Friday, June 18, 2004

an old tire, made new by jesus

Thinking thoughts of Modest Mouse, Kings of Leon, and how long you can keep meat in the fridge before it goes bad. But I have a hardy stomach. I think.

Which brings me back to my original point: sometimes, you can judge a book by it's cover, if it's only a book.

Friday, June 11, 2004

On Ronald Reagan, Meg Ryan, and Urban Hymns (sung daily, near vacant lots, utility closets, driving old folks crazy)

Little House of Savages

It's a beautiful night here in Lewistown. Fifty degrees, overcast, drizzley-mist type rain, and good Walkmen songs in my head. During the day, I swear (if not for the casinos) I could be in Scotland or the Shire. At night, I know with every fiber of my insides that this is wonderful place to spend year 23. But that's not what I want to talk about.

Two self-discoveries made whilst watching television:

I'm in love with the idea of Meg Ryan. Not the person, because I have no idea what the person is like. But the idea -- awkward and witty and Meg Ryanish (even her name is cute -Meg- how can you not adore her?).

It's because I live a pitiful existence. Sure, it's full of life and joy and Montana skies. But it's also full of TBS Superstation showings of You've Got Mail. This is the life of a pseudo-Bohemian, faux-loner, which I want sometimes, but mostly not. Mostly I want things that I'm not ready for. Life things. Like mini-vans.

Last night, I spent an hour watching President Reagan in repose. This is roughly what I saw.


I started watching at 12:30 MDT, which meant it was 2:30 in Washington. And I couldn't believe how many people were there, at two in the morning, milling through the capital rotunda to catch a 30 second glimpse of a flag draped over a coffin.

I want to feel that way about a president. I'm no fool. And Reagan was no saint. But I want to vote for someone I could wait hours in line to pass their casket, to take my children, to be proud in recounting the story to my grandchildren. I was there. I want that so very much. I want the real deal. I want to vote for a good man or woman, not the lesser of two morons. I want to believe in someone so whole-heartedly that I drop everything, quit my job, volunteer full time, wearing suits to work, rolling up my sleeves and taking off my jacket to canvas the neighborhood, convincing people that a vote for this person could affect their life for the better.

In a perfect world, I would work for that person, and be married to Meg Ryan, and open for the Walkmen someone on the Upper East Side.

In a perfect world, I wouldn't watch this much television.

As Smart As We Are

Finally, I just popped The Verve's Urban Hymns into the computer, and iTunes came back with two possible choices: The Verve - Urban Hymns; or Phillip Boa & The Voodooclub - My Private War.

I think I'm going to pick Phillip Boa. I'm hoping for the best.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Uh-Oh, Jonny's Getting Political Again

In the magic biz, they call it sleight of hand.

If you haven't heard, CIA Director George Tenet announced his resignation today. While I've been trying to keep the political to a minimum here, I couldn't help but type a few thoughts about this.

Tenet has been the CIA chief for seven years. He was appointed by then president Bill Clinton, and was kept on by George W. Bush because, quite frankly, everyone seemed to like him. The CIA was in the dumps before he came along; struggling to find a purpose in a post-Cold War world. And Tenet was gradually beginning to give them that purpose, the key word being gradual. September 11th forced him to move much faster than government organizations generally like to go. Gradual evolution turned to terrorist-frenzy revolution. And they've still got a long way to go. But it won't be with Tenet at the forefront.

Tenet has come under a lot of criticism for the CIA's intelligence miss-steps pre-September 11th. And because he is the Director, that's part of his job description. But of all the people to take a fall while the war in Iraq is loosing domestic support here in the States, Tenet is the least likely figure. If anyone is to blame for post-war operations in Iraq, it's the Pentagon. They ran into this war without a solid reconstruction game plan. And now we're paying the price for it. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Director Paul Wolfowitz, who head the Pentagon for President Bush, should take the lion's share of the blame for what's happening now. Not George Tenet.

Bush is nothing if he is not loyal. But he takes that to a fault sometimes. Bush claims that Tenet is leaving for personal reasons and that he will miss the CIA chief. And I really do believe that Bush believes that. Why? Because G.W. Bush is intensely loyal, and at a time when resignations need to be made by some of his staff, he has refused to call for them. Tenet, understanding the political landscape perhaps more than Bush, realizes that someone really needs to resign. And if no one else will do it, he'll take the fall.

If anything, it's Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz that come out more villainous in my mind after this resignation. Bush is just being Bush -- loyal and resolute. Tenet humbly takes the blame for as many of the problems in Iraq as the media and 9/11 Commission will give him credit for. While the Department of Defense gets away with major miscalculations in post-war Iraq, that have cost us, and continue to cost us, hundreds of American lives (not to mention an astronomical number of Iraqi lives as well).

Okay, I'm done.