Sunday, August 13, 2006

This Just In Blog

The beginnings of rapprochement?
Osama Bin Laden, as a young man, liked to watch Bruce Lee movies. He also liked Peter Graves in FURY, a television program I also admired as a boy.

Associated Press hedges its bets.
This is one of four photographs published Sunday Aug. 13, 2006 by Cuba's Communist Youth newspaper's online edition Juventud Rebelde proporting to show The first photographs of Fidel Castro since his illness two weeks ago. Castro holds a copy of the Saturday Aug. 12, 2006 edition of Granma, the Communist Party newspaper. The headline reads "Absolved by history." The Associated Press cannot verify the authenticity or the date when these photographs were shot. (AP Photo/HO)

The wisdom of our leaders, from the New York Times.
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales: “Our philosophy is that we try to identify plots in the earliest stages possible because we don’t know what we don’t know about a terrorism plot.” Almost Rumsfeldian in its eloquence, don’t you think? Or don’t you think what you don’t think?

Pimp your gun (New York Times)
“…[I]f you visit the Web site of Lauer Custom Weaponry, you’ll see quite an impressive array of graphic treatments that can be given, through a DuraCoat spray-on process, to a pistol, a shotgun, a carbine or a semiautomatic rifle for between $50 and $100. DuraCoat Camopacks with Peel ’n Spray templates come in varieties like Bengal (a brown-and-white pattern with bold black tiger stripes), Advanced AmStripe (a black, green and tan pattern that is one of several designed by Lauer’s 22-year-old daughter Amy) and Diamond Plate (to make a gun look like a sheet of diamond-plate aluminum). Most of his patterns are not the hyperrealistic sort favored by hunters, although some, including a popular digital-camo pattern, are military-inspired. Many simply look ‘striking, to say the least,’ as a review in a magazine called Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement put it. Another option is to go with one of DuraCoat’s ‘Electric Colors,’ like sunburst yellow, lime green, rose or lavender.”

Weapons of Miniscule Destruction - First, They Targeted Our Shoes…
The plan, apparently, was to hide liquid explosives in power drinks, and blow up planes. Red Bull gives you wings, and Red Bull takes them away.

So now, the authorities, in their wisdom, are not allowing on planes water, soft drinks, toothpaste, soothing oils, mouthwash, Brylcreem, and all the other precious ointments and unguents on which we deign to spend out consumer dollars.

Next, I predict, our enemies will find ways to alter the molecular structure of sweeteners and prescription drugs. Then they will alter the molecular structure of sugar, salt, pepper – all the imported spices from the East that first gave the West its taste of empire, proof of its growing might.

Lastly, they will find ways to make stuffed Barneys explode, and gum, and Altoids, and zippers, and seat belts, and shopping carts, and buttons, and briquettes…. Our economy, based as it is on gewgaws, gadgets, and between-meal snacks, will totter about aimlessly, a wounded giant.

And when we travel, if we travel at all, we will travel naked and fearful, as underpaid security guards probe our orifices with devices that are themselves susceptible to explosive devices.

And the terrorists will watch us. They will post videos of our embarrassment on YouTube. And laugh. We won’t be aware of this, of course, because we’ll have thrown away our cell phones and laptops, afraid they might explode.

In Slate
Fred Kaplan pointed out something really annoying about Condoleeza Rice. Here some quotes he cited from some of her encounters with the press:

“I'm a student of history, so perhaps I have a little more patience with enormous change in the international system. It's a big shifting of tectonic plates, and I don't expect it to happen in a few days or even in a year.”

” I'm a student of history. We'll really know the stories about this, if we're lucky, in 20 or 30 years when this all plays out. And I think the second-guessing about Tora Bora is just, you know, it's a waste of time, frankly. I think they did it the way they thought they should do it. I don't have any reason to believe that that was anything but right.”

“I'm a student of history. I know very well that things that seemed like brilliant strategies one day or maybe for one week or maybe for one year or maybe even for five years turned out to be disastrous strategies in terms of history. And I know that strategies that seemed at the time to be fraught with mistakes and fraught with errors turned out to be very good for human history.”

So she takes the Doris Day approach to international affairs: Que Sera Sera. Whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que sera sera. Everybody sing along! It’s the law!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe PETER GRAVES can negotiate a peace. At the worst, he'll probably get a gripping "Biography" episode out of it.

[and now, because it may still have relevance in our time, here is Peter's monologue from "It Conquered the World":
He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature, and because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned too late for himself that men have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can't be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when men seek such perfection, they find only death, fire, loss, disillusionment... the end of everything that's gone forward. Men have always sought an end to toil and misery, but it can't be given, it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside, from Man himself.]

12:12 PM  
Blogger Merle Kessler said...

RE: "It Conquered the World."
Um, I actually own that movie. Am I proud or embarrassed?

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing "Yes" ;-)

Or you could just say that you just needed it for research on "Zadar! Cow from Hell", not unlike the way Martin Scorsese finds inspiration in the neorealist films of postwar Italy.


10:46 AM  

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