Friday, June 27, 2003

Mayhem in the Mideast
Another great "What do you Think?" From THE ONION

A funny article Burundi Beef Council

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Interesting Stats from Harpers Magazine, plus my comments

Amount of new U.S. military aid promised Israel in April to offset the "burdens" of the U.S. war on Iraq : $1,000,000,000
Don't complain about Turkey wanting some cash. Turkey got screwed since the first Gulf War. Sanctions on Iraq and Iraqi oil pipelines that go through bordering nation Turkey have hurt Turkeys economy, plus they got stuck with refugees.

Percentage unemployment in Palestine, West Virginia, the hometown of former POW Pfc. Jessica Lynch : 15
Ouch, she is lucky Uncle Sam was still hiring.

Portion of sales of its "Impeach Bush French Fries" that a California café will donate to an impeachment campaign : 1⁄10
This one is included because it made me laugh. Could this be the start of a new trend of renaming french fries to all sort of things? How about "PAUL is the Coolest French Fries"

Minimum number of times that actor Martin Sheen has been arrested in political protests : 60
WOW, whatever happened to three strikes your out?

Amount Canada spent last summer to keep bears away from the G-8 summit : $31,427
Another one that made me chuckle. Canada's got major security problems involving the G-8.

Ratio of the top weekly fee paid a Munchkin in 1939's The Wizard of Oz to the weekly fee paid for Toto : 4:5
These are getting funnier and funnier.

Chance that a U.S. senior citizen reports having skipped medications or not filled prescriptions because of cost : 1 in 5
There's a special tour bus that seniors take to Cananda just to buy drugs. Unfortunately it's only convenient if you live near Canada.

Percentage of male U.S. drivers who "often" or "sometimes" steer with their legs : 12
I am part of this exclusive group!!

Amount the U.S. Air Force spent on a "nostalgic juke box" for a base in Saudi Arabia in the last two years : $14,835
Amount it spent on cowboy hats : $4,896

How many cowboy hats and for what purpose?
One juke box over two years? I don't get it, was there maintenance cost? Did they keep spending money to upgrade the music selection?

The Full List

I am a member of this great DVD rental club. You rent the DVDs online and they mail them to you. You can keep them as long as you want and when you are done you send them back in a prepaid postage envelope DVD Barn provides. You pay NO postage. NO late fees. It's cheaper than going to the local video store. They have thousands of titles to choose from and it's in a very user friendly format.

I have tried NetFlix and I like DVDbarn better. DVDBarn lets you claim your movies as returned before they get them back in the mail. That way they will send you your next DVD rentals sooner.
DVDBarn also has X-Box, PS2 and Gamecube games for rent.

I'm sorry if this sounds like a sales pitch but it sort of is. DVDbarn will give me $10 for everyone I refer. I wouldn't reccomend joining if I didn't think it was well worth it though. If you like renting movies then I highly recommend trying this service.

There are different monthly price plans to sign up for depending on how many movies and games you want in a month. You can quit at any time.
To learn more go here DVD BARN

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Urban Myth or Real. You decide. On 9-11-01 A New York City Starbucks charged rescue workers $130 for three cases of water.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Gonna miss that view
I have moved yet again, this time from the Hudson to the East River. Farewell Jersey City Newport Apartment I will miss you and the beautiful and relaxing area I lived in. I am excited about moving back to Manhattan but I will definately miss the most breathtakingly beautiful view of the Manhattan Skyline, Hudson River and George Washington Bridge I had the privelage of seeing out my bedroom and living room windows.
Hello, Tudor City apartment. My new apartments proximity to the UN will be a key advantage in my grand plan. Soon the UN will be under my control and next the WORLD. Everything is falling into place as I have foreseen. Muuuuuahahaahahaaaahahaahaaaa....

Friday, June 20, 2003

Why don't we care about the WMD?
Interesting article about psychology of the masses. View the advertisement to read the entire article.

Here is a comment I put on Spot On an excellent blog. I answered a question from Karol, that I have been answering a lot lately. I acutally copied and pasted this from past times I have discussed this (but not the intro, that is new).

If i were to get an anonomyous tip that Richard Gere stuck gerbils up his ass. This tip came with a picture of richard gere buying a gerbil at a pet store. To me this is very shaky, unreliable evidence. There could be many reasons Richard Gere was buying a gerbil that have nothing to do with putting it up his ass.
Now if I were to announce to the world I had evidence proving for certain Richard Gere stuck gerbils up his ass, I would be being intellectually dishonest. Even if it later turned out to be true and Richard Gere does indeed stick Gerbils up his ass, I am still dishonest for using my faulty evidence as truth.
For me the point of questioning the evidence used by the Bush administration is not to say the war was unjustified. We are justified either way because Saddam did not prove he eliminated them like he claimed he did.
But I do question if Bush knowingly presented shaky, unreliable, debunked evidence as fact and absolute certainty to promote the war. If he did that is intellectual dishonesty and in matters so grave as attacking another country it can be scandalous.
If the Bush administration presented their case that Iraq had WMD and an active WMD program to the public and congress in a misleading way then finding WMD in Iraq will NOT vindicate the Bush administration.
I hope if there are weapons they are found, it will vindicate America and our allies in this war.
I hope Bush did not manipulate and mislead Congress, the American public and the world about the quality and certainty of the intelligence and evidence that Iraq had WMD. I hope their is classified evidence we have not seen that will vindicate Bush.
So far the evidence the administration has used has been debunked or deemed unreliable.

Other's can do the Caring
The problems are relative. In African Famine terms what is happening in Iraq is no way a humanitarian disaster.
Iraqi's are a bit peeved because their lives are more difficult since the war started but what should they expect their country just went through a war. No electricity, No water, No trash pickup, yea it's stuff to complain about but it's not a humanitarian disaster. The USA is not a miracle worker. Could America do better? probably but nobody does everything perfect every time.
Things aren't a disaster in Iraq some make it out to be, yet things aren't as great as others make it out to be.

Brooklyn Bridge Terror Plot Uncovered
Al Qaeda man planning attack captured. It's very scary to wonder what the next target to be hit will be.

Florida Gator Kills Boy
I was always freaked out about swimming in lakes, rivers and ponds in Florida because of the alligators. Alligators don't normally attack or eat people but if they did, given the number of alligators and thier proximity to humans then we would hear stories like this daily and alligators would get exterminated. It's the rare alligator that is different that I am afraid of.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Satire from The Onion
U.S. Refuses To Allow U.N. Weapons Inspectors Back Into Iraq
BAGHDAD, IRAQ—For the third time in as many weeks, U.S. officials denied U.N. weapons inspectors' request to reenter Iraq. "Thanks so much for the offer, but we can handle it from here," Lt. Gen. William Wallace told U.N. chief inspector Hans Blix. "We're getting very close to finding Saddam's massive WMD stockpile, and to have the U.N. get involved at this point would just complicate matters. Sorry." U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has given President Bush a June 28 deadline to let inspectors into Iraq.

My favorite is second from last.

Deficit swells to record $136.1 billion
This can't be good.
The buck stop where?
Clinton inherited the largest nominal deficit in history and manages to balance the budget for the first time in 30 years. Bush inherits a budget surplus and in less than a full term manages to create a record budget deficits. So much for the Republican claim of being more fiscally responsible.

And the Friendliest City on Earth Is...
LONDON (Reuters) - It's crowded and dangerous but Rio de Janeiro is the friendliest city in the world, followed by San Jose in Costa Rica and Madrid, according to a new study.
Residents in Kuala Lumpur, New York, Singapore and Amsterdam are the least likely to help strangers in need, which made theirs the least friendly cities in a survey of 23 countries.
"It all comes down to simpatico, a Brazilian word that describes a person who possesses certain qualities such as friendliness and openness," New Scientist said Wednesday.
According to a six-year study by Robert Levine of California State University at Fresno and a group of social psychologists, Brazilians have simpatico in spades which is why Rio topped their list.
When the researchers conducted tests of the willingness of residents to help strangers, they found that Latin American cities, where social relationships are highly valued, came out on top.
Many of the poorest and least stable cities were the friendliest while people in overcrowded, fast paced ones were less likely to help strangers.
"This suggests environment has a greater influence than ethnicity or cultural background," the magazine said.
The findings also support the "stimulus overload" theory of social psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1970s who suggested that people in crowded environments cope by ignoring emergency situations and depersonalizing strangers, it added.

Here is another Article that explains the study in more detail.
New Yorkers made verbal attempts to help and I think that should count as being friendly and helpful but it's not counted in this study.
New Yorkers don't have Simpatico :(.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

What's wrong with America?
I watched the movie Bowlinig For Columbine and found it to be very thought provoking. The central question asked during the movie was why does America have so much gun violence? I left the movie still wondering. The only answer I have is that their is no single answer. There is so many things wrong with American society and culture, American civilization is messed up and too many of us can't be trusted to responsibly have a gun. (watch day time talk shows to know what i'm saying).
I don't have a problem with a country that loves guns and is gun crazy but
Statistics don't lie: Americans with guns = A lot of gun violence.
Canadians, love guns and they have tons of guns yet they don't have the gun violence. WHY?

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Britain moves to end 'last call' at pubs
Good or Bad idea?

Monday, June 16, 2003

Metallica Still Mad at Napster Clones
(Cyberspace-AP) -- With all Metallica went through with Napster, do you really think they're going to put tracks from their new "St. Anger" album on song-swapping sites?
Fans who try to download new Metallica tracks from peer-to-peer networks might find rather than getting Metallica, they've gotten incomplete tracks or, worse yet, John Denver songs.
Madonna did something similar when her "American Life" album was released, except fans who tried to download it got a track of Madonna swearing at them.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

The Record Companies and apparently some musicians are trying to fight back against MP3 file sharing. There are some companies who specialize in flooding file sharing sites with bogus versions of songs. Out of 500 songs I have downloaded it has happened to me once. Interspersed throughout the song was the telephone error beep you get when the recording comes on and tells you the number you have dialed has been disconnected. I never thought Metallica would take this up as a cause. From watching MTV cribbs I don't think these musicians have much to whine about. It's all about greed. I would be embarrassed to be a member of Metallica. The music industry and musicians have to adapt with the times and face the fact that they might lose some record sales to file sharing. There are so many other ways to make money they need to focus on like concerts, endorsements, promotions, private shows, TV-movies. Free file sharing will lead to a fan base some bands may never have acheived and with that comes popularity and name recognition. After that there will be plenty of ways to make the green.
Pearl Jam on the other hand picked a great fight, the battle with Ticket Master and the amount they charge.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

TV shows and movies with great cast of characters.
A list of shows whose characters add to the quality of a show. To qualify the show has to have atleast 4 characters that make the show great.
TV - Seinfeld, Cheers, Scrubs, The Simpsons.
MOVIES - A Few Good Men, Star Wars, Top Gun,.
I am too tired and out of it to think of more right now. Add your own in the comments. It's fun!!

Friday, June 13, 2003


Patriotism classes dropped in Iraq now classes are teaching History.
Nationwide brainwashing of the youth of Iraq. Big Brother himself couldn't have done it better.

Mony Python Bush, Blair parody
Funny Funny Funny

Thursday, June 12, 2003

What Do You Think
Partial Birth Abortian Ban. Satire from THE ONION.
"This should kickstart the economy." Is my Favorite.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

N.J. woman fined for crude comment on check
I have often wanted to do that very thing but didn't have the guts. Da System is way over-stepping its bound for fining her for writing a comment on a check. REVOLUTION!!!!!

Statement of Senator Jeffords, Second Anniversary of Decision to Leave the GOP Yet the reasons for my switch, while apparent to me then, have become painfully clear to me now. The events of the past two years have only heightened my concern over the President's veer to the right, and the poisoning of our democratic process of government.

Jeffords not only switches parties he now has a scathing assessment of President Bush.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Reports of Cannabalism in North Korea
Yikes, and I just did a post complaining about eating meat. Looks like they are eating a special meat over there. The North Korean Leader has to stop spending millions of expensive liquer and start feeding his strarving people.
He also has to stop spending millions on his million strong military and start spending to feed his people.
Nobody going to invade your sorry ass country buddy, so stop saying you need your big military or nukes to defend yourself.
Who would want to invade a pathetically backward place like North Korea? That's like buying a lemon at a used car lot or buying a money pit for a new house. If I was going to invade a country I would pick something descent and easy to take over... France would do.

But I like eating meat....
I was at a concert on Saturday at Giant Stadium it was cold and rainy. When I went inside the stadium concourse to take shelter and eat I walked by a vegan anti-meat information booth. I had just finished stuffing the last of an Italian sausage into my mouth and stopped at the booth. They had a video of a slaughter house. It was very nasty and detestable footage of how the animals are treated.
I like eating meat and it's a natural part of the human diet yet I hate the way animals are treated in the mass production food industry. I would not become vegetarian for the sake of being vegetarian but because I don't like how animals I eat are treated. I want the meat industry to change to improve the quality of life for the animal. I want to eat meat without any guilty conscious that the animal I am eating lived a tortured hell on earth life before it was painfully slaughtered.
My mom is always telling me to eat less meat because itoo much meat is bad for your health. I think I am going to listen to her and eat less meat. Maybe if enough people stop or eat less meat the meat industry will reform and treat the animals better.

Monday, June 09, 2003

I found a Presidential Candidate that I might like. Up until now I wasn't thrilled about voting for anyone. This guy has caught my eye.
John Edwards for President

I haven't deciding who I want to vote for yet but now this guy is in the running.

WMD fraud an impeachable offense?

Dig into that question

Finally, I explained to the students that the political risk was so great that, to me, it was inconceivable that Bush would make these statements if he didn't have damn solid intelligence to back him up. Presidents do not stick their necks out only to have them chopped off by political opponents on an issue as important as this, and if there was any doubt, I suggested, Bush's political advisers would be telling him to hedge. Rather than stating a matter as fact, he would be say: "I have been advised," or "Our intelligence reports strongly suggest," or some such similar hedge. But Bush had not done so......

It's important to recall that when Richard Nixon resigned, he was about to be impeached by the House of Representatives for misusing the CIA and FBI. After Watergate, all presidents are on notice that manipulating or misusing any agency of the executive branch improperly is a serious abuse of presidential power.

Nixon claimed that his misuses of the federal agencies for his political purposes were in the interest of national security. The same kind of thinking might lead a President to manipulate and misuse national security agencies or their intelligence to create a phony reason to lead the nation into a politically desirable war. Let us hope that is not the case.

In this article the Members of the Bush adminstration defend use of intelligence.

C. Rice:
"There's a very large body of evidence here that connects together to paint a picture of a very dangerous regime with very dangerous weapons that had deceived the world for 12 years, that had allowed international sanctions to stay on, rather than come clean about what it was doing," she said.

If the Bush administration presented their case that Iraq had WMD and an active WMD program to the public in a misleading way then finding WMD in Iraq will NOT vindicate the Bush administration.

I hope if there are weapons they are found, it will vindicate America and our allies in this war.
I hope Bush did not manipulate and mislead Congress, the American public and the world about the quality and certainty of the intelligence and evidence that Iraq had WMD. I hope their is classified evidence we have not seen that will vindicate Bush.
So far the evidence the administration has used has been debunked or deemed unreliable.

Sunday, June 08, 2003


I watched in incredibly heart wrenching documentary about the Rwandan genocide on the Independent Film Channel. I know myself and many others sometimes like to bash the UN but I have learned its an unfair generalization to bash the UN in its entirety. The power and buerocracy of the UN exists on multiple levels.
1. Field workers, military forces and support staff.
2. The professionel UN buerocracy
3. member nations/security council

The Commander of UN forces peace keeping operation in Rwanda was a Candadian by the name of Romeo Dallaire. This extrodinary man is one of the most courageous, honarable and moral men I have ever witnessed. When he arrived in Rwanda he told his UN superiors he needed 5,000 troops for the peace keeping operation. Kofi Annan requested 5,000 Candadian Troops that had the most experience for this kind of mission. The Canadian government refused. Instead member nations only caughed up a hodge podge of 2,500 badly equiped troops from 27 different nations.

Remember that the Rwanda peacekeeping mission happened after the failed peacekeeping mission in Somalia where American soldiers had been killed and dragged through the streets. The Non-African world had lost it's appetite for peace keeping.

The Canadian General knew that a genocide was being planned. He knew of a large illegal arms catch inside the city. He told (not requested) his superiors he was going to raid the arms catch and sieze the weapons (guns and thousands of machettes). The UN higher ups ordered him not too.

After the genocide began thousands of Tutsis took refuge behind a Belguim peacekeeping force. The Belgium government withdrew their forces from Rwanda and let thousands who begged for protection be massacred.

Instead of sending more forces to Rwanda the UN led by the United States decided to pull out of Rwanda. The Canadian General and his forces were ordered to leave Rwanda. The Canadian General along with 500 troops from Ghana refused to leave and managed to save thousands from being slaughtered.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Ahoy Matey A School for Pirates
Yes, I am ready for a fascinating and exciting career in the Swashbuckling Arts!!
Read the FAQ, its the best part.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Oreilly's Talking Points and WMD
Last night Bill Oreilly talked about the contraversy surrounding WMD in Iraq. I agreed with almost everything he said, except for one thing I completely disagree with him on.
Oreilly says:

All Americans must have confidence that the CIA and other intelligence agencies are honest and effective. If the CIA told Mr. Bush there were weapons, did it make a mistake? If so, how did that mistake come about? These are logical questions that have to be answered in order for Americans to feel confident about their government.

In the end, if the intelligence was faulty, some people have to be fired. If, God forbid, the intelligence was contrived, and I don't believe that, but if it is proven, then Congressional action must be taken.

He wants to blame the CIA for this?!? Give me a break man, don't pin the blame on the intelligence agency for doing it's job by providing intelligence. If someone is to blame it's the Bush administration for selectively choosing what intelligence they wanted to use and exagerating the implications. The CIA knew what they had for real evidence of WMD and when you look at all the intelligence as a whole it did not amount to much. You can't cherry pick intelligence reports for info you want to hear and ignore everything else, especially when the intelligence you want to run with is disputed and contradicted by ten other intelligence reports.

The following are excerpts from News Week

The case that Saddam possessed WMD was based, in large part, on assumptions, not hard evidence.
In recent years, the CIA detected some signs of Saddam’s moving money around, building additions to suspected WMD sites, and buying chemicals and equipment abroad that could be used to make chem-bio weapons. But the spooks lacked any reliable spies, or HUMINT (human intelligence), inside Iraq.

The Cabal was eager to find a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda, especially proof that Saddam played a role in the 9-11 attacks. The hard-liners at Defense seized on a report that Muhammad Atta, the chief hijacker, met in Prague in early April 2001 with an Iraqi intelligence official. Only one problem with that story, the FBI pointed out. Atta was traveling at the time between Florida and Virginia Beach, Va. (The bureau had his rental car and hotel receipts.)

The evidence sometimes cited to support Saddam’s nuclear program was shaky, however. On the morning after Bush’s State of the Union address in January, Greg Thielmann, who had recently resigned from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)—whose duties included tracking Iraq’s WMD program—read the text in the newspaper. Bush had cited British intelligence reports that Saddam was trying to purchase “significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Thielmann was floored. “When I saw that, it really blew me away,” Thielmann told NEWSWEEK. Thielmann knew about the source of the allegation. The CIA had come up with some documents purporting to show Saddam had attempted to buy up to 500 tons of uranium oxide from the African country of Niger. INR had concluded that the purchases were implausible—and made that point clear to Powell’s office. As Thielmann read that the president had relied on these documents to report to the nation, he thought, “Not that stupid piece of garbage. My thought was, how did that get into the speech?” It later turned out that the documents were a forgery, and a crude one at that, peddled to the Italians by an entrepreneurial African diplomat. The Niger minister of Foreign Affairs whose name was on the letterhead had been out of office for more than 10 years. The most cursory checks would have exposed the fraud.

Before Powell's speech before the UN he was:

Presented with a “script” by the White House national-security staff, Powell suspected that the hawks had been “cherry-picking,” looking for any intel that supported their position and ignoring anything to the contrary.

The following is from TIME

CIA Director George Tenet took the unusual step of issuing a statement last Friday dismissing suggestions that the CIA politicized its intelligence. "Our role is to call it like we see it, to tell policymakers what we know, what we don't know, what we think and what we base it on. That's the code we live by." Asked to translate, an intelligence official explained that if there was a breakdown on the Bush team, it wasn't at the agency. "There's one issue in terms of collecting and analyzing intelligence," he said. "Another issue is what policymakers do with that information. That's their prerogative."

"They were inclined to see and interpret evidence a particular way to support a very deeply held conviction," the officer says. "I just think they felt there needed to be some sort of rallying point for the American people. I think they said it sincerely, but I also think that at the end of the day, we'll find out their interpretations of the intelligence were wrong."
"Rumsfeld was deeply, almost pathologically distorting the intelligence,"

Faith in Humanity Restored

I unknowingly left my Wallet in my buildings laundry room last night. Later on my doorbell rings and a building maintenance guy asks if I am Paul and says I left my wallet in the Laundry room and it's at the front desk with the door guy. Someone found my wallet in the laundry room and turned it in to the doorguy. The doorguy and the maintenance guy went through my wallet to find out who I was. They saw my drivers license picture and reckognized me. My wallet was returned in tact with $90 still inside and 3 credit cards. Whew!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Newsweek Article about the WMD's in IRAQ.
It blows away the smoke of any supposed "Smoking Gun" the Bush administration claimed to have.

Here is an intriguing section of the article about Chalabi and Iraqi defectors with WMD information. Chalabi had reasons to want a US invastion for his own political aspirations in a post Saddam Iraq. Bush had reason to want to beleive everything the defectors told him about a WMD program. It's a marriage made in heaven especially when the advice from the CIA is ignored.

Then came the defectors. Former Iraqi officials fleeing the regime told of underground bunkers and labs hiding vast stores of chemical and biological weapons and nuclear materials. The CIA, at first, was skeptical. Defectors in search of safe haven sometimes stretch or invent the facts. The true believers in the Bush administration, on the other hand, embraced the defectors and credited their stories. Many of the defectors were sent to the Americans by Ahmed Chalabi, the politically ambitious and controversial Iraqi exile. Chalabi’s chief patron is Richard Perle, the former Reagan Defense Department official and charter member of the so-called neocons, the hard-liners who occupy many top jobs in the Bush national-security establishment.
The CIA was especially wary of Chalabi, whom they regarded as a con man (Chalabi has been convicted of bank fraud in Jordan; he denies the charges). But rather than accept the CIA’s doubts, top officials in the Bush Defense Department set up their own team of intelligence analysts, a small but powerful shop now called the Office of Special Plans—and, half-jokingly, by its members, “the Cabal.”

Britain to Probe Blair's reasons for Iraq War

I know we haven't found any WMD's yet but I know they could be very well hiden or have been destroyed or moved out of the country recently. What worries me more is that the Iraqi scientist have not given us any useful information about a WMD program. Aren't these the same scientinst we kept on complaining about that they weren't free to tell the truth with Saddam Hussein in power? Remember all the talk about wanting to move them and their families out of Iraq so they wouldn't be afraid to cooperate with the weapons inspectors? Well now Saddam is gone and they have nothing to be afraid of.... So why haven't they given any thing up? It would really be a blow to Bush and Blair, the USA and UK if Iraq didn't have a WMD program.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

News from The Onion
Free-Thinking Cat Shits Outside The Box

This article explains my sentiment over the loss of the Old Man of the Mountain.

Sadness over loss show Old Man's meaning to us
Union Leader Correspondent

FRANCONIA — The man had waited until Monday to come down from Littleton to Franconia Notch, partly to avoid the crowd of the curious on the Sunday after the collapse and partly to believe for a few more hours that maybe the headlines weren’t as bad as they sounded.

Like thousands of other Granite Staters that weekend, he took the news that the Old Man of the Mountain had collapsed with a mix of disbelief, denial and sadness — sadness for the loss of such a symbol and sadness that his two faraway sons did not get one last look at it.

“They live in Florida and Virginia,” said the man, dressed all in blue, who did not share his name. “My son in Virginia, he’s in the service overseas. But whenever he comes home, he always comes up on (Interstate) 93, just so he could see it. He comes up that way, even though it would be quicker for him to come up (Interstate) 91. When he would finally see it, he would say he’s at the gate, he’s almost home.”

The tumble of the Old Man, in the early hours of Saturday, May 3, caught everyone off guard. Surely, while few of us had doubted such a formation could continue defying gravity, we figured this granite icon was good for as long as we were.

What has also caught us unawares is the emotion that has flowed in the aftermath. Because few of us ever really thought that the Great Stone Face would fall in our lifetime, we had also never really thought about what that would mean to us individually and in our collective psyche.

We are finding that for every piece of crumbled rock resting below Cannon Cliffs, there is a memory and a piece of our hearts attached.

For some, the Old Man was a destination at the end of a journey. Getting there to see him meant a long summer’s ride in a station wagon, maybe with a bunch of cousins and an arsenal of Fluffernutters. It was taking in a bear show at Clark’s and a splash in Echo Lake and between those times, the station wagon was pulled over and everyone looked skyward.

Long after growing up, a glimpse of the Old Man would bring those memories back over the years and a succeeding generation would seek to recreate those days with their own children.

For others, to see the Old Man come into view meant they were almost back home or that in just a few minutes, they would be at their grandmother’s house.

But those feeling the loss of the Old Man most deeply are those who lived and grew up in the vicinity of his gaze. Maybe as children, they fought siblings for backseat rights that would let them see the Old Man first. As adults, they would drive by him on their way to and from work and like a cherished neighbor they pass on the street, to go by the Old Man and not acknowledge him would be rude.

The Old Man was such a part of the landscape, it was almost like he was a protector or a guardian or the keeper of the Notch. In a world of rapid and bewildering change, the Old Man was steady at his vigil. He did not change. He was just always there and there was something greatly comforting about that.

Now that he’s gone, there is a feeling of vulnerability: the protector, the guardian, the keeper is gone. Who’s there to watch over us? Who’s there to listen to what we have to say to him? Who’s there for children to wave at?

In these few days after the fall, it is still hard to fathom, much less even say out loud. The Old Man is gone. After a first look at the empty cliff last Saturday, at least one woman has not looked at it again, even though she drives through the Notch twice a day. “I pull my visor over my window and just look straight ahead,” she said. “I just can’t bear to look up there.”

Wishful thinking would have the whole past week be a bad dream and in the morning, the profile would be there. The Old Man has been staring southward for 10,000 years or more, but he was a relatively recent discovery. He was just two years shy of celebrating the bicentennial of his discovery. We had fewer than 200 years to enjoy him.

Our parents, their parents and their parents introduced each succeeding generation to him, but part of the collective sadness this week is the regret that those who follow will not know the strength, the inspiration, the awe or the comfort of the Old Man.

And so we now try to figure out how to best remember the Old Man of the Mountain.

Do we do everything we can to recreate his visage high above Franconia Notch and if we do, will that assuage the aching emptiness on that cliffside?

Could a mere replica inspire poets, charm children, uphold the identity of an entire state or remedy our broken hearts?

Or do we realize that the hand of man can never recreate the wonder of nature? Do we let the Old Man rest in peace — and pieces — with a modest memorial to explain to those who follow us why his image remains — and must remain — 10, 20, 200 years from now.

Nature proved this week that what it can make, it can also take away. It showed that it is not static.

We lost a huge symbol this week, but who is to say that nature is finished making marvels, creating wonder and provoking mystery? Tomorrow or 10,000 tomorrows from now, there maybe another night of hard rain and high winds and frost. The hillsides may shake and rumble and change, unseen in the fog that so often cloaks high elevations. And when that veil lifts, possibly on a blue sky day like last Saturday, perhaps a new generation can find a source of strength and pride and awe, one we can’t even imagine today.

Iraqi Army out of work out of pay

The formal disbanding of the army last month threw hundreds of thousands of conscripts out of work, and several thousand demonstrated yesterday for jobs at the headquarters of Iraq's chief U.S. administrator, Paul Bremer. Some of the marchers threatened violence if they were not rehired.

"All of us will become suicide bombers," former officer Khairi Jassim told The Associated Press. "I will turn my six daughters into bombs to kill the Americans."

Ugh!! Is this the kind of people we want to Iraqi army to be made of?

The other part of this Daily News Story is about the Iranians capturing 4 G.I.s. I thought this could be a "Gulf of Tonkin" like incident the Bush administration might be waiting for to go medieval on Iran. But the G.I.s were released unharmed and might have been in Iranian waters so Gulf of Tonkin incident probably averted for now.

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