Even I can't think of anything to say about this....
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
I saw little snippets of the Whitehouse Correspondent's Dinner, and I watched both John Steward and The Colbert Report the first broadcast afterwards. Brilliant! All I can say about it actually...I read a quote somewhere that the person who booked Colbert admitted afterwards that he'd never actually SEEN any of Colbert's work prior to booking. That was perhaps a big mistake...Anyway, go look for yourself and all the video is there. The Bush Impersonator was pretty funny as well if you have the time to watch...
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary, Sunday, 12/18/05:
Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife. Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young? It's not so bad.
Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.
I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
There is an expanded version of this that has been added on to from things picked up on the web since 9-11. If you are interested in reading that, then go to http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_ben_stein_christmas.htm and read the expanded version. What I have here is directly from Ben Stein's website which is http://www.benstein.com/121805xmas.html
I admittedly used to watch Win Ben Stein's Money when Jimmy Kimmel was his host and I LOVED that show. I was always impressed with just how incredibly smart this man is and I agree with every word he said. Yes, there are zealots, there are athiests and then there are the rest of us who fall somewhere in the middle. I think the latter group of us would like everybody to take a little break on all their attempts at forcing us into making everything perfect for everybody. How 'bout we leave things alone and let individuals pick out the things they like and simply walk past the things they don't? That seems a fairly simple solution to me...but then again, who am I? I'm just one of the people in the middle.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
As the time draws near for me to yet again book my annual rafting trip on the Deschutes it occurred to me that I needed to document last year's story before embarking on this year's story. Here it goes:
Last year I had separated from my old crowd that used to go rafting together every Summer...I realized I didn't miss those people, but I DID miss the yearly rafting trip. So, why not put together my OWN crew and get back on the river? Couldn't think of a reason so I put it together. As it turned out it was an "All Chick's Boat" with the members being Cam, Teresa, Teresa's mom, Bernie, myself and the last minute add in Karn. Now experience wise I'd been down the river (always with more experienced people than myself) 4 or 5 times, Bernie had gone several times, and Teresa had gone once. Teresa's mom, Cam and Karn were the boat rookies. A side bar about Cam is that I more or less had to talk her into the trip initially because whitewater was something that had always frightened her. She finally decided she NEEDED to go because she needed to conquer her fears; in all honesty I kept expecting her to bail out of the trip up until I saw her parked in my driveway the morning of. Cam didn't bail. I encouraged her by saying, "Thousands of drunk people make it down that river every year; you can too! No worries!"
So, morning of we all managed to rendezvous in Maupin as planned, got our raft, got the cars postioned on both ends of the river and we were ready for launch. I briefed everybody the best I could, and we had paused to look at the big rapids on the way up to the boats so we more or less had a plan, or so we thought. I was in the front left of the boat, Karn was on the front left. First set of rapids weren't too bad; everybody was squealing and giggling in all the right places and stayed in the boat. It was looking good. Then came Boxcar, which is a Class 3 rapid. Alas, we dropped off the top of Boxcar and I watched Karn bounce off the side of the raft and into the water and I watched Teresa go floating past me as well (BUT, her hat was still on, so that's something!). Great, I lost 2 out of 6 on our first major rapid, not good. Oh well, we pulled over to the side and Teresa jumped in. Karn came swimming over from another direction. She said she may have fallen out of the boat, but the guys on the side had given her a beer, so that's something! She told me that she fell out because of me; she'd assumed I was going to tell her to hang on when she needed to...Guess I missed THAT one...I told her in the future if the water is looking frothy and white, hang on irregardless of whether I tell her to or not. :-)
On down the river things went pretty smoothly; we forged thru the smaller rapids and pulled over periodically for the ritualistic passing round of the beer. We were in the part of the river that sported a lot of flat water, which meant we were deep in water fight territory. We were doing battle with several different boats of folks in different spots. One boat in particular fought pretty hard and one of the men from the boat had either fallen in the water or jumped out, I can't remember. He was looking at me and swimming towards me but I thought nothing of it, I figured he just wanted to hang onto the boat for a minute to catch a breather. Wrong. He got close to me and grabbed my life vest with both hands and pulled me out of the boat slicker than shit; I swallowed water and everything, it was a sweet move on his part. As I'm puffing and trying to figure out how I'm going to get back in the boat I told him, "You BASTARD! If I go over Oak Springs without the boat because I couldn't get my fat ass back in the boat, then you and I are going to talk MISTER!" I think he thought I was seriously angry with him and he swam off with his group (later on I saw him again and told him it was a good one, I never saw him coming and he got big points for that maneuver).
Then came Oak Springs. Oak Springs scares me every year. It's the only class 4 rapid on the trip, and it's a bitch to set up correctly for it because of all the rollers right before the rapid, and then what makes it even worse is after you take the drop you have to shoot thru a cravasse in the rocks. 1 of 3 things happens there: you shoot the slot perfectly and look great, OR you scoot up onto the rock shelf and get stuck and look like an asshole, OR you tip your boat over on the ledge, loose all your people and spend the next 20 minutes trying to find your boat, your oars, your crew, etc....When Oak Springs goes well it's fun, when it goes badly it sucks. Here's what happened to us: We'd strategized how we wanted to be positioned and we had our strategy, here it goes; we get in the pre-rollers and Bernie starts yelling, "Stop! We lost Cam". Oh SHIT! Karn and I both yelled, "We CAN'T STOP!!!!! DIG or we're going to go over sideways!!!!!" So, everybody put their backs into it and we managed to go over at a pretty good angle. As soon as we hit the hole I turned around to find Cam and to my horror saw she had grabbed the side of the raft and she was going thru the slot while hanging on the side of the raft. Every once in awhile the raft would bounce against her, smashing her against the rocks and making her go "Oomph!" Every time she went "Oomph!" we're all going, "Ooooooohhhhhh". I was SURE she was getting thrashed and cut up and breaking ribs, legs, etc....I went all the way thru the worst part of that rapid backwards keeping an eye on her. At the shelf Cam belly slid across it (it has about 6 inches of water running over the top of the rocks) still hanging onto the raft and she was going, "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!" all the way across it. I was sure she was scraping skin off her legs and stomach in big strips...I was FREAKED for her.
In what seemed to be about an hour after she fell out of the boat (it was probably less than 2 minutes) we got to a spot that was slow enough to pull her back in. While pulling her in then Bernie fell out! I go, "Goddammit Bernie, get back in the BOAT!" Bernie is svelt and athletic and popped back in almost as quickly as she'd popped out. In the same move she continued pulling on Cam and we got her in the boat.
Cam laid on the floor of the boat trying to catch her breath and Karn goes, "You guys! Is somebody going to row because we have some water ahead of us!"
I look up and see a bunch of big rollers coming up. "Come on Cam, get up, we've got water ahead!!!"
Cam tries to get up and then starts yelling, "My arm! My arm!" Her fucking elbow was jammed in the ice chest bar in the middle of the raft. I looked at the water approaching, figured my best impromptu geometry and found the angle to turn her arm in order to get her unwedged, unwedged her, handed her her oar and started rowing.
There was about 5 minutes of tough water before we could even ask her how she was...As soon as we could pull over we took inventory of her injuries, and much to our shock she really didn't have any!!!! Can you believe that? As it turns out she had a couple of small bruises on her arms and on the tops of her toes. She said, "Every time I hit the rocks I heard all of you going 'Ooooohhh!'. I wanted to tell you 'It's not that bad!' but I couldn't catch my breath long enough to tell you that!"
She continued, "When I was sliding across the rocks on my belly I thought I'd lost my swimsuit and my TWAT was hanging out for everybody to see...it didn't hurt, I just was worried about my suit!"
That got us to all look at each other and burst out laughing....She was worried her 'twat' was hanging out....THAT was funny. As a matter of fact, we were all pretty quiet for about the next half hour until one or the other of us would go, "It's not that bad...." and just bust up laughing. That was pretty much the tone of the rest of the trip, "it's not that bad" and then giggling. At the end of the trip the girls thanked me for guiding them down the river. THAT made me laugh...I said, "What do you mean? I lost 5 out of 6 crew members at one point or another. As a matter of fact, the only person I didn't lose was Teresa's 60 yr. old mother!"
At that point Teresa's mom goes, (in a thick Norwegian accent) "You told me to hang on and row. You never told me to fall out of the boat so I DIDN'T!!!!!!!!!"
I don't care who you are...that's funny!
Anyway, when the girls all thanked me for guiding them down the river I had to break it to them; "I wasn't guiding you; I was in the boat for the ride just like the rest of you. If you were under the impression I knew what I was doing, well, that was your first mistake!"
And guess what? That whole crew (with the exception of Teresa's mom) is signed on for the trip this year...gluttons for punishment I suppose. I can't wait either!