Friday: 23.April.2004

Humphrey's by the Bay: Concerts on Shelter Island

Those of you who live here in sunny SoCal might find today's post interesting. With summer right around the corner, there's no better place to see a concert than at Humphrey's by the Bay, located on Shelter Island, in San Diego.

Check out this outdoor venue: not a bad seat anywhere. You're a stone's-throw from the marina. Tall palms, like giant bookends, border both sides of the stage and sway when the wind blows.

Not long after the show begins, the sun sets behind the band, causing the sky to turn all kinds of colors: orange, purple, turquoise, before eventually fading into darkness. If you like jazz or the blues, this is the place for you.

The Beach Boys kick off the 2004 season on June 6th (only 6 weeks away). Shows run nearly every night thru the end of September. I try to go 2 or 3 times each season (once each month is ideal). Been a regular visitor since I first discovered Humphrey's, some 10 years ago. It's a magical place. The nicest people go there. Everybody is in a good mood.

See here for a complete list of concerts this season, or click the button here labeled "2004 Schedule of Events". There you'll see the names of groups like The Temptations and legendary entertainers such as BB King. I like to take friends who are visiting from out-of-state. They always walk away impressed.

continued

Before the show, I usually stop at the Red Sails Inn (right down the street from Humphrey's) for a pair of yummy fish tacos (only $4.95, listed on the appetizer menu). This is the perfect amount of food. Eating too much before the show makes me drowsy.

Humphrey's has its own restaurant, and a dinner-show package, where, for 50 bucks (extra), they will feed you, and give you choice seats (rows 2 thru 7), but I was not impressed with their food. The only time this is a good deal is if your favorite artist is performing, and you can't get tickets any other way.

They also have accommodations at the Half Moon Inn. I have never stayed there, but you might be able to see the show from your balcony, depending on which room you get.

Lastly, if you have a rubber raft, or dinghy, you can see the show for free from the water. There's usually 25 small watercraft out there, with people drinking wine and enjoying the show. The seats aren't the best, but they ain't that bad, either. I know a San Diego couple who sees $5,000 worth of shows each year this way. The entertainers usually yell at them, saying, "Boat people! I want my money!" =)

After the show, I like to wander over to the pool next door, kick back on one of the lounge chairs there and smoke a cigar while the traffic dies down. There's only one road that leads onto and off of Shelter Island, so traffic after the show suketh exceedingly. Here's a Google search pre-configured for the query-string "humphrey's concerts bay"

Posted by Rad at Friday: 23April2004 | Comments (3)

Tuesday: 20.April.2004

Plan of Attack: Bob Woodward

Bought the new Woodward book everyone is talking about: Plan of Attack, a 450-page excavation of the decision-making process that led to the war with Iraq. Wanna see for myself what's causing such a stir. I heard the White House is recommending the book on its web site, suggesting people read it, so it can't be *that* scandalous. Or maybe they view it as less damaging than John Dean's Worse Than Watergate, or Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies.

I'm already several chapters into it. Digging it, so far. What I like best is how it makes the different personalities come alive. (You know, at heart, these guys are a bunch of ego-maniacs.) General Tommy Franks, in particular, seems to be a colorful character. The book is an easy, engaging read.

Looks like Cheney was the driving force behind the war. I think Secretaries-of-Defense should be barred from running for higher office .. since the waging of war is an exceedingly expen$ive proposition, one from which their old cronies in the Defen$e industry benefit greatly. This conflict-of-interest is simply too great. (Can you say "Halliburton"?)

continued

Here's a quote from the book (bottom of page 4):

"On the long walk-up to the war in Iraq, Dick Cheney was a powerful, steamrolling force. Since the terrorist attacks, he had developed an intense focus on the threats posed by Saddam and .. al Qaeda. It was seen as a "fever" by some of his colleagues, even a disquieting obsession. For Cheney, taking care of Saddam was high necessity." [end quote]

If nothing else, there's force-of-habit to contend with. If you spend a good portion of your career designing war strategies, what activities would feel most natural when you get your new job? Seems like it would be easy to slip back into your comfort zone. And we know from Viet Nam that *starting* a war is the easy part.

It also looks like Colin Powell had the most accurate/realistic assessment about the war. He said, "Do you realize what you're doing? If you BREAK it (Iraq), you OWN it." (known as the Pottery Barn rule)

Some journalists have criticized Powell for a lack of loyalty. I don't see it that way. I mean, what about his wisdom, forsight & understanding? And his courage to question the President's ideas? He's the closest thing to a hero we have in this book. Time will tell whether Powell's reluctance to invade Iraq was well-founded or not. But, right now, he's looking like the smartest guy in Washington.

Speaking of Colin, I overheard an interesting conversation yesterday where it was speculated that an interesting ticket for the '08 presidency would be Schwarzneggar/Powell vs Hilary/ (I forget the last name). Is America ready for that?

But we would first have to change the law to allow people not-born-here (Arnold) to run for President. Hey, I have no problem with that. At least, not with Arnold. He's actually doing a surprisingly good job here. Hard to do any worse than Gray Davis, tho, our last governor.

Personally, I like that guy from Connecticut: Shays. He talks straight & makes sense, but I don't think he's interested in running for Prez.

One of the more surprising tidbits from the book is that GWB (claims he) never asked his father for his opinion about going to war with Iraq. I find that hard to believe.

Before closing, I want to reiterate that I have the utmost respect for our men & women in uniform, who live daily in harm's way. I proudly served 6 years in the nuclear Navy myself. Sadly, none of our politicians encourage their sons or daughters to enter the military. If it was their OWN kids they were sending to war, do you think they might be a little more reluctant? If the kids of every President and Senator & congressman were required to serve in the military, I don't think our government would be so quick to go to war.

If you need more info, here's a Google search pre-configured for the terms: "plan attack woodward book"

Posted by Rad at Tuesday: 20April2004 | Comments (2)

Sunday: 18.April.2004

Rad Wins in Court

We won! Referring to yesterday's post, we got the judgment back from the court (wow, that was fast), and the judge awarded us the *whole* amount we sued for, every penny, plus court costs.

The best thing about small claims court is the Plaintiff forfeits the right to appeal. And since they counter-sued us (for the maximum amount of $5,000 dollars .. as if out of spite, or trying to get us to back down), they cannot appeal the judge's decision.

continued

So, in the courtroom, I am still undefeated, un-tied, un-scored-upon. Maybe I should apply for Attorney General. Actually, it's not that I'm so smart, but rather, that the other people are so stupid. I mean, a baboon could win these cases.

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 18April2004 | Comments (2)

Saturday: 17.April.2004

Rad Plays Lawyer

Went to court yesterday. Nothing major. Just small claims, where cases are limited to US$5-K. I like going to court. At least, when I'm standing on the side of the table labeled Plaintiff. I get a little adrenaline rush from the experience.

People sometimes accuse me of being argumentative. I disagree. Well, except when I'm hyped on a triple-espresso. Then I can get pretty combative. But I enjoy debating, especially when it's a subject I know something about.

And I learn a lot from debating with people who know more than me. There's nothing wrong with being proved wrong. Some people only care about winning an argument, not increasing their understanding of subject. That's small-mindedness.

Anyway, back to court. We won't know until next week how this case turned out. But I have a good feeling about it. The judge tries to appear impartial, but you can usually tell which way he is leaning by the questions he asks. I have a perfect record in the courtroom, where I am undefeated, un-tied, and un-scored-upon .. because I come prepared.

continued

This case was actually presented by a friend. But I coached her on how to approach it. Documentation is the key. We had signed letters from experts supporting our position (3 of them). Also had high-resolution 8x10 color photographs (3 or them, also), and a small pile of receipts.

The photos were especially damaging to the defendant's case. Can't argue with a picture. I took the photos myself with my digital camera. They came out beautiful. The dimwits on the Defendant's side had only a lengthy character-assassination to recite (ad hominem). They even attacked the cats, but offered nothing substantial to support their case.

My friend was nervous. She's not the confrontational type. Her legs were shaking, knees knocking. It was so hard for me to refrain from jumping in and grabbing the steering wheel. But you can't do that in the courtroom. There are rules and decorum. But I still managed to get in my $.02.

It's amazing how easily people will raise their right hand to heaven and swear "so help me God" to tell the truth and then proceed to lie like a rug. Lies are hard to abide. Especially when they're aimed at you. I wanted so badly to reach over and smack 'em upside the head. Some people have no shame. Can't wait to get the decision in the mail and see how we did this time. I want to keep my record perfect.

Posted by Rad at Saturday: 17April2004 | Comments (2)

Wednesday: 14.April.2004

Breakwater Screens at Director's Guild (First Look Festival)

If you're a Rad reader from way back, you probably recall the days when we did weekly updates on Wendy's adventures at the world's finest Film school (USC). Yesterday her thesis film, titled Breakwater, screened at the Director's Guild on Sunset blvd in Hollywood, at what is known as the First Look Festival (PDF schedule).

This is big deal for prospective filmmakers: the opportunity for industry professionals to view your work. USC, the world's first Film school, is known for having close ties to the filmmaking industry, with its impressive Board of Directors, including the likes of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas (Star Wars).

Dean Daley (Elizabeth) was there. Mom & Sid were also there, along with Jan & Frank. After her 12-minute film screened, one of 6 films, Wendy introduced her cast. I couldn't make it cuz I have a nasty head-cold, and feel like hammered dog poo. But Wendy said that an agent contacted her afterwards, who was impressed with her work, and is interested in representing her.

continued

Some students apply to USC for the sole purpose of participating in the First Look festival, where industry pro's see your work. Some day, when she's a famous director, you'll be able to say, "I knew her when..."

Tuesday: 13.April.2004

Rad Readers Say Adios

Been getting lots of mail in response to the post made on 08APR when Condi Rice testified, some of it informing me these readers won't be visiting the site any more, due to (as they put it) my "Bush bashing".

I will post some of these notes later, if I get the chance. They are very well written. I guess, if I were making money off the site, by sponsoring ads, this loss of readers/visitors would be sad, but ironically, traffic this month is exceeding all other months by a wide margin. We might even break the 2-million-hits-per-month mark this month.

I honestly don't see my comments as Bush bashing. And I don't think I'm biased, either, altho I admit it might appear that way. My criticisms are limited to one, focused area. I actually like GWB and agree with many of his policies. Unlike some people I know, I don't dislike the man himself. But 9/11 happened on his watch. And this fact can't be overlooked or excused away.

Sure the eff-bee-eye and the see-eye-aye both botched the intelligence, but my sources tell me this was the fault of their *leadership*, and not the agent actually collecting the intelligence. Both agencies were under-funded and under-equipped, and too little emphasis was given to counter-terrorism, as it is now clear. Who's fault is that? I'll tell you who: the people who make funding and emphasis decisions.

I'm not saying he is *more* culpable than anyone else. I'm just saying he is the commander-in-chief, whose #1 priority is (as he agreed himself) the safety & security of the people. And it makes him look "less-than-presidential" (kind words) when he refuses to admit there was *anything* he could've done prior to 9/11.

continued

Even GOPs in recent polls feel he could've and should've done more. Yet he maintains, "I did everything I could." And if the command-in-chief refuses to accept *any* responsibility, we're in trouble. At this point, I'd settle for a simple, "I shoulda done more."

Many of the letters I received seek to exonerate GWB by pointing out the the culpability of Clinton and his administration. Hey, I never said Bill was innocent. He had the whole Monica fiasco distracting him, demonstrating his poor decision-making skills.

Sure Clinton failed to handle terrorist threats well. I never said he did. But 9/11 didn't happen on Bill's watch. (Coincidence?) And 9/11 didn't occur overseas, and it didn't involve just one or two planes. No, it was the worst such failure in the nation's history. And if you study disasters, you know that failures of this magnitude mean plenty of people screwed up.

Yet he maintains, "I did everything I could prior to 9/11." It's clear he didn't. And when the commission publishes its report, it'll note such. GWB was pres for 9 months when 9/11 occurred. It wasn't like it happened the week after he was inaugurated. Up to 3 months, I'd cut him slack, but after that, it's his ball-game, and he's responsible. Is it just a coincidence that 9/11 happened on his watch? I doubt it.

George is human. Humans make mistakes. They're imperfect. Fallible. There's nothing wrong with admitting you could've or should've done more. Yet he won't. Not one, little, tiny thing? And there-in lies the rub. The fact that he refuses leads me to believe he's even more culpable than it appears on the surface.

When I was a kid, and spilled milk, I had no trouble admitting, "Yeah, I spilled that milk." But when I threw a football in the house and broke mom's favorite china plate, I had an instant case of amnesia. "What china plate, mom?"

It's clear that all the pieces of the puzzle were there. Nobody put them together. Nobody connected the dots. And it's their job to connect the dots. I think the commission is doing a good job, asking good questions.

With all the problems we now know about, I've yet to hear anyone say, "We coulda/shoulda done a better job." And I have a hard time voting for anyone who won't accept responsibility. We need a man in the White house who's big enough to accept responsibility, not an excuse-maker.

I think GWB's preoccupation with Iraq (no pun intended) stems from the time when Saddam reportedly tried to assassinate his daddy, GHWB. It would be normal for any son to avenge his daddy. It's even a noble ideal, but don't do it on our dime.

Before concluding today's post, I want to say I have the utmost respect for the men & women in uniform, who live daily in harm's way.

Posted by Rad at Tuesday: 13April2004 | Comments (1)

Thursday: 08.April.2004

Condi Rice 9/11 Testimony

Condi Rice testifies today. If I were GWB's advisor, I'd recommend he stand up before the American people and take full responsibility for what happened on 9/11. That would take the wind out of all his critics' sails. People would respect him a lot more. The administration's hard-line that they did everything they could is a bunch of hooey.

Takes a big man to stand up and admit he made a mistake. The issue that is rubbing everyone wrong centers upon RESPONSIBILITY. Any 4-year-old can make excuses. Nobody ever wants to hear excuses. We just want someone to take *responsibility* for crying out loud. Is that too much to ask? All this excuse-making from the administration is just pissing people off.

Remember when Arnold (in his bid for the governor's office) was accused of sexually-harassing women. What did Arnold do? Did he make excuses? No. His stood up on national television and ADMITTED HE WAS WRONG. What happened next? He was elected governor of California. By a wide margin.

Have you heard any more about Arnold sexually-harassing women? No. Why not? Because people don't expect perfection. We just want someone who is big enough to take responsibility when they make a mistake. And making excuses is just another way of REFUSING to accept responsibility.

continued

It's not that complicated: "I'm your president. It's my job to protect you. I screwed up. I made a mistake. I was wrong. I apologize. I'm sorry. Forgive me. I learned a lesson. It won't happen again. I promise." Even that sloppy speech would be better than what we're getting now.

The president's #1 job is (or should be) the safety & security of the people. The issue is NOT whether the attacks of 9/11 COULD HAVE been prevented. But rather that they SHOULD HAVE been but *WEREN'T*. Should. Weren't.

SHOULD the attacks have been prevented? Of course! That's our government's job. That's what we pay them to do. To protect us from harm. No one questions that. So, by definition, THEY FAILED. Save the excuses.

There's a Latin phrase: Res ipsa loquitur. Which means: "the thing speaks for itself". By the very fact that the attacks occurred, and 3,000 people died, means that our government - despite the numerous warnings we now know about - failed. The fact that they won't acknowledge this failure, or apologize for it, only adds insult to injury.

And not just ANY failure. No. Rather the biggest failure in the history of the country. It wasn't just one plane, or two, or even three. It was a huge failure. Of unprecedented proportions. Now all we want is someone to step forward (like a man) and accept responsibility for dropping the ball. I can't believe they're missing this most-basic of points. It would be so simple. Heck, he doesn't even have to be sincere about it.

If you can't protect us, step aside and we'll find someone who can. Heck, God knows we pay enough for protection. When we pay all that money and they *still* screw up, that's really frustrating. And then they insult us by refusing to take responsibility for their failure. Frankly folks, I expected more from my government.

Personally, I'm disappointed our leaders are acting so childishly. I've seen *kids* act more responsibly. And I can't help but think that, if our government would've been doing its job prior to 9/11, we (the tax-payer) wouldn't now be buying billion$ of dollar$ worth of bomb$, from so-called "Defen$e" companie$, which, coincidentally, is making them rich in the proce$$. You can send a lot of kids to college for $87 billion. One single million-dollar bomb can feed a lot of starving kids.

Condi Rice said, "There was no silver bullet that could have prevented the attacks of September 11th." I disagree. It's now clear that people were jumping up and down all around her, yelling "al Qaeda!".

There was a memo titled "'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States". That bullet looks pretty silver to me. So, it appears, rather, that the "silver bullet" was handed to her. Also the "FBI indicated patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking".

It's painfully obvious that the "silver bullet" was even loaded into the gun and pointed for her. All she had to do was squeeze the trigger. National Security is HER JOB, folks. It's what we pay her and her agency a small fortune to do. I smell incompetence. If if it's too much for her, if she can't do the job, George should find someone who can. I know that sounds harsh, but too many people depend on her and her agency to do its job.

Condi read some of the intelligence chatter they gathered prior to 9/11, and said, "This is troubling. But it doesn't tell us when, where, or how." Does she expect the terrorists to call her cell phone and say, "Hey Condi, Mohammed here. Howzit, babe? Hey, Just wanna let you and GWB know that tomorrow morning we're going to hijacks a bunch of your planes and crash them into the WTC and Pentagon." If they did, she makes it sound like they'd wouldn't be able to stop them without flight numbers and departure times.

If that's the case, any idiot could be a National Security Advisor. I mean, her testimony made it sound like there were a bunch of clowns running the government who know next to nothing.

We pay a lot of money in tax dollars to hire people to find out exactly that kind of information. Res ipsa loquitur. The fact that she says she didn't know, by definition, is self-incriminating and means she didn't do her job. And if they can't get the job done, they should be replaced with people who can.

Condi totally played the panel. She obviously wasn't there to shed light on what happened on 9/11, but rather to defend her boss. She gets high marks for loyalty. They asked her one question and she used it as an opportunity to voice her irrelevant answers. Her evasive answers were obviously well rehearsed. They did nothing to provide closure to the families of those who lost family and friends.

Panel member: "Would you state your name for the record.
Condi: "First I'd like to say that Richard Clarke is wrong."

Let me conclude by saying I have the utmost respect for the men & women of the armed services, currently serving in Iraq, who live daily in harms way.

Posted by Rad at Thursday: 08April2004 | Comments (5)