I recently read a political discussion thread where the old horse chesnut of French surrender came up. It seems that every right-wing wackjob, syncophant, lickspittle, and apologist hauls out the old "the French are cowards" line every time French opposition to our (P)resident's desert excursion comes up. I just want to state for the record:

1) When you ask an American about discrimination and civil rights, they say that the past is dead, yet they always bring up WWII and how we saved France's ass.

2) France was overrun due to strategic error, not tactical cowardice. The Germans bypassed the Maginot Line, rendering all of France's defenses moot. The French then made a bargain with the devil to retain as much as they could. A similar event occurred in WWI, when the Germans flanked the French lines by going through Belgium. They still managed to fight off the Germans for years, and America wasn't even involved for the first several years in both conflicts, while French soldiers continued to die.

The French (actually, all Europeans) realize that war is not just a game played on someone else's shore. Real people with real families die. We may not count the Iraqis as human beings, but they damn sure do.

French cowardice is the biggest fiction since Santa Claus.

Once again, Michael Moore has thrown a monkey wrench in the general direction of George W. Bush, It seems Moore had interviewed Porter Goss the President's nominee to replace George Tenet as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. According to Moore, during the interview Goss, a veteran of military intelligence stated he wasn't qualified for the post. Apparently his language and research skills weren't of the right type, and he lacked the necessary expertise. Those sort of statements, if confirmed, should prove explosive during Goss' confirmation hearings.

Personally, I see Goss' nomination as progress. Goss at least knows that he doesn't know the Middle East. That's a real step up from most of the rest of the Administration. Vice President Dick Cheney knew there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq before the war. He continues to insist they exist today even though by now we all know differently. Goss' predecessor, the extremely popular George Tenet, called the case against Iraq a 'slam dunk". The President, Cheney and every Republican who had lungs spent the pre-war insisting that Iraq posed an "imminent danger" to the United States. The 9/11 commission report found differently pointing out that the sanctions had so weakened the Iraqi military as to leave it a pale shadow of the force we steamrollered in 1991. Condoleeza Rice continues to insist Saddam Hussein was a threat, and that the President did the right thing by ordering the invasion. Donald Rumsfeld "knew" that American troops would be mostly out of Iraq within sixty days. He even fired Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shimenoseki for daring to tell Congress the real occupation would require 200,000 troops, even though telling Congress the truth was the General's job. Rumsfeld knew better. These are the people "in the know".

Personally, I find Moore's revelations a relief. We've had almost four years of an administration that 'knew' it was right and everything. This knowledge has turned a large budget surplus into the largest deficit in American history. Their convictions have turned America from a moral authority to a reprobate, a nation that most people regard more as a threat than a friend. Their certainty landed America into a military quagmire. Their War on Terror has proven been a real gift to Al Quaeda recruiting.

Frankly, I'm sick of an administration full of people who know everything. Considering their record, I'm ready for a little honest ignorance. It would be an improvement.

Perfumed soap

I wanted perfumed soap.

Now, it's pretty hard in the United States to get non perfumed soap. Just soap, you know? To get clean with? But I wanted good perfumed soap, that actually smells good. No.

Well, here''s where I ran afoul of my family. They were willing to "put up with" (as they put it) "fancy" soap. OK. But. It had to be "rectangular" so it wouldn't slide off the soap dish and they wouldn't drop it, the clutzes. Then again, it had to not smell in any way offensive to them. Thus a teenager whose room reeks of cat urine objects to jasmine soap.

Finally I gave up and bought what I like. NO NO NO. (Yes, yes yes!)

Anyone who wants Palmolive can buy it themselves, with their own money.

< _ >

Today after a break from squashing rubber sat and wiped my sweat with a small towel and threw it in a bin where it could be washed with detergent and dried and folded and stacked so that it could be used to wipe more sweat again. Around and around. Someone was resting and reading a sheet of giant advertisements neatly partitioned into cubicles of offers(9850won for a gas range, 1000won for three tubes of toothpaste).

He smiles at his wife and lifts his voice so she can hear. "Two weeks ago we used to look automatically at diapers and baby milk." She smiles back and comfortably folds over another sheet of the newspaper that she's reading. I am hit suddenly by the importance of small things that rub off on uncertain surfaces.

Outside at 11 sat outside in the center of my little six-thousand apartment complex world. The television said that there would be shooting stars at the rate of one a minute, tonight. Instead I was waiting and watching the living-room lights of two thirty-storey buildings blink in and out like Star Trek control panels and futuristic toys and New York skyline time-lapse movies.

Listening to Blew Away reminds me of two beds and a lone ceiling fan in a room lying face down half-asleep and half-alone and half-enjoying it and half-hating this melodrama and half-here and half-spread thin like oil one-molecule thick. Lots of horns beeping outside. Pinging sounds tell me that a motor scooter's turning a corner. Book tells me about the Wizard of Oz and Tendulkar and fatwas. There are things that I have to do that aren't important now but will be important in the middle of a bus ride or in the subway. Email teacher, friend, call, write that down. When I stop in transit they disappear, like magic tricks, back palms, le tourniquet.

Now they tell me I can straddle borders and keep my dual-identity if I go to the army for two years and two months. Make that two years. Two years away two years running and two years holding guns. Two years in lines and two years wriggling under barbed wire and two years in simulated pepper-gas chambers and two years ziplining and two years on duty. Maybe. Maybe not.

Yesterday night watched a game of soccer. Football. Same thing. (Maybe not.) It started at two am local time and I watched and chewed on a inkless pen as the ball danced and came and went and flew here and there. Two announcers talking with the background noise of twenty-two thousand people packed together. When the camera zoomed out you could see two red patches in a field of blue. Two Korean patches full of supporters jumping and yelling creating islands of difference in Greece. Pass and shoot and cross and offside and corner and throw-in and tackle.. But goooooooooal but goooooooooal but oh. But oh. Ended two-two with ten people in the end and in the middle of the night I turned my television off and looked out my window and noticed the glow of other televisions in other houses still on at four am. Camaraderie, I thought.

Somehow I lulled myself to sleep despite the rush of it all and as I slept I thought, ' What would it like to be here again next year cheering for my country-that's-not-my-country?' A part of it truly but metaphorically not. Like a daughter that isn't your daughter because of divorce law. Two years is a fortieth of eighty. Two years is an eternity at eighteen and (people tell me) a second at sixty. Two years. Maybe not. Maybe.

Good night.

Without Him

Time flies
Upon wings of russet gold.
He climbs every mountain
And drowns in every ocean.
He dries the last tear
And ignites the first smile.
He is the blood in every heart
And the transparent breath in every death.

Feel him hold You in his hands…
The way You seep through…
But never actually get away.

He embraces You,
Entices You,
Provokes You.
He becomes Your largest want,
Your greatest love,
Your dying wish.

But You are the burden on his shoulders.
You have been born with him,
Lived with him,
Loved him,
Died with him.
You are his tease,
His lust,
His reason.
And yet,

Without You,
He is no more.

Today, both my cars were repossessed. That timing was surprising; they're both financed through different organizations, unrelated to each other.

Now, I am utterly worthless to my ex-wife; I have no "spare" cars for her use (she got her Corvette repaired last week with my assistance -- she seemed unable to drive it to a mechanic herself; she had to have me do it while she stood there like the empty-headed fuckwad she is) anymore. That's right, even though her car was repaired and is in perfect working order now, she still took one of my cars to work all this week. Why? Because they had stereos in them and her car does not, of course. Her job is like 10 minutes away, but she needs that music.

She still does everything she can to emasculate me and deflate me. She still sleeps in and on the blanket Erica gave me for my birthday, even though I tell her not to. She gets defensive, insisting "I didn't touch it" when I ask why it's warm when I go to bed. I've told her twice now when someone calls for me and she doesn't recognize them, to tell them I'm not here. When the Mitsubishi guy called at our doorstep last month, and said "I need to speak to William," what do you think her response was? "He's not here"? Nope. "Who?" Nope. She shut the door in his face without saying a word. Stupid bitch. Then when the credit union called for me today, she handed the phone straight to me. After talking with them briefly, I asked her "so, even though I told you not to tell people I'm here, why did you just tell them I was here and hand me the phone?"

Her answer? "They caught me off guard."

I can't wait to die now. I can't wait to see her have to deal with this fucking world all by herself. She is so utterly selfish and without remorse, she will paint herself into the white trash corner she so richly deserves. As long as I'm alive, she'll use me as a crutch. Once I'm gone, she'll have to do shit on her own, and I think that change in itself is worth my death.

In other news, I called Teresa, who said "if you ever need anything, call me." Well, I needed someone to talk to, but surprise surprise, she just wanted to lecture me. Ironically, at the end of the conversation she said "if you need anything, call me."

Last week, I called Erica and asked her to just fucking pay me. Online later that night she said "it's on its way." 10 days later, nothing has arrived yet. She's screwing me too.

My parents disowned me, too. They don't even talk to me anymore. It's been three weeks since I heard a word from them. They drove all the way out here to visit me, but went back home without ever stopping by. Whoops.

My friends are gone, too. Belinda promised she'd try to call or write as soon as she could; that was last Saturday. It's been six days now since I heard from her. My friends in Colorado were supposed to come to Vegas on a vacation of some kind, and while here they intended to show up and drag me back to Colorado with them. Or at the very least, take me out to do some stuff here, to try to have fun, to try to put some kind of spirit back in me. They never arrived. Nobody mails, nobody calls, nobody does anything. They've all given up, amid my desperate cries for help and companionship.

Not that I ever expected it, but even "God" won't talk to me. Neither will anything "evil" -- I'm not worth the effort of either side; I'm so bland and meaningless that I'm not worth anything to the spiritual world either.

You have no idea how alone I am. Not only has everyone literally disappeared (except Gayeleen, who still complains that I owe her money -- fucking bitch), but my entire belief system has been shattered. Things I held to be absolute truths ("my parents will always love me", "not *all* of my friends will completely abandon me", "there has to be *something* good in this world") have been proven wrong so completely that it's destroyed something in my mind that can never be recovered.

I'd just like to say for the record that I love Kerry Marie. She does lots of softcore solo porn (no hardcore yet, dammit), has a breathtakingly beautiful face, enormous natural breasts, and an English accent. I'd chop off a limb (but not that one :) for a night in the sack with her.

So my son was born on July 31. I would have done a day log then, it would have been the perfect day for it, right? But I was a tad busy, as one might expect. Anyway, I've been wanting to node something on this, about how wonderful my trek into fatherhood has been, how exciting it is, how weird it is, and my reaction when he first met the world, but there's probably not much I can say about it that hasn't been said before.

One thing I found especially interesting about my son being born on July 31 is that, as I understand it, he has the option of beginning school a whole year earlier than all the kids who were born less than twenty-four hours later on August 1. In America (or at least in Missouri), July 31 is the cutoff. Funny how that little difference of time can have such an impact on a life. One minute, hell, even one second of time can mean either being the youngest person in your class or the oldest. 11:59 PM on July 31, the kid can start school at five years old. 12:00 AM on August 1, the kid has to wait until he's six. I was born on June 20 and my son Ryan, like me, will graduate high school when he is 17.

I really like it that my wife was induced so she gave birth on July 31. That means my son will get a head start on life, more of one than if he had been born ten hours and twenty-four minutes later. Imagine: that small difference in time can mean a totally different set of classmates in high school and college, an almost entirely different set of friends...well, basically a significant difference in his life in general.

Funny how Fate works out that way. My son's life would have been so different if he'd have been stubborn and stayed in that womb another 10 1/2 hours.

My son. God, that still sounds weird.

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