Thursday, March 20, 2003


As My Own Dear Personal Mother and I enjoyed a round of harumphing about how we were going to miss finding out who got voted out of the Amazon because some trigger-happy goon in Baghdad tawt he taw a missile coming (Mountain Standard Time meant that TV news went on full splash coverage alert halfway through Survivor), something became abundantly clear as we surfed through the channels.

This ain't my mommy's war. Or my granny's war. Or even my Gulf War.

"My god, these people would have been taken out and shot for blabbing like this during World War II," MODPM exclaimed as we watched the parade of armaments on screen, complete with information on how far our missiles can go, how they're guided, what their payloads were, even which company made them (cynically, we both agreed this vital information – presented on ABC in a subtly larger typeface than the rest of the data – must be part of President Bush's economic stimulus package. Hey, we're going to need some more Tomahawk Missiles pretty soon, so call your broker and buy all the General Dynamics you can afford!). This after watching a report earlier in the evening about how some military experts were worried that Hussein would blow up his own dams so the floodwaters would impede coalition forces' progress, prompting us both to cry out "Oh yes, let's give the bastard some more ideas!!"

After a couple of hours of last night's coverage, I almost feel like I could build a stealth bomber out of household materials, which really just makes me wonder how much our enemies have learned. Obviously our leadership is assuming that some folks in Iraq can see what's being broadcast, else why would Dubya bother addressing the Iraqi people directly?

So does this just mean we're so confident that we just plain don't care what the Iraqis know about what we can do? We're so badass that secrecy is not a concern at all?

Or is it part of the much-vaunted "shock and awe" campaign?

Or is it, as my more paranoid coffee buddies posited this morning, just that the media is so rife with America-hating "pinkos" that they're happy to give Saddam whatever information he needs to "teach us a lesson?"

Whatever it is, it's just plain weird.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


We don’t.

It’s something like day three of our one and only serious winter storm of the season, and all of the roads to anywhere are closed, meaning no merchandise deliveries of any kind have been made, meaning there is no milk for sale at any price anywhere in our little valley, unless you count the powdered kind, and since this is day three, I betcha that’s all gone, too.

No, nobody’s panicking. There will be no Great Milk Riot of 2003 in Saratoga or anything like that. It’s just a cause for jokes and for the odd weird phenomenon: I have talked to no fewer than six people today who all sincerely believe themselves to be the one who got the very last jug of milk off the shelf at Tad the Grocer’s store. Make of that what you will.

So, we’re basically snowed in, though typically it’s not snowfall but rather ground blizzards that have us isolated. I often joke that we along the Snow Chi Minh Trail (otherwise known as Interstate 80 between Laramie and Rawlins, mapped out originally according to landowner interests rather than any engineering opinions as to the safest or most reliable route) are so ruthlessly efficient that we even manage to get four or five storms out of every snowfall, each progressively more impressive than the last. The snow that falls is light and dry, and the wind that follows can whip it up into a complete white-out in no time, so while the visibility above a stranded driver’s head may go for miles into the clear, blue stratosphere, he can’t see two feet ahead of him.

100 years ago were we in this situation it would be much more unsettling. As our country is poised to invade Iraq, we get constant updates on the situation from CNN and the internet (so even here, in snowed-in Saratoga, we talked at coffee this morning about the Debka-inspired rumor that Tariq Aziz had been shot) and so we feel as connected to the outside world as we ever did.

It’s only when we go to the grocery store that we realize we’ve been cut off for three days. There’s still no milk, and the supply of orange juice is dwindling, too.

I ordered the pizza for my evening of mommy-sitting and giggling at Survivor right after coffee this morning, because I realized the Cantina is running low on mozzerella and I wanted to make sure I got mine, by god!

Of course, it’s easy to be sanguine at the moment: there’s still plenty of beer to be had about town because the Budweiser truck made it ahead of the storm. Were that not the case, there would be concern indeed.

Monday, March 17, 2003


We might yet need gas masks, since we're not going to be cutting down trees anymore (if the Forest Service gets its way):

As detailed HERE and in a recent issue of the science journal Nature, "Coniferous forests around the world may be emitting more smog-causing nitrogen oxides than traffic and industry combined".

Of course, no one is yet brave enough to seriously entertain the possibility that the environmental issues that have certain sets of panties more or less permanently in a twist might not be entirely our fault, but still, isn't this interesting?