March 16, 2002


"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here..." I'll throw my two cents into the are-bloggers-the-vanguard-of-a-revolution debate: we're not. That's not to say that we're not interesting, and the best of us aren't influential., NRO, have all started variations on blog coverage, InstaPundit gets more hits per hour than most news sites get in a month, and Charles Murtaugh, Andrew Sullivan and a host of others run great blogs while getting published regularly everywhere. And blogging is indeed the "in" thing to do on the net these days. Heck, the President's cousin is a blogger for goodness sake. But we're not revolutionaries. Most of us are a collection of wannabees and cranks, not there's anything wrong with that. Wannabees are often future insiders, and cranks are often misunderstood geniuses. But I don't think the wannabee club or the crank club are going to flatten the walls guarding the fourth estate any time soon, no matter how I might wish we could. What I think we can do, and are doing, is proving that just about anyone with an opinion and flair for words can cut up the "best" journalists, and that we can vent our irritation with the "mainstream" media in productive and often humorous ways. A few of us just might become influential enough to make a difference, or at least linked enough to screw up Google searches. That's not bad, but probably not "the next big thing" either. But blogging is cool enough that I'm going to try and get funds to make a documentary about it.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 15, 2002


Is Bush going wobbly but trying not to fall down in the war on terror? Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds seem to think so, and their position is easy enough to understand. Bush tells Israel to cool it while fighting the PLO, but keeps ratcheting up the heat on our own enemies--on the surface it does look like Bush has been listening to his inner dove. But I still don't think he is.

Consider the following: from day one Bush got it, the Middle East problem, the rogue missile threat, the suitcase nuke threat, all of it. His pushing National Missile Defense, publicly rethinking our relationship with China, the early overtures to Putin, all of that point to the fact that GWB has a pretty clear picture of our strategic interests in the world. With 9-11, it wasn't Bush who changed but the nation who saw him anew--the nation saw in Bush for the first time a man in charge and ready to take measured, responsible action.

Throughout the war, the administration has insisted that the "coalition" of force against terror would morph to suit the times, and so it has. We're now engaged publicly in Afghanistan, the Philippines and Georgia, and our eyes are on a few other hot spots, notably Iraq. To that end, the administration has been using shuttle diplomacy to get and keep necessary elements on board, most recently bearing fruit in Putin's announcement that Russia will back us when the time comes to take out Saddam. The Russians are also saying that our recently "leaked" nuke list doesn't bother them. They get it, too.

To say that because of a few statements Bush is going wobbly ignores who the man is and what he's about. He gets it, and has from the start. He's now calling for more military spending. The "wobbly" statements are, I believe, intended to give Arab governments cover as we prepare to open up the can of whoop on Iraq. We can't be seen by those governments to be saying "rah rah" to Israel while planning to attack another Arab state--they just wouldn't be able to stand for it. In other words, I think we're playing Arab games here of offering consoling talk while doing exactly what we want. Once the war on Iraq gets going, they'll fall in line because they'll have to, and we'll have given them a fig leaf to hide behind.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


piece comparing the similarity of theology between far left and right has been generating a fair amount of buzz for the last day or so. While the daily grind has me currently in too foul a mood to really dig into the heart of it all right now, I'll just sum up my take by saying that I largely agree with him. It's been a known political fact, or at least strongly supported idea, for some time that as you go farther to the right you meet up with the far left and vice versa, to the point where many ideas become interchangable between the two. Look at some of the anti-capitalist rants of Michael Moore, then flip the page to the shape-shifting Pat Buchanan, and you'll see agreement on many union and trade issues, especially in areas of protectionism. Both also seem to think that America deserved 9-11.

Theologically then it's really no surprise, though a nice bit of thinking on Charles' part, that one the one hand you'd see righties say America has sinned and deserved the 9-11 attacks, and on the other hand lefties who just take their knee-jerk anti-American sentiment to the next level post-9-11. To the far right Christian, America's tolerance is a sign of impurity, and any bad thing that happens to America confirms in their world view that God is punishing her. They largely see our Gentile nation in theocratic terms and place America in the role of chosen nation. I've long thought this was a mistake for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that the Bible makes no mention of any nation-state supplanting Israel's role.

That's not to say that America isn't blessed by God or informed by Biblical principles--I believe we are blessed and that our founding principles spring from Biblical (and other) wisdom. But it's a long stretch between being blessed and The Chosen.

As to the problem of human suffering, I think the Bible actually gives us a pretty good idea about it in relation to God. Job was a righteous man who suffered unjustly while his annoying friends blamed him for the suffering. The Bible makes it clear that the suffering isn't Job's fault, but that there is a cosmic purpose behind it. Job was actually lucky, in that he eventually got a visit from God that seemed to settle the questions in his mind. Elsewhere, we learn that it rains on the just and the unjust alike, and that Old Testament writers wondered why the wicked prospered and went free while the righteous suffered. And finally, in the ultimate unjust suffering, Christ was crucified.

Why is all this suffereing happening? It's happening because we chose to allow it. God gave us a pristine world, free from pain and sorrow, and we blew it by sinning against Him. Thus we ushered in sin and its effects, including injustice, disease and so forth. For many, including too many Christians, that answer is unsatisfying, because it puts the responsibility for suffering, and our reaction to it, on us. It's easier to blame someone else for our suffering, and easier still to react outward instead of inward.

My own take on 9-11, as a self-proclaimed Christian righty, is that it's simply the by-product of a fallen world. Violence, hatred, murder and such are all part and parcel of the world we're in, but not the world to come. We have to fight back to preserve and expand human liberty, religious and political, and to beat back the forces of darkness as much as possible. Christianity is an active faith, and does allow for "just war." In a cosmic sense, it may be that God is using us as His "terrible swift sword" to rid the world of a group that has been terrorizing the innocent for too long. We're by no means a perfect instrument morally, but no one can doubt that we're the nation best in a position to act in this way.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 14, 2002


IS DOOMED. Senate Democrats flip Republicans the Byrd, use their plurality to block a qualified Bush nominee. Thank you, Jim Jeffords. They couldn't have done it without ya.
Posted by B. Preston at 07:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Here's what I think is going on when Bush and other administration officials seem to get weak in the knees about the Israeli-Palestenian conflict. First off, it's just talk, and it's just public talk, which as any student of politics knows is but a small portion of the actual talk going on--the most important stuff is going on behind the scenes. I suspect such talk is aimed at the so-called "Arab street," to keep them from guessing what we're really up to. Within the cloak of wobbly talk, Bush manages to always work in one statement about Israel's right to exist, such as:

Taking care to reaffirm the United States' overall support of Israel, Mr. Bush said, "People in the region have to recognize Israel's right to exist," and that the policies of nations in the region must be based on that principle.

That's still a siginificant demand to most in that part of the world. So here's what I think is going on. The wobbly talk is designed to mollify the average Arab and give local governments some cover. Israel meanwhile is still largely running affairs the way it wants to and is keeping Arafat in a box, and we get to keep the Arab states from openly leaving our "coalition" for the time being. If we just came out and said what we think--that Israel should go ahead and hit the PLO et al with everything until they're finished--all of the Arab states, even Jordan, would likely leave us for fear of local uprisings. This is what I hope is going on, but I admit it does weaken our own case for war internationally if we constantly call down Israel for pretty much doing what we're doing. This war really doesn't offer the administration too many easy choices, though, so I suspect that keeping the conflict to a secondary level, criticizing both sides publicly while privately rooting for Israel, and prosecuting our own war as efficiently as possible is about the best we can manage right now.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: our troops and Afghan allies have overrun the Al Qaeda cave complex. But why does the NY Times refer to the terrorists as "rebels?" That makes no sense at all--they're not rebelling against the old Taliban, they're not rebelling against Hamid Karzai's government, and since they aren't here they can't be rebelling against us.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2002


, and I'll refrain from making fun of his name, but I do know one thing about him--he ain't all there up there. Here's his article. Juicy bit:

The only reasonable justification for the US holding nuclear weapons is to deter their use by others. The architects of US nuclear strategy need to focus on this limited aim. This means reversing a decades-long policy and abandoning threats of nuclear first-use.

The next move should be to make first-use a war crime.

Making first-use of nukes a war crime, Andy? No context, no justifiable first-use like an imminent threat, just make it criminal. It's gun control writ large--then only the bad guys will actually engage in a nuclear first strike, while the civilized nations get vaporized in positions of hand-wringing and furrowed brows. Just once, I'd like to see one of these hair-brains actually think before suggesting what the leaders of the free world should do. Is that too much to ask?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


explains us Yanks to the rest of the world. When he's right, he's right.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I lamented that nothing was irritating me to the level of blogging, so I was lacking the motivation to do so. Then, today, there was annoyance aplenty. Blogspot was down for most of the morning, so I couldn't check in on my fellow bloggers and couldn't rack up those all-important unclothed ski babe Google hits. Then I got wind that the universe isn't green after all--it's actually more of a beige color. I was just getting used to a greenish creation, now I have to get used to this blander one. Algore, Senator Byrd and Janet "Dance Party" Reno have been out there saying stupid things about the war, Flannery O'Connor has been banned from a school in Louisiana, and now...there's this story about some Anglican bishop who's insulting the faith he served his entire life, treading on Scripture and generally being a pagan jackhole. Juicy bits:

According to Holloway, Christianity has been shackled by literal belief in stories that were written by human beings 2000 years ago. While he spends much of the book deconstructing important aspects of the Christian doctrinal tradition, his intention is ultimately positive. "I try to distinguish between the transient and the enduring elements of both the Hebrew and the Christian scriptures," he says, "and suggest that it is better to see them as good poetry than as bad science if they are to have meaning for us today."

This guy doesn't know his science too well. Hey Bishop, read my little rant on the harmony of Genesis with astrophysics. Questions--see me after class.

People like Holloway really annoy me. He's a doubter, which is fine, but he's setting himself up as an authority on something he's obviously chosen to reject. By then going public the way he has, he's becoming a problem for the faithful. No doubt pastors across the Anglican Church will have to deal with parishioners who've been impacted by Holloway's apostasy. He's giving up the good fight, and joining the other side. Burns me up.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I just caught wind of this via Newsrack Blog. Don't know if I'll make it myself, but thought I'd pass along the word to all interested. It's Saturday the 16th of March, 6 pm at Taliano's, 7001 B Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


and prompltly starts committing political suicide. Why can't prominent Dems just accept that President Bush is doing well in conducting the war and back him up? 80% approval ratings, a string of victories, no more attacks since 9-11--that's an impressive record, much more impressive than anything Algore and Wild Bill achieved in their 8 years.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


there's more proof that that phrase pretty much describes the Clinton White House. Roger Clinton, presidential brother and court jester, got piles o' money for pestering his brother to pardon criminals, which we all know Clinton did with wild abandon in the last days of his term. Let's not forget, Clinton also pardoned actual terrorists to help Hillary's Senate run.
Posted by B. Preston at 08:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


six months after they killed thousands of Americans. If this story doesn't get your blood boiling about the INS, nothing will. I'm a pro-legal immigration kind of guy (my wife is a legal immigrant, for starters), but it seems to me that a freeze of all visas is in order until INS can be taken apart and reassembled into an agency that actually works. As things now stand, INS is simply not trustworthy, and is incapable of even filtering out dead terrorists. That it sent out the paperwork on the 6-month mark of the 9-11 attacks just seems like a sick joke.

(story link found on Drudge)
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March 12, 2002


is under assault in Louisianna. She was one of the greatest, and most underrated, writers of the 20th Century. Parents who want to ban books, especially good ones with realistic characters and humor, should be ashamed of themselves. They're robbing their children of a true education. If you haven't read O'Connor, you should--before you lose the right to.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


according to Mikhail Gorbachev...yeah, that Mikhail Gorbachev. Here's the story, and I first noticed it on one of Jonah Goldberg's Corner links. Is it just me, or does this seem like it came from an M.C. Escher-inspired world, and not the real one? I mean, the former leader of the Evil Empire calls Communism "pure propaganda" and an "unreal system," then digs at Yeltsin for taking it apart too quickly. Weird.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

RACIST C. BYRD, um sorry, I meant ROBERT C. BYRD

is questioning the war. Before I get into this riff, can you image what kind of campaign ads the NAACP would produce if the Republicans had a sitting senator, whom they all claimed to admire, who was a former Grand Wizard or Dragon or whatever of the KKK? In Byrd the Democrats have such a senator, and nary a peep from "civil rights" groups. And here's a trivia question--to which party did the KKK's founders belong? Hint: it wasn't the Party of Lincoln. Anyway....

The Byrdman from West Virginia is writing in The NY Times to explain hisself and why he's axing questions 'bout the wore. Here's his crescendo:

In the wake of Sept. 11, President Bush declared all-out war on terrorism. Money is no object; time is no deterrent. We will win this war, the president vowed. We will hunt down and destroy the terrorists.

Those words constitute a sweeping manifesto. I support the president's commitment, but as a senator, I have a responsibility to look beyond the rhetoric. How will we win this war? What are the costs? What are our objectives? What are the standards by which we measure victory? How long will we be in Afghanistan? Where else will we go?

Ya know what, Misser Byrd--no one knows the answer to several of those questions. You don't know how much a war for survival will cost before going in--you just find the bastards that hit you and hit them, and you keep hitting them until they don't get up. How we measure victory is largely up to the enemy--they can surrender or die, and I personally prefer the latter. Where else will we go after Afghanistan? Wherever the buggers are hiding. If they end up in Jersey City, then by God we're going there to get them. This is, really, one of the most embarassing editorials I've ever read, mainly because I know most of it simply isn't true. Byrd has already admitted that he knew about the "shadow government" but he's still grousing about it. Congress is approving the war appropriations--the idea that they're getting their war plan info from news reports is laughable. This editorial is just a pile of Byrd droppings.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Andrea Yates, new darling of N.O.W., can't fool a Texas jury. One more bit of proof that the Lone Star State gets it right. I love the headline on the Reuters story, though--"Texas Mother Found Guilty of Capital Murder." That's a value judgement, calling her a "mother" when she drowned her five children. How about "Mass Murderer Found Guilty of Capital Murder"--that's a little more accurate, dontcha think. I guess to Reuters, one man's mother is another man's mass murderer....

Oddly enough, two of the news sources I usually find most slanted have the most neutral headlines--CNN dubs its story "Yates Found Guilty of Murdering Her Children," and the NY Times says "Jury Finds Yates Guilty of Capital Murder." ABC may have the worst headline--"Texas Mom Guilty of Drowning Her Children." Texas mom? It's a little like calling Charles Manson a "family man."
Posted by B. Preston at 09:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: That’s what Bono was singing on my car stereo as I pulled into the parking garage. And it was a beautiful day, with a clear blue sky and a crisp feel to the air. As I stepped to the sidewalk across from the beige brick building where I work, I met up with a co-worker, an attractive woman whom I don’t know well but have always liked to talk to. That day, as we crossed the street, we talked about how stunning the weather was, and I teased her that my office had a window while hers didn’t, and that I’d get to enjoy the day.

I walked into the building, said “See ya” and rounded the corner into my office, where I put my laptop down and headed off to the cafeteria for coffee. Paying respects to the kitchen staff, I got back to my desk and sat down to check email. Nothing much, a couple of industry newsletters, one or two video or image requests. One of my office mates, a tall guy who animates what Hubble sees for a living, burst in with a request. We have a video distribution system within our building, and it’s a real black art to run the thing. My co-worker wanted me to pipe video to the monitors in our production studio and to the monitors in the hallways, because something was going on up north. It seemed that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

I walked into our studio to see the animator and one of our administration secretaries glued to the one monitor that was already displaying Fox News Channel, and the image of the first tower burning. I looked at our distribution system for a second, punched a few numbers to bring up the audio and pipe the signals to the rest of the building, and heard the two say “Oh my God.” The second plane had hit. I knew immediately that we were under a terror attack, and that things wouldn’t be the same again for a long time.

The rest of the day was a disaster in real time. Our phone rang—it was the animator’s sister-in-law, who reported a huge black column of smoke rising from the direction of the Pentagon. The phone rang again, and it was my wife. She’d just turned on the tv, which I’d left on Fox the night before, to see the horrifying sight of both towers of the WTC on fire. She asked what was going on, and all I could say was “They’re trying to kill us.” I didn’t know who, but their intent was obvious. While we talked about what it all meant, the towers started collapsing, first one and then the other. My father is a retired fire investigator, so the first thing I thought of was that those towers must have been full of rescue personnel, with others streaming in and around them. They must all be dead now, I thought, and wondered if New York would ever recover.

I went home early, to be with my wife and son. A neighbor was with them when I got home, and after discussing the events the neighbor said “Well, at least the recession is over.” I thought it was a terrible thing to say, but didn’t respond. We talked about the plane that had hit in Pennsylvania, speculated that more were still unaccounted for, and I realized that, from our home in Baltimore, we were positioned between all the attacks. Planes full of innocents and terrorists had dropped to our north, south, and northwest. I’ve never felt more like I was in somebody’s crosshairs, and I was sitting on my couch tickling my son. None of it seemed real.

Then came the anger. I wanted to rush out and buy a gun, thinking that civil unrest might follow the initial attacks. I wanted to re-join the military and go to wherever the terrorists were and kill them. I wanted to respond, do something useful. I wanted our country to nuke theirs without asking questions.

It was a beautiful day that ended horribly. It was a beautiful, terrible day, full of awful barbarity and amazing courage, of tragedy and chaos and the beginning of war. It was a beautiful, terrible day that we should always remember, no matter how much we’d like to forget.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Susanna Cornett of Cut on the Bias has a nice take on the difference between the Islamofascist view of the world, and the view of most Christians. One of the more disturbing things that I've seen since 9-11 is the tendency of non-religious people to lump all major religions together as one big menace, when the truth is that the fundamental tenets of Christianity and Judiasm on the one hand, and radical Islam on the other, are siginficantly different and end in entirely different views of the world. As Susanna rightly notes, Christians see the Holy Land as a place where great things happened and will one day happen again, but not a place to be fought over as though our very religion were at stake. Jerusalem is today populated mostly by people who aren't Christians, and for me the worst part about that is that in my belief system those people won't share in the kingdom to come. I don't want to kill them--I want to reason with them and, if possible, convert them. To many that statment will cause revulsion, but it's just fulfilling the Great Commission as our Lord commanded. Again, to the non-Christian that's probably a divisive statement, but so be it. Non-Christians are being equally divisive in condemning all religion because of the actions of a few loonies, but see no problem with that.

Susanna's also right in her prescription to take care of our present problem--destruction. The Islamofascists won't be reasoned with, won't accept compromise, and won't surrender. That's all fine and nice, since capturing them only adds to our PR problems. They started the fight, but we'll end it. To paraphrase cavalry officers of a century ago, the only good Al Qaeda is a dead one.

NUKES: There's been a fair amount of hand-wringing about the administration's new nuke policy, which snuck out a couple of days ago. The policy lists a half dozen or so nations that we'll nuke if they act up. In thinking about this, I've come to the conclusion that it came out for international consumption. I've been worried since 9-11 that some state or another would take the present turmoil as an opportunity to settle an old grudge without our interference. My leading candidate for this was China, which has rattled rockets at Taiwan off and on for the past few years. Suppose the Pentagon or CIA got word that China was planning an offensive, and that its beginning was imminent. What better way to make the ChiComs think twice, without repositioning our forces currently engaged in Afghanistan and elsewhere, than leak a plan that includes nuking China's invading troops? They may not be the target of this "leak," but I wouldn't bet against it.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


A new round is posted over on the science page.
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March 11, 2002


I whined about the lack of motivation to blog in the last post, something I promise to never do again. Whining is for sissies, and we've got a war to win. I'll find something or someone to get pissed about and rip them up like a good junk yard dog should.

I also want to welcome an articulate new (new to me...the Prof has linked her once or twice, but I hadn't caught it) blogger to the permalinks over on the right. She's Susanna Cornett, and she's fierce, fun and a woman of faith. Her mission is to sniff out media bias and neutralize it. She's posting at Cut on the Bias, and worth checking out if you haven't already. Here's a good quote just to perk up your interest:

THE FRENCH LOVE MYTHS, according to this story, which is good, considering their relevance is a myth. The article, about an agriculture fair in France, says,

"...the French want to believe in Marie-Noelle and Joelle (two farming women featured in French media). They help support the myth that their food is the best in the world. They are a living embodiment of the myth that France is a fortress against globalised culture, and remains a place of deep attachment to its regions."

Mass delusion seems the order of the day, and not only about their world importance.

Anti-French posts are always a hit with me.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


and I can't figure out why. While I was travelling, I monitored Sen. Daschle's comments, and then the retraction, with bemused detachment. I never got worked up about any of it, because I expect such nattering from him. He wants to be President, and he's testing the waters of criticism. His foray backfires, so he backpeddles and moves on to some other area to carp about. What do you want from the guy--he's in the opposition party, and truth be told they don't want Bush re-elected simply because he belongs to the other camp. If Bush was a Dem then Dashle and the rest would be lining up behind him, and the Republicans would be the ones criticizing. At least John McCain is consistent--no matter which party the Pres belongs to, he can count on the Senator from Arizona to stab him in the back while pretending to be a statesman.

I also can't get worked up about the steel tariffs. I don't like them, and in fact think that they're a mistake, but I expected them. A couple of weeks ago a radio ad started running that explained the whole deal from the perspective of the steel unions. The ads urged the President to slap tariffs on imported steel--something principle should dictate he not do, but a quick political calculation suggested he might do. He could neutralize, to an extent, the opposition of one of the Democrats' biggest financial backers--the big unions--by siding with them on an issue that, because of its obscurity, will likely cost him little. Hard-core conservatives like myself will grouse about it, but most people won't care much one way or the other. So when I heard the ads I knew which way the game would end, and accepted it. I didn't like it, and still don't, but accepted it. I also expect that it will backfire in one way or another, and the unions will be shelling out for the Dems in record amounts in 2004, simply because Bush has that (R) attached to his name.

I guess I can't get motivated because nothing is pissing me off, and because things outside the blog are actually keeping me occupied. I have to produce a whole bunch of shows in the next couple of months for my day job, while whipping a documentary proposal into shape to get before the eyes of financiers within the next couple of weeks. These same financiers will be looking at another of my proposals, and if they like any of them enough to pony up some money I'll get to fulfill a big dream of mine, which is to make a full-length documentary and get it aired somewhere. It's a simple dream, but then I'm a simple man. But all this is making it harder than usual for me to surf around for items that tick me off enough to trash them.

One other thing--I only seem to generate replies when I taunt Darwinists or talk about cloning. When I do either of those things, real writers with famous names and more degrees than you can shake a stick at write in to praise or punch me. Problem is, the Darwin thing is a side-line that I engage in mostly to show how little committed evolutionists actually understand about the world around them while pretending to know it all, and cloning is a topic on which my opinions are still forming. I got into blogging to offer the perspective of a Christian who knows a little about military matters, a little about history, a little about science and can manage to keep from taking myself too seriously. I didn't get into blogging to take on Darwin or to protest cloning, but that seems to be what interests most of the people who read me and respond. Makes me wonder if the rest of what I write makes much sense to anybody. It certainly doesn't seem to resonate anywhere. A certain bellicose woman says that she finds my writing interesting even when she thinks I'm dead wrong--I guess that will have to do for now.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack