Hasty Ruminations

Speaking out, to remove all doubt. http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Wording me softly

From an AP news story:

"The family of former professional football player Pat Tillman says the Army disrespected his memory by lying in its investigation of his death in Afghanistan last year."

I sympathize with the Tillman family. But I take issue with AP and the editors who think that anyone can take any noun and make it into a verb, without so much as a "by your leave" or "if you please".

When I speak ill of someone, I show him disrespect; I am disrespectful; or I treat him disrespectfully. I do NOT "disrespect" him, because that just ain't a word.

If AP continues to word me to distraction, I will show them disrespect.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Junior Enlisted Bear the Brunt of Abu Ghraib

According to news reports, Specialist Sabrina Harman was a model soldier whose previous service in Iraq made things better for both Iraqis and allies. She tearfully apologized for her role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, saying she failed in her duties and took full responsibility for her actions. She was tripped up by terrible leadership from senior enlisted non-commissioned officers, and from commissioned officers, throughout her time at Abu Ghraib.

She was just sentenced to six months in prison for mistreating detainees. She will be demoted to private, and discharged after prison with something that will haunt her forever: a bad conduct discharge.

Meanwhile, the Commanding General was busted to Colonel and will be allowed to retire, with pay and allowances. Nothing will happen to the Major who was in charge of operations, or to any of the other commissioned officers. That is, to those responsible.

Is this justice?

Another item for Rumsfeld's memoir. But that isn't enough: I am disgusted, and ashamed, as a former Navy officer and as an American, of the way we are treating these junior people.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Pass the Darwin Awards, Please

It is widely reported on May 17 that a man died recently after jumping from Paris’s Eiffel Tower. A 31 year old Norwegian entered the tower with a hidden parachute and a helmet with a small video camera attached, apparently for a secret publicity shoot for some clothing. He jumped from the tower's 380 foot high second deck, but his parachute got caught on the tower and tore off.

That didn’t even slow him down. He fell about 200 feet to the first deck of the tower, where he stopped falling. Suddenly. No word on the condition of the camera.

Somehow, the human gene pool feels ... cleaner today.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek To The Toilet

Newsweek now "apologizes" that its sensational, infamous story about U.S. military people putting the Koran in the toilet in Guantanamo was not true.

It amounts to "Never mind", after causing riots, death and promises of a jihad.

There can be only one response: Newsweek To The Toilets. Every week.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Report: FAA to punish pilot who violated airspace

(Thanks to the AP): The government is pledging to take serious action against the pilot whose small plane strayed over Washington last week, leading to the panicked evacuations of the White House, the Capitol and the Supreme Court, a newspaper reported Saturday.

"Any enforcement action we might take is not done lightly," said Greg Martin from the Federal Aviation Administration. The pilot and student took off from Pennsylvania to go to an air show in North Carolina. Their plane entered restricted airspace and then continued flying toward highly sensitive areas, prompting evacuations of tens of thousands of people as military aircraft scrambled to intercept it. Alert levels at the White House and the Capitol were raised to their highest level -- red.

Customs officials had scrambled a Black Hawk helicopter, which peeled away when two F-16 fighter jets arrived at the scene. The jets dipped their wings -- a pilot's signal to "follow me" -- and tried to contact the pilot on the radio. When the Cessna didn't change course, the jet pilots dropped flares.

Finally, when the Cessna came within three miles of the White House -- just a few minutes flying time -- it altered course. (At that time, I hear that Osama and Zarkauwi had to turn off CNN, because their sides ached too much from laughing so hard.) (In their cave.)

After landing in Frederick, the pilot and student pilot were handcuffed and questioned before being released. Authorities said the two had become lost.


The punishment? They may ground the pilot, and make him x-ray the baggage at Gate 3 at Dulles for a long, long time.

Saint John Paul II

Since the new Pope waived the five year waiting period to start the sainthood process for Pope John Paul II, lots of folks have said, "Cool! Maybe he will be a saint before the Fourth of July."

Not so fast, says the Cardinal in charge of it. "It's a wonderful gesture," said Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He is the bureaucrat in charge of the rigorous procedures which, he noted, include reviewing writings of the late pope and interviewing those who knew him. Then, for beatification, a miracle, attributed to John Paul's intercession after his death, must then be declared authentic after a Vatican-appointed panel of medical experts rule out any worldly explanation for the healing. A second miracle, attributed to John Paul's intercession after his beatification, would then be required to qualify for canonization, or conferring of sainthood. "Each cause has a history of its own," the cardinal sighed, declining to say how long it would take. Years and years, I guess.

Monsignor Gianfranco Bella, the official who is responsible for starting John Paul's beatification cause, said Friday that gathering documents and contacting witnesses hadn't yet begun but he hoped to start it "as soon as possible." Maybe in a year, I guess

But don't be surprised if you hear that the new Pope suddenly wants the Church to reach out to one of the tiny islands in Micronesia, and he bought two plane tickets for his first envoys on their six-year mission: Martins and Bella.

Army Forces Command

Reading the mishmash about base closings led to an article that explained that the U.S. Army Forces Command is the largest, grandest Army command in the known universe. So, I popped on over and sure enough, it's huge. Fort MacPherson, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb all by itself. The General in charge is General Dan McNeill. Not Daniel, just Dan. So I read his bio. I think they picked him because McNeill sound like MacPherson, so it's easy to remember. "Who's that guy at MacPherson? McNeill." "Where's McNeill? MacPherson." (Pity the poor guy whose name rhymes with Toledo, or Iceland, or Nairobi.)

Check it out:


At first, I thought someone just snapped his official picture while he came back to the office for a pack of cigarettes from a campout. (So-jers like to go on overnight campouts with the boys.) "Hey, Dan, sit inna chair while I snaps your picture." Since they published it for the galaxy to see how down home and informal the general is, I'm sure the guys are all on a first name basis with Dan (not Daniel).

My second thought is that the base closures are coming none too soon. I mean, here's a four star general who cannot afford the hat, the tie, and the fancy uniform that generals always wear. Heck, the Battle of Gettysburg Day One was delayed until the generals got all suited up. Dan couldn't even borrow a white T-shirt for the picture.

Couldn't Rumsfield find some retired general's coat to loan to Dan?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

M. Jackson Appears In Court... Sort Of

Michael Jackson finally had the chance to defend himself in court - not from the witness stand (where he could be cross examined) but in videotaped out takes of interviews he gave. He described his troubled childhood, denied being ''weird,'' and explained that he loves children for their innocence and would never harm them.

''I'm not a nut,'' Jackson said in one interview. ''I'm very smart. You can't come this far and be a nut.''


Well, that certainly puts MY mind at ease!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Grenade Found Where Bush Spoke

Agents are checking reports that a hand grenade was thrown within 100 feet of where President Bush made his speech in the country of Georgia.

We have heard that Russian President Vlad “The Impaler” Putin, formerly a senior spy in the KGB, was upset that Bush made a friendly visit to Georgia after the “We Beat The Nazis” Red Army parade in Moscow. Putin doesn’t like Georgia – neither the former Red Republic, nor the home of Jimmy Carter.

Apparently the grenade was from the former Soviet Union. It was a dud.

We hear that the Russians want it back.

They think they can fix it. For next time.

Monday, May 09, 2005

REALLY Laughing Out Loud

This is a great one from Silver Fox, another of my Left Coast friends.

Actual Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays:
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling west at 55 mph, the other fromTopeka at 4:19 p.m. traveling east at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Grand pappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame...maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
28. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Time to Laugh Out Loud

Thanks to my aunt, Gloria!

Once upon a time, there lived a woman who had a maddening passion for baked beans. She loved them but unfortunately, they had always had a very embarrassing and somewhat lively reaction to her.

Then one day she met a man and fell in love. When it became apparent that they would marry she thought to herself, "He is such a sweet and gentle man, he would never go for this carrying on." She made the supreme sacrifice and gave up beans.

Some months later her car broke down on the way home from work, since she lived in the country she called her husband and told him that she would be late because she had to walk home.

On her way, she passed a small diner and the odor of the baked beans was more than she could stand. Since she still had miles to walk, she figured that she would walk off any ill effects by the time she reached home. So, she stopped at the diner and before she knew it, she had consumed 3 large orders of baked beans. All the way home she putt-putted, and upon arriving home she felt reasonably sure she could control it.

Her husband seemed excited to see her and exclaimed delightedly, "Darling, I have a surprise for dinner tonight." He then blindfolded her and led her to her chair at the table.

She seated herself and just as he was about to remove the blindfold from his wife, the telephone rang. He made her promise not to touch the blindfold until he returned. He then went to answer the telephone.

The baked beans she had consumed were still affecting her and the pressure was becoming almost unbearable, so while her husband was out of the room she seized the opportunity, shifted her weight to one leg and let it go. It was not only loud, it smelled like a fertilizer truck running over a skunk in front of a pulpwood mill. She took her napkin and fanned the air around her vigorously. Then she shifted to the other cheek and ripped three more, which reminded her of cooked cabbage. Keeping her ears tuned to the conversation in the other room, she went on like this for another ten minutes.

When the phone farewells signaled the end of her freedom, she fanned the air a few more times with her napkin, placed it on her lap and folded her hands upon it, smiling contentedly to herself.

She was the picture of innocence when her husband returned, apologizing for taking so long, he asked her if she peeked, and she assured him that she had not. At this point, he removed the blindfold, and she was surprised!

There were twelve dinner guests seated around the table to wish her a "Happy Birthday"!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Headline Confusion

I should wake up before reading headlines like this:

Bush Plan Steers Benefits To Poor

So I say, "Sure the poor are hungry; but how can a poor person handle a whole steer?"