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I haven’t been hammering on current events for many good reasons: others are doing it so very well with lusty zeal; I have nothing to add aside from a weekly editorial summation that rephrases the arguments; and I’ve also been beatifically happy this week. Sunshine cauterizes the bile duct, apparently. Today, for example. Warm. Lovely. The first day of fall, and hardly any trees bear the fatal tint. We played baseball in the backyard; Gnat can hit them across the yard. She has an incredible swing. Jasper fetched them and brought them back, but not without the requisite BARK BARK BARK which means I want you to run for the ball so I can beat you to it and run around the yard ha ha, ha ha. Then we sat on the steps and had lemonade. As someone reminded me: four is a great age, because they still want to be with you. So I’m not going to spend that time checking blogs every ten minutes. Every half hour, yes. Perspective; moderation. Balance.

Warning: the bile ducts open at the end of this. Key phrase: "The draft is coming back." That's your sign to bail, if you're disinclined to hear me mutter and mutter. You've been warned.

So now it’s the appointed hour for bleating, and what’s on my mind? The desire for ice cream; the nagging realization that I will never see all the TiVo’d movies, because the unit’s being replaced. The sound of crickets and the breeze. The sad ache that comes from the true end of Summer - Gnat goes to school tomorrow, and I go back to the office. This wonderful interval we've shared is over, and it ended without ceremony. Tomorrow I will drop her off, wave goodbye, and feel that incredible sense of transition, of change, progression and loss. On my own again. What to do? What do we do with our life now?

Well, duh: go to Target afterwards and buy a Pony.

In case you think I watch only good movies, or bad movies that have some kitsch value: sometimes I’m in the mood for a good ol’ fashioned Hillbilly Madman movie. So I TiVo’d “Wrong Turn.” It’s a modern movie, all right: the hero gets the krep kicked out of him, leaving the final axe-blow up to the heroine who uses that innate upperbody strength for which teenaged girls are justly renowned, and drives an axe through the Hillbilly’s leather jacket. Sure.

Not bad, as Hillbilly Madmen movies go, but about as creepy as the intro to the old “Tales from the Crypt” TV show. Oh how I hated those. How I hated that leering puppet, and how I hated even more the assumption that puns were somehow scary. Hello boys and ghouls. Here’s a little tale I dug up from you. It’s about a man who tried to scare up some action, and ended up dead tired. Hee hee hee! Sometimes I kill myself! I’ve always thought that talking skeletons ought to take care to be interesting or clever, because the temptation to take a baseball bat to their jabbering skulls is too great. You know how satisfying it would be. Hello, my fine feathered fiends! I - THWOCK

I know, I know, it goes back to the old EC comics tradition, but remember: those were aimed at 10 year old boys and disaffected aspirin-chewing loners in bus stations heading to Kansas for a good ol’ fashioned killing spree.

What liberal media? Via Taranto, the slug for a SF Chronicle photo on a kid who had her hair done up in a pro-Bush W.

Sweet smokin’ Judas, what a maroon.

In the broadcast, Swaggart was discussing his opposition to gay marriage when he said "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry."

"And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died," Swaggart said to laughter and applause from the congregation.

On Wednesday, Swaggart said he has jokingly used the expression "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times, about all sorts of people. He said the expression is figurative and not meant to harm.

"It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God - it's ridiculous," Swaggart told The Associated Press. "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology."

We had the annual Church banquet tonight, and it’s interesting what didn’t come up. No calls to stone the gays, smite the nonbelievers, blow up the sons of monkeys and pigs. For heaven’s sake, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the pastor had called on us each to adopt the sons of monkeys and pigs. It’s a good church. It’s not an angry place. The point of the dinner was the annual Gentle Elbow in the Ribs, reminding us that it costs money to run this operation. And what an operation it is. It’s a big congregation – I think the dining hall seats more than 500 people, and they had to open another wing to accommodate everyone who came tonight.

It takes ten banquets to get everyone in.

And that’s just the people who come. How many members don’t, I’ve no idea. The Gentle Elbow isn't deployed to raise funds to fix the roof - the church ihas a list of associated charities and philanthropic outreaches that goes on, and on. And on. . Of course, they could be making it up; if they say our church helps run a hospital in Tanzania, I have to take their word for it. But I do. It's amazing how much good they do, and it's just one church. You get a sense of the extraordinary philanthropy of ordinary America. Swaggart is a clown - but anyone who uses him to discount the extraordinary and largely unheralded impact of religiously inspired philanthropy is a fool. I have no problem with atheists; if that's what they've come to believe in the end, then fine. But I have no time for atheists who look at the good works of churches, and nevertheless feel superior because they don't believe in a Magic Book. Yeah, sure, you do Meals for Wheels, but you make them pray to Jeebus first, right?

Uh - no.

Yeah, but you pray for them when they're not looking so god doesn't smite them for eating dessert before the salsbury steak
/hates all religion, just trolling

Sorry; read too many Fark forums today.

The meal, as befits a Lutheran bacchanalia, was Meatballs, Corn, and Mashed Potatoes. Endless coffee, served by Senior High youth brigade in a variety of unchurchly garments. Kids today!

Political satire – say what you will about these hardball tactics, sometimes it’s nice to find something that gets the point across with exquisite subtlety.

God programmed you to love chocolate for a reason. Now go eat a Milky Way.

You know, one of the pleasures of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is the suspicion that Larry David could act like he does in the show, but doesn’t. And if he did, it would be with the same sense of comic bemusement the rest of us could share.

Well, maybe not.

The draft is coming back! The draft is coming back! You know, there’s Zombie Hippie Boomer component of the nation that simple can’t dump the tropes of the 60s, and the only way they can live is to eat the brains – the sweet, sweet braaaains – of the young. The draft is coming back! Tin Soldiers and Nixon coming! Run away! I hear Canada is, well, Canada this time of year.

The ZHBs want it to be 1969 in perpetuity, I fear. Well: I was 20 in 1978, and I was sick of the 60s. And they’d just ended a few years before. (The sixties hung over into the early seventies, until about ’72; the true sucktacity of that decade didn’t manifest itself until ’73, and died in 1981 about the moment the American hostages left Iranian airspace. It was a short decade, but it had the dead horrid gravity of a black hole.) 1969 was 35 years ago. To prop that dead rotten hulk up and wire its jaw so it appears to speak – well, it’s like telling me, in 1978, that I ought to base my worldview on the ideas of 1943. No: the ideas held by the anti-establishment types in 1943, which would be old bitter Wobblies still pissed that WW2 wasn’t about destroying industrial capitalism.

In some ways, 1943 was relevant to 1978, inasmuch as it taught the lessons about standing up to militaristic statism. But in 1978 we would have interpreted that to mean “US out of North America,” as one of the buttons on my girlfriend’s backpack said. (She also had one that said “Go Reds / Smash State.” Her dad had the Nation and Izzy Stone’s newsletter on the living room table. I remember him telling me that the foil on cigarette packs attracted radon, which doubled your chance for cancer. Kind fellow, though; he was very nice to me, and considering that all fathers must be tempted to march their daughter’s dates out back by the nape hairs and tell them exactly what will happen if you make my little girl cry, he was the model of civility and restraint.

Anyway. I digress. The draft isn’t coming back. But it would make for an interesting exchange at the debates, eh?

Senator Kerry, you’ve said that President Bush intends to reinstate the draft. On what evidence do you base this assertion?

“This president has consistently underestimated the nature of the threat, and the nature of the forces we need to deal with, and confront, in this new century, and in doing so has placed us in a position where we find ourselves overextended. And alone. And we’re the target. I have a plan to bring our allies to the table, to forge new alliances as well as strengthen old ones, in such a way that fills out our options and gives us the flexibility to meet the changing needs of today with a military that will not be asked to shoulder the burdens of the world, when the world itself has a stake in these obligations. That’s what I meant when I suggested that there might be a draft in a second term of this president. He has boxed us in to a situation where our only solution to our go-it-alone policy might well be forced conscription of our young people, and I’m against it.”

Thank you. President Bush?

"There won’t be a draft."

(Pause) (Pause.) (Pause) (Bush grin) (Scattered laughter)

"I don’t know what else there is to say. There won’t be a draft. We’re going to move some forces around, uh, change our strategies. My opponent wants more German participation, and that’s fine with me. You know, they have a draft. Nine months, have to serve. I’d rather American men and women choose to join, choose to serve. Peace Corps, National Guard, our Armed Forces, however. But it’s up to them. Choices. We have the greatest armed services on the planet, and see, it’s because they want to serve. Love of country. And that’s a tradition I want to maintain. If my opponent has some inside information about plans to bring back the draft, I’d be happy to take a look, as long as he didn’t get it from some fellow in Texas who says he found the plans in a wastebasket."

The MSM would consider the latter answer an insufficient response to the Kerry's reply. They'd see the lines and staves, not the notes.

I don’t think the debates will matter much, frankly. They might if we lived in a world where we met Al-Qaeda executives at the UN to thrash around the matter. Resolved: The fanatical death-loving Islamacist cult should just knock it off, already, okay? If anything, they will reinforce the idea among the middle ground that they do not want to hear John Kerry talk at them for the next four years, because his speeches are like Vulcan neck pinches. A dry clap on the shoulder, then your eyes roll up and you slide to the floor. Good work Mr. Spock.

Which brings us to –

No. That’s for tomorrow. See you Friday.