June 2004 Archives


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Mike and I went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 last night. It's a good thing we bought tickets online a week ago: when we got to the theater at 5:45 four of the five evening showings were sold out. Seats were still available for the 11:30pm showing.

What an incredible movie, for the strong emotions it evokes. I'll be honest and say that I didn't think the first half hour (or so) was all that good. Moore tried to cover everything: funding of Dubya's oil company by a member of the Bin Laden family, questionable Harken Energy stock transactions, ties to the Saudi royal family, the Carlyle Group, etc. etc. He touched on all this stuff, and maybe people in the audience who haven't heard of this stuff before will be shocked by it, but I thought it made Moore sound a bit too much like a paranoid conspiracy theorist.

But the movie got better and better. Watching Bush just sit there after being told that America was under attack was amazing. Anybody who sees that scene has to realize how clueless he was. He wasn't just taking a few extra minutes so as not to frighten the children; he was waiting for someone to tell him what to do.

I was stunned by the scenes of the war in Iraq--dead children, crying parents, frightened civilians, and American soldiers listening to that awful music as Baghdad burned. It was particularly effective that the subtitles translated "Allah" as "God". It makes the viewer realize in a way he/she might not have before that we all call on the same God. And then the clip of Rumsfeld talking about the "humanity" of the attacks. I was enraged at Rumsfeld; what a bastard. What a bastard.

There were some great laughs, too. The audience we were part of loved it--we all laughed and applauded quite a few times. The use of humor was very, very effective, because it made the whole movie watchable. Ashcroft losing to a dead candidate, lol.

Most difficult to watch: the mother who lost her son. I felt so much pain, hearing her cry. Before he died she had described her family and other families like hers as "the backbone of America." Indeed. And when I saw her bent over under the weight of her grief as she stood in front of the Whitehouse, I thought, Bush, damn you, you've broken the backbone of America.

Everybody say "Awwwww..."

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Not many things cuter than a warm puppy. Nothing quite like it. Mike started asking for a dog at the age of three, and we promised we'd get him one when he was five, just to buy time. At five he hadn't forgotten, but by that time Mike's dad and I both had long commutes, and there was no possible way we could get a puppy. Years went by. Mike's dad checked out, and I wanted to get Mike a puppy but I still had a 23 mile commute. Then back in April I changed jobs and moved to an office 5.2 miles from home, and now Mike is home for the summer, and while driving in the car together one recent afternoon we said "Let's do it."

Mike wanted a "regular dog" dog--not a frou-frou dog or a yappy little thing. He wanted a big dog. We spent a day reading a book called "Finding the Right Dog For You" and decided on a Labrador retriever. A couple of days searching on the internet led to a four hour drive down to Cedar Hill Retrievers in Halifax, Virginia to pick up a puppy, and here he is!

Saint Anthony the Abbot.

Of course we're just calling him "Saint"; we had to choose a longer name for the AKC registration, or his registered name would have been Saint5314, or something. He's an incredibly mellow little guy. We've had him for a week now, and he already knows "Sit". (Awwwww...) Notice the big feet: he's predicted to weigh in the neighborhood of 85 pounds, fully grown.

This picture was cropped from this one:

so as you can see, Mike waited a long, long time for his puppy.

Pictures of Ireland

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Okay, I said I'd do this a couple of nights ago, so sue me. I finally got Mike to upload a few pictures off his camera and I've added them to the gallery. I'll get the film from my own camera developed eventually and I'll add a few more.

The first is of a beehive hut dwelling out on the Dingle Peninsula, the westernmost tip of Ireland:

I've read that there are more than 400 of these huts in a 3-mile stretch of coast on the Peninsula. We only saw a few of them. We were able to go in a few. I'd say they feel a bit bigger on the inside than they look from the outside. You have to stoop to go through the doorway. It's hard to date these, because the building technique was used as long ago as 3100 BC, and continued to be used to construct storage sheds as late as 1950. Some of the centuries old dwellings survived because the people believed they were occupied by fairies, heh.

After a few days in Dingle we drove up the coast and stopped to see the Cliffs of Moher, an impressive sight:

They may not look all that impressive in this picture, but notice the tiny people standing on the top of the nearest cliff. One amazing thing about these sights in Ireland is that the govmint could not care less about the safety of tourists. Here at the cliffs there are warning signs, but the "fences" (low rock walls) keeping people away from the edges are easily climbed--Mike and I both climbed over them. I laid on my stomach on the edge of a cliff to look over the side and study the grasses growing on the cliff face. It was incredibly cool; birds were circling around below me.

There weren't even any warning signs at Dun Aenghus, the ruins of a 2000 year old Celtic fort perched on a 600-foot-high cliff on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran islands. Mike didn't take any pictures of Dun Aenghus, but I found this one on the net (yeah, that's cheating):

We took a ferry out to the island. We took a lame but fun minibus tour, and our driver thought we'd like to hike up to the highest point on the island, so we did. There wasn't really much to see there, just a lighthouse and a ruin of an old tower:

Inishmore is about 16 square miles and has about 8 thousand miles (I'm not kidding) of rock walls on it. Our driver told us to climb over the walls to get to the lighthouse, but I climbed over a gate in the wall:

(The sweater I'm wearing in this picture was purchased in a gift shop near Dun Aenghus an hour earlier.) Here's a pic of Mike on Inishmore:


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Wow. Six weeks of trying in vain to get assistance from the Movable Type support forum; six weeks of trying in vain to get assistance from Covad, my web host, and I just now figured out the problem. Well, whew, anyway.

Mike and I had a good time in Ireland. This trip was especially cool because Mike is old enough to drink legally there (or in any other country in the world where alcohol is sold, with the single exception of the USA, [sarcasm] thank you Mrs. Dole[/sarcasm]) so we sucked down a lot of Guinness.

We rented a car in Tralee and drove out to the Dingle Peninsula. I was interested in seeing what was left of some of the old monasteries dating back to the eighth century or thereabouts. Places like the Gallarus Oratory, the only intact example of an early church of its type.

We drove up to Galway and took a ferry out to the largest of the Aran Islands, and Mike took some good pics with his digital camera. I'll post more later tonight...

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