Monthly Archive for May, 2004

Madingley American Cemetery
Photo from the WWII Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial…in remembrance of those who died then and in honor of those who continue to sacrifice for the freedom of others.

I’ve never heard of the Florida-based metal band called Iced Earth. But after reading this interview of their band leader Jon Schaffer by a lefty Canadian, I might just become a fan. Here’s a sample:

BW&BK: “Do you think 9/11 will be viewed as the first event in the US empire’s decline and fall?”

JS: “No. This is not an empire, first of all. If the United States was an empire, your country would be our 51st state.”

BW&BK: “I understand.”

JS: “Let’s get real. We don’t do that. It’s not our thing. Colin Powell did an interview and the interviewer called the United States an empire and used this bullshit fuckin’ socialist language and his response was, ‘The only land we’ve ever asked for is enough for the kids who don’t come home. In all the countries we’ve gone and liberated as far back as WWII, the only land we’ve asked for is for our soldiers that died.’ There’s an over-whelming amount of jealousy and resentment out there. When you’re the leader, everyone comes to you when they need help. But then they shit on you every chance they get. You can never please everybody all the time. No matter what you do. You can try to do the best things, and no matter what someone is out to get you and tear you down. It’s in that way in any scale of leadership. I don’t care if it’s a personal thing or a country or a commander of a battalion. It’s human nature, it’s unfortunate. But it’s the way it is.”

Read the whole thing. It’s funny how the Canadian tries to be “cool” throughout, while at the same time asking totally left-biased questions.

A sidenote: their MTV bio(linked above) says that their biggest market is Greece. Greece!?! Odd with all the anti-American sentiment the press reports over there….could this be yet another press spin or is it just that bad news is more likely to make the news?

You lookin at me? You lookin at me? Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. There’s the Harbour with the Bridge and Opera House, the clean beaches, green parks, and the Royal Botanical Gardens, just to name a few. And they’re all within walking distance or a short bus or train ride from each other. And about the botanical gardens – what really amazed me(and creeped me out) was the vast number of large, fruit bats making one corner of the garden their home. Even in the daytime, they were very loud and occasionally took flight when they weren’t hanging upside down among the trees. I even snapped one making eye contact with me. Ugly but fascinating creatures.

(click on the thumbnail to get a photo of just one of their roosting trees…to get a better idea of the massive number of these things)

Some signs of construction progress in Greece. While the Rion-Antirion Bridge is not directly related to the Olympics, it will help the flame make its way around and will significantly help transportation from the Peloponnese to central Greece. We saw this being built last year when we took the ferry from Rio, on the way to Meteora. It is quite dramatic and is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, about 2 miles in length. Hard to believe the Greeks built it, though I suspect some foreign firms had a major hand in it.

I cringe sometimes when I watch that Bill O’Reilly guy on Fox(yes, I get it over here now on SkyTV). Mostly because the guy is just so damn smug and pompous. I have to admit, though, he was great yesterday in making a fool out of an ACLU lawyer lady who was a guest on his show. She was there to speak in favor of changing the Los Angeles County seal because it had a small cross on it. Never mind that it’s symbolic of the Catholic missions that are so much a part of the county’s history. Never mind that the seal also had a big, Greek Goddess right smack in the middle of it. Never mind that the city’s name means “City of Angels”. I’m a little disappointed that he didn’t bring up the fact that there are hundreds of cities in the US with “Saint” in the name. Do these civil libertarian fucks want us to change all these names as well? Shame on Redlands, California. They had a cross on their seal and capitulated to avoid going to court. Unfortunately, the LA County seal controversy grew out of that. I guess they thought LA County would roll over just like them. These people should just go away. Stop wasting our time and money in the courts, over trivial matters, and find something to do that can actually better peoples’ lives.

Facts are boring little things that get in truth’s way. That seems to be the motto of that sloppy fat scumbag, Michael Moore. Of course, he gets awards from the liberal, celebrity left all the time. The latest is from (surprise!) the french, in Cannes. I’ll reserve judgment on his latest until I see it, but I suspect it’s all about how we deserved(or at the least brought it upon ourselves) to get 3000 of our citizens murdered on 9/11. And somebody please teach this moron how to properly wear a ball cap.

kangaroo loveNothing escapes the froboy love cam. I feel kind of bad because these two roos(wallabies?) were obviously trying to find some privacy under a footbridge in the Australia Zoo. We nosy humans were clicking away and giggling at them as they were trying to make the sweet love. Oh well, those are the advantages of being at the top of the food chain, I guess.

Australia Zoo, by the way, is the zoo owned by that crazy Crocodile Hunter guy who recently was seen dangling his toddler above the hungry mouths of crocs at an exhibition in the zoo. Didn’t actually see Steve Irwin, but his face and that of his American wife and kids are plastered everywhere in the zoo. Don’t know if it’s ego or just smart salesmanship. I must say, though, that the zoo is very well put together. Very green, with tropical vegetation everywhere, clean, decent tucker(food), and handlers with animals are constantly roaming around giving you the opportunity to actually touch and ask questions about them. Pretty cool.

Just a couple of days left in this wonderful country. It was so cool to wake up to the laughing call of the Kookaburra and the smell of the Eucalyptus trees.

Strange, beautiful, and wonderful. Not once did I hear anyone say “G’day mate”, though I heard a lot of different words for familiar things: brekkie for breakfast, chook for chicken, a dodgie is when you’re trying to avoid(dodge) something, a dag is something nasty/bad(actually a name for the matted wool with dangly bits at the back end of a sheep), tomato sauce is what they call ketchup, but my favorite is hoon for hoosier(as we Missourians would say). They even have converted this to to a verb, as in “hooning”. A teeneager just made the news the other day for getting fined for hooning: he was cruising in his tricked out GT and playing his stereo too loud. And there are lots of cool place names with oos, ahs and ums in them(e.g. Mooloolaba, Noosa, Maroochydore, Mullumbimby…to name just a few) – undoubtedly from the Aboriginal language.

Lastly, and not to rip off Pulp Fiction too much…but this is true – they have a burger here at McDonalds that’s called the McOz. I think it’s the equivalent of the Quarter Pounder, but it’s got beetroot on it. Beetroot on a burger is quite normal here, and it’s actually not bad. It sorta takes the place of the pickles. They also call McDonlads “Mackers”….that’s “Mackas” with an Aussie accent.

x at Easternmost point of AustraliaI’m just lazing on the beautiful beaches of Australia and enjoying the awesome scenery here. It seems like the hideous acts of terrorists that I’m reading about when I pick up a newspaper are so far away and so unreal. I keep thinking what it would feel like if that were me in Mr Berg’s place. Is there any doubt who the good guys and the bad guys are?

We were just at the easternmost point of mainland Australia yesterday: the lighthouse of Byron Bay. It’s about a two hour drive south of Brisbane. We spent a few relaxing days in the nearby, granola town of Mullumbimby with Bob and Helen, parents of Aussie Girl. What great hosts! We even had a nice round of golf together at the local course. We are now north of Brisbane, in another curiously named town, Mooloolaba. This time, we’re enjoying the great hospitality of David and Karen and their beautiful kids – Lana, Zoe, and Jake. We’re off to Sydney tomorrow, for the weekend. Can’t wait to see that stunning city. Hope to have more to report later.

I’m on my way Down Under. Right now, we’re in Singapore Airport, among the live orchids, awaiting our connecting flight to Brisbane in two hours. The first leg from London was a draining 13 hours, now this one will be an additional 7. Add that to the fact that there’s a nine hour time difference, thus I’m going to be a zombie for the first few days on the ground (Aussie Girl says I’m a wimp, but we’ll see who has the last laugh after a bushwalk or two). Anyway, looking forward to getting there.