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Updated: 01/21/03

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Tuesday, 21 January, 2003

Miss me? Well, Suki did, although she managed to show some restraint and not trash the entire condo this time. She did find the giganto box of koi food pellets and spread them festively all over the guest room, but other than that, not too much collateral damage.

Florida was, unfortunately, pretty cold and blustery. Although considering it is only about 24 degrees here in Philly today, those mid-60s are looking pretty fine right about now. Oh well, I guess everyone's entitled to a little winter from time to time.

Speaking of winter, I arrived home just in time to see the Eagles dissolve in the NFC Championship game. Given all of their injuries and problems this year, they did much better than anyone thought they would, and hopefully they'll be back in form again next year.

[At least I don't feel compelled to watch the Super Bowl this year.]

I have noted, with interest, the anti-war protestor actions of late. Fine with me, says I. That's one of the things we are able to do in this country that others are not - disagree with our government. So, protest away, and do it loudly.

But there is a story on Yahoo that leaves me shaking my head a bit:

Volunteer 'Human Shields' to Head for Iraq

LONDON (Reuters) - A first wave of mainly Western volunteers will leave London this weekend on a convoy bound for Iraq to act as "human shields" at key sites and populous areas in case of a U.S.-led war on Baghdad.

"The potential for white Western body parts flying around with the Iraqi ones should make them think again about this imperialist oil war," organizer Ken Nichols, a former U.S. marine in the 1991 Gulf War, told Reuters.

Again, fine, go ahead and protest. But this is where the plan seems a bit off to me (emphasis mine):

The new human shield plans revive memories of the 1991 Gulf War when President Saddam Hussein forcibly held thousands of Western hostages after his invasion of Kuwait.

Many were put near sensitive sites in a bid to stop attacks that proved futile, although there are not thought to have been any casualties among the Western hostages.

So, what are we thinking here - that the shield concept will work this time because these protestors are intentionally there, as opposed to the hostages and civilians that Saddam used last time? But here's my favorite part . . .

Baghdad has welcomed the plans, but volunteers smart at suggestions that they are handing a propaganda gift to Saddam.

Wait, wait . . . you mean Baghdad hasn't turned away these volunteers, out of concern for their safety? What a shock! This from the people that go out and round up hostages to use as shields already? I have news for you guys: I wouldn't be at all surprised if Baghdad "suggests" where you might want to stand. "No, no, stand HERE . . . right next to this big red bulls-eye."

[Maybe they need to talk to Sean Penn to see how far they can trust the Iraqis.]

Elsewhere on the planet, the North Koreans are in quite the huff because they are basically throwing a temper tantrum and NO ONE IS PAYING ATTENTION. They remind me of this:

Marvin the Martian

"You have made me very angry - very angry indeed!"

They keep insisting that only the US can difuse the situation, and of course they can do that how . . . ? Oh, right, by giving the North Koreans what they are asking for (non-aggression pact and money) and THEN having discussions with them, hence rewarding their bad behavior. Remember? We were already paying them off for NOT making nuclear weapons, until they decided to BREAK the earlier agreements they made. So they want us to give them back their toys, and then make another agreement with them so that they can break it all over again when they find it convenient to do so.

So it was with a bit of amusement that I read this editorial in the NY Times. I won't put the whole thing up, but here's the crux of it:

One ray of hope is a very sensible letter released a few days ago by leading American conservative thinkers, urging the White House to negotiate with the Great Leader about nukes but also to put human rights on the agenda. Such a creative approach from the right could give Mr. Bush political cover to extricate himself from his corner and seek a package deal with North Korea.

Yes! That's it! Let's give them something else to NOT DO and reward them for that!

[Brilliant - why didn't I think of it?]

On a lighter note - there are some enthusiastic penguin athletes in San Francisco:

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few penguins swimming leisurely at the San Francisco Zoo is nothing new. But dozens of them doing laps in unison for hours has zookeepers perplexed.

It all started in November when six newcomer Magellannic penguins, formerly of Sea World in Aurora, Ohio, were brought in.

The six penguins from Ohio started it all, Tollini said, apparently convincing the others to join them for the watery daily circuit.

Since then the penguin pool at the San Francisco Zoo has been a daily frenzy of circle swimming by all of the 52 birds at once. The penguins start swimming in circles early in the day and rarely stop until they stagger out of the pool at dusk.

[Talk about your over-achievers.]

~ ~ ~

Quote du jour:

"Leadership, like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it."

-- Henry Mintzberg

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