June 30, 2003

Some Women I Dig

One of the blogging women I dig, Rachel, has posted the latest in her long series of Michael Moore Is A Liar pieces, this time related to Moore's latest open letter to the President. A snippet:

Believe me, I read it carefully to try to discern whether or not the whole thing was a joke, and I came to the following conclusions: if it is a joke, Moore needs to take an intensive course on how not to sound like a complete psychopath while making jokes and also how to use sarcasm effectively. Also he needs severe instruction on how to actually make a point while attempting and failing at sarcasm.

If it's not a joke, then he has very helpfully told the world that he doesn't have a problem with lies whatsoever, which is not exactly a surprise but is still useful to have in his own words.

Mmm hmm. Unfortunately, she doesn't fisk it ... but that's OK; I'll take the opportunity to link to another Lucas On Moore post that reigns in my personal Blog Pantheon: Michael Moore Is A Lying Bastard (which, by-the-by, I believe to be true).

Oh, and some other blogging women I dig: Michele, Kathy, Jane, and although she's out of my league, Virginia Postrel.

Just in case your keeping score at home.

Posted by Avocare at 05:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Symbolism And Controversy

This today from MSNBC:

The father of a Gaza boy whose killing in 2000 became a symbol of the Palestinian uprising laid flowers at the roadside spot where he died after Israel pulled forces out of the area on Monday.

Mohammed al-Durra [sic], 12, was killed in a shootout between the Israeli army and Palestinian gunmen at a junction on Gaza's main highway when the revolt erupted there and in the West Bank ...

... Palestinians say Israeli troops shot Mohammed near the turn-off leading to the isolated Jewish settlement of Netzarim, and they renamed the spot the ''Martyrs Crossroads.'' The Israeli army initially apologised for the boy's death but later said gunfire from Palestinian militants had killed him.

The story of al-Dura is interesting. It’s interesting because footage of the dying boy, broadcast with some frequency in the West but repeatedly in the Arab world, made the boy a symbol among Arabs of the Palestinian cause and presumed Israeli brutality. It’s also interesting because many have now called into question what really happened that day, but with little recognition. And finally, it’s interesting because some now question whether the controversy is itself a form of revisionist symbol creation.

The story is now like a snake eating it’s own tail: the creation of an iconic symbol, which was then questioned as an intentional act of propaganda, via a process which is now itself being questioned as an instance revisionist history.

Two pieces in particular illustrate the two sides ...

The first is this James Fallows Atlantic Monthly article, Who Shot Mohammed al-Dura? It leads:

The image of a boy shot dead in his helpless father's arms during an Israeli confrontation with Palestinians has become the Pietà of the Arab world. Now a number of Israeli researchers are presenting persuasive evidence that the fatal shots could not have come from the Israeli soldiers known to have been involved in the confrontation. The evidence will not change Arab minds—but the episode offers an object lesson in the incendiary power of an icon.
Read the entire article, then read the second piece, this Daily Times of Pakistan article by Shehryar Fazli, titled Power Of An Icon. In part, it reads:
If tearing down the symbol does not work, the revisionists will at least try to adapt its meaning … If the symbol is to remain, then put a new value on it. In this case, attempts to disprove the official account of al-Dura’s death by placing the blame on the Palestinians, may hope to cloak the original icon and confer on it a new, customised connotation: Palestinian deceit and absolute disrespect for human life.
Together, they surface many of the issues involved. More important, they highlight what the disparate Western and Arab coverage of the Iraq war also suggested: that for perhaps the first time both sides in this seeming "clash of civilizations" understand and are using the power of media to shape the discourse, and to define what the audience considers “real.”

Posted by Avocare at 01:23 PM | TrackBack

June 28, 2003

Liquid Courage Pause

Last night's promise of drunken behavior was fulfilled not by Michele, but by yours truly. This is today's only post, as I spent most of the day recovering from a vigorous bout with Grey and Jose. (Yeah, I know ... I'm all about fancy combinations.)

Indeed, I spent much of the day curled up in this, which was an early birthday gift from Wife. When she saw how I looked this morning, she knew it would serve me better now than later. And of course, I didn't find this site until just now ... but better late than never.

Posted by Avocare at 10:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 27, 2003

Promises, Promises

My pseudo-girlfriend Michele promises heaps of drunken blogging tonight. Me, I'm already one beer and one very large triple Grey Goose Martini in the bag. We're off for sushi (ohmyGod, are we these people? ... given that description, I think not), and will miss whatever boozeblogfest the little dead girl will create ... but I can read it in the morning, and that's the gr8 thing about blogs.

Whatever may come, let's just hope that tonight she manages to not break the Internet.

Posted by Avocare at 08:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Numbers Game

From a recent flight of Google News searches. Search term on the left; number of stories it generated on the right:

Iraq + Victory: 2,930 stories

Iraq + Defeat: 2,540 stories

Iraq + Failure: 4,910 stories

Iraq + Liberation: 1,830 stories

Iraq + Occupation: 7,340 stories

Economy + 2004 + Election: 1,440 stories

Iraq + 2004 + Election: 1,110 stories

Iraq + Quagmire: 189 stories

Posted by Avocare at 05:31 PM | TrackBack

One Link With A Side Of Context

Avocare has a very small readership. Within this readership are two distinct subpopulations: a small group of extremely seasoned webloggers (Michele, Ricky, Jane, Oskar, Rachel, and others, all of whom I am VERY fortunate to count as regulars), and a group of people from my personal life - parents, friends, colleagues - who are, on the whole, from the "web mainstream" (whatever that is).

On occasion, I will post content aimed at the latter population rather than the former, and when I do, I ask that the blog pros bear with me.

This is such an occasion.

For my mainstream folks, if you're not already reading them, Kathy Kinsley and Momma Bear at On The Third Hand have made covering the events in Iran their personal crusade. I'm not going to point to any link in particular; just visit the weblog and begin reading from the bottom up.

And for my seasoned blogger folks: You rock.

Posted by Avocare at 01:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

You Are Not Reading This!

While browsing Kevin's Wizbang I came across a link to this wonderful piece of technology, courtesy David Bloom: The Iraqi Information Minister Quote Generator. And remember:

The Americans will roast these mercenaries in Al-Nasiriyah!

Posted by Avocare at 09:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 26, 2003


Tuesday my lovely wife enjoyed a birthday many consider a milestone (in the interest of marital bliss, I’ll leave the number to your imagination). During our dinner, I asked, “So what lessons have you learned in your years? If aliens dropped down to this world and asked for advice on how to live their lives, what three lessons would you try to impart?”

Her response will remain private, but here are my answers to the question:

1. Appreciate that there are people in the world who will try to do you harm. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust anyone … but understand that the world really does hold people who will try to do you wrong.

2. Carefully manage your money.

3. That said, appreciate that the things in life that will give you the most satisfaction are nearly always free, and most often lie in the people or nature around you.

Note that the first two are unrelated: I've not had anything embezzled by a former business partner. How would you answer? Feel free to respond in the comments (both of you).

Posted by Avocare at 01:56 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

A New Addition

We've welcomed a new addition to the family. Two, actually ... his and hers ... hers as a birthday present, and his as, well, an early birthday present.

Having used mine for several days now, I make this claim with confidence: Quite simply one of the best pieces of technology I have used, ever. (Indeed, in terms of simplicity, elegance, and quality, at least equal to this ... something I've always considered one of the great inventions in human history.)

We have the 10G model. I've loaded 384 songs so far ... about 30 CDs worth ... and have used 16% of the storage capacity. Sound quality is incredible, battery life is 6-8 hours ... worth every last cent. And after using it on the way to and from Baltimore yesterday, I’m willing to tag the iPod a Road Warrior Essential.

Posted by Avocare at 11:51 AM | TrackBack

June 25, 2003

One IBM X20, DOA

It happens to each of us sooner or later. And no matter how you try to prepare, you're never really ready. Last night, around 11 PM, the keystone of my computing life died. Total hard drive crash. My life now revolves around this message: "Operating system not found."

Luckily, I practice safe computing and backup regularly, and my professional life is largely safe. The personal, though ... the digital photos, the blog postings, the stuff ... all gone.

A new hard drive is on the way, but the data have long since left this world.

(Parenthetically, if you've sent me mail in the last day, please resend. Anything that was sitting in my inbox that I’d not responded to as of last night is forever history.)

Posted by Avocare at 08:12 PM | TrackBack

June 24, 2003

A Sign Of Da Apocalypse ...

... brought to you by Bank One.

The politicians persuaded the Chicago Bears not to sell the naming rights to the team's newly-rebuilt stadium. But the Bears figured out how to get the big bucks anyway.

Yesterday, they sold the name of the team, or came pretty close.

No longer will the old franchise, which was there at the NFL's creation, refer to itself exclusively as the Chicago Bears. From now on, whenever possible, it will be "Bears football presented by Bank One."

Go here for the story, here for the Bank One spin, and here to let Bank One know what you think. Similar links for Da Bears are hard to find.

Posted by Avocare at 09:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 23, 2003

A Matter Of Opinion

Today's US Supreme Court decisions in the Michigan affirmative action cases (Gratz v. Bollinger, Grutter v. Bollinger) are already producing an enormous volume of press, and I'm certain the more astute blog analyses will soon follow. I'm not so certain, however, that the decisions themselves will often see the light of day.

All told, the 9 Justices authored 13 different opinions, totaling 163 pages, across the two decisions. And thanks to the power of the Internet, both are available online, courtesy the source. You may find Gratz v. Bollinger here, and Grutter v. Bollinger here.

Don't quickly put aside the idea of reading them. I'm no attorney, but between working in law firms through college and taking multiple Constitutional Law courses in school, I can attest that most modern Supreme Court decisions are accessible and relatively easy reads. What's more, they are fascinating ... each Justice has their own style, and in cases with multiple opinions such as these, those styles - and the policies toward which the different Justices lean - become clear.

Given their historical importance, I plan to read both.

Posted by Avocare at 07:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Geeks Gone Wild!!

I just came across this post at Wizbang, which links to two sites that, frankly, are the geek equivalent of "Girls Gone Wild!" Mix a high IQ, ample time, an obsession with Flight Simulator, networking know-how, and 13 monitors and you get this. Toss in some coding know-how, plywood, and a cordless drill and you get this.

Either way, I'm left wondering whether I should be impressed, saddened, or, given my own affinity for FS2002, envious. Of course, ask "Where do they find the time?" and the response you'll get is likely "The same place you find the time to publish all those weblogs."

And if you wonder what it's like when geeks really do go wild, go here.

Posted by Avocare at 03:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 22, 2003

This Guy Doesn't Get It

When blogrolling tonight I came across this post by Kathy at 3rd Hand. It links to this story by Dave Barry in the Houston Chronicle. Here's a sample:

We are worried, here in the newspaper business (motto: "What, YOU never make misstakes?"). We're hearing that you readers have lost your faith in us. Polls show that, in terms of public trust, the news media now rank lower than used-car salespeople, kidnappers, tapeworms, Hitler, and airline flight announcements. (We are still slightly ahead of lawyers.) ...

... I think the public is genuinely unhappy with us. Lately, when I tell people I work for a newspaper, I've detected the subtle signs of disapproval -- the dirty looks; the snide remarks; the severed animal heads in my bed.

How did we get into this situation? Without pointing the finger of blame at any one institution, I would say it is entirely the fault of the New York Times.

Read the rest; Barry only amplifies his smart-ass tone.

I'm glad he finds public doubt in the media's so funny. I understand that he is primarily a "humor columnist." I understand that he's won a Pulitzer Prize. But I've had enough of media arrogance, and this article is simply salt in the wounds of a public trust long since broached.

Personally, I hope the increaslingly democratized nature of public information ultimately reduces the demand for professionally sanctioned media ... reduces it to such a level that Dave Barry, and journalists of his ilk, wonder preciesly when they became so unneccessary.

Posted by Avocare at 09:08 PM | TrackBack


Wife and I saw Peter Gabriel last night ... purchased the tickets Friday night on a lark (birthday present to me), and lo and behold, our seats were center section, about 25 rows back.

He put on a great show (as usual), designed as an encore to the first leg of his US tour last fall. Given that it was 10 years between this album and the one prior, we watched the show knowing it may be the last Gabriel concert we attend.

That said, the real find of the evening was Sevara Nazarkhan, an absolutely haunting singer from Uzbekistan. She's on Gabriel's Real World label, and you can listen to and buy her CD, Yol Bolsin, here.

Finally, a seatmate was taking digital snaps on her Palm Zire 71 throughout. It's a pretty slick little PDA - I asked her to email the snaps to me, and when she does I'll post them and we can communally judge quality.

Posted by Avocare at 06:40 PM | TrackBack

Don't Be Afraid

Who knew Laurence was so afraid of Utah? Reading his thoughts on the matter, I attribute his phobia to the fact that the only Utahan he's really known was a transfer from here ... and any Ute (as am I) on the planet will quickly tell you that Cougars are not to be trusted.

At least now he has me to balance things out ... and having lived 23 years there and 11 years here, I can assure him: there are only two types of people that must fear the Behave State: Alcoholics, and people who like to drive over 40 mph in the fast lane. Oh ... and anyone who distrusts theocracy. But that's it. So fear not, Laurence ... I won't let em' get you.

Of course, given recent events, this guy might.

Posted by Avocare at 09:52 AM | TrackBack

Muslim WakeUp!

While trolling the online news sources this morning I came across Muslim WakeUp!, a site

committed to an understanding of Islam that challenges human beings to act on behalf of the divinely inspired principles of love, justice, and a belief in the unity of all God’s creation.
What's more, the site
seeks to mirror the diversity, dynamism, and creative spirit of Islam. We will celebrate all that is alive with meaning in our lives—spirituality, music, art, literature, politics, laughter, love, compassion—everything that is close to the heart. We will speak our mind for what we feel is right, especially when it conflicts with what we are accustomed to—all the time seeking God’s guidance and forgiveness.
And here's another interesting twist: the site's a blog, running MT 2.63. Anyone want to raise the "when are blogs mainstream" question one last time?

Posted by Avocare at 09:17 AM | TrackBack

June 21, 2003

Girl On The Move

If you've not read it already, Michele is temporarily blogging from here whilst Stacy returns A Small Victory to its usual glory. I had no idea the post prior to this would be so prescient.

While on the topic of top-shelf female bloggers, I've been increasingly enamored with Virginia Postrel's work. If you're not reading Dynamist Blog regularly, you should be. Note that Virginia has the tendency to post in the wee hours, so don't necessarily trust your blogroll to tell you when she's up-to-date.

Posted by Avocare at 09:55 AM | TrackBack

June 20, 2003


It's Shoutout Friday Night here at Avocare Radio ... our next request is from Michele to Stacy, with love.

Posted by Avocare at 09:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Don't Give It To The Man Behind You

Although she was more hardcore earlier in the evening, Michele tells me she's listening to bad 70s music tonight ... whaddayaknow, so are we. This is for Michele.

Games, by Redeye

See how they run
Taking a ride on an everyday fight to nowhere
Run inside it's a great place to hide themselves
And you know
Yeah you know
Yeah you know
Yeah you know
You know what they're doing

Can't they see
The dreams in the mind are the only thing
That bind them together
Serving the purpose until
They turn it away for dead feeling
And you know
Yeah you know
Yeah you know
Yeah you know
You know what they're feeling

You play the game
Take it while you can
Don't you give it to the man behind you
You can put it down 'til
You pick it up again
If you want to
And you know
Yeah you know
Yeah you know
Yeah you know

You know what you're doing.

Posted by Avocare at 07:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wow ... Just Like Leonard Nimoy

Orrin and BarrySpeaking of Orrin Hatch, did you realize he's a musician as well? Go to The Music of Senator Hatch and see for yourself. Here's a snippet from the site:

Soon after his debut with Janice [Kapp], singer, songwriter Billy Hinsche of the Beach Boys' approached Orrin about writing with him. Following their sixth song, Marilyn Bergman of ASCAP (a performance rights royalty organization) contacted Orrin to inform him that his songs had "great potential" and that she was passing them on to Donna Hilley, head of Sony/ATV Tree in Nashville. She felt Donna was in a better position to advise Orrin about the future of his songs.

Donna called Orrin and explained, "On any given day in Nashville we receive 200 good songs. What we are interested in is great songs." Orrin was sure this was her way of letting him down; however, she responded, "We think two of the songs are great songs and that they'll be around for 100 years or more. We would like to demo them for you. Would you be interested in coming down to see how we do it?"

Buy your CDs online.

Posted by Avocare at 05:39 PM | TrackBack

June 19, 2003

Glass Houses, 101

As a former Utahan, I'm never surprised when I hear about some half-baked story that involves Orrin Hatch. After all, this is the same guy who, when chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told 17-year-old me that Ferdinand Marcos wouldn't be out of power anytime soon. Twelve months later, we were reading about Imelda's shoes.

So when the whole "destroy the pirate's PC" thing broke, I just shook my head and thanked God that one can still depend on something, even if that thing is Orrin Hatch.

And when I read this story at Wired - which reports pirated software running on Hatch's website - I added a good snort to the head-shaking. Of course, it should come as no surprise that Laurence (today playing the part of Bob Woodward) is involved ... he has one cent on the topic here and a second here. Toss both in your pocket.

Posted by Avocare at 11:10 PM

June 18, 2003

So What's The Big Surprise?

The blogosphere is indignant toward Bill O'Reilly today ... Michele has a wonderful summary of why, which you may read here, and Laurence has a double dip O'Reilly/Dowd smack here.

Rightfully so. That said, I'm a bit surprised by strength of the reaction.

I mean, I'm all for conservative voices bringing balance to the media, but B.O. acting like a jerk is SOP for anyone familiar with The Factor. Let's not forget his interview with Jeremy Glick, signer of the Not In Our Name “Statement of Conscience” whose father was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Remember this snippet?

O'REILLY: Man, I hope your mom isn't watching this.

GLICK: Well, I hope she is.

O'REILLY: I hope your mother is not watching this because you -- that's it. I'm not going to say anymore.


O'REILLY: In respect for your father...

GLICK: On September 14, do you want to know what I'm doing?

O'REILLY: Shut up. Shut up.

I’m no fan of Not In Our Name, but come on. The transcript is out there in several places, nearly all of which are left-leaning websites, like this one, and I offer the link with a disclaimer of any personal agreement in political philosophy. That said, B.O. makes hay playing the bellicose, aggressive jerk - and his comments today are perfectly in character.

These people obviously think so.

Posted by Avocare at 02:22 AM

Things Could Get Crazy

Hello from the Hyatt in Dearborn, MI. I dig Hyatts - generally clean, good service, and the atriums are almost always striking. And this week I share my hotel with the Automotive Elastomers Conference and the National Baptist Conference Congress On Christian Education. Elastomer sales reps and bible folk: I think things in the lobby bar could easily get out of hand.

When they do, I'll be sure to take pictures.

And here's a trip report: When in Salt Lake I was able to eat in two of my favorite restaurants, both of which are classic dives: the famous Cotton Bottom (garlic burger with cheese is the only thing to order), and Cafe Sylvester (get the chili verde burrito, smothered; multiple locations in the SL valley). Don't visit SLC without eating at both.

For first timers to the Cotton Bottom: Yes, you are supposed to enter through the kitchen, and no, you shouldn't look at the kitchen too closely.

Posted by Avocare at 01:12 AM | Comments (1)

June 16, 2003

And This Was BEFORE The Book

Thought you might have interest in the latest Quinnipiac University 2004 General Election Poll (June 4-9, 2003, N=865 registered voters nationwide, Margin of Error ± 3.3). Here's the question:

"Suppose the general election for president were being held today, and the candidates were [see below] the Democrat, and George W. Bush the Republican, for whom would you vote?"

Survey says:

George W. Bush (R) 53%
Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) 40%

George W. Bush (R) 53%
Joe Lieberman (D) 40%

George W. Bush (R) 54%
Dick Gephardt (D) 38%

George W. Bush (R) 53%
John Kerry (D) 37%

The Democratic leadership must LOVE this ... an undeclared candidate equal to or outstripping their official slate. I know this guy is thrilled.

Posted by Avocare at 08:53 AM | Comments (1)

Altitude Sickness

It's great being back in Brighton, truly. Especially being able to stay here twice within 10 days ... not something I've done in 12 years. Unfortunately, this damned cold is dampening the fun. Who wants to hike at altitude when you're hacking up a lung?

Nonetheless, it's still beautiful ... witness the time-lapse photo I took of the moonrise early (3:30) this morning:

(Click to see the super-size version)
Posted by Avocare at 08:08 AM

June 15, 2003

Blogging Queen

My friend and compatriot Michele is nothing if not prolific. Here's the latest: Retrovertigo. Give it a look.

And yes, you're reading the dispatch line correctly: I'm back in Utah at Brighton, and unfortunately, with a real pain-in-the-ass of a summer cold. But if a moose wanders by, I'll be certain to get a snap.

Posted by Avocare at 05:35 PM

June 14, 2003

Jersey Tamatas

I'll tell you how much I love my wife: so much that, even though this is my only day home this week, even though I'm sick with some cursed summer cold, even though it's 90 degrees and humid on the East Coast ... I still decided to spend my day driving to the Meadowlands and mingling outdoors with 20,000 people who look a lot like these guys, but are crazed fans of these guys.

Only in Jersey can you celebrate a world championship in a parking lot, tailgate style. Nonetheless, the faithful were out in force, the team was in good spirits, and of course, Stanley was there. And it sounded like this.

Posted by Avocare at 08:56 PM | Comments (1)

And Boy Are My Arms Tired ...

So I’m sure both of you are wondering what happened on the way home.

Just a day in the life … but it was a day that illustrates why one of my colleagues says that people don’t pay us for expertise … they pay us to travel.

It started with my drive to the airport in Minneapolis. Let’s just say I was cutting things a bit close … so close, in fact, that for the first time in 10 years of travel I abandoned the rental car at the Hertz facility.

Just left it.

Looked at the checkout guy. Yelled: “Tank is full, keys are in it.” Ran for the terminal. ‘Cause if I miss that flight, I’m going MSP-Charlotte-Philly and getting home at midnight.

I did make the flight, and ended up in … Pittsburgh. It seems the entire Northeast was in weather-related travel lockdown hell, and every 737 between Atlantic City and St. Louis was paying the price, flying endless racetracks over agrarian America, waiting to divert to other destinations and take on fuel. We went to Pittsburgh … which is good, because it’s East. Divert to Chicago on a Friday night, and you’re coming home Saturday.

And despite the promise of a 15-minute refuel in Pittsburgh, this diversion turned into a 90 minute gate hold due to a full ground stop for traffic into Philly. We did finally leave, and I got into PHL somewhere around 9:00 PM EST.

On the whole, I like the travel. And days like this: they’re just part of the job. They’re nobody’s fault; there’s nothing worth getting pissed about. But they do amplify your longing for home, and they do take a toll on your body, and some days, they take a toll on your soul. And if you’ve not lived the life of one of this company’s top 500 fliers, they can be hard to appreciate, especially after this (a day, BTW, in which I was on an early-morning flight to Chicago).

So I'm pretty shredded. Luckily, Wife has infinite patience and reservoirs of appreciation. I wonder how patient she’ll be when she learns we may have just bought one of these, courtesy Hertz?

Posted by Avocare at 12:34 AM | Comments (4)

June 13, 2003

Don't Look Up

Back in Philly after two very busy days in Minneapolis. Getting home was hell ... but more about that later.

In the meantime, this is a very cool site. And you can see two of my favorite locations here and here.

Posted by Avocare at 11:23 PM

The Fall Of The House Of Saud

This Atlantic Monthly article by Robert Baer was airplane reading for me last month, but wasn't available on their website. It's online now at FrontpageMagazine.com, and I strongly suggest you take the time to read it in full. Here's the lead ...

Americans have long considered Saudi Arabia the one constant in the Arab Middle East--a source of cheap oil, political stability, and lucrative business relationships. But the country is run by an increasingly dysfunctional royal family that has been funding militant Islamic movements abroad in an attempt to protect itself from them at home. A former CIA operative argues, in an article drawn from his new book, Sleeping With the Devil, that today's Saudi Arabia can't last much longer--and the social and economic fallout of its demise could be calamitous.
Posted by Avocare at 05:43 AM

Monsters Inc.


We have to run an effective army struggle against everybody. Now this message would be sent for every Israeli. Your children and your women, your husbands, everybody is a target now.
Go here to read the article.

Posted by Avocare at 05:38 AM

June 12, 2003

Caption Contest Winner

Thanks to those who entered the last caption contest ... here's the photo ... click the extended entry to read the winning caption.


"Yes, Mrs. Clinton, I'm gay and I'm British, but I am NOT Andrew Sullivan, so kindly remove that knife from my back."

Thanks to LB for this fine blog-related contribution ... visit his blog, Adventures in Bureaucracy.

Note: I also favored Wife's entry, "I just can't wait to be Queen!", but felt there was a conflict of interest.

Posted by Avocare at 01:02 PM | Comments (1)

Stormclouds On The Horizon

Hello from Minneapolis. Just wondering: has anyone noticed this? How about this? And what about this? Of course, Iran is straddled by the two newest US military staging areas ...

Posted by Avocare at 10:07 AM

June 10, 2003

Travel Notes

While on the plane from Denver to Philly today I read most of the most current Atlantic Monthly. It has a number of articles worth reading, one of which is available online: an excerpt from the afterword to Michael Kelly's book Martyrs' Day. Another compelling read is an account of the "Logic of Suicide Terrorism" by Bruce Hoffman. (That article alone makes the current issue worth buying.)

Also noteable from the trip back: SLC is sporting the new magnometers at security ... plan on stripping down to your skivvies to pass through without being wanded. The pilot from DEN to PHL also did something I've not seen recently: he led the first part of the pre-flight announcment from the front of the cabin. Not only did he manage to entertain, he also admonished everyone to not "loiter" in the galley area by the door to the flight deck. He was personable and funny, but the subtext was clear: "stand by my door, and I'm treating you as a hostile."

I wonder if he was one of these guys?

Posted by Avocare at 09:25 PM | Comments (2)

Do ENTJs Love Bauhaus?

I found this link some time ago via Virginia Postrel's blog, and have thought of it often since then. Not only do you get to learn your Myers-Briggs type, you also get to help a striving student collect data for his undergraduate thesis.

And if you're a natural skeptic (like me), go here.

Posted by Avocare at 08:22 PM | Comments (1)

Paris Burning

You may not have noticed ... probably because US media is ignoring the story almost in its entirety ... but Paris is going to hell over a pension reform-related strike. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit provides a host of links that add up to a good primer. Start here and read down.

Posted by Avocare at 07:53 PM

On The Road Again ...

Scrambling to leave Brighton and fly back to Philly ... not an easy thing to do today, as the sky is brilliant blue and the temperature will be 80 at Noon. Nonetheless, duty calls, and when home I can help Wife celebrate this. For those coming from Michele's place or the Yahoo Weblog Directory, welcome; I might suggest checking out the Caption Contest below.

Blog you from Philly ...

Posted by Avocare at 07:31 AM | Comments (1)

June 09, 2003

Pic Of The Day

The Broad-Tailed Hummingbird. Location: right off the front porch.

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird
Posted by Avocare at 08:37 AM | Comments (2)

June 08, 2003

Into Thin Air

I spent this morning hiking from the base of Brighton Ski Resort up to Sunset Peak and the Great Western Trail. It's a hike of around 5.5 miles round-trip, with an elevation change of around 1,600 feet (from the Brighton parking lot - 8,800 or so feet - to Sunset Peak - 10,400 or so feet). The trail runs through the Wasatch-Cache National Forest the entire way, and while it absolutely kicked my ass physically, it was a rich reminder of why this place is special, and why I’m always compelled to return.

The trail begins in Brighton's parking lot, and for the first mile or so I wound under chairlifts and across ski trails, gaining elevation rapidly as I went. The first milestone on the hike is Lake Mary, a deep, blue, and clear mountain lake where I went fishing with my father as a kid, and where my older brother went marauding with young women as a teenager.

Most hikers stop at Mary, but I continued on, climbing higher, past little, green Lake Martha, and ultimately climbing to a cirque from which I enjoyed a fantastic view of Lake Mary, Brighton, and the opposite side of Big Cottonwood Canyon. It's on the climb to this cirque that I lost the trail in the snow pack ... of course, when in doubt of the trail, my motto is "climb straight up," which I did, and which in retrospect, may not have been particularly bright.

Regardless, it's this cirque, formed by Mt. Tuscarora, Sunset Peak, and Pioneer Peak, that holds Lake Catherine. Climb to the top of the ridge, and you're shortly on the Great Western Trail and up to the panorama of Sunset Peak. At this altitude, the ground is increasingly barren, but even with the large amount of snow pack still on the ground, the early wildflowers were making their appearance.

After another 120 feet of vertical I finally reached Catherine Pass. I enjoyed the view for a minute, then trekked along the ridgeline another .3 miles until I intersected the Great Western Trail. An amazing thing, intersecting a trail like the Great Western, a thing of inherent possibility: turn right, and hike mountains and deserts South all the way to Mexico; turn left, and hike ridgelines and plains North all the way to Canada.

This time, though, I did neither, instead making a short climb to Sunset Peak and its extraordinary 360-degree panorama. With today's clear blue sky, from here I could see Mt. Timpanogos to the South, the Unita Mountains on the Wyoming border to the Northwest, all of Brighton, and in Albion Basin, the Alta parking lot and the top of the Snowbird Tram (elevation 11,000).

You're at altitude at Catherine Pass, around 10,200 feet ... in the winter, the snow here is 10 to 20 feet deep (as this snap of me next to a ski resort boundary sign illustrates ... in the winter, this sign is supposed to be at eye-level). I was completely alone, unless you count my friend the chipmunk and his somewhat more adventurous cousin, the "pot gut."

It was quiet, warm, and beautiful. My legs ached, but it was worth the climb. I sat on a warm rock at the top of the peak, closed my eyes, and listened to the wind, birds, flies, and bees. It took two hours to make the climb, and after 30 minutes on top, I started down. As I retraced my steps (managing to keep the trail this time) I met other knots of climbers, in twos and threes, making their way up.

"How is it?" they'd ask.

"Wonderful," I'd say, knowing all the while that in having had the cirque to myself all morning, I’d also already had the best hike of the lot.

Posted by Avocare at 03:49 PM | Comments (1)

Sir, May We Scan Your Slippers?

I don’t dream about work. At least, if I do, it’s a rare occurrence. And if I have an anxiety dream, it’s always one of three scenarios:

The “There’s A Shark In The Water That I Can See From The Boat / Dock / Poolside” dream (symbolism: there’s a lurking problem I must solve)

The “There Are Tornadoes On The Horizon From Which I Must Hide” dream (symbolism: chaos … my life is totally out of control and I need to slow down or cut some things out)

And rarely, once every five years or so, the “It’s Final Exam Day At College And I Have To Choose Whether Or Not To Take The Test For The Advanced Mathematics Class I Didn’t Attend All Term” dream (symbolism: who knows)

That said, I just awoke from a new dream … we’ll call it the “Trying To Work Out Last-Minute Travel Arrangements At The Airport In My Robe And Slippers” dream (symbolism: insanity, near as I can tell).

In the dream, I’m at PHL (which, this being a dream, was laid out like SLC) with Wife. For some reason or another I had the bright idea to arrive early to check in for our flights, her going one place, and me flying to somewhere obscure … where, I can’t recall. Regardless, I wanted to check in so early that I’m at the airport in my slippers and robe.

After being ignored by several agents who call people from the non-frequent-flier line ahead of me, I try to explain to the agent that Wife and I are both checking in, but that we’re going to different places. This confuses the agent to no end, and we endure a long stream of frustrating moments, gazing at the agent typing endlessly into her terminal, only saying things like “Hmm” and “I see.”

Finally, I come to learn that I’m flying into Sioux Falls with a connection in Kansas City … and a connection time of two minutes. Through all of this, I keep searching in my briefcase for my itinerary, which I cannot find … I pull out train schedules, old itineraries, magazines … but no itinerary for this trip. When I finally do find it, I turn around to see that somebody has muscled into my space at the counter. Sure, I confront the interloper and shame him away, but do so with the nagging understanding that I’m the guy in at the airport in his robe and slippers.

When we finally get the reservations worked out … after we’ve been at the airport for what seems like hours … we move for the door so I can go home, pack, shower and change. At that point the agent calls out to say that they’ve been paging me and that my flight is boarding. She adds, hopefully, that there have been some delays, so I just might make it.

So now the “Checking In” frustration dream turns into a “I’m Not Ready And I’m Nearly In My Underwear” dream … at which point my conscious, obviously deciding that enough is enough, claws its way to the surface and I awake.

So, how was your night?

Posted by Avocare at 07:26 AM

June 07, 2003

The Song Of The Moment

For reasons which should be obvious.

There is a young cowboy he lives on the range
His horse and his cattle are his only companions
He works in the saddle and he sleeps in the canyons
Waiting for Summer, his pastures to change

And as the moon rises he sits by his fire
Thinking about women and glasses of beer
And closing his eyes as the doggies retire
He sings out a song which is soft but it's clear
As if maybe someone could hear

Goodnight you moonlight ladies
Rockabye sweet baby James
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose
Won't you let me go down in my dreams
And rockabye sweet baby James

Now the first of December was covered with snow
And so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
Lord, the Berkshires seemed dream-like on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go

There's a song that they sing when they take to the highway
A song that they sing when they take to the sea
A song that they sing of their home in the sky
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep
But singing works just fine for me

Goodnight you moonlight ladies
Rockabye sweet baby James
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose
Won't you let me go down in my dreams
And rockabye sweet baby James

-- SWEET BABY JAMES (James Taylor)

Posted by Avocare at 07:56 PM

Back At Altitude

For the next several days I have the extraordinary good fortune to call this my office ...

Brighton is a beautiful place ... great skiing in the winter and temperate alpine afternoons in the summer. Up here (around 9,000 feet above sea level) the food tastes better, the beer seems colder, and the sleep is always deeper. And with the wonders of DirecTV, I was even able to root for my horse (who, I'm sad to say, lost).

Some more pics you can click ... you know, so you can get the mood of the place ...

Posted by Avocare at 07:30 PM

June 06, 2003

Odd Couple Caption Contest

Ran across this tonight and thought it simply screamed "caption contest" ...


Post your caption ideas in the comments ... a small sliver of glory for the winner.

Posted by Avocare at 09:42 PM | Comments (7)

June 05, 2003

I Don't Know About You ...

... but this style of media scares the shit out of me. Also, note that this DOESN'T come from the Op/Ed section. Say what you want about US foreign policy, but with press like this it’s no wonder the world hates us.

Posted by Avocare at 11:33 PM

Public Service Announcement

Greetings from the Orlando US Airways Club. FYI, the Orlando International Airport is requiring everyone passing through security to remove and “scan” their shoes ... an action I've not seen elsewhere for a very long time.

I suppose they’re worried about Reid v 2.0? Do they not know about this? I’m all for the highest security possible, but about this, I really have to wonder … wonder about what they’re looking for, the efficacy of the search, and in particular, the smell from the black tasseled loafers of the gentleman in front of me. The whole scene was like a huge game of Smelly Shoes, but without the good sensibilities of public television.

All bitching aside, though: safety first.

Posted by Avocare at 05:22 PM | Comments (2)

June 04, 2003

Sad News, Great Influence

I just recieved word about this. It's sad news; I'll miss Marc Andrew McKenney.

Update: FYI, the more I think about this, the more bummed out I get. Marc was truly a great guy.

Posted by Avocare at 10:36 PM

It's All About Timing

My time in Orlando coincides with this. Who knew? Maybe I can find my wife the male friend she's been seeking. Note to self: If wearing a red shirt to the airport on Thursday, be ready to offer explanations … not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.

Posted by Avocare at 01:44 PM | Comments (2)

Is It 2008 Already?

Well, THIS is certainly presidential. Sure, it's in the tradition of others who held the same title ... but they weren't sitting Senators with larger political aspirations, either. If you just have to read more, go here.

Posted by Avocare at 01:32 PM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2003

Sometimes, It's About Bubba

Hello from Orlando. The flight down was a peach ... easy, but behind me were two 50-something guys ... "above the belt" guys ... whose drawl and volume only increased as the beers kept flowing. They didn't look like anyone named Bubba, but I still felt like I was on the infield at Daytona.

And now that I'm in Orlando, I'm staying here. This hotel is an entirely self-contained world ... all the stores, restaurants, and rooms you could want, securely contained within a glass-enclosed atrium. It reminds me very much of this. You'd think it was very Boba Fett, but it's really very Bubba. Stay here ... and never leave (except, that is, to catch the bus here). I wonder if the guys from the plane are in the room across the hall.

I know this sounds snooty and cynical. I should look on the bright side. It is warm. It is Florida. And as my bride told me earlier, it’s not here.

Posted by Avocare at 11:39 PM | Comments (3)

Some Things Just Seem Perfect

This comes today from Tony. I post it here for Don in particular, but really for anyone reading who appreciates perfection. Simply: Oh. My. God. Click the pic to get the full monty.

Posted by Avocare at 12:07 PM

How Cool Is This?

Good friend, musician, and recording engineer Tony is going low. But where does he find the time?

Posted by Avocare at 08:14 AM | Comments (2)

A Quiet Night Indeed:

Things are cold here tonight, regardless of the official report. The cold front blew in from Anaheim, and we're hoping for a warming trend soon. If everything goes well, we can all eat ice cream out of the largest ice cream bowl in the world.

Posted by Avocare at 01:19 AM | Comments (1)

June 02, 2003


It's a new blog, new world, new lease on Avocare. Given my less-frequent posting and more frequent travel, I'm going to take more of a travel-journal approach with my posts from now on. Fewer posts, better content, more local anecdotes.

It will still take some time to get the comments formatted, and I'll continue to poke around with the style of the main page ... but all told, welcome to Avocare.net.

Posted by Avocare at 01:56 PM