Tossing a Pebble for Greg Mood:
A few weeks ago, I caught the end of a story on the local news (Austin, TX) about a little girl named Sabrina Allen who had been abducted by her non-custodial mother and very probably taken to the area in and around Mexico City. Somehow, this beautiful little blonde-haired child looked familiar to me, but, for what reason, I had no inkling. Slowly, it occurred to me that this child, whom I had never seen before, was the daughter of one of my best friends from high school, Greg Allen. It was interesting to me that maybe there was something in her face that reminded me of Greg's mother and sisters, all of whom are very lovely women.
Anyhow, I had heard before about this abduction from another old friend, but didn't know what the appropriate thing to do would be. I hadn't spoken with Greg in more than a decade (see this space about two weeks ago on the issue of long-unseen friends), but I kept his plight in mind.
Now, there has been a push in the local media to help Greg find his daughter. The local ABC affiliate(KVUE) and the Austin American-Statesman have run stories on Greg's trip to Mexico City, where he is taking a crash-course in conversational Spanish (to help him with the local authorities and any possible witnesses) and plastering signs all over town featuring Sabrina's and his ex-wife's pictures.
I realize, of course, that this weblog is as far from the appropriate forum as it can be to be a place where an appeal can be made, but who can say what a random reminder may or may not yield? I'm simply tossing a pebble into a pond. If, somehow, these words are being read by someone who has just returned from Mexico City and who remembers seeing a blonde-haired six-year old girl in the company of a dark-haired, light-complected woman (neither of whom is fluent in Spanish), that person should consider logging onto Greg's website and comparing his or her memory to the many pictures of Sabrina found there.
I don't know Sabrina, but her daddy was one of the brightest guys I've ever met. He was one of those guys back in high school who was so adept at technical issues that he made wise-crackers like me look like the poser I was. Eagle Scout, salutatorian, or doctoral candidate at the University of Texas: this is a man who would trade any of that for the safety of his child. I wish him all good fortune and hope for the day that I can shake his hand in congratulations ---as I have many times before.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 4:55 AM CDT
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Updated: Tuesday, 10 June 2003 5:23 AM CDT
This Emoticon is Suave Mood:
suave Now Playing: "Wichita Lineman" by Glen Campbell
Bored and trying out one of Lycos' gimmicks: an emoticon to help people know how you're feeling. Thank goodness they offer one for when, as now, I feel suave.
Try This One On
Looking at the field of Democratic presidential candidates, it is difficult to imagine any of them taking the party's nomination by storm. If they aren't kooks, they're racists or corrupt incompetents or wafflers or self-important liberal robots or, in the case of Gephardt, too Democratic (Old Style). So, why won't the following happen? Since Hillary's sucking up all the air and airtime and sentiment and speculative energies of the media (and condemning ambulance chasers like Edwards to obscurity) anyway, why don't they draft her to make a run at Bush? It would most obviously be a trial run (maybe something like Dewey's run against FDR in 1944?), since there is no chance that Bush will lose, and it will set the stage for Ms. Rodham-Clinton to run for the empty throne in 2008.
Now, to counter her ambitions for the Presidency five years from now, what the Bush people have got to do is have Mr. Cheney choose to resign the Vice Presidency in 2006 (right around the mid-terms) and replace him with Dr. Rice, who would certainly pass all muster with conservatives and be in the perfect spot in 2008 to run as the virtual incumbent. A black woman as the GOP standardbearer in five years? What do you suppose the Democrats would do then?
Change their drawers is what.
At any rate, we'd certainly find out in a big hurry just how much conservatives believe in the individual, race-blind society. Could Cooter down on the bayou vote for a "nigra woman"? He will if he doesn't want Ms. Pantsuit to take over and implement a reign of soft Stalinism. He will if he doesn't want a [village] to raise his child, by God.
An Indissipatible Fart
Why don't the Clintons go away? Why do the Democratic Party and liberals, in general, indulge their egocentrism? Ms. Rodham-Clinton is very obviously lying about her reaction to her husband's admission of philandery; everyone knew that he had had an affair with "that woman" and that he was going to have to eventually cop to it. But, let's not bother with old tales of stolen blow jobs. See, fellatio was never an impeachable offense. And, because this was no capital crime (don't you love a good Latinate pun?), there was never any reason to lie about it. Right? That is the bottom line, you braying proctologers: since the First Pantsuit knew her husband to have been an adulterous liar from day one, he was never in any danger of "hurting" her with the truth that he was being unfaithful. Get it? His oh-so-human reasons for lying and subjecting the country to some of the most undignified and vulgar bullshit since the first Cleveland Administration were invalid ab initio.
So, why did Bill Clinton lie about something that was, as all of his defenders insisted, unimportant and private? Why is his wife lying now about her reaction to him "finally" telling the truth? Well, because they know that, despite the pettiness of busting a philanderer for blowing his choad on an intern while working in the White House, there are still people in this society who look down on adultery or, at least, think it's a moral failure to commit it repeatedly and on the job. Remember, of course, that this somehow doesn't include feminists or liberals. One of the great unrepented and unexplained sins of the liberals committed during the Clinton years is their utter fucking hypocrisy in looking the other way from Clinton's indiscretions when, had he been a conservative CEO or an army general or a male high school teacher who was dorking a young female, he would have been excoriated and crucified. And they fucking well know it. Patricia Ireland and that whole bunch are a fat lot of hypocrites and craphounds. They stuck up for Clinton by ignoring his lies and adulteries because, no matter how much he might betray the women within his reach, he just "had" to be better for their own political purposes than some puritanical and talibanical Republican. So, forget personal character; we'll cover for you so long as you pay lip service to whatever's on our agenda.
You liberal tapeworms don't yet realize it (apparently), but Bill Clinton sold you down the river like a boatload of negroes. He singlehandedly destroyed the viability of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party by turning himself into a moderate Republican whenever his numbers started to slip. Fine, he was a great fundraiser, but what does that matter in the long-term? What has that done to the focus of the Democrats today? Look at the crap they've allowed into their race for the nomination. They should be ashamed of themselves. And then they should tell the Clintons to shut up and go away so that the party can find its voice again.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 1:31 AM CDT
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Updated: Monday, 9 June 2003 2:27 AM CDT
Wednesday, 4 June 2003
No More from the Myopic Turds
Here come the Leftists and the anti-war ostriches and the chin-strokers to haul Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush before the bench and let their blood out. These conscientious objectors believe they are on to something. They've uncovered a giant cabal of oilmen and sheiks and Trilateralists and whatnot, all gathered round a candled pentagram and condemning our youth to ignominious death in the Middle East.
"A-HA!" the uncoverers cry. "You've found no WMD! Your war was really a war of conquest and crusade and greed!"
Where does a rational man begin to address the stupidity of the Left's objections? Why must patriotic Americans and Britons find these rats in the posture of apologizing for Saddam? Don't they have any interest in liberating a deeply oppressed people from such tyranny? And don't they realize just how crucial the American military's presence in Iraq is for further developments in the peace of that region? Just look at how much more play our poor dumb yokel of a President is getting when he can sit down in the presence of these towelheaded billionaires and terrorist sponsors and say, "Hey, gang: y'all got a new sheriff in town. Either you get your shit straight or I'll bring you down." It's the only way to play these clowns and I LOVE IT.
The Left, of course, is still wallowing around in the shitpile of November 2000 when Al Gore-bot had his crown stolen from him in broad daylight by that dumbass governor from Texas. You know the one: the Ivy League MBA who's so incompetent that he was twice elected governor of one of the most important states in the Union. How much better off we'd be if only Clinton's cupholder had won (never mind the Electoral College or the absurdity of the Florida Supreme Court's very obviously partisan rulings).
As I enjoy this wonderful late-night thunderstorm, I can only think to laugh at the Democratic Party and the liberal wash-outs that infest it. You're not getting rid of Bush unless you resort to violence. No matter who you run against him in 2004, you will lose. (Just imagine how badly you will lose if Mr. Cheney withdraws from the veep spot in favor of Dr. Rice. Oh, how much fun we will have being told by the Left what a cynical, racist ploy that selection would be!) Bush the Younger will be in power until January 2009. Maybe you can run Ms. Rodham-Clinton in 2008. Maybe everyone will have forgotten what a corrupt and sleazy couple of craphounds she and her co-conspirator were.
The Radar's Gone Psychedelic
Now, look: if there's that much activity to the west (the radar's gone psychedelic), we had better get some action. WE NEED RAIN ---AND LOTS OF IT!!! I'm sick of seeing everyone else get a good soaking and all we get is teased. Let's go, dude: I want to smell some ozone!
Simmer Down, All Ye Myopic Turds
Having seen what we have of Saddamite Iraq and its psychopathic ways, why is there all this second-guessing from the Leftists and the hysterical European press about our reasons for going to war? They're like a bunch of goddamned lawyers insisting upon the letter ---and never the spirit--- of the law. Which is to say that it is irrelevant whether WMD is ever found in quantity or kind sufficient to persuade the anti-war craphounds that our "warmongering" was justified. If our people did find some bioweapons, you just know that they were planted, so what's the point?
Moved to Tears
I am finally moved in. There's no doubting the pop-psychological truism that moving is one of the most stressful operations in the whole catalogue of western man. You got your death of a family member, weddings, and moving.
I am still sore and sucker-punched from the whole deal, especially the last, desperate hours. Jesus. I simply must find a way to winnow down the great mass of my possessions so that this will never happen again.
Naturally, my family and friends came to my rescue. I could not have done this without them.
Good on You, Mr. Hope
There's nothing bad I can say about Bob Hope that could possibly matter, so I will just suffice it to say that I wish him warm remembrances and all comfort on this, his 100th birthday. I personally don't find Mr. Hope funny. I think his comedy requires the strongest possible admixture of marihuana and hooch to be palatable to someone of my generation. But as a lover of American History and culture, and a strong supporter of our military, I applaud him for the great influence he has always been.
Enjoy your day, sir. Thank you for your love of country.
Close to Relapse
The stress of moving has caused me to very much want to smoke a cigarette. Damn. It's like a cartoon devil standing on my shoulder: "What're ya waitin' fer, Smokey? Go buy your self a pack."
GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN!
I dunno. Maybe I'll have a few celebratory puffs this weekend once everything is done.
Be Careful among the English
I just read a Washington Postbook review by Michael Dirda on Andrew Dalby's Language in Danger: The Loss of Linguistic Diversity and the Threat to Our Future in which the homogenizing and dominating English language is once again held out to be an agent of cultural imperialism and variety-destroying wickedness.
What these kinds of arguments never take into account is that English, itself, is a great amalgamation of words and syntactical-grammatical rules learned from dozens of other tongues. Consequently, English is an unprecedentedly large language, with several times the vocabulary of its closest competitors. (Oops. Should've picked a less Darwinian term.) It is a living repository of Latin, Greek, Old and Middle French and German, Native American tongues, Yiddish, and much else besides. We in the Anglosphere do not rely on academies (like Hebrew and French speakers do) to determine what is linguistically kosher; we know that no language is pure and that it is a laughable conceit to even try to protect any of them from corruption. If anything, it is just this "corruption" that makes English so relevant and endearing: it takes on all comers and will absorb the next best term ---wherever its origin--- so long as it's phonotactically got "it."
Dirda writes that Dalby disproves the old idea that a lingua franca serves to inhibit conflict between and among warring cultures. But was that old ideal ever understood to be true in the face of real-world oppression and illiteracy? Dalby refers to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the ongoing conflict between the two Koreas as two instances where a common language exerted no pacifying effect, but these are poor examples since there is no comparable point of ideology. In the former case, a totalitarian regime made a sudden land grab from a non-militarized and cosmopolitan neighbor. There was no real preceding dialogue. In the latter case, there can be no real dialogue between the neighbors since the one is largely isolated from the rest of the world and is, effectively, incommunicado.
Dirda appears to echo and commiserate with Dalby on the great shame it is that English is the language of today's most powerful nation and that the more it is embraced, the less contact people will have with their ancestral languages. We are condemned, they fear, to watching these tongues slip into quaint irrelevance. But that is a conscious choice made by the first acculturated generation of an immigrant family. If Italian or Jewish American families wish to continue speaking Italian or Hebrew or Yiddish, they are free to do so, especially within the family. But there can be no blame assessed against the hegemony of America or its primary language if the descendants of immigrant families grow away from this sort of bilingualism. And, frankly, there are giant metropolitan communities in this country where one can live entirely within a Spanish or Mandarin environment. I wonder if Dalby addresses the political consequences of this enclave-as-indentity issue. Does he know of any white collar jobs in Middle America for Nacho, the Non-English-speaking Bus Boy?
Ultimately, Dalby's and Dirda's concern that we are losing real "knowledge" and real "perspective" with the loss of each language is valid, but only in a romantic and theoretical sense. When the last known speaker of some Eskimo dialect dies in a nursing home at age 95, it can only be hoped that her voice was recorded and that, if she was particularly alive to the significance of her knowledge, she may have helped linguists and sociologists understand the cultural place her native language occupied. What else can we do? If the preservation of these languages is a passion for some (as I'm sure it is), they will make it their life's work to do what can be done.
But, we as English speakers cannot regret for even a moment that our language has succeeded as brilliantly as it has. There was never any guarantee that it would, you know. Four hundred years ago, English was as provincial and insignificant as any tribal language is today. But something happened. History and empire carried it along, and a natural affinity in its structure and acquisitiveness absorbed and synthesized the languages of the places it came in contact with. English is a cosmopolitan language if ever there was one. Darby's self-contradictory notion that we must preserve other languages to help keep our own "flexible and creative" is the simplest kind of gibberish. English does not need the artifice or props of left-leaning apologists and academics to be what it is. Dirda's and Darby's ideas are fertilizer. Here's what Dirda thinks of the language of Shakespeare, Dickinson, and Conrad: "Our world's cultural richness is being diminished by the ongoing success of English, an English supported by international communications technology and the success of the American way of life."
The Road Map
You can forget this "road map" to peace in Israel we've all been hearing about. Just look at a regular political map and you'll know why this scheme won't work. Gaza and the West Bank are not contiguous pieces of land. Autonomize these areas under Palestinian [control] and what comes next? They'll need 24/7/365 free access between these two parts. You know, a land bridge or a partition or some such thing that will cut Israel in half. And that will make it just so much easier to destroy the monkey-like Jews and push them into the sea.
Give the so-called Palestinians their own state and they will fuck it up faster than a drunk slipping on ice. Maybe Sharon knows this and so he's decided to give the Palestinians a chance to demonstrate to the world their particular genius for self-control. The instant they start bombing buses again in Tel Aviv, the Israelis can just declare war on the state of Palestine and not have to worry any more about the civil part of war.
A Few Men in My Code
There are many men and women in my family tree whom I could choose to remember here in honor of Memorial Day, but I will suffice it to recount the names of two men who died in defense of my country: Robert Allison Davis and William M. Chapman.
Robert was an Illinois infantryman (born in Ohio) who was studying to be a Methodist preacher. He went down to Mexico as a 28 year-old volunteer in the U.S. Army, but never came home. He died of some disease (most probably cholera) and was buried in a mass grave in Mexico City. His only surviving child was his infant son Joe. Joe was my great-great-grandfather.
Will was a native of Giles Co., Tennessee and a farmhand on his family's land in Williamson Co., Texas. He wasn't quite 30 when he joined the Confederate Army. His regiment was encamped in Lonoke Co., Arkansas in the fall of 1863 when he died of some disease. He's buried there at Camp Nelson in an unknown grave. I stopped there several years ago and paid my respect. His only child was Mary Frances Chapman. Molly was my great-great-grandmother.
These two men were younger than I am now when they died. But without the lives they lived, I would not exist.
Watching the UT women's softball team at their little world series thing. Not too compelling, but that girl who pitches for us is very cute. Cat Osterman. That's a great face. Hope she wins.
Well, I'm in the middle of trying to get all of my possessions boxed up for a move across town. I can never believe how much crap I've collected over the years, but there's little chance of me weeding out my library by more than a handful of books. I just can't get rid of books. Or, magazines (unless I've cut them up enough for my clip-files). Plus, I keep virtualy everything I've ever written. I'll even mine and redact bits of scratch paper if I think something in them might be useful later. It's a real neurosis trying to keep the chaos of the past from disintegrating into meaninglessness. I could go further out onto this avenue with all my habits, but there's no reason to scare the neighbors, you know. Just keep it light and breezy and never mention that the only heaven is perfect knowledge.
You Can't Always Get What You Want
That's good news about the tax cuts. Seems the President was stopped short of his goal to help the superwealthy feather their nests. And let's be clear about it: that's all this double-taxation of dividends stuff was about. Keep the big-time contributors happy.
The President would have to go out of his way to put his loyal supporters off, but he would do well to remember that the good will that lower-income people like me have for him depends on his character and his strength of resolve against the Muslim. Cuz I'm telling you: his economic ideas leave me cold.
Third Stone from the Sun
I found a link to some of the new pictures of the Earth taken from Mars. It is the manifest destiny of human beings to inhabit the solar system. I hope we don't forget that in the mad dash to cut taxes for the rich.
Saw Some Old High School Friends at Lunch Today
A few old friends from high school and I got together today for lunch at the internationally-famous Chuy's restaurant on Barton Springs Road (it's the same Tex-Mex joint where Barbara and Jenna Bush got busted for underage drinking a while back). Anyhow, we had planned on this lunch for a while via e-mail and finally followed through on it. And well we did, for it was a success all around. I hadn't seen one of them in a dozen years and another in probably five (the third friend and I see each other pretty regularly).
Anyhow, my recommendation to any of you who has fallen out of touch with the people of your youth is that you should make it a point to see them again. Most people come in two types about their high school days: they're either very bitter and dismissive about those memories or they look back on them with a healthy nostalgia. I am decidedly in the latter camp, although my powers of recall are not so great as I would wish. But these are the people who knew you before you settled into your present persona. There's no judgements to be rendered or apologies to be made. The friends of your youth are a blessing of old age: memory-sharers, circle-finishers, reference-getters, context-knowers, etc.
I sometimes hear people say that they don't care to go to class reunions or see old pals again because the only ones they care to keep in touch with are the ones that they still do. But, even though I didn't go to my 10th or 15th class reunions, I just can't agree with that sentiment. Yes, you may have lost track of so-and-so after high school, but what was the biggest thing on your mind when that contact was lost? Getting out of town or away to college to see how the other halves lived or getting into your own thing or whatever. I know that, having spent most of the past four or five years with these people on a daily basis, I figured I'd either see them again with little effort or I'd see them again on my own terms. Well, it turns out that even in a town the size of Austin, Texas, you don't always get to see these people again. It can take years if you're not careful.
So, what's the moral of this story? Uh, it's "Don't be a stranger."