Wednesday, September 27, 2006


If you're married to a woman who has caught a parasitic infection (from a child drinking contaminated swimming pool water), and who has had quite dramatic intestinal problems and no real sleep or food for four days, all while trying to nurse a 4-month-old and take care of a 21-month-old and a 4-year-old. . .

don't point out that "on the bright side" she's lost most of the rest of that pesky pregnancy weight.


Canada is conducting a horribly long-overdue inquiry into the 1985 Air India Flight 182 terrorist atrocity. Sikh separatists planted a bomb on a 747 airliner bound from Canada via London to Dehli, India. The bomb exploded when the airliner was just off the coast of Ireland, and all 329 people on board died. The great majority of them were Canadian citizens of Indian heritage. 82 of the dead were children. It was the worst terrorist attack involving an airliner up until 9/11.

The story of Flight 182 is an unbearably unhappy one. Evil men slaughtered innocents wholesale and devastated the lives of many more family members. Even among the good guys there are few heroes. The atrocity was the culmination of massive intelligence, law enforcement, and airline failures. Attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice were decades overdue and wholly ineffectual. The case well illustrates that the law enforcement model is just not the way to address terrorists. Terrorists are at war with us, and the only way to deal with them is to be at war with them, with a maximum of "due" and a minimum of "process."

The inquiry started Tuesday fittingly with the testimony of those who lost loved ones. It was impossible to watch and not cry along with the victims over the losses suffered 21 years ago. I guess pain that great is forever raw.

But there have been a few uplifting moments. Yesterday a witness named Susheel Gupta (scroll down) testified. In 1985 Sush was a 12-year-old boy whose mother was on Flight 182 on a trip to visit relatives back in India. A couple of days after the bombing, Air India chartered a plane to take family members of the dead to Cork, Ireland, where bodies recovered from the Atlantic were being accounted for as much as possible. Sush remembered the Irish this way:

The first day in Ireland was spent just sitting at our hotel or walking around the town. Everyone knew who we were, being brown, we certainly stuck out. I didn't understand why when we were walking around, everyone came up to us to hug both me and my father, offer me candy, shop owners came out of their stores and welcomed us. On one particular occasion, it started to drizzle, then rain. Not something unusual in Ireland. Neither my father nor I had a raincoat. As we were walking a group of three Irish came up to us, greeted us, were crying as they hugged us and then took off their own raincoats and handed one to my father as another individual put his jacket on me, buttoned it up and, pulled the hood over my head and told me to "keep the jacket done up or you are going to catch a cold". My father thanked them and we walked along. Further on a nice woman or elderly gentleman walked up to us and begged us to follow him to his home for some tea and soup "to warm us up". We did. While my father had the tea that was offered, I was given a glass of Coke and more cookies than any kid could dream of. Something my parents would never have allowed me to have.

I wish I knew the names of who these wonderful Irish citizens were, but they will hold a place in my heart forever. It is a strange thing to say, but if there is any place in the world where my mother could have been murdered, I am happy it was in Ireland. The generosity and kindness we received was something I have never experienced anywhere else in the world.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


A passage from a book I'm reading right now:
On the first tee Clem said that he had read that golf was like the Catholic Church, full of rules that no one obeys, and characterized by equal amounts of devotion, shame, guilt, and the firm belief that it would be ruined if women were allowed full membership.


The five year old, thwarted in her guinea pig dreams, recently took pet matters in her own hands and bought some sea monkeys. We couldn't really prevent it, though we wanted to. She used her own hard-earned (primarily via tooth loss) cash stash.

But, as predicted, we've ended up being the ones responsible for feeding them and generally keeping them alive. Not that it's that hard, as it turns out. Although the Warrior Monk assured me that his childhood sea monkeys lived only a few days, ours seem to be thriving. I'm alarmed to learn they can grow to be 3/4 of an inch long. What do you do with them then? I've scoured the official web site and I see no reference to eating them, even though they are (a species of brine) shrimp.

And, even if they were edible, the five year old would probably notice and object. Every few days, she checks them out and coos "they're so cute!" Clearly, she has a low standard for pet attractiveness.

So we bought a Roomba. She thinks it's cute too and, so far, is actually cleaning up her room before letting it loose so it doesn't choke on one of her toys.

I feel brilliant.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Not that I really keep up on conspiracy theories, but this was a new one to me: native (2/3 of Spitbull is based in the Twin Cities) son/celeb Josh Hartnett recently let loose with this brainwave about the fatal 2002 plane crash of Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone:
"It didn't make any sense," Hartnett muses to GQ. "It still doesn't make any sense." President Bush "made something like eight or ten visits to Minneapolis" to support Wellstone's opponent, Norm Coleman. "It was really, really suspicious, but I don't even want to think that."
Yep. That Bush. Too dumb to take out Osama bin Laden, even with the help of the entire civilized world. But crafty enough to secretly assassinate his real enemy: a democratic candidate campaigning for re-election, without anyone (except a 23 year old celebrity) figuring it out.

Friday, September 15, 2006


So, the Pope’s in trouble for a speech he gave in Germany:

Benedict quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

You might think that adherents of a religion so much in the news for suicide bombings, stabbings, beheadings, and (maybe on an especially merciful day) forced conversions at gunpoint of us infidels might acknowledge at least a grain of truth in what the Pope said.

Instead, here is Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, setting a record for unintentional irony at which future foreign ministry spokespersons will shoot in vain:

"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence."

Saturday, September 09, 2006


The list of Islamic no-no's gets longer every day. Today's addition, in Saudi Arabia: cat and dog purchases.
"One bad habit spreading among our youths is the acquisition of dogs and showing them off in the streets and malls," wrote Aleetha al-Jihani in a letter to Al-Madina newspaper. "There's no doubt that such a matter makes one shudder."

"Then what's the point of dragging a dog behind you?" he added. "This is blind emulation of the infidels."

* * *
The ban distressed cat and dog lovers. Some have wondered why the religious police are focusing on this issue when the country has far more important challenges, such as terrorism and unemployment.
'Ya think?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Buddy Holly would have been 70 today. He didn't make it to age 23, but oh man he made some great music in that short time. (Nice Wikipedia bio here.)

My wife and I are huge fans. Five years ago we were driving across country and made a point to stop at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas. We spent more time there than at the Grand Canyon.

Not taking anything away from Elvis, but Buddy Holly was the real prototype rocker. He wrote his own songs, played lead guitar, and sang up front. The next generation (e.g. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Keith Richards) idolized him. The Crickets had a crack rhythm section too. (Jerry Allison positively invented the "cool drummer" thing. You have to see him on the old Ed Sullivan Show clips.)

This is the utimate collection. Here's an excellent tribute CD (apparently out of print). I liked this biography very much too.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Last week Learned Foot speculated (not unreasonably, we admit) that Chad's over-hyped "disturbing development" could be news that:
Spitbull squeezed out of Northern Alliance in binding share exchange; nobody notices.
Today, local alternative paper City Pages named Spitbull Minnesota Blog of the Day.

Spitbull: the elusive swing blog. Now, where's our pork?