Dogg's Droppings

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Leonard Cohen 'Old Ideas'

The hits just keep on comin' for Leonard Cohen. His first new album in eight years.

Listening to the content, you get the idea he's closer to the end than the beginning, but that's hardly news. Great production values, lovely female voices backing his dry sound.

'Going Home' without my sorrow, Going Home sometime tomorrow, Going Home to where it's better than before. Going Home without my burden, Going Home behind the curtain, Going Home without the costume that I wore.

'I love to speak with Leonard, He's a sportsman and a shepherd, He's a lazy bastard living in a suit.'

Saturday, July 09, 2011


Snagged an invite to Google+, which just might inspire me to start writing again in this blog. Of course I just deleted all the previous images as I had no idea why they were showing up in my Google+ Photos, duh.

But I am all for finding a new place to hang out, in addition to FB, just to see if it's any good and can hold my interest. Three friends "invited" me to join Google+, before I received the actual email invite. Seems the other invites were nicely hidden behind the little wheel, upper right, on my GMail account.

It would be really nice if there was some way I could find a way to link this blog to my Google+ page. Maybe there is. I will keep looking.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Denzel's Fences

Caught this play a couple weeks ago, pre-Tony Awards, and was blown away with the all around excellence, from the very talented and small cast, to the storyline, to the Cort Theatre and more. I am hardly a Broadway aficianado, but the lure of Washington drew me in.

Did not know the storyline in advance, even though "Fences" is a revival. Did not know how the play would end until it finished. Knew Washington would be superb and he was. Was amazed by Viola Davis as well. How great that they each won Tony Awards.

Stephen McKinley Davidson truly captured the essence of his part, (longtime friend and co-worker with Troy, Washington's character.) Just loved Chris Chalk as Cory.

Totally enjoyable evening, way exceeded my expectations. One PS... Cort Theatre only has minimal bathrooms for the ladies, which was um, interesting... at intermission.

Monday, March 01, 2010

HP Tech Support

The old Gateway had served me well for 7 1/2 years, but it was time to do a mercy killing. HP seemed to be the brand of choice among my friends, so I am now the proud owner of an HP Pavillion Elite e9280t. Marvelous machine, but for the purposes of today's entry, I am discussing tech support only.

Running the old Gateway side-by-side, gradually getting ready to shut it down for good. I believe in calling HP tech support a lot, since this machine is under warrantee, and getting all facits running and up to speed is a long and taxing process. Out of the box, was getting a video driver error. Easily rectified, after the third phone call. Just needed a new driver from Nvidia, but what I've learned after numerous calls to tech support (for this and other issues), each person on the other end, probably has a different way to attack the problem. Thus, multiple calls may be necessary to solve a particular problem.

Depending upon the expertise of who you get, support person may install a program and take control of your desktop to investigate the issue. Watching someone troubleshoot in this manner is fascinating. You can learn plenty if you follow him moving your mouse around.

Next problem: Line-In port(s) were not operational. One in front, one in back. Two hours later, the Tech got the one in back to work. I thought my problem was solved, only to discover that although I could hear sound (interviews) through speakers, via Line In, my sound editing programs were not recording sound. After yet one more call to Tech Support, Line-In via the front port now works, and one of the two sound editing programs will work (Sony - Sound Forge, Audio Studio). Next call goes to Adobe, for assistance with Win7 and configuring Audition 3.0, but I digress. I can now do my work, so that's a big help.

Don't want to skip the Tech Support guy who told me my sound card would not record, and he could pass my call to someone who could get things to work for the small charge of $59. (Um, I am under warrantee, guy!) At that point, I knew I had wasted every second spent talking to this guy and terminated the conversation. That's an hour of my life I will never get back.

Don't want to skip the other Tech Support guy who told me my software warrantee had expired (I've owned this machine for 7 weeks), but he would solve my problem (Administrator account) out of the goodness of his heart. Excuse me? "Software warrantee"???? That was a new one. I've made at least 10 calls to Tech Support and no one... no one has mentioned a software warrantee. Josh, the Tech Support guy who finally solved the Line-In/Recording issue, went all through this machine, accessing both my sound editing programs, never once mentioning a software warrantee, or even "3rd party" software, which I thought he might. Josh wanted to solve the problem, period. Plain and simple. He was confident from the get go, and stayed after it until I was satisfied.

To HP's credit, you can get tech support 24/7, with very little wait time or menu hell. Now that I have made more than a few calls, I try to do a quick assessment as to whether the particular person on the other end will actually be able to solve the problem or not. I've had all levels of talent on the other end. I am very happy with the computer, and look forward to the day I no longer have to call HP. I believe that day is close now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wonderful Willie Nile

Willie Nile was booked for a triumphant return to McCabe's in Santa Monica. Show was announced in May. Oh, how I planned and connived, to be able to attend the show. It took every ounce of energy I had, plus a lot of good luck, to actually be able to make it into the audience September 12. I waited in line for an hour in front of the shop, and wound up sitting on the sidewalk as I could not stand for that long.

A good friend introduced me to Willie's music about 6 years ago. I was immediately taken with the driving beats, the unique story-telling of his songs, and the total compassion expressed in his music. I felt as though I was a New Yorker, just by listening to how he portrayed the sounds and chaos of the city.

I had tried for several years to catch one of his shows back east, but never had the good fortune to be there at the right time. Luck smiled upon me, 15 months ago. Willie was going to play a gig at McCabe's in Santa Monica. McCabe's, a classic old guitar shop with a back room where some very special artists put on concerts. The room holds only 125. Every seat is intimate with the stage. Of course, I had to be down front.

Willie's show in June 2008 blew me away. Backed by his trusty sideman, and true talent in himself, Frankie Lee, Willie put on a moving and highly entertaining show. I will never forget hearing "House of 1000 Guitars" in that venue, which displayed seemingly 1000 guitars on the walls. Ok, maybe it was 100, but there couldn't have been a more perfect place for that song.

Last night we were treated to more songs from his new album, "House of 1000 Guitars", and more, as yet unreleased songs: "One Guitar", "Innocent One". Guess we have to wait a few months for those.

When the show was over, Willie spent time in the front of the store, speaking with every single fan who wanted to say hello. I treasure the minutes I had with him. We had a very thoughtful moment, he took my hand, we touched cheeks and chatted briefly. Willie doesn't know me from Adam, yet he took that time to pass along words of understanding and good thoughts for the future. He is a humanitarian and knows the meaning of life. I consider myself a very lucky Willie Nile fan.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Seems I suddenly have plenty to write about, so this is a test post, to see if I can still get this blog going.
I have over 2700 songs on my IPOD, yet I find myself returning consistently to the same group of artists... to the point where I have no idea the wealth of songs buried on the unit.
My current task is to play and listen to every single song, alphabetically, just so I can say I did it. I am presently about 550 songs into the list, and still in the D's. This Ipod is located in the car, so tonight, on a long drive to and from Bakersfield, I discovered the joys of a few special song titles beginning with "D".
Imagine, back to back: "Do You Love Me" (Dave Clark 5) (ok why don't I have the Contours original version? "Do You Wanna Dance" (Bobby Freeman), "Do-Wacka-Do" (Roger Miller), and "Don't Go Home with Your Hard On" (Leonard Cohen).
Using this IPOD in the car means no car wash until I get through all 2700 songs, as I have to remove the IPOD if I visit a car wash. My car is going to be very dirty for a while.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wow. My blog is still here. For all the schpewing I do on a certain bunch of newsgroups, I really ought to do it here. I will make every attempt to revive this blog. There certainly are plenty of scintillating topics out there. We are less than 10 days away from electing a new president. Thank god.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bill Walsh

Two huge deaths on the same day. Bill Walsh, a master among coaches. What a long, glorious career he had. A career which will live forever, for all the assistant coaches who worked with him, and since moved on to their own NFL head coaching positions. The number is 6 or 7. From those guys, spawned another group of current NFL coaches. Walsh's legacy is enormous.

I respect him for bringing credibility and Super Bowl championships to the team I worshipped as a kid, the San Francisco 49ers. A team which had been mired in mediocrity for decades. I became a fan in the 50's: Y A Tittle, Hugh McElhenney, Gordie Soltau. Before Walsh joined the Niners, he accomplished many of the same things while working for Stanford... another team I grew up with. He wasn't with Stanford for very long, but he left an indelible mark on their football program. He returned to the position of Athletic Director for a couple of years in 2004. My mother thought the world of him, probably for the same reasons I've listed.

Leukemia is taking a lot of the good people, it seems.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tom Snyder

Wow. What a day. Two huge deaths... three counting Bergman. I guess it took something like today to rock me back towards writing. Maybe will catch up with the past months later... but today, belongs to Tom Snyder and Bill Walsh.

I have such fond memories of Snyder. First started watching him on KNBC in the late 60's, I think it was. He was different. He was bigger than life on screen. His personality ran the newscast. He bagged unmercifully on the sports guy, Ross Porter. Porter later went on to work for the Dodgers radio broadcast for many years. I always thought he was better while working for KNBC. Snyder worked with Kelly Lange on a Sunday magazine show on KNBC. They were quite a pair.

I remember when Snyder got the Tomorrow Show (another show way ahead of its time). This was well before the invention of VCRs... don't know how I stayed up so late every night, but I did. When the show was in its infancy, I once sent a floral arrangement for the little table in studio, because I thought it looked bare. It was used, and after that, NBC supplied their own flowers.

Snyder took over NY when he moved there. I followed his career at a distance. In the early 90's, he started doing a radio show, which was produced right down the hall from my place of business. Much as I wanted, I was never able to weasel into his presence.

I've read several obits for him today, and viewed some great footage on Keith Olbermann's Countdown. Details I had fogotten: smoking during his interviews, the eyebrows. I sometimes wonder if we realize how lucky we are everyday, when we are able to experience someone we really enjoy, even from afar? Many years later, when this person is gone... did we appreciate what we had when we had it? I know I did with Snyder.

When he announced his leukema in 2005, and that it was "treatable"... I knew the clock was ticking. He disappeared. Took down his website. No further information to be released.

Thanks for the memories, Tom, and thanks for the colortinis.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Three Blue Men

Good grief, two posts in two days. What is the world coming to? Saw these guys for the third time. First time was in Vegas almost ten years ago. Second time was at the Wiltern Theatre maybe four years ago. Tonight, at the Universal Amphitheatre... a fine venue.

Was curious how the show had evolved over all this time, and had forgotten how interactive it was. The usual flashing messages entertained those of us who arrived early. Text the word blue, to 30364, for a chance to go backstage, and also to be added to Blue Man Group's mailing list. I did that, only to receive two messages back, saying the whole process would involve as many as five text messages, and if you wanted to stop, just text them the word 'stop.'

Right on time, the opening act, whose name I cannot recall. Entertaining dude, who scratched to some pretty wild videos, videos which had been um, altered, to feature repetitive movement. After 20 minutes, he was done. We were then treated to a special video from the guys who specialize in Mentos and Diet Coke cascades. Amazing stuff. I wondered if I was seeing two guys who will be touring someday, based on Diet Coke and Mentos? Totally appropriate, seeing their work on stage with Blue Man Group. Their website is:

Finally, the main attraction, "How To Be A Mega Star 2.0." The audience went pretty crazy. We soon learned we were in for a series of lessons, teaching us how to be a Mega Star etc., but first, the Blue Men had to purchase the manual. They did not seem to have a credit card, thus the first foray into the audience, complete with a camera. Some guy in the front row wound up on stage, peeling out his AmEx, and presto... after a $1000 charge, the order was complete, with immediate shipping. Not five seconds later, a UPS man arrives with the requisite box. Said box contained a manual, and several items which might prove useful in the quest for rock-star greatness: make-up, and cod piece are the ones I remember.

Plenty of loud rock'n roll, driving beats, pipe instruments. I was seated fairly close to the stage, so was pleased to see some of the best parts of the show were still included: female singer in flashing rainbow dress doing "I Feel Love." The Blue Men, dancing around in total darkness, with seeming neon stripping on their black suits.

Really got into some of the background video work, a recurring theme being people who walk around with masks on, no matter how many times they remove the top mask. There were times when a Blue Man had actually humanized some of his pipe instruments. These guys are very expressive with just their facial movements.

Finale, a rousing rendition of Teenage Wasteland, complete with many many thousands of white streamers shot from the stage. I had a perfect view of the little cannons, so knew something was coming. Although the requisite mess was made, I wish they could still be using the hundred foot long twelve inch wide sheet material. Ten years ago in Vegas, they papered the entire room at the Luxor. Tonight was much smaller scale. Another reduced scene was the "pancho" area. I only saw a few people in the first row wearing plastic panchos. It used to be ten rows. I guess they've cut down on the mess quotient. I sort of miss that. I remember paint going all over the place at the Luxor show.

All in all, a very entertaining evening. Blue Man Group continues to evolve.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Aunt

This morning, my phone rang before 9 AM. It's Sunday, I knew the call was not work related. I also had a hunch the call could not be about anything good, so I did not pick up. I was still in bed. I contemplated what the call could be, figuring if it was important, they would leave a message.

It turned out to be very important. It was my cousin, explaining that my aunt had passed away Saturday morning. It took a couple of hours for me to gather myself to call her back.

The number of friends I have in this world keeps getting smaller. Need to do something about that. My aunt was one of the best. About five years ago, I was sitting in the airport, waiting to get a flight to San Jose... business trip. On a lark, I called her, wondering if we might get together. Prior to that call, I don't guess we had communicated since my mother (her sister) died, in 1986, No real reason for the lapse. Just life moving too fast. My aunt was very happy to hear from me. She came and picked me up at my hotel in Santa Clara, drove me back to her house and I spent the evening with her and my uncle. What a lovely evening.

That was the last time I saw my uncle. He had been in failing health and passed away the following year, I believe. He was in his 80s and had lived a long life. My aunt continued on, kept living in their wonderful house for another couple of years, I think. I kept in touch with her. In 2004, we got together again for dinner. My aunt drove to my hotel and we ate there. She told me that she couldn't tolerate life if she couldn't keep driving. I can understand that.

In 2005, I made a special trip north to see her. She had just moved into a "retirement" community, which meant downsizing out of the house, and basically starting a new existance. Kind of scary to have to do that when you are in your 80's... but she onward she went. I admired her. I spent the night in a guest room in her building. She was so happy to reserve the room and have me stay on the premises.

Later that year, I was on another business trip, staying in Berkeley and only had the one evening, so rented a car and drove 60 miles in rush hour to see her. We had another great dinner.

Three months ago, in November 2006, I saw her for what turned out to be the last time. I always made a point to visit her when I was up north, and I'm glad I did. She was in her mid-80s, and it was sort of understood she wasn't going to be around forever. She was in great health, and lived a long and glorious life. I guess we had one more phone conversation, maybe a month ago.

I'm just so sad she is gone. She had become my biggest fan. It's a difficult world out there, and it was so nice to always have someone in my corner. She was my mother's sister, and being around her brought back so many memories of my mother as well. I am happy she did not have to experience a long drawn out illness. Everyone in our family seems to get cancer sooner or later... not my aunt. Good for that.

Rest well, sweet princess. I hope to see you again.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Big Power Failure

What started as a brief power failure this evening, turned into an outage of more than 2 1/2 hours. After having not had to go through something like this for at least ten years, I can only say... no electricity pretty much curtails all activity in this house.

My first concern was getting the computer powered down. My computer does not shut down quickly, but I have it hooked into an APC power strip, complete with battery, and I was actually sitting here when hell broke loose, so I began the process of turning the computer off. The APC was beeping, the dogs were freaking out at losing the only remaining light (from the monitor), but I persevered.

Next move was to open all shades and curtains. Seems there was some light out there if I did this. Then I gathered the dogs, a portable radio, and we relocated to the bedroom. I wasn't going to call the power company as I figured everyone was doing that... and how long was the outage going to last, anyway?

My patience lasted just over an hour, when I had to make that call. Not an easy call however, as I would have to locate my glasses, and take the cell phone to the car for a little light. Don't ask where the flashlight was. Two days ago I needed it for something and couldn't find it, so there was no point in looking for it now.

The power company had a recorded message... "if you live in the lovely town of -----, guess what.... your power is out, and will continue to be out for 4 - 10 hours!" In other words, screw you!

Ok, now that my curiousity was solved, I headed back into the house... knowing I was going to have to feed the dogs in the dark, get them outside and back in, in the dark, and then return to the bedroom and the portable radio. I also decided I better unplug the computer. A friend of mine had her machine fried by a lightning strike, so better to err on the side of caution. Mission accomplished.

2 1/2 hours later... voila! The lights came back on. The Tivo powered back up, and order being restored was on the way.

I can't wait to hear what caused all this. It was barely raining. My money is on some jerk in an automobile, knocking down a power poll.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stretchdogg 1 - 405 Freeway 0

I guess the next 99 times I head south on the 405 are marked for disaster, but yesterday I scored. Entering that fateful never-never land where decisions must be made, the 101 was backed-up big-time, and I heard about an accident with a car facing the wrong way on the 101 south, so I took a huge chance and selected the 405 south.

Got over the little grade to see what my immediate future would be... and voila! Only the lightest of traffic on the 405. Well how long could this last? Where would the stopage begin? I climbed the hill to the top of Sepulveda pass, still no problems. Headed down the hill, past what would normally be UCLA traffic, still no problems. At this point, there were more cars, for sure, but nothing even approaching bad traffic. I slid over to the righthand lanes, as I needed to take the 10 East.

Uh oh, the big giant curving on-ramp to the 10, was backed-up. Hmmm, haven't had that experience before. Did they have a traffic light slowing entrance to the 10? Turns out, no. Just a lot of cars. The 10 was fairly busy, a good amount of back-up, so I decided to exit at La Cienega, head south to Rodeo, then a left towards the Coliseum. Entire trip from the valley, about 50 minutes. My day was definitely starting on the right foot.

Side streets all the way to the Coliseum. About five miles. A snap. And a hell of a football game. Trojans finally made a statement in clobbering Oregon.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Worst Freeway Interchange In The World

Greetings! No, I haven't dropped off the earth. It just seems that way, with my two month absence. Suffice to say, when I started writing here, I decided it was not prudent to write about my work or my friends. The last two months have brought some significant changes, which... um, cannot be discussed here. Maybe someday, but not now.
I have long wanted to write about this infernal freeway interchange. I avoid the 405 like the plague, and over the years, have done a pretty good job of it.
My travels take me east on the 101, but for a brief moment, I might consider heading south on the 405, but more often than not if I make such an utterly foolish decision, I regret it less than 30 seconds later.
When approaching this interchange, if the 101 is backed up, there is the temptation to head south, only because the 405 is not visable at the time you must commit. There is a little hill, which prevents a clear view of just how backed up this freeway might be. So, I've just learned not to ever take a chance. Maybe 1 time out of 100, will the 405 to the 10, get you downtown faster than the 101, so just don't even think about it. If you take the 405 south during rush hour, it can take one hour to go ten miles. Lovely.
As for the reverse trip, back from south of downtown... I often travel the 10 west to the 405 north, mainly to avoid going smack through the 4 level interchange on the 110. If there is a Dodger game, or even an event at Staples Center, not to mention regular old rush hour traffic, it could take 20 minutes to go 3 miles. So, I reluctantly head towards the dreaded 405.
The trip north isn't too bad, until.... you get to the top of the hill.... good ol' Sepulveda Pass. Then the true freeway dance begins. The two righthand lanes are the ones which will take you to the 101, but they are already backed up at the top of the hill, so no joy getting in line there. It all depends on my mood. If I do get in line there, going down the hill becomes a battle to keep miscreant drivers from cutting in... those low lifes who are too damn arrogant to wait in line like the rest of us. The best method of protecting my space is to drive as close to the left lane line as I can, without going into the other next lane. Doing so makes it a little difficult for the pigs to slide in ahead of you. If you stay towards the right, they can come right up beside you, in your lane, and then something has to give.
I have tried this manoeuver in the right lane of the two, just to experiment, as there is a dedicated additional lane to the right (making actually three lanes going down the hill, which exit the 405), which is supposed to be and Exit Only to Ventura Blvd. Well of course, the pig drivers in that lane get down the hill faster, and then try to slide to the left at the last second, so they can gain access to the 101.
Bottom line, it's one big game of chicken, driving down the hill in either of the two lanes which take you to the 101. Or, if I just don't feel like playing the game, I can let all drivers in... what the hell. Come on down, you losers. You, who are too good to wait in line like the rest of us poor shlubs.
Recently though, I've tried avoiding this whole problem altogether, by taking the Burbank Blvd. exit, which is the next one past the 101. Sometimes that doesn't work too well either, as this exit becomes quite congested, what with Sepulveda Blvd. running parallel to the 405. Whether I go this route depends if I think I can actually get down the hill faster by remaining in the fast lane. You would be surprised at how many times I can't. 5 lanes of cars, not moving.
I cannot finish this without discussing the lovely construction going on at this very interchange. It seems they have been trying to reconfigure this interchange for at least 10 years. Well ok, they haven't been working on it for quite that long... it just seems they have. They have closed a couple of street access ramps. They have prevented sliding from the fast lane on the 101 to the Havenhurst exit (good closure).
So we have two lanes splitting off from the 405, with cement barriers on the left (hiding what seems like enough space for 3 more lanes.. good grief, are we ever gonna be fortune enough to claim THAT real estate?). Traffic naturally slows because after about 200 yards, if you don't know exactly where you are going, and what lane is best, lanes get even more confusing. The left lane slides over and becomes two lanes for traffic heading west on the 101. The right lane becomes two lanes for eastbound 101 traffic. The first time I went through there, after Cal Trans had jury-rigged the lanes again, I was totally in the wrong lane. Now I know, to never leave the left lane on approach... never.
Once you actually reach the approach lanes to the westbound 101, you feel like you've won the war, even though there is a new ocean of traffic to greet you heading west. Not a problem however, as I'm departing the 101 in a couple more exits. I am just very thankful I do not have to commute every single day.

Monday, September 11, 2006

K.O. Hits It Outta The Park

Reprinted from msnbc. Written by Keith Olbermann.

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.
And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.

Five years later this space is still empty.

Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country's wound is still open.

Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.
It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial -- barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field -- Mr. Lincoln said, "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So we won't.
Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they're doing instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres. The terrorists are clearly, still winning.

And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation. There is its symbolism of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.

The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.
Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes. The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street." In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm. Suddenly his car -- and only his car -- starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man's lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An "alien" is shot -- but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there's no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men.

"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn."
When those who dissent are told time and time again -- as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus -- that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President.

You have.

May this country forgive you.
Sept. 11, 2006 3:19 p.m. ET