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Koran-Burning Off and the Circus Continues

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Rev. Terry Jones (left), Goose Gossage (right)

This is getting too weird for me.  The Rev. Terry Jones has called off his Koran book-burning claiming that the Imam in NY planning on building an Islamic Community Center/Mosque near Ground Zero has decided to stop the controversial construction project.  The Rev is flying to NYC to meet him, even.

And now Donald Trump is getting involved.  He’s offering to buy the so-called Ground Zero Community Center/Mosque property for 20% over its going price so the Imam can claim a tidy profit and move on.

First of all, I don’t believe the Rev. Terry Jones.  I seriously doubt the New York Imam has cancelled his project.  Second of all, I’m not sure the Reverend is even going to successfully board an airplane if he doesn’t remember to stop wearing his side arms.  And third of all, if you see the picture above, it’s entirely possible he could get arrested for attempting to impersonate former New York Yankee relief pitcher, Goose Gossage.

As for The Donald- there is nothing more attractive than a publicity-starved mogul taking it upon himself to save America from inappropriate displays of religious freedom.  His sincerity and love for America deeply touches my heart as does his evident philosophy that money “trumps” the 1st amendment each and every time.

And in keeping with that notion:

Dear Mr. Trump,

For $1,275,334, I will discontinue this blog immediately.

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LATE UPDATE: There is no deal to call off the so-called Ground Zero Community Center/Mosque project.

Here’s the official word:

New York, NY, September 9, 2010: Sharif El-Gamal, Developer of Park51, issued this statement today in response to media reports on the movement of the Park51 community center.

“It is untrue that the community center known as Park51 in lower Manhattan is being moved. The project will proceed as planned. What is being reported in the media today is a falsehood.”

About Park51: Park51 is a nonsectarian community, cultural and interfaith spiritual center along with a Muslim prayer area and a monument to honor all those we lost on 9/11. Park51 enriches lower Manhattan in body and spirit, with ecologically conscious design and operation. Our goals are pluralism, service, arts and culture, health and healing. A group of downtown Muslim-Americans envisioned a sanctuary where everyone is welcome to learn, experience the arts and culture and explore their relationship to faith. In the near future, Park51 will offer green, world-class recreational and educational facilities, and a friendly and accessible platform for conversations across our identities.

Politicians Ignoring Burning Korans

September 8, 2010 2 comments

 

The Koran owned by Thomas Jefferson

This one does require taking a stand. It’s bad enough to want to burn books, in general. But where’s the outrage over Gainesville, Florida Pastor Terry Jones and his plan to publicly burn the Koran this Saturday?

He has collected 200 of the religious books and a truck-load of firewood and has cleared a pasture so crowds can gather Saturday and applaud the destruction of the holy book that is the word of God to 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

But while dozens of American religious leaders have condemned the Pastor’s plans; while the commanding General of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan says the action will endanger the lives of American troops- where are the politicians who wrap themselves in the flag on Veteran’s Day but abandon the troops when it could put those politicians in the position of having to oppose anti-Muslim sentiment?

Slate’s Fred Kaplan says all that needs to be said about this cynical silence:

It is appalling enough that a growing number of Americans, caught up in the pre-election backlash against mosques and Muslims generally, seem unaware that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are fighting not only against Muslims but also alongside them, and on behalf of governments led by Muslim parties. (Do they imagine, in their warped pictures of a holy war against Islam, that Nuri al-Maliki and Hamid Karzai are Christians?)

But U.S. senators know better (most of them anyway). So where are they? Whose side are they on? With the exception of Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who appeared on Fox News to defend the right of American Muslims to build an Islamic community center two blocks from the World Trade Center site (on the conservative principle that owners of private property should be able to do as they please), elected Republicans—and, to be fair, most elected Democrats as well—have ducked and run.

This is not one of America’s proudest moments.

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Update:  Today, Franklin Graham, son of the Revered Billy Graham,  Pat Robertson, and Sarah Palin…all asked the Pastor to reconsider.

Love at 1st Suction

September 5, 2010 1 comment

I fell in love over the Labor Day weekend. Her name is Roomba and though a little pricey at over $300, she does carpets and floors and we communicate well with one another. I pledge to take care of her, clean her brushes, and give her a good home.

It all started when I was vacuuming the apartment on Saturday and my Hoover Wind-Tunnel something-or-other just stopped working. It was like I accidently pulled the cord out of the wall, only it was still plugged in. Dead. Nothing.

So I googled “Hoover vacuum cleaner complaints.” Would have been nice if I’d done this before I bought the damned thing last February- but no. And there they were. Dozens and dozens of reverse-testimonials. Blown motors, emits strange odors, goes through belts at an alarming rate. And all these problems within the first 6 to 12 months of ownership. So it’s probably a belt but I have no documentation, instructions, zero motivation to find the part or any desire whatsoever to become a vacuum cleaner repairman.

Ever since I started apartment living about a decade ago, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with vacuum cleaners. I had my Swivel-Sweeper phase. No motors, terrific TV ads and ultimately, a piece of crap. I went through my Red Dirt-Devil phase. Seemingly powerful suction but at $70- you get what you pay for. It worked ok if you kept it in place over a piece of lint for ten minutes or so.

I graduated to the Hoover when I moved to Washington earlier this year, enamored with all the promises of what it would do to take care of pet hair. This is a common theme in the world of vacuum cleaner marketing these days. Apparently there are a lot of people out there at wit’s end with Fido and Bunky’s shedding issues.

So while I was researching what an idiot I had been for buying a Hoover “wind-tunnel” lemon, I ran into iRobot. I thought it was a pretty cool movie, actually, but I did not know about the iRobot company. They believe in better living through robots. They’re starting with cleaning robots. They have great customer service and a cute, funny edge to them- totally appropriate for a company touting the first really effective household use for robots.

Roomba comes in varying degrees of sophistication and I took it as a sign from God that my local Bed, Bath and Beyond had only one left. It clearly had my name on it. It’s about the size of a bathroom scale only round and on wheels. After you charge her up, you hit a button that says “clean” and she starts vacuuming your carpets and floors. All by herself. She has sensors and a bumper so she slows down before running into objects, touches gently against them, turns around and moves on.

She finds concentrations of dirt and does circles over them until the situation is corrected. She knows the thickness of the carpets or floors she’s on and adjusts accordingly. When she needs something- she tells me. When the whirring suddenly stops, a female voice tells you to do stuff like clean the brushes.

You control the area of the room she vacuums by placing flask-sized “virtual walls” at a couple of strategic places in the apartment. Roomba senses their presence and it works like an electric fence and when she nears them, she turns around and goes back into the room. I don’t have stairs, but if I did, she has sensors that pick them up too so she doesn’t go stumbling blindly into the abyss.

And when she’s done, she finds her little charger, goes to it obediently and settles in for a rest and a recharge. I’m going to buy some sliced bread now so I will officially have two of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind.

Hurricane Earl, Paris Hilton, Basebrawls

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Hurricane Earl has just begun to weaken a bit , now a Category 3, but still huge; about 400 miles across with 75mph+ winds 90 miles from the eye. He has taken his expected slight northerly turn. North Carolina starts feeling it this afternoon and then really gets it tonight. The winds are expected to die down a bit over cooler water and then Earl is likely to speed up as he heads directly for an encounter with Cape Cod tomorrow night and into Saturday.

Looks like the 50 mph+ winds are definitely going to be felt along the shorelines and tropical storm winds may be felt pretty far inland.

This is what Paris Hilton tweeted on July 25th- along with the caption, “Love My New Chanel Purse I got Today. :)” RadarOnline.com put 2 and 2 together as they compared this picture to video of her recent Las Vegas cocaine arrest in which a very, very similar purse was caught on tape. This is the purse Hilton told police she had “borrowed” from a friend. Still, you have to give her credit for thinking so fast and coming up with such a clever excuse. Busted by her own vanity?

My- what a brawl in Florida last night as the Nationals and Marlins went at it. It’s complicated. I will have to presume some basic knowledge of the situation but here it is in a nutshell.

Basically, the Nats have a Center Fielder in Nyger Morgan who’s become a bit unhinged lately. He ran into an opposing catcher last week who didn’t even have the ball. He’s been handed a 7-game suspension for throwing a ball into the stands in the direction of fans who were heckling him. Tuesday night in Florida, he was headed for home, looked like he could have slid, but instead, ran headlong into the Marlin’s catcher, separating his shoulder and knocking him out for the season.

So last night was all about the expected revenge the Marlins would take on Nyger. These are the customs and culture of baseball. So he gets plunked by a 92 mph fastball in the 4th inning wiith the Nats getting clobbered by ten runs and Nyger accepts his “punishment” and goes to first. Apparently, when you’re that far behind, baseball’s unwritten rules also dictate that you don’t steal bases. But Nyger has been a little edgy lately so he figured, screw it, I’m stealing second. And then third. And then he scored on a fly ball. For violating these unwritten rules, they didn’t hit him, they threw behind his head in the 7th inning. Nyger lost it, charged the mound, benches emptied, high drama.

Nat’s Manager Jim Riggleman, bless his heart, defended his crazy little guy and I tend to agree, at least on one point. Screw the customs and unwritten rules of baseball when it comes to stealing bases and scoring runs. It was the 4th inning. As it turns out, the Nats made a game of it. If they didn’t like what he was doing, the Marlins should have tried to throw him out. Also…the unwritten rules of baseball do not include trying to hit a guy twice.

Anyway, we’re not going to be seeing Nyger for awhile, I suspect. He’s already got a 7-game suspension plus whatever they add on for the little fight he started last night. Oh, and as one of his coaches was walking him off the field after the fight, he strutted, thumped his chest and jeered back at booing fans. That’s probably extra suspension time too. A class act; not exactly. A one-man baseball crime wave? Possibly. Starting CF for the Nationals next year….I don’t think so. But he certainly has made it a fun week to watch baseball.

By the way, the Marlins come into town next week. Should be a raucus good time.