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10/04/2003 Archived Entry: ""

Mark Fiore's latest animated cartoon, "The Expanded Do Not Call List," is a bit heavy-handed but it's still worth a gander. On the other hand, Tom Tomorrow's "Rummy on a Roll" is delightful.

What do you do when 1,200 weapons inspectors have spent 90 days in Iraq at a cost of $300m without finding a single WMD? If you are George W., you declare the search to be a success: "President Bush said Friday that a search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq made clear that Saddam Hussein had deceived the international community and was "a danger to the world." And you ask the American taxpayer for $600m more to continue searching: "In the eye-popping $166 billion that the U.S. taxpayer is being expected to pay for a questionable intervention in Iraq is $600 million to pay for the administrationís public relations effort to polish its tarnished credibility by attempting to stumble across WMD." Even George Will is asking "Can't They Just Admit They Were Wrong?" But he misses the point: the $600m would keep the search going until after the upcoming Presidential election and, so, avoid embarrassment for the campaigning Bush.

Meanwhile..."The value of Halliburton Co.'s contract to restore Iraq's oilfields has risen to $1.4 billion, according to government data posted Wednesday.The latest increase, a jump from the $1.25 billion figure posted two weeks ago, reflects higher costs for damage assessments and repairs." Happily, there is "renewed uproar over billions of dollars in government work awarded to Halliburton," forcing the Bush administration to defend itself against accusations of conflict of interest and sweetheart deals. As the Fort Wayne News Sentinel comments, "At the center of the controversy is Vice President Dick Cheney, who was Halliburton's chief executive from 1995 to 2000. He still holds Halliburton stock options and draws a deferred salary from the Houston energy and construction company." The Sentinel does a credible job of describing Cheney's stock options & deferred compensation.

On the personal front, to keep friends and family informed:

Picking up from yesterday's blog... We returned home in the wee hours last Sunday -- exhausted, relieved to hear the gravel on our own back road crunch beneath the tires, eager to check on the cats (the dogs were at the kennel, undoubtedly snoozing), filled with dread at the flood of email awaiting, longing for our own sheets. Then, on Wednesday, it was out the door again...this time on a day trip to Stratford for more live theatre, which did not require boarding the dogs or making heroic efforts to get columns etc. done in advance as do our lengthier adventures. The first play was a matinee in the Avon theatre: Present Laughter by Noel Coward. It was a joy, with Brian Bedford both directing and playing the lead character, Garry Essendine, whom Coward scripted as a satirical set-up of himself. The play is a romp that celebrates laughter and charm, wit and friendship, theatre and personal foibles...all those things that are antidotes to what can be a grim and disheartening world. During one of the intermissions, Brad and I sipped a glass of white wine and felt ourselves to be among the most sophisticated of beings in the world. I mean...sipping wine while awaiting Act II of a Coward play...that's the very definition of sophistication. And fun! It was a cold and blustery day, with whipping wind and rain that verged on sleet. Upon emptying out the side door of the Avon, we hurried over to "Molly's", a new restaurant/pub that must have just opened for a light nosh, which was passable. The evening performance -- Love's Labour's Lost -- was in the Festival. Well acted and well staged (tho' minimal in props), the play was a good time but our enjoyment suffered from how badly the last half of the play is written...IMO. Plus the female characters are so unlikeable, Rosaline in particular. She wants to torture Berowne for loving her, she longs to torment him (and does!) through his passion for her... Why? Why on earth would anyone want to hurt or toy with a man she loves who loves her back? It seems sadistic and pointless. Nevertheless...the play was well executed and one more "must-see" Shakespearean "classic" has been checked off our mental To-Do list. Moreover, it was a pleasure to see Brian Bedford in the comic relief role of Don Adriano de Armado. We wandered out toward the night, sated by theatre, not realizing that the greatest surprise of the evening was before us: snow. The first snow of the season. A surprise and also odd, not only because it was falling on October 1st but also because of how large and almost clumped the flakes were. Brad held out his hand and, before it melted, a landing flake was almost the size of quarter. Driving home was difficult, with visible sometimes reduced to a few feet. The next day, the ground was still coated with white and I had to brush thick, moist snow off the vines in order to pick tomatoes. BTW, I am sun-drying the extra tomatoes this year, using my dehydrator.

Best to all,
mac

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