Thursday, August 19, 2004

Whose side is He on?

"I'm 60 years old and I've voted Republican from the very first time I could vote. And I also want to say this is the very first time that I have felt that God was in the White House.''

--A Niceville, Fla. voter


"Moktada al-Sadr represents all the Iraqi people and he is delivered by God."

--Akil Abd Munif Zwain, a Kufa, Iraq hotel worker

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Insomnia

I can't sleep. What better thing is there to do at 3:15 a.m. than post a blog entry? Well, I suppose I could watch some TV. Let's see what broadcast television has to offer at this ungodly hour.

PBS is showing a special on Venice, which "survives on the artificial respirator of tourism."

CBS is broadcasting the late, overnight national news. Apparently, Kobe Bryant's lawyers want to tell the world that his accuser is a floozy.

ABC is airing a piece on BASE jumpers. Did you know that Norway has more BASE jumpers per capita than any other country in the world? I should watch TV at 3 a.m. more often. BASE is capitalized for a reason--it's an acronym for building, antenna, span and earth. Here's a story from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

NBC is repeating its prime time Olympics broadcast. Michael Phelps just placed second in the first semi-final of the 200m butterfly. But never fear! The disappointing finish is a result of the fatigue caused from all the races he's participated in today. The final is tomorrow (later today). If he can resist the temptations of the Olympic Village, he should be well rested.

From a piece in the Scotsman:

At the Albertville winter Olympics, condom machines in the athletes’ village had to be refilled every two hours. And in Sydney the organisers’ original order of 70,000 condoms went so fast that they had to order 20,000 more. Even with the replenishment, the supply was exhausted three days before the end of the competition schedule. (For the record, athletes who were in
Sydney report that the Cuban delegation was the first to use up its allocation.) Salt Lake City in 2002 went even bigger: 250,000 condoms were handed out, despite the objections of the city’s Mormon leadership.

"There’s a lot of sex going on. You get a lot of people who are in shape, and, you know, testosterone’s up and everybody’s attracted to everybody," says Breaux Greer, a shaggy-blond Californian who competed in the javelin at the Sydney Games.

Woah! MTV2 is airing an old episode of Beavis and Butthead. (I'm lucky enough to receive MTV2 on Channel 24 in Boston. It's pretty cool.) In this episode, our protagonists are wearing glasses to trick Mr. Anderson into believing they are someone else. Now they're watching some old obscure video. Seeing rare videos was always one of the greatest things about this show. Damn! I missed the name of the band. My bad.

Well, I seem to be getting a bit tired. I think I'll try this sleep thing again.

America's best poet

The Library of Congress recently announced that Ted Kooser will be the next poet laureate of the United States.

The best part about Kooser's story: Unlike many writers, he accepted the fact that he would have to actually work for a living, spending many years in the insurance industry.

Bogus truce, part 2

It looks like the United States isn't the only country not taking the Olympic Truce seriously.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

It depends upon what the meaning of the word "truce" is

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said yesterday its military operations in Iraq are not covered by the so-called Olympic Truce it signed last year at the United Nations.

The State Department said US soldiers now fighting in Iraq would not be bound by the terms of the truce that calls for all nations in conflict to observe a traditional ceasefire during the Games.

“I reject the notion that somehow we are violating any Olympic principles by what’s going on in Iraq,” deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said. “I don’t think there’s a connection between the truce and what’s going on in Iraq.” On November 3, 2003, the United States was among 190 of 191 UN General Assembly members to co-sponsor and adopt a Greek-submitted resolution titled “Building a Peaceful and Better World Through Sport and the Olympic Ideals,” the key component of which was the truce.

The resolution “urges the member states to observe, within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations, the Olympic Truce, individually and collectively, during the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad.” Perhaps ironically, the US ambassador to the United Nations at the time was John Negroponte who is now Washington’s top diplomat in Iraq, the lone UN member not to sign the truce because it was then under a US-led occupation government and not represented at the world body.

Shortly after the resolution was adopted, UN chief Kofi Annan said the truce was a “powerful message” for all combatants to cease fighting and think about peace, even if hostilities stopped for only 24 hours.