Sunday, May 29, 2011

Not Completely Random Quick Hits.


Julington Creek

A cat with way more toes than necessary and one really fucked up eye.

I didn't order anything off of this part of the menu.

Trust me.  Those two shiny things in the middle of the picture are an alligator's eyes. (A little baby 3-footer, but an alligator nonetheless.)

I think you can make out a little sliver of ocean between the palmettos.  I like the beach but they don't bring beer and shrimp to you on the other side of the dunes.

The lap pool on the back of my brother's house. And a backyard consisting of the marshes between the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.


Abandoned baby screech owl dropped off for TLC. No veterinarians were harmed in the making of this picture.

Sunset over the Intracoastal Waterway

RoboSaur was in town for an airshow at the St. Augustine airport.  I have it on good authority that this thing spits fire and crushes cars in its claws.  I want one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


 I have somehow managed to delete the folder that contained every photo, diagram and illustration ever posted on my blog.


That is all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fun With Search Engines.

I don't really have anything cataclysmic or Earth-shattering to report today, but I did want to pass on just how proud and thrilled I am that  the search phrase "Rapture-Schmapture" has been responsible for a ridiculous amount of hits here in the last couple of days.

How cool is it that people looking for stuff about the rapture are asking about schmapture?

It restores my faith in America and brings just a teeny little tear to my eye.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taking The James Lipton Challenge.

Todd Wheeler let peer pressure guide his blogging a few days ago and I won't claim to be any less malleable.  And I'm certainly no more original.  So here are my answers to these questions that originated...somewhere.

What is your favorite word?

Minimum. (Not so much as a word itself, but because of the way you type it. It's fun all there on your right hand.  Try it! M-I-N-I-M-U-M.  See?  Fun! -- and it sounds fun too if you dictate the letters to yourself as you type it!)

What is your least favorite word?

Fahrstuhl. It's the German word for elevator.  I don't know why I dislike it...I just do.  It sounds like a seat you'll never get to sit on? (P.S. The only reason I know this word in the first place is that when I was in college, some friends had seen a German sign commanding you to use the stairs in case of fire..Fahrstuhl Nicht Benutzen!)
No, wait!  Fahrstuhl is a fine word.  I don't hate it.  Maybe I don't like Inflammable.  "Inflammable means flammable?  What a country!"

Nope.  That one's pretty good too. I can't think of a least favorite word at the moment.  I'm sure there are a few out there...I just can't come up with them right now.  I'll update this if one occurs to me.

What turns you on (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?

I'm going to choose to misunderstand the question.  For some odd reason, some of my best ideas occur to me while I'm in the shower. But I'll admit that "best" would be a highly subjective term when referring to my ideas.

What turns you off?

I'd have to say it really turns me off when people disagree with me.  OK, not so much when they disagree with me, but when they don't set aside their disagreement and just go along with me.  They should just acknowledge my superior intellect and defer to me!

But wait, that answer might qualify as a "turn off" for a lot of other people and I wouldn't want to seem confrontational here, now would I?  In the interest of keeping myself in the running for Miss Congeniality, I'll go with the answers provided most often by those arbiters of taste and refinement...Playboy Playmates!

The answer is: Egotists, liars, jealousy, rudeness and getting up early. (Anybody who disagrees with the "getting up early" thing is clearly wrong and should just defer to my superior intellect and...Shit, there I go again!

What sound or noise do you love?


What sound or noise do you hate?

Car alarms. They're utterly useless.  Nobody ever hears their own car's alarm going off and the only thing they do is annoy the crap out of anyone within earshot. (Also, if they go off while we're filming, everybody thinks the Locations Department has some magic 'car-alarm-owner's-finder' and/or 'shut-it-off' machine.  We just wander around pretending to look for the owner until it goes off by itself.)
(Goes off means goes on and goes off?  What a country!)

What is your favorite curse word?

Fucktard. It really is the best.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Cafe-Bookstore owner

What profession would you not like to do?

Toll booth operator.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

"Oh're early.  We'll see you in 20 years."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jews: Serving The Goyisha Since...FOREVER! (Another Rapture Public Service Announcement)

Official Motto: Kicked out of the best places on Earth and we're still here for you!

As you all certainly know, the "saved" will be called home shortly before the end of Shabbat this week (and they thought we had the wrong day of the week all this time...) I just wanted to reassure the un-holy among you that us Jews will continue to be here to see to your Earthly needs on Monday!  There will be no interruption in the supply of bagels, latkes, challah, corned beef, chopped liver (I can't speak for pate'), gefilte fish, or Cel-Ray Soda.

And you needn't fear that the impending tribulations will deter us either.  If the power goes out; So what!  To quote every Jewish Mother since Noah's kids made Emzara ride in steeerage, "Eh, so I'll sit in the dark."  And I guarantee you those three rotten kids never missed a meal!  There will be no wailing an gnashing from my contingent!

For your convenience, I'm republishing this map so you'll know where to find us.  That way, you can find both the areas where life will be going on without missing a step as well as the areas that may suddenly have a housing glut. (Hint: Life on the Upper West Side will be utterly indistinguishable from how it is today, but you won't be able to get a decent blintz in Krakow.  Hey! Did I tell them to get rid of us?)

Another thing...this isn't just about comfort food!  Have you ever been one of those putzes running around bitching and moaning,"Oh those Jews; they own the banks and they control the media."  Go ahead and bitch about it on Monday when that machine in the wall still spits out Twenties like nothing even happened.  Whine a little when How I Met Your Mother comes on your TV right on schedule!

To paraphrase Colonel Jessep (written and directed by JEWS!),  "Winthrop, Muffy, Chauncy... we live in a world that needs food and money and entertainment. Who's gonna do it? You?  We have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.  You have the luxury of not knowing what we know.  And our existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want us in that office, you need need us in that kitchen. We use words like Matzoh, Kugel and Market Share. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to men who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very necessities and luxuries we provide, and then questions the manner in which we provide it. We would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way."

So, come Monday morning, when a bunch of your neighbors are standing around in a daze saying stuff like, "Didja see that?  Ralphie just freakin' FLEW up inta the air!  Ffffffft!", your Jewish neighbors will be opening the banks and delis on time.  We'll be yelling "Action" and "Cut" on movie sets like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, so you'll have new stuff to watch in a couple of months. *  We'll be driving 50 mph in the left lane with our turn signals on!

So we'd rather you just say "Thank you" and don't forget to tip you waitress!

The Jews: We were here before you showed up and we're not going anywhere!**

*I have no idea who, if anybody involved in that movie is Jewish, but somebody ought to be, right?

**For at least five or six months.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rapture Schmapture!

By now, I guess you all know you've only got a day-and-a-half until all the really holy people get lifted up offa this here earth and the rest of us - myself definitely included -- get left behind! Well, there's been a lot of misinformation running around and since I know stuff, I thought I'd try to set the record straight on a few things.

First off, they've got the date wrong.  If there's an imminent rapture, it won't happen until sometime after 5:00pm EST on Wednesday May 25th.  Do any of you idiots really think Oprah would schedule her last show to take place after the rapture?  I mean, c'mon!  She's Oprah, dammit.  If she doesn't know this stuff, nobody does.  I'm not saying she's scheduled to be leaving, but she definitely counts the rapturable among her target audience.  There's no way in hell, no pun intended, she'd give up one scintilla of market share for such a momentous occasion.  Ergo, no rapture until after Oprah's last show.

This is one popular view of how the rapture will take place.
You're driving along and suddenly, if you're among the chosen, you suddenly just disappear.  Some poor schmuck is left in the backseat with nobody controlling the car and, of course the rest of the drivers on the road are now faced with a bunch of driverless cars coming at them.  This is, of course, ridiculous.  Anybody worthy of being raptured will be hanging out in a meadow somewhere, eyes cast upward, waiting for that penultimate moment -- the one when they know they're going but haven't quite gone yet.  I don't care how virtuous these people are supposed to be; I guaran-damn-tee you, they're hoping they get just long enough to utter a couple of "Told-ya-so's".  They've been insufferable bores for as long as you can remember; you think they're going out without rubbing our noses in it?

Actually, if there's a rapture, I think it'll look more like this.
I bet you can totally see up that girl's skirt.  But only if you're left behind!

Another subject I'd like to address is looting.  There's a meme going around about how it's gonna be prime looting season immediately after the rapture takes place.  Clearly that's just bullshit.  Think for a minute people.

First of all, from what I hear, the criteria for being taken up in the rapture is pretty narrow and the guest list is going to be really, really small.  If you think looting after the rapture is going to be easy pickings, you should remember that the competition is going to be fierce.
There are going to be a whole lot of people trying to get their hands on all of those sweet panini makers just lying around for the taking. And since none of the competition was rapture-worthy, they're all going to be out there trying to get their share.  Furthermore, since you don't actually have to be a bad person to be left behind, odds are, you won't even be that good at looting.
I suggest taking the scavenger approach.  I'd wait a few days to start looking for swag.  The really bad guys will get the good stuff first.  Then, the not so bad guys will band together and take the really good stuff from the really bad guys.  Then, the not so bad guys will turn on each other and beat the living crap out of each other when they realize that all of the earthquakes and tsunamis have knocked out the power grid and rendered their panini makers obsolete.

You, will then be free to just waltz in and take the inflatable mattresses and blankets and stuff that are all still quite useful.  In the meantime, your brick and campfire will have become the state of the art panini maker.  You're king of the hill.

If you're only scraping along during this period, don't worry too much; according to the prophesies, you've only got to hang on for another 5 months.  And why, you may wonder would you bother trying so hard to hang on if the end is a mere 5 months in the future?  Well, apparently, if you make it to the End of the World, you get a free pass on Hell. (I don't know why, I just report the news as I find it!)  Anyway, by the luck of the draw, if you were a total fucktard (or a mere unbeliever) during eons of history (or 6000 years, as long as you're rubbing our noses in it), you went STRAIGHT TO ETERNAL DAMNATION IN HELL as soon as you died.  But if you can hold out until the End of the World™, you become -- as it were -- an ex-parrot;  You merely cease to be!

Personally, I'm hoping that parts of this (the worthy being raptured) are true, while other parts (cataclysmic events) are not.  Think about it.  The rapture happens, and from your point of view, nothing is different.  But a couple of weeks later, you realize it's been ages since anybody rang your doorbell trying to bring you the Good News.  You can't remember when the last time was you saw that guy standing on the corner speaking in tongues at the top of his lungs.  Suddenly, you realize that some of the most annoying people on Earth...aren't anymore.*

I don't know what all of the rapture-worthy** are going to be doing in Heaven, but at least it'll be fairly peaceful here on Earth for the last few months.
*I regret to inform you that TV Evangelists will still be on the air since none of them believed any of the snake oil they were selling in the first place.

**There's an old joke about St. Peter having a bunch of people in Heaven's Elevator and each time he stops, he announces which denomination that particular floor is for. At one point, he announces, "Folks, I need you to all be really quiet while we pass the 437th floor. That's where we keep the Evangelicals and it would totally ruin their afterlife if they found out anybody else was here."

Monday, May 16, 2011

She's Off To Off The Wizard...Or, A Couple Of Things I Ran Across Today.

First up, is Dorothy: Locked and Loaded, A Collaborative Oz Novel.

(Illustration ganked from Dorothy: Locked and Loaded)

In the words of the creators,
"Dorothy: Locked & Loaded" is the serialized, collaborative novel effort of five writers, each of whom will play a very specific role within the story of the return to Oz of "Dorothy". Only this time, it is not "Dorothy Gale" of the original; it is "Dot", her granddaughter, who grew up listening to the wild and hardly believable tales of her grandmother's adventures in the land of Oz."
Each chapter is written in the first person by a different author playing a different character, so we'll hear from Dot, a Narrator, Scarecrow, Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion.  Toto is a .45 ACP in this retelling, so I imagine he'll speak loudly from time to time.

I've only read a few chapters so far, but I'm having fun with it and I recommend you give it a look-see.

(Not for nothing, but this is essentially the type of thing a bunch of us tried a while back and gave up after a fairly short period of time.  These guys have been at it since May of last year and they've produced 51 chapters!)

Another thing I ran across today (h/t to Strange Maps) is the art of Otto Schade.
This one is called UK Internal Conflicts and I'll steal Strange Maps' description of it as "ribbony".  That's as good as I'd ever come up with, so I won't try.  Anyway, go look at Otto's site.  At the bottom of the linked page, you'll see buttons for navigating to some of his other works.  A lot of them are pretty terrific.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


So, David, a friend from my college days posted this video on FaceBook this morning.

Two things have always gotten me about this song....One; the lyric "There is water at the bottom of the ocean".  Well, duh.  What else would there be.  But I love that line anyway.  It's one of the really trippy thoughts that occurs to you as if it's some kind of epiphany or something.  Trippy as it is, I love it.  It kind of reminds me of a time when the least little thing could come to me as an epiphany.  Two; the lyric "Am I right; Or am I wrong?  My God...what have I done?"

That second line was going to get me ranting about my doubt that that thought ever crosses the mind of many (if any) of the people we elect to office.  I'd be really thankful if I thought more of them stopped for a nanosecond every once in a while just to ask themselves...really the dark even...with no witnesses, "Am I right; Or am I wrong?"

Then three things happened before I started writing this.  First, I went off looking for a live version of the video and realized I like the one posted above better.  Second, I realized that the previous paragraph is just about all the rant I've got in me on that subject at the moment. It speaks for itself or it doesn't.

Third, I realized that even though I've mentioned elsewhere how much I liked the film Stop Making Sense, I can't find any record of ever having talked about it here.  I can watch that film over and over again.  It's really about as great  a concert film as you could want or hope for.

So I found myself watching a bunch of the cuts from the film over on YouTube and I decided to share just a few with you.

First, the movie opens with David Byrne alone on stage with a boombox and an acoustic guitar. 

As the film goes on, Byrne is joined by additional band members. This next song isn't actually one of my favorite Talking Heads songs, but the way it's performed here is just sublime.

Once all of the band is there, they do a great Burning Down The House.

They do a bunch of other songs during the movie and then they end with an absolutely brilliant version of Al Green's Take Me To The River.  Enjoy.  Unfortunately, the only copy of that one has the embedding disabled.  Do yourself a favor and go watch it here.

I Know What You're Thinking.

This commercial for the Dodge Caravan starts out..."I know what you're thinking; leather trimmed command center."  No, that's not what I was thinking.  I was thinking, "When did a driver's seat become a fucking 'command center'?"

Until it has multiple launch capability and robot arms and laser death rays, it's still just a driver's seat.  Thank you Dodge for your kind attention.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just Because Blogger Seems To Be Working Again. Huzzah!

And...just in case you missed it, Fred Flintstone was apparently carjacked and his stripped car has been located on the streets of Brooklyn.  A reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nathan Van Winkle

I have no idea what brought this to mind, but today I was thinking about 10th Grade and Mrs. Brewster's  AP American History class (yes, she was a Mrs. back there in the dark ages of 1976).  She was a terrific teacher and this was one of my favorite classes.  She was also one of my few teachers who didn't make a habit of telling me what better my students my older siblings had been.

Regardless of any of that, I had a habit of falling asleep in her class.  Usually, it was that thing where you nod off and wake yourself up when your chin hits your chest.  No harm, no foul.  One day, however, I really went down for the count.

It turns out Mrs. Brewster had an evil side to her.  I'm still not sure how she pulled this off, but when my class was over, she made everyone leave really quietly.  Then, she met the next class in the hall and warned them to be quiet.  And then, she did it again when that class ended. 

Did she whisper the lessons to those two classes or was I just in a really brief coma?  Who knows?  I just know I woke up two hours later in a room full of people I didn't recognize.  And I had no idea whatsoever where I was supposed to be.

And yes, I had drooled all over my desk.  Teachers fight dirty!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kinda Pathetic, Huh?

I find myself not giving a rat's ass lately.  I'm not sure why, but some things that might have had me fuming not so long ago are merely rating a "Meh" on my meter.

Item The First:

Naturally, the whole bin Laden snuffing has piqued interest in Navy Seals, so a Pennsylvania newspaper put out the word they'd like to interview some ex-Seals if any were interested in coming forward.  So, the Reverend Jim Moats talks to a reporter and gets his story told in the newspaper.  Only, Rev. Moats was never a Seal...he's only let his congregation believe he was for the past however many years.

What Moats didn't count on is that newspapers show up on the internet and the internet is fairly good at calling out frauds.  The fact that he modeled his story after some (bad) movies didn't help him much.  My favorite quote from the story...“The pastor never thought anyone outside of  [his] small community would see that.  He doesn’t understand how the Internet works.” 

And like I said, a story like this would usually get me all frothy, or at least all schadenfreude-y.  Mostly, I end up just feeling sorry for the guy.  What a pathetic putz.

Item The Second:

A couple of Yiddish language "newspapers" (published by and for NY's Hassidic community), got some unwanted attention by publishing that picture of Obama and top aides watching the bin Laden hit.  And since the papers have a policy against publishing pictures of women (lest a reader be driven into a lustful frenzy), they photoshopped out Hilary Clinton and Audrey Tomason.  A lot of people are outraged over this because they feel like it negates and denigrates women.  That may or may not be; it's not what gets me.  The thing that gets me is that printing a knowingly doctored photo in your newspaper is a lie...plain and simple. 

Now I'm not part of that community and I couldn't read the paper if I wanted to (I don't read or understand enough Yiddish), but it seems to me those papers both just ceded any credibility they might have had.  Unfortunately, the people who the papers are aimed at surely miss that point.

So, I could get all outraged and stuff, but...again...Meh.  My outrage will accomplish absolutely nothing.

Item The Third:

You know how people are always talking about their "celebrity sightings" in the wild?  I may have mentioned...I never see anybody famous walking down the street.  Or if I do, I don't notice.  So, on the rare occasion that I do see and notice a famous person, you'd think it could be someone I'd get excited about.  Maybe Bob Dylan?  Bruce Springsteen?  A supermodel?  My karma isn't exactly un-deserving!

I'm sorry, I like the guy's stories and everything, but I'm not likely to drop everything to notify the world that I just saw...
Bill Geist.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Monday

Nothing major to report...just some random stuff.

1.  I ran across this picture this morning and I don't have anything particularly clever to say about it, but, DAYYUMMM, how can you see this picture without sharing it? (Come up with your own captions!)
It's an aardvark that was recently born at Busch Gardens in Florida and abandoned by its mother.

2. I don't have any strong feelings one way or the other about the decision to not publish pictures of bin Laden.  If they'd been published, I'm sure I'd have looked at them...and then regretted looking.  You can't un-see stuff like that.  I also tend to agree that pictures won't convince anyone who's convinced the government is lying about killing him.  After all...

The moon landing was faked:

Obama was born in cave in Kenya or on an alien landing craft or in a secret communist, fascist, nazi, socialist, puppy mill in Brazil:

Michele Bachmann is a crazy automaton who was created by some bored MIT students after a night of heavy drinking:
(That last one might be a poor example.)

3. I ran across this site last night and pasted in my own face (with cigar).  I can giggle at this for hours! (Feel free to post links after you create your own self-abasing versions!)

That's it for the morning but I'm counting on the world to provide more fodder later today.  See you then!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Moviemaking 101*

It's been a little while since I've pulled back the curtain to give you an insider's look behind the scenes of the glamorous world that is The Film Biz.  For those of you considering a career in film,  here is EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about working in Production.

Regardless of what department you choose to work in, a major part of your job will consist of:

-deciding where to park the trucks.
-driving the trucks.
-unloading the trucks.
-supervising the people unloading the trucks.
-idly watching the people unloading the trucks.
-pestering people about why the trucks aren't unloaded yet.
-trying to find a way to make-do with a few less trucks.

It's all about the trucks!

Congratulation!  You are now qualified for an exciting career in moviemaking.
*With apologies for totally stealing part of this from Richard Kadrey.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Well, I guess I have to say something.

*This'll be a bit rambling.  What else is new?

I was watching Celebrity Apprentice last night when I saw the crawl across the bottom of the screen announcing that they'd be cutting into the show for a Presidential Announcement.  I didn't have a clue what the announcement was going to be about but I was convinced it was timed to tweak The Donald. (Sorry, that's just how my mind works.)

There are already people who are convinced that Osama either died years ago in his sleep or that he's still out there.  Either way, they don't believe U.S. Forces killed him yesterday.  Their evidence is the fact that Obama ordered his body dumped at sea. (I'm not going to say "buried" at sea -- it seems too respectful.)  As far as these people are concerned, it's just too convenient that we don't still have a body parade around.  In their honor, I hope you'll join me in coining a new term - Birtherists (along with Birtherism).  The term will describe anyone who takes a death-grip on any theory, no matter how delusional, as long as it reinforces some worldview or result they'd like to see proved.  Whatever facts are provided to disprove their pet theories will be twisted to prove the opposite.  And really -- aren't the Birthers worthy of being memorialized thusly?  Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling may be forgotten, but the term "Quisling" lives on!  Ned Ludd is forgotten, but the "Luddites" are thriving!  Help me make sure the Birthers aren't forgotten by history -- a relic of the early 21st Century.

One of my first thoughts when I heard the news last night (and at least one commentator has said he's "heard" the same thing), is that there was never any order to capture bin Laden; just to kill him.  I don't have any evidence to back this one up, but it makes sense to me.  I can't see where there would have been any real up-side to having given him an opportunity to spew venom and propaganda in an open court and I think he was enough of a "special case" that nobody lost any sleep over the idea of dispensing with "due process".  Some year in the future, I bet I'm proved right.  I don't have any problem with that.

To be honest, while I'm happy he's dead -- and dead because the U.S. killed him -- I can't muster up any of the jubilation I'm seeing.  He's just dead.  End of story. I'm not sure what it achieves other than giving him what he so richly deserved.  I can totally understand jubilation in the unit that got him, in the units that supported the team who got him -- hell, even in the extended military family.  By all reports, this was a masterful operation, carried out almost flawlessly.  I can understand jubilation in the White House -- this has been a major thorn for quite some time and success is worth celebrating.  I suppose, on some level, I can even understand the people out at Ground Zero chanting "USA, USA", even if I can't quite identify with them. 

Last night, on NBC, Andrea Mitchell was talking about how 9/11 has shaped the U.S. and the way we live today -- the heightened security at airports and public buildings among other things -- and I know it wasn't her intention but I got the impression she was describing a "win" for the other side. And most newscasts today have gone on to let us know that this victory will result in a heightened "threat-level".  Don't get me wrong; I'm not belittling the actions of anyone who had anything to do with killing bin Laden, or questioning whether or not it should have been done -- far from it.  But I'm a little less than thrilled with the way we -- meaning the average American -- are reacting to it.  The vast majority of people out there, myself included, didn't do anything to be patting ourselves on the back about.  Hell, most of us, with the military being all volunteer, don't even know anybody in a position to do anything.  In fact, most of us just go on demanding our government provide us inviolable safety.

The people who flew into Pakistan yesterday didn't have any expectation of safety.  In my humble opinion, I won't be terribly comfortable with all of the cheerleading until a lot more people begin, at least emulating the Seal Team that carried out this operation.  Not by picking up a gun or rushing into combat, but by showing a tiny bit of courage in daily life.  I think I'll chant "USA, USA" when we put people on trial for their crimes in the venue where their crimes took place, instead of foisting off trials to safe venues like Guantanamo.  I think I'll chant "USA, USA" when I can go to the gate (without a ticket) to meet a friend's flight.  I think I'll chant "USA, USA" when I can drive onto the Brooklyn Bridge without getting the stink-eye from one of the dozen or so cops on 24-hour duty at every friggin entrance to the bridge.  I think I'll chant "USA, USA" when I can take pictures of anything I want out on the street without having to worry about someone challenging me to prove I'm not planning an attack on something. None of those changes require us to eliminate that actual threat, just a conviction by us to refuse to be defeated by the threat.

For the last ten years, we've allowed people like bin Laden to define the concepts of victory and defeat.  I think it's time we take back that prerogative for ourselves.

That'd be something to cheer about.

*I've tried to go back, edit and organize this, but "rambling" still ends up describing it fairly well.  So be it.  I think most of it's spelled right.