Saturday, January 27, 2007

Time to un-pimp ze auto

I love that commercial, it cracks me up to see the German sling the car into the desert with the trebuchet.

In other TV news, I am watching one episode of the original Mission: Impossible series per night. Instead of Mr Phelps, it features Mr Briggs, who is played by the original DA from Law and Order. Upside: Cinnamon, good acting, seemingly unlimited budget for gadgets and travel. Downside: Mr Briggs runs like a girl.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How I Spent New Year's Eve

I had an interesting experience for New Years. I was ordered to “Escort” Duty for the Ford Funeral. The job was to was to accompany VIPs attending the Ford Funeral. Why VIPs needed a military officer to ride along in the car with them while some an enlisted man drove, I don’t know. Someone decided that arrangement was part of the protocol, so mine was not to question why instead but to do and then sit around for the rest of my 12 hour shift. It turns out that when an appointed president dies over the New Year’s holiday, not a lot of VIPs are willing to fly into Washington between 1900 and 07. So, I had a couple of days of sitting around the command center in the bowling alley on one of the bases in the DC area. On New Year’s Eve, the dispatcher got word that the Ford Family wanted escorts to be posted closer to where they were staying at the Blair House. So, each of the services pulling the 19-7 shift had to give up one body to go over there. Since the duty meant changing out of camis into service alphas, the most uncomfortable uniform in the seabag, the other officer and I flipped a coin to see who would have to suck it up and head over there. I lost.

Turned out to be the best coin flip I ever lost. I changed into my alphas, checked out my car, got assigned a driver, and headed over to the Blair House. The Blair House is directly across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, which means that it is on that part of the street that has been closed to traffic. That makes it a little difficult to find if you are driving around looking for it in the dark. After stopping to ask a K-9 Police Officer, we eventually found it. Once we got in, the manager of the house posted us in the protocol office. While in there, all the members of the Ford Family came in, and introduced themselves to us. Later, the butler brought us all dinner, which we ate, sitting at the desks in there.

After that, the Fords all headed to bed around 2200. At that point, the manager gave us me a tour of the bottom floor. I knew that a lot of history had happened at the Blair House. Lincoln liked to spend afternoons there, getting away from the heat. The couch he sat on is there, as is the mantle above the fireplace where he rested his heels. The marks of boots are still there. Truman used Blair House as his office while the White House was being renovated. There are still bullet holes in the foyer where the Secret Service fought off an assassination attempt by Puerto Rican nationals. The table where he conducted his cabinet meetings is still there, each seat with a cushion embroidered by a cabinet member’s wife.

The reason the manager gave me the tour is because I asked him where Truman’s office was while he lived there. The manager took me to a little room that is now furnished like a little sitting room with a couch and chairs and a couple of tables. Truman brought a mantle over from the White House so that a little part of if would be there with him. That room is where the buck stopped. However, there is no desk in the room. So I asked the manager where that desk is now, since he had already mentioned that none of the furniture had been removed from the premises. He said: “We put it in the protocol office.” I stared at him, agog.

“We ate dinner off the desk where the buck stopped?” I asked.


How did you spend you New Year’s Eve?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A couple of thoughts

Article about baby selection

Who, besides Althouse and Reynolds, said this is anything about Nazis? Reading a criticism about eugenics and seeing it as a comparison specifically to Nazi policy is evidence that you are uncomfortable with your own position. Eugenics was coined as a neutral term; it is now a pejorative because of what the believers in it have wrought.

Sure, some of the people who object to this clinical selection of genetic material also oppose abortion. But, as Gerry pointed out, it is dishonest to conflate the positions. Argue against the specific objections to the idea. Since you are comfortable with the ride all the way down the slippery slope, are you sanguine with the idea of a woman unable to bear the child being able to recruit a woman with a healthy womb to carry the fertilized egg? Or to paying that woman? Or to allowing the fertility clinic to recruit and pay the women with the healthy wombs to carry the selected eggs? Or to government (federal state or local) subsidizing such an arrangement as a part of Medicare?

I know, I know, farfetched, would never happen, impossible to consider...but then, when I was in high school in the early 80's, so was the idea that gays would be allowed to marry. At this point, I am un-reassureable.