more on al

30 01 2007

Speaking of Al Franken, he’s planning on leaving Air America on Valentine’s Day.  It’s rumoured that he’ll be running for the Senate in Minnesota.  You might think I’m dorky for already blogging about this, but his Wikipedia article has been updated for quite some time with this info.  The story just broke today.

There’s no word on whether Marvin Hamlisch will be moving there in time to vote for him.

the antichrist is coming to grove city college

29 01 2007

I’m going to see Marvin Hamlisch tonight at Grove City College.  He’s been to campus before, but I’m going tonight because I have a free ticket since I’m in a class that requires attendance for this event.  I guess the ticket isn’t really free.  You could say that I paid $16,800 for this ticket.

Apparently, this guy has not only won basically every award on earth, he also might be the antichrist.   I guess if Hamlisch is the antichrist, it rules out Bush.

the little white church

28 01 2007

This morning, I decided to visit a church that I have driven past hundreds of times in my life but that I have never walked through the door of once. It’s in my hometown and I decided that it was more direct to go to church somewhere there instead of driving to my church and then driving home.

When I woke up this morning, I looked on Google to see if I could find the time that the service started or a phone number so I could call and ask someone. I couldn’t find either. I’ve been going to church for my entire life, so I made an educated guess that the church started somewhere between 10:30 AM and 11:00 AM. I pulled up around 10:40 AM and saw that it started at 11:00 AM and that Sunday school went until 11:00 AM. I drove down the street and filled up with some cheap $1.969 Ohio gas. I went back to the church about 10 minutes before the service was supposed to start.

The door was an old wooden one, painted recently. It had a knob and there didn’t appear to be a lock. I walked into the warmth of the sanctuary. The wooden floor was painted a muted red and my snowy shoes squeaked. There were about a dozen people in the Sunday school class that was meeting in the back few pews of the sanctuary and everyone paused to look at me. One man motioned to a seat in the pew behind him. The woman in front of me handed me the page that everyone was looking at, talking about being light in the world. The man who was teaching Sunday school finished promptly at 11:00, but not before he reminded those that came in at the end that “we could catch the whole Sunday school hour if we there at 10:00 next Sunday”. About another dozen people had begun filtering in and everyone moved up a few pews in the church. I had almost everyone come up and introduce themselves to me and ask me where I came from.

The church had one stained glass window in the front. It wasn’t ornate, but it had been installed in 1928. The chandeliers were newer and brightened the room. The church was just the one room. The building was so old that there wasn’t a bathroom. In fact, there was no running water. The church had set a gallon jug of water on a back table with a few plastic glasses. There was no office, so it dawned on me why I couldn’t find a phone number. There was no phone to call.

It was indeed a friendly group of people though. I counted 26 as the final number in the service. I was obviously the only person who was visiting and during the time of fellowship everyone again greeted me, this time with hugs and stories. One woman, Florri, told me that she had been going to this church since she was four days old. She told me that she would still be going there next time I came by to attend the service.

The hymns were old and slow, perhaps encouraged by the elderly woman who was on the organ. The pastor, fitting my stereotype, had a Garfield tie on and was rather portly and had a rather Baptist aura about him.

To be honest, it was rather charming. There was a sense of Christian community in the small number of believers who were collecting a weekly offering of $77.00 and had an average of age of at least 65. Perhaps a church like that isn’t something that I would want to become a part of for the long term, but it was nice to experience the country feel of the little white church that I’ve always driven past.

worst idea ever

28 01 2007

Hillary Clinton wants President Bush to pull all the American troops out of Iraq before he leaves office because she thinks it would be the height of irresponsibility to pass the war along to the next President.  That is the worst idea ever.

Since when does a President end every initiative, every war, every idea when he leaves office?  It’s up to the next President to decided what to continue and what to end.  Just because Hillary thinks Bush’s plan is bad (which it pretty much is), does not mean that he should end it when he leaves office.  That’s like saying the interstate system should have been scrapped when Eisenhower left office.

hillary clinton sings the national anthem!

27 01 2007

Someone left Hillary Clinton’s microphone on when the national anthem was being played in Iowa. Here is the link of just watch the video below:

Operation Petticoat

27 01 2007

Since the store was so empty on Thursday night, Tracy and I watched Operation Petticoat.

Who knew a movie produced in 1959 could be funny?  There are so many wise cracks and almost innocent innuendo that I laughed for most of the film.

criminals are scared to leave their homes

27 01 2007

Today, criminals are scared to leave their homes. In fact, one man was quoted as saying “We used to feel secure here, but it looks like that honeymoon is over.” But wait! I’m not done yet. Criminals are now wary of the police!

All these articles makes it sound like a bad thing that hundreds of people breaking the law are being arrested and going to jail or facing the consequence of their actions. Funny, I thought bad guys were supposed to be locked up or sent away.

I like immigrants. Legal ones. I’m really not quite sure why everyone is so upset about people doing illegal things being arrested. I wrote about this briefly once before last year.

This summer, I was on a flight from London to Entebbe. When I boarded the plane, I heard this awful screaming, like someone was being beaten or killed. The noise was coming from the back of the plane, where I was supposed to be seated. We were flying on a plane with a 2-3-2 seating arrangement and my seat was supposed to be an aisle of the 3 section in the second to last row of the plane. However, in my seat there was a woman about my age handcuffed to a boy who looked to be about 13. On the other side of him there was another person handcuffed to the boy as well. In fact, the last three rows of the 3 seat section had three people in the middle seat and 6 people in the aisle seats. The aisle seat people were immigration officers and the middle seat people were illegal immigrants who were being deported back to Uganda. There was a mother and her four children. The oldest boy and the oldest girl were handcuffed like the mother and were both screaming, just like her. There was a two year old boy who was being held by another immigration officer and a baby that was being held by yet another officer. Finally, there was also a medical nurse that was accompanying them.

I had already been delayed on my trip to Uganda and there was no way that I was getting off that flight. I was going to be on the flight even if it meant that I had to handcuff myself to the kid being deported and physically restrain him for the entire flight. The head steward directed me to stand in the galley in the back of the plane and to wait there until he could get everything sorted out with the immigration people and all of the rest of the passengers. He did guarantee me a seat at this point after I made it quite clear that I was not going to get off the plane, regardless of what kind of gut wrenching screams were coming from the seat next to me.

I started talking to one of the officers in the galley who was holding the baby boy. He explained to me the situation and what was happening. This family had entered the UK under the auspices of seeking refugee asylum. This argument was faulty by itself because when seeking refugee asylum, you have to stop in the first safe country according to international law. Now, I haven’t taken a geography class since junior high, but the UK is not the first safe country outside of Uganda, if there was even any reason to be leaving Uganda.

My first reaction when I took my seat was sorrow.  I had a row of 2 seats on the side of the group of officers and their deportees.  The woman was screaming that they were molesting her, that they were trying to rape her, and that they were hurting her children.  She kept on telling her children to scream as well.  They complied.  Later that night as I stood in the galley somewhere over North Africa, I learned that the Women’s League in the UK distributed pamphlets to people that were being deported.  These pamphlets would outline things they could do to stop their deportation once they were on the plane.  This woman and her children had been on a plane about a week before but the woman had soiled her pants on purpose so that they would have to be removed from the flight.  The screaming was meant to cause someone on the flight to complain to the cabin crew.  If someone on the flight complains, the officers and their deportees would be removed from the flight (this fact was only known to me at the time, not anyone else on the flight).  The officer in charge of the whole operation was moving through the cabin apologizing for the noise and promising that it would stop immediately after take off.  The deportees know that once the plane takes off, there is no need to continue screaming because the flight is not going back.  I genuinely felt awful knowing that all I had to do was say the word and that family could have extended their illegal stay in the UK.

But as we sat there on the tarmac, I thought about it.  The two girls behind me were crying.  They were semi-traveling with our group and the officer apologized to them and asked for their patience.  I decided to do the right thing.  I sat there.

After the plane took off, I spent most of the flight talking with the immigration officers.  They explained the problems that the UK was having with illegal immigration.  I joked with them that they were an island so it should obviously be easy for them to secure their borders.  The man told me of the people that were dying by trying to walk through the chunnel.  I guess the USA isn’t the only country that has a problem with immigrants doing very dangerous things to enter the country.

Once we took off that night, everyone quieted down.  The children started watching the in-flight movies and everyone ate their dinner.  The mother wasn’t allowed to leave her seat, but she was unrestrained and held her baby for most of the flight.  When we arrived in Entebbe the next morning, the officers escorted the family to the Ugandan immigration office and left them there.  One of the officers told me that two of the children had been born in the UK and that all four of them had different fathers.

Immigration laws need to be enforced.  People need to be sent back and legal immigration needs to be promoted and enforced to protect a country, whether that be the USA or the UK.  The honeymoon needs to be over.