Time flies when you’re slagging away at it…

So I have been in Philadelphia a year. Amazing how fast 12 months can go. (Hell, amazing how fast four years can go …)

 

I have to be totally honest and say that this has probably been one of the toughest years of my life—tossing myself into a random place, with no real plan and no real idea of who or what I’d be when the first annual where-am-I checkup came.

 

In many ways, I’m a million times better than I was in September 2004. And in a few ways worse off than I’d ever hoped to be. But goddamn if this 1/4 Polish peasant isn’t doing all she can to pull herself up by those proverbial boot straps the old codgers are always so fond of referring to.

 

A few weeks ago someone told me I was living in a fantasy world: that I’d fashioned a reality in my head that somehow didn’t coincide with the actual flesh and blood existence going on around me. God, if only. I’d always wanted to be one of those children with an invisible friend, going off to the playground alone with my pretend friend by my side, dawdling away the hours with a big, dumb smile on my face.

 

Unfortunately, for me and the fool who had the gall to suggest I was somehow in a different, and allegedly, better place: I don’t have enough imagination when it comes to what I see around me. I exist emmeshed in the day-to-day drudgery and mind-numbing minutiae that surrounds me. Give me your tired, your poor, your shitty grammar and misplaced commas, and by golly I’ll set it right.  

 

In fact, the more I think about it the more I realize I could probably do with a little dose of fantasy, a bit of fancy and silliness and wild-eyed star gazing naïve hope: "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight …"

 

So here is my goal as I trudge into my second year of not knowing what the fuck I’m doing but still plugging away because it’s not over ’til you’re six feet below:
 
I will charter regular flights of fancy, and allow myself the luxury of imaging what, in my mind, would truly be fantasy-land. What? You say you want houses made of Cadburys and an Audi TT? It’s your fantasy, take ‘er for a test drive!
 
Living like an undergraduate getting you down? Well, imagine a life not stacked and propped in plastic cubes! Daring! Shocking!!! You’re old enough to move out of the eternal dorm now dear…

 

Sometimes I forget I’m a boringly over-educated scholarship-toting geek-girl with schmancy degrees from even schmancier schools who has managed to wind up a mildly talented, entertaining, borderline intelligent world traveler with an occasional free spirit driven not by drugs or alcohol but pure, maniacal why-the-hell-not-ness. I do what I want—not everyone can say the same.  

 

And, for the poor sap who misdiagnosed my malaise as some disenchanted Cinderella mind funk, I can honestly say that in my newfound Tinkerbell cotton candy sparkle-land, my true evil twin would most definitely be able to meet me halfway—intellectually, morally, financially, spiritually—and for chrissakes, if I’m in fantasyland even a churlish Capricorn like me would leave the ex-wife, child and bleak, uneducated future out.

 

That’s called real life.

 

Well, someone’s—definitely, thankfully not mine.

mein detention camp?

Holy shit : A federal appeals court ruled today that the president can indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil in the absence of criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks.

 

What’s the next step? I’m afraid to ask…

Brownie’s lack of horse sense

Shocking… Shocking! It seems, now hold your hats here, that Michael Brown, current BushCo ass licking head honcho at FEMA, lied on his resume about his disaster management experience:

 

Time magazine on Friday reported that Brown’s official biography overstated his emergency-management experience.

 

You’re fucking kidding me!

 

I never, ever would have seen that coming, I mean, especially considering the fact that ol’ “Brownie” was, prior to receiving his BushCo blowjob for bending over during Campaign 2000, head pony boy at the International Arabian Horse Association.

 

I am truly, deeply shocked and saddened to be faced with the news, in all the major outlets, originally reported by Time, that those in the current administration are in positions of power, making life and death decisions on a daily basis, because they got to play cowboys and injuns in the last two presidential campaigns, proudly displaying their Ranger or Pioneer metal badges while sipping champagne and masturbating to the thought of perks like a massive tax cut for the top 2 percent of American earners, a repeal of the estate tax, and phat bonuses for businesses that screw workers on a daily basis— Pension schmension! Unions? Hell no! Increased productivity with fewer workers? You betcha! Who needs a vacation anyway? (I mean, except for Bush…)

 

And Brownie’s not alone:

 

Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

 

Well, it certainly makes me feel safe to know that a man who likes pretty horseys, and former lobbyist, TV talking head and PR flack (Brooks Altshuler, who’s not even on FEMA’s Web site) are also on FEMA’s payroll, which may begin to explain why the U.S. looked like some teenage boy caught jacking off in the bathroom by his mother last week… wide eyed, holding a small, limp dick.

We were the world

You have to ask yourself how a country such as the U.S.—the richest, most powerful country in the world—can be so woefully ill prepared to deal with something like Hurricane Katrina.

 

It’s not only shocking, it’s embarrassing, and we are quickly becoming the laughing-stock of the world. Two pieces published today show the stark differences between what the U.S. sees, and how the rest of the world sees us (I’ve color-coded the two pieces to better show the freakish parallels):

 

 

US accepts nearly $1b in foreign aid

Thursday, Sept. 8 in Boston.com

 

WASHINGTON — The State Department has announced that it has accepted nearly a billion dollars in pledges of foreign aid following Hurricane Katrina, including hundreds of millions in cash to be donated directly to the federal government as well as planeloads of ready-to-eat meals, tents, and baby formula.

 

The assistance is beginning to pour in from countries large and small, a week after President Bush said on ABC’s ”Good Morning America" that he had not asked for foreign assistance and didn’t think the United States needed it.

 

Yesterday, Harry Thomas Jr., the State Department executive secretary who is helping to coordinate the foreign relief effort, denied that the Bush administration was lukewarm toward accepting the help.

 

 

U.S. unprepared to receive foreign aid

Friday, Sept. 9 in the International Herald Journal

 

WASHINGTON — Generous offers of aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina are pouring in from scores of countries, but in many cases the United States is unprepared to receive the goods. As a result, the U.S. State Department is pressing countries that have offered the use of helicopters, water purification equipment and telecommunications gear – among other items – to provide cash or ready-to-eat meals instead. Even with difficulties delivering foreign aid, it is beginning to arrive at or near the Gulf Coast, including ready-to-eat meals from Britain, tents from France, and first-aid kits and baby formula from Italy.

 

But the United States is more accustomed to giving aid than receiving it, and the Bush administration seemed to have trouble accepting the role reversal.

 

Early last week, President George W. Bush said the United States could take care of itself. "I do expect a lot of sympathy, and perhaps some will send cash dollars," he said. "But this country is going to rise up and take care of it."

 

 

”Not in the State Department," Thomas said, without referring to the White House. ”We welcomed all offers. This is unprecedented."

 

As the proportion of the crisis became apparent, the view changed. But preparations to receive anything but the simplest forms of aid have not caught up. Thomas explained that the United States has no experience with situations like these. "This is unprecedented," he said several times to reporters Wednesday.

 

 

Aid officials in Poland and Austria said yesterday they had not yet heard back from the United States about whether their offers of aid had been accepted. Planeloads of supplies waited yesterday morning in Sweden and India without word from the US government on whether or when they would receive permission to land in the United States.

 

When Sweden received the American request, it loaded a Hercules C-130 plane with water purification equipment, emergency power generators and components for a temporary cellphone network. The plane has been ready to take off since noon Saturday, but on Thursday it still had not been given clearance by Washington. "We are still waiting for the green light," Victoria Forslund said at the Foreign Ministry in Stockholm.

 

 

A Mexican army convoy and a navy ship stocked with food, supplies, and specialists made their way north toward the US border last night, days after Mexico extended its offer of assistance. On Tuesday, the first planeload of tents arrived from France at a military airport in Little Rock, Ark., after officials spent all weekend trying to determine where the shipment should land. Another French plane filled with food was due to land yesterday in Biloxi, Miss.

 

Sweden is not the only country that has encountered problems delivering aid to the United States. France, Germany, India and Taiwan, among others, are awaiting answers to offers.

 

 

Aid officials in Poland and Austria said yesterday they had not yet heard back from the United States about whether their offers of aid had been accepted. Planeloads of supplies waited yesterday morning in Sweden and India without word from the US government on whether or when they would receive permission to land in the United States.

 

The slow pace of aid acceptance, after the urgency of the U.S. request, has bemused many countries. Thomas, the State Department secretary, said embassy officers in each country have tried to explain why the aid requests are being handled as they are and insisted "every country has heard back from us."

 

But as Europe prepares more supplies, officials there say they are beginning to wonder whether the aid is really needed or will ever be used.

 

 

But what’s even scarier is what countries we’ve actually accepted aid from so far. Sounds like a who’s who of oil rich and/or nations that stand to gain or keep something politically to me (well, except for Ireland, which was smart enough to give straight up to the Red Cross):

 

Donations

Kuwait : $400 million in oil and $100 million cash

United Arab Emirates : $100 million cash

Qatar : $100 million cash

Republic of Korea: $30 million cash and in-kind donations

Australia : $7.6 million

China : $5.1 million cash and relief supplies

India : $5 million cash

Ireland : $1 million to Red Cross

Iraq : $1 million cash

Bangladesh : $1 million cash

Azerbaijan : $500,000 cash

Gabon : $500,000 cash

Afghanistan : $100,000 cash

Armenia : $100,000 cash

Bahamas : $50,000 cash

Maldives : $25,000 cash

Sri Lanka : $25,000 cash

Bosnia : $6,414 cash

 

SOURCE: US State Department

Tummy ache’s living strong

Today I feel sick. Just plain ol’ sick—stomach hurts, can’t eat, head aches … ugh. Oh winter, you must be around the corner!

 

Of course, a small part of my nausea could be caused by the fact that Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow are engaged. Ain’t that always the case—the bike boys dig the non-bike riding girly-girls.

 

Well, fuck ’em. I guess they need to feel more manly, what with their shaved legs and all. (Not that I’m against that look, I’m just disappointed that time and time again I’m forced to face that fact that, character-wise, men are pussies.)

 

Although, it looks like I’ll be heading to France next summer:

 

PARIS—Lance Armstrong plans to train with his team this winter, increasing speculation he will end his retirement and attempt an eighth straight Tour de France win.

 

“It’s definitely an open possibility, I know he is on the bike,” Discovery Channel team director Johan Bruyneel told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday.

 

Considering the fact that Armstrong is saying he wants to race to piss off the French, who keep battering him with doping allegations, I think I’ll definitely be carrying my Norwegian, not American, passport!

VW to lose 10K jobs… Oh! boo! hoo!

 
Okay, so, let me be the first to throw my head back and let out a big, hearty laugh at Volkswagen’s financial troubles: specifically, the fact that the company has announced it’s probably going to have to cut 10,000 jobs in Germany in an attempt to stem its money woes.
 
"With sales lagging, Volkswagen’s German factories are suffering from overcapacity. Mr. Dudenhöffer suggested that it close one of its most troubled factories, in Brussels, where the compact Golf is made, and move production to Wolfsburg, where it could be absorbed "overnight,’" according to the Times.
 
Waah-waah-waah!
 
Ha ha! Serves them right!!!!
 
I own a 2000 Golf, and let me tell you, my experiences with VW, which mirror those of many others, have been a nightmare. Ever since the German automaker decided to redesign its cars and flood the market, starting in 1999, owning one of their plastic junkmobiles has been nothing like I thought it would be. And I did my research. Sadly, the research was pre-’99.
 
Granted, the car’s cute — damn cute — and fun to drive, but it’s also made primarily of plastic, which means that shit just breaks.
 
The laundry-list of problems with the car started almost as soon as I drove it off the lot with a grand 14 miles on it:
 
New transmission at 24,000 miles, new air conditioner many, many times, four new gloveboxes (I’ve given up and let it hang), countless sets of new brakes, shocks and tires, a new side mirror, which corroded (forget the plastic knob that broke off, which turns them from inside the door — I just push them now), new front cupholder ($60!!! Dude at the shop asked the VW agent, incredulously, "Does she at least get a cup with that?") — I’ve no intention of fixing the rear one that nearly took out my eye when it snapped, window hinges, plastic, that caused my window to fall into the door, and many many more plastic doohickeys that I find littering the interior. Where they belong, I seriously do not know.
 
Now, not that cars aren’t breakable objects, but the issue is that every time I’ve attempted to deal with VW, even on problems that are either under warranty, recall items or just plain crappy, they’ve steadfastly been rude, unhelpful, and have persisted in stonewalling me.
 
Thus, I have, for the past five years, told anyone and everyone who inquires about my car what a complete and total piece of shit it is, how expensive, rude and unhelpful VW dealers are, and then I tell the "customer service" horror stories I’ve lived through dealing with VW of America.
 
So, take it from me: Avoid VW of America if you don’t want to regret your purchase, or you’ll find yourself wondering, as the car continues to disentegrate, what to do with it (burn it? blow it up? park it in Newark?) because, as I and others saddled with these rolling mounds of debt have discovered, it’s not worth a dime.
 

A picture’s worth….


newl2
Originally uploaded by tycoonforthekids.

I don’t know … should I find it amusing, or horrifying …

Either way, I find the entire Katrina debacle to be further indication that the office of the “leader of the free world” is occupied by a tard.

Not that I’ve felt any differently since BushCo. took office, it’s just that more and more are starting to agree with me.

You know that movie, the one where NYC is destroyed by water? …

We’re in for it now, peeps:

 

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Amid the unfolding disaster left by Hurricane Katrina, Colorado State University researchers said Friday they expect more storms over the next two months.

 

“The very active season we have seen to this point is far from over,” researcher Philip Klotzbach said. “We expect that by the time the 2005 hurricane season is over, we will witness seasonal tropical cyclone activity at near-record levels.”

 

Couple that with a New York Press article my roommate told me about last night, which predicted the potential for a catastrophic hurricane to hit the metropolitan New York area is ripe:

 

“The 1938 Long Island Express, a borderline category-4 hurricane that plowed into West Hampton, causing widespread death and devastation across New York, New Jersey and New England, was the last major hurricane to hit the region. Statistically speaking, ‘a storm of that magnitude may repeat every 70 to 80 years or so,’ Mike Lee, director of Watch Command at New York City ‘s Office of Emergency Management, says.

 

‘So, do the math. Whether it happens this year, next year, or in five years, it’s going to happen.’ And with this year’s hurricane season forecasted to be even busier and more dangerous than last year’s record-setter, ‘It’s just a matter of time,’ Lee says.”

 

And, considering the fact that this is just the beginning of hurricane season, it looks like we’ve got a long, wet and potentially deadly fall here on the good ol’ east coast.