Thursday, November 28, 2002

ZoNotes: Gobble Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving! Fried turkey and succutash for the masses!

First off, I want to extend condolences to the family and friends of Texas A&M freshman defensive tackle Brandon Fails, who died of a blood clot in his lungs on Monday morning. This is the second time in 3 years the A&M-Texas game has been clouded by sadness, the previous instance being the 1999 Bonfire accident. Fails, the AP's Class 5A player of the year on defense in 2001, had been projected as a starter for next season. He actually played in four games this season as a true freshman, but a knee injury sidelined him. He had retained redshirt status after appealing the NCAA.

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."-- George Bernard Shaw

Feast Of the Wordplays

"So the people who call tell me Safeway turkey dinner costs $40. I tell them you get what you pay for." -- Old Glory's manager last night, discussing the finer points of preparing T-Day dinners.
"Two #63s, 1 #62, and three #65s." -- (To the Laredoans -- what mariachis are numbered 63, 62, and 65 at Taco Palenque?)
"Anybody who doesn't think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his hometown is a sissy." -- Calvin Trillin (GOD BLESS GLASS KITCHEN!!!)
"Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups -- alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat." -- Alex Levine
"Cogito ergo dim sum." -- ("Therefore I think these are pork buns.")--Robert Byrne
"Blow in its ear."-- Johnny Carson, on the best way to thaw a frozen turkey.
"In Mexico we have a word for sushi -- bait."-- José Simon
"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."-- Sophia Loren
"The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again."--George Miller
"I prefer Hostess fruit pies to pop-up toaster tarts because they don't require so much cooking." -- Carrie Snow

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

ZoNotes: Travel Day

The day before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year. Trust me, I definitely enjoy staying in Washington this time around given the implications of traveling nowadays. For those of you who are leaving today, I suggest you build in at least an hour extra of redundancy time just in case you get stuck in what is sure to be adventurous traffic. For those Texans in the ZoNotes readership, I hope you all stay comfy during the cold snap!

Buffy Recap: The Last Action Heroine
So, on last night's episode, Buffy finally realized who exactly she was fighting --the First Evil from Season 3. FE's first appearance, all the way back in 3, was a brief yet crucial role. As Buffy fans remember, the FE tried to convince Angel (he of the spinoff on WB) to kill Buffy and himself. However, he failed to do the former, and while waiting for the sun to rise to complete the latter, a "freak" snowstorm clouded the daylight. In the following timeframe, Buffy survived Graduation, defeated the Initiative in Season 4, Glory in Season 5, and Dark Willow in Season 6.

So the FE drifted into the background. Not any more, though. Given alot of the circumstantial evidence of the last couple of episodes -- the altar at the basement of Sunnydale HS, the black-robed, sealed-eye ninjas, the Biblical prophesizing by the chief of the Watchers Council before the end of last night's episode -- I figure FE is a metaphor for Satan.

However, Buffy hasn't really embraced religion as a pillar over the duration of the last 6-odd seasons, save for a couple of episodes. Remember the fight between Faith and Buffy when their bodies were switched in the chapel? Witness the closing sequence of Season 6 and the song played at the end. Plus, the way that Buffy and company tried to contain Spike continued the Exorcist-like dynamic we saw two weeks ago.

The last two major events of the episode -- the kidnapping of Spike by FE ninjas and the strike on the Watchers Council -- are signs that the enemy has a greater reach and more malicious intent than even Angelus or the Principal, who I thought were the nastiest bad guys Buffy faced. Plus, the resurrection of what appears to be "the first vampire" by using Spike's blood offers some useful gross-out action that never hurts.

The last two weeks have brought us cliffhangers, I suppose in anticipation for the next new episode, which I think isn't until well after the holidays, on Jan. 14. In the meantime, those of you who would like a reorientation of Season 7 will get a chance to see some repeats in the interim. Additionally, tomorrow FX is having a Buffy-themed afternoon on the FX network.

"If there is a supreme being, he's crazy."--Marlene Dietrich

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

ZoNotes: The Shortest Week

GOP heavyweights Dick Armey and Bob Barr will sign on as consultants for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The GOP in the last few years has made a pretty penny and won numerous elections painting liberals as ACLU hacks out to delete God from public life and make the Republic safe for dirty, dirty, dirty arts and entertainment. So, why did the retiring majority leader and one of the party's hard right stalwarts take the job?

Maybe the ACLU is trying to divorce itself from its increasingly leftist slant. Of course, liberals may now think that the wolf has slipped into something more comfortable...

The Common Pain In The Tushie
I'm feeling much better this morning than I did all of yesterday, as my immune system appears to be fighting off the cold I picked up over the weekend. I think whoever musters the capacity to eradicate the virus that causes a cold will have executed as great a feat as finding the cure for cancer.

"First secure an independent income, then practice virtue." -- Greek proverb. (Note, ZoNotes does not promote unvirtuous behavior all the time).

Monday, November 25, 2002

ZoNotes: Week Of the Bird

I'm fibing oft a code. (Major points to whoever can decipher that)

Walk Of Ages
This past Saturday I lumbered out of bed and made my way to downtown DC for the Walk For The Homeless. The quaint 3.2-mile walk around some of Washington's landmarks, including the Capitol and Union Station, was refreshing on a brisk mid-November morning.

Watch Your Back...
To what extent did Princess Haifa al-Faisal, wife of Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar, finance and bankroll the 9.11 attackers? This whole episode shows both the necessity and dilemma in the strategy we employed to protect the Saudi cartel. The nexus of American protection for Saudi Arabia was generated by legitimate Cold War requirements -- the fear that the Soviets could roll through into Saudi Arabia, and threaten the oil supply in SW Asia led us to offer concrete military support to some of the most arcane and backward leaders in the world. In August 1990, Saudi Arabia sat wide open for the Republican Guard and the rest of the Iraqi Army. U.S. armor, airpower, seapower, and political will was expended to protect not only the existing political order, but the investment.

That construct, given the new enemy we face, is now inverted. I think it is safe to say that politically we get more out of the relationship with Russia than we do with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis as of late have complained that the American presence in Saudi Arabia is damaging their stature and making them prone to extremist takeover. With the latest allegations, is there any difference between the leadership and the extremists? If we pick up stakes and completely abandon Saudi Arabia beyond the relocation of bases, what autonomous, organic capability does Saudi have to defend itself?

"I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to." -- Elvis Presley