Monthly Archives: March 2003

Breaking It In

Back last December I was laid off from the company that I was working for. They closed their Atlanta office six months after I had accepted a position with them. The previous company I was with I had worked for for fifteen years. I’ve had a laptop computer provided for me by my employers for the past eight years. I’d gotten very use to portable computing and I’ve been looking for a laptop since I was laid off.

After being laid off I partnered up with a fellow employee that had started work on the same day that I had to form a company. My partner is also a winemaker with a licensed winery that he operates on the weekends. He gave me a case of his wine right after we formed our partnership. He makes some good wine but with this batch he had some problems with his filters and the bottles are continuing to work. Most of the case is gone now and when opened some of them have a slight amount of carbonation to them. Reports have come in of some corks popping from some of his customers.

I finally found the laptop that would both suit my needs and my budget so I bought it today. It’s a Compaq Presario 2100 with a DVD/CDRW. It came with Windows XP Home which I’m not too happy with, I’d have rather it had XP Pro or 2000 Pro, but I can fix that. I’ve got a legitimate copy of 2000 Pro that I can load onto it if XP Home isn’t robust enough. Everything else is exactly what I was looking for.

While I was cooking today I was trying out the DVD player on this laptop. I sat it over next to my wine rack so I could watch it while I was making dinner. Suddenly I heard a pop. Yeap, you guessed it. One of Jahn’s bottles of wine popped its cork and about half of it managed to fly out on my counter and splash up on my new laptop. Fortunately it was just a little and nothing was hurt but I guess I can say that now my new laptop has been christened.

Dear Raed; News From Bahgdad.

Dear Raed is a blog published from Bahgdad. It’s still being updated. Todays entry made me stop and think.

On BBC we are watching scenes of Iraqis surrendering. My youngest cousin was muttering "what shame" to himself, yes it is better for them to do that but still seeing them carrying that white flag makes something deep inside you cringe.

I don’t think Salam Pax, the owner of the blog, wants to see the Iraqi army engage the Coalition forces but I can understand how seeing his fellow countrymen surrendering could not set well with him. I feel for their self-esteem after this.

Red Alert Equals House Arrest in NJ

Sid Caspersen, New Jersey’s director of the office of counter-terrorism, has his own idea as to where to take things should we go to a Red Alert.

“You literally are staying home, is what happens, unless you are required to be out. No different than if you had a state of emergency with a snowstorm.”

I’m not so sure that the same thing won’t happen in Georgia but I haven’t heard anything here about that yet. I do know that Southern California is going to see similar restrictions.

*Edit: I moved this to a different category. It wasn’t really politics.

Caribbean Chicken Breast

I’ve had a busy week and I’m anxious to spend a little time in the kitchen tonight. What’s on the menu? Caribbean Chicken Breast served with brown rice, a spinach salad and Gallo’s Twin Valley White Merlot 2001. Want the recipe for the chicken? Here ya go.

  • 6 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 oz. ham, thinly sliced
  • ¼ of a banana
  • Lemon pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • Small bundle of watercress

Flatten the chicken breast with a mallet. Roll the ham around the banana. Wrap the chicken breast around the ham and banana. Beat the egg and season with the lemon pepper. Flour the chicken breast and roll it in the egg mixture. Bake in a 325°F oven for about 20 minutes. Garnish with the watercress and serve it with the brown rice.

This makes one serving. Need more? Just add another chicken breast, another ¼ banana and more ham for each additional person.

This could also be served with a sweet and sour sauce but you might want to drink something else with it. I don’t think the sweet and sour sauce would go well with a white merlot. Maybe saké?

One Last Comment Before the Trigger is Pulled.

I expect bombs to be dropping over Baghdad in the next few hours and once that hammer drops I will not be commenting on things concerning Iraq as far as whether or not I am supporting this action. Under war conditions I will always be in support of actions that will result in as few of my fellow citizens being killed as possible. I will also be in support of any actions that will result in as few enemy casualties as possible. The only way I see that being done is by the use of an overwhelming force applied both quickly and violently.

I believe that all this could have been avoide about a year ago. I don’t believe that it is necessary for our country to disarm Iraq but I do believe that once we talked the UN into demanding that Iraq disarm we no longer had a choice to accept anything but cooperation and disarmement from Iraq. Once an ultimatum is given I believe that it must be followed through on or one’s credibility suffers.

Credibility is important to me. The US’s credibility has suffered too much in the past. We haven’t lived up to commitments that we have made and we’ve made too many deals to support corrupt and abusive regimes in return for their support of our policy. We can’t continue doing this and we can’t allow our past indescretions to prevent us from being the nation the rest of the world expects us to be. I want us wearing the white hat again and the only way I see that happening is by following through with our commitments. The part about not supporting corrupt and abusive regimes is a little more difficult for the simple reason that the terms corrupt and abusive are so subjective but we have to watch the company we keep.

I also believe this whole war could have been avoided had France not been so adamant about not allowing a credible threat of "serious reprecussions" to exist. As long as France was threatening to not allow military force against Iraq then there was no reason for Iraq to cooperate with being disarmed. I know Russia and China was taking a similar stand but it’s France’s position, a western country, that gave Iraq hope of keeping their weapons. France’s method of calling for peace is going to cause a lot of blood to flow.

Most of all, I lay the blame for this war on Saddam Hussein. This man has no love for his country. He is willing to sacrifice the citizens of his country just to maintain power there. The man is a thug and a true danger to the rest of the world as long as he remains in power. I know these same allegations have been leveled against G.W. Bush but at least he can be removed from power if he oversteps what his people will accept at the next election, Hussein will stay in power as long as he can hold it.

I am not a G.W. Bush fan. I was very disappointed with the choices I had during the last election and I’m not happy with the way that Bush’s cabinet is using terrorism to whittle away at personal freedoms in this country. Still, I’m convinced that had Gore won the election things would be just as bad on the domestic front and possibly worse in the international arena. However, now that we are where we are I’m supportive of Bush’s actions. I’m suspect of his motivations. I’d love to believe that this is about ridding the region of an abusive despot but I’m not kidding myself. This is about regional stability, something that I don’t believe that this war will result in.

So that’s where I stand. I’ll go quite on opinions concerning Iraq for now, after this is all over I’ll probably start talking again but for now just consider anything that our military does to end the war quickly and with as little loss of life, on both sides, as possible to be alright by me.

Let’s get it on.

Americans Want UN To Declare Its Position.

It’s pretty clear that Americans want to know where we stand with the rest of the world in regards to our invasion of Iraq. Its also apparent that once know we don’t really care where it is we stand as long as everyone else on the UN Security Council takes a stand themselves. A huge majority of Americans (78%) would support a war against Iraq with UN approval. A clear majority (54%) would support such military action should the United Nations object to that action. A clear minority (47%) would support such action without a resolution presented to the UN. This is all according to a Gallup Poll conducted March 14-15.

As has been the case throughout recent months, support for military action against Iraq is contingent on what happens in the United Nations, as evidenced by the following results from the weekend poll:

  • Seventy-eight percent of Americans say they would favor invading Iraq if the United Nations passes a new resolution that sets specific conditions for Iraq to disarm, and just 19% would be opposed under these circumstances.
  • If such a resolution were submitted, but the United Nations rejected it, 54% of Americans would favor military action and 43% would oppose it.
  • If the United States decides not to offer any new resolutions on Iraq and goes forward with military action without a new U.N. vote at all, half of Americans would oppose an invasion of Iraq, while 47% would be in favor.

Clearly, support would be greater if the United Nations signs off on military action against Iraq, but a majority of Americans still say they favor it if the United Nations does not do so. Only in the case in which the United States essentially decides to bypass the United Nations does less than a majority (47%) favor military action. However, that option is a distinct possibility given the inability to find Security Council support for a tougher resolution on Iraq.

Never let it be said that G.W. Bush operates his administration based on polls.

I understand why the US/UK/Spain alliance has chosen to not pursue further UN support. If they pursue it and don’t get it then International law says that military action is illegal. If they don’t bother to seek permission then the UN and and their International Court does not have any jurisdiction. Still, I’m with the majority of people who wanted to see the US force the UN’s hand in this matter.

The Hunted

I always enjoy Tommy Lee Jones in a movie. It isn’t that I think he is all that good of an actor, it’s just that something about the way he portrays his character just always entertains me. That’s about the best thing I can say about The Hunted.

This movie is a cross between First Blood and The Fugitive but both of those movies were actually better. The scenes in the Oregon rain forrests reminds me so much of First Blood that I expected Stallone to pop up any minute. That probably would have been a good thing.

I never understood the plot, if there really was a plot, I never understood what drove Aaron Hallam (Benicio Del Toro) over the edge and I still don’t know exactly what I was watching, but I sure enjoyed watching Tommy Lee Jones. He played pretty much the same character that he always plays. One of these days I’m going to have to figure out what it is about him that I find so damn entertaining.

Dixie Chicks and Free Speech

Natalie Maines is ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas. That sentiment wouldn’t mean much coming from your average Texan who has deep feelings against a war with Iraq but Natilie isn’t your average Texan, she’s the lead singer for The Dixie Chicks.

Now, I’m a Dixie Chicks fan and have been for several years and I’ll continue to be a fan of theirs for several more. I have tickets to one of their upcoming concerts and I’ll be sitting in my seat just enjoying myself to the fullest when they get into town. I’m also not entirely against President Bush’s foreign policy, especially regarding Iraq. A person’s politics has absolutely nothing to do with their entertainment value to me.

What really gets me about all of this, though, is that by focusing on what Natalie said rather than the songs that she sings people are saying that her political opinion matters. Well, it does, but no more than mine or yours. Natalie’s ability to entertain me is tremendous but I have nothing on which to base my respect for her opinions on politics or anything else other than music. She’s an entertainer, not a policy maker, and her comments, I’m sure, entertained the audience of the moment.

Aside from all of that there is this free speech thing. Now I understand that the bill of rights and the first amendment only applies to the government silencing its people and that the US government isn’t behind this movement to smash Dixie Chicks CDs over Natalie’s comments but I still think that Americans ought to at least follow the sentiment. I might disagree with Natalie’s opinion of the President but she has a right to express that opinion, even on foreign soil. She is a citizen of this country and not a political representative of it. She’s an entertainer, not a policy maker. She is speaking for herself and no one else.

Oh, and the same goes for Martin Sheen.

Zoran – Coming to a theatre near you.

The events leading up to the death of Zoran Djindjic, Serbia’s Prime Minister, has all the elements needed to make a major motion picture.

In October 2000, shortly before orchestrating a successful uprising against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia’s future prime minister met the man who would one day be accused of ordering his assassination.

This is going to make some more story when it is all put together.

Rosemary Salmon with Almonds

Here’s a dish that I fixed the other night that Gerri and I really enjoyed. Even though salmon is an oily fish and its nutrition label shows that over half its calories are derived from fat it’s suppose to be good at lowering cholesterol, which is great for Gerri, but I just like it.

Rosemary Salmon with Almonds
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
Quick and easy baked salmon recipe.
  • 1 - 1½ lbs Fresh Salmon fillet
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Cup Slivered Almonds
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray
  1. Preheat the overn to 450°F. Spray a cookie sheet with the non-stick cooking spray and place the salmon fillet skin side down on the tray. Combine remaining ingredients, except for the almonds, in a bowl and then spread evenly over the fillet. Sprinkle almonds evenly over the fillet.
  2. Bake the salmon about 15 minutes or until the color turns from translucent to opaque and fish just begins to flake with a fork. Do not over cook.
  3. Cut the fillet into portions down to the skin. Lift the fish from the skin with a spatula; remove to a plate. Serve this stuff immediately.


Depending on the serving sizes and the size of the fillet that you use this should server between 6 to eight people. Since there were only two of us, I used a significantly smaller fillet and adjusted the other ingredients to match. I served this to Gerri on a bed of steamed kale greens with mashed garlic potatoes and a bottle of Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir really complemented the taste of the salmon.

France Backs Addition of India to Permanent Seat on UNSC

A month ago French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin visited India and told people there that France is supportive of the addition of India as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Coucil. I think this is a great idea. I believe that India is a more appropriate member of the UNSC than France is.

Oh, and before anyone thinks my opinion is based solely on France’s obstructive behavior, India is on the record as being against military actions against Iraq also. I’ll admit that I’m frustrated with France’s methods of putting up roadblocks to a war against Iraq but only the methods, not their trying to avert war. I just don’t understand what France has ever contributed that justifies their seat on the UNSC.