Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

She Would Have Been 83...

My mother passed away last year, and not a day has gone by that I have not thought of her, missed her. She was a lovely and gracious lady, the paragon of an elegant Southern woman.

And, though she often annoyed me with her endless advice, I find that I could use some of her wisdom right about now. Regardless of our disagreements, she was always there when I needed her. She was always quick to forgive. (And God knows, there was a lot to forgive.)

For those of you who haven't yet visited Misspent Youth, I encourage a stop there to read the eulogy that I offered at her memorial service.

For those of you who have, read it again. For The Lifeguard.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kill 'em all, let God (or Allah) sort 'em out.

Mumbai Terror Attack At An End...

When I first heard the news of attacks at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotels, the first thought that popped into my head was, "Where are we going to find another 720 Virginians?"

Hey, it wasn't that I just assumed that the terrorists were Muslim, it was that I knew that they were Muslim. After all, who else does this kind of shit?

From news of the gunmen targeting Americans and Britons (read white folk) to the stories of butchered women, I found this incredibly disturbing. After all, we live in a new world. A world where the President-Elect of the United States has stopped the rise of the oceans and unified the diverse peoples of Earth.

And so, the first crisis of the new administration (or the last of the old) takes over the headlines.

It highlights three things:

One, we still live in a very dangerous world. A world where there is hatred based upon one's place of birth, or the colour of one's skin.

Two, the failure of the United States to support former Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf has come home to roost. There is less control, and more uncertainty in that nation now that there is a new president, one who is less beholden to the United States.

And, three, maybe, just maybe, we need to expand Club Gitmo.

A Modest Proposal.

A Little More Charming Than The Skinny Pirates...
I was chatting with someone the other day, discussing world events, and the topic of the Siege in Somalia (think "Rumble in the Jungle" or "Thriller in Manila") arose.

Miss Liberal White Guilt said that she could fully understand the desperation that would drive the Somalis to take to the high seas, risking life and limb to " able to feed their families."

"Huh?" I said.

"They're just trying to feed their families. They don't want to hurt the crews, and it's not like the ship owners can't afford it."

Now, from where I sit, this woman is too stupid to vote; and, should probably never reproduce so as not to inject any more of her idiocy into the gene pool.

"Are you kidding me? I know that Somalia is a lawless country; but, there is a solution. A solution not unlike the one undertaken by Thomas Jefferson in the early part of the nineteenth century."

"But," she said, "we are already fighting one illegal war. We can't afford another."

"Huh? You voted for Obama, didn't you."

"Of course. Didn't you?"

At this point, The Lifeguard collapsed, frothing at the mouth, over the apparent disdain that this woman had for our nation of laws.

Not only do pirates cause a disruption of shipping traffic through the Gulf of Aden, they wreak havoc on yachtsmen sailing the world's oceans for pleasure. As to the former, the increased costs of insurance and ransoms are passed along to the end-user of the products transported. (That means you and me.) In addition, the ship owners are forced to pay greater wages to be able to retain crew; and, should these pirates actually sink a ship (such as the Sirius Star), the environmental costs would be staggering. As to the latter, lesser pirates, off the coasts of South America, for instance, are emboldened by the successes of the Somalis (and the impotent responses of the U.S. et al.), and begin to see pleasure craft as a source of some quick cash.

In this environment, one of the principal tasks of the United States Navy is not met. Protecting commerce is as important as any other mission; and, it is not being accomplished.

So, for the weak of mind and infirm of spirit, The Lifeguard offers this modest proposal, in four steps:

Step One: Read Heart of Darkness.

Step Two: Task the NSA, the CIA, the DIA, the MIA (and any other "A" you can think of) to tracking the movements of pirates in the Gulf of Aden. They may not be Al Qaeda; but, the cost to society (and the world economy) is at least as significant. Oil tankers, freighters, and other ships are faced with a much longer (and more environmentally damaging) trip if they can not transit the Gulf of Aden.

Step Three: Send an expeditionary force of Special Forces types into Somalia. Support them with a small flotilla of naval vessels, and give them free reign to eradicate known pirates (and their pirate leaders). When caught, take them to the Somali capital (Mogadishu) and hang them. If you catch a few innocents in the noose, so be it. Ship owners would happily contribute to the funding of this force.

Step Four: Sink any piratey-looking scow, dhow, or RIB. Film it. Release it to the world-wide media (and the World Wide Web).

Only by meeting this unconventional threat with overwhelming force will the world be free of the scourge of piracy on the high seas.

Step Five (if there was one), would be to put The Lifeguard in charge of the operation. After all, The Lifeguard is no stranger to keeping the water safe.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Favourite Holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was driving home tonight, thinking about writing this post. Somehow, I dozed off--doing eighty miles per hour--and was jolted awake by the rumble strip on the highway. In the beams of my headlamps, I saw the hard shoulder, and the median strip.

As the left front tyre left the asphalt, I used my left foot to brake and fed in a right turn. Simultaneously, I jerked the shift lever to the left, engaging the manual shift mode, and quickly downshifted, revving the engine and using the deceleration to regain control.

Too much input into the steering, and the Swedish Ford turned across the highway, tyres squealing, and started careering toward the slow speed lane.

More throttle, down another gear, and some left steering. The car fishtailed; and, in short order, was once more headed in the right direction.

The cars behind me seemed not to miss a beat, and I settled back into my proper lane, with my heart beating a little faster and my head a little clearer.

So, as we end this Thanksgiving Day, I note some of the things for which I am thankful:

Children. All children. Sweet, innocent, and our hope for the future. That children are abused, or hungry, or scared is a great tragedy, and The Lifeguard believes that it is the duty of all men and women to protect them, to respect them.

My parents, who are both deceased, and who taught me the importance of love, of laughter, and of hard work. I miss them both, and I am often saddened by the pain and disappointment that I most certainly caused them over the course of my life.

My friends--both new and old--who have stuck by me (and always will). My oldest (or longest-tenured) friend, M, is one of the finest people that I have ever known. One of my newer friends, J, was a rock to cling to when things were bad. S is a really new friend, and truly special. Then, there are the As, Bs, Ps, the Ls, and an R or two.

Sure, I know that all of this is a little maudlin for The Lifeguard; but, there is something about careering out of control that makes you slow down, focus, and reassess your direction.

Oh, and for the record, The Lifeguard 1, turkey 0.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Lifeguard on Sabbatical...

The Lifeguard Is Learning Spanish!

I have no choice. I was at Dunkin' Donuts the other day...what can I say, I am a glutton for punishment...and I ordered a breakfast sandwich--something with bacon and egg and cheese.

Imagine my chagrin when I opened the bag to find a delicious blueberry muffin.

I just wonder how you say "blueberry muffin" in Spanish.

And for the record, I hate Dunkin' Donuts. More than ever before.

Monday, November 17, 2008

British Badass!

One Hour And Forty Six Minutes Of Retribution...

Fuck the critics who panned Quantum of Solace. They are idiots.

This is, without a doubt, one of the four best Bond movies ever; and, I stand by this assessment. In fact, I stand by it so much that I will see this movie again, at the cinema. Then, when it comes out on cable, I will see it another forty seven times.

In this film, we see the continued development of James Bond, without the distraction of gadgets and witty banter (even though there are some great lines). Instead, we gain insight into what makes Bond, well, Bond. We see into his soul, and it is dark, sublime.

Judi Dench is great as M; and, Gemma Arterton is unbelievably sexy in the role of Strawberry Fields. Oh, and Olga Kurylenko? Spectacular.

Go and see it. Twice.

Friday, November 07, 2008


The First African-American President...

may actually be an African. That is to say, he might be a Kenyan; but, we'll never know. We still haven't seen his birth certificate; and, when we do, it'll be too late.

All that aside, he is my President now.

Congratulations, President-Elect Obama. You ran a great campaign. The best that I have ever witnessed. (Even though your opponent, Senator McCain, ran a horrible campaign.)

And now, now that the oceans are receding, the temperature is falling (or rising), and the starving are sated, the real debate can begin.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Obama's OUI

We Needed To Know...
That President George W. Bush had been pinched for an DUI. Getting the news just a few days before the 2000 election was, in no way, meant to keep people from voting for then-candidate Bush. And, 'though some thought it was a dirty trick, it was reported by everyone.

From my perspective, it didn't make a difference to me, because I was already a Bush supporter. (I am still talking about the President.) In fact, I thought that the candidate should have released the news ages earlier, to blunt the possibility that the possibly damaging revelation could derail his campaign.

When the news broke (due to no fault of the mainstream media), I thought that it made the candidate more electable for the simple reason that nearly everyone has driven after having had too much to drink.

That is to say, anyone who has ever raised a glass at a party (or bar), then driven home, could have found themselves in the same situation as then-citizen Bush. The fact that he got caught is the old "There but for the grace of God go I" moment.

Now, just days before the 2008 election, we learn that Senator Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango is pulling off the trifecta: She is 1) living illegally in the United States, 2) in public housing, 3) employed by the Boston Housing Authority.

Following the same logic as with Candidate Bush before, I find that this revelation makes the Illinois Senator more electable. I mean, which of us doesn't have an "Auntie Zeituni" who is an illegal alien, in public housing, working for the Boston Housing Authority?

Hell, I do. And my Auntie Zeituni is a "...proud woman..." who really doesn't want to admit that she is related to The Lifeguard (until after the election). I love my Auntie, even though she is an illegal alien.

Oh, wait. I don't have an Auntie Zeituni (although I once drove home from a bar, completely and totally shitfaced).

And, for the record, I remarked ages ago that Hillary! should have been delving into Obama's family tree. She could have found a treasure trove of information that might have put her on the November 4th ballot. But....

The final question? If Senator Obama lets his proud auntie live in a council flat, what do you think he's going to do for (or to) you?