so this was it. He hit one for three. The one hit he did make was a strong one. It probably went the farthest of any ball he's hit all year.

After the game the boys got their medals from the athletic association. All teams get medals each year so the boys knew they were coming. What they didn't expect were the trophies that the coach himself bought. The trophies had a gold ballplayer and the player's name stamped on the base. Each one also said "MVP." Each boy's eyes grew wide as home plate when he walked up to receive his award. If the coach had said to me "I can pay off your mortgage or hand out these trophies after the game" the decision in favor of small plastic statues would not have been difficult.

You would have thought they were made of real gold. Or, these being six-year-old boys, made of real Star Wars figurines. As soon as we got home my son was off to show any neighbor who happened to be outside. Perhaps we'll have to construct a neighborhood trophy case so all can see the trophies won by the children who represent our neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

My older son's baseball team was edged out of a victory last night in the final regular season game. The game was lost in the top of the first inning. The other team had a solid rally that our team just never made up, despite playing well the rest of the game.

As the older son played ball, my younger one ran around the park. He found a frog. I knew because he showed me. Everyone in the park knew because he showed everyone. It was under an inch long and had very sticky feet. All parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles (representing both teams) at the game oohed and aahed at the tiny frog. The boy never was so proud. At the end of the game I convinced him to leave the frog by the pond at the park rather than bring it home for, well -- you know what happens with those types of "pets." He reluctantly did. But he promised to come back to visit that frog.

Monday, July 15, 2002

The design for Indiana's commemorative quarter has been released. It has the image of an Indy racing car on it. This bolsters my theory that no one in Indiana knows what a Hoosier actually is.

I like this Steven den Beste post. What would happen if modern fighter aircraft took on dragons? He has a very thorough analysis. I've often wondered what would a battle between, say the Spanish Armada and one guided missile frigate would look like. Or, what would have happened in The Final Countdown if Kirk Douglas and the nuclear powered USS Nimitz had gotten to stick around 1941 a little bit longer before a magnetic storm brought them back to the present time. Here's just one of the good parts of den Beste's examination of the theory:

Flapping wings have many virtues, but one thing they don't do is create huge amounts of thrust (i.e. comparable to a jet engine). The fastest winged creature in existence is a falcon in full dive, which can reach 200 MPH. No natural flier is remotely that fast in level flight. The wings of a dragon are not designed for high speed anyway; they would create tremendous turbulence and drag (if they didn't break off).

An A-10 Thunderbolt II (i.e. the Warthog) is rated 450 MPH. F-15's can exceed Mach 2 for short periods, and typically cruise at 600+ MPH. It is inconceivable that dragons would be able to fly at speeds remotely that fast.

Which means is that the jets would control the pace of combat. They can circle the dragons, come into them from behind, make slashing attacks and leave again, and then reform for the next attack. They can choose when to engage and when to run away, and they can engage when conditions are to their greatest advantage. If the dragon lands, they can strafe and bomb; if the dragon stays in the air they can circle and slash.
And that's before he even considers steath technology. Beautiful!

The Milwaukee Journal shoots its credibility in the foot.

"The Business section was not pulled because of the negative story about Selig," [Milwaukee Journal vice-president of cirulation Mark] Thomas insists. "It's a coincidence. Trust me, there was nothing done because of the negative story."

Thomas and Tom Pierce, VP for marketing services, then added that the omissions were really meant to help readers.
This was reported by the Milwaukee Shepherd Express last week. The Journal copies downtown and at the All Star game that were missing the business section which had a negative story about Bug and Wendy Selig.
Although local hotels were filled with team owners, players and officials of Major League Baseball, the Business section was intentionally omitted from Sunday papers delivered to the media room at FanFest, Downtown hotels and certain other locations around Downtown and Summerfest, says Bob Dinsmore, customer service manager for the Journal Sentinel.

Many visiting baseball executives had to log onto the newspaper's Web site to read the story. One MLB staffer at FanFest resorted to printing out copies of the column from the Web site while onlookers in the media room read over his shoulder.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Check out these photos of John Travolta's plane. Travolta owns and flies a restored 1964 Boeing 707. The plane is beautifully outfitted as only a private jet would be. It currently wears old Qantas colors as the plane was once owned by Qantas. Travolta's initials are in the registration numbers: N707JT.

Want to see some awesome aircraft paint schemes? Check out some of Qantas' latest: Wunala Dreaming, Formula One and Nalanji Dreaming.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Second to last game of the season for my younger son last night. All the boys, on both teams, did fairly decent jobs hitting and fielding. There's a world of difference between how they played at the start of the season and now.

Yet, they keep learning. My kid, for example, had waning attention in the last inning. That would be the inning when he played first base. You can sometimes doze in the outfield in his league but the first baseman can't be trying to tie his shoelaces with the power of his eyeballs. A rather weak hit, the first or second of the inning, came his way. "His" referring to body, not mind. The ball rolled slowly by. What he did notice were people looking at him and calling his name. A brief glow enveloped the already sunny field as a giant light bulb popped on over his head. Hey! That's mine! He scampered after the ball, found it and his missing attention. I think he was a little embarrassed. After that he owned first base. He kept his eye on the ball and carefully followed each play, even if it at third base.

He hit three for three. Hoo-Ya. Grandma and grandpa were there, too. It was a fun game.

Grandpa was there to watch the game and for another reason. I didn't have a drivable car. He gave the boys and me a ride to the park. Several days ago my younger son squirted my car, which had been sitting out in the 95 degree sunlight, with cold water from the hose. CRACK! POW! The windshield looked like a map of Montana highways.

Yesterday the glass company sent a guy out with a new windshield. (In Cuba, automotive time stopped in the '50s because they don't have access to modern Western cars. I hear Cubans have free health care, wonderful schools and a harmonious society that Elian just couldn't wait to get back to but crack a windshield in Cuba and learn to live with the weathered look. Where I live you make a phone call and a van stops by your house or office the next day and replaces the windshield while you read or work.

The glass guy worked on my car. As he dropped (yes, that's the right word) the replacement in to place, it cracked. And cracked. And cracked. The new glass looks like a map of Montana but this time with highways, byways, county roads, streets, terraces, rivers, creeks and crop circles all included. Of course there wasn't a second new windshield in the van. No driving that car until Monday when the glass folks can get another piece of glass. Aye carumba.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Children's entertainment in South Africa:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sesame Street will soon introduce its first HIV-positive Muppet character to children of South Africa, where one in nine people have the virus that can lead to AIDS.

The program is aimed at children from 3 to 7 and the messages delivered by the new character will be "appropriate," said Schneider, meaning that there will be no explicit mention of sex.

"Takalani Sesame" will be the second children's show in South Africa to have an HIV-positive character. But it is believed to be the first among shows designed for preschoolers, said Beatrice Chow, spokeswoman for the Sesame Street Workshop in New York.

"We will be very careful to fashion our messages so they are appropriate to the age group. What do I do when I cut my finger? What do I do when you cut your finger? That sort of thing."
So that must be how most HIV infections spread in South Africa. Cut fingers. What about toilet seats and public pools?. How 'bout a tractor seat?

Feel left out in the U.S.? Don't.
[Joel Schneider, vice president and senior adviser to the Sesame Street Workshop] said talks are under way to introduce an HIV-positive character to U.S. viewers.

Stephen Green has a good post today. Here's part:

Don’t blame the West if you think there are too many humans. The population explosion is happening in the Third World, the Arab World, and the Totally Messed-Up World. You say you want to decrease global population? Don’t “decrease consumption” – that’s Environmental Wacko code for “make people poor.” Poor people breed like. . . well, they breed like poor people – not even unsupervised teenage rabbits with a hot tub, a plate of oysters, and a stack of Barry White records can outdo the happy humpers of Egypt, Nigeria, India, and Indonesia.

Grandma and grandpa bought a Harry Potter Potion set for my older son. Great. Just great. Next his brother will have two faces and the dog will be invisible. Of course I'll be pressed into service to find replacement Magical Herbs and Fungi Mixes.

Oh, wait. I should have read the fine print: This product is for entertainment purposes only and no medical or other benefits or effects are claimed for use of the potions. Whew! Who would have guessed?

Today, my son, who just finished second grade, finally lost his first baby tooth. Only about two and a half years after the first of his classmates did. I was beginning to wonder if he'd ever lose any teeth due to the aging process. He plays baseball and hockey so there were backup plans in place.

I felt bad for him when he'd notice how many kids in his younger brother's kindergarten class were already missing teeth. The exception being his brother who appears to be facing a two-year wait of his own. The smiles on the kinder-kids looked like jack-o-lanterns carved by, well, kindergartners. This year those smaller kids were spitting out teeth like a wood chipper spits out tree bits (or, in Fargo, actual teeth).

He said it didn't hurt when it finally popped out. What little discomfort he might have experienced appears to be tempered by thoughts of what the tooth fairy will deliver.

Someone finally got canned for lapses in airport security. Four security screeners at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were fired two days ago for failing "to detect forbidden items in tests by federal inspectors," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports today.

These are almost meaningless sackings, however. The screeners were employed by Globe Aviation Services. Globe reports an 86 percent annual turnover rate. Even if these folks didn't get a pink slip, chances are they'd be gone soon anyway. If the MSP screeners fit the average turnover rate nationally, there might not have been time to escort them to the parking lot. For the national turnover rate is more than 400 percent, according to the federal security director at MSP. Your average Quickee Mart probably has more employee stability.

These people may be under the oversight of federal security authorities but F-Troop, not Delta Force, is what I picture.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Homer Simpson's plane: it's designed with a beer gut.

Test flights of a revolutionary fast and fuel-efficient bat-shaped aircraft, suitable for military and commercial use, could begin in 2006, the president of Boeing research arm Phantom Works said on July 9, 2002. Boeing, in partnership with NASA, has been perfecting the Blended Wing Body which would do away with the traditional tubular and bi-winged structure, replacing it with a giant wing and hanging belly for passengers and cargo. A 3% scale model of the 450-passenger subsonic transport is shown mounted for static force tests at NASA's Langley Research Center's Subsonic Tunnel. (NASA via Reuters)

I like Hootie Johnson.

USA Today -- A leading women's coalition has asked Augusta National Golf Club to open its membership to women, but chairman Hootie Johnson says the club will not be coerced into changing its membership.

''There may come a day when women will be invited to join our membership, but that timetable will be ours and not at the point of a bayonet,'' Johnson said in a statement Tuesday. ''We will not be bullied, threatened or intimidated.''

Martha Burk, chairwoman of the Washington-based National Council of Women's Organizations, whose 160 member groups include the National Organization for Women, said she received a letter from Johnson stating the club is private and does not discuss membership practices with non-members.
No word if the National Council of Women's Organizations will open its ranks to male organizations.

Will this be in Doonesbury?

Washington Times -- [Jesse] Jackson also called the president's comparison of a recent Supreme Court ruling favoring school vouchers in Cleveland to the 1954 desegregation order in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas "unliterate" and "fuzzy history."

Last night we had a birthday party for my younger son. This is the party to which he invites his friends. A short time ago we had a party for him but that one was for family members (where the grown-ups get beer).

So yesterday we had eight children running round the yard, playing games and stuffing their faces with candy (and the grown ups had beer). Then we grilled over an open fire and had hot dogs and s’mores. The opportunist twelve-pound dog was on hand to catch any (oh, come on – all) the dropped food. She just may reach 15 pounds before the summer is over. One of the boys thought it was funny to spray her with juice. If she’d been wearing lipstick and blush I would have thought it was just a lot of hairspray in her coat. She was rather sticky. When the party ended at 9:00 PM I didn’t stop the boy who squirted her from grabbing a can of Coke for himself. It wasn’t caffeine free, either. Don’t forget to shake before opening when you get home.

The second amendment is alive and well. Three of the presents my son received were guns! Instead of Beretta, Glock and Colt, though, they said Super Soaker, Nerf and GI Joe. One mom did call beforehand and make sure my wife and I were okay with him getting a gun for a present. Sure. Anything but a 75 mm recoilless rifle, please. They simply take up too much room in the garage.

A description of this party wouldn’t be complete without a hearty product endorsement. Raid Yard-Guard is perhaps the finest product that’s ever come in an aerosol can. With all our recent rain number of mosquitoes in my yard alone is on par with the number of dollars WorldCom pretended to have. You can hardly light off a bottle rocket without it bouncing off the bugs and flying back in your face. But after one simple application of Yard Guard the bugs were gone like Arthur Andersen’s credibility.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

"I ain't gonna quit drinking; it's out of the question," he said from the Washington County jail. "And I sure ain't gonna give up driving."
-- Raymond J. Sherman, after being arrested for his 22nd DWI last Sunday.

Hey Peter, Paul's looking for you. And he doesn't care if you have emphysema.

(AP) MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin lawmakers are considering using the state's entire share of the national tobacco settlement — once estimated to be worth $5.9 billion — to help cover a one-time budget deficit.

The settlement, signed in 1998 by tobacco companies involved in a class action lawsuit over health care costs, was set up to pay the states over a 25-year period.

Disclosure: the twelve-pound dog isn't.

A visit to the vet for a checkup included a trip to the scale. She wanted nothing to do with that scale. I suspect that she's not afraid of the scale; rather, she's afraid of what the scale will divulge. Just like a person.

Ever since I can remember, she's been a twelve-pound dog. Now she's just shy of an English stone, topping out at 13.4 pounds. How'd she gain over ten percent of her weight? Now that the boys are getting older and dropping less food on the floor she's had to resort to actually eating dog food. Or so you'd think.

One neighbor, who is dog-less, keeps a (large) supply of dog treats on hand. Twelve-pound dog knows this and has been know to scratch on the neighbor's door. Just stopping by for a visit. Hey! Are those Milk Bones?

Twelve-pound dog also is the beneficiary of grandfatherly loving. When my dad stops by the dog abandons the rest of the family and plants herself on his lap. He recognizes this as the universal signal for this poor thing is hungry. A quick trip to the kitchen is in order. Of course it's treats for two. My wife bakes. Often. And dad checks the cookie jar for recent additions. Man and beast are amply rewarded.

My wife's father sits down and twelve-pound dog leaps on him. He realizes this as an indication that she's been sorely deprived of canine snacks. Whoa, I just wrote "canine snacks" That should just read "snacks." Nothing says a dog is limited to eating only something with "Purina" on the label. Nope. If the package reads Oscar Mayer or Hillshire Farms, all the better. If it's good enough for people it's good enough for the twelve-pound dog.

I shouldn't complain. At least she earns her keep. Our yard has been free of those loud rabbits and squirrels all summer but she leave the ducks alone. Her prowling is strictly two-dimensional. Even as her body stretches out in all three dimensions.

But she'll still be my twelve-pound dog. Thirteen-point-four-pound-dog just doesn't sound right.

Monday, July 08, 2002

The holiday break is over. Back to kids’ baseball. Back to work. Back to blogging.

Tonight was a blowout. Thankfully, my boy’s team wasn’t on the receiving end of it. For some reason the kids were on top of their game. The coach did very little coaching from the field. The boys were standing in the right place at the right time. Again and again. They made good plays. They made beaucoup hits.

It was fun to watch. For our team, anyway. The other boys were in good spirits though. They kept trying the whole time. Thankfully, they were the visiting team and the game ended after the top of the sixth inning.

The other thing going on for the second half of summer is street construction. We’re getting new water mains, curbs, gutters and blacktop. The neighborhood will look like a new development when the crews are done except we’ll have mature trees.

The workers are outside right now. They’re going to be working until at least eight o’clock every night. The backup alarm of trucks and tractors permeates the air. With the awful humidity, we can feel the still air. Now we seem to hear it too. It doesn’t smell great either as all these machines are burning diesel. With the dust of the dug up street, all our senses will be satisfied because we will also be able to see and taste the air.

It’s only going to take a month or so.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

I'm taking a break this week and will post little, if at all. Enjoy the fireworks.

Monday, July 01, 2002

Just. Too. Hot.