March 21, 2005

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2005

While I spent a lot of the weekend outside working around my yard, the few times I did make it in to hear some news were disappointing.

This past weekend marked the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and instead of stories focusing on that, we got instead steroids in baseball and the Terry Schiavo case.

While those stories are certainly important Schiavo family, they hold little interest for me, particularly in comparison to the Iraq war in which 1,500 U.S. servicemen and women have died, about 10,000 maimed and perhaps up to 100,000 Iraqis killed.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire Schiavo affair – Congress debating past midnight Sunday, the president cutting short his vacation and waking up and coming out in his jimmies to sign the bill – wasn’t a complete ruse to divert attention from the Iraq anniversary.

I wish our national leaders cared as much about those in the service as they do Mrs. Schiavo and bring them home immediately to save their lives.

The vote on the Schiavo matter was a huge victory for the Christian right which, as the Village Voice reported Monday, &uot;once again managed to set a precedent for the federal government intruding in the most personal matters.&uot; It was also a huge defeat for libertarians who oppose increasing federal control over our lives.

As the writer P.J. O’Rourke once observed, &uot;Anybody who advocates the increased control of the state over the individual is a traitor to mankind.&uot;

The other matter that occupied a large bloc of my weekend was my new washer and dryer. I wrote in the paper a couple weeks back about our dryer catching on fire. We replaced it with one of those cool front-loading sets.

When I bought it, it was so new the store didn’t have the pedestals they go on.

&uot;That’s OK,&uot; they said. &uot;You can buy those later when they come in and have them installed.&uot;

The fellas who installed the washer and dryer weren’t so sure. They said it would be difficult because the washer would have to be tipped completely on its side and that could tear it up.

I noticed the pedestals had come in on Friday so I went back to the store and paid the $400 for them. The appliance guy said everything was fine, that they would be delivered and installed the next day. I even checked with the zone manager on my way out who confirmed that.

When they arrived Saturday, the delivery guys said they wouldn’t touch them with a 10-foot poll. The store manager echoed their claims when I called her to complain.

&uot;Fine,&uot; I said, &uot;I want you to come and get the washer & dryer and give me a refund.&uot;

She said she would check with the plumbing department and see what could be done. She later called back and said that when the head plumber gets off vacation, they’ll come back and put them in. If they don’t, I’ll write another piece here telling what store it was.

While the above two incidents were certainly frustrating, my weekend was saved Saturday night when my alma mater, West Virginia University, pulled a big upset over Wake Forest in the NCAA tournament.

How cool was that? Double overtime. I was in hillbilly heaven.

We take on Texas Tech Thursday and I’m convinced we’ve got a chance of beating Bobby Knight’s squad. Everybody underrates the Mountaineers.