Gnat wants to make toasts. Not toasts as in some cutesy toddler locution for burned bread, but toasts as in drinking oaths. Give her a juice box, and she knocks it against my coffee cup and says “Cheers!” No idea where that came from. Last weekend at Lake Harriet, she was culled from the crowd to participate in a little magic act; when she was done the crowd applauded, and she smiled and bowed. No idea where that came from. Today, while we were playing with Play-Doh, she said:

“I kiss boys, daddee? Gulls kiss boys?”


“I’m a gull. I kiss boys?”

“When you’re married.”


Not even three. Are they putting hormones in juice boxes now?


"The international community must come together to make it very clear to Iran that we will not tolerate construction of a nuclear weapon," Bush told reporters at the end of a meeting in the White House Cabinet Room. "Iran would be dangerous if it had a nuclear weapon," he said.

Bush said he had brought the matter of nuclear weapons up with other leaders at the G-8 meeting of industrial powers, plus Russia, earlier this month.

"There was near-universal agreement that we all must work together to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon," he said.

The interesting thing here is that politicians say this all the time, but one suspects that this particular fellow means it - and that will unnerve the Unnerved-American community. But why? I thought that nukular proliferation was a bad thing. I remember the 80s; I remember the marches. The posters. The buttons. I believe that giant mocking puppet-heads were deployed to humiliate those who govern nations that possess nukes. So shouldn’t it be a good thing that Iran might have its toybox overturned?

No, no, no, and no again. Bush is obviously suggesting that force might be used to squash Iran’s nuclear threat, and that simply is not the way to go about it. Here’s what you do:

1. Make many speeches about Severe Consequences before various international organizations, preferably in Europe, because the food is incredible and the view out the windows at night is spectacular. The way the lights shine off that river - man, it's something.

2. Let the issue drift off the A-section into the weekly political magazines

3. Use the State Department to pressure Iran into signing some sort of treaty that bans nuclear weapon development in exchange for favorable trade conditions

5. Wait a year, during which you skim a few reviews of “Allah’s Sword: Inside Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program” by Ke Pollack, published 2004. Quell gnawing fear in gut by going on the stump for some campaign appearances - see, people love you! No matter what happens, you’ll be remembered well.

6. Get shaken awake at 3 AM by an aide who says you’re needed in the Situation Room; when you enter you see that one monitor has a picture of a mushroom cloud, and the other has a map of Israel. Crap.

7. Four AM call to the Israeli PM offering sympathy, and threatening to cut off aid if Israel nukes Iran; nine AM press conference that urges restraint, lest the “cycle of violence” begin again. After all, no one knows who was behind the bomb.

8. Demand a Congressional investigation to learn who bungled the intelligence

9. Run for reelection on a platform that includes a call for a new international body to monitor nuclear arms proliferation


1. Mr. Enrichment Facility, meet Mr. Moab. Mr. Moab, Mr. Enrichment Facility. I’m sure you two have much to discuss, so we’ll just leave you to sort it out.

I’ll take the second option.

What if the mullahs fall before, say, September? The second anniversary of 9/11 would be marked by much general astonishment at what OBL et al began. Two years, three countries. Syria would have its come-to-Issa moment. Kim Il Jong would have to switch to extra-absorbent Depends, since he would probably be wetting himself anew each time he turned on CNN.

As for Orrin Hatch and his remarks about blowing up the computers of people who download pirated files: I’ll just say that I think he’s made mostly of molded plastic, there’s a pullstring in his back, and the RIAA fingerprints are all over the big white ring. I won’t listen to any of these guys blather about computers or the Internet until they have demonstrated on film that they can install some RAM, burn a CD (“shiny side down, you say?”), tell me what HTTP and URL stand for, prove they know how to get the source code for a webpage, and know better than to click “Yes” when asked if the computer should always trust data from Gator Corporation.

His remarks about remotely destroying computers that download copyrighted material is just grampa blather. The computers are stealing music! The cars are frightening the horses! The Kaiser took my dog! It would be amusing if these people didn’t have the power to pass thick stupid laws crafted by aides, lobbyists and other gnomes hauling up heavy buckets from the deep sooty mines of legalese. Of course the people who vote them up or down don’t actually read them; they get the gist from the title.

“What’s this Copyright Enhancement Act of 2003 all about, young underpaid aide?”

“It’s about enhancing copyright, sir.”

“Very good then.”

The idea that the government, or recording industries, could remotely destroy your computer isn’t out of the realm of possibility - I suppose they could send a stealthy bug that would scramble the hard drive. I don’t think Sen. Hatch envisioned an electrical spike that would shower the user with broken glass from the monitor.

I know, I know - he was just talking off the top of his head. But if someone is talking about, oh, women’s pay relative to men, and they say off the top of their head “can’t the girls just stay home and put up preserves?” - well, it shows what they really think. Off the top of one’s head means when I reach for an idea, this one is the closest. For a reason.

And then there’s Wesley Clark!


Okay, let’s move along.

The latest Amazon batch had some interesting stuff. (Again, my secret: order cheap stuff late at night when you’re not really paying attention; chose “Super Saver Shipping” which means they strap it on the back of a Galapagos turtle, and then enjoy the surprise when it all shows up ten weeks later.) Apparently I felt the need to get “Making Movies” by Dire Straits, and I’m glad; those first two long cuts are good. But now I'm reminded that in my vinyl days I overclocked my turntable; I set the speed on high. Now every CD from the 80s sounds like the band is dragging Marley’s cashboxes. I'm glad I got the Knopfler; he was as good on the electric guitar as he was lousy on the vocals, and that's a distance best measured in light years. I’m less impressed with the recent work, which is mostly a stony croak over monotonal and mostly inert melodies, but it’s not all bad. More talent in his pinky than I’ll ever have, anyway.

Also got “As Wichita Falls” by the Pat Metheny Group - another early 80s favorite. And I got Metheny’s latest, “One Quiet Night,” where he just sits down at his home studio and noodles on an acoustic. Let’s say this about “One Quiet Night” - with the proper editing software, I can pull out a few chunks for transitions to use in the family movie. I'm being kind because I like his stuff a lot. Except for this. ZZZZzzzz.

Saving the day was “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne. Oh yes. This one isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy that spiky screechy thumpy-gumbo the Talking Heads served up in “Remain in Light” you’ll love this. It was one of the first albums to use “samples” - little bits of tape woven into these odd three-minute spaz-fests. Best of the bunch is “Help Me Somebody,” which incorporates the shouts of a gospel preacher into a 137 MPH pale-male funkfest. Go buy it, using the Amazon button below. If you’re adventurous, that is. If you think that all 80s music was pouty hair-band coch-roch or synthy twaddle, you have a surprise in store.

Good thing I decided against a fundraising drive this month. Everyone’s doing it. I had planned to switch to a monthly Page O’ Links ‘N’ Guilt, where I’d put up four or five new items, then rattle the cup and make loud coughing sounds - but just as I was about to put the page up I realized that it would be too much work & too much pressure. That’s the last thing I want from this site. it’s much better just to post new stuff and let your conscience move you. Remember: I only want to meet my hosting & bandwidth overage charges; at the end of the year all extra money goes to the Heifer Project, and we all buy a water buffalo for a family in Thailand. And no, I’m not kidding; that’s what we did last year. Somewhere in SE Asia right now a family is using Bleat revenue to feed their family, and I think that’s pretty cool.

(Waving cup, coughing loudly.)

Okay, new Backfence today. And enter the Deface my Mug contest! I want as many entries as possible. Someone please post this thing to Fark, eh? Those guys are top-notch at humiliating defacement.

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