Monday, September 27, 2004

Weekend sports roundup

Broncos won, but looked bad doing it. The fact they settle for field goals instead of touchdowns is very disturbing. We got rid of Brian Griese for this?

The Cubs lost 2 in a row to the Mets, who are fighting to avoid last place. These were 2 gimme games. With San Francisco losing 2 of 3 to the Dodgers, the Cubs had a chance to open up some space in the wildcard race. Instead, they're the Cubs, so they choked. so now the last week is going to be a nail-biter. And by the way, if anybody happens to find Sammy Sosa's batting stroke sometime in the next couple of days, please send it to the corner of Clark and Addison. It's owner is desperately looking for it.

Yom Kippur and spirituality

I hope you all had an easy and meaningful fast. My holiday was spiritual. My synagogue just expanded and the first day we all prayed in the new building was Rosh Hashanah. Like most construction, it’s never completed when you first move in, so by Yom Kippur there were new things such as the new Ark (which is magnificent) and the table for leading the prayers. Altogether, I found the experience to be very emotional because I know so many people who have worked so hard on this expansion in various ways over the years. It really is a culmination of a dream for many.

But my Yom Kippur was extremely sedate compared to my friend’s, who lives in Hollywood, Florida with his wife and three young kids. Here is the relevant part from an email he sent me Saturday night (brackets indicate comments/explanations from me to my readers):

“As for us, we had to put up our shutters AGAIN yesterday before Kol Nidre [the evening service that opens Yom Kippur]. I had left them up for three storms but decided everything was OK so I could take them down. It gets a little depressing in the house when it's always dark and you can't see outside. It's like living in Barrow, Alaska during the six months of night. At this moment, (Saturday night 9:35 PM) I'm listening to the wind howl and things pound against our house. It's real fun. And we're just on the southern side of the storm (the weaker side). The good thing that came from all this is that we finished Yom Kippur services by 3:30 today [they normally are stretched out to go until after sunset, a little before 8pm, this time of year in my friend’s area]. The rabbi had a TV in his office with constant updates [as an Orthodox rabbi at an Ortho synagogue, this would never happen under “normal” circumstances]. He encouraged the ba'alei tefilah [people leading the various prayers] to daven [pray] expeditiously. Since the real bad stuff wasn't supposed to start till the late afternoon, we davened through mussaf [the midday service, that ended at my synagogue at about 3pm], went right into mincha [the afternoon service, that did not start for my synagogue until 5pm – we had a 2-hour break] after duchening [a blessing that concludes mussaf], then went right into ne'ilah (which was done in 40 minutes) [Ne’ilah is the deeply emotional service that concludes the day at about 45 minutes after sunset and usually takes 75-90 minutes to complete]. I then let the wind blow me home and I just finished eating.”
When I read this story, I was touched yet again by how much of life is in the Almighty’s Hands. We say a prayer as part of the mussaf service on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur called Une’saneh Tokef. I always find it the most heart-wrenching prayer of the day. It talks about how we are all sheep walking under our Shepherd’s staff to be counted. Perhaps more notably, it says that G-d makes his decisions on these holidays about who will live and who will die, who will die at his appointed time, and who will die before his time, who by famine, who by thirst, who in storms, who by fire, etc. and who will live tranquilly and who will have many troubles. Three years ago, the High Holidays fell out just a few days after 9/11/2001. The man who leads this prayer in my synagogue lost his 17 year-old son to cancer a little over two years ago, just about 6 months before I lost my wife, who was 30. Who at his time and who before his time, indeed. I almost always shed a tear, as does the one who leads the prayer.

When I think about the poor people in Florida who have been bludgeoned repeatedly by now four storms in the last 6 weeks (and hurricane season continues into November), it makes me shake my head. How can we understand who gets what destiny and why?

Here’s hoping that Floridians (and the rest of us) are able to have a very tranquil remainder of 5765, and we should lose nobody before his or her time.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Why is John Kerry struggling?

I had dinner with a very intelligent liberal buddy last week and we discussed my view that this presidential election is a referendum on the future purpose of American (and perhaps world) foreign policy. He disagreed because he thought that Kerry’s view of foreign policy was now the same as Bush and Kerry was now reluctantly forced to carry through on Bush’s war. We also discussed the notion that since 9/11, Bush had gone 180 degrees from when he entered office to decide that nation-building was now the proper course. My friend said that his problem with Bush was that as a nation we never had the debate about whether we should shift course like that or not, what the cost of such a decision would be and what would be the opportunity cost of embarking on such a course of action.

But my friend’s first point was disproved on Monday, when at a speech in New York, Kerry stated in clear language that his goal is not democracy but stability. The article notes:
"Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in
hell," Kerry said. "But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The
satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a
dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."
Now while I disagree with the sentiment, it is a topic that reasonable people can debate. But I take issue with the statement that the nation never got a chance to debate this change in foreign policy and its implications. Bush said in his January 2002 State of the Union (the "axis of evil" speech) as well as subsequent speeches that we were going to be fighting to liberate the world from totalitarian regimes. He noted this war was going to take a very long time and that the battles we lose would be much more publicized, but much less significant than the ones we would win. He noted it would be a mix of conventional warfare and improved intelligence operations and diplomatic efforts. He noted that Afghanistan was only the first step on this path but not the last.

At the time, people discussed the prospect, and ultimately a majority of the nation supported the war (and at least a plurality still does). I don’t recall the exact poll numbers at the time, but the numbers that stick out in my mind are something along the lines of 60-40 in favor. While 40% is a significant minority (although not, as one genius I heard on a morning talk show said, a majority of the nation), where I come from, elections that end in a 60-40 vote are described with terms like “landslide” and “mandate”. At the time, with public sentiment firmly behind the war, the Democrats did not manage to convince the nation the war was wrong. Congress had the opportunity at that time to debate our new foreign policy and the potential costs of the war in the context of the Bush Doctrine. By not doing so at the time, they essentially accepted that the goal of establishing Democracy throughout the Middle East (what I will term the “Purpose” of the war) was worth whatever the cost. Perhaps they did not understand the president’s intent and perhaps they did not take him seriously, but either way, it is not his fault the debate was not had at the time. To the extent there were people who did raise these points, the public just shrugged, in which case the public decided at the time that the goal was worth whatever the cost.

The point is that like the outcome or not, public opinion has by now effectively obviated the debate about the purpose of the war. This view can be easily substantiated by the bounce in Bush’s ratings since he clarified his message at the RNC. That being said, the president is still vulnerable on how he is managing the war (what I will term the “Process” of the war). Costs keep going up and are not yet showing signs of slowing down and we are still struggling to keep the insurgents in check.

But this is where Kerry is completely whiffing. He is not having a debate about the PROCESS of the war; as the above quote shows, he is still arguing about the PURPOSE of the war, which the country for the most part seems to have accepted. While voters may be willing to elect someone who will change the process, they have not yet shown a willingness to change the purpose. Since Kerry is defining himself as being against the purpose, his position on the process ultimately cannot matter to those who support the purpose. The only way to effectively win the Process argument is to state definitively that the purpose of the war was correct; a candidate who states this then has the credibility to say, “But this is what I would do differently and how I would manage to keep costs down…”

Kerry is arguing that both the process is wrong and the purpose is wrong and he is not offering any concrete alternative solutions. If Kerry were to now go back to supporting the purpose, he would be subject to yet more “flip-flopping” criticism. So the debate about the Process has not happened meaningfully (and will not), because no one believes that Kerry only wants to change the process without changing the purpose. And the public has already sided with Bush on the Purpose.

Kerry is also shooting himself in the foot (not completely meant as a smart-ass reference to his Purple Hearts) by focusing his proposed management of the war on the question of how to get our troops out instead of how to win (however he wants to define that). To me, that shows a leader who either a) is not committed to winning the war; or b) does not think we can. Is either attribute a good quality for a job as Commander-in-Chief? Please note that this is not meant as a dig at Kerry’s patriotism. I have no doubt that he loves this country. I just don’t think his statements on this issue demonstrate the leadership ability, strength of purpose and ability to inspire confidence that are necessary for success in the job for which he is applying. Therefore, we cannot hire him.

The other effect of Kerry struggling to define himself on the war and foreign policy is that he is making the whole campaign about Bush’s greatest strength (and his least clearly defined issue) instead of discussing domestic issues that he really wants to highlight as the difference between him and Bush. As a result, he and his message are flailing around like two teenagers having sex for the first time (“Yes! No. Wait. Not there. Ok. Can you please shift your weight a bit? OUCH! Move. Wait. Stop and breathe. Ok, let’s try this again. What if I do this? No! Ok. Sorry. Stop. To the left. No, MY left…”)

What the Dems really need is a candidate that supported the war all along and could clearly state that the war was a good idea, fought for the right reasons. Doing so would mean the candidates were on equal footing on the Purpose of the war and the Democratic candidate could then debate on his own turf about health care, the economy, trade, etc., as well as how to better manage the Process of the war. (This actually is similar to the strategy that Clinton employed when running for reelection in 1996; he co-opted every issue that Bob Dole raised, got Congress to legislate it, and signed it into law (think Welfare reform). As a result, Dole had nothing left to campaign on.) The Democrats had an opportunity here and they blew it because the Deaniacs refused to let the moderates (or “the Republican wing of the Democratic party”) openly voice support for the war.

If the Democrats had nominated Joe Lieberman (or possibly Dick Gephardt), I believe they probably would be ahead in most polls and about to win the election. But those candidates were not deemed “electable”. Dennis Kucinich made the point elegantly during the primary debates when he said, “I’m electable if you vote for me.” Had the Democrats put up a candidate of substance instead of someone whose defining characteristics were that he is popular and he is a veteran, they might have had a candidate who was truly electable because people would want to vote for him.

I’m not going to predict the outcome of the election today (anything can happen over the next 6 weeks), but Kerry is in dire straits and it’s a group effort that put him there.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"Damn Them! Damn Them All to HELL!!!"*

This story is sad.
Proof that we have all just evolved from the apes. And that some of us apparently still have a ways to go...

*For those of you who don't get the reference, please refer to Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes" (either version, though the Mark Wahlberg version is funnier if you've seen the original).

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

So what’s your Porn Star name?

(I know it’s probably not a great topic for the Ten Days of Repentance, but I wanted to get your attention.)

Speaking of the Cubs, their pitcher tonight was Kerry Wood. He came to mind today when I saw this article about “morning wood” that made me laugh. And people wonder why the youth of today are in trouble.

The article got me thinking about funny names and the double entendres one can create with them, and that naturally got me thinking about the famous “Seinfeld” episode about Porn Star names. To refresh your collective memory, George told us that if he was a porn star his Porn Star Pseudonym (PSP) would be “Buck Nekkid”. I have decided my PSP would be Peter Tower.

Why Peter Tower (aside from the obvious, of course)? Because it is similar to the name of someone I once met at a party. His first name wasn't Peter (I figured that part out on my own) and his actual last name was different, but when he introduced himself, it sounded a little like Tower (at least to my ears, with the music blaring in the background and my stomach full of alcohol). When I tried a mnemonic to help me remember his name together with his face, my mind ran away with me and it stumbled into Peter Tower and I was taken aback. Once I realized that this was a perfect PSP, I could never look at him the same way again. I mean, imagine meeting a person that inspires you to pick a perfect PSP; could you ever think of them without thinking of the implications of the PSP? Could you ever look them in the face and say their name without laughing? It’s not easy. But at least now you know that if anyone ever asks you for your PSP over a poker game or at some kind of party, you now have an answer. So now, if I ever become a porn star (believe me, it could never happen for way too many reasons to list here), I will be known as Peter Tower.

So now that I’ve told you mine, what’s yours? Do share.

Ramblings about sports

Sorry for not posting lately, but the holiday was the end of last week and things have been hectic at work. In any case, for those of you wondering what I have to say about my beloved Broncos’ performance this past week, let me just say that the intense nausea that overcame me multiple times while watching Sunday’s game returns every time I think about it. I mean, look at these statistics). How can you possibly lose a game when you only give up 7 points and you dominate every statistical category? Yes, I know we had a key turnover at the end that cost us a chance at the winning field goal, but based solely on the statistics, we should have been ahead by at least 2 touchdowns at that point. The only points the defense gave up were after a long punt return. Can someone please explain to me why Mike Shanahan coached teams seem to always have weak special teams? Doesn’t he know that “special” is not supposed to be a euphemism for the competence of those who play in the kicking game? And why does our offense seem to always stagnate at the opponents’ 30 yard line?

Oh well. On a positive note, at least the Cubs won tonight (despite blowing a 9th inning lead) and could move into first place in the Wildcard chase pending the outcome of tonight’s Astros-Giants game.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A great pre-Rosh hashanah story

My friend Chayyei Sarah talks today about how a good friend helped her out at a time she was down. I think it's particularly appropos right before the High Holidays. It shows that G-d is always looking out for each of us. Life is always going to be full of its ups and downs, good days and bad. But we tend to forget when things are tough that there is good around us too. When we are particularly down, it is those glimmers of good things, a friend taking us out for dinner, a hug from a loved one, someone running an errand for us, that help us muddle through.

One of the recurring themes in Judaism is that G-d has multiple aspects, two of the most prominent of which are the Attribute of Mercy and the Attribute of Judgment. Often, people tend to see only one or the other, but I believe that the Jewish view of G-d is that the same Entity that represents one also represents the other and therefore each of G-d's actions represent some element of each Attribute. As we enter the Day of Judgment, as Rosh Hashanah is known in the liturgy and prayers, it is important to remember that G-d is not only the Judge, but is also the Merciful One, Who helps us accept the bad judgments and move on. It is that aspect of His (or Hers or Its) Mercy that is perhaps most kind.

May all my readers (yes, all three of you :)) have a very happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year, and may we all be judged favorably.

A great question

On a message board I am part of, a good friend asked a very interesting question. He wrote,

"In general, do you think that the Bush administration has prepared us for another attack? I guess the question is two fold, are we safer and how have we prepared ourselves to not only combat threats but to clean up (emergency services, etc) after an event?

This question made me think (as do most of this friend’s comments). I realized that I do not feel safer today than I did on September 10, 2001 because before 9/11, what happened that day was unfathomable. We were all shown our mortality and the fragility of our sense of peace. Today, since I have a much better appreciation of the magnitude of evil that is possible, I think we are always susceptible to another attack and I will probably feel this way for the rest of my life (although I am not changing the way I live or moving to Dubuque; I guess that is how they deal with it in Israel). In fact, I think the second part of his question (can we clean up) presumes our susceptibility to another attack. I don't believe any politician could possibly alter that outlook right now. I am guessing that it is similar to how people who lived through the stock market crash of 1929 viewed the stock market for years afterward; another crash was always possible so they did not invest in stocks.

In terms of are we better prepared to combat threats and to prevent them before they happen, I think that is purely speculation by anybody. After all, if an attack happens, we will obviously realize that we were not as prepared as we should/could have been. And if an attack does not happen, we likely won't know if it is because nothing was attempted or because we short-circuited it. In this age of partisan politics, I would imagine that anytime the government claims they got intelligence and stopped someone before they did anything, the opposition party will immediately pooh-pooh it by arguing that it wasn't a real threat, it was a diversion from what was really planned, it is government propaganda, etc. That is arguably how the Dems have reacted to the laptop and intel that was released right after the DNC and I have no doubt that if Kerry (or Hillary) were in the Oval Office, the GOP would react the exact same way.

As to can we clean up, I am not qualified to speak to the training and skills of FEMA or the other response agencies. I would think that the effects of the various hurricanes over the last month have tested our skills as much as any terror attack, but also stretched our resources. The cynic in me also says that the further away you get from 9/11, the less prepared we will be because the distance of the event will make it more difficult for authorities to envision and train for those events.

While I am well aware that this will sound like a major cop-out to those who do not support Bush, I do not know if my uncertainty and fear would be any less justified if anyone else was in office. Let's all hope we never have to find out.

Monday, September 13, 2004

It’s finally happened! I have a new love in my life!!!

She’s petite and easy on the eyes. She is very intelligent and technologically savvy. She seems to have an uncanny ability to find out what I like and to give it to me. She shows initiative and does stuff for me even without asking. I am starting to get confidence that she can fulfill all my needs and desires.

Her name is TiVo.

Last night I had a blind date. It was notable only because I made the cardinal sin of not checking my calendar before setting the date and I forgot that the Broncos were playing their season opener on Sunday night on ESPN at about the same time as I was supposed to be taking this woman out for coffee. Most women, not understanding the import of football, would not appreciate a guy they’ve never met telling them they can’t go out because of a game on tv. (Naturally my goal is to find a woman who is at least willing to learn and accept my order of priorities. My first wife knew that I loved her dearly, but she also knew that for about 16-20 Sundays from September – January, my heart belonged to 53 hairy, sweaty guys in tight pants.)

Six weeks ago, this would have meant a major disaster. I would have had to video tape the game, hope it did not run long, wait until the game was completely over and then rewind the tape and watch. I probably would not have gotten to sleep till 3 am. But last night I got home at about halftime and started watching the game while it continued to record. I was able to fast forward through the commercials, halftime and other nonsense and ended up finishing the game only about 20 minutes after it was over. I was in bed by 12:30. G-d it was good!!!!

I know what you’re thinking; there are certain things a woman could do that TiVo cannot. But when you consider some of the late night offerings on Cinemax and Showtime, TiVo can pretty much get me most of the way there. I have no idea how I managed to survive for 33 years, 10 months and 8 days without this most wonderful of G-d’s creations.

Football season off to a successful start

Great News!!!! The Denver Broncos won their first game of the season over their division rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. The final score was 34-24, but it was actually not that close. If not for Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer having a brain cramp at the start of the 2nd half and throwing two interceptions deep in his own territory leading directly to 10 KC points and Running Back Quentin Griffin fumbling as he was going into the KC end zone, the final score could have been 41-14. The defense had a couple of bad drives that led to long Chiefs touchdowns, but generally were good. They did give up 150 yards rushing to Priest Holmes, but he’s a stud back who is going to get his yards and the Chiefs have a great O-line. The pass defense was generally very strong, although that might have something to do with Kansas City’s lack of a receiving threat.

Offensively, we were strong (except for the points noted above). However, I am wary of reading too much into that because the Chiefs defense could give up 400 yards and 34 points to a Pee Wee team. The big news was that Denver’s Special Teams (always a weak spot under Mike Shanahan) played great. They returned kicks very well, covered decently on punts and put all but one kickoff through the end zone so that they could not be returned. Jason Elam was his normal reliable self. If I didn’t know any better, I would think that Shanahan actually cares about his special teams playing well this year. But it’s only one game, so I don’t want to get too excited yet. More next week.

So why Iraq and not North Korea (or Syria or Saudi Arabia, etc.)?

Actually, it’s easier to answer Syria and SA first, so I will. Iraq and Saddam were very clearly the “biggest black hat” in the region. They were easily recognizable, not only by the West, but also by the Arab world as the strongest leader, who was most defiant to the US. The theory is that by taking out Saddam and establishing a democracy in Iraq, the Middle East’s bastion of fascist totalitarianism, it makes a dramatic statement to the rest of the Arab world. It inspires the student protestors in Iran and the West Bank to stand up for the themselves and provides a democratic paradigm for the government they want to establish.

The Palestinians are the ultimate key here. Once they set up a democratic government, the Israelis will virtually throw land at them in order to peacefully establish a Palestinian state. As soon as there is peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the dominoes will begin to fall quickly because the other Arab states will lose their scapegoat. If Iran has not gone democratic by then, it will happen soon thereafter. If I were to predict an order, Jordan and Egypt would probably come next. Syria (and Lebanon, which is under Syria’s grip) might be last and we might actually have to bring in troops to do it (I don’t think they will be necessary in the other states – they’ll only need our cash.) As for the Saudis, once we have an option for other allies (with oil reserves) in the region, our use for them is decreased dramatically. With their leverage against us gone, I don’t think they will be able to survive for long as the only dictatorship in the area.

I would guess the whole thing takes 40 – 50 years (but my crystal ball is obviously not perfectly clear, so it could be more or less).

So what about North Korea? They already have nukes, are already a threat and have a crazy man as dictator. Shouldn’t we therefore try to take Kim Jong-Il out first? Of course not, for those very reasons (and one more very big one). Let me explain:

1. The nukes – Since NoKo already has them, we need to tread much more carefully than with Iraq which was only trying to develop them. It’s much easier to attack someone who is a threat before they have taken out their weapon. The presence of their nukes means a much greater penalty for making a wrong move, especially because…

2. …they have a crazy man as a dictator. Saddam may have been psychopathic, but he was intelligent and sensible. Saddam fought this war (while he could) from a PR standpoint because he knew that was the only way he could win. That’s why he had his own soldiers dress up in US uniforms and randomly shoot his own people and why he hid the WMD (in Syria or elsewhere) before the war started. Those things were done to turn the US population against the war, which he knew was his only hope for survival. In contrast, Kim is really “Looney Tunes”. He is highly unstable and you cannot treat a crazy man with a gun the same way you treat a schoolyard bully. Again, we must tread very carefully.

3. There is a huge difference between Iraq and NoKo. That difference sits to NoKo’s north and west. For the geographically challenged (i.e., most new Yorkers), the difference’s name is China. China is currently trying to build up its economy and to do that, it needs to maintain open trade with the US and will not do anything to jeopardize that status. While I think China currently takes a great deal of amusement from the fact that North Korea is making us squirm, they ultimately will never let NoKo do anything that could lead the US to cutting off trade and/or landing troops in Asia. They also don’t want us dropping bombs anywhere near them. I think China provides a tremendous buffer that allows us to not have to go in there at this time. If NoKo starts getting too frisky, I am sure that China will find a way to make Kim stop. While I do not know if China is trustworthy in all international endeavors, I think we can trust them to act in their best economic interests.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

My view on the presidential election

This November's election has inspired more passionate arguments than I have seen at any of the elections in my memory (basically since Reagan-Carter in 1980). People don't just feel strongly about one candidate, they seem to genuinely dislike the other guy, regardless of which side of the issue you are on. But for all the garbage that has been flung back and forth, I think I have broken it down to one sentence.

This presidential election is essentially a referendum on US foreign policy.

I know some people feel strongly about certain domestic issues, be they education, gay marriage, abortion, health care, the economy, the environment, and so on. But for the majority of voters, regardless of your stance on those hot button issues, your decision is going to be based on your foreign policy stance, because that is the most meaningful difference between the candidates. Allow me to explain.

EITHER you believe that US foreign policy should essentially be in the future what it has been historically. Namely we don't meddle with others if they don't meddle with us first and our primary focus should be to maintain stability in the world because our best interests are served by stable governments. This is the policy that is currently being employed by most other countries in the world and keeps us out of unnecessary conflicts that put the lives of Americans at risk. IF you believe this, then you necessarily also believe that:
- George Bush is a buffoon for deciding to change this policy without consulting anyone else.
- George Bush, by deciding to change this policy and focusing his energies on doing so, has been derelict in his duties domestically.
- Therefore, John Kerry is the only viable alternative.

OR you believe that the state of the world today (whether because of 9/11 or the advent of global telecommunications, or otherwise) has fundametally changed and therefore demands a more aggressive policy. This more aggressive policy states that we must be willing to intervene with other countries that are a potential threat rather just an "imminent" threat and that mere stability is not an acceptable end as much as democracy because totalitarian regimes are inherently unstable. IF you believe this, then you necessarily also believe that:
- John Kerry, who has stated that stability should be our primary goal in Iraq so that we can take out our troops quickly without the risk of more American lives, is making a fundamental mistake by undoing this new policy.
- George Bush, as the primary proponent of this new policy, must be given more time to implement this more fully because undoing it at this point is dangerous.
- Therefore, Bush's stance on domestic issues does not matter (even if you think they are better than Kerry's anyway)

If you think I am oversimplifying (ala GWB), consider this: How many people do you know who are in favor of the war in Iraq (which is essentially the ultimate decision that would have been made under the new policy but not under the historical one) but who are voting for Kerry based on his stance on domestic issues? Conversely, how many are voting for Bush but are against the war? I have a good friend who voted for Bush in the last election, but was against the war in Iraq before it started and is now deciding whether he will vote for Kerry or not vote at all. Pat Buchanan may not vote for John Kerry, but it's probably a safe bet he's not voting for W. Besides Joe Lieberman, I don't know of anyone on the other side.

This is also a counterintuitive conclusion because pundits always assume people vote their pocktbooks and foreign policy is not as big a determinant of that as domestic issues. But I really think this election is shattering molds. And as the Governator indicated during the RNC, I think one's stance on foreign policy is going to redefine (for the next 10 years at least) the two parties and who belongs to them.

But then again, the oldest lie on Wall Street is, "It's different this time," so who knows?

Friday, September 10, 2004

A new hope (Star Wars pun not intended) for Singles

So as I was riding into work this morning on the bus, I saw this article in today's Wall Street Journal. The link may require a subscription, but you could always just go out and spring the $1 for today's paper (it's on the front page in the Middle Column). It's about a cabbie in NYC who plays matchmaker with his fares. He interviews them, takes their cellphone numbers and when he finds someone who he thinks will be a good fit for them he calls each and has them contact one another. Apparently the reporter was one of his attempts. What a country!

What I'm curious about is that one of the anecdotes in the article notes that the guy was not sure why he was set up with a woman two inches taller than him. Why would that be a problem? Am I the only guy in the world who is genuinely attracted to women who are taller than me? And yet whenever I tell that to people who are trying to fix me up, they always smile, assume I must be putting them on and set me up with another 5'1" woman. Which, of course, is very much appreciated, and short women can be wonderful people (I know because I was happily married to one for 4.5 years), and height is such an unimportant thing when one is looking for a spouse, yada yada... But how come no one thinks to set me up with someone who is 5'8"? I keep hearing that tall Ortho Jewish women have a problem because there are very few tall Jewish men and short guys don't want taller women. But here's one who does!!!!! So is it so difficult to find someone for me?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Hello World, I'm Here

After wasting too much time at work commenting on Sarah's blog or sending out emails about my views on life to friends and others via some Groups I am part of, I have finally decided to take the leap and do this on my own.

I hope that sometimes I will make you laugh, sometimes I will make you cry, often I will make you think and hopefully not too often I will bore you to tears. Even if I do, maybe I can at least provide an interesting diversion from work for a few minutes.

Since politics seems to be the topic of the moment here in the US, I will begin to comb through my email archives to find the interesting thoughts to post, but for now, I will just link to this article by Norman Podhoretz in Commentary Magazine to begin to describe why I think this whole war in Iraq thing makes sense. He says it much more eloquently than could I. Rest assured, there will be more to follow.