All My Loving
(10-19 July 2006)
19 July 2006
Happy Birthday to Adam Zimmerman
-I am really sick of everyone trying to make a story out of the evacuation of US citizens from Lebanon. If I see one more person whining about being stuck in a volatile Middle Eastern country & demanding that the US come swooping in to save them... It drives me nuts. The role of the US government is not & should not be to play rescue eagle to all of its citizens no matter where they go or what they do. If you're going to travel to Lebanon, have a plan. Be prepared for things that have characterized 20 of the last 25 years in Lebanese history. You don't go skydiving without a pack & then call the feds from midair chewing them out for not having a parachute ready! & on the government side, the real story is how laughable the attempt at peacemaking in the region is, not that they aren't evacuating precious spoiled Americans fast enough. There wouldn't be a need to bail out 25,000 people if the US actually utilized foreign policy to stop the war. Instead, the wink-&-nod stance with Israel is basically endorsing the razing of Lebanon, creating the perspective that the only viable government response is to pull everyone "valuable" out of the country rather than make the country livable. If you're going to criticize the government, please pick the right issue, because otherwise you make all critics look stupid.
-Speaking of political issues that bother me, I actually don't have a scathing response to Freez's post about national debt from a few days ago. Partially because I had no idea that other nations carried such staggering debts & had in fact heard things to the contrary, that the US was a debt leader. Assuming the veracity of Freez's numbers, it actually does change my perspective on the issue, & simply remind me how differently I feel about debt than almost everyone else in this century. I have no interest in my life of ever owning a credit card, car payments, or a mortgage. Most everyone I've discussed this with finds it laughable, but I just don't see any reason to go into debt for such material possessions. I intend to save & plan so that it would be conceivable to buy things like that outright, but the trashcan of interest & the oppression of indebtedness are just things that I don't want to engage. I'm perfectly happy without anything that I don't actually have the money for. Clearly the rest of my peers & the industrialized nations disagree.
18 July 2006 17 July 2006 16 July 2006 15 July 2006 14 July 2006 13 July 2006 12 July 2006 11 July 2006 10 July 2006 Introspection, My Worst
-Three extra-inning road losses against great AL East teams in four games... does it get any more frustrating than this? Especially when the third one, against the Yankees, was the result of a blown call that writers acknowledge in articles was the wrong call!! I can't remember the last time I saw that. How can you throw Hargrove out for arguing a call that the papers say was blown? I guess none of this would be as frustrating if the M's were in the AL Central, & I'm being led to believe we actually have a shot at the playoffs. But we're really not that far from breaking through.
-No one said it would be easy. Everyone said it would be hard. You can forgive me for not fully believing them a little, right? Perhaps. I knew it would be hard. Just not this kind of hard.
-Poker is still fun, even if it's not the focus it was a year ago. I am getting used to the idea that I will probably never play in a World Series of Poker & I can relax a little about the whole thing. It's a pretty silly goal anyway.
-Resolving to do things. & follow-through. Both are critical. I guess remembering is part of the follow-through. It's all key.
-I think the US really just wants Israel to reoccupy Lebanon & Gaza. Feeling overstretched & convinced that Terrorism is the new Communism, it's containment all over again. The whole thing could hinge on how important Syria thinks it is to keep Lebanon as its own playground rather than sharing it with Israel. Poor Lebanon.
-Well yesterday was wonderful, with us going down to Monterey, seeing the Aquarium (which has shrunk enormously since my last visit in 1986), & eating a Thai dinner in a surprisingly cold town. We stayed in Salinas since most of Monterey was booked, expensive, or both, then headed up to Santa Cruz to the Boardwalk. For one thing, the "Boardwalk" lacks any actual boards! For another, while I often like a midway/rides scene, I somehow just wasn't feeling it today & so we came home after one trip on the people-mover. I think that I just got overwhelmed by all the people. Dunno. Anyway, it was a fun little jaunt, but I think trips will have to cover more distance to feel like a real getaway in future. Also, the Aquarium was just bound to be a disappointment after how large it's loomed in my memory & imagination for 20 years.
-Em & I are heading to Monterey for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary. Neither of us have been to the Aquarium since we were kids, despite talking about going a lot. I'll try not to break down crying at the sheer size of the model whales this time. Updates upon return.
-Three years! I told a few people at work today, & they were almost all stunned that I was married. It then occurred to me that before my boss & I started working there, there may not have been any married people working in the building. So... I guess it surprises people. But seriously, no men wear rings on their left hand ring fingers unless they're married. But people probably don't look in a work environment where no one is married. Huh.
-The world really is collapsing everywhere. My comments just 2 days ago still couldn't have anticipated how much has happened since. At what point is the critical mass going to be so great that people start problems just because they feel no one is watching?
-Em is getting more press! In fact, she wrote the latest report that CALPIRG wrote, & there are more articles about its release in SF, LA, & SD. But she can't be in 4 places at once & thus only gave the actual press conference in Sacramento. Good stuff.
-I meant to post earlier about how the All-Star Game was perhaps the best in history. It was. Jose Lopez scored the tying run & the M's can now have home field in the World Series if they get there. A 2-out 2-strikes lead-changing triple! Wow!
-The headlines are really playing can-you-top-this... Israel is invading Lebanon again? When the person who ran with the most peaceful platform of any major world leader on the planet right now is running simultaneous invasions, you'll forgive me for thinking there's no reason for hope.
Happy Birthday to Dom Williams
-Yesterday at work had shades of January 2003. Which was simply surreal. There are many times that I worry I'm on pace to wake up at age 42 wondering what happened to my life. I really hate that feeling. Sometimes I think there is almost nothing more important than doing things to prevent that from occurring. At least work has a tendency to stretch out time a little bit, make each day last longer, make it a little more milkable for valuable creative time. & the job really isn't sapping me the way so many jobs or commutes have before, & it's not worthless. All the ingredients are coming together. I just need to remind myself that this takes work as well.
-Can you feel that tension? Can you see the hotspots flaring up worldwide, a new one every two or three days? Today, India/Pakistan joins the crew. When the world gets smaller, what happens when violent tension is the hot new virus? We've already had voters expressing their paranoia & reacting to violent vitriolic leaders with even more of the same. & even where they haven't, people like Ehud Olmert have pulled a militaristic rabbit out of their peaceful hat. Guns blazing, Mr. Speaker. I shudder to think that this is July & that there are really no peace-minded leaders with any power on the world stage. Who's going to step up to start preaching to all this violence? Even Canada, Germany, & Japan have conservative hawks in power! I don't think anything's beyond solving at this point, but I don't know who's going to bring the solutions, & sheer odds dictate that at least 2 of these situations will get out of control.
-Two things competing for irrelevancy in a sea of actual news today: 1. I don't care what Materazzi said to Zidane, there is no combination of words in existence that could come close to justifying the response. If he called him a terrorist, all Zidane did by reacting that way was prove that he had the same outlook on violence as a terrorist... that extreme violence is a viable way of proving a point. 2. The talk about whether the deficit was inflated or not is irrelevant. The national debt is $8.4 trillion. I'm not convinced there is actually that much money in the country, but that's the figure. So all this debate is over less than 2% of the overall debt. Is all this hoopla necessary? The summation is still that if we didn't have nuclear weapons, our government would have no solvency whatsoever.
-CNN.com constantly features Time's headline article as part of its ownership tribute, but the latest headline has just gone too far. The lead story, titled "The End of Cowboy Diplomacy", makes the case that Bush has undergone a dramatic policy shift in his approach to issues like Iran & North Korea because his cowboy diplomacy has failed. The people who wrote this article are uninformed partisan fools. Anyone who has been paying any attention can remember that Bush has always treated North Korea with kid gloves & failed to use a tenth of the bullying, pressuring, & harsh rhetoric that was used in Iraq. This is because NK actually poses a threat & doesn't have oil. Bush has been towing a middle-ground line with Iran, mostly because he's trying to calculate whether he could reasonably invade it (or fuel insurgency against the current regime) from Iraq, because he actually thinks the Iraq War is winnable & can cause stability. There's no policy shifting. No changes. No learning. He's always wanted to bully the weak & ignore the strong with the goal being crusading in the Middle East & securing oil profits. This is much more damning than some sort of idea that he's retreating from policy with his tail between his legs. He's just a little more sophisticated than Time thinks, & even less open to change.
-The HR Derby was fun, but lacked anyone who I really like. The NL young guns sure are powerful, but having no M's or Giants & no one who was around 5 years ago in any meaningful way... I dunno.
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10 July 2006
Introspection, My Worst