August 31, 2004
Talk about your one-stop blog shop!
What is it about lunatics named "Al"?
And here I thought "Bum Fights" were just an urban legend...
Obviously, someone needs to tell the Als that the first rule of FightClub is don't talk about fight club!
UPDATE: Michele has the latest on the protests.
Terms of Surrender
Inspired by the nuanced grovelling Chirac and Co. are doing, the SwiftVets have offered to stop the ads, on Kerry meeting a few, er conditions....
Here's the text:
1. Apologize for your conduct once you returned from Vietnam. Your exaggerated testimony before the US Senate; the blanket indictment of your fellow veterans; throwing away medals and ribbons; all of these actions dishonored America and the armed forces. Your rhetoric and actions were not only wrong, they aided the enemy and brought great pain to POW's, veterans and their families.
2. Clarify the conflicting accounts involving the Bay Hap River incident of March 13, 1969 (Bronze Star and 3rd Purple Heart). You have now described three different versions of this incident. In the first version of this incident presented during the Democrat National Convention, you stated: "No man left behind," suggesting to the American people that you alone stayed on the river to rescue Mr. Rassmann. Later, when forced to acknowledge conflicting eyewitness testimony from fellow swift boat veterans, you said that your boat left the scene to return moments later to retrieve Jim Rassmann from the water. Yet, in another version of the same incident discovered in the Congressional Record, you reported that your boat struck a mine and Rassmann fell off the boat. Mr. Kerry, please explain to your fellow veterans and the American people which version is the truth.
3. Affirm that the injuries for which you received your purple hearts never required any medical treatment beyond perhaps a bandage and that, in all instances, these injuries were self-inflicted and came from your own weapon. Further, that if any of these purple hearts were falsely awarded, that you would not have been eligible to leave Vietnam after serving only four months.
4. Acknowledge what your own biographer is now saying, that the Christmas in Cambodia claim is "obviously wrong,” that you were never in Cambodia over Christmas or any other time during your brief, four-month tour in Vietnam and that your statements before the United States Senate in 1986 were false.
If you undertake these steps we will be satisfied that the American public has been sufficiently apprised as to these aspects of your career, and we will discontinue the media advertisements you have sought so fervently to silence.
Please know that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are eager to close our own personal chapters on Vietnam and instead focus on the war we're currently fighting—the ongoing war on terrorism. In the absence of full public disclosure and a public apology, we will continue efforts to carry our message to an ever-expanding base of grassroots supporters.
In a related story, speaking of surrender...
Let's Play Hardball!
These definitely goes in the "What the......?" file:
1. Wizbang is reporting that pacifist peace lovers dressed in black and hoods tried to attack Chris Matthews live on the air....
I mean, dude, this is dumb: the press is on your side! Don't piss them off by messing with their Hair. This is as stupid as terrorists killing French reporters: they're working for you, dumbass!
2. Al Franken loses it, does his best Captain Queeg impersonation...(you know, it was that rat bastard George Bush who stole the key to the icebox and ate all the strawberries!)
Another Hit Below The Water Line
Go here and check out the Swifties' latest ad "Sellout".
For my money, this is far more important than any accusations about John-John gaming the system to pump up his own resume. It shows clear, consisely and in his very own words Kerry's appalling attitude and behavior after he got back to the States and, what is particularly damning, the direct impact that behavior had on men confined to North Vietnamese prison camps.
The new fuzzy, fluffy John Kerry
Secret mission to Cambodia? Heck no! Christmas, 1968, is seared--SEARED--in John Kerry's memory: why that's the year he got his Red Ryder BB Gun, the one with the compass in the stock!
Changes on the way for the French Government
We linked to the story below about how the French government says they will do ANYTHING to get their two journalist hostages released in Iraq.
Money? Nuclear secrets? French diplomatic passports for terrorists? Michael Moore's autograph?
The possibilities are endless.
I've got a feeling it's going to look something like this:
Here's a contest: what would YOU demand of the French Government in a situation like this?
I'd start with getting them to admit that Jerry Lewis, and Woody Allen aren't funny, and that Mickey Rourke sucks.
Hope you've got plenty of Raid! (R) on hand, Steve-O. We're gonna need it.
YIPS from Steve: I've only got two words for her: BRING. IT. ON. Well, that's three, but you get my drift. The fearsome LEAGUE AGAINST MALEVOLENT EMOTICONS will not be intimidated!
We are L.A.M.E.---hear us roar!
Now Go Away Or We Shall Taunt You A Second Time-ah.
Michael bin-Moore has decided to stay out of Madison Square Garden for the remainder of the Convention. Apparently, USA Today had thought that he wouldn't be noticed amongst all the other elephants:
"We had hoped we would be able to put Moore in place where he could actually listen to speeches and not disrupt anything," Ken Paulson, USA Today editor, told E&P today. "The idea was not to put him in the line of sight while giving him the opportunity to observe. Now Moore doesn't plan to return to the convention. I think he saw the down side of his attending. We will have the four days of his column and I hope people will take time to read what he wrote.
Roger Kimball has a post up over at Armavirumque about the apparently near-fatal nervous breakdown of Britain's Tory Party.
Handy Insults for Patriotic Amerikans
From The Commissar, of course!
Bonfire of the Vanities
This week it's being hosted by Dr. Rusty at My Pet Jawa. And it's an all-1987 retrospective! (As it happens, that was the year I graduated from college. Damme if I can remember very much about it, tho.) Be sure to go check it out.
News Flash: Kerry Served In Vietnam. Doesn't Want To Talk About It.
Hugh has a link to a recent GQ interview with the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts liberal. He's pretty skeptical about some of Kerry's remarks, including his choice of Dylan favorites. (Full disclosure: I wouldn't know a Dylan song if it bit me on the nose. But I don't pretend otherwise.) And Hugh properly skewers Kerry over his claim that the Republican attack on Max Cleland help spur him to decide to run for Prez. Right, John.
But perhaps the most bizarre comment to eminate from Lurch in the interview is this one:
To me Vietnam is an old place, an old memory. It is old history, it's gone, it's past. The less I have to talk about it, frankly, the happier I am.
Man. He must be one unhappy bastard these days.
UPDATE: Would you like a cigarette with your execution, Comrade? The Commissar has, um, "invited" me to, um, "participate" in a People's Show Trial for putting words in Kerry's mouth. Careful - I'm a bleeder.
No doubt the message is more nuanced than my poor brain can comprehend. Also, I'm sure that when Kerry goes to speak with Vets (including this week, I believe) he will assure them that he was talking about "a bunch of other guys" back then.
Yips! to Jonah.
A new low for France
And that says a lot.
Prepare to be disgusted.
I have to wonder what "anything" includes.....and I'd hate to see what's coming to America via the French Diplomatic pouch. Force de frappe, anyone?
UPDATE: The Commissar weighs in, asking why Chirac hasn't blamed the kidnapping on McSmirkychimperor? (Heck, the MLA zombies from the English Department were muttering about that yesterday in the copier room)
Carville and Greenberg are starting to panic.
So is the Politburo. (My personal advice to Novak? Avoid short fat eastern European women carrying an umbrella....you know what happens when you cross the Politburo....)
So is Richard Cohen:
Now a second front has been opened. New ads attack Kerry for what he said after returning from Vietnam and becoming a leader of the antiwar movement.
This is a moment for Kerry to speak plainly, to embrace all Vietnam veterans and say that any suggestion that they were war criminals does not represent how he feels now and how he felt then -- and if he gave the opposite impression, he's sorry. If it takes an apology -- if it takes saying he was once an angry young man who saw blood spilled in a dubious cause -- then that's what he should say. Otherwise Vietnam and its immediate aftermath will stick to him as has his complicated and too-nuanced position on the Iraq war.
Kerry's inability or refusal to walk his cats back to the origin of his problems -- a wrong vote on Iraq and some incautious words on Vietnam -- has trapped him in a kind of rhetorical molasses. He's always trimming weeds that need to be yanked out by the roots.
Anyone see that happen anytime soon? Bueller?
I didn't think so.
Yips! from Robbo. And as an aside, Richard Cohen needs to be penalized twenty five yards for flagrant metaphor mixing.
Yips from Steve: Of course, following Cohen's advice would require that he admit he lied under oath to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 1971, which last time I checked was perjury....
The SwiftVets strike again
Admiral Zumwalt developed the doctrine of using the Swift Boats as a means to wreak sudden and precise havoc to disrupt the supply and maneuvering of the enemy.
Boy, he had no idea.....
Ad three (I think the Post has it wrong: there was the original ad, the one with the POWS that used Kerry's 1971 Jen-jis Kaaaahn testimony, and the one about Kerry lying about being in Cambodia for Christmas 1968) is about to debut, focusing on Kerry throwing away (or maybe not?) his ribbons/medals. It's timed for Kerry appearing at the convention of the American Legion.
I think this tactic is much better than the whole "did Kerry fudge or puff up his record to get undeserved medals" (although I have to admit that story is getting more bizarre and interesting, what with whole John Lehman angle) and instead focus in on John Kerry throwing his medals away. I think the next angle for them to pursue was not only was he throwing away his medals (although he wasn't, it was just the ribbons, and they were somebody elses.....?) but then seeking not one but two additional versions of the Silver Star citation that drained the nastier parts of the action out and that were more glowing and adjective-laden than the orginal? (These are the two that are on his website.) It just doesn't make sense.
Anyhoo, Kerry chose at this convention to make this race about the past: he chose the ground, now he can't complain that that's where the Republicans are taking the fight.
Yips! from Robbo. Alas, I looked into the trap, Ray. Andrew Sullivan apparently is dismissing the entire Swift Boat Vet campaign as a mere "smear". How silly of us not to have realized that the vets are nothing more than a gang of bloviating crackpots, probably on Karl Rove's payroll.
Pacifist Protesters for Peace, Justice and Non-violence Beat the Crap out of NYPD Officer
Dick Morris opines:
It is hard to determine which the Democrats have to fear more, the proceedings in the hall or those outside on the street. The contrast between the patriotism, inclusiveness and sincerity of speakers such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McCain, Giuliani and Zell Miller and the hubbub outside the Garden will be vivid for the viewer at home. Nobody looks their best when they are demonstrating in 85 degree heat. While the temperature has not risen to “Fahrenheit 9/11,” it certainly is hot enough to fray tempers and present a spectacle to America that the Republicans would have gladly paid for.
Giving Michael Moore press credentials was brilliant. He's too stupid and arrogant to realize that the Party is pinning a giant "WHACK ME" sign on him and turning him into a hate-filled pinata. Great for his personal vanity, but absolutely destructive to the Party he allegedly supports.
If the Republicans can make the face of the Democratic Party be scowling and surly John Kerry, circa 1971, and his running mate merry Amerika-hater Moore, then they are going to win.
Democracy comes to the Middle East
It may not be what de Tocqueville or Lord Bryce had in mind, but it looks like those evil neo-Khans at Halliburton have figured out a way to introduce the concept of democracy in the Middle East. Defanged dictator Mummar Qaddafi, believe it or not, is doing his best to act like a Cook County Democratic Party block captain.
Jeff at Beautifull Atrocities has all the usual pithy commentary.
A mystery solved
The Creator of Worlds posted this picture of Michael "Fat Bastard" Moore last night from the Republican Convention:
Anyone want to take a crack at interpreting this gesture?
Presumably it's some variation of "L for Loser," but that's usually done with the hand pressed to the forehead. L for liberal, maybe? Liar? Lard?
Well, it's very clearly Jabba's answer to the age old question
one donut truck
Speaking of which, I think this might all add up for an intriguing case for Law & Order....
Everything was fine this morning in re access to the shop. But now I'm getting weird "host not found" messages again. Grrrrrr.......
Things that sound naughty but aren't
One thing I hate about living the ruburban life (the rural suburbs that is) is that, well, you get neighbors, and, well, they think it's somehow okay to invite you over to their house for a "party" where they are trying to sell some useless crap, whether it be "I can't figure out how to use the microwave" [aka Pampered Chef] or "My soul is so devoid of meaning that I smoke glue sticks for release" [aka Creative Memories] or "I want to look like Satan's minions" [aka "New Skin"]. I mean, at some points I've been truly tempted to put little flyers in the mailboxes of the neighbors advertising "INCREDIBLE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY TO FILL YOUR BANK ACCOUNT AND HELP YOU FIND JESUS! It's the Lagos Jerusalem DaVinci Code Secret Pyramid of Power and Love---and it's Atkins Friendly!" Usually, my wife intercepts me on the way to Kinkos and, lovingly, lowers my sugar and caffene intake and everythings hunky dory again in a day or two.
So this just popped into my mail box and it might just be too priceless an opportunity to pass up:
Dear Sir Are you interested in being an exclusive distributor for HYS shuttlecock in your country? If you are, please reply, and also log on to www.hys-shuttlecock.com for product information. Regards John Doe Manager, Sales and Marketing
BTW, the John Doe part is priceless.
Fresh from the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack
There's been a fair amount of reader mail complaining about my post on emoticons.
This one from our old friend Lynn is representative:
b-b-b-b-b but I looooooove emoticons... Cute, adorable little smilies... How could anyone not love them. You evil person you!
Lynn, dearest, of course I am evil! I mean, here I am, mercilessly and cruelly carving up fuzzy lovable mountain camels of the Andes to provide all the bloggy goodness that's become a necessary part of your daily diet.
But emoticons, that's a whole level of evil onto itself.
So right here, right now, I'm standing ontop of my soapbox and declaring "DEUS VOLT! THE EMOTICONS MUST BE DESTROYED! EMOTICON DELENDA EST!"
That's right, it's the First Holy Crusade Against the Emoticons!
Right here, right now, I'm founding the LEAGUE AGAINST MALEVOLENT EMOTICONS.
Oppose us only if you dare!
UPDATE More proof of the perfidy that are emoticons!
Fuzzy warm little loveable creatures on your email, eh? THINK AGAIN!
Just try doing THIS emoticon:
and you get
Drop cloth and sawdust
We've been suffering from a template problem apparently called "bottom bar" which was causing the right hand column to drop down to the bottom--making it so you can't easily see all the TastyBits (TM) over on the right hand side.
I've done a series of code changes to attempt to fix this---let me know via email or in the comments section below if it's still a problem (if it is, let me know what type of browser you are using at what resolution, approximatley). This wasn't a problem for everybody, and it's been tricky trying to figure this out.
If it still doesn't work, what I'll have to do is jettison this template and start over, which will be a pain but so be it. There are many features of MT that I really like, but this CSS code has been a bit of a pain in the Chirac, if you get my drift.
The American Tourists Return to Paris
When I was in Paris back in May, one of the waiters joked [in very good english] that "The only thing worse than Paris filled with Americans is Paris with no Americans at all." He said it with a smile and a wink, and I left a nice tip (or at least, I think I did. Maybe I stiffed him by accident, and did my part to destroy international cooperation.)
There were plenty of Americans, though: most of them were working hard to pretend they were Canadian. (Bastards.)
Anyhoo, I've long thought it hilarious that the central premise of so many of our alleged intelligentsia in this country is that 1.) you can be an American who prides yourself on using the word"intelligentsia" to describe oneself yet can't understand whypeople laugh at you for it, and most importantly 2.) that the goal of American foreign policy should be to insure that the locals are happy to see you when you take your well earned sabbatical in Provence.
Well, it looks like the American tourists are beginning to return to Paris, although the reason is not amusing locals. (Hint: its not to go and do pennance by laying the severed head of Paul Wolfowitz at the feet of the Charles de Gaulle statue...)
Convention blogging roundup
Sorry to let Rob down, but I didn't watch last night---I was too durn tired, so I taped it to watch later today.
But I did turn on the tee-vee for a minute right around eight, and caught the beginning of MNF.......
and for the love of the lawd gahd there, in the opening sequence, was HOWARD DEAN, standing on a stage in front of a crowd, looking like he was going to blow a blood vessel in his neck, sleeves rolled out, ranting into the mic
"WE'RE GOING TO GO TO MIAMI...."
and I'm thinking to myself, something's not right here
"...WE'RE GOING TO GREEN BAY..."
wtf? Am I hallucinating? Did someone slip an acid mickey into my wife's enchilada casserole?
"....WE'RE GOING TO BOSTON, AND TO THE BAY AREA TOO!"
and then I realized I WASN'T hallucinating, that Howard Dean was actually in the commercial thing-ee, and that he's gone from denying that the "YAARGH!" speech took place, to mocking it on Monday Night Football.
That's America for you: First Act, Stern Pomposity on the Road to the White House; Second Act, Bloated Self-Parody on the road to being a night-shift "celebrity" greeter working the front door at some off-the-strip Vegas casino.
I wonder how long it will take him to get his own drive-thru wedding chapel?
Obligatory Convention Blogging
I won't bore you with too much arm-chair analysis of McCain and Giuliani's speeches last night. After all, not only are there a zillion other pundits out there, but we've got a gen-u-ine ringer here in the form of Steve-O. You don't keep a dog and bark yourself.
But I will just say this. I thought McCain gave a very solid, principled speech, laying out all of the reasons for going to Iraq. (Yes, nobody in the White House ever thought it was all just about WMD. That point needs to be made again and again.) I was delighted to see him get in a dig at Michael "Fat Bastard" Moore - and indeed, say the line twice. When the crowd erupted after that one, some of them were chanting "Four More Years!", but I would swear that another group was looking at Moore and chanting, "Bullsh*t! Bullsh*t!" The ravings of the F9/11 crowd aside, I think McCain's prominance is devastating to Kerry. After all, here's a guy whose Vietnam creds run circles around Mr. Reporting For Duty. McCain doesn't even really have to say anything - his mere presence takes the wind out of whatever War Hero sails Kerry had been counting on to bolster his image.
The other thing I'd note is that I can't remember the last time I saw someone having as much fun with a speech as Rudy did last night. He was the Hulk to McCain's Bruce Banner.
I gather that the Dems have been hoping to neutralize 9/11 and our achievements in Iraq and Afghanistan as campaign issues, harping on the negatives so much that the Republicans would become gun-shy about even mentioning these issues and, if they are brought up, being reflexively embarrased and defensive about them. From what I saw last night, ain't. gonna. happen.
August 30, 2004
Another Either/Or Meme
Here, via Don of Mixolydian Mode, is another preference quiz, this time involving subjects literary. I bold my choices:
Hardback or Paperback - When I have the readies.
Highlight or Underline - Actually, other than for classes or work, I don't tend to mark books at all.
Lewis or Tolkien - It depends. I've read some of Lewis' fiction and, apart from the Narnia Chronicles, I don't really like it that much. On the other hand, I doubt Tolkien could stand up to him as a writer of Christian essays.
E.B. White or A.A. Milne - No real preference.
T.S. Eliot or e.e. cummings - Oh, Eliot. Absolutely.
Stephen King or Dean Koontz - I've never read either one of 'em.
Barnes & Noble or Borders- Feh. Give me some good college town used book stores and Amazon.com and I'm all set.
Waldenbooks or B. Dalton - See above.
Fantasy or Science Fiction - I don't read much of either one. Fantasy, I suppose, since I like Tolkien so much.
Horror or Suspense - I read neither.
Bookmark or Dogear- In theory. But I'm very bad about dogearing.
Large Print or Fine Print - Large print gives me a headache. Price of being a lawyer, I suppose.
Hemingway or Faulkner - Hemingway: overrated blowhard. Faulkner: genius.
Fitzgerald or Steinbeck - Steinbeck is another overrated blowhard.
Homer or Plato - There's really no comparison. Whoever put this together just grabbed a couple Greek names at random.
Geoffrey Chaucer or Edmund Spenser - Toss up.
Pen or Pencil
Looseleaf or Notepad
Alphabetize: By Author or By Title - But I don't.
Shelve: By Genre/Subject or All Books Together. I love fiddling with my library and wasting endless amounts of time trying to decide where to put things.
Dustjacket: Leave it On or Take it Off. My daughters are of a different opinion.
Novella or Epic - Depends.
John Grisham or Scott Turrow. Never read either one and don't have any interest in doing so.
J.K. Rowling or Lemony Snicket. Never read either one. Never even HEARD of Snicket.
John Irving or John Updike- Never read either one.
Salman Rushdie or Don Delillo - Never read either one. (Gee, this is easy.)
Fiction or Non-fiction. Well both, of course.
Historical Biography or Historical Romance. Ditto.
Reading Pace: A Few Pages per Sitting or Finish at Least a Chapter - I do what time and lack of sleep allow.
Short Story or Creative Non-fiction Essay
Blah Blah Blah or Yada Yada Yada. I know, I know. I can't help it.
“It was a dark and stormy night…” or “Once upon a time…”
Books: Buy or Borrow. I am a veritable Black Hole of books. Once caught in my gravitational influence, they can't escape.
Book Reviews or Word of Mouth. Although I don't rely on them much.
What's That All About?
Well, it's about this long,
and about that wide,
and it's about this great country
about which we're singing about*
Here is a fiendish little quiz that asks you to estimate various facts, figures and dates. If you don't get the exact number asked, you can still pick up some points for being close. Alas, I only scored 28%.
Yips! to LDH of Inpenetrable Prose & Poesy.
*Ten points for ID-ing the quote.
I'm flat out head slamming the table tired right now. I was up to 4 in the morning finishing the paper, which turned out to make some pretty cool connections I hadn't realized. Yesterday I think I did seventeen pages, and it's done and out to the panel. But right now I'm paying the price.
Random day here: highlight of the morning was in Politics of Legal Order, where I had them read the Virginia State Crime Statistics Report for 2003, and then had them read the Book of Genesis and tabulate the number of felonies described. We got into a pretty wild discussion about order, justice and vengeance (the whole passage about the rape of Dinah, and her brothers go in and kill everyone for revenge), stuff like that. The idea was to think about how crime and order are portrayed in foundational narratives, to transition them into later in the week when they are looking at crime and the politics of legal order in fiction (I'm having them read The Godfather as the primary text for the week).
This afternoon was the weekly seminar, which this semester is American Political Development.
One quick link before my head hits the table: Captain Ed interviews Ed Koch, and as they say hilarity ensues. I love Ed Koch--he's one of the figures of my youth, right up there with Evil Kenevel, Ken Stabler and the Oakland Raiders, Muhammad Ali, and Shaft--who amazed me precisely because they were so out of sync with the conservative Roman Catholic/military academy family environment. Anyway, as Koch would be the first to admit, he's a royal pain in the ass, but the sort of pain in the arse you need to have around.
There's some priceless Kerryslams. I think right out of the blocks Captain's Quarters is doing the best job blogging the convention. But it's still early....
Well I got to go before I fall asleeppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp pppppppppppppppppppppppppp ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp
Hey - That's Our Satire!
Check out the second item down in Taranto's Best of the Web column today. About midway through, he talks about a comedy bit at the GOP convention put on by Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston and featuring, among other things, a pic of Kerry in his space suit photoshopped on to Mike Dukakis' tank ride.
Dude - Steve-O did that weeks ago! Get yer own damn material...
Dispatches from Reuterville
Town Hall has a sad but unsurprising item up concerning an email rant shot at an anti-abortion group by a Reuters editor. Oh, as they say, that liberal media.
Don't That Just Unplug Yer Heatin' Pad
Y'now, I have been giving my old law firm lots of credit over the past months for the accomodating manner in which they've dealt with my transition into government service. And deservedly so - they have really been great about letting me set my own schedule and letting things wind down smoothly.
But I guess it's just too much to expect them not to blow it over something. When I left for vacation, I still had a small rug, a school alumni chair and two or three boxes of stuff left in my old office. "No problem," everybody said, "we'll just send it along when you get settled at your new place."
So today, I get a call from the HR people saying I better get my stuff out of there and that the firm isn't going to do it for me (read pay for it) after all. Sheesh! It's not as if I had a full-sized U-haul's worth of junk to go cross-country. I am now literally four blocks down the street from where I was. If I were still driving into town, I could load all the stuff in my car and cart it over in about 5 minutes. Hell, I could walk it over but for the chair. You would think that just as a matter of professional courtesy they would do this one last little thing. But noooooooo. Instead, I'm going to have to get a courier company myself.
Somebody once wrote something about "little acts of unremembered kindness". This is the opposite - a little act of petty meanness. Those get remembered much more often.
The Football Gods Smile
I missed it while I was off on vacation a couple weeks ago, but Gregg Easterbrooke is back at work churning out Tuesday Morning Quarterback.
I love this column. And it has absolutely nothing to do with plentiful photos of cheerbabes or ranting diatribes about Star Trek minutiae.....
The Cranky Neo-Con brings us the Neo-Conukkah Song, dedicated to the GOP-outing of Adam Sandler.
I say nothing about Gordon's Bill Clinton-like attempt to pin the thing on us in the event you don't like it. (What would be the term for that? Bail-out blogging? Conditional hat tip?)
If You Can Read This....
You're doing better than I am this morning. For some reason, my computer claims it can't find any mu.nu sites. Stupid computer.
UPDATE: Curiouser and curiouser. I can get at some mu.nu sites, but not others. And I have a report from someone else who says the Butcher's Shop looks just fine to him.
Well, I dunno what's going on, but I'll try to soldier on, regardless.
August 29, 2004
Needless to say, the study of desmoda lunaris will suffer accordingly.
But seriously, Bill, everyone over here at Llama Central wish you and yours the best. Hang in there, buddy, and let us know what we can do to help.
More Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Language Division
As we were driving home from church this morning, my six year old was making up some kind of story to amuse herself. At one point, I heard her telling her main character that the character needed to hide from the "brilliant wind".
I've no idea where she got that expression, or whether she made it up herself. But I think it's pretty neat - suggesting a solidly developing imagination. Also, as Dave Barry would say, "Brilliant Wind" would be a great name for a rock band.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)- Light Entertainment Division
Playing with the Llama-ettes this afternoon, I discovered that much mirth can come of a game we invented called "Ken and the Fisher-Price Little People Try To Cross the Street In Front Of Road-Rage Barbie and Her Convertable Full Of Sorority Sisters".
It's especially funny when one of the Little People, having started singing the whiny theme song about discovering and sharing from their video series, gets hooked under the front axle of Barbie's car and dragged for some distance, while Ken is reduced to Mr. Bill-like cries of "Oh, NOOOOOOOO!!!!!" The girls think this is hi-larious.
Yup. We're raisin' em right, here at the Butcher's House.
August 28, 2004
"Moo, dammit" indeed.
Gordon the Cranky Neo-Con (question: have you ever met a perky Neo-con? You know, kind of a pre-skanky Katie Couric with that come hither "I just banged Leo Strauss AND Alan Bloom" sort of look in her eyes? No? Me neither, alas.) points us to what surely must be the greatest compliment in the blogworld: derivative imitation. Now, to join Apalca Burger we have Sacred Cow Burgers.
Granted, they're not a blog, but a pure pshop parody site. And we claim all credit for inventing the "butcher shop" theme.
The Commissar reports that the Iraq wackjobs have kidnapped a French journalist, and have demnaded that Chirac overturn the policy against wearing the hijab in school within 48 hours.
Draw your own conclusions.
You know the whole blogging thing has gotten out of hand when...
when Salam Pax--the most famous blogger in the Middle East-- links to your pshop hit attack on a revered religious leader, and all you can think about is "Hey, the bastard didn't track back right.....I'm not getting credit for the 'inbound unique'!!!!"
Thanks a lot, Jeff!
I've got to finish the conference paper this weekend or I'm toast. But three quick observations:
1. Someone found our site looking for "llama emoticons." Three words, buddy: For. The. Love. of. Gawd. NO! Okay, that's five, but you get my drift.
Emoticons are evil, quite possibly the thing I hate most about the world of computing other than the Cult of Jobs. Emoticons are the red-headed bastard child of that stupid animated computer clip on Microsoft Word and the Idiot's Guide dude.
I hate them with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. Nothing makes me want to pull an Elvis and get out a large caliber handgun and shoot my monitor more than emoticons.
2. First he double-llama dares us to give a "Queer Makeover" to Ayatollah Sistiani, and when we do, he says we're going to Hell for it. Well now. I'm beginning to think "Jeff" over at Beautiful Atrios-ities was just an agent provocateur for the Saudi Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Furthermore, he thinks we made Sistiani look like Gloria Vanderbilt, when clearly we were going for an Elton John circa 1979 sort of look.
3.Advice for the day: don't mess with Grandma Decee. How to describe Grandma Decee? Think Sarah Connor in a Gingham Dress, serving up hot toddies all the while using an RPG to blow the head of a Terminator plowing through her peones. It's a pretty sight!
More Gratuitous Llama Recommentations
Don't you just hate people who tell you that you should try something? Me too. But don't you just love doing it to other people? Me too.
I have started in on Doctor Dogbody's Leg by James Norman Hall. (Hall, it turns out, is half of the duo of Nordhoff and Hall, who co-wrote Mutiny on the Bounty.) Doctor Dogbody is a one-legged surgeon of many years' service in the Royal Navy. With Napoleon safely deposited on St. Helena, he holds forth at The Cheerful Tortoise, an inn in Portsmouth (rather like Mr. Mulliner's Angler's Rest). Each of the stories in the book is a different account of how the good Doctor lost his "larboard" leg, and contains a delightful mix of outrageous lies, good natured chaff and gripping adventure. Hall's writing is not nearly as rich as Patrick O'Brian's, but it is a step up from C.S. Forster's Hornblower saga. (Doctor Dogbody is also considerably more cheerful than the dour Horatio who, in my humble opinion, gets rather tedious sometimes.) Hall obviously loves both the period and his characters.
If you are a Patrick O'Brian fan, I'd heartily recommend this book.
August 27, 2004
Mother of God, It's Mozart Blogging
I suppose the post below about the Yalie who is predicting the Armageddon of classical music spurned me on to this, but I spent this evening wallowing in some serious Mozart.
First, it was the "Prague" Symphony, No. 38 (K. 504). As far as I am concerned, the first movement of this symphony is the absolute apex of the classical symphonic statement. (I'm willing to concede that the second and third movements don't match the first in terms of brilliance, thereby weakening the argument that this is the greatest classical symphony ever written. But it's still pretty damn close.)
I have two recordings of this piece. The first, which I listen to regularly, is by Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert. It is pretty good, but there is a certain - how shall I say it? - mushiness that keeps this performance from being as good as it could be. My other recording is by Sir Charles Mackeras and the Prague Chamber Orchestra. The tempi are waaaaay too fast, making the whole thing sound frantic.
The performance of Mozart presents problems which, as far as I am aware, are unique to his music. On the one hand, notation must be respected precisely and tempi must be fast and crisp. On the other hand, the performance must appear effortless. Any deviation from the path between the Scylla of sloppiness and the Charybdis of Trying Too Hard is fatal to the performance. Buh-lieve me, I know what I'm talking about. I studied and performed the C-minor piano sonata, K. 457, in my day. Time after time, I would focus on technical perfection only to discover that I had blown the sense of the piece. When I tried to catch my breath and concentrate on the substance, I would frequently find myself forgetting to pay attention to the technical minutiae. Very frustration-making. Any time you see a pianist with bruises on his forehead, you will know you've seen someone practicing Mozart.
On the other hand, when done right, Mozart's music carries a sublime aura unknowable in any other composer's work. In this respect, may I strongly recommend Malcom Bilson, fortepianist? The other piece I listened to this evening was the piano concerto No. 18 in B-Flat, K. 456, performed by Mr. Bilson and the English Baroque Soloists under John Eliot Gardiner. This piece has always been a favorite of mine. Allow me to quote to you what Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang's father, had to say about Mozart's performance of this piece at a Lenten concert on February 13, 1785:
...a masterful concerto that he wrote for [the blind virtuosa Maria Theresia} Paradis...I... had the great pleasure of hearing all the interplay of the instruments so clearly that for sheer delight tears came to my eyes. When your brother left the stage, the Emperor tipped his hat and called out, "Bravo, Mozart!" and when he came on to play, there was a great deal of clapping.
I particularly enjoy the first movement of the piece. However, the rest is good as well. I swear that there is a thematic connection between the pathetic, almost tragic second movement and one of Susanna's moonlit arias from the fourth act of Le Nozzi di Figaro although I am too tired tonight to track it down. At any rate, Bilson is keenly aware of the pitfalls of Mozartian performance and avoids them all. His playing is crisp, clean and seemingly effortless. So you can lose yourself in the sublimity of the music without having to fret about the imperfections of Man dragging you back down to Earth. That's the way Mozart ought always to be performed.
What could we do? We were double-llama dared!
Our new pal Jeff over at Beautiful Atrocities alerts us to Salam Pax's desire to see Ayatollah Sistiani receive a "Queer Makeover." Seems the time in Britain left him looking a little---how do you say? ah, yes---baggy.
Well, how can we resist the opportunity to mock a religious figure revered by millions around the globe? I mean, we ARE the Llamabutchers....
anyhoo, here's the set up:
What did Ayatollah Sistiani say to Muqtada to get him to give it up?
"Muckie, Saturday night is indeed alright for fighting..."
The Death Of Musical Literacy
ACD at Sounds & Fury links to an article by John Halle, a Yale music professor, prophesizing the disappearance of the Western Canon from the stage.
God help us all if he's correct.
Swift Boat Lift?
I have been watching the Iowa Elections Market in a languid way for some months now. Over most of August, shares on Bush and Kerry have been trading pretty close to each other. However, have a look at the last couple days - suddenly Bush has shot back up to about 53 cents a share and Kerry has sunk back down to 46 cents - the biggest split since the beginning of the month.
I'm not saying this is a definite trend - given the gyrations of the past few months it's impossible to make such a judgement this early. But I find the magnitude of the shift over such a short period to be fascinating. I wonder if this is a sign that folks who put their money where their mouth is are beginning to believe Kerry's ship has some serious leaks below the water line.
Be sure to check back to the chart often.
Just Call Us Llama Link-Whores
I notice with intense gratitude that we are now #485 in the TTLB Ecosystem, right smack dab in the middle of the Large Mammal herd. (As is should be, given that we ARE llamas, after all.)
What else can we say but Yip! Yip! Yip!
Drop cloths and sawdust
Okay---does that solve the disapearing right hand column problem?
Ricky Williams' Latest Victim: Michele Catalano
But wait, it gets weird:
Going retro? Queen of the blogs slumming in blogspot? You make the call.
PS--Happy birthday, Michele!
Afternoon snarf, part deux
Remember the scene in Ghostbusters when Howard Ramis tells the guys: whatever you do, don't cross the streams?
Baaad things happen when you cross the streams.
But like that's going to stop Scott Ott:
How would the Guardian spin the first Israeli Olympic Gold Medal?
(Because "hat tipping" is passe, we bow down before the superior osmosis-blogging skills of the one and only Sheila).
Somewhere Douglas Brinkley is in bus station, muttering to himself....
Book I'm going to be looking for over at our campus bookstore in the "Haigography of Liberal Demigods" section
Is this the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat?
The Geek Empire poses a dilemma worth pondering from the Olympics.
Those of you viewing links from the friendly confines of government computers might want to follow and ponder at home....
Is this the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat?
Gordon the Cranky Neo-con poses a dilemma worth pondering from the Olympics.
Those of you viewing links from the friendly confines of government computers might want to follow and ponder at home....
School of Dreck
I just sent the link over to our Dean that our college---Southern women's college that it is--should volunteer for this:
former MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee will be the focus of NBC TV's latest reality entry, a half-hour unscripted comedy in which Lee will enroll in college with cameras following his every move. Eddie October ("Bands Reunited", "Wanda Does It") is behind the project, which is set up at NBC Universal Television and has a series commitment at the network.
The possibilities are endless....
(Thanks to Lawren, our source for all the good gossipy Tasty Bits)
Who is ahead?
Rule of thumb in politics---whoever is the one demanding debates is the one behind. And, the more debates they demand, the more they feel they are falling behind.
You know what's giving the left such a monumental hissy---eight months of AWOL/Fahrenheit/BusHitler stuff, and not even a dent in his polls, and two weeks of this, and Kerry's sinking, fast.
Gosh, you have to wonder about the return on investment George Soros is getting for his billions.....
First day of classes
Today's a might bit busy, what with the first day of classes and all the attendant BS & crap therein attached. Rusty's swamped as usual over at Tatooine Tech.
So who does that leave in charge?
Why, the Crack Young Staff at the Hatemongers Quarterly, that's who!
Here's their week in review:
15 Yard Penalty For Taunting
Rat-bastard Ricky Williams seems to have been calling the Dolphins recently.
Well, I hope Williams comes out of his drug-induced haze long enough to check out this site.
Sigh. Between this and now losing Ogunleye, it's gonna be a loooooooong season.
Somebody came out with a book about this event within the past couple of years, the name of which now escapes me. However, my mother read it and was extremely enthusiastic about it. I'm going to have to try and track it down.
Dr. Dan Streetmentioner Strikes*
Over at Oxblog, you may have seen Josh Chafetz catch out Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harper's, for publishing a post-mortem on the GOP Convention before it's even happened.
Apparently, Lapham now has issued a feeble apology blaming temporary brain cramp in the matter of proper tense usages for the incident. Well, Josh isn't buying it. Go on over and be sure to check out the links too.
Heh, I say. Heh.
*If you get this joke, you are one serious Douglas Adams fan!
In the past, I've sometimes been suckered by Scott Ott's satiric columns, not realizing they were jokes until I saw who wrote them (a mark of true talent, btw, and the cause of several large "D'Oh!"- induced bruises on my forehead).
Today, Ott has a piece over at Right Wing News which dances closer to the hazy line between satire and reality than any I've seen yet. I don't say this to give away the joke. Rather, I say it because I think the campaign suggested by Ott really isn't such a bad idea.
I haven't had anything to say about the Olympics in general and this whole medal-controversy thing in particular, but the thing seems to keep getting sillier and sillier. Apparently, the International Federation of Gymnists is suggesting that Hamm's giving up the medal would be the sporting thing to do. In response, the US Olympic Committee are wetting their collective pants about pressure and cleaning up other people's mistakes.
Frankly, I think Hamm ought to give up the gold - of his own will and as a show of sportsmanship. But the way this is playing out, with everyone's backs being put up and noses getting out of joint- it isn't going to happen now.
Your Tax Money At Work
My first case at DOJ this week, I was given the file and the manual and told to get to it. Simple enough.
On the other hand, I just got back from an hour and a half voicemail "training" session that consisted of an administrator explaining how to dial a telephone (this is a "one", this is a "two"...) and calling the wrath of the gods down on anyone who clogs up his or her mailbox with too many saved messages.
Llama-ette Reading Time
Last night, my six year old and I finished reading The Magician's Nephew - the first of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books in terms of Narnian chronology. When she realized that the magic wardrobe in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was made out of the wood of the magic tree planted by Digory in The Magician's Nephew and that Digory was none other than the old professor in the big house in LW&W, her face lit up like Times Square on New Year's Eve. Very satisfying to watch the penny drop.
For some reason, I find it hard to read the Narnia books aloud. Perhaps this is because some of Lewis' sentences run a bit long, perhaps it is because I'm so used to reading them to myself. Also, the characters can be tough. I can do a passibly somber voice for Aslan. For the White Witch, I try to imitate Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West. The children, especially the girls, tend to be more of a problem. I've yet to hit on a really satisfactory way of conveying their individual personalities. And the animals run a wide gauntlet, from Bree the horse to the wicked cat in The Last Battle.
Getting this right is important to me because I've always believed that certain specific readings and images from one's youth stick in one's brain. I remember my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, reading Tom Sawyer to the class. She was an elderly lady with lots of silver hair. To me, she was the very embodiment of Aunt Polly. Still is, too. If I'm going to make the same kind of impression on my girls, I want it to be a good one.
UPDATE: I should have been more clear about the Witch. I use Hamilton's voice for her shriller moments, but I try for something more imperious when she is coming it the Queen Jadis. What was the name of the eviiiil Queen from Sleeping Beauty? Sort of a cross between that, Glenn Close and Kate Hepburn.
Whiskey Barrel Blogging
Why not? Our pal The Bookish Gardiner has some sweet pics of hers.
My own have nothing more inspired than a mix of red and white impatiens. They've filled out nicely this year, but they look like the equivalent of a Chrystler K-car in comparison to Chan's Jag.
Forgive Me Father, For I Am About To Sin
I hope I don't cause our readership to tank with this post, but really, I feel I need to say this - as much as I enjoy Victor David Hanson's writing, he really needs a more rigorous editor.
I am nearing the end of Ripples of Battle, Hanson's book about the ways in which specific individual's experiences in specific battles have wider implications on a societal, political and historical level. (If you remember the old television series "Connections" by James Burke, it's a similar cause and effect principle.)
Currently, I am reading Hanson's discussion of the battle of Delium in 424 BC, in which an invading army of Athenians was pulvarized by the Boeotians. Among the surviving Athenian leaders was Alcibiadis, a flamboyant nobleman who would later be the principal mover behind the disastrous expedition against Sicily. Another of the surviving members of the Athenian phalanx, a man who performed heroically that day, was none other than Socrates. On the other hand, one of the Athenian casualties at Delium was Hippocratis, a conservative who had been trying to find a brokered end to the then-ten year old war between Athens and Sparta. Hanson examines these three figures, tracing (in the case of the survivors) how Delium influenced their thinking and status and how these matters, in turn, shaped history. He also wonders what might have happened had neither Socrates or Alcibiadis survived or if Hippocratis had not been killed.
This is all fascinating stuff and well worth reading and pondering, but Hanson's presentation really needs some serious trimming. He's long-winded and repetative and has an odd way of dancing back and forth between dry analysis and history-for-the-masses flourishes. And all those damned exclamation points! It seems to me that someone should have sat down with him and said "Vic, baby. Tighten it up."
UPDATE: On the other hand, Hanson's columns do not seem to suffer from this problem. In today's, VDH suggests that Kerry's Swift Boat might have been named Nemesis. (He does make one floater that I can't help pointing out: Nemesis was a goddess, not a god.)
Today's Required Reading
Steyn, of course.
I don't know whether Swift Boats are or were given names, but if so, I've got a suggestion for Kerry's: The Kobayashi Maru. In deciding to base his entire campaign on a couple months' service in Vietnam 30 plus years ago, conveniently forgetting his own horrid and irresponsible behavior after the war and the contempt in which most Vietnam vets did and still do hold him, Kerry has managed to create his very own no-win situation. If he chucks the whole Vietnam service platform now, his entire argument for qualification to lead the country in war (such as it is) goes right out the window. (And think of the field day the Republicans will have if Kerry starts "reinventing himself".) On the other hand, if Kerry keeps hammering on his war record while savaging his critics, the vets - furious at his response to date - will keep hammering on him.
My advice? Prayer, Mr. Kerry. The Swifties don't take prisoners.
Yips! to Hugh.
August 26, 2004
Ten Rules for Southern Belles
Joan of Seven Inches of Sense has a nifty post up that both delves into the awesome power of southern women to make their men jump and also offers some tips on maximizing that power. Basically, she advocates the iron fist in the velvet glove approach. My experience is that this works wonders.
Yips! to Rae.
Our pal Kathleen the Cake Eater is celebrating 10 years of marriage today. She has a good post reflecting on the last decade, many points of which resonate with me. (I think it's only after at least 10 years together that you get enough of the long view to begin to pick up on these things.)
Despite her misguided bias against certain literary characters and her rather perverse obsession with unorthodox anti-rabbit measures, we wish her and her hubby all the best.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Adventures of Justice Boy - Waa! Waa! Division
One of the bigger and more unlooked-for adjustments I'm having to make here is with the bathrooms. I got spoiled in the private sector with auto-flushers and auto-sinks. Now I actually have to flush and turn the water on and off - by hand!
Talk about sacrifice in the name of public service.....
For some reason this book was missing from the table at the Barnes & Noble with all the other "BusHitler McSmirky Chimperor Kerry is wicked awesome!" texts...
Yes, indeed, it's the Return of the Meme! But since we now have Extended Entry (TM) capabilities, no more clogging up the main page! I'll give you the first five here, go on to the EE to see the rest....
1. Your name spelled backwards. Rehctub Amall Eht Trebor
YIPS from Steve:yeknom evol awaj tep s'ytsuR
2. Where were your parents born? Father - Upstate New York (Endicott, I think); Mother - Cleveland.
YIPS from Steve:Hartford, Ct. and Jamaica (in Queens, wiseguy)
3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? Geeky Star Trek sounds for various command functions.
YIPS from Steve:Swiftvets: First Blood, Part Two
4. What’s your favorite restaurant? I go out so rarely these days it's tough to say.
YIPS from Steve:Casella's, a great family pizza place in Charlottesville
5. Last time you swam in a pool? Last Sunday. Cook-out at a friend's house.
YIPS from Steve:Last week.
6. Have you ever been in a school play? Two, both at Mulberry College (where the Missus was a theater major): I played Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Jimmy Farrell in John Synge's Playboy of the Western World.
YIPS from Steve:Detective Brannigan in Guys and Dolls (the only non-singing role in the show); various other "third guy from the left etc" in high school plays.
7. How many kids do you want? Three. (What a lucky coincidence!)
YIPS from Steve:Four. (What a lucky coincidence!)
8. Type of music you dislike most? I dislike most pop music. I absolutely loathe rap in all its permutations.
YIPS from Steve:Skank-a-teers.
9. Are you registered to vote? Yup.
YIPS from Steve:Yes--and under the ADA, all three of my personalities get to vote too!
10. Do you have cable? Nope. We have satellite dish.
YIPS from Steve:No.
11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? Do I look French?
YIPS from Steve:I've never worn a beret, either.
12. Ever prank call anybody? At my old firm, we used to like to wait for one of my friends to go to the Men's Room and then have him paged.
YIPS from Steve:No, I could never not start laughing.
13. Ever get a parking ticket? Fairfax County VA has to make money somehow.
YIPS from Steve:Er, ever spent time in DC?
14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? Not a chance.
YIPS from Steve:No. Yes.
15. Farthest place you ever traveled. Alaska.
YIPS from Steve:My place of employment, which is in another psychic dimension--aka "Evil Mayberry"
16. Do you have a garden? Do I have a garden, they ask. I won't for long if I don't stop Sauron's Wraith Rabbits.
YIPS from Steve:Yep---and it's been a killer year for tomatos.
17. What’s your favorite comic strip? Calvin & Hobbes and the old Bloom County. (Berke Breathed has officially descended into hackdom now.)
YIPS from Steve:Boondocks. I like the witty insightful criticisms of life in the Amerikan Gulag. And that whole story line with the 58 year old reservist losing his leg in Doonesbury--what a knee slapper! (err, sorry.)
18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? Well, the first verse anyway.
YIPS from Steve:That, and "Advance Australia Fair." Plus, I think the version they are playing at the Olympics is WAY too wimpy. They need to get the Foo-Fighters to do a medal stand version, and wave the USOC rules and allow our medalists to give the world the finger.
19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? Morning shower.
YIPS from Steve:Mmm. Bill Clinton/MTV territory here. Let's just say, "hose, front yard, mid-morning."
20. Best movie you’ve seen in the past month? The Missus and I popped in Charade the other night. I'm not much of an Audrey Hepburn fan but man is this a good flick.
YIPS from Steve:The Village. I'm one of three people in America who liked it.
21. Favorite pizza topping? Pepperoni and sausage. We crave meat!
YIPS from Steve:I'm a ho when it comes to this. All time? The clam pizza at the Anthony's Pier 13 pizza place in Mystic Ct. is best all time. That, and the greek pizza with everything at the greek pizza place down the street from the Emory University Law School.
22. Chips or popcorn? Popcorn. With tabasco sauce.
YIPS from Steve:Chips--I hate the stuff that gets between my molars with popcorn.
23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? Next, please.
YIPS from Steve:Well, it depends what arse needs kissing and whether the Board's in town...
24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? I don't even know what this means.
YIPS from Steve:No, but unfortunately I did go to a winter weekend formal at Smith College with a toothbrush sticking out of my blazer pocket. (shoot me, it was the 80s)
25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? No, but I dated a girl in college who had been some kind of Junior Miss Massachusetts or something.
YIPS from Steve:do you have pictures to prove it? then the answer is no!
26. Orange Juice or apple? Orange.
YIPS from Steve:Apple.
27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? Went out with the in-laws to John's Best Pizza, Westport, CT.
YIPS from Steve:The family tonight, after picking up the van from its 30K service (yeah, I'm living the high life for sure!)
28. Favorite type chocolate bar? We hates chocolate.
29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? 2000.
YIPS from Steve:2002.
30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? We hates tomatoessss. Which is kinda a shame, as we've got half a dozen ripe cherry t's on the bush on our deck right now.
YIPS from Steve:I had two today at lunch---big, thick slicers almost as wide as the freaking bread. Fresh tomato + mustard + cheese + animal flesh=divine.
31. Have you ever won a trophy? I played soccer way back in junior high and got some kind of trophy one year for that.
YIPS from Steve:Team? Yes, in college rowing.
32. Are you a good cook? I'm certainly competent enough not to render eaters of my cooking violently ill.
YIPS from Steve:Yes.
33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? Is that, like, some kind of metaphor? Know what I mean? Nudge-nudge, wink-wink!
YIPS from Steve:You mean, like, leaded or unleaded? nudge-nudge, wink wink!
34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? I tried to order the Babe from the Bow-Flex commercials once, but they wouldn't let me.
YIPS from Steve:No.
35. Sprite or 7-up? We hates soda.
YIPS from Steve:Blecch.
36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? I worked the deli of a Waldbaum's supermarket one summer in college. You would have enjoyed my striped red shirt and red beret.
YIPS from Steve:Security guard, 4 years in college. Still have the badge.
37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Paper towels.
YIPS from Steve:Shampoo.
38. Ever throw up in public? Define public.
YIPS from Steve:After races (the year after Rob and I were in the same boat) I had this nasty condition where I would usually wind up vomitting right after the race. Sometimes I would get my head over the side in time, but more often than not, I'd be keeled over and would hit myself.
Senior year, last race of the year, we lost to the rat bastards from Connecticut College by about 3 feet, and I was, as usual, slumped over and puking on myself (same position whether we won or lost). It was the first time we lost all season, and there happened to be a photographer from the Hartford Courant in one of the launches right by.
The next morning, front page of the Sunday Hartford Courant, above the fold, there's a nice 4x6 of me puking in my lap with the caption "winning is much more fun."
Needless to say, it's framed and on my office wall.
39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? Yes.
YIPS from Steve:I'm a sap.
40. Do you believe in love at first sight? It happens, just not very often.
YIPS from Steve:Yes, it's what's kept our species ahead of the dolphins and cockroaches. But that which makes you go the distance? That's another concept altogether, and for my money a heck of a lot more satisfying.
41. Ever call a 1-900 number? Strictly for research purposes.
YIPS from Steve:Ditto.
42. Can ex’s be friends? My experience is that it never works out.
YIPS from Steve:Nope.
43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? The Missus after the birth of Llama-ette No. 3.
YIPS from Steve:Ditto.
44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? Dunno.
45. What message is on your answering machine? Something short and sweet. I often feel that Sarah Conner's answering machine message in Terminator was grounds enough for her being waxed.
46. What’s your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? Tough one. I have lots of favorites from the old days. Absolutely none from more recent years.
YIPS from Steve:Anything by Tim Kazurinsky (sp?)
47. What was the name of your first pet? We always had dogs and cats around when I was a kid. I guess the ones who count most as my pets would be a Pointer named Jake and a Scotty named Fergus.
48. What is in your purse? Next please.
49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? Well.........
50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? That I'm done with this list.
YIPS from Steve:That the semester starts tomorrow and boy I guess I need to get cracking on those syllabi!
Yips! to Jen.
A Little Touch Of Harry In The Night
Okay, this is Shakespeare-blogging. Deal with it.
Last night I popped in my tape of Kenneth Branagh's Henry V. I really do enjoy this film - how many other movies are there out there that have such a kick-butt varsity cast of Shakespearian actors?
Nonetheless, there are some elements about it that irk me. And since this is a Blog - where all manner of bloviation is possible - I am going to take the opportunity to rant about one of them in particular. Allow me to explain.......
First off, I get extremely impatient with Branagh's effort to turn the whole opus into an anti-war screed. This effort leads to some goofy results - witness, for example, the thigh-slapper lines of Mistress Quickly, Pistol, Bardolf, Nym and the Boy being delivered with an almost Alda-esque earnestness. (Okay, okay, Ken. We get you. War is Hell for both the King and the Little Guy.)
But what really bugs me is the way Branagh chops and changes the beginning of the play to make it seem as if the Archbishops, with the connivence of Gloucester (Brian Blessed), hustle Harry into a needless war through a combination of smooth talking and bribery. In fact, there is a good bit of dialogue among the nobles about the rest of Europe (including France) watching Harry for signs of weakness and, in particular, the designs of the Scots to invade. There is also, of course, the historical context of four centuries of Anglo-Norman land-grabbing in France.
What really really bugs me is the way Branagh stages Canterbury's speech on the French claim that Salic law bars Henry's claim to the French crown. In fact, the Archbishop's argument is perfectly sound: Salic law does not apply to the French Succession. He then cites half a dozen precedents in support of his case that completely undermine the French position. Truly, as Canterbury says, it is "as clear as is the summer sun" that Harry has a perfectly legal claim to the French crown.
Now when Canterbury speaks this line, Branagh has all the English lords chuckle, as if they are nudge-nudge, wink-winking at each other over the convoluted, shady and weak pretext of the Archbish's argument. This is exactly wrong. In 14th Century Europe, the laws of royal succession were taken very, very seriously. Every nobleman had an exact and running knowledge of the histories of the various royal lines, who was entitled to what and by what right. (The question of whether such right should be enforced was a different matter, one more based on the reality of power politics.) Nothing in Canterbury's speech would have seemed dubious to Harry's Court, much less would it have provoked cynical chuckling. This is just a cheap shot by Branagh (who I'm sure is a Loony-Left Labourite if not an outright Jacobin) to sully the Crown and the Church. Hmmph!
Frankly, I've always thought Shakespeare put this speech in the play in large part to show off his own knowledge. It presents a bit of a staging problem - it's long and an average audience could very well get lost in all the references to Pepin, Childeric, Charles of Lorraine and others. Nonetheless, it's not a speech that can be cut because it deals directly with the legality of Henry's claim to the French throne. What to do? I've never seen a stage production of Henry V. The only other movie version I've seen, of course, is Laurence Olivier's. He gets around the issue by turning the whole thing into a Pat and Mike routine between the actors playing Canterbury and the other Archbishop, much to the delight of the Groundlings in the Elizabethan audience.
Aside from Olivier's dodge and Branagh's low blow, does anyone out there recall how any other productions deal with this scene? I'd be curious.
August 25, 2004
Hilarity ensues when....
Dr. Rusty Shackleford over at Mypetjawa (www.spawnofsatan.mu.nu) regales us with tales of being appointed to the Academic Appeals Committee at Tattooine Tech.
Friends, I hate to say that I can top that.
I opened up the dreaded "Appointed Committee Assignment" sheet, and lo and behold, Professor S. Llamabutcher was placed on.....
Women and Gender Studies
To 2007, no less!
Insert jokes below (mind you, I teach at a women's college....)
What river forms the watery border between Cambodia and Vietnam?
Denial, of course.
Seriously folks, here's Blackfive with the serious analysis of where this is all going. And Sgt. Mom, with (as always) the proper perspective.
I love reading Sgt. Mom's stuff: she reminds me so much of one of the secretaries in our dean's office. If anything happened to her, the whole freakin' college would collapse like a Tilt-a-whirl with a rusted Jeebus nut in about the time it would take to drain a 7-11 slurpee (regular, not king-sized). This will be only of particular interest to regular reader Liz, who also works on the farm and knows who I'm talking about, but still. It's the Sgt. Mom's that have made America great since 1607. And don't let any wimmin's studies MLA po-mo humanities dillweed tell you otherwise.
The NEW Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name
About to be outed in Hollywood:
(SECRET MESSAGE ONLY FOR GORDON THE CRANKY NEO-CON: Great opportunity to come up with an all neo-con version of "The Hanukkah Song.")
The New Album from Dave Matthews Band
[NOTE: THIS LINK FELL OFF THE BACK OF A SANDCRAWLER...]
UPDATE: Next time I go into photoshop I'm going to do a "MY OTHER SUV IS A SANDCRAWLER" bumpersticker.
This just in
Okay, I could understand if they were deciding to conquer those arsewipes in Alabama, but Russia.......
(Seriously folks, I'll be here in the Jungle Room Lounge all week--be sure to tip your waitresses)
Other punch lines:
"Wow, I heard the ACC is expanding into the Big East, but not THAT far East...."
"Gee, I heard Zell Miller was one pissed of 'muther, but geez-louise!"
"Jimmah finally figured out CCCP stood for Carter's Crappy C-------er Peanuts"
"Buford Pusser is back, and this time he's REALLY mad!"
"It's all about the peanut OOOOOOOOIIIIILLLLLLLLLL!"
"Russia? Russia? He owes me money!"
Last, and probably least
"John Bell Hood could've kicked Napoleon's ass!"
Why there can be only one true king of the pshop hitmen
Word of caution: this could be a Depends link.
Let's get some perspective, people!
Allahpundit raises an important point: blogger self-importance is in danger of getting out of hand with the whole Kerry-in-meltdown stuff. Let's not exactly start looking for places on the wall to mount the stuffed head quite yet.
Sheila, of course, weighs in in a related way: the top blogging words and phrases that she's sick and tired of:
I'll have to go with her on the third---my hunch is that we owe that one to Andrew Sullivan, and of course it is derivative of "money shot," a genre word from the world of porn. Hat tip---where did that show up first? I'm not sure.
So, we're going to take the Sheila Challenge and avoid these phrases.
What blog jargon tweaks your template?
Potentially a big problem
Are the Army's new helmets actually less effective? The sober and solid Phil Carter investigates. (And a belated thanks to Phil for the link to the below link, which I saw via Intel Dump).
Depressing but necessary reading
Samantha Power's "Dying in Darfur" article in the the latest New Yorker.
Gratuitous Snarf-Inducing Post Snitching
Mother of God, it's Butt Paste. What else is there to say, really?
Apologetic Yips! to Jen.
Stay In View, Please
Kathleen the Cake Eater has a brush with the Forces of Justice.
MWAAA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAA!!!! This is only the Beginning!
Bad news for you, Kathy. If you wish to avoid a midnight visit from the Black Helicopters, you must immediately do the following two things:
1. Confess - Confess, I say - that Emma Wodehouse beats Elizabeth Bennet.
2. Stop telling me to piss on my flowers. (I could perhaps let that one go if you would at least stop advocating that someone take pictures.)
You have been warned........
Field Guide To the Blogsphere
Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities has devised a hi-larious list of various illustrious bloggers and their likes and dislikes. Somehow or other, we Llamas managed to make the cut. We're extremely flattered. Yip! Yip!
My only criticism of the list is that there are waaaaay too many photos of She Who Has Been Booted From Our Blogroll. But hey - whatever rolls your cigar.
Adventures of Justice Boy - Part III
I must say that orientation at the DOJ is a bizarro combination of micromanagement and indifference. On the one hand, I'm not even allowed to set up my voicemail until after I've done some stupid seminar on Friday. (One wag in the office told me this was because we're wired into NORAD - pressing the wrong buttons on your phone might cause a world-wide nuclear strike.)
On the other hand, I practically had to hack my own computer just to figure out the damn default password for getting into the system. And then it was just assumed that I knew all about Outlook, WordPerfect and all the other goodies (which I do, fortunately).
However, I will just say this: I got my first assignment yesterday. Without going into detail, suffice to say it's a referred civil rights claim. My job is to analyse the record to date and determine whether or not the Department should go forward with further investigation and, eventually, file suit. I'll basically be handling the case as far as it goes. I've got more satisfaction out of the first couple hours reviewing the file than I did from years of filling out goddam FCC license applications.
That's worth a few Gov'mint quirks.
August 24, 2004
Sauron's Wraith Rabbit Watch - Umpteenth Update
Why don't I pay more attention to the lessons of literature? Here I was almost gloating because for almost three weeks it appeared that my nylon mesh fencing had defeated the menace of the furry little bastards.
Alas, I should have heeded more closely the words of Gandalf: Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again. (That is from the Chapter "The Shadow of the Past" at page 60 in my copy of FOTR, Houghton Mifflin Co. paperback. I can't recall if it made it into the naaaasty, wicked movie version. (But that's a different subject.))
As I was helping the girls with their bath tonight, I glanced out the window and saw the Foul Bunny of Mordor go through the fence! When I dashed out, hoe in hand, he shot through yet another section like dammit. An inspection of both points revealed that the mesh had been cut (whether by biting or just pressure, I don't know).
That's it! I've had enough. Over the winter, I know I'm going to have to get more chicken wire and reenforce the perimeter up to three feet from ground level. In the meantime, I'm getting that air-rifle I've been talking about. I can get within about ten yards of the little sneak to take a shot - plenty close, even with a BB gun. (My father used to plug squirrels that were raiding the bird feeder with one.) Not only that, once I do bag this puff-tailed Junior Balrog, I'm going to stick his wee head on a stake at the entrance to the slot leading to the local burrow as a warning to any other potential pests. See if I don't.
The! Superb! Victor! David! Hanson!
My current Metro reading is VDH's Ripples of Battle.
Now as much as I admire his work, one thing that has occured to me more than once is that Hanson could really use an editor who strictly limits the use of exclamation marks. They seem to come about the rate of one every two paragraphs in this book. This is really too much for something that purports to be calm, scholarly, historical analysis. It's beginning to make me twitch.
Find of the Day
I love the name of this site - Memento Moron. Sound advice for all of us. Go on over and check it out.
Yips! to Tim Worstall.
Speaking of Cull-Cha...
Mr. Enoch Soames, Esq., serves up one of Plum Wodehouse's classic lines.
The man (Wodehouse, that is) had an endless store of these little gems. One of my favorites from his early school-boy story phase, which I am (badly) quoting from memory, is a description of a group of loafers and bums hanging around a village bridge:
They had the appearance of those who seek employment but are only offered work.
Another, from Uneasy Money, describes a very large (and drunk) young lady developing the mashers for Bill Chalmers:
'I'm sure,' said the Good Sport, languishingly, like a sentimental siege-gun, 'that if I had ever met Mr Chalmers before I shouldn't have forgotten him.'
A third, from one of the Bertie & Jeeves short stories, describes the laugh of a certain hearty young lady (Honoria Glossip, I think) as sounding "like a squad of cavalry charging over an iron bridge".
To be perfectly honest, I'm feeling a bit burned out by politics at the moment, so when I came across this long post over at Sheila O'Malley's on the movies of Howard Hawks it made me feel a lot better.
She's in overdrive at the moment with all the types of goodies that makes her a required daily read. It's always reliable but NEVER predictable.
College Orientation Week
We go back to school this week, so the main impact on me is that I have to start wearing socks again. Registration is tomorrow, and classes begin friday. Maybe I need to draw up my syllabi.....
Anyhoo, our post-modern pentathaletes over at The Hatemongers Quarterly are on top of the story for all you college kids, with the Official HMQ Back to College Week Survival Guide.
Monday of course was the complete guide to drinking games. My only addition would be to remind kids that because of the concept that they'll learn about in Econ 101 called the exchange rate, if you use a Canadian quarter it will only get you about as 60% drunk as if you use an 'Merican one. However, if you can get your grubby paws on a 2 Euro coin, dude, you're going to get hammered about 75% more quickly!
Today's entry is about orientation: the condensed version is how to learn to suck up the po-mo mla ideological line.
That is, of course, if you make the mistake of wandering into my classroom....
Signs the Kerry Campaign is running out of ideas
(Eloise is on a roll, btw---scroll down for her absolutely hilarious "How to Frighten an Oboist")
NOW I've seen it all
Guest blogging over at Larry Lessig's: Richard Posner.
As in the Honorable Judge Richard Posner of the Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. As in Professor Posner at the University of Chicago Law School. As in Richard Posner, one of the most prolific authors in the law.
Talk about being the king of all media.
Beck over at Incite has a great piece on "marketing myopia"---the tendancy of organizations or entities to not realize or remember what business they are in. The result? Failure.
So what business are the Llamas in ? Well, maybe our title should be "Fat and Merry Jack Falstaff's Ye Olde Tasty Bits Internet Crack House and Comedy Shoppe"
I Am A Geek
Yesss! I've now managed to install my Star Trek Voyager Door Chime (TM) on my incoming email notification. I am still sufficiently ignorant of all things computer-related to consider this a major triumph, particularly as I had saved it on a floppy disk from my old system and brought it over here with me.
Roll your eyes all you want - these are the little grace notes that help make life more enjoyable.
Quick Llama Bleg
This may be akin to asking how to flip on a light switch, but can somebody out there tell me how you go about doing a strike-through on a post? I've always thought it was a nifty editorial device, but could never figure out how to do it myself. Thanks!
Adventures of Justice Boy
Where the hell is a phone booth when you really need it? The Cranky Neocon managed to catch me in media res. Good thing I wasn't wearing my Bart Simpson undies yesterday. Well done, indeed!
Gratuitous Llama Photo Stealing
Go on over and have a look at The Bookish Gardener's post and photo of her Joe Pye Weed.
I have two big clumps of JPW in my garden, about half started from seed over the winter and the other half obtained from Park Seed. All of it is thriving and in full bloom at the moment. (Indeed, I pirated this pic because mine looks very much like this, only a bit bushier.) As Chan notes, a very happy, satisfying sort of effect. One of my groupings is smack up against a patch of black eye susans - the lavender/yellow combo looks very good indeed.
August 23, 2004
Well THAT'S Good News
What with all the attention on the Swiftvets and the Vets Against the War, it's good to see another famous group of Vietnam vets finally receiving justice from the government.
But, good lord, that must have been one reeking van by now....
Sawdust and Drop Cloths, Part CXII
Quick survey: do you see the right column with the blogroll and assorted Tasty Bits, or do you have to scroll to the bottom?
If this is an issue, the answer would be to figure out how to narrow and then center both columns.
Any other suggestions or ideas, please leave some Yips or drop as a line in the Mail Sack.
Is Janet Jackson's Boob A Karl Rove, Uh, Implant?
Drudge reports. You decide. Oh how I wish I could photoshop!
YIPS from Steve: Dude, shouldn't that be, "Drudge reports. You decide. I think I'm going to wretch." ?
The Adventures of Justice Boy
Just checking in - After spending a great deal of time this morning dithering about, I was duly sworn to uphold and protect the United States Constitution from all enemies, foreign or domestic. Got my O-fficial DOJ Badge and Credentials too. (Think of me now as a combo of Joe Friday and Atticus Finch.)
Now that I am back on-line, I can begin to pick up the ravelled threads of whatever it was I was talking about a few weeks back. And I can finally find out what is happening in the world. Starting tomorrow, when I get a chance to hit my usual round of sites, I ought to be able to get back into the swing of things.
In the meantime, I see that Steve-O has been dishing up some of his X-tra Chunky Political Analysis, much to the detriment of fools and naives everywhere. Remember - the only other way you can get this kind of material is to blow $30K a year to send your kid to his school.
One other thing - I believe (at least I hope) that we are working on a way to get this opus back to a two or three column production. I really don't like having all the supplimental goodies way down at the bottom of the page. Also, as I have often promised before, I still have some very worthy sites to get on the blogroll. Paaaaatience, my Preciousssss. More haste, less speed!
Finally, I don't think I've properly thanked everyone for sticking with us during our move. From what I see, traffic barely blinked. Thanks so much for your continued support and encouragement. Yip! Yip! Yip!
I'm Outta here
I'm out to do a bunch of long-ago scheduled appointments---eye doctor, dentist, etc., which was convenient in that it is getting me out of yet another useless meeting at work. Good planning on my part last January when I set up the dentist appointment, if I do say so my self! After that, I have to do the last of my back-to school shopping---new shoes, socks, some pants, etc. Maybe I'll get all jiggy and by a new tie (rep striped, of course). Later, I have to put my head down and finish the damn conference paper, so I'll be in silent runnings mode for awhile. Until then!
527s and the Myth of Campaign Finance Reform
One of the central myths of campaign finance reform is the relative disadvantage the Democrats have financially because they are the tribunes of the working class and the greedy Republicans have all the money.
Here's a list of the fifty largest 527s--the organizations so named because of the provision in the tax code--that are free to raise and use money in campaigns because the parties cannot be trusted with "soft money," the type of money used on general advertising and party building.
Ten of the top eleven are leftist groups who've raised a combined $155.4 million dollars so far.
Gee, thanks McCain/Feingold!
BTW, you won't find the SwiftVets in the top fifty--they've only raised $158,700.
You wonder if George Soros is questioning the return on his investment...
"THE NATION" on Bob Dole's Purple Hearts, 1996
The truth about Dole's war record is considerably less than awe-inspiring. Yet the myth endures, and with the candidate running on the contrast between his and Clinton's military record, his campaign isn't eager to give a more accurate account. Dole, at the behest of his handlers, is less reticent about his service than in the past, but he mainly speaks about his wound and rehabilitation. He has passed up several opportunities to correct the exaggerated versions in biographies, and in the case of his self-wounding has even approved a sanitized account in which his maladroitly hurled grenade goes unnoted. Journalists continue to portray him as a hero, winner of two Bronze Stars. Joe Klein, for example, writes in Newsweek that Dole knows "what guns do. He also knows what politicians do, which is rarely anything quite so dramatic as leading an army into battle." Such attempts to make political capital out of Dole's war service go beyond the respect due him for the role he played as a soldier with the 10th Mountain Division.
HT to Glenn
UPDATE: Here's Sid Blumenthal viciously trashing George H. Bush's war record in 1992 in the The New Republic.
Oh, THAT liberal media.
The Commissar's Back!
and there's gonna be some trouble
hey now, my commissar's back!
Welcome back from two weeks of reeducation at the Adirondack Gulag. We hope you don't mind our including you amongst the "Dogs Playing Poker" bloggers! And congrats to our old pal Rusty for doing a great job as special guest Politburo member.
From the Llama Recipe File
Synergy--that's what the Llamas have to offer! Rob's the erudite, witty one: I'm the Jack Falstaff on airplane glue one (or, as INDC Bill put it in an email, "Steve, never forget: Rob's the meat, you're just the parsley!")
Anyhoo, here's my addition to the new Llama Recipe Category: Llamabutcher Crabcakes.
These crabcakes are fabulous, if you don't mind me saying so. They are also not-fried, but rather grilled, and are that much better.
What you need:
16 oz Fresh lump crabmeat ---if you can, get it fresh rather than frozen. They're usually sold in 8 oz containers, so get two---life's too short not to eat plenty of crabcakes
1 tsp butter, melted
1 tbsp mayo (add some horseradish to it if you like)
1 sleeve of Saltines, mashed
1 cup of Goldfish crackers, mashed (we used the special red and blue 4th of July ones which worked very well--very festive)
Chesapeake seasoning, pinch
1 squirt of Tobasco (optional)
Half an onion, finely diced
Half a bell pepper, finely diced (preferably red or yellow, for the sweetness and the color)
Here's how you make it:
Mix the eggs, butter, and mayo in a large mixing bowl; this is the binding to keep the cakes together, and there's nothing worse than having them crumble apart while cooking.
Add the saltines (I hand mash them, but that's just me, Mr. Vegas) and the goldfish; these also are part of the binding. Mush it all together by hand.
Add the pepper and onion pieces.
Fold in the crabmeat, mixing it by hand (mushing it is more like it)
Sprinkle the spices, mush together some more.
When it's ready, form into cake patties about the size of your palm and about as thick as the first joint of your index finger---you don't want them to be too thick to insure that they cook evenly. The above recipe should make about 10-12, depending on the size of your palm.
Cook them on the grill outdoors--make sure you are cooking on a surface like tin foil and not directly on the grill. The grill should be medium to hot (I crank the grill all the way to hot, get it good and warm, and then let it cool off a bit, but then again I am a propane Philistine). They'll take a good while to cook, and you want them to be very firm on all sides (break open one with a fork if necessary to test). Depending on the heat, it should take 20-30 minutes. Flip them mid way through, of course.
Serve them with a tartar sauce (we prefer a mayo with horseradish and red relish), lemon, or whatever suits your fancy. They go perfectly with sweet corn and coleslaw.
Let us know if you try it!
August 22, 2004
Llama Convention Blogging
Okay, so our friend INDCent Bill has got the corner on GOP Convention politico-blogging. But that doesn't mean that we Llamas can't find a niche in the hurly-burly that is opening up in New York this week!
A good friend of ours is the DC office manager of one of the major media corporations. She is off to the Show this week and, in a moment of weakness, has agreed to sign on as our Llama Convention Correspondent. While she won't be in a position to provide the same high-test bloviating you'd get from other Convention Bloggers, she has agreed to send along personal observations about what you might call the nuts and bolts of the gig. We'll be sure to post them as they come in.
The Adventures of Justice Boy
Well, tomorrow is the first day of my new gig working for the Dept. of Justice. Wish me luck! If someone had come to me five years ago and said, "Tom, you'll be a Civil Rights Lawyer some day soon," I'd have laughed uproariously. Not that I think there is anything inherently ridiculous in a staunch conservative practicing this kind of law. Rather, I had never dreamed that I would ever become a Gen-U-Ine Beltway Lawyer, and a Gov'mint one to boot. (I keep an active membership in the Virginia Bar, much to the annoyance of the Missus, largely because I am not yet psychologically prepared to admit that I have become assimilated by the Beltway Borg. This gets to be an issue round about October, when I am frantically cramming in Continueing Legal Education hours in order to make Virginia's yearly requirement.)
Anyway, I thought it would be entertaining for our readers if I instigated a new category of posts. I'm calling it The Adventures of Justice Boy. Obviously, I can't go on in detail about the cases I have to deal with. But I thought it might be amusing to the three or four of you who read this site if I tracked the day to day biffing that is working for Uncle. (Ten points to anyone who gets the literary allusion.)
Although I am going to be tied up in orientation for the next couple days and posting might be a bit lite, I will try very hard to keep you abreast of what's going on. Just think of me as a Llama Explorer sending back dispatches from terra incognita. I'll try to make them as interesting and entertaining as possible.
Sauron's Wraith Rabbit Watch - Update
I know a few of our friends have been following my battle against the wee furry little bastards that have spent much of the summer snacking on my flowers. Well, touching wood, I believe I have finally won the battle. Before we set out for vacation, I spent several days tacking up nylon mesh netting along the bottom of the garden fence. Upon our return Thursday, practically the first thing I did was run out to see if the puff-tailed rats had been at it again. No sign of them having done so whatsoever! Yessssssss!
In a way, it's a bit of a come down, though, especially after I had given so much thought to getting a Daisy air rifle and shooting the varmints. Hell, I might do it anyway......
Gratuitous Domestic Posting - Cooking Division
We had some friends from Church over for dinner last night. They are really nice folks with daughters approximately the same age as ours, so everyone had a very good time.
As we sat down to dinner, one of the first things Mrs. Friend said to me was that she had visited the Butcher's Shop and enjoyed my little essays on domestic life. Such praise, and from such a source, was so unexpected and pleasing to me that she could have asked me for anything there and then and I probably would have given it to her. Fortunately for her (and whoever else likes them), I have now (I think) created a category reserved for this kind of post, named (originally enough) "Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)". Thank you the Gods of Movable Type for this new feature.
Well. What I really wanted to mention in this post that I decided I was going to cook for us all last night. I enjoy cooking, although I don't get to do it very often. For this occassion, I pulled out my copy of "Cooking With Pops", a collection of Italian recipes put together by my father, and went to one of my favorite (and very easy) dishes: Shrimp, Scallops and Proscuitto with Pasta.
Here's what you need:
12 sea scallops
18 shrimp, pealed
Dry Sherry (about 6 tbs.)
2 whole shallots, finely minced
basil (to taste)
1/4 lb. proscuitto cut into thin, 1 inch strips
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
juice of 1 lemon
thyme (to taste)
12 oz. Half & Half or cream
1 cup grated parmagiano cheese
pasta (angel hair or linguini fini)
Here's what you do:
Saute the shrimp and scallops in olive oil on medium heat. When firm, add proscuitto, shallots, garlic and herbs and increase heat. Add the sherry, lemon juice and cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Add the cheese. Put the pasta (that you've been cooking in the meantime) into the serving bowl and then mix in the sauce.
The portions in this recipe feed four, so adjust accordingly for more or fewer people.
Friends, this is a seriously delicious dish. Tell all those Adkins Acolytes to go to hell and give it a try some time. I think you won't regret it.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
August 21, 2004
An interesting tidbit re John Kerry's FEC suit against the Swiftvets:
(April 7, 2004) John Kerry has hired an Internet-savvy Democrat to run his presidential campaign's online communications, a move that raises new questions about the link between his campaign and the independent groups that run TV ads on his behalf.
Zach Exley, the director of special projects for the MoveOn PAC, is going to the Kerry campaign to become its director of online communications and organization.
Exley also worked during the Democratic presidential primary for Howard Dean, helping Dean set up his web-based organization.
Since Kerry became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in early March, the MoveOn PAC has spent more than $2.5 million on TV ads that attack President Bush.
But under the new campaign-finance law, those efforts cannot be coordinated with the Kerry campaign.
A MoveOn statement said Exley and the staff of all MoveOn entities have agreed that they will not be in contact through the election period to avoid the appearance of coordination, "even though federal election rules permit some forms of communication."
Of course, we got that from our evil Sith Masters at Bechtelhalliburtoncarlylegroupilluminatiskullandboneskennebunkportjaycees, all in the service of the Amerikan Empire of Bushitlermcsmirky the chimp.
UPDATE: Needless to say, Rusty's Sandcrawler is all over this story like model airplane glue strands on a dungeon and dragons player's nostrils....
An old fashioned Fisking of the Boston Globe
The Holiday in Cambodia story has finally metastisized for John Kerry.
What's been interesting in following this is story is how the dynamics of media feeding frenzies are changing, courtesy of the blogosphere. Blogs are emerging as incubators capable of keeping stories alive, sorting out and winnowing the facts, and by nature of the story being out there, forcing major professional media to cover it whether they ultimately want to or not. Ask Trent Lott. Better yet, ask the NYU School of Journalism, which has this summary of the Harvard's Kennedy School study, “Big Media” Meets the “Bloggers" about the role of blogs in being reactive forces to keep stories alive until they get traction:
Still, the Post editors didn’t think much of Lott’s remarks as news, and they tried to confine Edsall to a paragraph or two. He had to write his 660-word story and show it to them before they could see any real news in it. This is where prominent webloggers like Josh Marshall, Atrios, Glenn Reynolds, but also others entered in. They and their readers (200,000 people at most) were a back-up alert system, another sphere where the story could circulate, register with people, and provoke a response. Reactions and rumblings from across the blogs were thus a kind of proxy for public reaction that had not been able to emerge.
But the blogs got only temporary custody of a story that originated in a small corner of the national press on December 6th, and became big news on December 10th, with just a few days (Dec. 6-9, 2002) for the blogs to operate as bridge narrator. "For the most part," Atrios says in the study, "the influence of blogs is limited to the degree to which they have influence on the rest of the media. Except for the very top hit-getting sites, blogs need to be amplified by media with bigger megaphones."
A key point. Weblogs may continue to exert some influence on the news, but it won't come by grabbing the attention of the broader public, gaining major traffic, or displacing the national press as a news source. Political blogs need the press; they are parasitic on the flow of news. They can still have an effect, however, by debating the mainstream news mind, correcting for errors and blind spots, further sifting and refining the flow. And by activating passions and commitments long ago driven from daily journalism, blogs force news through the argument test, which in this case showed that Lott had few defenders, Left or Right. That was news too.
The Web legend about Trent Lott's demise says “the blogs kept the story alive,” and this is basically accurate, but it misses why journalism needed weblogs for that.
So, is Atrios right? Is the influence of blogs limited to the degree which they have influence on the rest of the media? I think the answer is clearly yes at this point.
Case in point is Kerry and the Swift Vets, and this article from today's Boston Globe, the inhouse organ of the Kerry presidential campaign.
Headline: MEDIA BUZZ AIDED ANTI-KERRY EFFORT
First of all, it would have been interesting to see such a headline on an article in the Globe when Farenheit 9/11 was released, something like "MEDIA BUZZ FROM LEFT-WING "DOCUMENTARY" MAKER AIDING ANTI-BUSH EFFORT: HITLER TOO AIDED BY "DOCUMENTARY" ABOUT 36 OLYMPICS, PARTY RALLY" but I digress.
As the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth previewed another ad to air next week, a survey released yesterday said their first controversial attack on John F. Kerry's war record reached more than half the nation with the help of a media buzz created by talk radio and cable news.
I'd like to take the opportunity to introduce the reporter, "Media Critic" Mark Jurkowitz (yes, that's his real name) to Glenn Reynolds: Mark, here's Glenn. He's been hard at work on this story during his lunchbreaks doing stuff that they don't teach at the fancy J-Schools now, like research (you know, going to the library and looking stuff up). What's been behind the surge on talk radio and cable news I would bet is sites like Instapundit, and as the study above indicated about the Trent Lott Affair blogs were "where the story could circulate, register with people, and provoke a response" has become even more true. But it's not just circulating and registering, it's the incubating: the photo showing the Congressional Record version of Kerry's Cambodia speech I think was what crystalized this for many people. Scrolling through Instapundit's archives of the past two weeks shows how the story has incubated and matured up to this point.
The first spot, which began airing Aug. 5 and ran only in West Virginia, Ohio, and Wisconsin, triggered a counterattack on several fronts this week. On Thursday, Kerry accused the veterans of doing President Bush's campaign's "dirty work." A front-page story in yesterday's New York Times raised questions about the credibility of Kerry's accusers.
Notice the passive-voice mention of the New York Times (which, by the way, Jurkowitz fails to mention, is the owner of the Boston Globe). "A front-page story in yesterday's New York Times raised questions about the credibility of Kerry's accusers." Notice no mention of an inquiry at all into the credibility of the accusations, because even now the Kerry campaign is in a "modified, limited hang-out" mode about Kerry's signature story of being in Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968--a story used again and again as a political club by the Senator---as being a complete fabrication. The strategy used here is akin to how the press reports salacious sex scandals by reporting not on the allegations themselves, but by reporting about the scandal itself. That way, they are "above" the fray. What's different here is that they are reporting on the "scandal" without touching on the allegations themselves: is what they have to say true? Is there any substance to the charges? Is it even worth investigating? Given the scrutiny with which similar types of charges were covered against President Bush about his military service, doesn't objectivity compel it? Or, does the press simply want Kerry to win?
And yesterday, the Kerry campaign filed a complaint against Swift Boat Veterans for Truth with the Federal Election Commission, claiming the group is illegally coordinating inaccurate ads with the Bush campaign.
Ahh, so campaign finance reform WAS about supressing campaign speech, not just about purging the temple of American politics from the dirty corruption of Mammon. Thought so.
Notice the key part about this, though: inaccurate. Has the NYT or its Boston Globe affiliate investigated that? Notice the reporting style here: raise questions about the credibility of the accuser, ignore the substance of the claims. Sounds like they've been consulting with Kobe Bryant's lawyers.
Despite the questions about the veterans group's motives and methods, a poll released yesterday by the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey discovered a remarkable ripple effect for what survey director Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson characterized as "an ad that barely aired."
First, notice the slack-jawed tone of fear in the article: the ad barely ran and it reached half the respondents in a national poll with adverse results for their guy. Zoot alors!
Here's the key phrase: Despite the questions about the veterans group's motives and methods.... In other words, Despite our best efforts. We've undermined their credibility, now why won't the charges go away? How is this story getting out if NPR is ignoring it?
"In a lot of echo chambers, the echo is louder than the sound that made it in the first place," said Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.
Nothing to see here folks, move along...
In a Globe interview, Jamieson said the media became preoccupied with the ad at a time "in which there isn't a lot of other political news. The competing stuff on cable is Laci Peterson and Michael Jackson, and the political people wanted something to talk about. . . . It had conflict, it had pictures, you've got drama."
It's only a story, you see, because there's nothing else on tee-vee now.
Chuck Todd, editor in chief of The Hotline, an online compendium of political news, remarked on the staying power of the flap over Kerry's war record. "Every day we've published since August 4 we've had a story [titled] 'Vietnam,' " he said. "Yesterday was day 15."
Actually, its been Day 215, since John Kerry--who, to steal from James Taranto, you might have heard served in Vietnam--won the Iowa Caucus. Kerry made the 4 months and 11 days he served in Vietnam the centerpiece--hell, the ONLY piece--of his convention. Twenty years in the Senate? Moi? Mike Dukakis' Lieutenant Governor? Ummmm, not ringing a bell. Must have been that other Kerry. Kerry told his detractors to "BRING. IT. ON!" and the men he accused of being a bunch of war criminals thirty three Aprils ago have done just that. And John Kerry is going to court to try and stop them (after they went to court to try to get Kerry to stop using war-time pictures of them, implying their support of the candidate).
Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, which tracks the talk radio industry, called the controversy over the ad and Kerry's war record "a major part of the election 2004 election story. You have a lot of conservative hosts on talk radio, many of them backing Bush claims . . . It blends into the discussion of the election. It's part of the number one topic."
Again, it's the center of the election right now because that's what Kerry made it to be. "Reporting for duty" anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Here's what we had to say about this back on February 19th:
I think Terry Mac made a terrible mistake by making the first issue of the general election be on the Bush/National Guard issue, as he always couched it in terms of John Kerry's "chest full of medals." The problem with that statement is the most memorable picture of Kerry is of him testifying before the Senate in 1971.
But this is the ground he chose for the fight, not his career in the Senate.
Yesterday, the veterans upped the ante by rolling out another ad as part of a $600,000 buy that will begin airing Tuesday in three states where "Kerry has touted his military service," according to the group's spokesman, Sean McCabe. The spot features several veterans harshly criticizing Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony about atrocities that occurred in Vietnam. A statement quotes Admiral Roy Hoffman, founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, saying, "What John Kerry did made Jane Fonda look like a Red Cross volunteer. It was terribly demoralizing."
The Kerry campaign responded with a statement condemning "another ad from a front group funded by Bush allies that is trying to smear John Kerry. The newest ad takes Kerry's testimony out of context, editing what he said to distort the facts." The campaign also released records that it says indicate that two of the principals in the ad "are Republican activists . . . It's no wonder the Bush campaign refuses to condemn this smear."
First of all, this isn't a smear: it's a vicious hard ball to the head. But a hardball isn't by definition a smear: a smear would be going and finding the greiving mother of the wounded Viet Cong guerilla Lt. (JG) John Kerry leaped from his Swift Boat to shoot, at close range, and asking how she felt when she got the news. Heck, it wouldn't matter if you actually found her, you could find the symbolic representation of the grieving mother crying over her lost son and exploit that for your political purposes. All in service of the greater truth, right?
Second of all, what about the Kerry campaign's coordination not only with MoveOn.org, but also Michael Moore?
What does this all add up to?
In terms of the story itself, critical mass has been attained. The story cannot be contained now, and will develop until the charges are fully explored or those bringing the charges completely implode. Such is the nature of feeding frenzies.
But what this story points to is the larger issue of how blogs are changing the way the news is reported, as well as the failures of the larger professional media to live up to its own self image.
In the famous Pentagon Papers case New York Times v. United States Justice Potter Stewart wrote:
In the absence of the governmental checks and balances present in other areas of our national life, the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in the areas of national defense and international affairs may lie in an enlightened citizenry--in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government. For this reason, it is perhaps here that a press that is alert, aware, and free most vitally serves the basic purpose of the First Amendment. For without an informed and free press there cannot be an enlightened people."
Except here it is the New York Times and the Boston Globe which is trying to exercise prior restraint not in the name of national security, but to protect the prospects of their chosen candidate. It is not a press that is alert, aware, and free, vitally serving the basic purposes of the first amendment. That job is increasingly being done by the unpaid and amateur (in the best, classic sense of the word) citizen bloggers.
More Bad News for the Kerry Campaign
The Boston Globe reports that the economy and job growth in Massachusetts is surging.
For some reason, sports journalists still refer to them as "The Dream Team."
What should they really be called?
The Llamabutchers present the Top Ten Names for the US Men's Olympic Basketball team:10. The Plump Chumps
9. The "Show me the money!" Honeys
8. The Brat Pack
7. The Four-Corners No-offense
6. The "Phelps aint fit to polish my Escalade" Sport-oes
5. Naismith's Nightmares
4. The Excuses Papooses
3. The Tame, Lame Blame Game Crew
2. The French Army
and the number one nickname for the US Men's Olympic Basketball Team of 2004:
1. The Washington Generals (the team that always gets embarassingly whupped by the Harlem Globetrotters)
Team slogan: We put the "ASS" in EMBARRASSMENT!
Make up your freakin' mind!
In the same edition of the Joong Ann Daily (an English language South Korean newspaper):
The United States has rebuffed an appeal from South Korea to delay the forthcoming withdrawal of a third of U.S. troops from the peninsula, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.
Defense officials from Washington and Seoul concluded two-day talks yesterday on the future of the U.S. troops in Korea. The force reduction and the closure of the Yongsan Garrison including the transfer of the Seoul-based U.S. forces to new bases south of capital were the two main agenda items of this week's Future of Alliance Talks.
"Because the reduction of U.S. troops in Korea will be carried out in line with the GPR, the United States expressed difficulties in adjusting the size and schedule of the planned forces cut," the Defense Ministry said. GPR refers to the Global Defense Posture Review, the U.S. plan to redeploy its forces around the world.
Under the plan, Washington already announced the withdrawal of 12,500 American soldiers from the peninsula by the end of 2005, including the 3,700-strengh combat team that has departed to Iraq. The United States has been maintaining roughly 37,000 troops here.
At the talks, South Korea reportedly asked the United States to delay the troop cut until 2007, but the proposal was turned down.
"We told the United States more time is needed to complete the plan to spend $11 billion to beef up U.S. capabilities," a Defense Ministry official said. "We also said that transfer of some missions from the U.S. to South Korean troops won't conclude until the end of 2006."
Despite such appeals, the United States said it would stick to the original schedule of force reductions by the end of next year, the official said, but leaving room for further negotiations on the schedules of pulling out particular mechanized units.
Seoul has been alarmed that the planned withdrawal of U.S. firepower, such as multiple rocket launchers, may weaken the deterrence against North Korea.
Aside from military shifts on the U.S. mainland, the peninsula will be the first place to experience the transformation of the U.S. army, Richard Lawless, Pentagon's chief negotiator for the South Korea-U.S. defense talks, said.said.
"Yankees Go Home NOW!"
Photos take aim right at America
Noh Soon-taek is an activist who speaks with his photographs. Mr. Noh, 33, has used his camera as a weapon to expose what he sees as the absurdities of Korean society in the turmoil of modern history. His primary interest is the division of the two Koreas, and the role of the United States on the peninsula.
In a photo exhibition titled "Smells Like the Division of the Korean Peninsula," Mr. Noh presents 36 black-and-white photographs taken in his home country, which he dubs "Republic of Komerica."
In stark, black-and-white photographs, Mr. Noh finds a different shade of Korea's reality. One of the photographs on display features Panmunjeom as seen from a new angle, with U.S. soldiers in the foreground, backs to the camera. Mr. Noh says in a caption that while South Korean soldiers think the Americans watch the North Koreans, they don't recognize that they're the ones being watched over. In a film that depicts a children's picnic at the War Museum, Mr. Noh photographs carefree kids with the museum in the background, writing, "Why do we have to commemorate a war, not peace? The War Museum today again swallows children."
Mr. Noh, who works at a leftist monthly magazine called Mal ("Words"), is politically anti-American, but that doesn't mean he hates Americans. What he's opposed to is a Pax Americana, an empire with supremacy over the world. He wants as many U.S. citizens as possible to visit his exhibit, in much the same way that millions of Americans have seen Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." In October, Mr. Noh will hold a joint photo exhibition in New York on the topic of the U.S. Army both in Korea and Japan.
"I don't want so many parts of our reality to be real, like the division of the country and South Korea's dependence on the United States," Mr. Noh said. "But sadly enough, the public is only given a fabricated reality. Once we get over the ignorance, there are so many things to learn.
Yes, like how ignorant you are. Pax Americana: that's why there are so many famous North Korean dissident photographers and documentarians who are free to show their art showcasing the problems in the glorious workers paradise of North Korea, such as............. oh yeah, that's right, there aren't any. Nor are there any from the glorious workers paradises of Vietnam or Cuba, for that matter. But in America and South Korea, you can't swing a dead cat at an art opening without hitting one (sure, often they are a part of the wait staff, but art is only appreciated after the artist is dead, non?). Hmmmmmm, tell you something about the differences between North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba and the USA and South Korea? No? Then boy does Markos Zuniga has a website for you!
The Dream Team moves closer to the Gold
And by the "Dream Team" I mean of course the Iraqi Soccer team.
Check out this article from the IHT though for a good laugh:
raq beat Australia 1-0 in the quarterfinal of the Olympic soccer tournament on Saturday to move within sight of a medal, maybe even the gold. . In one of the most amazing achievements in Olympic history, a soccer team that can’t play any games on home turf because of the daily violent conflict in its country is one game away from the Olympic final in Athens. . Emad Mohammed scored the only goal of the game in the 64th minute at Iraklion and, in the semifinal, the Iraqis will face either Paraguay or South Korea, who faced each other later Saturday at Thessaloniki. . A goal four minutes from the end of extra time by AS Roma defender Cesare Bovo gave Italy a 1-0 victory over Mali while the other quarterfinal between Argentina, hot favorite for the gold, and Costa Rica also kicked off later. . The only goal at the Pankritio Stadium came following a corner. Mahdi Karim headed the ball down to Mohammed who hooked the ball in with an overhead kick. . The goal set off jubilant celebrations among more than 1,000 Iraqi supporters, hundreds of whom had been chanting and waving flags since an hour before kickoff. . A year ago, Iraq’s soccer federation had been disbanded, the team had no facilities and no cash and the nation’s Olympic status had been suspended by the International Olympic Committee. . Reinstated by the IOC in February, Iraq played catchup to get its athletes to Greece and its soccer players qualified not only for the Olympics but also for the Asian Cup in China. . They got there under the guidance of inspirational German coach Bernd Stange. But he was forced to quit three months ago facing death threats if he ever returned to Iraq and was replaced by Adnan Hamad. . They still couldn’t play on home turf because of the continued bloody conflict back in their own country and had to survive financially on handouts from other federations and the proceeds of friendly games.
That's right, they are there in spite of those damned Amerikans and their Furher Bushitlermcsmikychimp and his dread Sith masters at Hallibechtelharkencarlylegroup.
Of course, since the IHT is staffed by professional journalists, and therefore don't have access to Google like we laypersons who never went to J-school, there's no mention at all of the tortue of Iraqi Olympic athletes, particularly soccer players, by Uday Hussein, former president of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, who kept a special torture chamber at the Olympic HQ. Because, after all, only the dirty Amerikans are capable of such things.
Rosie the Riveter Goes to Riyadh
From today's Arab News:
JEDDAH, 21 August 2004 — Efforts are under way to establish women-only projects with the support of private and public agencies to employ70 , 000qualified Saudi women, according to Ahmed Al-Mansour, deputy minister for labor affairs.
He pointed out that Saudi businesswomen own about15 ,000companies, which account for 43 percent of registered businesses in the country. He estimated the number of registered businesswomen at2 ,400.
“The establishment of the new projects will help solve the growing unemployment problem among Saudi women,” Al-Madinah Arabic daily quoted Mansour as saying. At present only5 . 5percent of an estimated4 . 7million Saudi women of working age are employed.
Meanwhile, Labor Minister Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi has instructed labor offices throughout the Kingdom to open special sections for women. The directive follows a Cabinet decision urging all government departments to open women’s sections.
Saudi Arabia now allows women to obtain commercial licenses, a move that would encourage businesswomen to invest their huge bank deposits in industrial and other projects. The government also allocated land for industrial projects to employ women.
Nahid Tahir, a senior economist at the National Commercial Bank, described the Cabinet’s decision as a pragmatic one. “This decision will certainly reduce social and economic pressures on men, who are no longer capable of meeting family needs due to a drop in personal income,” she said.
Hussa Al-Aun, vice chairperson of the Women’s Consultative Council in the Makkah region, said the Cabinet decision would encourage women to invest some of the at least SR 15billion which they have in bank deposits.
Al-Aun said a Saudi investment company has signed a deal with two Chinese and Malaysian firms to establish the country’s first women’s industrial city in Jeddah at a cost of SR 375million.
Covering an area of 600, 000square meters, the new facility will have 83 factories. The two foreign firms will operate the city and train10 , 000women for two years.
Al-Aun, who has been campaigning for the women’s industrial city for the past seven years, said the new facility would be launched with female Asian workers, adding that trained Saudi women would replace the Asians later.
Plans are under way to establish an industrial training institute for women in Jeddah at a cost of SR3.4 million. Fatma Al-Aidarous, director of the project, said the institute was planned to train Saudi women in manufacturing readymade dresses.
“At present most women working in this sector are foreigners because of the lack of qualified and trained Saudi women,” she pointed out. Aidarous described the institute as first of its kind in the Kingdom, adding that it will train12 , 000young Saudi women.
And I'm sure they'll be constructing time machines in the industrial city, so to make easier the trip back to the ninth century.
August 20, 2004
Gratuitous Llama Vacation Posting - Part 3
We actually got home yesterday and by last evening I was pretty worn out. So imagine my delight when, flipping on the tee-vee, I discovered that AMC was running Escape From New York.
Despite all the talk about this movie that goes on round here, I hadn't actually seen it in years and years. I guess it's true that you can never go home again, because all through it I kept having the following thoughts:
Of Lee Van Cleef, all I could do was shake my head. To think that Angel Eyes had come to this. Sad. Very sad.
Of the President, I couldn't get the imagine of The Forger from The Great Escape out of my head. Surely James Garner was a more logical choice as the one who should try and get him out.
Perhaps silliest of all, every time Isaac Hayes' Duke of New York came on the screen, I half expected him to say, "Hello there, Children."
Finally, I keep coming back to the name "Pliskin". Whose idea was that? I will simply point out here that Jim Carrey's dufus character in The Mask was named Stanley Ipkiss, note the obvious similarity and leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
Gratuitous Llama Vacation Posting - Part 2
Just in case you think I spent all my time loafing about and reading whilst on vacation, let me just say that we also spent a goodish bit of time on the beach and in the water. Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing that is reminding me more and more that I'm not a teenager.
There is an enormous sand hill about two miles down the beach from our cottage. The thing is about 300 feet tall with a slope of about 45 degrees. One afternoon - an unusually hot and sunny day, we took a trip over to it in our neighbor's boat. As soon as we were in the shallows, the kids were over the side and charging up the hill like the Rangers hitting the beach at Normandy. I was the only adult in the boat who had not climbed it before, so of course everyone else encouraged me to join the kids and see the view. Under this pressure, I too hit the surf and started hustling up the slope, encouraged by the yipping of my girls high above.
About halfway up the hill, I realised that I was in some trouble. My knees were showing a dangerous inclination to fold the wrong way, my breath was beginning to come in gasps and I could see at least twice as many daughters up there as I actually had. The only thing that kept me going was the horror of being seen to pack it in by my offspring. Thus motivated by pure fear of shame, I made it to the top. (Of course, the punch line was that the kids immediately wanted to hurl themselves back down the hill, not giving a flying patooie for the view or for the Old Man's need to rest for a minute.)
Another incident like this occured at my In-Laws' house in Westport, CT. They live on a little cove and recently someone anchored a float about thirty yards out from shore there. At low tide, I think you could walk to it, but at high tide one loses one's footing about 5 yards out from the beach.
My six year old took one look at that float and insisted that we go out to it. Now she can swim pretty well, but a distance like that is way beyond her, especially as she is used to having the side of a pool always at hand. So I agreed to swim out with her and to lend assistance as needed.
It's amazing what an enormous distance 30 yards really is, especially when you are more or less carrying a 50 pound kid and trying to breast-stroke with one hand.
When we set out, the float was occupied by a very pretty woman and her three sons. By the time we got there, I was so drained that I was incapable of any kind of banter, despite the dazzling smile and encouraging welcome of this woman. It was left to my daughter to handle the social pleasantries from our end.
After the girl had spent some time hurling herself off the float, she announced that she was ready to head back to the beach. Our conversation every two feet or so on the way back was as follows:
She: Can you touch the bottom yet?
Me: (Gasp) No!
She: Can you touch the bottom yet?
Me: (Wheeze, gasp!) Not yet, Sweetie!
She: Can you touch the bottom yet?
Me: (Urgh!) Please..... Kick.
And so on.
A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that our friend John L had dug up the Marine Corp physical fitness guide and that I was going to start using the thing myself. Looks as if I'm going to have to do so even sooner than I had thought if I expect to keep up with the kids.
Gratuitous Llama Vacation Posting - Part 1
I know what you're thinking: Well, Dave, just what did you do on your vacation?
One thing I did was to read books like they were going out of style. Here is my library list for the past two weeks:
- I finished up Christopher Hitchens' George III.
- As a follow-up, I read David Saul's Prince of Pleasure, a biography of George IV. Interesting book, but there was some underlying tension: Saul doesn't like Tories very much, but at the same time has to admit that the Regent and most of his Whiggish set were a bunch of shits as well. The only person who comes out of the whole sordid story of Georgie-Porgie half-way decently is Mrs. Fitzherbert, and she strikes me as a fool.
- I read the first volume of Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples. First rate. Winnie combines a beautifully crisp and clear narrative style with solid insight. It's all I can do to prevent myself from skipping the rest of this set and going straight to his history of WWII.
- Just for laughs, I re-read Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. I am increasingly convinced that his writing is the sort of stuff that is thought clever only by smart-ass teenagers.
- Really just for laughs, I re-read Harold Robbins' The Betsy. (It's kind of a tradition with me - there's an old copy at the cottage and I've got in the habit of reading it every time I go up there.) If ever we started a blog about Truly Bad Books, I'm sure this one would be right up there in the Top Ten. Even the smut is, well, uninspired.
- For genuine chuckles, I re-read Wodehouse's The Code of the Woosters, one of my favorite Bertie & Jeeves novels.
- Finally, the Gods smiled down and, via my in-laws, gave me a copy of Victor David Hanson's Ripples of Battle. I'm about half-way through his assessment of the Battle of Shiloh and its effect on the character and outlook of W.T. Sherman. I don't call VDH "incomperable" for nothing.
The Missus (bless her) also picked up a couple of new books for my collection from the Southhampton Library sale. First were a couple of books from the Heart of Oak Sea Classics series. One is James Norman Hall's Doctor Dogbody's Leg - a collection of 18th Century seafaring short stories. I don't know anything about it and am eager to take a dekko. The other is James Fenimore Cooper's The Wing-and-Wing. I'm a bit dubious about this one. Not only is Cooper a santimonious blowhard, he's a bloody boring sanctimonious blowhard. I often suspect that the writers on M*A*S*H who always used to go on about how wonderful it was that Hawkeye was named after the hero of The Last of the Mohicans never actually read it.
What else? She also cagged Antonia Fraser's Royal Charles, a biography of Charles II. My mother has a copy that I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to steal for years. Now I won't have to. One of my goals for this fall is to read her biography of Oliver Cromwell and then this one.
Finally, she dug up a short early novel by John Mortimer (of Rumpole fame) called Like Men Betrayed, a story of a lawyer's plunge into the seedier side of London in the 50's to find out what his estranged son is up to. Mortimer is, to me, a hit-or-miss kind of author. We'll see which category this one goes in.
So there you have it.
Yes, indeed! And a big ol' Llama Yip! Yip! Yip! to you all out there. I just flew in from the Coast and boy are my arms tired. (Ed. - Knock it off right now. Okay, okay.)
We had a fantastically relaxing vacation - just loafing about at the beach house, not doing much of anything and not paying any attention to the outside world. No tee-vee, no newspapers, no on-line access. I haven't the faintest idea what's going on in the world except that John Kerry has picked a fight with those Swift Boat guys that I'll bet he's already regretting.
I also have to say honestly that I barely ever thought about blogging the entire time I was out at the shore. I suppose this is a good thing, a sign that I have not been entirely assimilated by this pasttime. On the other hand, I feel a bit overwhelmed now, trying to figure out whether and how I should catch up on nearly two weeks' worth of reading, to say nothing of getting acquainted with our new digs. The next couple of days are probably going to be a bit, well, ragged, as I get back into the swing of things.
In the meantime, hearty thanks go out to Steve-O for piloting the move to the new digs and making sure folks had plenty of helpings of fresh Llama goodness while I was away. The one time I took a peak at things this week was when we had a movie night for the kids at our next door neighbors at the beach. Whilst all the young'uns were watching Shrek, I showed the grown-ups the new site. As I was dialing up, I tried to explain a bit about what blogs are. When the page loaded, the first thing they saw was Steve-O's photoshop of Rosie O'Donnell in Apocalypse Now. The look of alarum and confusion on the face of my host (a New York judge) was priceless.
Heh, as they say, indeed.
Friday afternoon political fix
Here's the link to the newest SwiftBoat Vets ad, which zeroes in on Kerry's testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committe in April 1971. I've often thought that this is a much more effective line than the whole medals issue.
Both links pirated from our old friend INDC Bill: now here's your chance to pay Bill back. He's heading off to NYC for the Republican National Convention as an Official BlogMan/Cabana Boy, and hey, batteries and hookers are expensive in the big city. So follow the link over to Bill's where he's raising money for a new laptop.
It's only 7:56 AM, and we already have our GOOGLE BLING-BLING (TM) Bizarre Search of the Day Winner!
Someone came to our site early this morning via the search "Reese Witherspoon Naked."
Dude--she's a mom!
Here's our promise to you, our reader (and by that I mean Rob's mom): we will NEVER feature naked or nekkid pictures pics of Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron, female Olympic swimmers, volleyballers, or soccer players. Naked pictures found at Llamabutchers, you ask? Not going to be found.
Well, maybe Margaret Thatcher dressed as "Electro-woman" and Condi as "Dyna-girl" but hey, that's the way we Neo-Khans are.
Anyhoo, in honor of this week's winner, here's my latest attempt to completely chum the Google waters:
Phom Phen Sean Penn wet hen uses phen phen michael phelps puppy whelps strangles chickens demi: older than slim pickens yes john kerry there's a santa claus and sometimes he visits cambodia jerry nadler ate michael moore and now he's going to explod-ia jingle bells batman smells catwoman laid an egg swift boat vets boinked their pets now cha-chi ran away
illuminati mahdi mcgreevey luvs moqtada buying him prada oh where have you gone steve forbes new jersey turns its lonesome eyes to you, woo-hoo-hoo, what's that you say christie todd back from obscurity will you plod ooo-ooo-oooh, woo hoo hoo
margaret thatcher terri hatcher naked/nekkid pics of the former not the latter jeane kirkpatrick performing a hat trick allen iverson sucks feta iraqi soccer is better katie couric skank republican platform plank worst movie of all time? tank! olsen twins losing season for the fins terry mac spins dubya wins algore Navigator speeding in the polls we are leading alligator wrasslin' Charlton Heston "abutabutaehhhhh....that's all folks!"
What the Dems are telling their friends abroad
In an interesting article in the Guardian about the end of the affair between the American Democratic Party and Tony Blair, this gem:
America is polarised between red and blue - or, as some Democrats whisper, between progressive America and a revived Confederacy.
This from the party that nearly took the plunge with the greatest metrosexual since George Pickett.
The Swift Boat Vets Break Through
In the IHT no less.
Of course, it's all an evil Republican plot. And no answers about where exactly young Lt. JG Kerry was on December 24, 1968.....
(A private message to Senator McCain, who we know is a regular reader: So, still think 527 Committees are a great idea?)
The Arab News Reviews the Olympics
and the result is rather predictable: security issues are way overblown because of American fear-mongering, and oh those trashy and despicable beach volleyballers!
How did they describe the massacre of Israeli athletes by Yassir Arafat's thugs at the 1972 Munich Games:
Visions of a terrorist attack on the Olympic village, a la Palestinian strike at the 1972 Munich games, must have danced through the heads of Greek security officials.
Unfortunately for the Saudis, antisemitism isn't an Olympic event, otherwise they'd bring home gold for the Team event (Men's only, of course), not to mention the Overall Competition as well as the individual events.
No mention in the article of course about the Iranian athlete who refused to compete against an Israeli in Judo---surely for fear of losing. And you'd have to know it was fixed, the Arab News would say, because after all:"what's the name of the sport? I tell you, their influence is everywhere!" Cowards.
No mention of course also about the sad and pathetic exclusion of women athletes from their country as well.
What's Chomsky going to say about this one? Let's see....ummmm...preemption's okay if it's America's sorry ass being preempted, yeah, THAT'S the ticket!
Iran threatens strikes against American forces in Iraq.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
In a marked escalation of a war of words between Iran and its arch-enemies Israel and the US, Tehran has for the first time threatened a preemptive strike against US troops in the region.
"We will not sit [with arms folded] to wait for what others will do to us," Iran's defence minister, Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera TV yesterday when asked if Iran would respond to a US attack on its nuclear facilities.
"Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly.
"America is not the only one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Kandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the Gulf and we can be present in Iraq," said Shamkhani.
An exchange of threats between Israel and Iran in recent weeks has led to speculation of a repeat of Israel's strike against Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osirak in 1981.
But analysts say such an attack is unlikely because of sensitivity to the US position in Iraq and the fact that Iran's nuclear facilities are scattered around the country.
Asked about the possibility of an American or Israeli strike against Iran's atomic power plant being built in Bushehr, Shamkhani added: "We will consider any strike against our nuclear installations as an attack on Iran as a whole, and we will retaliate with all our strength.
"Where Israel is concerned, we have no doubt that it is an evil entity, and it will not be able to launch any military operation without an American green light. You cannot separate the two.
"The US military presence [in Iraq] will not become an element of strength [for Washington] at our expense. The opposite is true, because their forces would turn into a hostage" in Iranian hands in the event of an attack, he said.
Earlier in the week, a commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying that Tehran would strike the Israeli reactor at Dimona if Israel attacked the Islamic republic's own burgeoning nuclear facilities.
"If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear centre, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons, and Israel would be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move," General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr warned.
Iran's controversial bid to generate nuclear power at Bushehr is seen by arch-enemies Israel and the United States as a cover for nuclear weapons development.
Iran insists that its nuclear intentions are peaceful, while pointing at its enemy's alleged nuclear arsenal, which Israel neither confirms nor denies possessing.
Shamkhani also warned that Iran would consider itself no longer bound by its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the event of an attack.
"The execution of such threats [to attack Iran's nuclear installations] would mean that our cooperation with the IAEA had led to feeding information about our nuclear facilities to the attacking side, which [in turn] means that we would no longer be bound by any of our obligations" to the nuclear watchdog, he said.
Hmmmmm.....America? Hostage to Iran? Now where could he have gotten that idea? Oh, right, the Democratic National Convention, Day One:
Allahpundit's not going to like this one, bu I think I know what Tricky Dick would do to a threat like that:
Prediction? Iran declares its nuclear capabilities before 9/11/04. Of course, not to get all VDH in your face, but the Persians might want to reflect on the last time they really pissed off a democracy...
Fame's a bitch, Muqtada
One week, the jihab set can't get enough of your wild exhortations for martyrdom
the next week you're picking buckshot out of your ass playing "fetch" on a leash for Pfc. Ratchet, and your old posse is on to some new jihad wannabe who you swear used to be the lead singer of Deathtongue
Somehow, though, I have a feeling Ayatollah Bill will be easier for Allawi and all to negotiate with, providing they can come up with the Tender Vittles, Paris Hilton porn, and a few metric tons of Brazilian cocaine.
Najaf, Muqtada, and November 20, 1979
The next time you hear a lefty bemoaning--bewailing--that the US is desecrating one of the holiest sites in Islam with military action, remind them of November 20, 1979. November 20, 1979, you ask? As usual, A-double-lizzle has a long memory, suited to his role as ominiscient supreme being of the blogosphere.
1979---the year of Khomeni, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and this milestone event. All orchestrated by a then-drunk George Bush and a Karl Rove so manipulative, so evil, that he could influence events half way around the world from his job as night manager of the Piggly-Wiggly in Austin. Suspicious timing, indeed...
Somewhere down on my to-do list is go find Francis Fukayama and give his "End of History" head a couple of good swirlies in the toilet.
One last word: do you think Muqtada's read Dune one too many times? Mehdi Army, my divinely directed ass.
Allahpundit links to a review of Yossef Bodansky's Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America
Soon Islamist youth in Egypt and elsewhere had forceful proof of the righteousness of their cause. On February 1, 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran, overthrew the shah, and established the Islamic Republic. Throughout the Muslim world the masses celebrated the success of Khomeini's Islamic Revolution as the triumph of Islam over the United States and the West. The Islamic Revolution became a source of pride and envy to all Muslims, as well as living proof that local rulers could be over-thrown by Islamist forces. The impact of Iran was strong in Egypt because Sadat invited the deposed shah to take shelter there, a flagrant affront to the sentiments of most of the population.
The radical Shiite movement was the force behind the Iranian Revolution, and its development in Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq was almost simultaneous to and paralleled the evolution of Sunni revivalism in Egypt. By the late 1970s the philosophy of the revolutionary Shiite thinkers, as expressed in their writings, was very similar to that of the radical Sunni standard-bearers. Their approach to the diagnosis and cure of contemporary problems and their emphasis on the singular importance of confrontation and struggle were virtually identical. Saudi Arabia, in the middle, was exposed to the mounting Islamist fervor.
Saudi Arabia was the first of the traditionalist conservative states to erupt in Islamist violence. On November 20, 1979, the Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized by a well-organized group of 1,300 to 1,500 men under the leadership of Juhayman ibn-Muhammad ibn-Sayf al-Utaibi. A former captain in the White Guards (National Guard), he now declared himself a "mahdi" (messiah). In addition to the Saudis the group's core included well-trained mujahideen (Islamic holy warriors) from Egypt, Kuwait, Sudan, Iraq, North Yemen (the YAR), and South Yemen (the PDRY). Egyptian and Soviet sources estimated the total number of rebels to be 3,500. Although the assault was in the name of the return to the purity of Islam, most of the 500 leading attackers had been trained and equipped in Libya and especially South Yemen by instructors from East Germany, Cuba, and the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). These attackers included Communists in command positions who demonstrated excel-lent organizational and tactical skills. Furthermore, fifty-nine of the participating Yemenis had been trained in Iran and received weapons via the Iranian Embassy in Sana.
During the preparations for the assault Juhayman's men had recruited several members of the elite White Guards and received active support in the smuggling of weapons and equipment into Saudi Arabia and the mosque itself. A White Guards colonel was among the senior instigators of the plot and organized the smuggling of the automatic weapons, provisions, and supplies into the mosque. The bulk of the weapons used had been brought from South Yemen over a lengthy period. The rebels also smuggled in huge quantities of food and drinking water to supply them-selves and their supporters for a long siege.
On November 20, after a brief firefight to secure control of the Qaaba (the center of the Grand Mosque complex, containing the holiest shrine of Islam), Juhayman addressed the crowd of trapped pilgrims and asked for their support. Sermons and discussions of corruption, wastefulness, and the pro-Western stance of the Saudi royal family quickly gained the rebels widespread support among the worshipers. Before long most of the 6,000 pilgrims taken hostage asked to be issued arms so that they could join the revolt. Juhayman's sermons gained sympathy even among the leftist and quasi-Marxist students. News of Juhayman's sermons incited militant mobs throughout Saudi Arabia to storm local mosques and government posts. Latent subversive elements came to life as almost simultaneously with the seizure of the Qaaba a series of bombs exploded in places sensitive to the royal family in Mecca, Medina, Jeddah, and Riyadh. Among these targets were palaces, personal and official offices, and businesses.
Initially the White Guards reacted chaotically to the attack and suffered a humiliating defeat. Moreover, growing discontent in the ranks of the Saudi elite units led the royal family to fear that even they might rebel. The Saudi security forces settled for a siege of the mosque that lasted about two weeks. In the end the rebellion was only subdued by a special detachment of French paramilitary special forces, antiterrorist experts who used stun grenades and chemical weapons.
The uprising in Mecca shook the world of accepted norms in Saudi Arabia. The grievances raised by Juhayman echoed throughout Saudi Arabia, being whispered about in closed meetings. In intellectual circles his arguments made people stop and think about Islam and the society they were living in. A thinking and well-read individual, Osama bin Laden was influenced by the social issues Juhayman raised. But although the crisis of November 1979 reinforced bin Laden's conviction that only an Islamic government could shield Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world from the evils of encroaching Westernization, he remained a loyal subject of King Fahd and the House of al-Saud.
OSAMA BIN LADEN' S WORLD, like that of most Muslims worldwide, was jolted in the last days of 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. In the late 1970s Afghanistan -- a desolate and backward landlocked country -- was ruled by a Soviet-sponsored Communist government being challenged by Pakistani-sponsored Islamist subversion. With the Communist regime increasingly unstable, the Soviet armed forces marched into Afghanistan, occupied the country's strategic infrastructure, assassinated the president, and replaced him with a docile Soviet puppet. They also began a systematic campaign to suppress the Islamist subversion.
The Soviet invasion was the first time since World War II that non-Muslim forces had occupied a Muslim country -- and these were anti-Islamic Communists to boot. Little wonder that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the last days of 1979 shocked the entire Muslim world to its core. The occupation of a Muslim state by Communist forces insulted the most basic sensitivities of Islam. But however immense the shock and however great the condemnation by the Arab states, little was actually done.
August 19, 2004
More drop cloth stuff & some random observations about the week
How's that? Margins, font scroll, etc? For some reason that I can't fathom now, on IE the whole text is bold. At this point, whatever.
Busy day today---I had a meeting with our idiot car salesman. Seriously, if you give me the "Well, what do you think is a fair price for me?" question, I'm just walking out. Every. Effing. Time. Frankly, I don't care if it means you have to eat mac and cheese for the next year, bub, but based on your tan and the watch on your wrist, I don't think you're hurting. I mean, seriously, you'd think every car salesman in North America would have seen Fargo by now and recognized, "hey, I'm going to lose business if I act like Jerry Lundgarten." Sheesh.
UPDATE: I just want to give a mega "YIP! YIP! YIP!" to our old blog friend John Lanius at TexasBestGrok for all his help and support to the Llamas over the year, but certainly in the past week helping us make the MT move. Some of our old friends--who shall go nameless--saw it as an opportunity just to bitch and snicker, but John came through---thanks buddy!
This has been a flat news week for me: it's not like there aren't good and juicy stories (like the US redeploying 1st Armored and the Big Red One out of Germany), it's just that for some reason the whole Kerry "Christmas in Cambodia" story has just gotten very old for me. It's a real story, for sure---a real story about disparate treatment of candidates by the professional political media, and certainly a real storyif it turns out that the core of Kerry's Vietnam experience that he's used as a club over the years turns out to be false. Still, after some preliminary jokes (like this and this) I don't have anything to say about it, and less interest in reading about it.
Over the coming days I'm pushing through the final spurt on my paper on Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, a particularly depressing Indian law case from 1903. It's the core of the third chapter of the book, which looks at the history of American Indian law to show the development of American federalism and citizenship, and the rise to power of the Supreme Court, and its probably why I've been preoccupied as of late.
On a cheery note, though, my five and half year old son has fallen completely in love with the Olympic sport of........women's beach volleyball. Heh. (Meanwhile, my 7 1/2 year old daughter, who did her first season of competitive swimming this summer, is completely enamored of "Phelpsie," as she calls Michael Phelps. I'm just happy that the Olympic Punk level has been relatively low--but then again, Gary Hall Jr. goes tomorrow night, so the Punk-ometer is going to redline.
I'm looking forward for Rob's return---I hope he likes what we've done to the place.
Style Issues and Sawdust, Part Deux-Deux-Deux
A good friend of the llamas is taking a look at our code to try to figure out why on IE the right margin is wacky and in firefox it's all bolluxed up. Thanks for your patience as we figure out this new MT stuff.
Also, for some reason we seem to have dropped completely off the TLLB system. Grrrrrrrr.......this transition has been more of a pain than anything.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
August 18, 2004
Just and Unjust Wars, and some Llama-Razzing
Jeff over at Beautiful Atrocities has an excellent review of Michael Walzer's new book out about the Iraq War.
The funny thing is, I found Jeff's site via sitemeter, as he linked to us razzing us about moving to the evil collective that is moo.knew. I hadn't seen his site before, and it's absolutely fabulous, elegantly laid out, lots of quirky little pshops, and it's going on our blogroll. That's the funny thing about razzing....
UPDATE: Scroll down for his quiz on whether you are the laziest person on the planet. The sad thing is that I have indeed had croutons for breakfast......
UPDATE PART DEUX: Jeff has a little thing for his original razzing showing a scientist being strangled by a vicious looking alien, symbolizing what would happen to us unsuspecting llamas by Pixy Misa. Of course, the REAL picture is closer to this:
The Justice Files
Her motivation? He was beating her with a large stick because someone in the family bought a color tee-vee.
He became enraged and started cursing everyone in the house, then insulted the defendant and grabbed a wooden stick and attempted to hit her with it but she stopped him.
He then started cursing his wife and blaming her for her daughter's “ill-manners,” court transcripts added.
During that time, the court added, Fadia got hold of a meat cleaver that was in the room and struck her father once in the back of the head.
Were's COPS when you need them?
For "standoff" insert "Muqtada's imminent arrival in hell."
Let's go to the tape:
The radical Shiite preacher Moqtada al-Sadr has invited the Pope to help solve the conflict between his militia and US-led Iraqi government forces in the holy city of Najaf.
"We welcome the offer from the Pope at the Vatican and we invite him to solve the crisis," a Sadr spokesman, Ahmed al-Shaibani, said yesterday.
The Vatican offered on Monday to mediate to avoid further bloodshed and destruction in Najaf, where Sadr's militia are holed up in the centre of the city around the Imam Ali shrine, one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam.
"If asked, John Paul II would gladly accept a mediation role," the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, told Italian public radio.
Intense fighting broke out again yesterday between US-led forces and militants in Najaf, while in Baghdad insurgents fired mortar bombs into a crowded street near a police station, killing at least seven people and wounding 42, the Interior Ministry said.
Heavy gunfire and mortar bombs boomed around the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf as 70 political and religious delegates from a national conference in Baghdad were due to arrive to meet Sadr and urge him to leave.
The convoy delayed travelling to the city amid security fears. "We received reports that there would be ambushes on the way to Najaf targeting the delegation," said Fawzi Hamza, an independent politician leading the team.
He said the mission had not been cancelled, adding that for security reasons he could not say when the team would leave. The delegation intends to present Sadr and his forces with a list of demands: leave the shrine, disarm and join the political process.
In exchange, Sadr and members of his Mahdi Army militia will receive amnesty and safe passage out of the shrine.
Although Sadr has agreed to meet the delegation, there are no signs that he would abandon his fight to drive US forces out of Iraq - one he has vowed to pursue until "victory or martyrdom".
All I know is that THIS guy is going to have a field day with this.
I'm speechless....well, almost.
The TOP TEN REASONS MUQTADA AL-SADR WANTS THE POPE TO MEDIATE IN NAJAF:
10. Jonesing for a ride in the Popemobile
9. Needs some spiritual guidance after getting all confused reading "Angels and Demons"
8. Wants to personally issue a fatwah against "The DaVinci Code"
7. Is hoping the Pope can get him Reese Whitherspoon's home phone number
6. "John Paul? I told you to get me Sean John, you son of a camel!"
5. Heard the one about the Pope, Hillary Clinton, and Ariel Sharon in a plane with two parachutes and a backpack, and wanted to know if it was true
4. Wants to congratulate the Pope on his brave stand against feminism in the modern world, and maybe after that catch a little Olympic beach volleyball on the Pope's plasma wide-screen
3. Got a funny feeling in his pants watching the Sound of Music and needs forgiveness
2. "Seriously, Achmed---he's the Pope! And all those infidel American Catholics do everything the Pope tells them to!"
And the number one reason Muqtada al-Sadr is inviting the Pope to Najaf
1. It's a plot by Bushitlermcsmirkychimp and his evil Sith Masters as Harkenbechtelhalliburton to steal the election!
UPDATE: Quite possible the most offensive thing I've ever done goes into the extended entry section....
Interesting Economic News from Europe
One of the standard lines I get at work from my colleagues is about how "unfair" and "structurally misguided" our economy--and therefore our society--is, and how we need to shape our economy to be more like Europe.
Because, of course, a PhD in the humanities gives you keen insight to be a critic of economic policy.
So, just to be a pain, I'm forwarding this article from the IHT to a couple of my usual sparring partners, and it should be enough to get them to gag over their falafel and biscotti:
From the IHT:
When it comes to the economy, Europeans are worried. Growth may be good this year, but neither politicians, nor business executives nor consumers appear to have much confidence that the good news can last. If there is a crisis, it may be as much psychological as economic.
Perhaps the most revealing illustration of official pessimism came in France this year, after President Jacques Chirac's party suffered a humiliating rebuff in local elections.
Under pressure to shake up his government, Chirac moved the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, to the finance ministry.
Sarkozy was widely perceived to be the most popular politician in Chirac's party, but he was also seen as a rival to Chirac if the president seeks a third term in 2007.
The move was seen as an effort to put Sarkozy in a post where his popularity was bound to atrophy. It may not have been Chirac's best move.
In office, Sarkozy has steered a complicated course of talking of reform, including efforts to increase working hours in France, while also pushing through a state bailout of Alstom, the large engineering firm, and blasting German companies that have threatened to move operations out of Europe if workers did not agree to longer hours.
His popularity does not appear to have fallen, and Chirac now seems to be trying to force Sarkozy to leave the government.
But the fact that Chirac saw the finance portfolio as a way to dent his rival's appeal to voters reflected a reality of Europe, circa 2004.
The economic medicine widely prescribed for the major countries of Western Europe is fraught with political perils.
It calls for forcing through reforms that will reduce public pensions in the future, making people work longer before they retire and then get lower pensions when they do.
It also calls for making labor markets more "flexible" - that is, making it easier to fire workers.
Asked recently how he expected politicians to push through such measures, one European corporate leader, speaking on condition he not be quoted, painted a picture of governments enacting unpopular but needed reforms before being voted out of office. Then their successors could pass more reforms before they, too, felt the wrath of voters. He conceded that such a plan might not appeal to politicians.
The western European countries---in particular France and Germany--are in trouble. Ever heard that somewhat dirty joke whose punchline is, "Sorry, Saturday's your night in the barrel" ? Well, France and Germany's time in the barrel is about to begin. The article continues:
The causes of concern in Europe are basically that it has not kept up with the United States in terms of growth and that there is a demographic time bomb on the horizon, as an aging generation retires while expecting benefits that are far more generous than governments will be able to afford, in part because working populations are likely to shrink. . The newly expanded European Union, which now has 25 members, boasts that it has a larger economy than that of the United States. But the prevailing attitude about the new members from Eastern Europe appears to be fear. Many of the old members have delayed the day when workers from those countries will be allowed to emigrate to other parts of Europe. The new members themselves are seen as threats to export cheap goods and take jobs away. .
All bad news? Hardly: this is the IHT afterall.
But amid the gloom, there are signs of success. European economies are on track to grow reasonably well this year, even if they are trailing the United States and much of Asia. European productivity growth has trailed that of the United States, but the gap narrows substantially when expressed in terms of hours worked. It can be argued that the difference reflects a quite reasonable preference for leisure over additional income. No doubt that is true for some, but many of the persistently unemployed in Europe would no doubt prefer less leisure and more income.
The demographic horror story - in which the structure crumbles because there are too few workers being forced to pay taxes to support too many retirees - may be oversold. There is an ample supply of extra workers available via immigration, and while there is great reluctance to let them in, and more than a little discrimination against hiring those that are already in Europe, that can be seen as an untapped resource.
Here's the problem with their silver lining: how long can you continue to trade leisure for income without seriously constraining your ability to create new income? I'd much rather emphasize long term income growth, and take a smaller percentage of leisure as a function of income if income would continue to grow over time. And their breezy reliance on "extra workers" is the demographic horror story, as long as immigrants are not encourage to assimilate, as increasingly the problem on the continent. Headscarves, Jacques?
A number of blogs that I like have been noting a similar mid-August blog ennui--Ted has a hilarious post to that point. Maybe the answer is some sort of decadent 1970s-esque blog-swingers thing, where we get a group of naughty blog neighbors together and toss our keys in a bowl and swing into each others blogs for a couple of days to spice things up a little. Kind of like a group guest-blogging thing. Just a thought--anyone interested?
I'll be heading down to the "Jungle Room" myself....
Sawdust/Style Issues, Part Deux-Deux
Our regulars seem to have followed us over, as traffic is about where it normally is as of late, but our TLLB thing-ee is screwed up at the moment as they are processing our new address, I guess. For the life of me, I can't really figure out how their whole process works; but then again, I guess that's good, because if I understood it, I'd try to mess with it to artificially inflate. As if doping scandals are unknown in the blogosphere!
One reader reports that the site loads screwy with firefox: I'm unfamiliar with that browser (I know what it is, but don't have it on my machine), and would appreciate it if anyone had any advice or suggestions.
The big tweaks to come over the next day or so are with the widths of the two columns, the left and the center. Eventually, I want to add a right hand column for additional links and stuff.
I'm hoping that in another day or so the whole MT format will seem less novel to me and I can settle into normal blogging posture. The past couple of days have been kind of weird because I'm feeling very self-conscious about posting, and therefore haven't been hitting the rythym I like. I think having Rob back from vacation will help with that. I also think I'm going to steal a page from the Commissar's playbook and bring in a guest blogger or two the next time one or both of us is on vacation.
August 17, 2004
Hopefully they won't be running a "H.H. Holmes Bulk Special"
The Chicago Sun-Times announces Costco is now selling caskets.
End the Occupation, of, er, Germany
The Arab News has an interesting piece on the Bush/Rumsfeld plan to bring the 1st Armored and 1st Infantry home from Germany. For the Arab News, it was surprisingly balanced (ie no nefarious references to Paul Wolfowitz and Ariel Sharon).
The key quote came at the end:
It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out in the election. From a force projection perspective, it seems to make sense but then again I'm not a professional in that field so I really don't know. My hunch is that it helps counter the "overstretch" argument, by freeing up our deployment basis away from precedent and inertia towards what's really necessary. In many ways it's not so radical, really the logical corollary to the base closing rounds domestically a decade ago. In many ways it's long overdue.
But I think the political effect of this is real at home and abroad: at home, it's a not so gentle reminder that American democratization abroad can and does work, as Germany, Japan, and South Korea can attest to. It also underscores the idiocy of the "There isn't a fully functioning civil society in Iraq yet? Then it's all a failure!" point of view. Sure there are serious questions about sustaining a democracy with the deep religious issues that Iraq has, but there were also probably greater concerns over whether Japan's religious culture after WW2 could handle democracy. I think the "Arabs can't handle democracy" argument put forward by the left is a thinly veiled racism, to be perfectly honest.
But the greatest political effect it will have is on the wacky left at home, gearing up for their mass demonstrations in NYC at the end of the month. Bring the troops home, eh? Be careful what you wish for.
Abroad, the be careful what you wish for effect is multiplied. I'd have paid serious euros to see the look on Herr Fischer's face when this news was delivered to them. It's time for Europe--and by that, I mean France, Germany, and Belgium--to start carrying their own bags.
Who's the biggest punk of the Olympics?
Sure, it's only been three days, but I think it's time to open nominations for the official "Llamabutchers Gold Medal Olympic Punk."
The categories are male athlete, female athlete, promoter/agent, and sportswriter/broadcaster.
We'll have medals for the first and second week, and then a special bonus round for the OVERALL Olympic punks.
By punks, of course, I mean a special combination of surliness, boorishness, and bad behavior. DQ'ed as anything that's the result of really charged up people doing something in the heat of the moment: this is the Olympics, folks, and only world class punk-ness counts for a medal. Remember, you don't win silver in the Olympic Punk Contest---you lose gold!
So without further ado, here's my nominations so far: feel free to leave your nominations in the comments section, or by proxy on your blog (be sure to send me the link). Results will be announced Sunday, with suitable Llama-style snarkiness.
Male Olympic Punk:
Allen Iverson, for giving standard NBA blase "where be my bitches?" excuses for getting their asses handed to them by Puerto Rico, which isn't even a separate country.
Gary Hall Jr., for all-around lifetime achievement as a punk, and for pulling an Achilles and sulking in his tent because he didn't get on the relay team.
Ian Thorpe, for claiming the mantel of best swimmer in the world while only swimming the freestyle. Dolphin kick this, you Aussie pantload.
Female Olympic Punk:
So far, this one is open---suggestions?
Whomever is responsible for the all-Phelps, all the time madness. Just stop it. Not his fault--he's holding up well. But jeez-louise, no!
Broadcaster/Journalist Olympic Punk:
The Washington Post sportswriter (I'll have to dig up the piece later) who tried to link America losing the 4X100 swim relay to Abu Grahib. Dick.
Special Achievement Olympic Punk medal will go to the Athens organizers who bitched and moaned eight years ago about how dreadfully tacky and crowded the Atlanta Games were (guilty on both counts), and proceeded to develop and put on an elegantly unfinished and empty set of games. Way to go, guys!
I know I speak for many Americans when I say my heart is hanging out there for the real dream team: go Iraqi Soccer!!!!
Now here's a contest worth fighting for
The Crack Young Staff at the HMQ want to know, "what's the worst pop lyric of all time?"
I mean, the absolute worst of all time?
Somehow, I've got a feeling either Air Supply or John Cougar Mellencamp are coming home with the bacon on this one...
Style Issues, Part Deux
Thanks for the font size and link color feedback--I think we're going to go with this combo for right now.
The biggest issue seems to be the the right margin. A little later I'm going to go through the MT syntax stuff to figure out how to fix it, but if anyone is open to suggestions or quick fixes, please let me know.
The new logo is also open to debate. Rob's not back yet, and I'm sure he'll have something to add. Basically, we're NOT going for a slasher-flick look: if anything, we're trying to go for the butcher's shop/deli look (hence the whole menu schtick), which feeds in to our age old quandry/mystery---are we serving up llama meat, or are we crazed llamas weilding cleavers? I've always favored the latter, but that's just me, Mr. Vegas).
Anyhoo, far from being slasher-esque, the cleaver jpegs I lifted from the Williams-Sonoma website (although, if you think about it, a much better setting for Alien v. Predator v. Jason v. Freddy would be a giant Bed, Bath & Beyond/Williams Sonoma/Pottery Barn outlet, no? I mean, just for the look of shock on the Alien queen's face as the Predator hurls her bony butt into a giant display of Calphalon cookware comes crashing down on her giant head, one frying pan at a time, all the while Jason and Freddy shred their way through the bedding and fancy linens section. Think of the anarchy as all the yuppie khaki wearing fancy boys and girls running away, screaming, dropping their $6.57 Smoothie King pineapple pleasure smoothies on the floor! It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it...but I digress) So the new logo is trying to project a smoother, more antiseptic look. But I also did one where I inserted the wise-ass llama head (the one with the Risky Business shades and the cigarette) into a Dog's Playing Poker motif (as well as one where I inserted the Llama head onto the body of Aristotle in the School of Athens picture, but that one was too scatalogical even for me....)
Anyhoo, the point is let us know what you'd like to see. Hopefully, over the next week or so we'll settle back into a new groove, what with learning how to tweak CSS templates and all, plus Rob starting a new job, me finishing up a big conference paper, the semester starting back up next week, new car shopping done with, and all the attendent fun of Llama Version 4.0 on the way....
UPDATE: How's that for the right margin--better? Does it need to come in more?
UPDATE DEUX: I'm cribbing my CSS codes from this site, which is generally excellent in these things.
August 16, 2004
Tainted Bill: Up Close and Personal
Sick and tired of the Olympics coverage already? Then Tainted Bill is the place for you--one stop shopping for USA Men's Olympic Basketball mocking and boorish swimmer dunking.
Movies I think I'll skip
The horror...the horror....
Although I do have to admit the prospect of Rosie O'Donnell playing Kurtz is a whole lot better than, say, Rosie O'Donnell as an undercover cop at an S & M Resort.
I know we're partisan pshop hitmen in service to our Dark Sith Lord Dick Cheney, but hey, I'm also a dedicated political scientist, and, well, as a believer in the Madisonian basis of our system I think fair is fair and when you've got something to help the other guys, well, you have a duty to let the truth come out.
Hugh Hewitt lays down the gauntlet and asks for proof--any proof, whatsoever--to back up John Kerry's rapidly fraying stories about his exploits in Cambodia during Vietnam. After basing his entire candidacy on the four months he spent "in country," and demanding his opponents to BRING. IT. ON., the question of Mr. Kerry's service in Vietnam becomes a real issue: not just his service in the Dukakis administration, or twenty years in the Senate slashing defense and intelligence budgets.
So the question of "Was John Kerry really in Cambodia on Christmas?" has become a real issue. This is part of his story that he's used as a partisan club again and again.
Now Hugh asks for proof, and fortunately through some connections we have at the Bartlett Presidential Library (okay, I caddied for Toby once) we have the proof:
The first picture is a little grainy, showing future President Bartlett standing watch on the bow of a Swift Boat as it enters Cambodia:
When you enlarge the picture, sure enough, there's Lt. JG Kerry at the wheel:
And you know, because of the jaunty chapeau, it must be Christmas!
So, Hugh, I think we all need to give a big apology to Mr. Kerry for doubting his veracity.
UPDATE: Dean Esmay (over on the Queen of All Evil's site) notes that the clock is starting to tick on this story...
The crack young staff at the Hatemongers Quarterly encounter a wimminist moving company. Hilarity ensues.
Book meme of the morning
Big Stupid Tommy (who, we should note for the record is neither big, nor stupid, and whose name is actually "Chuck") floats the question as to movies that were better than the book.
Now while I would definitely nominate THIS opus, I would have to say that "Field of Dreams" as a movie works a lot better than the book Shoeless Joe, which is actually more a collection of short stories with the same characters than a novel. The opening story--Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa--is still one of my favorite stories of all time, but the movie does a good job of making the fairy tale work by eliminating such characters as Ray's twin brother who works for a carnival.
Definitely what Al Gore had in mind when he invented the internet
And be sure to scroll up for the "Why did the US Mens Olympic Basket Ball Team cross the road?" ones.
It's taken me long enough, but I'm starting to get the hang of working with the stylesheet to get the look we want. Thanks for hanging with us during the move. And if you have any suggestions, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section below. Thanks.
Lenin + photoshop=fun
The Commissar has intercepted a new talking points memo to be circulated among the usual sources on the left explaining showing how the Swift Boat vets are making some traction.
My initial reaction on this story was that it was not a winner: that it made much more sense to hammer Kerry on his record as Lt. Governor with Dukakis and 20 years cutting the Defense Department to shreds in the Senate. But it is interesting how this is starting to gain some traction.
UPDATE: How did I miss this last week? Rusty Schackleford is guest blogging over at Politburo Diktat--way to go, Rusty!
This is what campaign finance laws create
Long time readers (ie Rob's mom) know my antipathy for campaign finance laws: I'm a Madisonian at heart, and I see the desire to rid politics of the dirty corruption of money as being a half-baked anti-federalist longing for the purity of the small republic. Aint going to work. Real campaign finance reform is freedom of information: let the candidates take whatever money they want in whatever quantity, but provide the means for the public to know exactly how much, where, when and how. That's the incentive to not take the wrong contributions, and it's beginning to have an effect.
The problem remains with the asinine laws we have in place at the moment, particularly the monstrosity that is McCain-Feingold. How fitting then that the first beneficiary on the Republican side of McCain's hard work on campaign finance is the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: Kevin at Wizbang has the details on how in their first week, they've raised almost 400 grand.
Whoa....TOO much information!
I know he's jonesing for publicity, but even I was taken aback a bit opening up the Washington Post yesterday looking for the latest pithy political commentary from Funky Winkerbean, only to have the cover of the Post Sunday magazine to come flopping onto the bathroom floor:
All I can say, is, congratulations Bill!
UPDATE: Celluloid Wisdom has the Top Nine suggested names for the Jessica Cutler Breakfast Cereal. Only read if you have your beverage sneeze guard installed over your monitor...
August 15, 2004
Somehow this new book isn't going to end up on Booknotes, but it's not like Brian Lamb needs it or something...
Follow the link over to Lawren's place, where she's back after fighting her way through the bar exam. Stop by to say howdy, and welcome her to the world of wearing and filing suits.
For. The. Love. Of. Gawd. NOOOOOO!
INDC Bill has the goods on the latest threat to the republic: an all-pundit edition of Big Brother.
Actually, I'd be in favor of an all-pundit version of Survivor: Devil's Island, just to see Chris Matthews in the black and white striped shirt/hat combo....