Letters to Holly

Wednesday, April 19

She Works. She Gets the Job Done.

While I was at work, Your Sister went to town on the front yard. She pruned, she whacked, she raked, she organized. The yard looks a hundred times better. The teacher who gave her advice about the yard suggests we mulch the garden rows until we have a definite strategy for new plants. That suits me fine. Your Sister was hoping to move the compost pile out of sight but today’s big storms probably won’t let her get outside. After doing all the yardwork yesterday, she needs to take it easy today anyway. It’s pitch black as I type this; Asheville is buried in storm clouds.

We teamed up to cook dinner last night: a pork curry stir-fry. After I ate dessert, I realized that my body is no longer used to eating ice cream at night. Twice, I’ve eaten the stuff since the Lent ban, and twice I’ve zonked completely out and awakened at 5:30 in the morning. I’m apparently back to my weird caffeine reaction. Your Sister has the opposite reaction; she eats ice cream and is terrifyingly chipper.

We watched “House” and a “Mad About You” rerun on TiFaux. “House” is an interesting medical series where each episode revolves around a series of bad diagnoses. The patient is always just about to die away when the real cause is discovered. The formula is recognizable within two episodes, but the acting and subplots are good enough to bring us back. I haven’t worked on the Star Wars drawing since Sunday, and I told Your Sister I need to devote time to it during the week. “Mad About You” remains very hit-and-miss. But I’m not as big a fan of Paul Reiser as Your Sister.

Gasoline jumped up four more cents since I posted the $2.86 price this week. Gas hasn’t been this high since Hurricane Rita. Even the shortage prices weren’t as high.

Picture of the Day
From the What Were They Thinking blog about bad comic ideas comes this panel:

In the news
There’s been a recent rash of retired generals criticizing Rumsfeld about Iraq. A few others have stepped forward to defend him as well. The conservative spin on this is to say the generals are attacking the policy of a civilian leader in the Pentagon. That’s not that at all what they’re saying. Bush announced Tuesday that the only person to choose Rumsfeld’s tenure is him. Bush called himself “the decider.” Reports have lingered for at least a year that Rumsfeld has tried to resign more than once, but Bush won’t accept it. If true, what good does it serve the military if their commander doesn’t want to be there? Rumsfeld has had good plans for the military, including making the armed forces leaner, more mobile, and more broadly capable. But the “doing more with less” policy got the Iraq occupation on the wrong footing, and his reaction to the insurgency has apparently been insufficient. IEDs, suicide bombings and convoy attacks continue. He needs to go if the GOP wants to maintain the Congressional majority, but the administration doesn’t want to appear reactive to public sentiments like this.

The new White House chief of staff may freshen up the cabinet, but it’s unlikely he’ll oust Rumsfeld as he might change the curtains. Press secretary Scott McClellan is out the door, much to his relief I’m sure. He had neither the poise or style of Ari Fleischer and projected a vulnerability that was pounced upon by the press corps. Had he soothed the increasingly agitated reporters, there may have not been as much vehemence in breaking through the administration’s wall of sound bites in pursuit of real information. The new secretary needs to be charming, confident, and suave -- qualities Scott never once projected.

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