Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

Allie's Journey

For the next several months this will be dedicated to information pertinent to Allene M. Maddock. Her care has been assumed by Hospice as of 06Apr12.

Please feel free to call or write her. If you call be patient and take time to explain who you are. Currently she remembers, but you have to help her focus so she truly knows who she is talking to at the moment. We have to do this too, and I frequently say something like, "Yes this is Scott, your oldest."

Her phone is area code two-zero-six, and the number is 216 3816.

Her Address:
Allie Maddock
c/o Queen Ann Manor
100 Crockett Street
Seattle, Washington
    98109

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, ...

This is my 300th post on this blog. Ironic it falls on the last day of the year. It wasn't planned, but it is not really worthy of notoriety either.

It occurred to me Monday is my last day of vacation/holiday. It seems to have passed quickly, though I'm ready for work. I know I'll have a little hurried catch up, things like my performance review which probably should have been done this week. I expect that will be my first couple hours Tuesday morning. Then any new and important campaigns for the marketing folks I do much of my work for.

Not really anything exciting for resolutions this year. First, keep focused on and growing in the conservatory program. I managed to do this pretty well last quarter, but with work and full time acting training the eighty hour weeks took a toll. Of course, I hadn't had a real break in quite a long time, unless you count the broken leg. While it was a significant break in one way (yuk, yuk, oh yuck!), it provided no time to unwind and refresh. Classes don't start until the 17th, so I'll be able to re-immerse back into the hectic schedule a step at a time. I feel more refreshed than I have in years, so I'm hoping next quarter isn't so challenging with regards to the schedule. Our homework is to read four Shakespeare plays (and I have the needed ones on paperback), watch the Branagh versions Henry V (which I have) and Hamlet (which I want), and to watch the first four episodes of John Barton's BBC series, "Playing Shakespeare." I'm looking forward to all of it.

My second resolution, is to continue getting the material clutter out of my life. Didn't get much done this year, and hope to do much more in '06. One thing that helps is a true desire to get it done. The hold habit of procrastinating is still there, even though I no longer dread the task but look forward to it. One of those dichotomies I so enjoy in concept, but struggle against in reality.

I had a great Christmas, though my brother and I clashed a little when I made a snide remark after letting his orations of the tired fantasy-based neocon talking points get my goat. Stupid. I should have graciously left the room to use the toilet and left him to his mostly bored audience. Oh well, live and learn. I once considered my brother to be an exceptionally brave and generous soul who thought for himself, and his politics are what I see as the basest anathema of those qualities. I honestly can't see his side unless I assume it is driven by consuming avarice, fear, and ignorance as a deliberate choice. I don't leave myself any middle ground. It is a struggle, because I suspect I should not find middle ground with those qualities. To do so is to give in to the corruption of ideals this country was founded on, and hasten it's ultimate demise.

While I was in Canada I made a longish post exploring kindness and violence. How compassion and courtesy may tend to be a more sincere and conscious choice when coming from those who have lived with violence. After a day or two I decided the post was too self involved and archived it, though I'm still interested in how other's think. As a Naval Aviator I was involved in a career with violence at it's very heart for ten years, including time in combat, so my view is slanted.

I hope you all have wonderful New Year's Eve and Day celebrations, whether they be wild flings that would disappoint your parents or staid periods for reflection. I hope for both.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Ho Ho Ho, To NY We'll Try And Go

Made it to and from New York without incident, and we timed our stay to enjoy the entire MTA transit strike, no more, no less. I got in five hours after it was declared and left as the buses and subways were slowly starting to roll with passengers. The subways were seen slowly rolling along during the strike sans passengers, to keep them healthy I suppose.

Lots of exercise and some blisters. My shoes weren't as good for walking as I thought. It was cold, but not terribly so. Twenties in New York is much colder than twenties in Seattle. I noticed two things about traffic. The whole time I was there I only saw two hummers, which told the bigoted side of me they don't have nearly the proportion of upwardly mobile white trash as we do here. The second thing is that New York drivers are wretched. Poor control, both of the car and impulses. If they had full control of their vehicles while cutting each other off it wouldn't have been so leery. The next time someone tells me we don't know how to drive in Seattle, I'll have to slap them into reality. Same thing the next time someone tells me people are nicer in Seattle. Two myths shot down in one trip. Crappy driving, dirty streets, transit strike. I loved it.

We got to see one show, The Blue Man Group. It was a great show, though I understand from Paula it is very, very similar to when she saw them fifteen years ago. About 50% of the skits were the same. Of course, when it comes to theatre I'm more of a half full sort of person so I'd happily see it again. One of the people we were hanging out with works for them, so we got some comps. They were papering the house a bit, because attendance dropped off so much due to the strike. All the other shows we were really interested in were sold out, and spending hours getting there hoping to get a rush ticket did not enthrall any of us. I'll have to go back when the subways are running, and getting from borough to borough is a not measured in hours.

After Blue Man we went to the Wooster Group's Christmas party. Much of this was driven by Steve's childhood friends. Geoff, Kristen, and their two year old son Ben hosted us in their wonderful row house in Brooklyn. Geoff is the Wooster Group's sound designer, and Kristen works in the business office, and Ben spends a lot of time there. It was a pleasure to join their holiday party. Met several people, including one of Gregory's classmates from University of Washington. So, two of our group had connections with the Wooster Group.

A pretty great household to stay with. Jared, another of the group of friends with Steve and Geoff rented the basement, and it was his fiance Kristy who got us the Blue Man tickets. Geoff and Jared, as well as a several others came out to Seattle this Summer for Steve and Paula's wedding. It was great for Steve to see them again, and terrific for the rest of us to enjoy the benefits of generous people working in the New York theatre scene.

I had a terrific time, and am nearly rested up. Some winemaking chores today, then off to my brother's house for the Christmas celebration. Got in Friday evening, and slept, roused slowly, and headed over to Richard and Shawn's for a great Christmas Eve party. We played Ticket To Ride, which I thought was quite fun, probably because I was pretty lucky and ended up winning. It could have been cutthroaty, but we were more into socializing, and making clever lewd puns and references, so it was a relaxing game, and my moment in the spotlight for winning less than three seconds.

I hope you all have a terrific Christmas. I'll probably leave my laptop at home for my next short visit, tomorrow to Thursday in Duncan, BC. I had it with me in New York, but didn't use it because it didn't recognize the wan where we were staying, and I had a couple good books for reading on the airplane.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What's That?

Oh, the sound of silence. Done with classes and performances, on vacation, and over six hours before I leave for the airport. There's nothing that needs doing, except some laundry before I pack. Five minutes to do the laundry, twenty minutes to fold and pack. An empty bloody day. Cool. All I've done since finishing errands is eat lunch and find a new sucky show. Drew Carey's Green Screen. A great idea, with shabby, inane, and tediously predictable implementation. To be fair I've only been able to stomach a couple skits. Must find something else to do for my short veg. Maybe a movie or trying out the PlayStation. Naps. Decisions, decisions, decisions. None of them of any import. Pretty cool. This is all the writing I'll do today.

The show went great this weekend. It is funny. The people I told about the show who came and didn't come were not what I would have guessed for over half the people. It was a treat to have some different folks come to the show. Saturday didn't feel quite as good as Friday, but yesterday's matinee rocked again. There is a short bit where Sarah is behind me, my arms behind me, and her arms coming out from under my arms. The gag you've seen in many an improv show, where the person behind supplies the arms. Generally the biggest laugh is where she grabs my twig and berries and I spit on the ground, doing the Italian insult. Yesterday her arm got under one of my suspender straps. Simple, not a big deal. I remembered and took the time to enjoy a take to the suspenders, then to the audience. It doesn't sound like much, but that was the audience's favorite bit in that scene.

A nice finish before our vacation. I haven't decided if I'll take my laptop with me when I go to New York tonight. If I do, maybe I'll have more later this week. If not, later my lovelies.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Yummy

This morning, we set up and ran through the scenes we'll be doing at the Monroe Correctional Facility tomorrow. A lot of cuts, as we have a 45 minute time frame, and have to subdue the more sexually evocative humor, and some of the oaths. It was a rehearsal opportunity so I pushed my voice a bit to work the habit of not holding it. The same when we ran one of the scenes and part of another as a warm-up a bit before the show.

I wasn't the village idiot tonight. I didn't feel like the weakest link either. I finally had fun, and got a lot of laughs in the process. Not just from my Dad who was a bit wowed by the show. John and George kept saying for us to have fun, to play, and I was having trouble getting myself into that space.

After the morning bits, I took my motorcycle to the shop for a tune up, and the minor repairs needed from the dump last Friday. Then I caught a bus part way back, and walked from 4th and Wall to Freehold. I was lugging my big laptop, about twenty pounds, and my helmet. And wearing my motorcycle boots -- these boots weren't made for walking. About two miles, perhaps a bit more, mostly uphill. Got myself a good workout, which helped my mind calm down.

I stopped a couple blocks out of the way to get a sandwich, fruit, diet coke, and water. Got to Freehold about two hours before call, four hours before the show. Did some E-mail checks while I ate, then meditated and ran lines, focusing on ease and vocal articulation. They both helped. The pushing to open my voice in rehearsal, with the articulation let me relax more. The meditation got me centered, and let me tell the weakest leak bitch of my fantasy to screw off. I had fun. A lot. Funny thing that. The more fun you have, the more the audience and your scene partners have.

Several people I like and respect were at the show, and made very nice and specific compliments about my work. God what a difference a day makes. I'm so looking forward to our last three performances. I'm all hungry for more classes, and feeling a bit ambivalent about the long break now. It's nice to be off my pitty pot.

Oh, It's a Full Moon

Oh let's be honest. I was gifted mathematically. Not an Einstein, just one of those insufferable kids who didn't study, just waited for enough information to assimilate and make the lightbulb illuminate. It carried me through life for a long time. Rarely did anything hold my passion for long. Was it because I wasn't challenged as a kid, forced to attend classes with kids who socialized and savaged their peers well, but thought story problems were hard? I was not good at socializing, and never understood the joy of picking on other kids.

I was a top notch pre-med student.
  Yawn!
I was a Naval Aviator!
  Bigger yawn.
With lots of combat flights!
  Sure you were.
I am a programmer now and enjoy it.
  Biggest yawn!
I am an artist.
  Huh?
I am not a gifted artist.
  Go on.
I love it, like a twelve year old's infatuation.
  Yeah?
Except it won't go away.
  What?
My love of art.
  What are you doing about it?
I haven't a fucking clue!
  Cool.
Fuck me. Fuck you!
  Now you're talking!
But I don't know what I'm saying.
  Exactly!
A fat lot of help you are!
  Did you think I wanted to help You?

If you understand this, your as big a nutter as I. Hello my friend.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Something Mare

I have this recurring nightmare, well daymare, or unhappy fantasy. We get done with the show, and this vile British bitch drags me away from my classmates shrilly declaring with glee, "You are the weakest link!"

I'm not doing that badly, but I'm not doing all that great either. I thought I'd made good bit of progress yesterday, and again today. I keep getting the same note. Get your intention to the back row. Shit, fuck, curses of the vilest kind for me. I know I can't push it as that will only make things worse, but I'm still holding in some big way I can't identify. I'm going to go nuts.

Ahhhhh! (That's a despairing scream.) I still love this stuff, even, or especially, when I feel like shit. There is something wrong with me which I am very satisfied with. Theatre people have to be crazy. If we weren't we'd go fucking nuts. Round the bend. Loony toons. I'm happy and down in the mouth. I want a sensuous hug. I want to be cruelly slapped. I...

G'night.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tar(mac)nation

Wow, it ended up being an eventful day after all. Class was long, rehearsing other people's scenes. That means I didn't get a chance to do much, nor did I get a chance to get castigated. Lot of that today, and I think it is mostly for the sake of pressure. If not, simply because the time is short. It would have been nice to start on the text about two weeks sooner, but we didn't get the cuts until the first day of blocking.

Anyway, it was a long day and I wish we could have worked more scenes. Fun anyway. I suppose that is one of things which makes me an actor. A long boring rehearsal day is still fun.

After class I thought I'd lost my cell phone again. It's a rare talent I have, that. What that means in practical terms, is I stopped when I got to the motorcycle to check messages. Couldn't find the damn phone. Back to Freehold, look all up and down the risers where I last saw it. No luck, but I got drenched with sweat walking around in my riding gear. Back down 11th Ave E along the reservoir park, and left on Denny. Going across Broadway I slammed on the brakes when a truck turned in front of me. Ba Da Boom!

"@#$% &**^%$ ^()!!!! and your &^%$#$%^& Mother too!" Or something like that. I was loud and not gracious. Luckily he had the window up and didn't hear me. Someone waiting for the crosswalk helped me lift the bike up and we rolled it to the sidewalk. I think I'll have a bruise on my right hip and big toe. Thank my lucky stars and heretical spiritual guides and the Aerostich suit. I felt my knee pad and elbow pad smacking the pavement. No big injury to get over. I'd be feeling a lot more banged up if I'd been wearing leathers.

No real damage to the bike. The rubber pad on the foot brake came off, and I retrieved that. A small scratch on the front fender, the right mirror, and the case saver (aka crash bar). About the time I figured out there was no real damage to myself or the bike the young man driving the truck walked up. He was mortified, and I assured him a number of times I was alright and we'd be able to take care of it without dragging in the insurance company.

He was an extremely conscientious young man, and had a young lady with him. I told them not to let it bother them, that I was alright and he was doing the right thing. He is nineteen I think. I noted his birth year on his driver's license, but not the day. In the end it was definitely more traumatic for he and his companion. Goddamn I always think in acting terms. He had a gracious and very mature presence. For those that whine about the new generation, you should get knocked down by one of them. I really liked this young man. I'm so glad their windows were up and they didn't hear my string of obscenities. Yes, I swore like a drunk sailor on shore leave. Instantly, creatively, without thought, so it is certainly possible for me to lose my temper in an impressive way.

I told him it would be a few weeks before I could get estimates, and I hope I'll be able to get it fixed for under a $100. I'm not worried about replacing things, just preventing corrosion. That would be a nice Christmas gift for him.

I sure do like my riding gear. I haven't checked it yet, but any damage must have been minor, as I couldn't see any holes or torn fabric. Because I fell and slid this time instead of rolling, the banged elbow and knee in this 15-25 mph crash would have been as painful as the one at 60 mph had I been wearing my old unpadded leathers. That's the good from my first crash -- protective gear. My adrenalin was dropped to a level where I was no more than chatty when I talked to the truck driver. Not shaky or anything. I rode the rest of the way to Seattle Center in comfort, physical and emotional. Now to go watch my friends in Next Step. No wireless where I'm sitting, so I'll post this tonight or tomorrow.

May all your traumatic experiences be as mild!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Counting Down

Okay, my grief with the blog editing was user error. Damn those users! The missing post I'd accidentally put in my class journal. And it really is possible to reset the date and time for the post. The interface was changed so it is hidden, and the functionality for showing it was not intuitive for me. A little thing that says ">Post and Comment Options", which means configuration to me, things like turning comments or security off and on.

The Onion has come out of stupid land. They were so imitation vanilla for a while it was painful. The last couple weeks they had several great articles, which I saw thanks to Richard. This week another fun article. Though, could it be true...
          Voice Of God Revealed To Be Cheney On Intercom

It's nice they found their edge again. They were getting as putridly dull as MadTV. The magazine (MAD) which was juvenile and satirical and had fun with establishment abuses of power was still fun last time I checked. MadTV is the neocon version, complete with excessive meanness in a reality show way and whiney about liberalism. There is nearly as much to lampoon so-called liberals with as there is for conservatives. So why go all whiney? Admittedly I've only seen a few minutes of the show a handful of times. Each time is was pitiful. At least The Onion moved away from that territory.

I'm tired as all get out. Feeling pretty good, though I'm too lethargic at work. The upcoming vacation which starts next Tuesday will be a blessing.

During drill this morning we worked on scenes, and it was very satisfying to feel myself further find the character, the meaning, and improve. It is still frustrating I can't just do it all at once. To be honest, a lot of it is already there when I start now, so in a way I do get some things all at once. But not without homework. I really like working with Ben. We ran through our scene a number of times, at least six or seven times. It's terrific, because you really start finding stuff, which gives you more room to find other things to work on and develop.

I feel like Scott. Not an artist. Not a programmer. Just Scott. I think of myself as an actor or an artist. As a programmer. A little pat on the back coming here. I don't feel like the Scott of six years ago. He's pretty hard to recall now, and his life didn't feel rich. Now I feel I have a lot to lose, and more importantly a lot to gain.

Like I said, Scott's kind of tired.

Uck

One of my co-workers posted this. It is really a travesty of the worst kind this kind of occurrence has become commonplace in this dysfunctional country.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051206/METRO/512060440
Excerpt:
Upon the recommendation of a probation officer, Judge Robert Ransom sentenced Hanas to the state-sponsored rehabilitation program - the Inner City Christian Outreach Residential Program, run by a Pentecostal church.

Hanas said the program did not offer drug treatment or counseling, nor did it have any organized program other than reading the Bible and attending Pentecostal services.

He said his rosary and prayer book was taken from him and his religion was denounced as “witchcraft.” Hanas said he was told his only chance of avoiding prison and a felony record was to convert to the Pentecostal faith.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

More Dissembling (aka Disassembling)

I wrote about the topic in the following paragraphs yesterday, it published without error, but didn't actually publish. The blog edit pages were working, but the blog pages themselves were down for hours. It seems things have gotten sloppy at blogspot after being acquired by Google. I put in a support request, because the date edit function is obscured in the edit window, and instead of the fast response I had when I had a similar question a year and a half back, this request has been ignored for over a week. Now a post which was supposed to have published successfully was trashed. It is a free system and I shouldn't bitch too much, but I wouldn't have deleted my local copy of the post if I knew the success message was unreliable. Is this just bad luck, or is it a signal Google is moving to the current US business model, of "it's nearly good enough."

I can't believe this. Anyone remember why we had to go to Iraq -- the overriding reason? Independent of the 'questionable intelligence' which to me was painfully obvious it had been ordered up by the white house and cooked. Independent of the fear mongering and jingoism? Oh yeah, that's right, to stop terrorism. So here's rummy's new line:
"To be responsible, one needs to stop defining success in Iraq as the absence of terrorist attacks," Rumsfeld said.

"Which view of Iraq is more accurate, the pessimistic view of the so-called elites in our country, or the more optimistic view expressed by millions of Iraqis and by some 155,000 US troops on the ground?" Rumsfeld asked.
This is precious. It wasn't picked up very quickly in the US, but was reported widely yesterday in foreign newspapers. Most skipped the second paragraph, which also gagged me. Who are these mysterious "so-called elites" he invented? First I've heard of them. Sounds more like he is still relying on name calling and made up labels. Let's see, there is a cabal running the country, disciples of Machiavelli, who consider themselves above the law, above courtesy, etc. Rummy is part of the cabal, and he accuses those who see through the rotting veneer of being elites? If they weren't killing and destroying so many lives it would be funny.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sere

Stoned or stoner, God's tool or Pharisee?
Righteous -- self righteous, merciful -- fearful?
Who are we now? Which role is ours today?
Once persecuted, now persecutor.

Who casts the first stone now, with spite and glee?
Usurps God's rule, to judge others awful?
They hate queers, hate Jews, pray for more to flay.
To hold others down, they made Him their whore.

Stoned or stoner, God's tool or Pharisee?
Righteous -- self righteous, merciful -- fearful?
Who are we now? Which role is ours today?
Once persecuted, now persecutor.

Self-pedestalled pious pretenders feed
Choking all spirit from the church succeed
Killing God again, while the world totters --
The Father's fresh out of Sons and Daughters.

Embracing Mediocrity (Part One?)

Sad news. Exchange Theatre is folding, meaning I won't get to see Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters next March. I really hate to hear this, and not just because I've made donations and worked in their shows. I believed in their goals and was impressed by their work. That's why I was happy to be involved at so many levels. Board member, volunteer, actor, donor... Again, I see part of the problem was starting too big. It was a gamble, and I'm proud they lasted beyond the dot-com bomb as long as they did. The others which started too big in the same time frame have been history for five years.

I think of it as "cops syndrome." That is, most people would rather stay at home and watch their favorite rerun of Cops again, than go out and see a live show. It's not that many people would actually enjoy Cops more. You can vegetate in front of the TV, but it takes some effort to actually see quality entertainment. I checked the website for as long as I could stomach it, and it appears Cops is in their 18th season. How many great and good theatre companies have gone under in that time? I don't get it. I've never seen more than a few minutes of Cops, and it was the most boring tripe I could imagine.

I can understand the lethargy though, having been there. I found my way out of that tendency when I found a passion for art. Though it seems I have almost no free time, I do other things which I didn't in the past. A fulfilling life opened up my horizons, got me out to everything from socializing to ball games to opera. Makes you wonder doesn't it? Balanced, active, happy people must be an anathema to corporate entities. People who have interests, and quickly tire of sitting in front of a tv or internet browser, are more challenging to pigeonhole, and pummel with advertisements.

There is a reason conservatives, which in today's world equates to corporate apologists in America, would like to strip all art from education. People who think outside the parameters of convenient mass marketing are of no use to conservatives. Anything which causes a human being to resist the pliable consumer mold is a dire threat to those who rely on cattle call type marketing for their fortunes. If you are not a willing consumer, properly conditioned to work (preferably for low wages) and spend your earnings on cheap and unnecessary goods you are called subversive.

So, I traveled from sadness at the demise of a superior theatre company to the insidious evil of consumerism. Not really much of a tangent. The death of art in our affluent society is driven by the elevation of consumerism to the most sacred status in america.
PS - Typo's aside I am pretty specific with capitalization. Ever notice how I rarely capitalize christian? Don't capitalize our dictator's name, w? Etc? I do generally go along with the rules for titles, even for the inane television show I mentioned. But proper nouns, like people's names or groups, I feel should be earned, and not assigned.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Smiles

I had trouble sleeping last night, waking every hour or two, and finally waking about half an hour early. The morning news was all about snow, so I took the involuntary early rising to be serendipitous. I got ready a little early, and drove the Vanagon instead of the motorcycle. I still like driving the van a lot. Not only did my best friends give it to me, I still feel their presence when I drive it, and a comforting feeling of bemusement that it now is my vehicle.

It's nice driving to the early morning drill sheltered, warm, and dry. I still get a kick out of the motorcycle, purely for the fun of it and being able to use carpool lanes. Luck kept with me, the daily traffic back up was not present so not using the carpool lanes didn't slow me down, and I got to drill quite early.

I waited around a bit after drill until the office at Freehold opened, to see if anyone had turned in my cell phone. No luck, but I spent fifteen minutes sitting in Caffe Vita's, reading The Stranger, a local iconoclastic rag, and working on a bagel, pear, and soy chai. Simple fare, and it was wonderfully relaxing. I may make that a part of my post drill routine. It certainly makes a nice adjustment on the way to the day job. Yup, put me in a better mood for the whole day. I was even feeling cheery when I wrote my most recent invective earlier today. Now, there is a dichotomy. Writing about our premeditated war crimes and a total loss of any moral compass from the highest echelons of power, and clear down to the mob mentality of the masses without darkening my day. Go figure.

Disingenuous: Yet Another Practical Instance

President Bush's spokesman said Thursday "we're very concerned" about reports that the U.S. military is paying Iraqi newspapers and journalists to plant favorable stories about the war and the rebuilding effort.

"We are seeking more information from the Pentagon," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
What a ridiculous line to take at this point. The white house is going to look into it, just like all the other scandals they initiated? That should resolve all ethics questions surrounding the issue of suborning the media. This is the same white house which paid American journalists to promote their elitist projects, and apparently feels laws and ethics do not operate outside our borders. So long as the neocon's handlers and special interests are slaked any depredation, from jay walking to killing a hundred thousand non-combatants is justified. Like I said, the white house will surely resolve ethics questions. The white house now has a well established adversarial relationship with ethics, and we can expect to see more of the same.

Can't you just see Cheney trying to push exceptions for perjury and corruption for GOP administrations? After all they are crucial and effective tools for conservative social reform (an oxymoron if ever there was one), which should not be overlooked just because the peons they are ruling can't use them without lengthy prison terms.

Why the Hell are they saying still saying such patently ridiculous things to the press? There can't be a person in this country with an IQ of two or more digits who believes the white house is going to look into it with any more effort or focus than is needed to try to sweep it under the rug with everything else, or that the white house had nothing to do with it in the first place.

There are still enough bubbas who will say with pride, "George is doin somethin aybout it, cuz he has intaygerty and fordaytude!" Then elbowing their buddies, "Nudge, nudge, wink wink, nod, nod. Say no more! Say no more! Cough, cough, hack hack, sputter sputter. Gimme my tall fucking Bud! Glug glug, puke, puke. Love that dubya! Love that dubya!"

So our leaders are still playing the monster truck crowd, figuring we'll resonate to the lowest uncommon denominator. Kind of forgot about the rest of America, and the rest of the world.

Remember when the Shah of Iran was deposed? His US trained (and equipped?) secret police and similar dirty dealings were not the reason the fundamentalists were able to grab power. People were uncomfortable with the responsibilities which went along with the personal freedoms. It wasn't the shah's dirty tricks which made them uncomfortable, after all the same depredations had been going on for hundreds of years. It was the responsibilities of the slowly growing liberties which they reacted against.

I had trouble accepting this analysis, and had read basically the same thing many times. Then I saw our own population which should embrace liberty, rebel against freedom. And we have had great degrees of freedom for over two hundred years. The obvious rebellion against liberty involves the conservative initiatives which revoke freedom for other people in the name of wholesome tradition and family values, be they poor, gay, female, of color, non-christian, and all others they feel undeserving. Subtler and perhaps more insidious is the wholesale forfeiture of freedom.

The scary terrorists, whom we keep training and creating to drive future hysterics of fear, are nothing when compared to the previous nuclear threat of the Soviet Union, or the fight against the axis in the world war. We are enthusiastically falling over ourselve to surrender freedom to make us feel temporarily safer. The price of liberty, eternal vigilance", requires too much work and courage for the modern american to deal with. We are disintegrating as a democracy, showing the world a phenomenal level of mass cowardice and it's companion trait viciousness, which should be utterly antithetical to true Americans.