Sunday, August 31, 2008

I swam today

Once upon a time, I had a backyard swimming pool. In the summer, I swam almost every day. In the winter, maybe once a week. I didn't worry about sun damage or cellulite. Life was good.

In the ensuing 25-yrs, I think I've only swam 5-times. Oh sure, armed with industrial-strength SPF-1000000, I've sunbathed by pools, attended poolside BBQs, even sat on the edge & dangled my toes in the pool water while vacationing in resorts with extra nice pools. These days, however, you'd more likely catch me in resort spas, because I like the very warm water. But you don't swim in a spa. You relax.

So when we scored a couple guest passes today for a local swim/fitness center, I had my doubts. First, I'm very picky about swimming pools. The water has to be crystal clear, the chemicals have to be undetectable, the other swimmers have to be of the non-freak show variety.

Second, I had a bit of a panic attack about my swimsuit. I bought it about 5-yrs ago for an Arizona vacation and haven't worn it since. Would it still fit, and more important, would it hide the upper thigh cellulite that started creeping in at age 50? As I bravely wriggled into it (very snug, but still wearable), bikini wax thoughts started floating in my head. But aaah, this particular "tankini" style covers a multitude of snicker bar binges as well as muff stuff, thus sparing me from too many of those self-doubts.

Third, would I even remember HOW to swim? I mean really swim, not just floating & kicking around. Is it like riding a bicycle? Even if I remembered, would my long unused swimming muscles be up to a few laps, or would I slowly sink to the bottom, a hopeless blob too embarrassed to show my face? Well, only one way to find out ......... off we went ...

I'm very happy to report success on all fronts! The pool was beautiful and looked especially inviting as it sparkled in our 100+ degree sun. With no detectable chemical odor and no poolside wierdos, I unveiled my tankini-ed self & carefully waded in. Most pools are too cold for me, but this one was perfect. I'm sure the solar gain from our desert sun helped it reach that perfect state. I know it wasn't little kid urine because this was an adult pool. The water temp was uniform, too, so that would seem to mean no geezer leakers. So far, so good ...

I thought I'd start with an easy sidestroke. About 1/2 way across the pool, one of my calves cramped up. Damn! I floated over to the side, feeling like a gaffed fish. After a few minutes of hanging on to the edge & slowly kicking, I gave it another try, this time just dog paddling. Eventually I worked my way up to a very ungainly, but serviceable breast stroke. Later on, I figured I'd give the sidestroke another try. Yeaaaaay! Success! I managed to do a double lap! (ok so I'm no Phelps)...

Just then, a late afternoon thunderstorm began to move in. We figured this was a good time to move indoors and try out the fitness equipment. We tried everything to see how it all worked. Just a few reps or minutes each was enough time to hear a FOX nitwit say about the Gustav preparations: "some people have groused that the Katrina response was inadequate"!

But all else was going smoothly until I got to the last row of "things" (I don't have a clue what all these fitness machines are called). That is when I felt Cindy McCain was stalking me. For some perverse reason, the Fitness Company model (the little illustration guide showing you how to use each of the items) was a dead-ringer for Ms Beer Queen herself!

These last row items used weights & pulleys & cables & handlebars. People who are into this stuff will know what I mean. There was a smiling blond Cindy with her perfect stick figure in a perfect gym outfit on every illustration, showing me how to stretch my latismus or how to use the handlebar for curls. I swear, by the time I finished that last row, I was ready to throw more than a few real weights at her unreal boobs!

So, then it was back into the wet tankini for a warm relaxing spa. Ahhhh, now this is something I know how to do! I knew my muscles would be paying for it later, but for that moment, I felt totally at peace.

Upon exiting the spa, I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the big fitness rm picture windows ...

To be totally honest, I think I look more PG than Sarah Palin did at 7-months...

Hey, maybe if I kill a polar bear with some pipeline oil and eat a mooseburger, I could be Vice-President! After all, I'm not a rich elitist AND I possess a vagina, which as far as I can tell, seems to be her sole qualifications.

Well, maybe not...

I could never force myself to stand that near to John McCain. He would defnitely qualify as one of the freaks that usually keep me out of the pool --you know, the kind that pray for divine intervention in the form of rain for the Democratic Invesco Field finale, but go mute about that aspect of Gustav possibly postponing their own event. Or worse, as I heard today, use Gustav as an excuse for why Pres Bush simply CANNOT attend. Yeah, right.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Did you feel it? I think the universe just smiled.

Until tonight, this was the last best live moment I had seen on TV:

George Harrison and Paul Simon singing "Here Comes the Sun" on SNL 1976 (less than 4 minutes).

Now, 32-years later, this ....

Barack Obama, 42-minutes at the DNC 8.28.08
We own this moment! Tonight, we told the repugs to go fuck themselves. Just how long did they think we were gonna lie back and let Bush call us traitors & McCain call us celebrity-worshippers & Cheney keep rewarding all his oil buddies while destroying the fabric of America? Eight years is MORE than enough of that bullshit!

Update: read the Rude Pundit who says it better than I ever could.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nine Nations

If you're looking for a post on political candidates, veeps or conventions, you'll have to go elsewhere. I'm a bit burnt out on politics. With so much coverage being devoted to the imminent Democratic Convention (this year in Denver, the capital of The Empty Quarter -- a reference made clearer in this post), I'm considering today to be a bit of a breather.

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I stumbled on a reference to the map below while thinking about EProf's ideas on how the U.S. might more effectively handle our presidential primary elections. In that post, he posited dividing up our nation into voting regions, which caused me to wonder exactly where those boundaries might be.

The Nine Nations of North America is a book written in 1981 by Joel Garreau. In it, Garreau argues that North America can be divided into nine regions, or "nations", which each have distinctive economic and cultural features. He argues that conventional national and state borders are largely artificial and irrelevant, and that his "nations" provide a more accurate way of understanding the true nature of North American society.

Book Intro (in italics):

"Forget the pious wisdom you've been handed about North America.
Forget the borders dividing the United States, Canada, and Mexico, those pale barriers so thoroughly porous to money, immigrants, and ideas.

Forget the bilge you were taught in sixth-grade geography about East and West, North and South, faint echoes of glorious pasts that never really existed save in sanitized textbooks.

Forget the maze of state and provincial boundaries, those historical accidents and surveyors' mistakes. The reason no one except a trivia expert can name all fifty of the United States is that they hardly matter.

Forget the political almanacs full of useless data on local elections rendered meaningless by strangely carved districts and precincts.

Consider, instead, the way North America really works. It is Nine Nations. Each with its capital and distinctive web of power and influence.... These nations look different, feel different, and sound different from each other, and few of their boundaries match the political lines drawn on current maps....

Most importantly, each nation has a distinctive prism through which it views the world."

Click here to read more of Mr. Garreau's views. "Nine Nations" grew out of his much debated article written in 1979 when he was an assistant national editor for The Washington Post.

Rather interestingly, the “Nine Nations” line up with pre-Columbian culture groups. One critic notes this was probably accidental on Mr. Garreau's part since it is not addressed in his book. Accident or not, isn't it fascinating that his nine regions follow pretty closely what we know about various American Indian regional patterns? Well, maybe it's true that there is nothing new in the world, that we are constantly reliving the past. If so, is there a Columbus in our future ... who will arrive carrying life-altering culture shock to us as well as life-killing disease and mass death? Hmmm ....

For an excellent discussion of the natural cultural bioregions of North America, see The Anthropik Network.

Here are some snips from that site (in italics): There is a curious similarity between Joel Garreau’s “Nine Nations” and the distribution of Native American cultural groups. For instance ...

1. Mexamerica includes not only much of Mexico (Northern Mexico and the Baja penninsula), but also the territories conquered from Mexico by the United States in one of its most blatant imperialist adventures, the Mexican-American War. Today, the “immigration crisis” on the U.S. side of Mexamerica highlights the folly of trying to drive an artificial border through a bioregion. Garreau pointed to Los Angeles as the “capital” of this “nation,” though Mexico City—built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan and today home to 8.7 million people—is clearly the stronger choice. [DK note: this will make perfect sense to Border Explorer, Dada, and others who might wish to further pursue Anthropik's discussion of the mesoamerican topic here]

2. The Longhouse is what Garreau calledthe Foundry,” including the “Rust Belt,” and much of the decaying, post-industrial northeast U.S. around the Great Lakes. These lands were once home to the Iroquoian-speaking confederacies, complex political structures that tried to bring large groups together and respect individual freedom at the same time. Is it any surprise that this region also produced so many of the “Founding Fathers” of the United States, who espoused the same aspirations? Garreau named Detroit as the “capital” of this “nation.” [DK note: Enigma will appreciate the description of her area as "decaying", but also note that both Obama and Biden represent this region that is known for providing great leaders -- yikes, politics rears its head]

3. Atlantica corresponds to Garreau’sNew England.” Atlantica is notable as one of the “Nine Nations” that has made efforts towards regional integration. Garreau named Boston as the “capital” of this “nation.” [DK note: perhaps Jim, the Average Patriot, can explain what regional integration this area has attempted; e.g., do they vote as a bloc?]

4. Dixie is one of the two “Nine Nations” that has ever seriously pursued secession. The old Confederate States of America was put down in the Civil War. While the people of the Longhouse (Foundry) still see that war as a question of freeing slaves, in Dixie, it’s still often seen as a failed struggle for independence from a foreign country. Garreau named Atlanta as the “capital” of this “nation.”

5. The Breadbasket takes up the Great Plains, and produces a huge percentage of the world’s food. Garreau named Kansas City as the “capital” of this “nation.” [DK note: maybe we should rename this area The Ethanol Basket in recognition of our current fixation on using corn for machine fuel rather than human body fuel]

6. The Islands include the Caribbean islands, parts of Venezuela, and southern Florida. Garreau identified Miami as the “capital” of this “nation.[DK note: it's about time someone realized south Florida has more in common with the caribbean islands than the mainland U.S.]

7. Cascadia aligns well with what Garreau calledEcotopia.” Cascadia has a strong sense of itself and has done more to align itself bioregionally than any of the others. The long, thin, coastal corridor of Cascadia is very much defined by salmon, both now and in its past. Today's bioregionalists call their land “Salmon Nation.” Garreau named San Francisco as the “capital” of this “nation.” [DK note: Fran will like to know she is part of The Salmon Nation]

8. The Empty Quarter was named for Rub’ al Khali, the “Empty Quarter” in Saudi Arabia. It covers most of the Rockies, and holds huge energy reserves. Garreau named Denver as the “capital” of this “nation.” [DK note: there is much similarity in the native tribal culture of this "empty" area, such as the Utes, Paiutes, Shoshone and Nez Perce, all of whom lived a marginal existence on mostly non-productive land, thus necessitating small populations and a nomadic hunter lifestyle]

9. Québec is the other “nation” that has actively pursued secession, though it has yet to press the matter to the point of civil war. Garreau named Québec City, obviously enough, as the “capital” of this “nation.” [DK note: to me, growing up in "The Empty Quarter", Quebec seems more foreign than Mexico; same for Dixie, which had dreams of secession in common with Quebec]

I find it fascinating that 400+ years after first contact with Europeans, our current culture is still following the same regional patterns established by the original native inhabitants. It seems to validate the concept of bioregionalism and natural boundaries. A certain commonality develops within a bioregion, where people who are facing many of the same problems tend to adopt many of the same solutions.

To impose artifical boundaries, like state and national lines, across a natural bioregion does not seem sustainable in the long term. Today, we are seeing the fallout of this kind of folly around our artificially imposed borders. When we fought for or purchased or stole this or that latitude and longitude without any consideration of natural borders, we created a legal division which we are attempting to rule with an iron, blood-stained, and inherently racist, fist. Suddenly people who were all part of a similar culture found themselves on one side or the other. Perhaps if our borders more accurately reflected these concerns, we would not be having so many border problems today.

Wow, all that just from wondering about how our presidential primaries might work better if we divided up into voting regions vs the current state-by-state silliness!

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If you haven't already done so and wish to, please see the post below and give One H.E.A.R.T. your vote.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Heart to H.E.A.R.T.

Want to help the women and children of Tibet?

There are few times something as easy as voting online for a humanitarian project can do so much good.

This is one of those times!

My friend Arlene Samen is the founder and director of a non-profit organization called One H.E.A.R.T. (Health Education And Research, Tibet). The mission of One H.E.A.R.T. is to save the lives of Tibetan women and children, one birth at a time. Through culturally sensitive training programs, One H.E.A.R.T. provides birthing materials for rural health workers in Tibet and trains them in their use. Unlike most countries, Tibet has no midwife tradition; thus a very high percentage of women and babies are dying in childbirth, often alone in dirty freezing sheds with no access to medical care of any sort.

As with most non-profits, One H.E.A.R.T. constantly fights the battle of funding. Arlene is forever seeking out organizations, grants, and donations to help with the logistics of her mission. American Express has a Members Project that has committed to provide 2009 funding of $2.5million to be shared among the Top 25 Projects, as decided by online voting.

This is where you can help. By voting for One H.E.A.R.T., you can help Arlene continue with her worthwhile mission. It's easy and it costs you nothing but a few moments of your time to give her project your vote. I hope you will consider doing this now because there is a voting deadline of September 1st. She needs all the votes she can muster before then.

To vote: Click here for the American Express Members Project Page set up for One H.E.A.R.T. You'll see a box that says "Should this project make the Top 25?" -- click on the box under that labeled *NOMINATE THIS PROJECT*. You will be asked to sign in. I did it as a Guest Member. After that is successfully completed, the One H.E.A.R.T. page will reappear. You can then vote to "nominate this project". The 25 projects that have received the most votes by September 1st will be sharing the American Express 2009 funding grant of $2.5million.

If you wish to learn more about Arlene Samen and One H.E.A.R.T., click here for her website. To read about her involvement in many other humanitarian projects and awards she has received, you can simply google her name.

For many years, Arlene worked as a Nurse Practitioner with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division at the University of Utah's Health Science Center. It was during these years of providing emergency maternity care that she began a mission of obstetric aid to women living on Native American reservations in the U.S. This mission is now global, serving the women of Tibet, Nepal, Mexico, Ecuador and other desperately poor women of the world. Through One H.E.A.R.T., Arlene is devoted to providing pre-natal health care and teaching safe birth practices to third world women, one birth at a time.

Arlene was featured as a CNN Hero this year! Click here to see video clips of some of her One H.E.A.R.T. work profiled by CNN. On the CNN link, click on links located to the left of her photo: Story / Videos / Extra 1 / Extra 2. Each one reveals a different aspect of teaching and connecting with third world women -- women who are experiencing the highest death-in-childbirth rates as well as the highest infant mortality rates.

Arlene was in Lhasa Tibet during the recent violent Tibetan protests and Chinese crack-down, doing what she always does, helping mothers. It was a very tense few weeks with the TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Region) in lock-down before China allowed her to return back to the U.S.

I hope you will consider giving One H.E.A.R.T. your vote for American Express funding by clicking on the link before September 1st. It will only cost you a little time.

or: Click here if you wish to make a donation directly to One H.E.A.R.T.

I've never used my blog this way before. I hope you understand why I feel this is a worthwhile cause. And I truly thank you for your time and consideration.

Friday, August 15, 2008

McCain hates Social Security but loves his PUMAs

On the 73rd anniversary of the inception of Social Security, FDR's grandson put out this vid hammering McCain for the Democratic Party. Maybe it's because I'm less than 10-yrs away from the magic Social Security age, but I do find myself more and more worried about it the closer I get. Why did everyone laugh at Al Gore when he talked about putting Social Security in a Lockbox? Was it a good move, a socially secure move, to make it available for Bush to use to fight his forever wars? I'm not feeling too secure, socially or otherwise. Keep Your Hands Off My Social Security! (2-minutes):

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I love it when David Shusterman subs for Chris Matthews on Hardballs. Tonight he grilled a couple of PUMAs ("Party Unity My Ass" holes). They are really itching to vote for McCain. I only have one question: are these people f*cking nuts? (apprx 10-minutes):

If you have the stomach to check out their website, scroll down and look at their symbol. I know they meant it to look like a cougar just walked over Obama's one-world symbol, but what it really looks like is the infamous Blackwater paw print staking claim to the world. Ackkk!

You know, it's one thing to be loyal to your preferred candidate and to be disappointed if they are not nominated. It's quite another thing to endorse the enemy. I wasn't originally an Obama supporter either, but I'll be damned if I could switch that disappointment into supporting McCrazy.

And let's be clear here: a non-Obama vote is a vote for McCain. Stay home & don't vote & you are voting for McCain. Vote for some no-chance 3rd party candidate & you are voting for McCain. Write in your dog & you are voting for McCain. I've done all these things in previous elections, but not this time. After 8-yrs of the worst president ever, we can't afford even one term of McSenile.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Real and the Unreal

The Real: Michael Phelps led off the mens relay team to take the Gold today. He is trying for six more golds to beat Mark Spitz' unbelievable record. Here is Michael's reaction as the oldest athlete on the US Swim Team, 32-yr old Jason Lezak, rammed home ahead of France's powerful Alain Bernard, by a fingertip.

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The Unreal: And here is Mr. Chuckles, our dyslexic president, showing off his flag-waving skills to the world. Notice even daughter Barbara seems a bit puzzled by the reverse flag. Laura looks cluelessly happy, as usual. C'mon George, if only you'd have given that flag one more turn, so it was flying upside down, I might've applauded your Olympic truth telling feat!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

TV Olympics, random thoughts

Oh yeah, catching up on what we recorded last night of the Olympics Opening Ceremony ... it was spectacular, and of course the thought always comes to mind, if people of the world can come together like this every few years, why not all the time.

Is it just me, or was the military presence much stronger in this opening ceremony than we are used to seeing? Early on, some little school kids handed a chinese flag to soldiers who marched off with it in a precision goosestep. Then toward the end, the official olympic flag was handed again to soldiers who goosestepped it over to run it up a flagpole.

We were treated to George & Laura up in the cheap seats. George took off his jacket, checked his watch & looked bored. The camera never panned back to them after the US marched by. Waaaay past their bedtime! Earlier, George was seen talking to Putin, no doubt about Russian tanks rolling into Georgia/Ossetia. Sarkozy kept his jacket on, even though it was over 90-degrees & so humid, his face was shiny with sweat. Hours later, due to the strange chinese "alphabetizing" system, Australia was almost last to march by, but there was PM Kevin Rudd standing up in the stands & looking peppy! All nations appeared according to their chinese name, which meant they appeared randomly to those accustomed to the western alphabet ... except somehow apparently "Zaire" is toward the end of anyone's system.

Not to sound too picky, but I also had a complaint about the music playing as the nations marched by. Do bagpipes really go with everything? When it wasn't bagpipes, it was mariachi music which was quite jarring when the country being featured was nowhere near Latin America. Maybe it was only noticeable because everything else was so perfectly coordinated.

I loved the Nike commercial ( for this olympics. Every frame is worth stopping and examining ... here it is ...

"I Got Soul, but I'm not a Soldier" (1-minute from Nike):

There is a tennis fan in my house who was much impressed with the current tennis greats as they appeared in the parade of nations. Rafael Nadal for Spain is a camera favorite. Roger Federer was the flag bearer for Switzerland. Novak Djokovic marched with Serbia. They might all meet up for the Gold in the finals. Personally, I found the Italians and the Australians to be the most exurberant in their quick parade by the camera into my living room.

Here is another Nike, from a couple yrs ago ... Basketball ... I could watch this forever ... (this is the extended 3-minute version):

I'm recording today's events to watch later, mostly the swimming competition to see how Mark Phelps does.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Need some inspiration?

Behold, the universe!

Vangelis: "The Conquest of Paradise"
Apprx 5-minutes ...

Or, you could watch NBC tonight for Olympic Opening Ceremony Coverage. Why do I expect online coverage to be down, so we will only get the state-sponsored coverage?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Meanwhile, I'm Still Thinking ....

.... and missing Juna (see post below) ...

Certain music would set off her singing talent. I've already mentioned The Star Spangled Banner (she tried especially hard to form her mouth around the laaand of the freeeeee part). She could work up a good cadence for The Marine Corps Hymn (she was a good devil dog). When the theme for Jeopardy played on TV, she would perk up her ears & whine along with it, but I always suspected she actually hated that one. She recognized and stood at attention, but didn't try to sing along with Amazing Grace. If I turned up Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen), Juna went nuts during the group chorus. When watching "Immortal Beloved" on TV one night, she discovered the chorale part of Beethoven's Ninth ("Ode to Joy")!

And then there was Juna's favorite instrument, the harmonica. Oh.My.Dawg! We could barely listen to ANY music with harmonica because she would set up a plaintive howl that could split your eardrums. Had to keep her OUT of the house to listen to Neil Young or Bob Dylan.

This little sleeper of a Pink Floyd song always reminded me of Juna. Originally called "Mademoiselle Nobs", it was re-worked into "Seamus" on the "Meddle" album. Mme Nobs (a Borzoi, Russian Wolfhound, aka long-haired greyhound?) obviously found harmonica sounds irresistible in the same way that Juna did. Pretty rare vid ... I like the way they all sat down at the dog's level & gave her lots of pets & encouragement ... hope you like it, too:

I had to turn up the second half of the vid, when the album version ("Seamus") is played -- love the descriptive line, "my old hound dog sat right down and cried". "Meddle" was Pink Floyd, circa 1971. In many ways, I think it was a better album than their more commercially successful "Dark Side of the Moon".

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

R.I.P. Juna 1994-2008

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you we had to euthanize Juna tonight. She would've been 15-yrs old in a few months. The photo above reflects her final weekend spending most of her time in her dog bed. It was obvious to EK & me that her time was short; her crippling arthritis had moved beyond the uncomfortable stage, even with increased narcotic pain medication.

This afternoon she could no longer walk at all. Her once powerful rear legs were simply too twisted to support her. She made a few valiant efforts to walk, but kept falling down, sometimes in obviously uncomfortable positions. We knew she was not going to rally from this; there would be no recovery; she had reached the end of her time. Funny, how fast those 15-yrs flew by.

All dogs are special. I know this is true. I wouldn't want to live in a world without dogs. They are much more than companions. That's why we couldn't let Juna suffer any longer. And truthfully, before today, she did not seem to be suffering much, but then she was always a stoical dog. But something gave out for her this afternoon. She could no longer fake it. Her stoicism was gone. It was time.

The afterhours pet clinic people were wonderful. She did not suffer for even a second. We petted her and reassured her all during the short process. I watched her eyes as she lost consciousness. There was no fear, no trouble, just peacefulness. Afterwards, I stayed in the room with her for a few minutes to say goodbye. She will be cremated & her ashes returned to us this week.

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These are some old photos of happier days. The quality is poor, but it doesn't matter since Juna was never a photo- genic dog. You can recognize her by her big ears. Try clicking if you wish to enlarge the blurriness.

Always self-confident, always the top dog, a powerful dog driven by one desire ... to be with her humans. She listened to everything we said and tried her best to anticipate & do what we wanted.

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A few things I'll always remember about Juna:

Before she went deaf, Juna was a singing dog, with a decided preference for The Star Spangled Banner, The Marine Corps Hymn, and the theme for Jeopardy.

She always knew the way. When hiking, she picked out the trail & led us. On the way out, when confronted with a fork in the trail, she would stop & look at us for direction. She never needed guidance on the way back.

When staying in motels while traveling, she would carefully note which room was ours and would lead us back to it everytime, no matter how large the complex, no matter how many stairs or elevators or hallway turns were involved. She knew which room was ours and corrected us if we made a wrong turn.

She loved to chase rabbits, squirrels, horses, skunks (she was skunked twice), birds (crows pissed her off), lizards, pretty much anything that moved. She once chased a cougar into chapparel country. No fear. She could spend hours running up and down hillsides chasing her ball.

She had big soft floppy lips -- part of her Labrador heritage mix. When she drank water, she left more of it on the floor than got in her mouth. She once found a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest & brought it to me in her soft mouth, undamaged.

She spent a lot of time staring down statues of people or animals, always giving them wide berth. We think it was because she recognized their shapes but could not figure out why they did not move. Lawn ornaments of rabbits were a particular fascination.

She could never pass up a grassy hillside without rolling down it on her back. If the grass was tall, she'd try stomach-rolling, resembling an alligator swimming through the everglades. Any grassy patch was an opportunity to roll, but hillsides DEMANDED rolling!

This year, as her arthritis was slowly crippling her, we had to cut short the long walks she had always enjoyed so much. We tried shortening the route from 2-miles, down to 1-mile, but eventually she was only able to barely make it down to a common grassy area at the end of our block. By May, she was unable to even make it that far, but she still wanted to go on our nightly walks, so I would slowly walk her to a vacant lot next door where rabbits like to hide, which gave her a bit of a thrill sniffing them out. By last week, she was unable to even hobble that distance.

Well, I could go on & on. Thanks for sticking with me this far. Tomorrow I will be cleaning and paring the house down to one dog's worth of stuff. I just couldn't bring myself to do it tonight. Yes, the deputy dawg is doing fine; in fact, he is laying here beside me now, having some kind of running dream, maybe remembering how he & Juna used to run together.

R.I.P. Juna --- you were always our best girl, the most observant, most motivated dog, and we will miss you forever!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Radovan Karadzic, a Bush Nightmare

Scene: bedtime in the White House, apprx 9PM
GWB: time for bed, move over will ya, Laura?
Laura: zzzzzz
GWB: (looking over Laura's nighstand bottles of Ambien, Prozac & Valium) ... heheheh, she is out like a duck's butt
Laura: zzzzzz
GWB: (whisking away the 3-inch ash on Laura's Pall Mall as he reaches for the TV remote) ... guess I'll just watch me some TV until I hit zzzzz-land myself
Laura: zzzzzz
GWB: (clicking TV remote as he settles into his stack of Fluffy Bunny pillows) ... just something boring so's I can fall asleep and dream of Paraguay ... aaah, this should do it ... the foreign news weekly roundup ... bet I don't last to the first commercial ...

Radovan Karadzic, infamous Bosnian Serb leader and one of the main perpetrators of The Srebrenica Massacre was arrested July 21, after 13-years in hiding. First indicted by the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague in July 1995 for author- izing shooting of civilians during the Siege of Sarajevo. Later indicted for genocide in orche- strating the slaughter of 8,000 muslim men & boys in Srebrenica, East Bosnia, Europe's worst massacre since World War II. Karadzic was finally apprehended when he made a single phone call to a relative whose phone (along with most of Karadzic's friends and family) had been tapped for yrs.

GWB: (yawn) those Hague guys shore was persistent, tapping them phones for so many yrs ...

The 1992-1995 Bosnian War resulted in an estimated 200,000 dead from the slaughter of ethnic cleansing. Concentration camps, brutal murders, premeditated rape of thousands of Bosnian Muslim girls and women, thousands of children traumatized -- all of this horrendous waste of humanity, took place right before the eyes of the civilized world.

GWB: oh yeah, I seem to remember something about the previous president being accused of wagging the dog when he proposed intervening to stop the violence, but (reaches for glass of water) he wasn't lucky enough to have 911 happen on his watch, heheheh... (takes a gulp of water) ...

Karadzic will face charges of genocide, extermination, murder, and inhumane acts (incl rape & torture) against non-Serbs in his trial before the UN Tribunal at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. People of conscience welcome this news and hope it will serve as a warning to anyone who thinks they can willfully invade another country. As Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal stated, the arrest of Radovan Karadzic "is an important day for international justice because it clearly demonstrates that nobody is beyond the reach of the law and that sooner or later all fugitives will be brought to justice."

GWB: (spewing water all over the bed) .... now just wait a minute!
Laura: zzzzz, snork, wha? why'm I sleeping in water?
GWB: Laura babe, the TV news is saying that the International Criminal Court can bring a person to justice for suspected war crimes, even a dozen years after the fact!
Laura: snork, hock, gag, George is that you?
GWB: 'course it's me, now wake yourself up & listen!
Laura: cough, grrrgggh, hack, why are you waking me up about the Criminal Court?
GWB: It's the International Criminal Court, and I think I might have a problem with them soon.
Laura: Oh go to sleep George, you know the United States exempted itself from that silly court.
GWB: hmmmm, Laura babe, I think you're right. I remember now, we not only excluded ourselves, but we pressured a lot of other countries to exclude themselves, too.
Laura: That's right, so you can stop worrying about facing a war crimes trial, and let me sleep!
GWB: (big yawn) OK, guess I should just stop watching foreign news before I go to sleep (closes eyes & starts to nod off)
Laura: .... unless you ever travel out of this country to one of the 108 ICC-member countries ...
GWB: Is Paraguay one of those countries? Those traitors!
Laura: .... Goodnight, George ... take a look at the map in the morning. There's still plenty of hiding places, like China or Chile.
GWB: I wonder if Cheney, Rummy, Condi, Gonzo, Wolfie, Feith, Yoo, and Perle know about this? I'll ask Addington tomorrow. **********

Let us gratefully leave the White House Bedroom now, and simply show some of the images that flashed on his foreign news TV screen.

Rather than the Milosovic or Karadzic war-criminal-in-hiding route, perhaps Bush will consider the Ratko Mladic route. Mladic is the General behind the Srebrenica massacre. He is never alone, and though his armed bodyguards will fight to the death, they have orders to kill him rather than let him be captured alive.

More scenes from foreign news coverage (click on any pic to enlarge) ... Body bags of human remains from Srebenica massacre, being stored in an underground tunnel morgue ...

Bosnian mass graves:

Bosnians praying in front of coffins of 610 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, buried at The Memorial Cemetary in 2005:
Srebrenica refugees:
Bosnians celebrating Karadzic's arrest:
In Sarajevo this week, citizens filled the streets that Radovan Karadzic had once ordered shelled. They collectively remembered how this psychopathic power-monger held their city hostage for months, killing the innocent in their homes, on the streets, in lineups for food and water, in the marketplaces ... and he did not care at all. [source] Ref: Zijad Delic, The Montreal Gazette

Goodnight, George. If Americans won't haul your war criminal ass into court, may some ICC-member country someday serve your ass on a platter to The Hague. May justice be done.