Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Reporting the News...Or Creating the News?
So much has previously been said about bias in the Main Stream Media that this rant seems like so much beating of the proverbial dead horse. Despite this, I find that I cannot help myself.

Arthur Chrenkoff posts today about Steve Vincent, NY art critic, and his experiences in war-torn Iraq. The post is wonderful and you should read it. In the post, he excerpts part of Vincent's remarks and I recreate them here for your edification and ease:

"Haider, for example, told me of acting as a translator for a German TV
crew working outside Baghdad in the summer of 2003. The crew, he recounted,
filmed a village trash heap, then reported , over his protests, that the
smoldering compost was once 'fertile farmland destroyed by Coalition bombs'. In
September, He accompanied a French photographer as she wandered through Baghdad
looking for a scene that would dramatize Iraqi suffering resulting from war.
Unable to find a suitable tableau, she paid an Iraqi woman to kneel in the
debris of a partially demolished building and raise her arms to heaven as if
imploring Allah to strike down the American infidels. 'The photographer had me
ask the woman to remove her wristwatch so she wouldn't look too wealthy,' Haider
related. Mohammad recalled watching an Al-Jazeera film crew pay men loitering on
Saddoun Street to throw rocks and light a car on fire. 'Within a few minutes,
Al-Jazeera made their own "anti-American" demonstration,' he said."

How remarkable is that? This is so disingenuous! It is ridiculous! You'd think they were filming their kids' recital for all of the bias in the reporting. These people have an AGENDA and they are doing their damnedest to serve it!

Whatever happened to reporting the events of the day in a factual way in an attempt to inform? It seems the world media has changed it's mission statement from that to "creating and highlighting the events of the day in a creative way in an attempt to move public opinion." It's crap! For god's sake they aren't reporters they are Jayson Blairs and Michael Moores. Their "news" is mere mockumentary.

I want to illustrate what I mean. Suppose the story is about a woman hosting her annual holiday tea party with her nieces making up the party. Today's "journalist" might cover this as a male discrimination party that introduces and indoctrinates children to the evils of caffeine. They might choose to allege that the woman is seeking to reinforce negative stereotypical images of women as creatures of leisure who live to serve men. The "journalist" pays a young neighborhood boy to rub dirt into the sweat on his neck and face from playing all day and proceeds to ask him how he'd feel if his dog and dad both died in a car accident. The picture is snapped. Tear trails stain his dirt covered face and his weepy look is immortalized above the caption, "Young boy excluded from holiday merry-making." Nevermind the kid was no relation to the woman, or the fact he'd probably prefer to eat worms than hobnob with cootie-carrying girls. He's the victim. His tear-stained face proves it.

The truth might be something as innocuous as the woman is a childless auntie to 7 young girls, all of whom have no sense of ceremony or grace. Perhaps she is attempting to teach them how to dine daintily on finger foods while balancing a tea cup. Perhaps she is just giving her own tea party to satisfy the childhood dreams she still harbors. None of these facts is of interest to the media. They are not content until they can show some group (or multiples if they can) suffering at the hands of some evil.

The real problem with this is that it wrongly identifies a group or more as victims. They may not be victims. They may not be suffering. But, as in the old adage, "if it bleeds, it leads." Slightly less well known is the new end to that phrase..."And if you can't see the blood, suggest internal mental suffering, otherwise you'll never be printed above the fold or at the top of the newscast." This constant identification of so-called victims diminishes the martyr-power of real victims. If all we see in the news is this injured party, this victim, the poor suffering bastard whose Aspen retreat is being foreclosed, how can we feel anything for the women being raped and the genocide in Darfur? All of the coverage of so-called victims both inures us to the concept of victimization, thereby drawing less concern for real victims of real crimes, and perpetuates the nonsense that all people everywhere are victims.

This global victimization leads logically to two places. First, if all the world is a victim, then I'm entitled to something. Entitlement. Not civil rights, not human rights, but entitlement. As in, I am entitled to a tea party. THIS IS SUCH THE WRONG MESSAGE! Secondly, global victimization requires the creation of some global oppressor, an evil-doer of gigantic proportion. Do you know who gets to play this part? Of course you do. It is...The United States of America. This is an evil and insidious plot, I tell you!

If you read the media long enough, you will come to the conclusion that American's and the United States of America are wholly responsible for WW1, WW2, genocide in Russia, Hitler's genocide of the Jews and other undesirables, the loss of morality, global warming, AIDS, terrorism, etc ad nauseum.

And it is crap. That's what it is. At some point very early on people are responsible for their own actions. Suck it up. And quit the victim crap.

Last but not least, to all you "journalists" out there, do the right thing and start covering the news instead of creating it.
posted by Phoenix | 9:02 AM | 2 comments

Christmas Shopping

I have completed my shopping for Christmas 2004. I still have to buy the savings bonds and wrap the few things that are still yet to arrive, but I have finished! The tree is up, the house is decorated.

It feels so good.

Now I can spend the whole of December (or at least the first two weeks) baking goodies for the tins that I have started sending out to family and friends. Its a lot of work. This year's cookie tins will feature the following yummy goodness:

Lemon Sex Cookies
Christmas Holly
Hello Dollies
Maple Pecan Cookies
Chocolate Covered Peanuts
Lil' Peanut Blossams
Chocolate Snowflakes
Black Forest Cookies
Coconut Cookies

If you consider that I need to make 3 and 4 batches of some of these, it amounts to a lot of work!
posted by Phoenix | 8:48 AM | 0 comments

Strange Searches
Looking over the logs, I've come upon the realization that someone arrived at Villains Vanquished by searching for "girls for married from frankfort in germany at 2004." Kind of weird.

Another googled "why people watch villains in movies?" Um...without villains, the story often lacks interest.

Very odd.
posted by Phoenix | 8:41 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
What I am thankful for...
By no means is this an exhaustive list of all of the ways in which I am blessed, but I do want to make mention of a few things in particular:

1. I am thankful for our form of government that gives me a voice and representation and the right to vote.

2. I am thankful for the men and women of our armed services who have stood in harms way and those who continue to do so to protect this nation and who are out there spreading freedom.

3. I am thankful for my husband who loves me and treats me with respect as opposed to being chattel (like so many other women in the world).

4. I am thankful for the opportunities provided me by my parents and all of the sacrifices they made to make sure I got an excellent education.

5. I am thankful for my family, who are all wonderful people who make me enjoy life.
posted by Phoenix | 10:28 AM | 0 comments

Happy Thanksgiving
I would like to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to my small coterie of readers. I hope you eat your fill and have a wonderfully relaxing day.

I hate to feel as if I've over-eaten. For three years now I have practiced a strategy that makes sure I've gotten to taste all I want and not feel overstuffed. I will now share this strategy with you.

I recommend that you take very small portions of the things you are interested in from the buffet. Take slightly larger portions of those things which are your favorites. Do not feel compelled to try everything. Do not feel compelled to eat everything on your plate. Do not feel compelled to have all of the desserts. By all means, try them all if you wish, but you don't really need three pieces of pie, do you?

You'll thank me when the meal is over and you feel like you are human instead of an overstuffed armchair.
posted by Phoenix | 9:50 AM | 0 comments

Thanksgiving Work
The meal is not at my house. We are going to my mother's for Thanksgiving. However, my mother is letting me do the desserts because a) they are my forte, and b) I volunteered.

All of which means that I've been busting my ass the last two nights after work. Monday night I baked two pumpkin pies. They each have decorative maple leaves on the fluting. Last night, I baked the chocolate cake and the apple pie. The apple pie, in my opinion, is a work of art! I will decorate the cake with ganache when I get home tonite.

Tomorrow, I will prepare several dishes for the meal to assist my mother. I will also prepare the appetizer...which she isn't expecting. A little mozzarella and prosciutto on French bread. That should stave off the hunger pains.
posted by Phoenix | 8:29 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Update to Hunting...Incident
Sadly, a sixth victim of the mad gunman has died.

And, the group calling itself "PSR" or Physicians for Social Responsibility is calling for a statewide ban of so-called "Assault Weapons."

In protest, I am personally calling for a ban of both physicians (who kill thousands of people in hospitals each year) and golf...because those pesky clubs can be murderous weapons. (Martha Moxley is just one example.)

Here is another.
posted by Phoenix | 11:30 AM | 0 comments

This just in...
Dan Rather is stepping down from CBS news.
posted by Phoenix | 11:29 AM | 0 comments

Monday, November 22, 2004
Phoenix's Philm Phun
I went to the movies this weekend. I shall now review the two films for you in my own precious way:

Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason

Well, let's grade the performances first. Hugh Grant...B-; Renee Zellweger...B; Colin Firth...A-.
Screenplay adaptation...D; Orignal Plot...ZERO.

This film so closely modeled its predecessor as to both pale in comparison and appear to lack any originality. It was not as funny as the first. It was not as clever as the first. It vaguely followed the book...but seemed like a cardboard cutout and not a story. The drama of the prison wasn't dramatic, the happy parts could have been happier, the sad parts could have been sadder, there was very little of Bridget's parents in the movie and seeing as how they provide comic relief it was not a good omission. Mostly, there was real potential for Bridget's character to grow and it didn't happen. Colin Firth was good but I detected in his performance a disgust with the plot. Renee Zellweger was good, but the script gave her little to work with. Hugh Grant was slimy and annoying. Overall...the film was disappointing.

See the film for Colin Firth, but don't take a man with you.

National Treasure

Performances: Nick Cage...B; Diane Kruger...B; Justin Bartha...A; Sean Bean...B; John Voigt...D.

Okay, look, it isn't based in reality. That's a given. But, it is still fun and a good way to spend the afternoon. Besides, I like a good movie that is chockful of American History. This one's got it. John Voigt was annoying. Best part of the movie was Justin Bartha's Riley Poole.

posted by Phoenix | 2:56 PM | 0 comments

This is just the most horrible news.

Let's see: Guy goes hunting and squats in treestand belonging to unknown others (a hunting faux pas). These other people, owners of said tree stand, come upon squator and confrontation ensues. Squator shoots confronters who lie bleeding/dying but manage to radio back to base camp an alert. More buddies of the victims rally to their friends in need. Squator kills them too. In total, 5 people died and three more were injured and remain hospitalized. Some of the individuals were shot multiple times. A teenage boy and a woman were among the casualities.

This is not a hunting accident. This was a mass murder of hunters that happened in the woods. The whole thing is both sad and frightening. The worst of it is, the media is making much of this and calling the bad guy's weapon "an assault weapon". Apparently you can hunt fairy-tale deer in the Wisconsin Wild with wishes and tissues. And, just because the terminology has always bothered me...can someone please inform me which weapons are not "assault weapons"? I mean, didn't David assault Goliath, didn't that Tiger assault that guy in Vegas, can't one be assaulted physically with a flashlight? The terminology is stupid!

I'm really sorry that this horrible thing happened.
posted by Phoenix | 2:39 PM | 0 comments

This is so powerful
Skip over everything else if you must, but read this no matter what. It is about the Battle of Fallujah, and absolutely amazing in its entirety. Read to the very end. Don't miss the tales of individual heroism.

To whet your appetite:

Immediately following 3/5's attack on the apartment buildings, 3/1 took the train station on the north end of the city. While the engineers blew a breach through the train trestle, the Cavalry soldiers poured through with their tanks and Bradley's and chewed an opening in the enemy defense. 3/1 followed them through until they reached a phase[line deep into the northern half of the city. The Marine infantry along with a few tanks then turned to the right and attacked the heart of the enemy defense. The fighting was tough as the enemy had the area dialed in with mortars. 3/5 then attacked into the northwest corner of the city. This fight continued as both Marine rifle battalions clawed their way into the city on different axis.

There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.

The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.


The first is a Marine from 3/5. His name is Corporal Yeager (Chuck Yeager's grandson). As the Marines cleared and apartment building, they got to the top floor and the point man kicked in the door. As he did so, an enemy grenade and a burst of gunfire came out. The explosion and enemy fire took off the point man's leg. He was then immediately shot in the arm as he lay in the doorway. Corporal Yeager tossed a grenade in the room and ran into the doorway and into the enemy fire in order to pull his buddy back to cover. As he was dragging the wounded Marine to cover, his own grenade came back through the doorway. Without pausing, he reached down and threw the grenade back through the door while he heaved his buddy to safety. The grenade went off inside the room and Cpl Yeager threw another in. He immediately entered the room following the second explosion. He gunned down three enemy all within three feet of where he stood and then let fly a third grenade as he backed out of the room to complete the evacuation of the wounded Marine. You have to understand that a grenade goes off within 5 seconds of having the pin pulled. Marines usually let them "cook off" for a second or two before tossing them in. Therefore, this entire episode took place in less than 30 seconds.

h/t to the Cake Eater
posted by Phoenix | 2:24 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, November 20, 2004
For Dad
Point and click.

I love that the highlight of Mr. Free Market's trip is going to be getting to hire an M-60 for the day.

I tell you, it makes me all misty.

posted by Phoenix | 1:42 AM | 0 comments

You are not authorized to die
Smash has written a must-read piece apropos of the brouhaha over the Fallujah shooting captured on tape.

Read it. It is excellent.
posted by Phoenix | 1:38 AM | 0 comments

Friday, November 19, 2004
The UN: Proving itself to be pointless and a joke everyday of the week
I think that should be the tagline of the UN.

Either that or, "Theivery, Harassment, Enabling of Terrorism and Genocide: No Evil is Beyond us."


It is WAAAAAAY past time this institution was either gutted or demolished. It is a pathetic, insincere, mere ghost of the honorable intentions which were its foundation.

When an institution's reality is more tragically funny than anything that the folks at SNL could come up with...the boat is goin' down Captain!
posted by Phoenix | 11:16 PM | 1 comments

Colin Firth

Colin Firth...(dream sequence here)

The man looks fine in a tophat, breeches, and tail coat. F-I-N-E fine.

Sorry, done drooling for the moment. I read somewhere that where Colin Farrell has no interest in playing 007, Colin Firth is interested.

Sign him up!!!!!!

I love watching this guy when he's well-dressed.


the teenage girl in me has retreated again, you can continue to read now and not feel so icky.
posted by Phoenix | 11:09 PM | 0 comments

Best Movie Lines Ever
Kathleen takes issue with some of the best movie lines ever, according to AFI, and mentions some of her own.

Not to be outdone, I want to add my twenty-two cents (adjusted for inflation).

My Chauffeur: one of my all-time favorite movies, you'll see why. Go see it if you haven't!

1. "Hey Babe! It is 'Babe', isn't it?"
2. "I'll walk your dog, I'll butter your toast; but until you tell me what's wrong we're going to be stuck in the cold."
"You think you're smart, don't you?"
"Not really."
3. "Gawd, it's hot. But thank gawd it's not sticky! Ah just hate it when its sticky. Listen to silly me! A sticky desert, why that's as foolish as an intelligent woman! Gawd I miss Tara."
4. "If I see something I haven't seen before, I'll throw a rock at it!"
" You won't be throwing any rocks at my John Thomas!"
5. "All I have to do is find me a one-legged nun walking a goat and I win!"

Jake Speed:

1. "Why do you always have to do things the hard way?"
"Sometimes they just read better."
2. "So, who is 'Reno Mellon'?"
"It's Jake's favorite town and my favorite breakfast."

The Princess Bride:

1. Are there rocks ahead? If there are, we'll all be dead. Stop it now! I mean it! Anybody want a peanut?
2. I never said he was my greatest love, but yes, he will come for me. The Prince can track a falcon on a cloudy day; he will find you.
3. Rodents of unusual size? I don't think they exist.
4. You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.

Tango & Cash:

1. Fubar.

Die Hard:

1. Yippee-ki-ay, mother fu**er.

More later if I feel inspired....

posted by Phoenix | 10:43 PM | 1 comments

Hold me back, I have a furious temper
Yippee! Another villain to vanquish!

Read this, then this.

I heard about this crap first thing this morning, seeing as how we live on the fringe of Madison and all. I was fuming in the shower preparing the vanquishing to serve up...so here goes.

A local radio "personality" and "entertainer" (seems to me he lacks personality and I'm not entertained, but...) here in Wisconsin took it upon himself to characterize two of the members of President Bush's administration. His targets were National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell. This...individual (I struggled to find an appropriate noun -- "human", "human being", and "person" all seemed far above his station.) had the crass bigotry to call Dr. Rice an "Aunt Jemima" and Colin Powell an "Uncle Tom." He further posited (again this term is a bit too refined) that these individuals are marginalized within the administration and serve subservient roles.

So many things to say...my brain will explode.

First, let's look at the "marginalized" and "subservient" claims. Okay. This nation is embroiled in essentially a world war. It has two major fronts, and minor skirmishes are playing out in Jakarta, Manila, London, Rome, Russia, and lots of other places. As a nation at war, two of the issues most front-and-center on a daily basis are (duh!) National Security and Foreign Freakin' Policy.

So, let's get this straight. This racist SOB thinks that the two people who have been put in charge of the two issues most important to the nation at this time have been marginalized. I think he either smoked his breakfast for the last decade or lacks two braincells to rub together. As a matter of fact, if you want to talk about marginalized members of the President's administration, one might send a lesser candidate to the position of, say, Secretary of the Interior, Veterans Affairs, or Health and Human Services. These individuals are much less in the news on a daily basis. (I don't mean to suggest that these posts or the people who do these jobs are unimportant, merely that they are less visible.) Do I even need to point out that everyone in the administration is subservient to the President and serve at his pleasure? I didn't think so. Let's go one step further.

President Bush didn't know what specific challenges the nation would face in his first term. He had to nominate cabinet members long before the splashy start to the War on Terror. In doing so, he chose as his Secretary of State a 4-Star General who had spent 35 years soldiering, had served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs for four years, and who had served as National Security Advisor for two years in the late 80's. It seems to me he is highly qualified to be our representative to foreign nations. And the Senate apparently agreed: they confirmed him unanimously. More here.

Condoleeza Rice is equally qualified for her current position. Her full bio is here. She has a Doctorate in Political Science and has been a member of Stanford University's faculty since the early 80's. She's been highly honered as an educator and has served in executive positions too, namely Provost of Stanford for 6 years. She has been published a number of times and is considered something of an expert on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. As a matter of fact, she put this expertise to work for the Joint Chiefs and later for the first President Bush.

My point is, neither of these individuals is swimming in waters too deep for them. They are highly qualified, admirable people who have each achieved great things. And yes, they are both black, but who cares? The only one who seems to point to the color of their skin is the racist motherfu**er who is flapping his ignorant, ill-informed jaws on WTDY-AM (1670)! Skin color is not a prerequisite for any cabinet post, nor does the issue even belong on debate in the public forum.

This "personality" is an idiot. He gets his jollies maligning well-intentioned, hard-working, highly-qualified public servants by equating one to a friendly marketing campaign and the other to one of the most vile images in American Literature. By calling Colin Powell "Uncle Tom" he implies that either the President or the American People are Simon Legree. Neither characterization is realistic or apt. The whole thing is quite disgusting.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned jackass brought up race as an issue, so I must needs discuss it. First of all, let me begin by saying I don't care what color or religion or sex or sexual preference anybody is. With respect to these things, I like to judge people by their actions and their words. I have nothing but admiration and respect for Dr. Rice and General Powell. I have nothing but contempt for the racist SOB who is the subject of this rant. He can't see past the color of their skin, and I can't seem to see it. Isn't that curious? The guy bringing up race is the racist. The United States have moved so far away from slavery and toward equality that a black man and a black woman hold two of the most important jobs in the Government. Rather than the ridicule Jackass feels is in order, I feel pride. It's not about color; its about qualifications, work-ethic, and right guy for the job.

What a novelty!

The schmuck offered up an "apology" which lacked any grace and didn't come close to resembling an apology. Jerk. Jackass. Imbecile. SOB. Racist.

I respect that we have freedom of speech and that he is entitled to his opinion.

It is that same freedom that entitles me to conclude my opinion on the matter with the following:

En garde, you miserable racist motherfu**er. Consider yourself vanquished!

posted by Phoenix | 9:10 PM | 0 comments

What does it say
What does it say that I intended to post early this morning and am only getting to it now?

posted by Phoenix | 9:09 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, November 18, 2004
Chapter Five
Smack. Smack. SMACK. Something was beating the hell out of her. “Why do I ache?” Reagan asked herself. Everything was fuzzy and she really didn’t want to wake. Unfortunately, she felt like she was lying on the beach. Some sort of sand was creeping into a number of inconvenient places and aggravating her skin.

“Miss? Goddamnit! Wake up!” John Tate had been trying for a few moments to revive the woman. He was beginning to worry that her state was worse than he had originally expected. This was turning rapidly into a rather exceptional evening of surveillance.

Reagan’s green eyes flashed open. “Don’t swear at me! I’m getting up.” She lifted her head but immediately regretted it. Dizziness and nausea engulfed her, making the room spin. She groaned.

“Don’t overdo it,” the strange man urged her. “Do you hurt anywhere?”

Reagan refocused and looked around. She appeared to be lying on the floor of her own kitchen. The florescent lights were a bit too bright for comfort. The man leaning over her smelled really good. He smelled like fresh soap on warm skin. She rode out another dizzy spell. He had dark brown hair, brown eyes, and a very hard manly face. “I think I’m okay. A little dizzy. I’d like to try sitting up now.”

He gently helped her into a sitting position. She was mildly surprised to find herself lying in sugar. That must be what was both abrading her skin and creating a sticky dew on the more moist locations of her anatomy.

“Not to be inhospitable,” she began, “but who are you?”

“Detective John Tate, Chicago P.D. I was on my way home when I heard the call on my radio, so I joined the responding units. Can I get you something to drink or something?”

“Yes, some water. There should be a bottle or two in the refrigerator over there.” She pointed. “Help yourself.” He reached into the refrigerator and pulled out two ice cold bottles of water, handing her one. She pressed hers to her forehead trying to use the coolness to ease the nausea. When she pulled the bottle away from her head, she noticed blood clinging to the sweating bottle. “I think I hurt my head.”

“Head wounds always gush. It doesn’t look serious, but we have an ambulance coming to check you out anyway.”

“Great.” She said this with something considerably less than enthusiasm. “It seems my humiliation is to be complete. At least the security service is thorough. I didn’t realize all of this came with the box.” She sipped her water.

“I’m sorry?” He seemed confused.

“The security alarm. You came because I pressed the trouble button, right?” She decided it was time to stand up, so she moved to do so. He helped her gain her feet in the slippery sugar.

“Uh, no. Actually I believe the units responded because your neighbor called about some noise, some kind of disturbance. Why did you press the trouble button?”

“Well, there was the small matter of two scruffy strangers breaking into my kitchen. I pressed the button before I confronted them.” She was much less dizzy now, but still uncomfortable. There was a headache building and sticky grit all over her.

“You confronted them? With what, this?” He smiled and held up her tennis racket. “Did you warm up with a volley?”

“Laugh if you must, it was all I could find at the moment.” She smiled back, noticing not for the first time that he was a very attractive man. Just then, two emergency medical technicians wandered into the kitchen from the front of the house.

“I’m going to let these two men check you out, and then we’ll get a full statement, okay? I’ll let Mr. Rosenfrend next door know that you are back on your feet.” He smiled again and left her alone with the two very efficient and professional EMTs.
posted by Phoenix | 1:59 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Christmas Obligations or How to Trap Yourself
I must tell you all a little tale about the road paved with good intentions.

Sixteen years ago, Prince Charming was a single man living the bachelor high life. His married brother and sister-in-law had a baby and the benevolent wonderful man who would later become my husband, decided to begin a tradition. On the birth of each of his nieces and nephews, he would by them a $100 savings bond. And, at every Christmas, he would get each of them another $50 savings bond.

Its a wonderful thing for an uncle to do.

Did I mention that his family is Catholic?

He has 2 sisters and a brother.

So far, this amounts to a total of nine nieces and nephews. They range in age from 16 to newborn. There is no reason to believe that this is the end of the line.

Now, Prince Charming and I are DIZO (double-income, zero-orgasm) but we aren't filthy rich. Comfortable, yes. But lottery winners? Not exactly.

So, this year's tribute to the nieces and nephews amounts to $250. This is likely more than we are spending on each other.

The problem is, you can't stop this once started. Where does it end?

And, to be fair, we will need to do this for our children too. Not that that is a big deal, but its not like their Aunts and Uncles will do it.

They are all charming children and I love them. But this is a cautionary tale. Heed it well!
posted by Phoenix | 2:49 PM | 0 comments

With heart-felt, teary gratitude
God Bless the United States Armed Forces!

Read this.

The long and the short of it is, the United States Marines found 40 vials of what is believed to be Sarin in a briefcase hidden in a truck in Fallujah.

Sarin is defined by the CDC as:

a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve
agent. Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical
warfare agents. They are similar to certain kinds of pesticides (insect killers)
called organophosphates in terms of how they work and what kind of harmful
effects they cause. However, nerve agents are much more potent than
organophosphate pesticides.
Sarin and other nerve agents may have
been used in chemical warfare during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.
was used in two terrorist attacks in Japan in 1994 and 1995.

All the nerve agents cause their toxic effects by preventing
the proper operation of the chemical that acts as the body’s “off switch” for
glands and muscles. Without an “off switch,” the glands and muscles are
constantly being stimulated. They may tire and no longer be able to sustain
breathing function.

People can be exposed to the vapor even if they do not come in
contact with the liquid form of sarin.

Severely exposed people are not likely to

If it is really sarin, and I suspect that it is, it will be yet more of those WMD's that Saddam supposedly didn't have...you know, the anti-war crowds whole argument behind the "Bush Lied, People Died" shit.

I love the United States Armed Forces. I don't care which branch you serve or what role you play. In my book, they are all heroes. I wish I could make enough cookies to send every deployed man and woman a full box of their favorite kind. I wish that I could send pillows, blankets, ac, and beer to each and every one of them. They have my gratitude, my respect, my admiration, and yes! my love too. They are everything that is good about this nation. They are strength, compassion, and freedom. They are just normal guys and gals, I know, named Joe, Steve, Mark, Matt, Erin, and Emily. They believe in the USA...and I believe in them!

Whenever I see pictures of our troops in action I get the same misty eyes I got when I visited Pearl Harbor and Arlington National Cemetary. I can do nothing but bow in the face of such sacrifice. Their service isn't just a job, though that is what so many of them say. "I'm no hero, I was just doing my job." Yeah? Well your job is a helluva lot more important than mine.

I respect that war is a dirty business. I know that it should always be the last resort. But I also know that sometimes you have to go to war. That's why I'm proud of these men and women. There is no better force on the face of the planet. I love and admire each and every one of them, from the PFC to the 4-star General for what they make possible both here and all around the world.

My good friend from highschool and I both went to college at the University of Illinois. Her parents were peacenik hippies. She thought long and hard...and then, much to the dismay of her parents, she signed up with the Air Force ROTC. After college, she became and officer and married a military man. I'm so proud of her. She is some of the best this nation has to offer.

My stepmother's nephew is Navy. He was on that ship where President Bush declared an end to major operations in Iraq. He actually ate dinner at the same table as the President. I'm proud of him too. (Not because he ate dinner with the President) He's a regular guy, doing what he believes.

So, listen up all of you fighting the good fight: Thank you. A million times, thank you. We don't say it enough.

And, to all of you who call them "babykillers" and spit on them or beat them up: Get Bent!

posted by Phoenix | 2:16 PM | 0 comments

More Cold Medicine Delerium
Annika was getting tired of the confined space of the starship. “Starship! Ha! What a joke! More like staryugo.” She was peeved. The canned atmosphere was playing havoc with the soft flowing curls of her waist length powder-white-blonde hair. He wasn’t easy being mistress to a Space Cowboy. Titanium manicures were expensive and she felt it her duty to continually stay abreast of new and exciting ways to pique his interest. Space Cowboys were fickle as a breed. She really needed to feel terra firma for a while. Maybe she could manipulate him tonight into promising a little mini-vacation at a nice remote beach planet. Enough of the starport bars. Too many space floozies and not enough vodka in the bottle. Same story, different spaceport.
posted by Phoenix | 9:37 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday Ramble
I am so tired of this cold...I can't even express it. We have reached phase8: sore nose from blowing, unending supply of snot mixed with occasional repetitive explosive sneezes. Marvelous. I have killed two bottles of Nyquil, two boxes of tissue, and coughed up enough phlegm and green mucous to fill a milk jug. I'm tired of it! Do you hear me? Enough is enough.

Well, not that that bit of ugliness is behind us we can move on to happier topics. I want to talk about home.

Home is the farm in Southwestern Kansas that has been the only constant residence of my life. It is a bit weird for many people. Literally, the farm is 5 minutes from Colorado and 30 minutes from Oklahoma. And, you can be in Texas in about an hour! When the sky is clear, and it usually is, you can see the lights of towns far away. Identifying constellations in the night sky is never difficult. We live about 15 miles from the nearest town where actual people live. That is to say, Manter, KS, is a regular town with a gas station and two grain elevators, and a post office. But, I'm not sure if you tallied the number of widows, satellite dishes, and stray dogs, that they wouldn't out-number the total population of people in the town. This is my hometown, by way of it is where my post office is. (Well, not really. I live in Wisconsin now, but you know what I mean.)

There is another town that is closer to home, but it doesn't really qualify as a town. Saunders is a grain elevator and gas station. They have candy bars and pop. Nobody lives there. We always say that as soon as someone sees Saunders, its hard to keep them on the farm. That's a joke. Dry Kansas humor. It is the last place to get gas on Hwy 160 before Colorado...but fret not, Walsh, CO also has gas. However, this brings up an important point!

The area does not have a lot of 24-hour gas pumps. Generally we advise that you fill up before leaving Big Towns, particularly if you are leaving after 5 pm and are not local. In the Summer, do not travel through Western Kansas without a ready supply of something to drink. This is because we don't have regular traffic. I can drive all the way to town, 15 miles, and not see another vehicle on the road. If you get off the beaten path it can be far longer. So, if you break down it could be a while before some local discovers you. Travel prepared.

We have an all-volunteer fire force. This means that it can be a while before you get any help calling 911. They usually arrive by the time you've already put out the fire yourself, or the building is a total loss. It is usually a better bet to call your neighbors if you've got a fire. (They have fewer miles to travel.) We have a jail in Johnson, about 20 miles away, but most of the prisoners are imports from the overcrowded jails of Big Cities. We have a sheriff and a couple of deputies. It is pretty tough for them to police the entire county...but then we don't get a lot of crime. It is not unusual for locals to drive 70 mph in a 55 zone. I don't recommend this to visitors however. Visitors get tickets while most locals just get the old finger wag from the deputy. Unless of course you are an ass, in which case you can also get a ticket. In Stanton County, all drivers wave to all other drivers they pass on the road. You don't have to know them, everybody waves. It's friendly. I like to think of it as a little victory dance after having seen somebody else on the road. Ya-hoo!

Back to the farm...it is the best place in the entire world. Meadowlarks play in the trees. There are lots of bunnies, skunks, and other assorted wildlife. Occassionally you can hear the howl of a coyote pack. You can see visitors coming from miles away. Except for the jets.

You see, we live under a training flight pattern that comes out of Texas. Could be Lackland, AFB, I'm not sure. Of course, we aren't too far from Colorado Springs either, but the jets always seem to come out of the south. We get fighter jets and bombers. They fly super-low and like to scare cattle and buzz barns, grain bins, tractors, and combines. When the fighters go over, you usually know it after the fact. You only hear them after they are already to Saunders. The bombers are slower but bigger. We love them. They are part of the family. Really cool.

Everybody knows everybody else's business, but that is not so uncommon for small town America. I never actually went to school in the county...but everytime I go back, somebody recognizes me and says, "I haven't seen you since you were so high." Which is weird, 'cause I don't recognize them at all.

I guess I'm homesick.

posted by Phoenix | 8:18 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
I think the cold medicine causes this...
Jet Stetson jumped into his starship and quickly sealed the door. Annika, his mistress, was busy preening and petting her pet cat with the seven toes. The monkey was again jumping up and down and throwing dried apricot at the warp drive.

It was hard being a space cowboy. The damned cattle wouldn’t go into the chute and his mistress refused to get her hands dirty. He only kept her around because she seemed to have a special way with the transponster. And, of course, she spoke dwibble and Parcheesi.

He quick slid into the pilot’s pod and fired up the tri-engine starship. He offered up twin prayers to his Gods, Marykatee and Ash. They had never failed him before. The engines fired up without a sputter and he sped away from the godforsaken spaceport as though running from the hounds of hell.

And in a way, he was. Today’s lesson? Never win at Jupiter Poker when there is an irritable Elephantine water trader named “Chickpea” at the table.
posted by Phoenix | 11:08 AM | 0 comments

I will be preparing the following homemade desserts for Thanksgiving:

Pumpkin Pie
Overstuffed Apple Pie
Chocolate Mint Cake

Go back to reading, my lovelies.
posted by Phoenix | 8:12 AM | 0 comments

The Ugly Side of Socialized Medicine
Go check out this post at Four Right Wing Wackos. It is pretty powerful stuff!
posted by Phoenix | 7:52 AM | 0 comments

Monday, November 15, 2004
I'm so sick of the way people don't take responsibility anymore.

It is saddening really. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Is it so wrong to expect people to do what they said they would? Are we a society/world where blame goes where ever it sticks? It used to be a joke in my family that the blame was assigned to whomever wasn't present to defend himself. I stress, this was a joke. Why? Because in my family it has always been more important to fix the damn problem than to worry about whodunit.

It really gripes me that the conspiracy theorists are so busy trying to lay the blame of Arafat's death on the Israelis. Come on. If they had wanted him dead they would have done it eons ago.

I file this under the same crap as those who insist that 9/11 was a Zionist conspiracy. MALARKY! (I just love it when I can use a word that makes me sound like a 90-year-old woman!) It's pure crap. Doo-doo.

I love to tell people that I was on the grassy knoll...and that I was the second shooter. Also pure crap, by the way. Not to mention impossible. I was born in 1973, so I'm out of the running...but you should see the gullible looks some rubes get.

Is it too much cinema and Tom Clancy that makes us think everything is a freakin conspiracy? There are rumors on the net that the election was hacked. For god's sake. Karl Rove's an evil genius that can make monkeys tap dance on the tip of pin. What next? My love child was conceived on the grassy knoll while Karl Rove, Arnold Schwarzenegger (we called him schazzie), and Genghis (aka Gin-gi... like the Walmart gingerbreadman) Khan shared a superior bottle of Chardonnay and gnawed a particularly pungent bleu cheese. Grandma was a secret agent working on the super-secret lambsquarter project. Dad is single-handedly responsible for both the crumbling of the USSR and Billy Joel's Uptown Girl.

If I speed on the interstate, I did it. Not because the spedometer is broken or my foot is asleep.
If I am late, it is because I failed to arrive on time, nothing else.

It is not always somebody else's fault. It's just not. Wake up people! Be adults! Take responsibility for your actions.

Bill Clinton is not having your love child. Mikey Moore is not the messiah, returned to Earth to make mockumentaries. We really did go to the moon...that wasn't filmed in Hollywood. Elvis hasn't just left the building, he's left the Earthly plane. He's expired and gone to meet his maker. The same is true of Arafat. He was an old man who lived hard and in dangerous environs. He's bleeding demised. Let the man rest in peace.

My conspiracy is that the only reason he'd been sitting in Ramallah for so long was because...he'd been nailed there. The Palestinians seem to think if he hadn't been nailed down, why he would've bent the cage apart with his little beak and Voooom.

What is it in us that seeks conspiracy? Is it because we rightfully question every detail...or is it because we are desperate to root out the perceived evil?

posted by Phoenix | 2:23 PM | 0 comments

Friday, November 12, 2004
Feeling Crappy
Soddy. I'b haf a hoddendous code. Ib all stufved ub. Evvy buddy beel bad foab me.

Okay, really, I've been too weak to blog. In my time away, much has happened.

The terrorist Arafat is gone to meet his maker. Do a happy-dance. I'm sorry if the Palestinian people mourn his passing...but I feel certain that he was more hindrance than help to both the peace process and the goal of a Palestinian state.

Also, jury hijinks abound in the Scott Peterson trial. Wouldn't I like to be a fly on the wall in that room!

The fight in Fallujah is going on 5 days now and from all accounts, our boys are wiping the floor with those nasty terrorists. Hurray for the good guys.

And, yesterday was Veteran's Day. I feel much gratitude for all of those who served this nation in the continuing pursuit of freedom. Let us never forget their sacrifices, nor those of they who continue to serve such an admirable quest.

More later when I climb out of this pit of used Kleenex.
posted by Phoenix | 11:43 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Chapter Four
John Tate walked up to the responding unit’s car, looking for the two police officers. The car was empty, but one young officer appeared to be talking to an old man in a robe and slippers on the sidewalk. Walking confidently, he approached the two men deep in discussion.

“What seems to be the problem, gentlemen?” He asked.

“See here, young man!” the old robed gentleman barked, “I’m very worried about that house.”

The police officer interrupted, giving the dark-suited man he assumed to be a detective the look that conveyed “this old man’s an escapee from the loony bin.”

“Sir, Mr. Rosenfrend claims to have heard noises coming from next door. Everything is dark inside, but nobody answers the bell when we ring. My partner is searching around back.”

“I heard the radio call as I drove home,” John Tate said to explain his sudden appearance on the scene of what appeared to be nothing more than a prowler.

“Hey Johnson!” The second police officer came huffing and puffing into view, clearly agitated.

“Please excuse us, Mr. Rosenfrend,” John Tate smiled at the old man before he and Officer Johnson walked over to the red-faced officer.

“Dead body. Back stoop. Dead.” The officer was out of breath and tried to get the words out.

Tate issued orders to the others about securing the scene and calling in more units before walking back to investigate the scene himself. The dead man was a late-thirties Caucasian dressed professionally in a suit. He couldn’t tell if there were any wounds, the coroner would do that. He didn’t disturb the body, but went to talk to Mr. Rosenfrend.

“Mr. Rosenfrend, I don’t want to alarm you but there is a dead body at the back door of your neighbor’s home.” Tate tried to break the news easily, but there was no good way to deliver that news.

“What? Oh Lord in heaven, what shall I tell her father?” Mr. Rosenfrend was greatly distressed. “I just made her a sandwich earlier today.”

“Sir, the body is male, not female.”

“She could still be alive! We’ve got to get to Reagan! She could be hurt!”

“Sir, calm down, you say a young woman lives here? Alone?”

“Yes! Wait…I have a key inside somewhere. Wife waters her plants sometimes.” Mr. Rosenfrend wobbled hurriedly into his home and returned shortly. He gave the key to the detective and stood back waiting for the man to take the initiative and save his neighbor.

John Tate drew his nine millimeter from its holster and lifted the key to the deadbolt with his left hand. The key slid neatly into the lock and the door opened on a whisper. Tate silently sidled into the dark foyer in a ready stance. He quickly adjusted to the darkness and began a thorough search of the bottom floor.

Near the back of the house he discovered the kitchen. The lights were on, but nobody was present, or so he thought until he searched the other side of the island.

There, on the floor, covered in white powder and bleeding from a head wound was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Soft, flowing, shoulder-length honey-blonde hair, albeit matted with scarlet blood at the temple, was enough to make him draw a deep breath. But her face, too, was beautiful. Beautiful, but blank. The white silk night gown nearly undid him. It clung to her extremely fit body in all the places men are concerned with. A creamy white thigh could be glimpsed from what the night gown’s slit failed to cover in her disheveled state.

“God, please don’t let her be dead,” he thought to himself. He touched her neck to feel for a pulse.

It was there.

posted by Phoenix | 9:29 AM | 0 comments

Friends, I am sorry. I have caught a cold from Prince Charming and I have been feeling like hell. This is not conducive to anything but sleeping. The good news is that I feel like I've turned a corner and we can get back to vanquishing villains. Hoo-rah!

Yesterday I was unplugged. I went to a continuing education conference and got to learn about possible roundup resistant biotypes of lambsquarter, corn root worm, grey leaf spot, and other topics no doubt of absolutely no interest to you.

A good thing did happen. I ran into someone that interviewed me a couple of weeks ago. I had been feeling pretty low...as in good-for-nothing...but this interview went very well. I didn't want that job but I took the interview because I lacked contacts in the Wisconsin Seed Industry. In the interview, this particular gentleman was highly complimentary and actually said, "from the looks of your resume, there's not much you haven't done!" Anyway, the experience gave me a boost in my professional self-esteem, something that has been lacking for nearly two years.

Anyhoo, I ran into this gentleman again yesterday at this conference. He was genuinely delighted to see me and made the effort to talk to me three times. In our longest conversation, he actually said, "what do we have to do to get you back into the business?" then he said, "I've been thinking about you since our first meeting, trying to find a way too..." So, again, flattery goes straight into the self-esteem pocket and I'm all puffed up today like a strutting peacock.

I have been working on the novel and expect to post at least one chapter today, maybe two.
posted by Phoenix | 9:18 AM | 0 comments

Monday, November 08, 2004
Chapter Three
Reagan awoke with that uneasy, creepy sensation that she was not alone. The room was pitch black, and it took a moment for her waking eyes to adjust to the darkness. She didn’t move, waiting for her visitor to think she had fallen back to sleep. Minutes stretched into eons as she imagined the dark corner morphing into a killer and lunging at her.

Had she set the alarm before she had gone to bed? She couldn’t recall. It was habit, but then she hadn’t been home in a while and could have forgotten. She knew where her gun was. It had been locked in her safe in her closet since before she left for Rome. If there really was someone in the room, she definitely didn’t have time to retrieve it.

Her shoulder muscles were tense with the anticipation and stress of holding completely still in forced relaxation. That’s when she heard the tinkle of breaking glass coming from downstairs. Despite the shock of the noise she still didn’t move, waiting to see if her mystery guest was more than her imagination. Ultra-alert now, she decided to wait no longer. Apparently she was alone in her bedroom. Perhaps she had been woken by the downstairs guest and not some noise in her room.

Reagan slowly slinked out of the bed, careful to make no noise that might warn the downstairs guests of her presence. Her white silk peignoir slid off the black satin sheets. The strap slipped off her shoulder and she pushed it back into place. She regretted her choice of night wear for a fraction of a second, thinking it much better to confront thieves and murderers in sweat pants than silk nighties.

Even so, its not like she could shout down, “Hold up a moment, I’m just going to change into something less revealing in case you take it into your heads to kill me. I don’t want revealing crime scene photos.” The thought nearly made her laugh. Nervousness and adrenaline sometimes made her giggle.

No doubt her mother wouldn’t think the request to the housebreakers out of line. But then, her mother, Maribelle-Louise, was a bit of an odd duck at the best of times.

Reagan racked her brain in the darkness for the location of some sort of weapon. Her tennis racket was still lying under the overstuffed chair in the corner. She silently picked it up. It was better than being un-armed. She quickly but quietly made her way to the bedroom door. It was not latched shut, just mostly closed. She inserted a finger into the breach and sent up a silent prayer for freshly oiled hinges.

The opening widened without sound and she moved into the hallway. Barefoot as she was, she had to be careful of the slap of skin on the hardwood floors, so she stepped quickly but put each foot down in a sliding manner. In no time at all she reached the stairway and the plush carpet runner that ran down it. She navigated it with ease, easily avoiding the two steps that squeaked.

The foyer was dark and the front door was unbreached and the light on the front door was off, letting in no extra light at all. She stopped to listen for more sounds from her unexpected visitors. She heard some rattling and perhaps whispering coming from the kitchen. “Moment of truth time, Reagan,” she thought to herself.

As she crept through the foyer, she hit the silent alarm button on the control box and moved to the back of the foyer. She was heading to the kitchen by way of the back hall that led between the kitchen and the dining room and the downstairs powder room.

She stood listening again at the entryway to the kitchen. There was at least one somebody in the kitchen, perhaps two or more. She couldn’t be sure in the dark. The kitchen windows looked out over the postage stamp-sized back yard that remained shadowed. Not even the moon offered a guide.

Swiftly she flashed the lights on in the kitchen, surprise offering her the best chances against an unknown number of assailants. She hoped to catch her visitors off guard with the sudden bright white of electric light. Immediately she moved farther into the kitchen and shouted an instinctual “stop” as she brought her tennis racket into the ready position.

The two characters were rather shabby in appearance. The first was a beer-bellied short man with dark brown, wispy hair. He covered his pockmarked face under the glaring light. The second man seemed younger and more skittish. He was taller than his friend and was wearing a dirty green coat.

The younger man yowled as if in pain when the lights came on, but it may have been a howl of surprise.

“Don’t move!” Reagan instructed them authoritatively.

“What do we have here?” The first man leered.

“Jimmy,” the younger man nervously uttered as he glanced nervously at the back door, clearly he was seeking escape. “jimmy…”

“Shut up!” the older man barked.

“The police are on their way.” Reagan said, sensing violence in the first man and a nervous fit in the second.

“Goddam Bitch!” the heavy man screamed. He pushed his fellow across the kitchen toward escape, but the young man floundered, tripping on his own feet. In preventing his fall, he knocked over the canisters of sugar and flour that were on the end of the kitchen island. Flour poofed into the air like a small bomb had gone off, covering every surface in a thin powder. The sugar followed.

Reagan moved to follow the fast retreating men, hoping they would be urged to make their escape. Why wasn’t she hearing police sirens? This was her last thought before the burly man suddenly turned in the doorway and pushed her shoulders back. She tried to regain her balance, but the force was too much and her feet lost traction in the on the flour and sugar-covered wood floor. The tennis racket went flying out of her hands.

She went down hard, hitting her head and falling unconscious in a new flutter of sugar that settled like a soft white snow over her white-silk-clad young body.
posted by Phoenix | 9:29 AM | 0 comments

Friday, November 05, 2004
Martha Stewart, Eat Your Heart Out
Last night I made Chicken Noodle Soup for supper.

From Scratch.

Without a Recipe.

Yes, I am that good.
posted by Phoenix | 1:55 PM | 0 comments

Ha, Ha, Ha!
Long-distance Villain Vanquishing!

Check it out.
posted by Phoenix | 1:34 PM | 0 comments

To say the very least.

Read this.
posted by Phoenix | 1:29 PM | 0 comments

Spitting Mad...
That’s what I am, SPITTING MAD!

I had planned a lucid excoriation of the world media (particularly the British) for their Bush Wins headlines. The Daily Mirror, a British Publication, had George Bush on the cover after his election and the question, “How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?" But now, I'm not going to hold back...here it comes, both barrels. Prepare thyself.

Slate further reports, “The Guardian's "G2" section was fronted by a page of solid black containing just two small words: "Oh, God." Meanwhile, the Independent ran the headline "Four More Years" along with iconic images from the first Bush term: kneeling prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib, soldiers fighting in Iraq, oil-drilling machinery, sign-wielding religious extremists, and a smirking Dubya.”

Then, I read what this jerk had to say. I quote it in entirety now:

Nov 5 2004

THEY say that in life you get what you deserve. Well, today America has
deservedly got a lawless cowboy to lead them further into carnage and isolation
and the unreserved contempt of most of the rest of the world.

Yes, we got what we deserved. We also got our choice, thank you very much. "Lawless Cowboy?" As far as I can see, the US led by Bush, was one of a few select nations that chose to enforce the "law" according to your beloved UN, at least if all of those resolutions can be called "law" in the case of Iraq. And in the case of Afghanistan, we were attacked first, if you recall. We gave the Taliban the option of expelling bin Laden and they refused. As such, they were seen to be harboring the enemy, thus, they were the enemy. We retaliated as was our right.

This once-great country has pulled up its drawbridge for another four years
and stuck a finger up to the billions of us forced to share the same air. And in
doing so, it has shown itself to be a fearful, backward-looking and very small
Fearful? Backward-looking, very small? Hardly, sir. We are so afraid of bin Laden that we called his bluff. We are not afraid! WE ARE NOT AFRAID! We are out there leading the fight, looking forward to the peace our victory will bring. Small? If by small you mean petty and vindictive...damn right. We are damn well going to take the misdeeds done unto us very personally and revisit them upon the transgressors. You, sir, are the idiot.

This should have been the day when Americans finally answered their
critics by raising their eyes from their own sidewalks and looking outward
towards the rest of humanity.

Get over yourself! We are looking up and out, you jackass. We are attempting to save the rest of the world from this menace with the assistance of many other brave nations, yours included. I think you are the one that is blinkered and not aware of reality. The threat is real, no matter what you may wish.

And for a few hours early yesterday, when the exit polls predicted a John
Kerry victory, it seemed they had.

But then the horrible, inevitable truth hit home. They had somehow
managed to re-elect the most devious, blinkered and reckless leader ever put
before them. The Yellow Rogue of Texas.

First, we don't serve you anymore. We relinquished that yoke of tyranny back in 1776. We don't vote to please you, but to please ourselves. LIKE ALL FREE PEOPLES, you smug sonofabitch. You managed a bit of clever poetic license, that's the best I can say for your essay. And by the way, one man's "reckless" is another man's "courage under fire."

A self-serving, dim-witted, draft-dodging, gung-ho little rich boy,
whose idea of courage is to yell: "I feel good," as he unleashes an awesome
fury which slaughters 100,000 innocents for no other reason than greed and

President Bush serves the people of the United States, not himself. In our system of checks and balances, no man acts without the knowledge and agreement of Congress. According to reports, Bush has a higher IQ than your hero Jean Francois Kerry, so if one is dim-witted, they both are, but again, you don't really use any facts to back up your argument, so why should I? Draft-dodging? Not at all. He served in this nation's National Guard, a very courageous thing to be lauded. The Draft-dodger was your other hero, Slick Willy Clinton. Gung-ho, gotta say, when it comes to the guy leading the fight when we are at war, I want somebody gung-ho, not a hand-wringing, worrying pussy. The actions of the United States were not motivated by greed or vanity. If it was all about oil, we would have invaded Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. If it was about Vanity we would have invaded France. We invaded Afghanistan to seek out and kill our enemies. We invaded Iraq, with your help by the way (And Thank You, very much) to rid the world of a terrorist (Saddam) who aided and abetted other terrorists (Abu Abbas, Abu Nidal, et al) and had led the world (just about every foreign intelligence agency and the UN) to believe he was creating, stockpiling, and intent on using weapons of mass destruction. We took him at his word. Again, we called him on it.

A dangerous chameleon, his charming exterior provides cover for a
power-crazed clique of Doctor Strangeloves whose goal is to increase America's
grip on the world's economies and natural resources.

Umm. Dude, get over yourself. We just want to be safe and free over here. The fact that you all are tied economically to us is just a fact of global economics. Free trade is nasty that way. We have the world's largest economy. If you want to go back to playing little league, be our guest.

And in foolishly backing him, Americans have given the go-ahead for more
unilateral pre-emptive strikes, more world instability and most probably another

Okay, get this straight, it was not unilateral! Dude, you guys freakin' went with us! Are you stoopid? World instability should be laid at the feet of international terrorism in all its guises and disguises, including Arafat. We are fighting the good fight to prevent another 9/11. It happened to us, jerk-off, perhaps OUR opinions should count a little bit?

Why else do you think bin Laden was so happy to scare them to the polls,
then made no attempt to scupper the outcome?

Perhaps you didn't listen to what OBL said. He said neither Bush nor Kerry could keep us safe, then specifically threatened the states who voted for Bush, clearly showing his preference for the weaker Kerry. If my enemy wants me to not use a specific weapon in a fight, which would be best for me to use to end the fight fastest? Five-year-olds on the playground recognize this ploy, even if you do not. And another thing, Americans don't like being told how to vote. Not by readers of The Guardian, not by terrorists like OBL, not by the British or the French, or anybody else.

There's only one headline in town today, folks: "It Was Osama Wot Won

And soon he'll expect pay-back. Well, he can't allow Bush to have
his folks whoopin' and a-hollerin' without his own getting a share of the fun,
can he?

Heck, guys, I hope you're feeling proud today.

Very much so, thank you. Democracy is good. We have a strong President who will continue to fight. Essentially, we told Osama to "bring it."

To the tens of millions who voted for John Kerry, my

Mine too.

To the overwhelming majority of you who didn't, I simply ask: Have you
learnt nothing? Do you despise your own image that much?

Learned nothing? I'd say 9/11 taught us a whole lot. Like who our friends are...and who our enemies are. We fight to preserve our way of life, you condescending, uppity loon.

Do you care so little about the world beyond your shores? How could you
do this to yourselves?

At the risk of repeating myself, we do care, that's why we are acting to stamp out tyranny and terrorism and promote democracy.

How appalling must one man's record at home and abroad be for you to
reject him?

Ask John Kerry. He has a very good idea on that score.

Kerry wasn't the best presidential candidate the Democrats have ever fielded
(and he did deserve a kicking for that "reporting for doo-dee" moment), but at
least he understood the complexity of the world outside America, and domestic
disgraces like the 45 million of his fellow citizens without health cover.

I doubt that Kerry can understand the complexity you speak of if he doesn't understand his own electorate. I think we should ship him to you. You clearly think so highly of him. We don't do socialism here. That's all yours.

He would have done something to make that country fairer and re-connected it
with the wider world.

Snort. Sure he would have. You are a pie-in-the-sky dreamer, aren't you?

Instead America chose a man without morals or vision. An economic
incompetent who inherited a $2billion surplus from Clinton, gave it in tax cuts
to the rich and turned the US into the world's largest debtor nation.

Those tax cuts you speak of? I got one and I'm not rich. And I'm very happy to have gotten one. Fighting a global war tends to cost money. Fortunately, we also have the world's largest economy, so we can afford it.

A man who sneers at the rights of other nations. Who has withdrawn from
international treaties on the environment and chemical weapons.

You mistake sneering for a simple matter of enforcing UN resolutions. Why should we play by the rules if nobody else does?

A man who flattens sovereign states then hands the rebuilding contracts
to his own billionaire party backers.

Sovereign states? More like terrorist states run by those committing genocide. Keep apologizing for Saddam. Maybe he'll survive his trial and you can invite him to stay with your family. Your children can call him "Uncle Saddam" and you can put out a fancy Christmas card. Lovely. Who else better to get the gravy than the guys who supported us? Fool.

A man who promotes trade protectionism and backs an Israeli government which
continually flouts UN resolutions.

Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorism, just like everybody else. Just because you are an anti-Semite doesn't mean we all are. As to the UN, she has no credibility because she does things like the oil-for-palaces scandal and putting the worst violators of human rights in charge of human rights.

America has chosen a menacingly immature buffoon who likened the pursuit of
the 9/11 terrorists to a Wild West, Wanted Dead or Alive man-hunt and, during
the Afghanistan war, kept a baseball scorecard in his drawer, notching up hits
when news came through of enemy deaths.

A RADICAL Christian fanatic who
decided the world was made up of the forces of good and evil, who invented a war
on terror, and thus as author of it, believed he had the right to set the rules
of engagement.

George Bush dreamed 9/11? That's such a relief. We aren't fighting a conventional war, therefore, normal rules do not apply. That Dead or Alive stuff? That's just fact, not romantic poetry to days gone by. We'll take bin Laden how we can get him, dead or alive, but we much prefer dead.

Which translates to telling his troops to do what the hell they want to
the bad guys. As he has at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and countless towns across

George Bush did not order thoses atrocities. They were the actions of a few bad apples. You have your own bad apples, but again, I merely suggest you back up your allegations with proof, scumbag.

You have to feel sorry for the millions of Yanks in the big cities like New
York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco who voted to
kick him out.

These are the sophisticated side of the electorate who
recognise a gibbon when they see one.

As for the ones who put him in,
across the Bible Belt and the South, us outsiders can only feel

Were I a Kerry voter, though, I'd feel deep anger, not only at them
returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into
the same category of moronic muppets.

The self-righteous, gun-totin',
military lovin', sister marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin',
foreigner-despisin', non-passport ownin' red-necks, who believe God gave America
the biggest dick in the world so it
could urinate on the rest of us and make
their land "free and strong".

You are an arrogant SOB. Sophisticates only live in major metropolitan centers. The rest of us are dumb hicks. Which makes you what? A smelly, bloated, self-important, stuffed-shirt, prig, cheese-eating, royalty loving, filthy Brit? I think you none of those things but you heap offensive assumptions on me. So, let's be clear: I am from the Southwest and live in the Midwest. I am a red-stater who lives in a blue state. I have a college degree, read 5 books a week, carry expensive handbags, am nobody's muppet (including my husband's), perhaps a bit self-righteous when I am insulted such as I have been by you, "Gun-totin'" - guilty, but then I've also just barely escaped a violent rape and don't wish to fight so hard next time. I love the military, true, but then I also love the freedom that they provide. I did not marry my sister, nor has anyone in my family. We haven't married any brothers either. I thought that was a blue-blood, keep the money in the family, royal thing to do? Don't paint us with your sins you SOB. I'm a pro-choice woman who couldn't care less what other people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. I have met quite a few foreigners (after all, this is the great melting pot) and have almost universally loved them all. I do own a passport and have traveled extensively outside of my own nation. I simply prefer the United States. Much like you probably prefer French wines to the cheeky upstarts from Napa. Redneck? Guilty. That comes from having done actual work under the sun. We can't all be pale, weak, limp-wristed, namby-pamby, fainting ninnies, now can we? Again, see discourse on world's largest economy. Big Dick? Better than your tiny little shriveled worm. And last time I checked, dicks were good for only two things, neither of which is making war or providing peace.

You probably won't be surprised to learn of would-be Oklahoma Republican
Senator Tom Coburn who, on Tuesday, promised to ban abortion and execute any
doctors who carried them out.

He also told voters that
lesbianism is so rampant in the state's schools that girls were being sent to
toilets on their own. Not that any principal could be found to back him

The people of Oklahoma are free to choose their own representation. They do not need your approval. I'm not going to discuss it further.

These are the people who hijack the word patriot and liken compassion to
child-molesting. And they are unknowingly bin Laden's chief recruiting

Al-Qaeda's existence is fuelled by the outpourings of America's
Christian right. Bush is its commander-in-chief. And he and bin Laden need each
other to survive.

Both need to play Lex Luther to each others' Superman
with their own fanatical people. Maybe that's why the mightiest military machine
ever assembled has failed to catch the world's most wanted man.

Blah, blah, blah. You are crazy. Wack-a-doo. Off your nob.

Or is the reason simply that America is incompetent? That behind the bluff
they are frightened and clueless, which is why they've stayed with the devil
they know.

Your contempt for us is obvious and you and I shall never see eye-to-eye. So, should you come calling for aid the next time some fascist army and air force is blowing up your beloved homeland, I shall suggest you call Arafat or Saddam or bin Laden. Because I shan't be calling my representatives in Congress to urge the President to save your collective asses.

VISITORS from another planet watching this election would surely not credit
the amateurism.

The queues for hours to register a tick; the 17,000
lawyers needed to ensure there was no cheating; the $1.2bn wasted by parties
trying to discredit the enemy; the allegations of fraud, intimidation and dirty
tricks; the exit polls which were so wildly inaccurate; an Electoral College
voting system that makes the Eurovision Song Contest look like a beacon of
democracy and efficiency; and the delays and the legal wrangles in announcing
the victor.

I wouldn't expect someone who worships royalty to understand our system. It has nothing to do with blood lines, breeding, or Eton. Our founding fathers detested your nation so vehemently that they set up this system. It works very well, whether you recognize it our not. Again, the system only need please us, not you, so get stuffed.

Yet America would have us believe theirs is the finest democracy in the
world. Well, that fine democracy has got the man it deserved. George W

We like him.

But is America safer today without Kerry in charge? A man who overnight
would have given back to the UN some credibility and authority. Who would have
worked out the best way to undo the Iraq mess without fear of losing

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. We are safer if only because our mortal enemy is afraid of our leader. We've got a Commander in Chief not afraid to fight instead of a Surrenderer in Chief. I've already discussed the UN's lack of credibility and authority. The US can't give the UN credibility our authority if it won't back up its own words with actions and is morbidly obsessed with emptying the coffers of a country starving its own people.

Instead, the questions facing America today are - how many more thousands of
their sons will die as Iraq descends into a new Vietnam? And how many more
Vietnams are on the horizon now they have given Bush the mandate to go after
Iran, Syria, North Korea or Cuba...?

Hundreds of thousands died in Vietnam. A little over one thousand have died in Iraq. That doesn't even compare. And another thing, if we could fix the problems of Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Cuba at the cost of 1000 American lives each...I'd be all for that. Cheap at twice the price, considering what the world would gain in stability and freedom.

Today is a sad day for the world, but it's even sadder for the millions of
intelligent Americans embarrassed by a gung-ho leader and backed by a banal
electorate, half of whom still believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

This intelligent American is sad for you. I'm not convinced that Saddam wasn't colluding with al Qaeda in some way, or if he was. I do know, however, that he was a sponsor of terrorism and for that reason alone he deserves to die.

Yanks had the chance to show the world a better way this week, instead they made a thuggish cowboy ride off into the sunset bathed in glory.

And in doing so it brought Armageddon that little bit closer and re-christened their beloved nation The Home Of The Knave and the Land Of The Freak.

God Help America.

Your arrogance is matched only by your offensiveness. We are not knaves, nor freaks. We are a free people who chose a leader for ourselves. We didn't feel the need to consult you. I'm not going to apologize for voting for the guy who I believe will spread democracy and root out the scourge of Islamofascism. My children deserve a free world. I voted for the guy most likely to provide that outcome.

And on a more personal level - Go Fuck Yourself, you whining pretentious prig.


posted by Phoenix | 11:28 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
An Apt Song from My Childhood
Back when I was in grade school, they taught us this song that keeps running through my head today in a victorious tempo.

Freedom ain't a state like Maine or Virginia
Freedom ain't across some county line
Freedom is the how ya
Think about ya
Freedom is a state....of mind

Oh-oh give me Freedom.
Freedom, yes Freedom.
Oh-oh give me Freedom.
Freedom is a state...of mind.

posted by Phoenix | 2:29 PM | 0 comments

Chapter Two
She gave the cab driver his fare and a ten dollar tip. He was appreciative and helped her get her suitcases up the stairs to her door. She turned the key in the lock, flipped on the foyer light, and strode into her home.

It was an old townhouse that she had inherited from her Uncle Samuel. She had had it renovated and the plumbing and kitchen completely overhauled. The woodwork had been maintained and was all original. Reagan had decorated it herself instead of using her mother’s decorator. She had wanted her home to feel both cozy and luxurious and after being away from home for six weeks, she was again struck by how this was exactly how she felt when walking in the door.

She left her suitcases at the bottom of the stairs and deposited her carryon bag in her office on the chair. She returned to the staircase and hauled her bags up to her bedroom, leaving them stand in front of her walk-in closet. She washed her face and changed into a silk peignoir and climbed into the most comfortable bed on five continents.

She awoke the next day at noon. The jet-lag combined with her inability to sleep on the plane had combined to shortening her Saturday considerably. Reagan jumped in and out of the shower, washing the greasiness of the plane’s canned atmosphere out of her shoulder length blonde tresses. She donned a tee-shirt and an old cashmere sweater with her favorite pair of faded and ragged blue jeans, the ones that fit so well. She pulled on a pair of boots and her Navy pea coat, grabbed her purse, and headed out into the crisp but sunny October day.

The sun was warm and there was a slight breeze in the air blowing the leaves in the street in tiny devils. Reagan walked down two blocks and over three to her favorite local eatery, Rosenfrend’s Corner Deli. The Rosenfeld’s ran the deli but were also her next door neighbors so she knew the old couple well, since the days when she visited her uncle in his home. The tiny bell rang whimsically as she opened the door.

“Glory be! Look who it is! Miss Reagan, you look hale and whole. How was your trip?” The rosy cheeked Adam Rosenfrend beamed at Reagan like the loving grandfatherly character he had always been to her, since the day her Uncle Sam had introduced them.

“Hi, Mr. Rosenfrend. I got back last night late. The trip was…business. You know. I’m glad to be home. I missed my corner deli!”

“All that Frenchie food can be kind of heavy, I guess.” He winked. “I don’t know. I’ve never been to Grand Paree!” He smiled and doffed his imaginary beret at her. “What can I get you for lunch?”

“I have been dreaming of a corned beef sandwich and one of your perfect dill pickles for 18 days. However, I need that to-go because I need to spend the afternoon at my desk catching up.”

Just then, the doorbell tinkled again and a middle-aged non-descript man walked in.

“No problem Mrs. Johnson,” Mr. Rosenfrend continued giving Reagan a meaningful look. “How’s the mister?”

Reagan was used to Mr. Rosenfrend’s over-protectiveness and knew that he was trying to mislead the newcomer to the deli. Johnson wasn’t her last name and she had no husband. He was from a different generation of very chivalrous gentlemen and read too much about the perils a young girl in the city faces.

Reagan Alicia Rothwile smiled at her old friend. “Jeremy is fine, but has a touch of a cold. Do you have any of that great chicken noodle soup left? I’m sure he would love some.” It always kept her on her toes, bantering with Mr. Rosenfrend.

“I’ll be with you in just a moment sir.” Mr. Rosenfrend pretended to have just noticed the brown haired man in the grey suit. He finished packaging Reagan’s soup and sandwich, made change, and turned to help the man. “Have a nice day Mrs. Johnson,” He said as she walked out the door.

Reagan chuckled to herself as she walked back toward her home, anxiously awaiting her long-craved treat.

Reagan worked diligently through the afternoon catching up on correspondence, replying to emails, and updating her schedule with Megan’s additions and corrections to her calendar. She went to bed early that evening and fell asleep with her book.

posted by Phoenix | 11:38 AM | 0 comments

I'm sorry Mr. Kerry
I'm sorry Mr. Kerry for suggesting you would drag the American people through another game of Presidential Red Rover. You are a better man than I gave you credit for, although the really classy thing to do would have been to concede last night when the picture was clear. Nothing has changed since then, afterall. In any event, I admit you did the right thing. Thank you. You are a better man than Al Gore.

I'm not sorry you lost however.

According to my gurus the Llama Butchers, Dan Rather is still bleating like a little girl about those unfair bloggers. I want my winged monkey name to be "Viv". "Viv Vanquish". I want to have a pink bow on the tip of each of my wings, wear a pink eye patch, and carry a silver sword in the manner of a buccaneer.

posted by Phoenix | 11:03 AM | 0 comments

Extended Election Post
This is going to ramble a bit, and for that I apologize, but I have a lot to say today.

First, I want to retract some of my Wisconsin voting sucks blather. It still sucked, don't get me wrong, but less so. The entire process, arriving, waiting, voting, leaving took 40 minutes. Not bad, considering. I still think it is outrageous not to open the polls until 9 am, but whatever. They were checking ids, so that is something, I guess. Nobody asked me who I voted for on my way out.

A senior member of management called me yesterday morning to remind me to vote. I had to tell him that voting is not something I forget to do. As far as I'm concerned it is your civic duty, a responsibility. I did not choose to join the military (Clinton-era, Hello.) but to work on my education and career. If Clinton hadn't defeated Bush, I might have considered it, I don't know. Either way, I feel that if I'm not going to stand a post for this country and her freedoms, I damn well am going to vote.

Prince Charming did not vote and I believe my own little address is the microcosm of the election. Prince Charming was anti-Bush...but not opposed enough to get up and vote. Me? I'm a Security Mom (by right of trying to get preggers) without the kiddies, and Pro-Bush. The difference? I got up off my ass and voted. In a nutshell? Bush supporters were more motivated than Bush haters, and I say Bush haters to distinguish them from Kerry supporters. Prince Charming, as much as he despises Bush, seems to have no love for Kerry either.

Election Night...for me...is like the Super Bowl. It is MY Super Bowl. The way Prince Charming feels when the Badgers go to the Rose Bowl and the National Championship is how I feel on Election Night. I sit there, glued to the TV, bouncing between three channels comparing returns. I can confess to you, my 12 loyal readers, that I have a problem. (Meekly) I am an Electoral College junkie. Ever since the age of 8 when my gifted class studied it I have loved it. I love the fact that it was set up as a way to keep the industrialized parts of the nation from riding roughshod over the agrarian places. Had to explain to Prince Charming reason for EC last nite, that it makes sure that the candidates have to court every voter, otherwise they'd only campaign in the cities.

Can I just say how proud I am to be an American today? We are fighting a two-front (or more) war. The biggest, baddest, meanie in the world called out American voters and tried to intimidate them into voting for his preferred candidate, threatening to target US states that voted for Bush. What did the American public do? We all voted. Record numbers of us voted. If Osama had really frightened us...more of us would have stayed home cowering under the covers...but that didn't happen. That, my friends, is the indomitable spirit of the American. We won't be marginalized, threatened, bullied, or terrorized. In my opinion, Record voter turnouts (no matter which candidate they favor) translate into the following message for Osama bin Laden - "Fuck Off." Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I saw a little girl at the polls last nite. She accompanied her mother who was doing her civic duty. The little girl was impatient with the wait, as all little children invariably are. But this is a wonderful commentary on American society, do you know what she kept saying? Was it "Momma I'm tired" or "Momma I'm hungry" or "momma go potty" or "momma let's play"? Nope. This little girl kept saying, "Momma, let's go vote! Why can't we vote?" That put a smile on my face.

Now...to the erudite, lucid, and political part of this message (I know, I know, get on with it already...)

First off, I believe that Bush has been reelected. I realize that it may take 11 days to confirm that, but I'm perfectly willing to wait. Having said that, I think the MSM are pussies for not calling Iowa, but I confess that I see their tactic as wishful thinking. Good luck to them, I say. Eventually they are going to have to eat their words.

I am so glad that Bush seems to have won the popular vote. I can't tell you how annoyed I was going to be to have to listen to the bitching about the popular vote versus the electoral college for another four years. The other good news is that the "they stole the election" argument should be all but dead now. I say "all but" because Kerry is a sonuvabich, but I'll get to that in a minute. I believe the EC will show in the end a healthy win for the President. Kerry is a posturing, graceless, egotistical, jackass. Statistically speaking, it would be practically impossible for him to pull one of Edward's fuzzy pink rabbits out of his magic hat from Cambodia. Nevertheless, he is not going to concede. Instead, he is going to put the nation through another round of Presidential Red Rover. If he were a gentleman, if he REALLY had the nation's best interests at heart, he would concede and be done with it. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. He's too much of a slimy, sleazy, ambitious, toad-sucking, ass-licking, self-centered, self-serving, blight on the butt of humanity, ungracious, graceless, idiot, jackass, creepy, take-a-poll, nuanced, lying, intellectually constipated, theiving, gun-grabbing, moronic joke. I really don't expect him to do the right thing here. I expect that he will become the new Al Gore. He'll grow a beard and go on tour, decrying his fate and what was stolen from him, occassionally screaming into the cameras in a way made famous by Howard Dean, and taking very bad pictures. Theresa Heinz-Kerry will go back to her gin-soaked raisin remedies and possibly return to being just Theresa Heinz.

Clearly, the foreign markets are projecting that Bush won, as I believe US markets will do as well. The Republican party has increased its hold on the Senate and appears to be keeping the House as well. I'm happy.

But do you know why? I'll tell you.

MY children will grow up free and clear of the threat of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, Islamic Extremism, etc. And that makes me happier than I could have imagined. Because I know George Bush will personally take a bullet before he'll let us lose this fight. This I believe in my heart.

posted by Phoenix | 8:08 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
I'm pooped. I've wargamed the Electoral College. I've read the news and stories of voter intimidation. I've read Martini Boy, INDC, and the Kerry Spot.

That's why I posted the first chapter below. Get away from the exit polls for three minutes and read it.
posted by Phoenix | 2:57 PM | 0 comments

Chapter One
Splat! The vomit narrowly missed her left shoe, an Italian sling-back she’d bought three weeks ago in Paris. The return trip had so far been a boot camp for patience. First, the airline had bumped her out of her first class seat and put her in business class. Then, the airline had seated a child right behind her, ordinarily not a problem, but it had been tough falling asleep on the eight hour flight with the squalling child having tantrums behind her. The gentleman seated on her left was air sick, or something worse, she feared. If she was lucky it wasn’t the flu. Either way, there was no where else to sit on the plane. She was stuck.

She had consulted her Palm pilot frequently over the course of the flight, jotting down notes about the upcoming wedding and writing notes about ideas that had come to her in Paris. She had tried reading a book, but between the green fish on her left and the irate child behind her, she was extremely distracted. After reading the same page for the tenth time, she finally put the book back in her carryon bag.

The co-pilot announced their impending arrival at O’hare International Airport and made mention of the customs documents that the flight attendants were distributing.

“Excuse me, miss,” said the gentleman across the aisle and up a row. Reagan’s head popped up and she smiled at the young man’s friendly countenance.


“Do you have a pen I can borrow? I must have lost mine somewhere.” He held up the customs form as evidence of his need.

“Of course. Here.” She said handing her Mont Blanc to the man and started filling out her own form.

The child behind her began wailing again as the plane began its decent. The man sitting beside Reagan seemed to finally have found some peace from his bouts of sickness and appeared to be taking a short nap. As the wheels touched down, she felt a burgeoning sense of relief. Finally she was home, now, if only she could deplane as quickly as possible.

As the seatbelt sign turned off, she reached under the seat in front of her and pulled out her carry-on. She arranged her customs forms inside of her passport and slipped them into the top of her bag. She gently woke her seatmate to alert him of their arrival and stood up to take her place in the line that was forming.

The line began to move forward and she stepped past the friendly young man who had borrowed her pen. He appeared to be wrestling with a laptop computer case’s zipper. He looked up and smiled at her. She walked on and quickly found her way to a customs agent and then to baggage claim.
As she waited for the carousel to start up, several of the other passengers from her flight began to find the carousel. Someone tapped on her shoulder. She thought it might be Megan Jones, her assistant come to pick her up, but found the same smiling young man from the plane when she turned.

“I’m sorry. I forgot to return your pen,” he said handing over the burgundy instrument.

“Oh, thank you. I nearly forgot it myself!”

“Are you here on business or pleasure?” he asked with something like speculation in his eye.

“Oh, neither actually. Chicago is home. I’m returning from a business trip. You?”

“Business, I’m afraid. Well,” he seemed to be getting agitated, “welcome home then! I’d better go find a taxi.” He hurried off toward the car park. Reagan briefly wondered about his bags before spotting her two big cases. She rolled them off and found her own taxi to settle in to the 25 minute ride home.

posted by Phoenix | 2:52 PM | 0 comments


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