February 28, 2005
Harshing their mellow, dude
Lebanon moves one step closer to being freed from the ruthless occupation of Syria, and what are those patriotik klowns at Democratic Underground worried about?
Scroll, and savor their misery. Oh, the horror!
The Death of Europe
My money is still on the Netherlands as the first European country with sharia.
All right, Now I'm angry!
Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities seems to think it's fair to describe the one and only scrumptillyicious love muffin of all time and space as "Horse Faced."
As Bugs Bunny would say, This. Means. War.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Sigh. An excellent weekend took an abrupt turn for the worse last evening. As we got home from a party, I noticed that Jeeves the cat was moving very slowly and stiffly, that his breath was shallow and labored and that he was showing symptoms of gastro-intestinal bleeding. We took him off to the vet, who found that his lungs were full of fluid and that his pulse and blood-pressure were dropping off. The vet theorized that it was heart failure, an embolism or possibly a cancer of some sort. In any case, there really wasn't anything we could do so we had to put Jeeves down.
Poor old guy. As much as I complained about him, I'll miss that cat. Unfortunately, such things are part and parcel of pet ownership.
The Llama-ettes seem to be taking it pretty well. We told them this morning what had happened and, after much initial crying, the older ones comforted themselves with the thought that Jeeves was now with his brother Bertie in Heaven and was happy. (Bertie died a number of years ago, before any of the kids were born.) Taking advantage of the calming influence of that thought, we were able to explain that Jeeves had led a long and happy life, that he died peacefully and that these things are just part of Nature's cycle. While the gels are still sad about the business, I believe they understand, too.
Ah, parenthood. "It really has nothing to do with trying to make a child constantly happy. Instead, it has everything to do with helping them learn to deal with what Life throws at them. This morning was just such a lesson.
February 27, 2005
Damn, I didn't realize Media Matters had become That Powerful
Gosh, a week after shaking the very fabric and being of the vast right-wing conspiracy by bringing down our brightest star and most fervent hope Jeff Gannon, Oliver Willis and his merry band of intellectual/blogging/donkey-branded GODS turn up with direct access to the ear of the president!
Too bad it's the president of Russia.
I guess Vladimir's paying in Borscht-flavored Little Debbie Snack Cakes...
The face of the Demokratik Party
Check out DU'er #44 on the issue of Hillary Clinton being the nominee in Oh-Eight.
Party like it's 1989
CondiBlog--the blog dedicated to promoting all things Condi for President in Oh-Eight--plays with the theme that we were developing on Friday, that the Middle East is looking like it's going through it's 1989.
CondiBlog also plays a little Double Jeopardy with it all:
The State department individual in charge of Eastern Europe policy during the USSR collapse.
BEEP BEEP BEEP!
"Umm, who was Condi Rice?"
Shut your mouth!
UPDATE: Who did the assasination that got the movement against Syria's illegal occupation of Lebanon? Why, the source of all evil in the world, just ask those loyal patriotic Amerikkkans at Democratic Underground.
WAIT, DON'T ORDER NOW! Holocaust Denial and the charming sentiment to "leave those old Nazis alone" among those patriotic partisans of the left.
Liveblogging the Oscars, LLama style
Will there be a tribute to Ronald Reagan during the show tonight, and how will Chris Rock slap it around?
A bellicose nation awaits with baited breath.....
But you got to like a year when you get the film tribute to the Gipper, Rodney Dangerfield, Fay Wray, Jerry Orbach, Tony Randall, and Marlon Brando...
UPDATE: For the part I saw at the end, the plaintive cry to the fallen Ernesto Gueverra was a wee bit much. Commies aint cool: THIS is cool
So what do you think: Should "CHE ES MUERTO, MADRE-ORGLER!" be the official LLamabutchers Tee-shirt?
UPDATE DEUX: Sheila's commentary on the night is fabulous, as only Sheila can do.
Here's your dream job I was alluding to last night.
That's why we call him "Macktastic Rusty Wicked"
The My Pet Jawa Report: "Florida Schiavo Judge orders Vatican to remove Pope from Life Support."
Quote of the Day
From an officer in the Big Red One who has started the Iraqi Resistance Fighter section of the Darwin Awards:
The nine election day suicide bombers averaged about three victims each, a strike rate so bad that Allah might soon start rationing the virgins to show his displeasure," Harnden wrote.
100 Bottles of beer on the wall....
WSK with a different take on an old classic.
February 26, 2005
The LLama Lost Weekend
The LLamabutchers, circa 1990
I'm heading out in a bit for a little weekend getaway. The Butcher's Wife (Robbo's beloved betrothed, as differentiated from "The Dear One" aka Mrs. LLamabutcher) is in the all-time all-star spously hall of fame: she thought it would be a great idea to celebrate Robbo's XL birthday by sending Rob plus a bunch of his good for nothing college/law school friends to Vegas for the weekend.
What can I say, guys, she's a peach.
Anyhoo, for various scheduling and sectarian reasons, Vegas wasn't a possibility this winter (owing in no small part that if I left my wife at home with a one-month old and the three other hellions in the middle of winter to go to Vegas to hang out with the guys, let's just say all I'd need to buy would be a one-way ticket.....). Yeah, yeah, I can hear INDCent Bill, Gordo, and Jeff cackling. Hey, I admit it, I'm no fool.
So instead, we are heading back to the scene of the crime, so to speak, and are descending on Lexington, Virginia. Lexington and Vegas, yes they have much in common, mainly that:
1. They both exist on a map of the United States;
B. One can purchase gasoline and soda pop at all hours (at least if the Piggly Wiggly on West Main in Lex doesn't decide to close up early)
III. It's governed by mammals each with one stomach and a four chamber heart.
Other than that, not much else in common.
But a good time will be had for sure. Old guy stories will be told, feats of great strength, cunning, and testosterone will be invented, food and beverages will be consumed, and the lights will be out by the end of the second act of Matlock. And a good time will be had by all.
UPDATE: SUNDAY AFTERNOON:
Full posting will resume once the family of dwarves stops drilling for copper in my head.
Let's just that while what's in Vegas, stays in Vegas, what happens in Lexington, will get blabbed about online.
Let's just say we need all the regulars to email Rob by saying, and I quote, "Yo, hoochie-mama!"
YIPS! from Robbo: This is how these things get out of hand. Let me just say that Hootchie-Mama was, in fact, scoping the whole table, not just me. Also, the fact that I would even be on the list of possible targets, while extremely flattering, is also rather sad, smacking as it does of desperation.
SEKRIT MESSAGE TO THE CAKEEATER: Sadly, that's about as far as we've progressed. Although, in our defense, I think we were going for Bill the Cat and Elmer J. Puttgrass...
I watched the new Battlestar Galactica last evening. The main plot centered around a Cylon prisoner trying to mess with the heads of his captors.
After it was over, I watched a few minutes of a goofy movie from a few years back called Turbulance. The main plot centered around a serial-killer prisoner....trying to mess with the heads of his captors - and on an aircraft, no less.
Y'know, I almost think I wouldn't mind all the BSG changes if there was just a bit more actual space stuff involved. You SF types scoff at us mere dilettantes who like what you dismiss as "space opera" but it seems to me the most enjoyable examples of the genre are able to combine good human drama with the appreciation that all of this is going on in an environment completely alien to our own experience and that lets our imaginations run wild.
So far, practically every episode of BSG I've seen is dominated by moodily-lit close ups of People In Crisis. But I can see that on any cop drama. I wish the show would pay more attention to the Universe around them.
February 25, 2005
Ah! My Eyes! They Burn!
Dayum, Rusty, there are some mental images that we just do not need!
More Fresh Meat!
If you aren't doing so already, you really should be reading Topic Drift, brought to you by the, well, insane Esther Wilberforce-Packard.
Pedro Sez, "Read Theese Post!"
(Image found at the Augusta Chronicle)
As regular readers will know, it's just over a week now until the Disney Death March begins. The other day, a commenter suggested that we stop by South of the Border on the way down.
No freakin' way.
But this got me thinking about the Billboard Issue.
For those of you unfamiliar with the East Coast. SOTB sits on I-95 right at the North/South Carolina border. Stretching away in either direction are a series of billboards advertising the place. They start north and south of the Virginia and Georgia borders and increase in density the closer you get to the place. The last few miles, they are literally spaced a few hundred yards apart.
When I was in law school in Virginia and for a few years after I'd moved to the Dee Cee area, the 'rents lived in South Carolina. So I spent a goodish amount of time driving up and down this stretch of highway. The sight of those billboards used to give me the twitch - once you noticed them, you couldn't stop looking. For they weren't just billboards, they were examples of what can only be called High Kitsch, Slumming Division. Done in painfully bright colors, almost all of them featured Pedro, the cartoon Mexican who was (is) SOTB's mascot. He would exhort drivers to stop at the place in broken cartoon-Mexican English, often using some kind of bad pun or other joke. Some of the billboards were actually amusing. (One of my remembered favorites: "No, Virginia, 95 is not the speed limit!) Many of them inspired groans and knuckle-whitening gripping of the steering wheel, especially after the eighth or ninth viewing.
After making the trip four or five times a year for several years, I had last been down in 1996 for my grandmother's funeral but didn't make it again until my niece's Christening in Charleston in 2003. On that trip, I was too busy dealing with kids throwing up their lunches to pay that much attention, but it struck me that something had happened to the billboards - Pedro didn't seem to be there any more and many of the messages were considerably tamer than I had remembered. Well, it turns out this was not my imagination: The P.C. Police had done hauled Pedro in.
A shame, really, at least in the sense that it represents a victory for what Berk Breathed once called "offensensitivity". But a good thing, too, in terms of preserving Dad's sanity. There's no telling what sort of horrible psychiatric episodes seeing them again might have induced in me this time, especially considering what I think of where I'm going.
Anyhoo, the Billboard Issue I mentioned earlier is this: The older Llama-ettes can both read now. If I tell them about the billboards ahead of time, it might give them something to watch for on the way and make the trip go a bit faster. On the other hand, they may want me to explain the joke or point of each one to them, an exercise the mere thought of which makes me tired.
Plus, there's one in particular (assuming it's still there) that could cause all sorts of problems. It reads: "Keep screaming, Kid! They'll have to stop at South of the Border!"
Experience tells me that I do not want them to see that one.
Ask Mr. Jurisprudence Man
"I'll take Iranian Constitutional Law for $500, Alex."
"Ummm, what's their penalty for people engaging in S&M?"
Hey robbo---get our intellectual property lawyer on the phone, Stat!
Rusty instructs us on the proper conjugation of the verb "orgle."
The best lede of all time
This HAS to be a finalist.
I mean, if you could set that to music... and have Waylon Jennings sing it... I smell gold.....GOLD I say! GOLD!
Of course, the title would have to be something like "The Ballad of Peg-Legged Pete"
What would the artist formerly known as prince do? (WWTAFKAPD?)
What would Chief Wiggum do? (WWCWD?)
Glenn has a nice roundup of the "Cedar Revolution" underway in Lebanon. But buried within this piece about the round-the-clock tent city of protesters camping out in downtown Beiruit was this gem:
A constant stream of mourners and protesters swells the camp population in the evenings. Food and water are brought in by supporters, while a nearby Dunkin' Donuts and a Virgin Megastore provide bathroom facilities. As during Monday's mass demonstration, the police and army are keeping a respectful distance from these protesters and seem unwilling to use violence against them. Only those directly in front of the parliament have ammunition clips in their rifles.
Wow, if the protestors can keep the police away from the Dunkin Donuts you know a real revolution is afoot.
Tee Vee Theme Songs
Via Ace, who got it from Garfield Ridge, comes a site that purports to count down the 100 Greatest Tee Vee Theme Songs. They haven't released the Top 20 yet, but the other entries are highly entertaining. God knows how they're coming up with these rankings, however, because I sure don't see a pattern. It might have been more effective to split this list up into different genres.
Some individual observations:
The Lone Ranger - Just to be an utter nerd about this, the theme from this show is based on the hunt finale of Rossini's "William Tell" Overture, not the whole thing. The entire overture must run a good 12 minutes - huge compared to others - but the finale is only, what, 3 minutes long.
Lost In Space - As noted, there were two themes, both written by John Williams. Particularly with the second one, you can hear a number of ideas that later become part of his signature style for big movies like Star Wars. I always thought this was kinda cool.
Cheers - This is exactly the kind of music that makes its way into children's piano recitals, leaving audience members forever scarred.
M*A*S*H - I don't know what the guy means by the theme remaining unchanged over the 11 seasons of the show. In fact, it was re-orchestrated and re-recorded several times, each new performance getting steadily blander. Even a casual student of the show can identify which era a rerun is from (Blake/Potter, Trapper/B.J, Burns/Winchester, Radar/Klinger) just by the first few bars of music in the opening credits.
As Ace notes, there are some serious lapses in this list - Sousa's "Liberty Bell March" from Monty Python's Flying Circus and the original Star Trek theme come to mind. I can only assume they'll be in the Top 20.
Out! Out! Dammed Sock!
The Derb brings us the latest sign of the death of Western Civilization:
WHAT THEY TEACH IN SCHOOLS NOWADAYS
I had to read this one twice to make sure I'd got it right:
"Dear John---They are teaching Macbeth, at least in the 11th grade at our
son's school (private, Christian). But they do so using sock puppets. Our
son had to make Siward and Malcolm last night.
"I thought you might like to file this under your 'American Education Today'
miscellany. Good luck filling the holes in Nellie's and Danny's education;
my wife and I have to do our share."
Macbeth with sock puppets! "Before my body I throw my warlike shield!"
[Flip finger across palm]....
Why does this make me think of that Monty Python sketch: "Wuthering Heights
Actually, what it reminded me of was a short parody of the porter scene that I wrote my senior year in high school. It was entitled "The Drunk of Dunsinane". In my version (which, looking back to 1983, seems eerily prescient of a certain political couple who rose to national prominence nine years later), Macbeth is trying to slip back into the castle after an evening out catting around. After going through a kind of Pat and Mike routine with the drunk porter, he eventually wins entry. However, just as he thinks he is safe, he is confronted by an enraged Lady M awaiting him on the stairs. The story ends with Macbeth trying in vain to explain the lipstick smears and other signs of unauthorized revelry as Lady M reaches for her dagger.
I certainly didn't expect this to happen: The Anglican Communion has grounded the Episcopal Church and given it three years to shape up or get lost. We're talking the Road to Schism here.
I reckoned there was going to be a good deal of hooming and homming over the Bishop Robinson business but that, in the end, everything would simply be glossed over. Instead, it really looks as if the Conservative forces have picked up the two-by-four and mean business.
Basically, if the Episcopal Church does leave the Anglican Communion, then I leave the Episcopal Church. Whether I would go to another Anglican Church or to Rome is something I've been giving some casual thought to, but haven't pursued seriously enough to say for sure. Looks like it may be time to put on the ol' Thinking Cap for real.
Random Commuter Observations
Well, so much for the Storm of the Century of the Week. We got three, maybe four inches out where I live. Just enough that I felt compelled to shovel the top of the driveway this morning.
There's something about having to deal with the snow piled up on my driveway by the plows on the road that always irks me. I suppose there really isn't any practical solution to the problem and the roads do have to be cleared, but the resulting mound left on my own drive always seems the product of calloused, almost aggressive indifference. It's as if I can hear the VDOT plowman saying, "Yo, Buddy, that's your problem."
Eh. Turning to other things, another sure sign of Spring in Dee Cee is the return of the Out-of-Town High Schoolers (Adolescens vulgaris). They start turning up in great field-tripping hordes, jamming the Metro and jangling the nerves of ordinary commuters with their incessant squeels and bellows of "Ohmigod, we're going underground!" and "How many more stops to the Smithsonian?" and perhaps worst of all, mimicking the automated voice that says, "Doors closing - please stand clear of the doors, thank you." (Note to anyone planning to come to Dee Cee for a visit: DO NOT DO THIS!)
I never much liked teenagers, even when I was one. As I get older, I find I like them even less. (One of Robbo's Ironclad Rules of Life is that anyone who thinks their teenage years were the "best years of their life" is a moron.) Being trapped in a subway car packed with scores of them yammering away at each other does nothing to improve my opinion.
Spam Spam Spam
We got hit over night by someone flogging what the tee vee ads like to call "male enhancement" products.
Hey, CastorAdams at yahoo.com - Bugger off! I'm quite comfortable with who and what I am, thanks very much.
February 24, 2005
Every now and again we have to give the ol' blogroll a bit of a shake, as once-prolific sites go dark or transmogrify into new forms.
But the flip side of this is that we also ad talent from time to time. Thus, I've taken the opportunity here to clean up our Orgle-licious Quiche column.
First, I finally got around to properly alphabetizing it, Steve.
Second, I am delighted to introduce some new blogs where I have been hanging around a lot recently. I hope you'll take the opportunity to check them out if you don't already read them:
Absinthe & Cookies - Ith is much like me, writing about whatever occurs to her. Always fresh and interesting.
Bad Hair Blog - I should have 'rolled Fausta's blog a long time ago. Lots of current events. Quality stuff and always tastefully covered with a scarf.
Feisty Repartee - Christina recently has swept into our part of the Blogsphere with wickedly enjoyable results. This blog, as advertised, is feisty.
The Sundries Shack - Once you've got your deli order here, why not step over to Jimmie's place? Plenty o' this and that to be had. And for a limited time, he's got Nichole nee Potomac Ponderings guest-blogging with him. (Note to Nichole - let us know when you head back to your old digs and we'll gladly put you right back up on our roll.)
Welcome aboard to all of you! Yip! Yip! Yip!
Destiny! Destiny! That's For Me!
This morning I was reading the Colossus' post on Dubya's trip to Slovakia which included a nifty clickable map (I love maps) featuring the Carpathian Mountains.
This afternoon someone googled here on "wayne's world happy birthday mr president".
What is the connection? Well you may ask - it's a movie I like called The Prince and the Showgirl, starring Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. Olivier plays the Prince Regent of a Balkan state called Carpathia, in London in 1911 for the coronation of George V. Monroe plays Elsie Marina, an American dancer on the London stage. The Prince originally spots Elsie as an easy one-night stand, but eventually falls for her purity of spirit, innocence and pluckiness. Yes, it actually is as awful as it sounds. The first half of the movie is hilarious, but the plot eventually descends into a welter of sentimental mush.
I say I like the film, but what I really mean is that I like Olivier in it. He plays the Prince with an over-the-top Eastern European accent and Grand Ducal mannerisms of which he ought to be thoroughly ashamed. His line, "So amusink, how you vill laugh," delivered with distainful reserve, long ago entered the family lexicon. (My mother specializes in imitating Sybil Thorndike, who plays the goofy Dowager Queen, in her line, "Is that Champagne I see over there? I desire a glass.")
Then there is Monroe, someone whose appeal I have never understood. (In his autobiography, Olivier recounts what a pain in the backside she was to work with and relates a couple of very humorous - and telling - anecdotes about her.) In the film, she utters what is surely one of the silliest lines in all of cinematic history:
You see, the major subplot of the piece is all of the pre-WWI political maneuvering in Europe. The Carpathians are all important to everybody because their country is a lynch-pin in the balance of power. (While the minor king is pro-British, Olivier's Prince Regent is pro-German.) At one point, the Prince interrupts his private dinner with Elsie to take a telephone call from one of his spies. He notes that the Americans are likely to object to some particular piece of diplomatic skulduggery they are hatching and then begins to laugh and joke about how naive and idealistic Americans are.
Elsie is in the background all this time, temporarily ignored. As she hears the Prince making light of her homeland and people, she gets a defiant look in her eye, drops her jaw poutingly, hoists a glass of Champagne and whispers those thrilling, patriotic and immemorable words, "God bless President Taft!"
Well, maybe you have to be there. But we never cease to howl when those words leave Marilyn's lips.
UPDATE: Mom drops me a note to the effect that the correct Monroe pronunciation of "president" here is "pa-res-iden". She also says that it is more accurate to say that Monroe mouthed her line, rayther than whispering it. My bad. To quote the thankless production assistant who was cross-examined by an enraged Marilyn as to whether the stagehands had got a glimpse of her knockers when she suffered a "wardrobe malfunction" during shooting of one of the scenes in the movie, "They were watching Mr. Olivier."
Sheila and her Posse collectively have written an hi-larious mock review of Christo's Central Park Sheet Fetish.
I think the real punchline is that this gang of funsters could have submitted the piece to any number of arts publications whose editors would never have known it was a joke.
Heh, as they say, indeed.
*One of my family's favorite quotes. Any guesses?
UPDATE: Lemuel of Deleted By Tomorrow rings the bell: Fawlty Towers is the answer we were looking for. This line is from an episode called "The Psychiatrist". Along with another called "The Germans," it is easily one of my favorites. (We can't award Lemuel the full day's supply of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat, because our judge Simon notes that he attributed the line to John Cleese's Basil. It was actually the line of the swinger guest Mr. Johnson:
(Image courtesy of the link above.)
It was repeated later by Sybil, accompanied by one of her patented laughs.
Storm Of The Century Of The Week - Update
Still snowing out, so Uncle has decided to shut up shop two hours early. Which means commuting in Your Nation's Capital is going to be a mess at 4:00 pm instead of 6:00 pm. I think I'll wait.
Rocket Ted braved the storm this morning and is ready for trouble, although he doesn't indicate if he brought along a hacksaw so he could eat one of his own legs if it became necessary.
Someone got here from a Mamma's meta search for "Do gelded male Llamas try to reproduce?"
1. I don't know.
2. I don't intend to find out.
That is all.
UPDATE: What is going on here? On a Yahoo search, we're No. 1 for "blood sexy butchers." Maybe this gives me something useful (or at least colorful) to tell Feisty Christina now......
Some great comments are rolling in about my impending trip to DisneyWorld.
JohnL is taunting me:
Oh man, I feel for you. I can't wait to read your take on the "magic" kingdom. Just so you can be nice and jealous, as you languish in the happy-fun-shiny-fake place, I will have just concluded yet another weekend with my boys' Cub Scout pack on the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi. The whole family's going this time (even the lady-folk).
After disembarking, we plan to head up the gulf coast to Galveston for a few days with a couple of the other Cub Scout families, and spend some fun time on the beach before driving back home.
I bet I'll have twice the fun at a quarter of the price. Neener neener. (Just kidding - I know plenty of jaded, cynical old farts like us who actually have had a good time at Disney).
Yes, I am envious. But despite his glee, I hope he feels better.
D. Carter is more sympathetic:
As the immortal Wodehouse would have put it, the Disney experience is going to take you "to another and dreadful world". My wife and I took our first-born when he was about five years old, and all I can remember is shuffling along in endless lines ("From this point your wait is approximately 45 minutes"), experiencing cookery only a few steps removed from canabilism, and scattering large amounts of cash in all directions like a Chicago ward heeler. And to top it off, our son remembers practically none of it (though the whole thing is certainly seared - SEARED - into my memory; to this day, if I hear a snatch of the tune "It's a Small, Small World", I fall to the ground and curl up in a state of catatonic shock).
Go with God.
One thing about this bidness - it's gonna be a blogging goldmine.
Happy Birthday, Winslow Homer
Prisoners From The Front, 1866 (Image courtesy of San Diego University)
Today is the birthday of Winslow Homer, born in Boston in 1836 and easily one of America's greatest and most influencial painters. His land- and seascapes are things of beauty in and of themselves. But he also captured the essence of America in the latter half of the 19th Century via his paintings of boys at play, reapers and teachers at work and other subjects.
Early on in his career, Homer was employed by Harper's Weekly to cover the Civil War. I have a book of his collected sketches and paintings from that period which is fascinating not only from an artistic point of view, but from a historical one as well.
The painting above, Prisoners From The Front, is an interesting character study in which Homer explores the contrast in combatants. The calm, righteously self-assured Yankee officer supposedly is modelled on Brigadier General Francis Barlow. The three rebel prisoners represent the stratification of Southern society - the haughty Cavalier stands in front, defiant and dashing, while the two sons of the soil, his social inferiors, look on bewildered and apprehensive.
Fans of the movie Gettysburg might recognize this scene as the one in which Tom Chamberlaine talks to the Confederate prisoners on the way to the battlefield. C. Thomas Howell ain't no Francis Barlow. And, as I think I've ranted elsewhere in the past, I believe that by having the last rebel in the line act as the leader, speaking words of wisdom about the hell of war, the producers either didn't know or didn't care about what Homer was trying to accomplish here.
Dude, This Is Freakin' Me Out Right Here
We all know the abomination that is cat-blogging. But the Colossus is now mouse-blogging? I think he's been trapped in that cabin up away in the Green Mountains for jeeeest a little too long.
(Note to Mrs. C: The first time he claims they're talking back to him, you get the hell out of there instantly.)
Llama Vocabulary Terms
Cindy, a frequent visitor to the Butcher's Shop who happens to be a real live Llama breeder, asks a perfectly legitimate question:
Explain something to me: What is a Yip? and what is an Orgle? :-) I know what a real orgle is but in what way are you guys using it?
Well, I think it's safe to say that I can answer for both Steve-O and myself, although he may want to add a few thoughts of his own.
"Yip" is just our little way of expressing acknowledgement, congratulations or encouragement to someone, usually just after we've stolen an idea from them. You may argue that real Llamas don't make such a noise, in reply to which we would remind you that although this technically may be true, we are delusional after all, so it does not matter.
As for "orgle", well that one was foisted on us by certain smart-asses among our fellow bloggers and we just ran with it, coming up with new forms such as "orgle-licious", "orgle-worthy" and others. (It really is a very flexible word.) These days we like to use it and its progeny as particular marks of appreciation with just a hint of naughtiness thrown in. Think of it as being somewhere between Gollum's "We wants it!" and Austin Powers' "Yeah, Baybee!"
All clear? Now, we can't have a vocabulary lesson without a quiz, can we? I'd like each of you to take the two words above and use them in one or more sentences. You may use any derivative of the word "orgle" and you may use either word in the sentence part of your choice.
Are you ready? Then please begin......
Note To Self
(File this one under "I Have To Start Organizing My Wednesday Evenings Better")
Scarfing a big bowl of nachos with extra jalapenos plus some Valpolicella while watching Ben Hur late at night can lead to some seriously strange dreams.
February 23, 2005
A Snowflake! Run for your lives!
As many people know, Snowfall Panic is a varsity sport here in Dee Cee. Given that, looks like we're in for a treat tomorrow:
... Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from Thursday morning to late Thursday night...
A storm passing through the southeast United States will spread snow
across the region from Thursday morning into Thursday night. At this
point it appears snow will accumulate several inches before ending.
Snow will likely mix with sleet across central Virginia and lower
southern Maryland during the event. This mix may reach as far north
as Washington... Luray... and Harrisonburg.
Depending on projected snowfall accumulations... either a Winter Storm
Warning or a Winter Weather Advisory will be issued later this
evening with more refined forecast snow accumulations.
A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is a potential for
significant snow accumulations of 5 inches or greater.
I can almost guar-Ohn-tee that the Fed'ral Guv'mint is going to shut down for this one. Be that as it may, I think I'll come in just to show everyone what I think of this business.....
THURSDAY UPDATE: Well wonder of wonders, the Feds haven't shut down yet. Judging by the grumbling I overheard on the Metro coming in, there are a great many people who think this is a monumental injustice. We'll see what happens - I would bet they toss us out early after all.
Meanwhile, all the schools in the area are shut down. At least for Fairfax County, I do believe this is the first snow day of the season. The Llama-ettes don't get anything out of it - their school was closed today for parent/teacher conferences anyhow. Ha ha ha.
Note To Sadie
Some things were not meant even to be joked about.
No Spoilers Here
Sheila, after wiping away the Indiana Jones-induced drool, is looking for nominations for great movie openings. Go on over and leave your thoughts.
There are, of course, many choices based on many different criteria. Personally, I voted for the opening scene of Holiday. There is something about the way Cary Grant's Johnny Case bursts through the doorway of the Potters' apartment that is instantly appealing. And the whole business of the Potters' cross-examination of him about The Girl is a real hoot.
Imminent signs of end times....
These will have to do for our WTW updates as I have to head over to Court.
1. The UN has started its own blog, and no, it's not "youcancallmekofi.blogspot.com"
It's times like these that we need the Commissar to ride out of semi-retirement and lead the mob to a humorous zeal.
This one leaves me speechless.
For those of you keeping score at home...
Add to Libyan denunciation of its WMD program Syria pulling out of Lebanon.
What's next, eh Hosni?
Truly Joe Strummer was a man ahead of his time......
Now the king told the boogie men You have to let that raga drop The oil down the desert way Has been shakin' to the top The sheik he drove his Cadillac He went a' cruisnin' down the ville The muezzin was a' standing On the radiator grille
The shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
The shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
By order of the prophet
We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that crazy Casbah sound
But the Bedouin they brought out
The electric camel drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the shareef
Had cleared the square
They began to wail
Now over at the temple
Oh! They really pack 'em in
The in crowd say it's cool
To dig this chanting thing
But as the wind changed direction
The temple band took five
The crowd caught a wiff
Of that crazy Casbah jive
The king called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way
As soon as the shareef was
Chauffeured outta there
The jet pilots tuned to
The cockpit radio blare
As soon as the shareef was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed
He thinks it's not kosher
Fundamentally he can't take it.
You know he really hates it.
Sing it, brother! Amen!
Austin Bay on the future for Chirac and Europe:
The 21st century French revolution will be televised and I’ll watch it while sipping a fine glass of Australian Penfold’s Grange.
Just Keep Moving
Big photo of ol' Georg putting you off? Just scroll past it. Remember, we're the Llamas, covering the waterfront and toasting all the rats on a stick so you don't have to.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
(Image courtesy of The Classical Music Pages)
Today is the birthday of Georg Frideric Handel, born in Halle, Germany in 1685 (making him just under a month older than Johann Sebastian Bach).
It's ridiculous to say that I love Handel's music. I mean, of course I do. It is not nearly as intellectual as Bach's, but it makes up for this in being more theatrical. Compare Handel's Opus 3 and 6 Concerti Grossi with Bach's Brandenburg Concerti, for instance. I don't say one is better than the other. Rather, I am glad to have the choice.
One thing I've noticed about Handel's music that I don't like is his occasional practice of not finishing out a phrase properly, squandering the last few notes as he goes on to another idea. (By way of metaphor, I equate this with the practice of some horses of economizing on their jumps, landing short over their fences instead of getting in a good, long "fly".) Not having any theoretical training, I don't think I could describe this practice properly, but I can hear it. It's a small distraction, but a distraction nonetheless.
Oh, one other thing. Everyone loves the "Hallelujah" Chorus from the Messiah. But I'm not sure many people realize these days that this music is meant to be a coronation anthem celebrating Christ's ascendancy to the Throne of Heaven. (In fact, it sounds very much like a number of such anthems written to celebrate the crowning of George III.) Given my recent concerns about residual feudalism in Christian worship, I wonder if we shouldn't be reexamining the appropriateness of this piece of music. I mean, it's like so hierarchical.
*** I'm gleeful over Robert the Llama Butcher's impending frog-march to Disney World. Something tells me that his delicately snobby, lovingly affected 18th Century sensibilities will overload on the air-brushed plastic building facades, the unsettling aura of manic joy and the $8 ice cream cones shaped like Rodentia. Given Hunter S. Thompson's recent passing, "Fear and Loathing in the Magic Kingdom" seems like a fitting title for his pained travel journal.
But as long as he keeps making me laugh through my tears, I'll keep coming back. In fact, I might just borrow his title for my Disney-blogging. And for Bill's sake, I'll be sure to throw in plenty of references to Haydn, Pope and Wren.
Light Fuse. Stand Back.
Malkin lays the blame for this phenomenon squarely at the feet of Hollywood. While I don't doubt this is a contributing factor, it strikes me that there is more at work here than the diabolical mind-control powers of Christina Ricci. Consider this letter that Michelle cites as an example that the practice is not just confined to malcontents and misfits:
I just found out this week that my 14-year-old daughter is a 'cutter.' She has a 4.0 average, 8th grade, goes to a good school, and is well-liked by all who know her. She is popular, has two homes (mine and her dad's) with supportive, loving families in each. Her own friends cut, too: four of them that I know of now between the ages of 11 and 14 . . . [a]s do her two cousins, ages 11 and 15.
My daughter cuts herself with a safety pin. I found this out on her own personal website, which I discovered she had been hiding on a hidden account she used at another relative's home. She had links to webrings about cutting, suicide and broken hearts as well as images and poetry. Her friends all feature cutting/suicide links, icons and song lyrics as well.
The counselor at her school told me this: At her middle school, '70 percent of the kids here cut or know someone who does. It's cool, a trend, and acceptable. Boys do it as well but are more public about it. . . . you're not even the first parent this week: you're the third, and just today a girl received stitches in the hospital for cutting herself so bad.'
Reading this, it strikes me that the root of the problem is considerably closer to home than Tinseltown. For one thing, I note how Mom sails right over the fact that the kid comes from a broken home, in fact trying to turn this into some kind of bonus. (Two Homes! Now twice the Love!) Yes, yes, yes, kids can come from such backgrounds and do perfectly well in the world. But if I'm looking for root-causes of self-destructive behavior, that's a huge red flag to me. I'd be willing to bet a fair bit that there is a darker undercurrent to this "supportive, loving families" business than Mom is letting on.
Second, note where Mom gets her information: from snooping around websites and talking to school counselors. What about face time with the girl? Yes, pinpricks can be hidden. But not as easily as one might imagine when the Parental Eye is on the child daily. Furthermore, other clues are available - changes in behavior and so on. But here's the catch - you don't spot these unless you've been paying attention for a long time. (And by that, I mean all the kid's life.) Also, from the fact that the kid was able to maintain a website at someone else's house, it seems to me that there are large gaps in the time this mother spends with her daughter, gaps where evidently no one else is properly supervising.
I'm sorry, but when I was 14, I never ran loose like this - I was never allowed to. At the time, I hated the fact that my parents seemed to have the power to read my mind, but as a parent myself now, I fully understand why and how they did it. Michelle is perfectly correct to bewail this social pathology, but parents have to understand that the primary place to fight it is right at home.
That's why we call him Macktastic Rusty Wicked
Dr. Shackleford is all over the "Terror High" story about the American-born jihadi with the science project plan to blow up the president.
Sounds like an Afternoon Special on the MikeyMoore Channel.
Hey! We're Number Three!
Under Yahoo search for "bold honeymoon pics."
Which is pretty bitchin', given that we've never really posted on the subject.....
Sci-Fi Babe Poll: Gimme Week
TexasBestGroking JohnL's latest offering is a straight up toe-to-toe match between characters that got Wendy Carlosed in the
appalling bastardization of, er, the "newly-envisioned" Battlestar Galactica, namely Starbuck and Boomer.
I call this week a gimme because I cannot seriously believe there would be any question of preferences here - Grace Park all the way. Her Boomer is mighty easy on the ol' eyes. Meanwhile, Katee Sackhoff's Starbuck is just, well, nasty.
As always, vote early and often.
I was sad to see that Trish Helfer won out last week's Battle of the Cyber-Babes. I suppose it had something to do with that glowing spine trick....
For the complete list of winners from all of John's polls, go here.
February 22, 2005
Mommy Madness Watch
My pal Marjorie breaks her Lenten blogging silence to administer a Patton-like slapping to the angst-ridden Uber-Mommy who, thanks to Newsweek, is the O-fficial Victim of the Week. And when the U-M staggers back to her feet, Marjorie does it again.
But cheer up all you Prisoners-In-Your-Own-McMansions out there, because Iowahawk has got good news - help is on the way! Read the whole thing, as they say.
"One Ring To Bring Them All And In The Garden Bind Them"
The good news is that I went poking about in the garden yesterday and noticed that a number of the early season playas are starting to get in gear - particularly the forsythia. Digging around at the base of the peonies I also saw plenty of nice, big, fat red buds on their rhizomes.
The bad news is that I also saw, for the first time this season, one of Sauron's Wraith Rabbits fooling about on the edge of the woods. In fact, he almost got stepped on by Bambi the Balrog, who was also loitering in the area.
The Dark Lord evidently has begun to summon his forces for another season of campaigning against my flowers. Time to stop putting things off and get the Circuit of the Ramas in good repair.
Here's a completely useless idea picked up from the Impenetrable One. Using the letters of your name, list places you've been to. Eh, why not. It's a bit long, so feel free to ignore the extended entry:
Rosenburg Texas - It's outside of Houston. I went there for a state JCL convention when I was a sophomore in high school. My utter geekiness at the dance they held one night is still a subject of shame and horror.
Omaha, NE - I know Kathy will jump up and down on me for mentioning it, but when I was there about seven years ago, I noticed that the Opera House was cattycorner to a strip club.
Boston, MA - Still probably my favorite city.
Essex, CT - Several times in college for dinners at the Griswold Inn whenever they could be wangled either from parents or friends' parents.
Roanoke, VA - Took my Bar exam there. The city features a giant star up on a mountainside and a miniature of Graceland. What more could one ask?
Telegraph, TX - You've never heard of it. Smallest place I've ever seen.
Tidewater Region of Virginia - One of my favorite chunks of land.
Hilton Head, SC - I worked as a bag-boy at a golf club there the summer before I started law school.
East Hampton, Long Island - Manhattan East.
London, UK - Lived there for a year. Margaret Thatcher once smiled at me.
Little Compton, Rhode Island - What better way to spend Senior Week in college than at the beach house of a professor you never had for any classes?
Anchorage, Alaska - See below.
Mt. Katmai National Park, Alaska - I went fly-fishing there with me old dad several times. Beautiful. But the bears are a constant problem.
Atlanta - I met a lady there who knew Margaret Mitchell in her youth. Nothing makes one more conscious of being in the South than having an upright matron stare into one's eyes on being introduced and ask, "Wheyuh are yoah pey-ple from?"
Bath - Both the one in Maine and the one in Somerset.
University of the South - There's an amazing view from the top of the mountain where this school sits.
T - Uuuuh....Tower Records. Mmmmmm, Tower Records......
Cincinnati - I just had to see the town that Jerry Springer ruled.
Huddersfield, Yorkshire - If you're very careful, you can keep your eyes locked on the edge of the Dales and imagine the stories of James Herriot without noticing the leftovers of 19th Century industrialism all around you.
East Lyme, CT - I went to a pool party there with a bunch of the guys. Oddly, we've never been asked back.....
Rochester, NY - In addition to being born there, I went to a national JCL conference at the U of R one summer during high school. My very first run-in with collegiate campus security.
And there you have it.
For the life of me, I've had trouble understanding why the ACC (The Lawhd Gawd's gift to basketball conferences---the one true home of real roundball in Amerika) wanted to bring Boston College into the fold, or why BC would want to join in a conference with Clemson.
Sure, the Boston tee-vee market for ACC football (no laughs, please) must have been on that weasel John Swofford's (Lord High Sharif of the ACC) mind, as would the possibility of playing the ACC football title game at Giants Stadium. The original plan when the ACC expanded was to bring in Syracuse; instead, thanks to the evil machinations of Governor Mark Warner, who beat UVA President John Casteen like a red-headed rented mule, we got Virginia Tech instead. Well now.
But it turns out the real reason why BC jumped ship has emerged: can you say ACC baseball tournament at Fenway Park?
Hat tip to the Irish Elk, who has a good roundup of Washington's birthday tributes.
Today in LLamabutcher history: 1980
Sheila has some memories.
Mus Iactus Est
It's official: I'm going to Disney World.
Yes, two weeks from today I'm going to be chin-deep in Magic Kingdom Shlock. I get the willies just reading about this stuff on their website. Imagine, if you will, how I'm going to deal with it in person. ("Never completely sober," is, perhaps, as good an answer as any.) Just to give you an idea of what's in store, I am informed that we are signed up one morning to have breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table. According to all the Disney afficionados I've spoken with (and it's spooky weird how many of these people exist), this is supposed to be a major deal. Hmph.
I know, I know, it's all "for the children". Maybe. But I never went when I was a kid and you can tell how well-adjusted I am now....(grumble, grumble, grumble)
As a matter of fact, what prompted me in the end not to hide behind my work schedule was the thought of the Butcher's Wife - who swore she was going no matter what I did - driving all the way to Florida from Dee Cee on her own with the Llama-ettes. I just couldn't bear the idea of her having to deal with that cast-iron bitch of a trip all by herself.
The Missus knows all about what I think of the whole business, so we've struck a deal: I get to blog about the trip (call this a test post) if, in exchange, I at least put on a pretend smile while I'm there. This sounds reasonable - a pretend smile seems quite appropriate for a place where everything else is fake.....
Anyhoo, I doubt if I'm going to have much access to the Web while I'm down there. I plan to take some notes and do a series when I get back. In the meantime, we're finalizing plans to bring in a Special Guest Blogger in my absence. More details on that as we fix them up.
In the meantime, I may as well get used to it: Squeek! Squeek! Squeek!
This is so cool
Somehow, in some way, you know Dubya and Ariel Sharon are at fault for this.
Let's keep our eye out for potential spawn of the devil with the birthday 12/27/2004.
Big Llama Yips!
Go out to our fellow Moo-Knewvian Rae, who has landed herself a gig on the Larry Elder Show to discuss the issue of stay-at-home-momming. How sweet is that?
On the subject of Bloggers in Hollywood, Steve-O and I would just like to take this opportunity to remind the producers of Jackass: The Movie that if they ever think of doing a sequel, we'd be happy to audition.
Paying for the protein wisdom by the ounce
Let's face it, Protein Wisdom is one of the insanely best blogs in the biddness---where would we be without the Martha Stewart prison diary? And if anyone is capable of luring Allahpundit out of retirement, let's face it it's that kufur Jeff (that plus Dean-O as chair of the DNC. It's all a Roveian plot, I tell you!)
So, if you're in the great Denver metropolitan area, feel free to attach a twenty to a brick with a rubber band and toss it through his front window. Short of that, head on over and hit the tip-jar.
It looks like al-Jaafari will be the new PM of Iraq.
"Did you say a Jaafar will be PM of Iraq?"
"Damn, Col. O'Neil's got more influence than I thought! Sure, who would say no if Teel'c was there to do the convincing, not to mention that Hottie Major Samantha.......Mmmmmm....I'd love to do quantum mechanical equations in jello on her boudacious..."
Are you done?
"Uhhhh....yeah, sure. Can't fault a man for getting hot over SG-1."
Yes you can. Plus, Amanda Tapping's character is a Lt. Col now, for chrissakes. And O'Neil is a general.
You should be.
Coming soon to LLamabutcher Tee-vee....
Wacky fun as Ward and his trusty sidekick Tonto turn dumpy suburban white guys into cutting edge Kemosabes!
The Yoda files
Spewing the hate he is over at My Pet Jawa Report.
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, Rusty is a genius.
Queer eye for the naval guy
Nobody tell Rob, otherwise he'll have to hang his Patrick O'Brian prints at half-mast.
Yips! from Robbo: Ha! Nuthin' new under the sun. Lucky Jack Aubrey himself once said he knew all about rears and vices.
Speaking of accommodation...
INDC Bill has some on-point thoughts on the future of the GOP, and those who might be itching to turn this into a West Coast/East Coast rappers war between Evangelicals and libertarians.
To be perfectly honest I'm not worried about this in the short run: the Republican coalition became frayed in the two elections after the end of the Soviet threat with the defection of the Perot movement, and look what it got us:
(Elian + Smiling Osama)/Tricky Billary= Republican disunity
is the formula we need to keep in mind.
In short: I think the fear might be a tad overheated, but at the same time I will punch the next person I see with a "Niccodemus aint no Republican" button. And I sure as heck don't want to be part of a party which has no room for Stephen Green let alone apostates like Bill.
Steyn on the end of NATO and Dubya's Feel-Good Tour of Y'erp:
NATO will not be around circa 2015 - which is why the Americans are talking it up right now. An organisation that represents the fading residual military will of mostly post-military nations is marginally less harmful than the EU, which is the embodiment of their pacifist delusions. But, either way, there's not a lot to talk about. Try to imagine significant numbers of French, German or Belgian troops fighting alongside American forces anywhere the Yanks are likely to find themselves in the next decade or so: it's not going to happen.
America and Europe both face security threats. But the difference is America's are external, and require hard choices in tough neighbourhoods around the world, while the EU's are internal and, as they see it, unlikely to be lessened by the sight of European soldiers joining the Great Satan in liberating, say, Syria. That's not exactly going to help keep the lid on the noisier Continental mosques.
So what would you do in Bush's shoes? Slap 'em around a bit? What for? Where would it get you? Or would you do exactly what he's doing? Climb into the old soup-and-fish, make small talk with Mme Chirac and raise a glass of champagne to the enduring friendship of our peoples: what else is left? This week we're toasting the end of an idea: the death of "the West".
Go read the rest.
Mission failure. Obviously the covert approach didn't work. Time to go nucular.
Cats and dogs, living together....
Wretchard details the many signs that the tipping point in Iraq has been passed. (Captain Ed has a good post on the tipping point in Afghanistan being long passed)
When Paul Martin, Chirac and Kofi are getting on board, you know something is going right.
Not to mention Hillary trying to position herself as a realist hawk.
Wretchard's tactical conclusion:
The available data suggests that the Sunni insurgents are still capable of showing strength within their strongholds and menacing traffic on the Baghdad streets. However, even within their bailiwicks, their capabilities are not decisive. They have been unable to impede or even delay the political goals set by the US as evidenced by their failure to stop the January 30 elections. Moreover, they are unable to project any significant combat power in Shi'ite and Kurdish areas. Faced with the loss of oil revenues, a growing Iraqi security force and the gradual depletion of their stored weapons and suffering a terrible attrition rate their relative power is irretrievably on the wane.
It will probably be many months before the insurgency finally flickers out. Attempts will be made to extend its life through negotiations to win breathing space, through renewed and ever more heinous attacks. Unexpected events or a blunder may yet breathe life into it. But for the first time since terrorist warfare was developed and perfected in the Algerian war it has met its match on the battlefield. The vanquishing arms may have been American, but the heart that drove it was in large measure Iraqi.
The sign around work that the tipping point has passed is the absolute sullen faces among the Che-luvin' Francophiles on the faculty. You won't see so many long faces outside of John Kerry locked in a carney funhouse hall of mirrors.
Absolutely the last installment of Ben Franklin posting for a while...
I finished up Walter Isaacson's biography of Benjamin Franklin over the weekend. As regular readers know, I've been sniping at this book here, criticizing a variety of literary flaws and biases.
But as I put the book down, it occured to me that one of the major reasons I didn't like the writing very much is that, in the end, I don't like Ben Franklin very much.
Don't misunderstand me - I generally approve of much of Franklin's political outlook - I think his instincts regarding self-government and opportunity for social mobility based on merit, for example, are correct. And who couldn't be interested in his various dabblings in science and other fields? But in the end, on a personal level, I believe the man was basically a weasel. He could talk big, but in the end his basic calculation in all matters seemed to be "What's in it for Ben?" This seemed true not just in politics, but in all other spheres of his life including his treatment of his family, which was downright appalling.
Eh. No wonder he kept having fallings out. The kind of man who covers that level of self-centered pragmatism with lofty rhetoric is the kind of man who would elbow aside the women and children to assure himself a seat in the lifeboat and then argue why it was necessary for the good of everyone else. Not the sort of person I'd trust with anything important to me.
We here at the LLamabutchers are all in favor of link and traffic whoring, stunt posts designed merely to draw in the salivating masses eagerly desiring their raw red meat linkety links. And we'd like to think that we've helped push the envelope, as well as helped others along the way.
Congrats, and enjoy the traffic!
February 21, 2005
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Please. Indulge me in this one because it's way cool.....
At dinner this evening, the topic swung round to what the Llama-ettes wanted to be when they grow up. The five year old, who usually answers "astronaut", surprised us this evening by announcing that she wishes to become a rock star, although she admitted that she would need some help from people who actually know how to play instruments. In the manner of one playing dead in the face of a pawing grizzly bear, I said nothing, only smiling in a generally encouraging although non-binding way.
But the real surprise was Llama-ette No. 1, who turns seven in a few weeks. She has been bouncing back and forth between "lawyer" and "teacher" for the past year or two, in honor of her parents. This evening she announced she wished to become a farmer. Damme if I know where that came from. Upon further inquiry, she said the reason she wanted to do so was so she could take care of baby piggies and chickens and calfs. We suggested that she might want to consider life as a veterinarian instead, but she was steadfast.
As the conversation developed, we began to explain to her all the work involved in maintaining a farm, self trying hard to refrain from blurting out that the goddam gov'mint bankrolls everything. Nonetheless, the topic shifted around to the economics of agriculture.
And here is where the magic kicked in.
You see, the gel has always had a penchant for math. She's only in first grade, but can do double-digit addition and subtraction in her head. She has the multiplication tables memorized up through her 8's, and can do both long multiplication and division on paper. (I have a strong sense that her mathematical talent has some correlation with her manifest need for order and logic.)
Anyhoo, I suddenly found myself explaining basic microeconomics to the girl via a series of word problems: We would agree that a gallon of milk would cost X dollars to produce and that she could sell it for Y dollars. We then agreed on how many gallons she would sell: For example, it might cost her two dollars to produce a gallon of milk which she would then sell for three dollars. If we assumed she sold 1000 gallons, we went on to figure out the total production cost, the total gross revenue and, subtracting the former from the latter, her profit.
That in itself was pretty cool, but here is where it got almost spooky. I wasn't paying particular attention to the numbers I was using. But as we went through four or five variations on the exercise, it turned out the girl was keeping a running total of the compound profits and would state the new sum after the completion of each excercise. What was notable about this was not the potential gain so much as the girl's natural instinct to go for the calculation, something she did completely on her own. I like to think that she already has such a solid grounding in practical mathematics that, when the time comes, she will leap right into the theoretical. Who knows - maybe she'll turn out to be the astronaut, or at least the rocket scientist.
Of course, this is just the first step into a larger universe. The last example we used had a gallon of milk going for seven dollars. I asked the Llama-ette why on earth I'd pay seven dollars for a gallon of her milk when she'd sold it in an earlier scenario for three dollars a gallon. Her ingenious reply was that it cost her five dollars to make (which is the number we used) and fair is fair. I also suggested to her that the farmer down the road might try and sell his own gallon for less than her. She replied that if they were friends, he'd never think of doing something like that. Alas, we have a long way to go.
I can't tell you how much the overall discussion impressed me. We talked about competition from the farmer down the road. We talked about all the expenses and hard work that go into producing a gallon of milk. We talked about the physical realities of having to care for a large herd of dairy cows. In the morning, the gel may have forgotten nine tenths of what I told her, but I like to think that at least something sank in.
Dang I'm proud of that girl.
Now if only we can do something about the rock star......
And So It Ends
I'm happy to report that my weekend alone with all three Llama-ettes ended without any major injuries or unfixable property damage.
Most memorable line of the weekend:
No, Sweety, you musn't throw the cat. She really doesn't like it.
More Public Radio Ranting
Andy Ferguson over at the Weekly Standard has thoughts on the impending change in format of my local public radio station from classical music to a wall-to-wall yap fest, something I've been ranting about for a week or two now.
Ferguson goes into the larger philosophical question behind why we bother to continue throwing tax money at NPR and has some hard thoughts about the new breed of public radio station manager uniformly assimilating themselves into NPR's newstalk collective in pursuit of ratings. As I think I mentioned before, I find it particularly ironic that it is these very same people typically man the Diversity Barricades whenever the issue of media consolidation comes up at the FCC. One wonders why they bother.
I'm not suggesting that NPR should not supply programming or that local affiliates should not take advantage of it. In fact, two shows that Ferguson notes, Car Talk and A Prarie Home Companion, are exactly the sort of thing that NPR can do best. (Yes, Garrison Keillor gives me the guts-ache, but I enjoy his show nonetheless.) But the wholesale jettisoning of local classical and jazz programs in favor of ratings-generating national bloviation-fests is a sad, sad thing.
Yes, it's a fed'ral holiday so I wasn't going to post much, but that doesn't mean I wasn't going to do so at all. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to dial up Moo Knew High Command most of the day. In honor of this, I've composed a haiku - all of my fellow Moo-Knewers should feel free to save this and use it themselves. It may come in handy:
MuNu server search,
Unable to find again?
My thoughts go homeless.
Thank you very much.
February 20, 2005
Spring is in the Air
Well, we're actually supposed to get some snow and ice tonight, but Spring is on its way. In the first place, as I noticed a week or so ago, the goldfinches are definitely beginning to take on the first indications of their summer coloring.
In the second place, the robins are officially back. In fact, my handy-dandy Peterson's Field Guide says that they stay in these parts all year round. Far be it from me to argue with Roger Tory Peterson, but there are really only a few of them in this area during the winter and one can go a very long time without seeing any sign of them.
However, there comes a specific day in late winter/early spring, such as today, when one glances out into the yard and suddenly notices 20 or 30 of them bobbing around the lawn and listening for lunch. This is one of my favorite markers of the approaching change in season and I'll probably spend some time this afternoon just watching them mess about.
I reckon that many of this crew must be migrants on their way to points north and west, because after a week or so the population dwindles somewhat. But once we start seeing them in the spring, we never stop until the end of fall.
Gratuitous Llama Movie Review
I readily bow down before Steve-O regarding all things Kurt Russell, so I am interested to hear his take on Executive Decision, which was running on WGN (or whatever it is) this evening.
For myself, I've always found this flick to be one of those that, if you stumble across it while channel-surfing, is what you might call default-worthy, something worth watching if you can't find anything better.
For one thing, Steven Segal gets waxed fairly early on. That's got to be a good thing.
For another, I am eternally amused by David Suchet as the fanatical Islamofacist. In all seriousness, I love his portrayal of Hercule Poroit in the Mystery series, and to me something like this screams "I needed the money!" loud and clear.
For yet another, I do believe that the F-14 wing leader is the same actor who played the Black Knight pilot who slammed headlong into the alien ship force field in Independence Day. I know everyone else on the planet blanches at the plagiaristic abominations of that movie, but I still enjoy it none the less. To think that someone in Hollywood is getting type-cast as a fighter jockey is, to me, very funny indeed.
Of course, then there's always Halle Barry......
Anyhoo, tell us, oh Grand Master of Russelldom, how shall we contemplate this particular manifestation of his image?
Alright......We'll call it a draw
I actually took all three Llama-ettes to the groc store this afternoon. They behaved beautifully. Of course, the fact that my primary motivation for going was that I really needed a bottle of wine for after I got them all to bed means that the whole business was something of a wash. But still.......
As has been the custom for some time now, we all jammed to Mary Chapin Carpenter on the drive there and back. What's funny about this generation is that they seem to identify all of their favorite songs by track number, something none of us veterans of 8-track and cassettes ever did. When we pop in the MCC CD, the gels have got it all down - No. 3 is "Twist and Shout", No. 4 is "I Feel Lucky", No. 6 is "Passionate Kisses", No. 9 is "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" and No. 12 is "Shut Up and Kiss Me". Requests are shouted out by number rather than song title.
February 19, 2005
Thirty thousand Italian leftists gather in one place
The results are understandable...
Special Cloak & Dagger Post
Llama Starbase to Orgle 4-6:
Keep up the good work. Will advise if change in orders.
Llama Starbase out.
SHOCKING GANNONGATEAQUIDDICK UPDATE!!! MUST CREDIT LLAMAS!! BLOWING, ERR, THE STORY WIDE OPEN!
Sadly, this scoop implicates not just your humble reporter, but two of our own, Bill of INDC Journal and Gordon the CrankyNeoCon, in their truly gay tryst with former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, and explains certainly the rise to prominence of certain right wing blogs....
It's a sad tale, our descent into dressing up as Klingons. Bill turned to me one night, watching a rerun of STTNFG, and said to me out of the blue: "this is so unrealistic: I could play a much more convincing Klingon than that!"
A look of magic passed between our eyes: no more would we be mocked for our forbidden love of Civil War Reenacting. We could find our one true release among our own kind. Just as there are lesbians born to a life of eternal torture in the bodies of virile heterosexual men, there are Klingons born to a life of eternal p^unk ~sch, born as they are in the measlely bodies of ancient Terrans.
No more would our warrior souls suffer in silence!
The next weekend, there we were for "TREKCON 2005" at the Altoona Civic Center, where we happen to cross swords with our old pal Gordon the Cranky Neo-Con. "FLach^UCgK!" (which means, "No new taxes, Donkey bitch" in Klingon) we shouted, when a Klingon warrior turned and looked.
I'd recognize that face, ridges or no, anywhere, from the thousands of hours I sat flipping back and forth from CSPAN-2 and the Sci-Fi channel, mocking the historical and technological errors in Babylon 5.
"Ari....?" I asked, my Klingon beard trembling?
"KUm^ fyACH!" (Which means "Hey, bitch, keep your voice down!" in Klingon)
Gordo, Bill and Ari at TREKCON 05 at the Altoona Civic Center
Needless to say, with the discovery that the former White House Press Secretary was Klingon like us, we were in like Flynn. Access? Hell yeah. I mean, forget Clinton: we were the first Klingons to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom! You see, once we had accessed the Sekrit underground Trek Wannabe world of the White House, there was no stopping us.
Rumsfeld? Cardassian Commander IchFALL to you!
Cheney? Star Fleet Command High Admiral U. B. Mybeeyitch
Laura? Man, all I can say is that I'll never look at the constellation Orion the same way again. Forget Red versus Blue: I'm green state all the way, baby!
One memorable night, Ari (I mean Commander JurG^Tha), Bill, Gordo, and I went out and threw eggs at all the losers coming out of a Star Wars card show, only to get chased by some cops after taunting repeatedly a guy for his lame Jabba the Hut costume, only it turned out it wasn't a costume.
Because, let's face it: can you get any gay-er than Terran Klingons?
I didn't think so...
Law & Order dream team
Kathy links to a linkety trying to solicit the Law & Order Dream Team: after lamenting their descent to Law & Order: Special Desperate Nubile Mafia Housewife Unit, she goes with a pretty solid lineup.
My only quibble is that she forgets the supporting characters:
Best police shrink..........without a doubt, the ever-scrumptious Carolyn McCormack as Dr. Elizabeth Olivet. Just say no to Dr. Skoda, the scummy prison Nazi rapist that he is...
Best background cop....hands down, John Fiore as Det. Parfaci. This is a critical job in the ritual that is the Law & Order script: the background cop always comes in and hands one of the detectives something at about eight minutes into the show, when they are having their first conference with their squad leader who is either eating (Lt. Van Buren) or thinking about not drinking (Capt. Cragen). If the background detective were on Star Trek, he would be the ensign killed in the first five minutes. As it is, NYPD is stricter about who it recruits, so the background detective does a better job of staying alive.
Best medical examiner.....for sure it's Leslie Hendrix in her continuing role as Dr. Elizabeth Rogers. Accept no beach-blonde substitutes: Leslie Hendrix is the one true heir to Quincy as the tee-vee sawbones.
But the actor who makes the whole show work?
Why, Steven Zirkilton, of course.
Hey, that's our turf!
Kathy is trying to cut into all our google traffic for the "Tina Fey nekkid" crowd.
Folks, we need to look at the big picture here
I was going to do a defense of the Navy on this one, what with Carter as the only Annapolis grad to become president, and the difficulty of gettting through Admiral Hyman Rickover's nuclear propulsion school when Carter was there.
Read between the lines of this story, and put the pieces together: what are they going to do with the USS Carter once it joins the fleet?
Insert eve-uuuuul laughter here. Sorry, Lil' Kim, this Carter isn't here to negotiate....
That's right, Team America has a new toy!
And I expect that the next 20 sets of Tomahawk Missiles that need to be launched at a Muslim country will come from this boat, simply so that the Pentagon spokesman can say "Today, Jimmy Carter blew up the capital of Carjakistan..."
SPECIAL LLAMABUTCHER SATURDAY CONTEST!
Photoshop the Navy's official USS Jimmy Carter logo!
Bad News for the Federation
This isn't good: the Romulan foundational myths are turning out to be true.
Next thing you know, archeological socio-biologists are going to prove that the Cardassians did indeed descend from the Lizard King.
This is just sad....
This has all the feel of a Federalist throwing his shoe at John Calhoun, in frustration over the Republicans cleaning their clocks for the fifth straight time....
Meanwhile, back when the Democratic Party stood for something other than outing gays and surrendering to the French....
The horror....the horror....
What do you get when you mix O-Dub and Wonkette?
Meanwhile, Wizbang has the Gannongayte update I know you've been itching for.
How oh how is the right going to continue its ascendency without the help of the prestige of the Talon News Service?
In the Name Of The Parent, The Offspring And The Karmic Groove
There's a longish article in the Metro section of this morning's Washington Post about several New International Version translations of the Bible aimed at taking out gender-specific language.
For the most part, I simply dismiss this kind of silliness out of hand. As far I'm concerned, the King James Version is the only one worthy of the title "Bible" and anyone who has a problem with it can, well, go to hell. (UPDATE AND N.B.: This is a joke, people.)
But I also got thinking. If we really want to shape the language to better reflect our modern society, when is someone going to get around to jettisoning terms like "Lord" and "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Prince of Peace"? I mean, these words and images are nothing but the relic of an outdated and exploded feudal system and really have no place in a modern enlightened society. (Don't bother sending in comments telling me this is already being done - it'll just spoil my fun.)
Sooooooo, taking pen in hand, I decided to see if I couldn't improve on the Lord's Prayer, making it more relevant to our times.
Our Friend, in your Happy Place,
We're really comfortable with who you are.
May you realize your vision and find closure,
in our delicate eco-system, as within your own personal environment.
Please consider helping us to only non-exploitative, organic foods,
and don't be judgmental of us, as we're trying not to judge
other people (so long as they're not hurtful or insensitive or anything).
And please help us to remember that arbitrary constructs of good and bad have no place in our personal choices, so long as they are not based on ignorance or prejudice.
For you are totally centered, inclusive and non-threatening, which we think is both authentic and beautiful. And we hope you will keep it up as long as you feel it is appropriate.
February 18, 2005
More Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM), Tolkien Division
It turns out that the oldest Llama-ette seriously whiffed a quiz on The Hobbit in school this week. I cannot believe that a child of mine would do this! My own flesh and blood unable to answer some simple multiple choice questions about the adventures of Mr. Bilbo Baggins! Horibile dictu! It is obvious that I've got some serious work ahead of me to rectify this situation.
As I understand it, the gel's teacher has been reading the book during lunch. She insists that the reason she did so poorly was that he told her to concentrate on eating her lunch, not on listening to the story. I've no doubt that she got these instructions backwards, but I've also no doubt that she truly believes what she tells me. This particular Llama-ette is of a personality type that, once she gets an idea in her head, however cockeyed, there is no shifting it short of using high explosives.
The good news is that all is not lost. In the first place, there is plenty of time. I had never even heard of The Hobbit until I was in high school. Someone had given a copy of it to me as a Christening present, but my mother - whose literary knowledge and sophistication far surpass my own - has never been a fan of what she calls "little green men" literature, and consequently did not read it to me. Her suspicions may have been deepened by the fact that the mid 60's represented the zenith of the popular association of Tolkien's work with hippydom. In fact, if I have the story straight, the person who gave me the book, one of Mom's faculty colleagues, was some kind of sandalled beatnik. In any event, I didn't come across hobbits until much later in life and I don't seem to have suffered much for it.
Second, the gel evidently was paying some attention to things, because as we were talking about it this evening she started saying "precioussssss......."
There's hope yet.
UPDATE: Some more good news. It turns out that the Llama-ette's class still has a long way to travel in the book - they're in the middle of Mirkwood at the moment. And the gel knows that Beorn is "that giant who can turn into a bear", so she evidently has been paying some attention. She's in a good mood this morning, so I seized on the opportunity to suggest she needs to listen more closely to the story during lunchtime. She seemed to take the advice to heart.
And So It Begins
The Butcher's Wife has bugged out and I am on full Mr. Mom watch. In a little bit, I have to toss Llama-ettes Two and Three into the car and head off to collect their big sister from Brownies. I found out this afternoon that today is cookie pickup day, so we'll be coming back loaded down with thin mints, as well as the other, lesser varieties. My five year old is already talking about plundering some of them before we can make the proper deliveries.
In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what to do with my evening. This may be a good opportunity to play a little Age of Kings as I had mentioned a week or two back. I'm feeling rayther Byzantine today, so perhaps I'll drive the Saracens back into the desert. Then again, I may once again crush Steve-O's ill-founded belief in the invincibility of the Frankish Knights by Agincourting their collective ass. We'll see.
My apologies for not posting more today. Between getting the Missus off and dealing with dial-up, I'm sort of out of the loop. I hope nothing big happened in the world this afternoon? Oh, one thing for you football fans- I got my hair cut today and the guy next to me was insisting that Dallas is going to sign Drew Bledsoe. Take that for what it's worth.
Anyhoo, hope all y'all have a good weekend. Hope I do also. Film at eleven.
UPDATE: So much for the cookie run. While I knew the girl had taken a goodish number of orders, I had no idea that it ran to a total of 111 boxes. The only way I was going to get all of them home in my Jeep is if I had left one or two of the Llama-ettes at the Brownie meeting. As tempting as that thought was, I overcame the urge and arranged with another parent to have her haul off our boxes, which the gels and I will go and recover tomorrow using the Butcher's Wife's Cherokee. (Incidentally, on the way home this evening, I saw one of the most blood-curdling vanity license plates in my experience. It said, "ABBA GOD". Oh, the humanity!)
As for this evening's entertainment, well, what with one thing and another, I'm just reading some more of the Franklin biography. One other thing I can't quite figure out about it is why Walter Isaacson has it in so thoroughly for John Adams. This makes me think that I need to read David McCullough's biography of Adams soon, just to get the other side of the story, so to speak. You see how these things snowball? Perhaps I'll get round to Age of Kings tomorrow.....
Incidentally, for the benefit of Feisty Christina and all you other moms out there laughing at me so derisively over my Mr. Mom blogging, let me assure you that I am fully aware of the ridiculousness of my tone. In fact, I know of nobody on the planet who works harder than the Butcher's Wife. I also know that my occassional substitute role is a walk in the park by comparison. But the difference is that she's used to it and I'm not. In other words, she's a pro and I'm just an amateur hack.
More Book Blogging
The past day or two I've started ranting a bit here about Walter Isaacson's biography of Ben Franklin. Last evening, I realized that I had reached that event horizon where I was reading it because I thought I ought to rather than because I enjoy it.
Once I start reading a given book, I do everything I can to finish it, partly owing to the lingering hope that it will redeen itself towards the end, partly through an extreme dislike of giving up on something. There are plenty of very good arguments against this sort of behavior but hey, that's me. Mr. Vegas.
Well, anyway. Owing to the Missus skipping town for a couple of nights, I'll probably have time to finish up with Ol' Ben this weekend. And then I'm heading immediately into a real treat - Johann Sebastian Bach, The Learned Musician, by Christoph Wolff. I bought this a few years back after reading all sorts of good things about it, but have not yet cracked it. Now is the time. If I start doing an unusual amount of Bach-blogging in the next few weeks, you'll understand why (and hopefully tolerate my wallowing).
I noticed that the jacket-flap of this book contains a plug for a companion book, The New Bach Reader, A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents, edited by Hans T. David and Arthur Mendel and revised (surprise!) by Christoph Wolff. I'd very much like to get hold of a copy of this book as well. Peter Schikele of P.D.Q. Bach fame (I know I've misspelled his name) did a hilarious musical piece called the "Bach Portrait", a riff on Aaron Copeland's "Lincoln Portrait". Set to swelling, heroic Copelandesque music (interspersed with some of Bach's own compositions), Schikele read several of Bach's letters, most of which were crabby rants about money, how expensive everything was and how everyone around him was constantly trying to swindle him.
Schikele was being funny, but I think he was also making a point about Bach considering himself to be an artisan, as opposed to an artist. This notion often jars on people's sensibilities these days, conditioned as they are by the Romantic concept of the artiste. As I go through the Bach biography, I shall probably have much more to say on this topic, which is something that fascinates me to no end.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
A few days ago I was fool enough to mention within earshot of the Butcher's Wife that I thought spring would be here sooner rather than later and that I supposed it was getting on toward time to start thinking about projects. Never one to let the grass grow under her feet, she immediately seized on this thought and, literally fifteen minutes later, had produced a Honey-Do List. If you've been wondering how I'm going to spend my spare time
over the next few months until it's time to rake the leaves next fall, look no further. Here's how:
1. Remove railings from driveway. We have some board and post fencing between the sidewalk and the street which we've decided we don't like very much. I actually won't mind this job, as destruction is always more fun than construction. What I can't remember is whether the posts were anchored in cement. I don't think so, but if they are, it's going to be that much tougher.
2. Fill holes where doors were and touch up paint. Just before Christmas, we got rid of a couple of nasty early-70's vintage French doors. I took both doors and hinge assemblies off, leaving the remaining spaces in the doorframes to be puttied and painted over.
3. Fix front shutter. One of the shutters on the front of the house is missing about six inches of wood from the bottom. I've pointed out numerous times that no one can even see it, especially in the summer when the hydrangia in front of it is in full leaf/flower. But to no availe.
4. Replace panel above sink. Another holdover from the early 70's, this board has a Kuntry Kuteness that has recently started giving the Missus the crazies.
5. Grout around kitchen floor. Constant pounding from the herd of buffalo known as our children keeps shaking the stuff loose. My suggestion was to just keep sweeping all the crumbs they produce into the holes.
6. Paint French doors in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom. They sit between the bedroom itself and a little hallway with the bathroom and closet. Why she didn't include this area - which also needs painting - in the list is a mystery to me. (UPDATE: Actual quote from the Missus: "I was being nice. Now you can go ahead and add it to the list. Smartass.")
7. Paint upstairs hallway. What the hell is "taupe"?
8. Stain swing set. We have a small version of one of those wooden Rainbow swingsets/treehouse/slide contraptions. Unfortunately, it has to be touched up every few years. Hmph. When I was a kid, we had a metal A-fram with cracked plastic seats. If you swung hard enough, you could flip the thing over.
9. Clean and stain deck. I could swear that I did this last year, but the Missus says it was two or three years ago.
10. Paint playhouse. Our handyman friend built the gels a little 4X8 playhouse that sits out behind the swings. It's painted yellow but is starting to fade to something closer to cream. The Missus and I are having a bit of a tussle about just how high up the priority list this one really needs to be.
11. Paint backyard fence. It's a white rail fence. We've had so much rain the past couple of summers that the moss has really gotten itself established on some of the shadier parts. This project is one that I'm hoping to work a little Tom Sawyer magic on - it's not easy for a kid to screw up slapping white paint on a fence rail.
Upon handing this list to me, the Missus batted her big blue eyes and said, "This shouldn't take you too long, Dear." Grrrrh.
February 17, 2005
Tuning Into Google
Heh. Thanks to one of our commenters, your Llamas own the Google term "Alexandra Steele airhead". (Who is Alexandra Steele, you ask? Obviously you don't watch The Weather Channel. This is she. And to answer our original commenter's question, yes it's perfectly possible to go to a decent school and be a bimbo or a mimbo.)
Anyhoo, because it's getting towards the end of the day and because I'm pretty worn out, these words (and their accompanying tune) suddenly popped back into my mind:
I buy her all the right clothes
and pretty jewels to wear
my friends say she's a dumb blonde
but they don't know she dyes her hair
she thinks the fighting in Central America's easily solved
but what to wear to Bel-Air premieres
is a problem she could never resolve...
she's an airhead
stungun and mace - Kharmann Ghia plates say "Lost in Space"
she's an airhead
thousands in trust - cusp Aquarius - get serious
she's an airhead
tinted contacts don't change the fact that black is black
she's an airhead
and while I'm impressed with the length of those legs
she's not an intellectual giant....
she'd like to model or maybe act
or start a magazine
before she signs any contracts
I think she better learn to read
but in her dreams she's the queen of the fashion regime...
you ask me do I love you...
does the pope live in the woods?
quod erat demonstrandum, baby.
( ooo you speak French)
sweet and low and oh-so
little Ms. Dora Jarre
safe sex and fishnets
and could you walk me to my car
she's losing faith in a world that is out of control
so she's gonna nix politics,
she's taking up volleyball! volleyball! why?
she's an airhead
stungun and mace - Kharmann Ghia plates say "Lost in Space" she's an airhead
thousands in trust - cusp Aquarius - get serious
she's an airhead
and now the time's come for the end of my song,
don't get me wrong
if she's an airhead it has to be said
it was men made her that way
it was us made her that way
it was us made her that way!
Here are the rest of the songs from that album, by the way.
Scrape the Bottom Of That Barrel Any Harder, Friends, And You're Gonna Be Diggin' A Hole To China
CNN has got a poll up to determine "the most influential woman in American politics in the past 25 years." Among the contestants...
Are you kidding me? A lousy five names and that's the best they can do to round it out? Puh-lease.....
Either someone is hopelessly blinkered or else they aren't trying very hard.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
(Image courtesy of BaroqueMusic.Org.)
Turns out today is the anniversary of the birth of Arcangelo Corelli in 1653. I must confess that I did not know anything about Corelli's music until I did a research paper on Handel in college. (Handel's two sets of Concerti Grossi are modelled on those of Corelli, and in fact he even pinches some of Corelli's ideas.)
People sometimes ask me for classical music recommendations. (Well, they do.) I would certainly recommend the inclusion of Corelli's twelve Opus 6 Concerti Grossi in your collection. And while you're at it, get Handel's Opus 3 and Opus 6 Concerti Grossi sets too. There are lots of different recordings available. I have complete sets by Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert, but there are many other options as well.
Uh, Oh - They're On To Me....
Y'all know how I've been gently poking the Episcopal Church in its pronounced tum recently? Well evidently, someone out there has decided to do something about it. I've just been asked to stand for the Vestry at my Church. Yikes - assimilation!
I've this sudden image of Bishop Lee saying, "We are the Palie-Borg. Resistence is optional."
(Or am I still silicon-goggling Jeri Ryan?)
Cranky Llama Book Reviewing
Y'know, I'm increasingly of the opinion that I ought to just stay away from "popular" histories and biographies, because more and more I seem to be getting as annoyed by them as I am enlightened.
Take, for example, Walter Isaacson's Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, through which I am currently plowing. (I mentioned the other day that I thought Isaacson missed a serious opportunity to note the parallels between 18th Century printers and 21st Century bloggers. Afterwards, I noticed on the jacket flap that he is a former chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time magazine. That explains it.)
Anyhoo, what I've noticed as I progress through this work is that Isaacson has a bad habit of periodically shifting his language, going in a flash from a moderately academic tone to one that is, what, street smart? Hip? Homey? Once one becomes aware of it, the effect is quite jarring.
Another thing I'm noticing is that Isaacson is quite repetitive about certain things. If I've read once about the domestically comfortable yet romantically barren relationship between Franklin and his wife Deborah, I've read it a dozen times. Okay, Walter, we get it.
Both of these literary sins are matters that a competent editor should have stamped out. I strongly suspect they were passed on the grounds that Isaacson is trying to connect with "the people" instead of a small group of eggheads who, you know, expect books to be well-written.
On a more substantive note, I notice a certain amount of PC-ism. (Yes, Lawd knows this is not the sole province of popular historians.) For example, Isaacson duly notes Franklin's efforts to coordinate frontier defense after the disasterous Battle of Fort Duquesne and his manueverings during the wrangling between the popularly-elected Pennsylvania Colonial Assembly and the Govenors appointed by the Penn family over who was going to pay for it all. But he fails to give any sense of the near-panic Pennsylvania was in over the extremely aggressive and savage Indian raids into the western and central portions of the colony after the death of General Braddock and the disbursal of British Army forces.
On the other hand, Isaacson goes to more considerable length to paint the cruelty of the Paxton Boys, a gang of frontiersmen who murdered groups of unarmed Indians in retaliation for the depredations of Chief Pontiac's uprising, and then later marched on Philadelphia looking for more blood.
So - Enemy Indian Tribes - just something requiring a few frontier blockhouses. Frontier vigilantes? Up to their elbows in innocent gore.
Is it just me, or is this view of the world slightly skewed?
Vindication of the "No Hot Beverages" Rule
Some people ask, cynically, whether anyone has ever really sprayed their monitor with a mixture of coffee and snot because of something they read.
Well the answer is, uh, wait a minute while I clean up this mess......
Where was I? Oh, yes. The answer is a resounding YES.
The latest proof of this may be found over at Michele's place. She has been hosting a Simpsons Character Smackdown for some time now, asking her commenters to identify their favorite quotes. The tourney is now narrowed down to two mighty finalists: C. Montgomery Burns vs. Groundskeeper Willie.
Go and read the comments. Without a mouthful of your favorite beverage.
Chip Strikes Out
I may be mistaken, but I get the distinct impression that a certain junior member of the Crack Young Staff over at the Hatemonger's Quarterly made the fatal mistake of trying to pick up a Sorority Chick by telling her he was a blogger.
No, no, my young Paduin, all wrong. This skill is something to be concealed. Next time, tell them you're on the water polo team. That'll work.
Gratuitous Domestic posting (TM)
Lileks unloads on the evils of what I like to call Competitive Motherhood. Sing it, bruthah.
In a related episode, I overheard the three year old talking with the Butcher's Wife this morning about one of her classmates' domestic arrangements:
Llama-ette: John's Daddy's going to work?
BW: John's Daddy and Mommy are going to work.
Llama-ette: Oh......two Daddies?
This attitude is rayther funny, considering the Butcher's Wife does, in fact, work. But she teaches at the Llama-ettes' school and sees plenty of them throughout the day. Evidently, they (or at least one of them) do not look on what she does as "work".
Speaking of work, I was abruptly reminded this morning of something that had completely slipped my mind - that the Butcher's Wife is bugging out tomorrow afternoon for a couple nights to visit the home of Mr. & Mrs. Llama Military Correspondent and coo over the arrival of their New Lass. I had been so consumed with figuring out the intricacies of the local jurisdictional filing rules for a complaint I have to get in and planning for a fact-finding trip out West early next week that I completely forgot I was going to have the undiluted attention of all three Llama-ettes over the weekend. I will admit that I did not take the news very gracefully. As dearly as I love the gels, I am not equipped with the same amount of patience for dealing with them as is the Missus, especially when preoccupied.
Well, the good news is that my trip has been postponed. What with the Fed holiday on Monday and the ol' compressed work schedule, this means I get a four day weekend in which to romp with the gels and still reserve some time for recharging my sanity supply. (And in case you were wondering, yes, I did apologize to the Missus for snapping.)
Attention Tolkien Geeks!
(You adherents to the Peter Jackson heresy probably won't be as impressed, but read it anyway. It'll be good for you.)
We're Not Worthy!
Bow down and worship before the divine Peggy Noonan this morning as she sings the praises (and gently points out the weaknesses) of the Blogsphere. Mmmmmm........Peggy......mmmmmmm.
I'm glad she didn't focus exclusively on those bloggers going toe to toe with the MSM in the fields of news and politics, but also mentioned folks like Lileks and Terry Teachout. For every INDCent Bill or Dr. Rusty out there scalping Dan Rather or posting Jihadi snuff films, there's also someone blogging about their favorite music, changing the baby's diapers or when they ought to plant the spring bulbs. This is one of the major beauties of writing in the 'Sphere as opposed to the MSM. Not only do I not have to ask an editor if I can run another Eason Jordan story, I also don't have to ask if I can post about the daily harassment I suffer at the hands of my cat who, as soon as I get home, starts demanding loudly that I sit down in the library so he can jump into my lap.
Likewise, and equally importantly, readers of blogs aren't confined by the MSM's gatekeeping. If someone stumbles across our site, likes my cat-blogging for instance and is sufficiently impressed with the quality of our writing, why, they're free to come back any time. And to request more of the same. (We're always open to suggestions. That's what the TastyBits (TM) Mail Sack is all about.)
That, by the way, is why we Llamas like to think we have something pretty special going on around here. We get into the political debate now and again, but we also opine about whatever else crosses our crazed minds. As Steve-O likes to say, we cover the waterfront, gathering rats and toasting them on sticks so you don't have to.
Nonetheless, Peggy also makes what strike me as pretty interesting and tantalizing predictions about the future of the 'Sphere. Let me just say that if there is some editor out there who's looking for a quick-witted smartass to blog for him or her, drop us a line. I'm your man. And unlike a certain Bloggress-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless-But-Who-Inexplicably-Remains-On-Our-Blogroll, I don't rely on anal humor to get my point across.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention also the fluidity of ideas flowing among bloggers themselves. In the Falling-Right-Into-My-Lap category, we have a long post over at Brian B.'s Memento Moron in which he and Naked Villainy's Smallholder discuss the root causes of the Civil War. Is this a great medium or what?
YIPS from Steve: SPECIAL BONUS "DOWDIFIED" VERSION OF ROB-O'S POST:
"Mmmmmmmm....exclusive...I'm...glad she did...INDC Bill...and...Dr. Rusty...snuff films...also...changing...their...diapers...for...anal humor."
February 16, 2005
Only at the LLamas......
One day's sample slice: Borg versus Cylon hotties, ode to Red Lobster, P.G. Wodehouse review, Kid Rock and Alan Bloom.
Yeah, we're not in need of some serious adult ADD/HD meds....
I Have Seen The Promised Land. And It Is Good.
It's the Llamapalooza Motherlode.
White Trash Wednesday Alert!!!!
No word on whether the twwwwwwwwwwwinnnnzzzz were harmed.
Horsa, Keep Your Tail Up!*
Dan the Silver Fox notes two new attempts to bring the saga of Beowulf to the silver screen. From what I gather, neither producer really has much of a clue.
Of course, as I've mentioned before, there's only one decent movie about a spiritual Norseman.
(*Serious Llama Yips! to anyone who can figure out where I lifted that line....)
UPDATE: One of our commenters was on the right track with Horsa and Hengist, but the actual line is a little piece of throwaway flippency from P.G. Wodehouse's Money in the Bank. It's the punchline of a joke uttered early on by the hero Jeff, a smartassed young barrister. This book is one of my favorites and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone who would like to read some non-Wooster, non-Blandings material.
Department of Irony
THIS made me laugh on so many levels....
Who knew smug feelings of superiority created greenhouse gas?
The Balance of Terror
(Thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Zambesi)
***LLAMA EXCLUSIVE***MUST CREDIT LLAMAS****
According to our sources, in response to this announcement the Chinese have stepped up production of their latest ASW aircraft, seen here in secret tests late last year.
Fabulous prizes await
Is this your IP Address? If so, you were our 175Kth visitor, and you won a free one day supply of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat!
Moo Knew Coo-Coo Achoo
Seems the dingos are trying to eat our server again. Our collective apologies to anyone who's having trouble reaching us.
White Trash Wednesday - An Apology
Don't that just unplug yer heatin' pad? I got nuthin' for WTW. Fact is, I didn't even know I was doin' it until I finally checked the Mailsack a while back.
Not that we aren't game:
Steve and Robbo in Former Lives
I'll catch y'all on the come-back. In the meantime, go check out these good ol' boys n' girls for all yer redneck needs:
Fistfull of Fortnights
Hector Vex's Infotainment
It Is What It Is
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Rachel Ray Redux
Six Meat Buffet
Ebb & Flow Institute
Vince Aut Morire
Y'all come back now, y'hear?
YIPS from Steve: Uhhhhh.....yeah......I guess I should have mentioned that. My bad.
STEVE THE LLAMABUTCHER EXPLAINS, "HEY, WHAT THE HECK IS THE DEAL WITH RED LOBSTER, ANYWAY?"
Ah, Red Lobster, your mystery is divine.
My first real experience with Red Lobster came on the day of my 35th birthday. In the middle of the journey of my life I had found myself astray in a dark stretch of I-95, where the right road had been lost sight of.
I came upon a hitchhiker (and seeing no visible hooks, and hearing no sinister music), I picked him up, and let him guide me to the next exit, where I saw your sign beckoning in the mist.
It was the exit for South of the Border, and I recognized what it was right away: the very gates of hell. And so I turned to my restless hitchiker and said, "Hey, Virg, it's Tuesday, right? It's all you can eat shrimp and pasta bar, $5.95!"
Six hours later we emerged, into the sky painted by Aurora herself, smelling of congealed butter and a merely pedestrian pesto/garlic mix. Bea, our waitress, came outside for a smoke, and to slip the hitchiker her number scrawled on the back of a Motel 6 matchbook. I smiled. It was good to be alive.
Yips from Robbo! Way to watch my six, pardner!
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Not my own, this time. Instead, I read with wonder and sympathy Chris of the Big Yellow House's Homeric account of a trip to the grocery store with seven kids.
Now most of the shopping in our family is handled by the Butcher's Wife. But I think I speak for her when I say that I have only three words in response to this epic: Peapod, thank God.
Yips! to Jordana.
Attention All Douglas Adams Fans!
Back me up on this one.....I don't want to become the Sausage King of Dee Cee!
More Sci-Fi Babe Polling: Attack of the Cyber-Babes
(Image courtesy of WorldHistory/Wikipedia)
Take a random guess as to who I'm backing in this one. Go ahead. Funnily enough, I remember the first time I actually saw Jeri Ryan without all the cyberstuff - it was an episode of Voyager where she dreamt of being Borg-free or some such. Also, her hair was down and she had some flowing dress on. My first reaction was, "Er....I kinda liked her better the other way."
I'd also like to make abundantly clear that my dislike of Trish Helfer's Cylon has nothing to do with my hatred of the new Battlestar Galactica series. I just don't think she's that attractive. As for Kristanna Loken's T-3, well, she always reminds me a wee bit too much of Alicia Silverstone in a bad mood.
UPDATE: Just to quell any nasty suspicions of uber-geekery out there, no, I have never asked the Butcher's Wife to "assimilate" me.
UPDATE DEUX: Any Photoshopping of Jeri and a Llama is strictly verboten.
UPDATE TROIS: The Maximum Leader begs to differ. Little does he appreciate the difference between prudery and discretion.
February 15, 2005
We humble LLamas bow down before your blogging genius! And we are also humbly relieved that Bill didn't decide that today was the day to reopen Orglegate!
Way to go guys!
Remember: we'll trade Talon News for 60 Minutes, the New York Times, and CNN any time!
(I just noticed I used three exclamation points---I must have been a staff writer for the North Korea Daily People's Lice Turds Gazette & Intelligencer in a previous life)
Yips! from Robbo: I think I just may have to call this "Tony B"/Monkyfister guy out. "INDCent Bill" is my beyotch!
YIPS from Steve: Or, at the very minimum, our Boo-Boo Bear.
For whatever reason, lots of updating on the posts today. So if you haven't scanned them recently, be sure to scroll back down.
And always remember our Palin-esque attitude: If you enjoy reading our blog half as much as we enjoy writing it, then we enjoy it twice as much as you!
(Sound of 13-ton weight falling on head.)
On Cellphone Ringers
Have I mentioned recently how much I hate customized cellphone ringers? When I become Emperor of the World, use of such devices shall constitute yet another in a long list of flogging offenses.
It's bad enough to hear classical warhorses being digitally butchered.
But someone down the hall from me just rigged their phone to play the opening chords of "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" and now I can't get the damn tune out of my head. (Here's the download link. I dare ya.)
YIPS from Steve: My favorite one of these was some dude on Amtrak about a year or so ago---he had his programmed to sound like an old 1950s style Ma Bell phone----that solid and metalic BBBBRRRRRINNNNG that those big old black heavy metal phones would make. Scared the bejeebus out of me because I thought for sure I was having some sort of flashback.
As Ron said to Harry, hearing things other people don't is generally a bad sign in their world as well as ours.
Red and blue, Iraqi style
Ruffini breaks down the Iraqi election outcomes by region with some interesting results.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming
Gee, Sydney, Honk Kong, Maccao, yes, but I've never heard of the "San Quentin" strain of influenza.
RC Altar Boy Weird Flashback
The spooky thing about this is she died on the 13th.
Show Me The Money
I noticed that PayPal sent an offer for a new PayPal Visa Card to the Llama Tastee Bits Mail Sack (TM). Pre-approved and everything!
Now I reckon they wouldn't do this unless there was actually something in our Tip Jar. But I haven't seen Dime One.
On a different note, Steve? Why does your secretary keep insisting that you had to fly to Rio for an "important conference on the influence of Iroquois governmental philosophy on the Founding Fathers - or something" and that she doesn't know when you'll be back? Uh....Steve? Hullooo?
UPDATE: Ya know, I couldn't help thinking that "Steve-O in Rio" has some great Photoshop potential. Not that I'm suggesting anything, like, say, linking/posting the best one I see. Nothing like that. Wouldn't want to make a contest out of it. No, sireeee.....
YIPS from Steve: Secretary? I wish....... But seriously, are you suggesting people pshop this sacrosanct piece of Amerikan beaux arts?
For shame! Blame it on Rio is one of the best of the early Demi Moore soft core flicks. Because of this movie, Michael Caine is a hero to all decrepit old geezers (like us) everywhere!
Also, it's no use declaring a challenge like that: I don't think they're up to it. Particularly Gordo.
"The Subtle Fraud That Is Christo"
James Panero on "The Gates":
From a critical point of view, Christo and his partner Jean-Claude have got their bases covered. There is, of course, very little for one to criticize about The Gates: the cost--nope, with money coming from their foundation, the Gates won't cost the City a cent and may bring in tourist dollars; the use of materials--the tons of metal and plastic will be recycled; environmental and long-term impact--not a tree branch will be removed and the gates will go down in sixteen days; artist ego--Christo shares the limelight with his "partner" Jean-Claude. To give The Gates a formalist critique based on placement or height or whatever is deliberately complicated by their ubiquity and the scale of the project. It is near impossible to get a handle on something so large and so meandering, and to walk the twenty-three miles of park paths beneath each gate is undermined furthermore by the artist's own statements:
The entire park is the work of art. The Gates are distributed over walkways from park border to park border, the entire thing. Please keep in mind, there are 7,500 separate gates. No part of the park has more or less of them. If you plan to be any where in Central Park, you will be in the best part of the artwork.
So the point of the Gates is not about the gates but about you--about your good feelings, about communing with nature, about going for a walk with your fellow man and feeling good about the city so nice they named it twice! Easy! Who can't get that? And indeed, therein lies the subtle fraud that is Christo. His is an art for everyone and for no one. The Gates may be art, but art of the most debased design. The Gates is ultimate kitsch offered up as high art.
By way of supporting his point, Panero sets up a little taste-test in which he substitutes Christo-crystals for real kitsch and asks readers to spot the difference.
Heh. Panero's analysis perfectly skewers many of the comments I've heard around Dee Cee from those who either have gone to see the display or are planning to (some of whom are so excited by the prospect that they practically need to be restrained). Indeed, his pop-art "point" could have come verbatim out of the mouths of at least three people I know.
In the end, I'm afraid I can't get very excited about the whole business. My reaction to Christo for years has been a shrug and a muttered, "Hasn't that man got anything better to do with himself?"
UPDATE: Terry Teachout isn't very impressed either, although he's willing to give it another go.
LAST UPDATE: In honor of Sheila, who we think is way cool and with whom I have been chatting about this business in the comment section, I present you this exchange from a classic Monty Python episode:
Cut to a book-lined study. At a desk in front of the shelves sits an art critic with a mouthful of Utrillo.
SUPERIMPOSED CAPTION: 'AN ART CRITIC'
Critic: (taking out stringy bits as he speaks) Mmmm... (munches) Well I think Utrillo's brushwork is fantastic... (stifles burp) But he doesn't always agree with me ... (belches) Not after a Rubens, anyway ... all those cherries ... ooohh ... (suddenly looks down) Urgh! I've got Vermeer all down my shirt...
Wife: (bringing in a water jug and glass on a tray and laying it on his desk) Watteau, dear?
Critic: What a terrible joke.
Wife: But it's my only line.
Critic: (rising vehemently) All right! All right! But you didn't have to say it! You could have kept quiet for a change!
Critic: Oh, that's typical. Talk talk talk. Natter natter natter!
Go here for the rest of the episode. And did those teeeeeeth, in Ancient Times.....
"Son, let me tell you about the birds, the bees, and, umm, the llamas...."
If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: boy does google bring out the weirdos. What's funny is that this isn't a result of google self-bombing that we regularly engage in.
PS---What is the proper term for that? Google self-bombing is too awkward: should it be Splamming? Orgling? Onaninking?
Bill, Rusty, we need an answer!
UPDATE: Well, I screwed up the link. The search terms were "where baby llamas come from"
Robbo of Arabia
The soon-to-be-wall-to-wall-yapfest radio station just played the Air and Baccanale from Camille Saint-Saens' Samson and Delilah. It has a very Arabian sound.
I've always had a weak spot for music evocative of North Africa and the Middle East. This goes from the Moorish strains prevalent in a good bit of late 15th Century Spanish and Southern French music right through the "Turkish Band" effects used by Mozart and Haydn and on into the Romantic Age. And indeed, I've always loved film scores and the like that employ such music. Lawrence of Arabia is a gimme. But there are lots of others as well.
Dunno why I like this kind of music, considering how much I detest all things related to hot weather, except that it's probably a mystique thing, a chance to drop my cold, Scots stiffness for a while and indulge in some Romance.
Anyway, there you have it.
Charles Collins, Lobster on a Delft Dish, 1738
(Courtesy of the Tate Gallery)
Here's an article from CNN about a new Norwegian study that claims lobsters most likely do not feel pain when boiled. The study backs up long-standing opinion that lobsters simply do not have the cranial capacity to feel pain the way more highly-evolved animals do.
Needless to say, this has got PETA's undies in a wad. Said an unidentified spokesperson, "Hey, lobsters are people too!" (As I recollect, a few years ago PETA or something akin to it was trying mighty hard to get the red lobster removed from Maine license plates on the grounds that the symbol was a promotion of animal cruelty.)
You know what? I don't give a damn. I luuuuuv lobster. And I'm going to keep eating them. So there. Now, where'd that lemon-butter go?
UPDATE: I haven't found a copy of the Norwegian study referenced in the article, but here is a history of the Maine license plate saga - complete with pictures!. Apparently, the state did ban the plates for a while but has since relented.
UPDATE DEUX: I should have mentioned that I fully respect other people's decision not to eat lobster themselves. That just means more for me. *Smack*
A la Recherche Du Temps Perdu - Watch
The Colossus waxes nostalgic about time thrown away on Spy Hunter, the video game on which I got my highest score ever. In fact, the pinnacle of my video game career (if there is such a thing) was one Saturday morning in the campus center at my college when a small but admiring crowd gathered as I just kept going and going and going.
The Big Guy nails one thing that I always loved about this game and which probably was responsible for my playing it so well: the music. As he notes, it wasn't just that the machine played Henry Mancini's "Theme from Peter Gunn", but that it was programmed with a seemingly endless string of riffs and variations. I still remember the point when I suddenly realized, "Dude, the game....It's jamming!" (Well, alright. I never really talked like that. But you get the point.) Listening to that theme music always somehow got me into the zone.
But Coloss.....a sit-down model? What a wuss! When I was a kid, I had to stand up to play.
UPDATE: The Cranky Neocon weighs in. C'mon, Gordon, you didn't waste any time. I mean, you turned out okay, right? Right?
Hot Babe Blogger Action Right Here!
I was practically rolling on the floor, huffing Sandcrawler fumes and howling with laughter, while reading Dr. Rusty's exposure of the latest Blogger-Babe-who-turns-out-to-be-a-guy and the ripple-effect claims it generated throughout a certain rayther sick section of the Blogsphere. Go on over and click around.
He's She's waiting for you......
As a matter of fact, there is genuine historical precedent for this sort of thing. Ben Franklin's very first, well, screeds, appeared in print as the writings of one Silence Dogood, a provincial widow. (I know it ain't exactly "Lusti Backdoore", but c'mon, we're talking mid-18th Century Puritan Boston here.) Furthermore, he sought to boost circulation of his first newspaper in Philadelphia by inserting occassional bits of sex humor and gossip, as well as writing letters to the editor under such female pseudonyms as Celia Single and Alice Addertongue.
As you might have gathered, I am currently reading Walter Isaacson's recent biography of Franklin. I know it's old hat to the more sophisticated bloggers out there, but what is absolutely fascinating from the Blogsphere point of view is that virtually everything Isaacson (and Franklin himself) says about 18th Century printers of newspapers and pamphlets is very much applicable to 21st Century bloggers. The parallel is uncanny. Granted I'm not very far along yet, but Isaacson himself seems to sail right past this. To the extent he talks about Franklin's legacy to the modern Press, he is still plainly operating in MSM mode.
UPDATE: Oh, but merciful God in Heaven above, don't go here! My eyes! They burn! They burn!
UPDATE DEUX: Okay, now Reynolds is pinching my material. Just thought I'd mention it.
February 14, 2005
Evidently Sheryl Crow had a near miss with some finny denizen of the deep on her way to the Grammys this weekend.
The shark seems to have realized what it was getting into at the last moment and wisely remembered an important engagement elsewhere.
What A Tease!
Gift und dolch! Someone came over here from the last post left by Enoch Soames, Esq. at the Charlock's Shade . For one brief moment, I thought it might even be the great Mr. Soames himself. Hastily, I fumbled for the mouse and clicked back down the referral.
Alas, if it was the man, he left no clue. Arriving at the now-familiar post entitled "On the Prowl", I found the comment section discussion about Mr. Soames' unknown whereabouts still in progress. But of his own august self, not one jot, not one tittle.
By the way, it strikes me that the participants in that now-better-than 2 month long discussion are beginning to get a little.......edgy. "Murder must out" as the saying is, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone in fact didn't snap some time soon. Call it the Case of the Tell-tale Sitemeter.
It Looks As If Karl Stromberg is Looking to Diversify Into Tourism
No word yet on whether you have to wear a uniform jumpsuit or which elevator will spit you into the shark tank.
(*Link in title for the benefit of me Mum.)
Beating The Dead Equine Dept.
I thought I'd pass along this letter to the editor from yesterday's WaPo (Original here - registration required):
Some of Us Are Sticking by Our Man Sunday, February 13, 2005; Page B08
They aren't disappearing.
They are still prevalent not only in the Democratic strongholds of Reston and Fairfax but in my traditionally conservative community of Great Falls as well. Although the election was three months ago, I haven't taken mine off either.
I never sported a bumper sticker before -- not in 31 years of driving, not even for causes I strongly supported. Maybe that was because the old bumper stickers left a residue and I worried about the resale value of my car. But this sticker was fully removable and could have disappeared without a trace of glue or any evidence of my defeat.
Still I haven't taken them off. I'm sporting the bumper stickers bow and stern, and they are as much a part of my car now as the extra lipstick I keep in the glove compartment.
What's more, a lot of other people apparently feel the same way that I do. The buttons and T-shirts may be packed away for history, but the bumper stickers are out there still, doing their job.
Dolphins use echo-location to find one another; we Kerry-Edwards supporters show our stickers. They reassure us that we are not alone and that our sturdy army is mending.
When I am in traffic, I feel a sense of community among those of us who haven't de-stickered. Would I be as patient with a sightseeing driver on Old Dominion Drive who had a "W" sticker as I am with one whose sticker matches mine? Would I yield the parking spot at Tysons as graciously? Probably, but I'd have to think about it a little longer.
As Kerry supporters, we treat one another with care as we nurture our collective recovery. We are comforted to see that there are more of us out there than one might expect, particularly in Great Falls, which has such a reputation for voting Republican that candidates of both parties often omit it from their campaign schedule.
I've asked others why they remain stickered up. Some say they want to dissociate themselves from the administration. "Don't blame me for this mess. I didn't vote for the guy," their sticker says.
For others, the sticker is an encouragement not to give up hope, a message to "hold on, midterm elections are coming."
More people than I ever imagined consider themselves Democrats -- or, at least, independent thinkers -- in my leafy suburb. The same soccer and security moms the Republicans claim for their own are perhaps too well-informed and educated to abandon medical research, women's privacy rights, civil rights protections and peace.
I enjoy smiles from strangers on the road and friendly chatter from acquaintances who never spoke to me much before I got my sticker. It gives me a kick when Republican friends at my sons' elementary school demand, "Risa, when are you going to remove those Kerry stickers? I can see your car coming a mile away!"
Apparently, my bumper stickers bother them. That's a good sign, I think.
On the road, my 10-year-old son points out Kerry stickers in a political version of the license plate game. The stickers give us a lot of chances to discuss our amazing democracy and how we can do more to affect it the next time around.
-- Risa E. Sanders
Isn't she precious? And plucky!
The odds are pretty good that I've actually seen this woman with my own eyes, as I live out in her direction. I don't know how to tell her this, but every time I see a Kerry sticker on someone's car, my immediate reaction is "HA-ha!"
UPDATE: Of course, the question for Ms. Sanders is whether she's going to keep that sticker on her car when Howard Louise Dean drives it over the cliff. YEEEAAAAAGHHHH!!!!
Evil Otto: No Longer Just A Video Game Character
(Image lifted from Fark)
Fellow fans of the old Berserker video game will be interested to see that Swedish scientists have invented a large, black, anti-burglar ball.
Intruder alert.....Intruder alert.....The intruder must be destroyed......
I'd like to propose a new standard in political ethics
In response to the moral, ethical, and political scandal of the century that is Gannonquiddick, I'd like to propose a new standard to be our lodestar, our veritable shining light in the night of partisanship to guide us safely to the calm harbors of the Republic:
What would C.J. Craig Do?
If only we could teach the Chimperor and his Dark Sith Lords and Masters at Halliburtorn and Waldomort this one simple truth, we can truly become the country in which skools can have all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold bake sales to build new bombers.
Even More Grumpy Valentine's Day Posting
THIS is why any young man hoping to lay his heart at the feet of his dream girl is a fool to do so in writing.
UPDATE: In a happy synergy between Plum-blogging and Valentine's Day, I give you a brief passage from P.G. Wodehouse's Right Ho, Jeeves. The Old Boy knew a thing or two about the Language of Love:
“You consider total abstinence [from alchohol] a handicap to a gentleman who wishes to make a proposal of marriage, sir?”
The question amazed me.
“Why, dash it,” I said, astounded, “you must know it is. Use your intelligence, Jeeves. Reflect what proposing means. It means that a decent, self-respecting chap has got to listen to himself saying things which, if spoken on the silver screen, would cause him to dash to the box-office and demand his money back. Let him attempt to do it on orange juice, and what ensues? Shame seals his lips, or, if it doesn't do that, makes him lose his morale and start to babble."
Save the trackback! Eat a vegetarian
Wizbang has some useful ideas.
More Plum Blogging
In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as an "almost unhealthy interest in P.G. Wodehouse" and, therefore, any sentence containing this expression should be treated with lively suspicion. Actually, all of the activity in the article flagged by Tim looked to me rayther like fun. From now on, you can call me "Bingo".
And in the end, we Wodehouse sharks certainly aren't any worse than the Baker Street Irregulars.
UPDATE: Utron makes the point in a comment that in the forward to his copy of Code of the Woosters published some years back, Alexander Cockburn mentioned a club in Hungary that attempted to recreate the atmosphere of the Drones Club. I have the same edition and had thought of mentioning this. Obviously, there is nothing new about Wodehouse-mania. But for some reason, the way Cockburn described the Hungarian group made them seem rather pathetic to me. Perhaps I am now just getting goofier in my old age.....
Finally a google trawl worth repeating!
'Cuz when you think LLama Butchers, you think "Winnie Mandela's favorite hitmen."
More Grumpy Valentine's Day Posting
Sorry, but I loathe this particular holiday for two reasons:
First, we hates mawkish sentimentality.
Second, I don't don the ol' tinfoil-lined chapeau very often, but there is something about the commercialization of Valentine's - headed by the Trilateral Commission of FTD, Hallmark and Zales, but abetted by many other allied industries - which has crossed over the line into outright bullying.
YIPS from Steve: Didn't Eisenhower warn us about the military/sentimental-industrial complex?
No, all in all, it strikes me that this day is best left to the kiddies. So yesterday afternoon, I found myself industriously shrouding old shoeboxes in wrapping paper for the Llama-ettes' card exchange at school today. My five-year-old is particularly excited. It was she who spear-headed a move to make breakfast for Mommy this morning (heart-shaped pancakes with red food dye). And she has been beaming for days in anticipation of all the cards she thinks she'll get from her friends. She probably will, too - a truly social little creature, she seems to like everybody and just about everybody seems to like her. I even understand that she proposed to one of her boyfriends this past week - and removed any doubt as to the outcome by replying on his behalf.
YIPS from Steve: Whereas we went with the heart shaped waffles....
Last night, I helped the boy make his valentine's cards for his class: we went with a white dragon holding a heart shaped card thing (he's really into dragons at the moment), scanned it, and then printed them for the class. He was really fired up for this morning.
Now just in case you think that my crankiness is awfully hard on the Butcher's Wife, let me assure you that this is not the case. We have our own particular ways of expressing affection, honed over 15-plus years' worth of practice. In fact, Christina and Sadie are calling me out to divulge such ways and means. I'm sorry, Ladies, but those records are permanently sealed. Suffice to say, it works.
YIPS from Steve: Sadie, Sadie, Sadie.....drop me a line.
(Insert evil baying-laughter here)
Yips Back! from Robbo: To paraphrase the classic dialogue between Jeremy Irons and Ron Silver in Reversal of Fortune:
Silver: You're a very strange man, Mr. Llama.
Irons: You haff no idea.
Grumpy Valentine's Day Posting
Even NRO is falling into the trap. Today, Kathryn Lopez interviews Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony, the online dating service.
This guy gives me the creeps. Whenever I see his shmoozy ads on the tee-vee, I can't help thinking that anyone who follows him is just asking to one day wake up to discover themselves in an armed compound outside of Waco, about to enjoy a friendly communal cup of kool-aid.
It's just a feeling.
Well This Is Bad News....
To me, at any rate.
WETA-FM is the local affliate of NPR. It used to be devoted almost entirely to classical music, but in recent years has been paring that service away in order to make more time for the bloviations of Linda Werthheimer & Co. Now it appears they've decided to heave the entire format overboard and go to round-the-clock yapping.
It strikes me that the NPR crowd are always in the front lines of the debate about the importance of "diversity" in broadcasting. Nonetheless, WETA's move is part of a trend towards a homogenized news/talk format among NPR's own affiliates. WETA is claiming that while it will initially simply pipe in NPR's pre-packaged programming, it also intends to develop some home-grown shows about the arts in the Dee Cee area. Uh, huh. We'll see about that. Also, why should I give up enjoying art in favor of listening to someone gas on about it instead?
This is terrible. I like to have the radio on at the office. The only classical station left in Dee Cee now is WGMS-FM. Unfortunately, it's a commercial station, which is very annoying. Also, it has a rayther large Warhorse Content in its line-up. And worst of all, it has a very bad habit of only playing select movements and snippets, rather than entire pieces.
Unless I want to constantly cycle CD's in and out of work, I guess I'm going to have to get used to it....
February 13, 2005
I hate the Grammys
Wizbang is liveblogging the Grammys so you don't have to watch. Let's just say if I'm reading this right--and I do believe I am---it appears to be the ninth ring of hell if Dante was into lameness as the ultimate sin against the Divine One.
The only reason I acknowledge the existence of the Grammys is that they serve as an important milepost on the road out of winter, a way-station between the Super Bowl and the beginning of spring training. Of course, the real sign of spring is when the groundhog pops out of his burrow and sees Charlton Heston as Moses on the tee-vee.
Speaking of awards show, it looks like Chris Rock, this year's host of the Oscars, has already gotten himself into wardrobe-malfunction area a month ahead of schedule. Which led Ace to deliver one of his patented lethal smackdown top-tens,
...and the Number One Headline Slightly Less Shocking Than "Only Gays Watch the Oscars"...
1. Andrew Sullivan Endorses John Kerry, Takes Your "Bandwidth Donations," and Flees to Europe
Hitting Sully, Kerry, and Chris Rock in one gag is truly the triple-lutz of blogging.
Someone came here after having googled "Nancy Pelosi Sexy."
For. The. Love. Of. The. Children. NO!!!!!
Next thing you know people are going to be dialing us up for "Harry Reid Hot Pants Go Go."
Eight million, four hundred fifty-six thousand, two hundred and sixty six Iraqis voted January 30.
That's almost eight and a half million insurgents in the cause of democracy against Baathist and Islamist fascism.
Back in the day when the Democratic Party stood for something, this would have been a cause for rejoicing.
The good news? The Shiite list will need to form a coalition with the two other major parties.
One last point: scroll to the end of the article---apparently ABC News has forgotten that the United Kingdom is in NATO. Ooops.
The unspoken beginning to his obituary
Sheila reminisces over Arthur Miller.
And yes, I'm a philistine, as I never really liked Salesman. Sheila explains why I'm an idiot.
Yips! from Robbo: Have to admit that I'm right there, too. When I first heard the news, my reaction was, "What? I thought he died years ago...."
A catchy new tune
If the Pixies (or, for that matter, Kid Rock) would set this to music, I'd buy it! It's not really danceable (although I could see a future for it at wedding receptions right after Bob Seger's "Olde Thime Rock n' Roll" and Otis Day's "Shout." They wouldn't even have to wait 20 years before using it to sell Cadillacs, either.
Thanks to Paul, who documents yet another new low point in the decline of a once great political party.
SEKRIT MESSAGE TO KOS: and don't forget the horse you rode in on!
Ideas that are non-starters
Thomas Friedman in the NYT:
Every college town needs to declare itself a "Hummer-free zone."
I guess they haven't updated their slang listings at the grey old lady's style book....
February 12, 2005
Kathy goes big time
Clueless wanna-be exploiters of the "power of blog" beware.
Oh, those wacky hijinx at chez denton's....
Friends of Kim Jong Il gather to drink a toast and share a few laughs with the newest member of the nuclear club at Nick Denton's friday night. Sources close to the Gaaacker Network distinctly overheard the following snippets of conversation....
"Hey, Kim supports gay marriage, so what's a few nukes between friends--Derb's against a nuclear Korea, so I'm for it."
"Get a load of the MIRV capability in his pants......I called Cheney for a response and he HUNG up on me....get it? I said "hung."
Words To Live By
Wise Man say: Do not tickle the child in your lap who has not gone potty recently.
Signs that we've won
This is right up there with Ted Kennedy taking credit for defeating the Soviet Union during Reagan's funeral.
Happy Birthday, Joe Don Baker
Joe Don Baker: he's kind of the working man's Kurt Russell.
Bye bye, Terry Mac
And in a completely different, er, vein, oh my......
(I had the idea last night while driving home to work to do a "Blog Squad" variation, but then Goldstein went and did a better version of it. My only different artistic choice would have been to make Sully in the "Linc" part....)
And now, with the denoument of Easongate, with the fun of pouring hot pitch and bags of fluffies all over the head of CNN, the inevitable let down..........
What can possibly give us the single-minded zeal and joy of taking down CNN?
I mean, isn't electing Howard Dean Chair of the DNC like tossing a hungry pitbull a headless Barbie doll covered in baco-bits?
New weirdness today from the bizzar-o world of North Korea:
North Korea urged its impoverished people Saturday to rally around Stalinist leader Kim Jong Il, after Washington rebuffed the communist North's demand that the two sides hold bilateral talks to curb nuclear tension.
Pyongyang's state-run daily newspaper Rodong Sinmun allotted the whole front page of its Saturday edition to an editorial saying "the single-minded unity serves as the strongest weapon," said the official news agency KCNA.
"At a time like today, when the situation gets tense, no task is more important than to strengthen our single-minded unity," the editorial said.
Minju Joson, another state-run daily, said that "devotedly protecting the leader is our life and soul."
Methinks he doth protest too much.
Seriously, though, why do something like this if he was feeling confidently in control?
Steve at Secure Liberty sends along an amusing little video in honor of the arrival of Steve-0 v. 4.0.
BTW, can you guys stop asking when Robbo v. 4.0 is going to come along? Ain't gonna happen. Also, for some reason or other, I get in trouble with the Missus when you guys say things like that.
For those of you keeping score at home:
Left-wing Media Matters Golden Horde:
UPDATE: Jim Geraghty's prediction that the official reaction would to all this would turn into a haughty "blogs as high-tech lynch mobs" proved to be prescient. He cites this from an NYU journalism school related blog:
"Eason Jordan has just been tire-necklaced by a bloodthirsty group of utopian, bible-thumping knuckledraggers that believe themselves to be bloggers but are really just a streetgang. Time Warner/CNN is spineless if not completely corrupted by its shareholders' thirst for petro-dollars. It is now clear that all pretenses to journalistic 'objectivity' benefit the torturing, gulag-building blood-cult known Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld's Republican Party."
My official reaction: hey, we were carrying pitchforks and torches too!
UPDATE DEUX: Maybe what he meant to say is that bloggers are targeting leading members of the MSM
A Good Idea
Daniel Henninger suggests that the Iraqi people should get this year's Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their elections.
At last the Prize actually has a chance to mean something. Which is to say, it probably won't happen.
The art of the Dooce
Here's an article guarenteed to sour an otherwise beautiful Saturday morning, what with the smell of pancakes and applesauce in the air and the delightful prospect of getting out the hammer and level and decide exactly where to mount Eason Jordan's head above the increasingly crowded mantlepiece: the growing trend of employers sacking employee bloggers.
Damn the Googlers, I want to Rant!
I postponed Mozart until this evening, as I got done with dinner too late last night to embark on a three plus hour opera. Instead I watched my DVD of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, one of my all time favorite movies.
Afterwards, just because I hadn't seen it in a while, I flipped on the Letterman Show. And who should Dave have on as a guest but Paris Hilton.
Words almost fail me. But not quite.
I have to ask in all seriousness: Is this Paris Hilton phenomenon all some kind of joke? I have rarely, if ever, seen such an example of bone-crushing stupidity in my life. How does this woman remember to put one foot in front of the other when she walks? How does she avoid drowning whenever she takes a shower? How does she keep her ears from vibrating due to that wind-tunnel of a skull of hers? The World wonders.
It struck me that Dave was slightly surprised at what a moron he was dealing with as well. However, rather than skewering her, he went into softball mode, confining his questions to words of one syllable. A sure sign of creeping old-fogeyism.
Why? Why on earth do we
tolerate glorify people like Paris? I know she'll have her 15 minutes and then she'll be out, but why give her that 15 minutes in the first place? And no, Bill, I'm not just being a grouchy young coot. If you can present me a single, solitary justification, just one example of positive influence she brings to the culture, I'll hold my peace.
Also in yesterday's Weekend Journal was a small book review of a new edition of James Adair's The History of the American Indians, originally published in 1775. Adair lived among the Cherokees, Catawbas, Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws for 40 years as a deerskin trader and also served as an advisor to various southern colonial governors.
At least according to the review, Adair's account of his life among the Indians is an invaluable description of their day to day lives, although the first half of the book is devoted to Adair's theory that the Indians were Jewish in origin, descended from the lost tribes of Israel.
I'd be willing to bet that Steve-O knows something about this book, given his professional interest in the roots of American government, but it's new to me. Looks fascinating, though.
Looks Like I'm Getting the Hang of This Art-Blogging Thing
I was a bit twitchy yesterday suggesting a parallel between Will Smith and Cary Grant. But this morning I opened my copy of the WSJ's Weekend Journal to Joe Morgenstern's review of Smith's new movie Hitch and stap my vitals if the following paragraph didn't jump out at me:
Will Smith has been a fluid concept until now - immensely likable, reliably droll and self-assured, though never self-important; a comedy star whose deadpan skills have enlivened action fantasies from Independence Day to Men in Black; a dramatic actor whose quick wit, precision and grace proved a perfect fit for the title role in Ali. As for Hitch...the movie blows hot and warm....But it, too, is immensely likable, and allows Mr. Smith to fulfill his manifest destiny - as an urbane comedian who is also, shades of Cary Grant, a romantic hero.
It's nice to see I'm not the only person thinking this way.
February 11, 2005
From The Horrible To The Pathetic
Well, thank God, it turns out that the whole newborn-baby-tossed-from-a-car-window story was a hoax.
This Will Make Bill Happy
From an interview with Neil Portnow regarding the upcoming Grammy Awards:
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A GRAMMY FIELD SO DOMINATED BY R&B AND HIP-HOP AS THERE IS THIS YEAR. WHAT'S THE REASON FOR THIS HUGE EXPLOSION?
Neil Portnow: The fact is that the culture in this country has shifted and is changing. The acceptance of hip-hop culture is not something that's fringe or niche-specific anymore -- it's in the mainstream of American life. You see it music, you see it in film, you see it in television and you very much see it in fashion. Lastly, you see it reflected in Madison Avenue's choice of music beds for mainstream corporate American advertising, which really tells me that it's arrived in the culture. Certainly, our membership is also a reflection of what's happening culturally in America. We've also made a concerted effort to reach out to a variety of constituencies -- and certainly one is the urban/hip-hop community -- in recruiting membership because we want our voting members to be reflective of the reality of what's going on in music and in the world.
UPDATE: To the ramparts! Here is a nifty New York Review of Books interview with Alfred Brendel about Mozart's piano concerti. Money quote:
There is perfection of form, yes, but there is also the sensual beauty of the "cantabile" composer, the beauty above all of the Mozart sound. Mozart is one of the most sensuous composers ever. There is a sensuality too about his melodies. I'm reminded of a lovely sentence from Busoni, who said a few wonderful things in his aphorisms about Mozart. Bu-soni said there was no doubt that Mozart took singing as his starting point, and from this stems the uninterrupted melodiousness which shimmers through his compositions like the lovely forms of a woman through the folds of a flimsy dress. Isn't that wonderful?
Exactly right. In fact, I'm currently listening to his Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-Flat, K. 456 (Malcolm Bilson with John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists), one of my favorites. The second movement - in a haunting minor key - uses a theme very, very close to "L'ho perduta, me meschina", Barbarina's Act IV-opening aria in Le Nozze di Figaro.
Go read the rest. And skip the Grammies.
Is Our Childs Learninj?
Every now and again I drop by Joanne Jacobs' place to catch up on all the latest in education news. So how are the stoodints of Cedarcrest High School in Duvall, Washington coming along these days? Not well. And the most horrifying part about it is that their parents, far from smacking them upside the head with a lead pipe, are helping them tank.
This got me remembering a thoroughly preposterous episode from my own days back in 1982 at good ol' Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio. One of the high points of Junior English, at least from the students' perspective, was a project to be done in connection with the reading of Thoreau's Walden and which I swear I am not making up. The instructions were to procure a paper grocery bag. On one side, one was supposed to paste pictures of things that made one happy. On the other side, one was supposed to paste pictures of things that made one sad. And one was supposed to put something very special to oneself inside the bag. Then one was supposed to give a presentation to the class explaining one's choices.
This was an advanced English class, mind you.
As was the case every year, the kids worked like slaves on this project. And many of them were excited about making their presentations.
I, on the other hand, absolutely refused the assignment. It was, I believe, the only time in my entire academic career that I did so. When my turn came to give my presentation, I calmly stood up and announced that I didn't have one. When asked by the teacher why not, I launched into something of a rant about how idiotic the whole business was and how I thought the purpose of an English class - particularly an advanced one - was to hone reading and writing skills. I also used the opportunity to briefly give my opinion of Mr. Henry David Thoreau, who I thought (and still think) to be nothing more than what P.J. O'Rourke called him - a sanctimonious beatnik.
When I had finished explaining myself, the room was a sea of stunned bewilderment, as if I'd just cold-cocked Mother Theresa. The teacher eyed me for a minute, said, "Well I'm sorry you feel that way," and gave me an F. (Fortunately, my average was high enough that I could take the hit and still get an A- for the semester.)
Lest you think the entire class was like this, we did also do a full-blown research paper that year. Mine was on Gatsby as Tragic Hero, as I recollect. A couple of friends and I also got together and did a bogus paper entitled "A Marxist Reading of Green Eggs and Ham - Theodore Geisel and the Communist Manifesto". Our poor teacher hadn't the faintest idea what to make of it.
Dean Esmay has some prescient thoughts about the emerging battle lines within each party going into Oh-Eight: the Clintonistas versus the Deaniacs, and the McCainiacs versus the Bushie heir apparent.
I'd still put my money on the outsiders: my bet it will be a Republican governor versus a Democratic governor.
Google Searches We Wish We Hadn't Seen
"Angela Lansbury topless"?
Ew. I mean, the woman must be pushing 80 by now.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
Okay, I really am going to say something arty now. I plan to pop in my video of Le Nozze di Figaro this evening.
This performance came out right around the time Bryn Terfel started to become such a muckety-muck in the operatic world. And really, the man was made to play Figaro. (I saw him in a broadcast Met production of Don Giovanni a few years back where he was actually rather disappointing. The Don is a snake-tongued seducer. Terfel just made him look like a lout.)
Anyhoo, here Terfel (along with the rest of the cast) is quite solid. Unfortunately, this is a recording of a live stage production, so it comes with all the attendant drawbacks, both audio and visual. But one puts up with these things.
One thing that I don't much care for is the failure of the producers to resist the urge to plug a revolutionary subtext here and there. Most notably, during Figaro's aria "Se vuoi ballare," he holds up one of the Count's wigs and its stand in a manner suggesting a guillotined head. Also, in the reprise of the Rustics' chorus, they menace the Count with pitchforks and sheep crooks. I've never read Beaumarchais' original, so don't know how much of a revolutionary undercurrent there might have been in it, but I think this is out of place in Mozart's version. Mozart was something of a liberal, but no radical. There is no suggestion that the entire feudal structure should be dismantled. Rayther, the tension of the plot is caused by the Count attempting to go back on his pledge to abandon the droit de seignur and get his hands on Susanna and the efforts of Figaro and his allies to steer the Count back to his proper bed. (I have an extremely interesting book called Mozart and the Enlightenment by Nicholas Till that examines Mozart's operas from the perspective of and as commentary upon late 18th Century socio-political thought.)
But never mind politics - the opera is a pure delight to listen to and watch. And this is an extremely enjoyable performance of it.
Note To Self....
Stop reading The Hatemonger's Quarterly at lunch time. Bologna does not travel through the nose well.
The Missing Bloggers Ad worked!
The Commissar is back!
I take full credit, having just had 10000 of these beauties hit the street in NYC:
"It's The Arts"
My friends, I feel that I have O-fficially arrived. Why, do you ask? Because I just noticed that Terry Teachout has blogrolled us.
How sweet is that?
[Ed. - Quick! Say something arty!]
Um, er, okay....I'm working on the thought that Will Smith may potentially be a modern day Cary Grant. Now, after you've wiped the spittle off your monitor, just hear me out. Smith has an undeniable stage-presence, an on-screen charm and smoothness, coupled with a very good sense of timing, that reminds me an awful lot of Grant's. Yes, he's been in some pretty bad movies, but I'm talking about the actor, not the material with which he's working. (Anyway, the hallmark of a good actor is that even in a bad film, you still enjoy watching him. I find Wild Wild West sufferable, for example, only because Smith and Kevin Kline are in it.)
Well, okay, let's say that Smith is an actor in the mold of Grant. He's still awfully young and may just go to seed. But then again, he may blossom into a more mature star eventually approaching a Grant-like calibre. I can't help wondering if this new movie Hitch is an effort to start heading in that direction.
(Mr. Teachout, if you care to de-link me now, I'll understand. That goes for you too, Sheila....)
(Botticelli image courtesy of an Italian website I can't fathom)
I'll probably bring the Hundred Year Blizzard down on Dee Cee for saying this, but walking up to the office this morning it occured to me that Winter seems to have shot her bolt.
It's certainly chilly out, but it isn't frigid anymore. And the wind that kicks up at the end of the season and seems to blow non-stop until the middle of April appears to have started in.
Also, I was watching the goldfinches at the feeder the other morning. I'd swear they were starting to get their yellow back.
I felt entirely too crappy to get out into the garden last weekend. Tomorrow, with any luck, I'll manage it. I'm sure the first thing I'll do is start rooting around among the tulips by the front walk to look for signs of impending growth.
Laughing Midst My Tears....
The Colossus is both funny and cruel. I'm afraid he's right, too.
YIPS from Steve:
Hand gestures from Her Royal Concubine that we can do without:
Slow Start Today
Lots of busy. Also, I completely blanked out on my Moo-Knew password this morning. Now what was it again?
Dangit...Now I'll never be able to log off again.
*A blow on the head for getting this joke
UPDATE: Sure you don't want a kick in the knee-cap, Gail? Very well, then, one blow on the head is in the mail! And for the rest of you, click over here and scroll down to "Take Your Pick".
AAAAGHHH! I missed it!
Yesterday was Margi Lowry's birthday---you go girl!
Sheesh, 4-0 for one day, and she's already beating hairstylists with her cane and AARP card.
Sharia gains a toehold in North America
Gee, thanks Canada.
February 10, 2005
The latest from the Immaterial Girl
Annika has the latest on Britney Spears' financial chicanery.
Seriously, how long till she's working the night shift at the Piggly-Wiggly with Vanilla-Ice, Todd Bridges, and MC Hammer?
I give her two and a half years before she's Chapter 11.
The Revolution comes to Riyadh
Overlooked today in all the tinkerbelling over Talongate was the little story about AN ELECTION IN SAUDI ARABIA!
Of course, no women were allowed to vote in the election for the Riyadh Municpal Council.
Next up? Jordan, followed by Syria.
For those of you keeping score at home:
The score right now is:
Right Wing Blog Machine------nailed 25 year CBS news anchor Dan Rather's ugly head to the mantle, and cast a long shadow of doubt on the entire 60 Minutes Empire.
Yeah, Oh-Dub, I'd call it even.
And what are they going to do when we run Eason Jordan out of Atlanta on a rail coated with a nice layer of pitch and fluffies? Maybe discover that Gordon is actually the cantankerous rather than the cranky neo-con?
One that Ace Forgot
Ace catalogues the top-ten reactions from the Pajamahudeen over the outing of internet "journalist" and part-time porn avatar Jeff Gannon.
Of course you could add:
For the love of Gawd! That's a long way to fall in three years---from leading the Raiders to the Super Bowl to being outed by O-Dub and Kos.
Pants-Happy In The Old Dominion
Proteinately-Wise Jeff dials in on a piece of legislation wending its way through the Virginia Assembly that would impose a $50 dollar fine on anyone walking around with pants hanging low enough to display a sizable chunk of their undies.
Jeff mocks this as prudishness. It strikes me that it's not that so much as a kind of Guiliani-ish smack at anti-social behavior, akin to banning the wearing of gang emblems for example.
Eh, I don't know. But at least for the moment it won't affect me too much. The oldest Llama-ette wears a school uniform dress most of the time, and when she doesn't she almost invariably wears tights. The five year old has a violent dislike of wearing pants under any circumstances. And once you get the three year old into a pair of them these days, she doesn't seem inclined to lower them at all, even to go potty.
Have Some Cheese......Rat
(Photo stolen from CNN)
We're getting within measurable distance of the planned Family Roadtrip to Disneyworld. I don't absolutely know for sure whether I'm actually going or not, as I'm in the process of teeing up a couple lawsuits that, depending on whether the soon-to-be Defendants feel lucky (well, do ya punks?), may interfere with things.
Nonetheless, fiddling with the schedule reminded me that I wanted to pass on a joke that a pal told me at a party not too long ago:
It seems Mickey files suit for a divorce from Minnie. One day, he goes to his lawyer's office to review the papers the lawyer had drawn up.
"No, no, this is all wrong," says Mickey.
"But.....didn't you say you wanted a divorce on grounds of infidelity?" asks the lawyer.
"No," says Mickey, "It's grounds of insanity and I said she was f*cking goofy!"
UPDATE: Punchline corrected. Thanks, Garry, for the assist. This is why I stopped touring.
More French And Indian War Blogging
I am still heavily engrossed in Francis Parkman's history of the French and Indian War. Over the past day or two, I read with near rage the unwillingness of the Pennsylvania Colony, largely through the pacifist influence of its Quaker population and ongoing feuds in the Legislature over who should be taxed for it, to even attempt to defend itself against Indian attacks unleashed by the French, attacks which pushed so far east as to cross the Susquehanna.
To the south, Virginia did make some attempt to stem the flow in 1756 by erecting a series of frontier forts and blockhouses and staging a regiment of colonial troops under George Washington to hold the frontier. But the forts were 20 miles apart and Washington had a front of better than 350 miles to cover with only a small number of men. Suffice to say that the defense didn't work very well.
I still marvel at the people who chose to live in this region and attempt to carve out an existence. And Parkman's description of their conditions is down right bone-chilling. The History Channel likes to call itself "the place where history comes alive". This is, to be plain, a bunch of crap. As Steve recently (and excellently) noted regarding the movie Gettysburg, the History Channel is the place where a bunch of tubby middle-aged men get together to play dress-up.
History really comes alive when, after reading eyewitness accounts of frontier massacres, one looks up at one's own daughters and has a nightmare vision of them being scalped alive, the elder two probably being raped first. My parents always used to say, "Just wait - some day you'll have children of your own and then you'll understand!" I always knew that was true, but I never suspected it would manifest itself quite this way.
If Earth Were About To Be Blown To Atoms, Who's Bones Would You Want To Jump?
Steve-O already did a post on this, but I just wanted to state unequivocally that the correct answer is Tea Leone. Mmmmmm.......Tea......mmmmmmm.
What with all the rave to "out" bloggers with sooper sekrit identities, the Professor over at "Lifelike Pundits" has waged a preemptive attack on himself.
Now that we are in a confessional mode I'd like to confess that I'm not actually a LLama.
Yes, I know, the shock, the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
You see, I'm really a Moose (alces americanus). But no one go and tell O-Dub.
Yips! from Robbo: Well, as long as we're all coming clean.......
Yes, normally I'm want to be about twelve foot from me 'ead to me anus....
Gentiles for Jeff
UPDATE: Sorry about the mistake--I've got the Seven Year War too much on the mind. And I have no doubt the Israelis could have kicked French & Indian boohonkus in a far more efficient manner than did the Redcoats and colonial militas.
UPDATE 24 HRS LATER: The Suez Canal is seized and we've got air superiority over Riyadh. Moral of the story? Don't piss off INDC Bill!
Love, thy name is divine.
If they don't write a thousand country songs about this lass, there is truly no justice in the universe.
"Holding Paper" Watch
The boys and girls over t' The Corner are trying to top each other with examples of "holding paper," i.e., holding a grudge. Two strike me as particularly funny.
Roger Clegg chimes in with this one which any W&L alum would like:
Ken Cribb, president of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, once told me this story: A South Carolinian of many generations, he had just decided to attend Washington & Lee, and his grandmother remonstrated, “Why would you want to go to a Yankee school?” “But Grandma,” Ken pleaded, “Virginia seceded!” His grandmother stared at him for a moment and then replied, “Mighty damn late.”
And Jonah adds one that warms my heart:
From a reader:
Dear Jonah, My great grandfather used to say of Edward VIII and that appalling Simpson woman, "Imagine. He was Admiral of the Fleet and now he is third mate on an American tramp."
When I'm feeling under the weather, I go into hermit mode. All I want is to be left alone with a good book and a pot of tea.
Well, over the past couple weeks, I've done a lot of reading. One of the books that I cantered through yet again was P.J. O'Rourke's Eat the Rich. The thing I admire the most about Peej is that while he is being as flip and funny as only a boozy Irishman can be, he's also lofting home runs into the upper deck in deep left center field. (I disagree with some of his points, but then you can't expect a Tory and a Libertarian to see eye to eye on everything, now can you?)
Anyhoo, I was nodding in agreement again with his arguments concerning why the creation of wealth is actually a good thing from a moral standpoint when a little bell went off in my head. Ya see, my Church discussion group has been talking about rich and poor lately and has been serving up the usual redistributionist guff based on their readings of the Gospel. And you can certainly make a prima facie case that Jesus was some kind of proto-socialist if you want to.
But consider this: Jesus was living at a time and in a place where the principles of economics were barely functioning. There was no rule of law. There was no private property for the vast majority of people. Education was nearly unheard of. Middle class? Fuggedaboutit. What wealth there was was accumulated by a combination of cronyism and brute force and held by an extremely small cadre of people. The rest of the populace lived and died at their whim. Enough to turn anyone into a redistributionist, I would think.
Now in a lot of other ways the Church is very busy reinterpreting Biblical teachings to fit modern society. Fair enough, I suppose, provided it doesn't get out of hand. But what made my brain go "bing!" was this: Why doesn't it do the same thing in the area of economics? Jesus lived in a backwards top-down agrarian economy. What would he make of Adam Smith? Of the Industrial Revolution? Of the unimaginable rise in living standards not just for the money-lenders and tax-gatherers, but for damn' near everybody in the Free World? What would he have to say if you explained to him that wealth is not something obtained, but something created? And that the energy of that creation benefits not just the creator himself, but society as a whole? Wouldn't he embrace principles -unknowable in his own time - that truly benefit the downtrodden? I would certainly think so.
Peej makes a very funny point about the Old Testament Commandment warning us not to covet our neighbor's stuff. But it strikes me that the New Testament Commandment to love thy neighbor and to do unto others can also be read to encompass the promotion of that golden triad that has been proven empirically to benefit all members of a society that adheres to it:
-Rule of Law
-Protection of Private Property
But show me a clergyman who would take this line. Anybody?....Anybody?.... Bueller? Nope, instead it's the same ol' "How can you drive an SUV while millions in Africa starve?"
I think I'm going to start bringing a copy of Peej's book to my meetings. At the first sign of someone breaking into this kind of mush, I'm going to whap them upside the head with it.
(Speaking of Peej, anyone read this? Any thoughts?)
UPDATE: Sweet Baby Jesus! Dr. Rusty runs the Sandcrawler over one of the more virulent version of the Our-Profits-Are-The-Death-Of-Their-Babies Crowd, stops and then backs up. Frankly, there ain't that much difference between filth like Ward Churchill and the Limosine Libs that I want to dope-slap, except in terms of degree. Gun that puppy again, Prof!
Extremely Cranky Language Question
Just what the hell are the "trans fats" that Wheat Thins aren't supposed to have? What word was "trans" before it was debased into popular dietary slang?*
Transalpine? Perhaps this means they only contain Italian fat.
Transubstantiation? I never supposed that Christ really had all that much extra body fat to spare anyway.
Transcendental? Nabisco pledges that no sneaky fats will beam their astral bodies into your mouth from Delhi.
The World wonders.
(* As long time readers know, I hate this sort of thing. In a perfect world, for example, use of the term "carbs" would be a flogging offense.)
UPDATE: The O.F. provides the solution -
To answer your cranky question, "trans fats" are transmonounsaturated fatty acids (TFA's) produced through the hydrogenization of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA's), converting them from liquid oils into semisolid fats for use in commercially prepared foods. TFA's increase LDL (bad cholesterol) but also decrease HDL (good cholesterol). They have been associated with an increase in coronary heart disease. You would have known all this if you had taken organic/biochemistry!
Okay, so call 'em TFA's. Simple enough. By the bye, I did take organic, at least for a semester. Got a D and only managed that by promising to drop the course for the second semester.
UPDATE DEUX: Hey! It's a Chem Geek-Fest in the comments!
Your LLamabutcher Royalty Update
Yips! from Robbo - Ya know, in all seriousness I've almost given up on the Windsors and this is not a good thing at all. (I meant to say this after the recent Prince Harry the Nazi stunt.) Now as it happens, I really am a Royalist. But in a constitutional system where the Royals serve in a strictly ceremonial capacity, it's all the more important that they set an example, presenting an absolutely unimpeachable face to the public. Elizabeth, poor, dear woman, understands this absolutely. But the younger generations do not, opting instead for Hollywood-style celebrity and all the tawdriness that goes with it. It strikes me that in taking this course, they come perilously close to surrendering whatever claim to legitimacy they have left. Charles seems to understand the choice better than some of the others, but he fell into a trap when he went for the "fairy tale" wedding with Diana. Who the hell vetted that woman? All well and good to paint her as the "People's Princess" except for the fact that she was a shallow bitch and mad as a March hare and had no more understanding of the role a real princess is supposed to serve than does Paris Hilton. And when she jumped head-first into the Celebrity Vortex, Charles got sucked in with her. Now everything he does that remotely touches on her, even if he is trying to quietly smooth things over, reanimates that pull.
As the old saying goes, you can't touch pitch without being defiled. I'm afraid it's too late for Charles, who's in up to the elbows, to do anything about it. And if William hasn't figured all this out yet, I think the whole line - and probably the Monarchy itself - is doomed.
Battlestar Galactica update
I finally return to the TastyBits(TM) Mail Sack and get hit by a deluge of yips from people demanding the latest installment of Battlestar Galactica blogging. Looking at our traffic, it seems that people coming here for Battlestar Bashing is almost beginning to rival people searching for pictures of Linda Lovelace, Jenna Jameson and Bill Ardolino nekkid. I mean, it's not like we've link-whored ourselves by posting the Cinabon recipe like Rae did, but hey, we try.
Alas, Galactica Gouging is Rob's speciality, not mine (we don't have cable here at Rancho Non-Sequitor), and so it will have to await Robbo's return from the moo-shu mu knew flu achoo of doom.
In the meantime, I'll leave you with this picture of Linda Lovelace, Juliet Huddy, and the Cylon Commander:
Boy, do you need help.
2008 Watch: because it's never too early...
Glenn has an interesting piece in the WSJ today on the presidential prospects of Phil Bredesen, the Democratic governor of Tennessee. In many ways he sounds like he has many of the same attributes and potential advantages that Virginia's Democratic governor Mark Warner has. They are both northerners by birth, business managerial types by training, kind of geeky by nature, but very good at gaining support and consensus in the deep rouge.
The question going into oh-six and oh-eight is how pragmatic are the Democrats willing to become to win back the presidency and stem the now decade-old tide running against them in Congress?
The problem is that neither Bredesen nor Warner are too popular among the trial lawyers, the hard-core women's groups, and pelegrino progressives (just as Rudy Guiliani is not exactly popular among the Jerry Fallwell crowd).
A different perspective on the WOT
Ace of Spades on why the Bush doctrine is playing much better in Asia.
Dumb-ass du jour
Follow Rusty's link for today's dumb-ass du jour.
I mean, I've heard about the great lengths some people will go to get an interview for a CNN job, but that's just ridiculous....
Question: tell us what you really think about this movie, Jen.
It seems that Mayor McCheese is running the show at Gitmo's interogation barracks as of late.
February 09, 2005
A message from the LLamas
Apparently, the Moo-shoo mu knew domain of evil has been having trouble giving and receiving trackbacks as of late. Hopefully that will shake out soon.
Also, I really haven't been doing my part in keeping up with the TastyBits(TM) mail sack as of late (except, of course, for the daily deluge of orglicious pics from Bill), so if I haven't responded to something, my bad.
For those who have been asking, the little guy is doing quite well and we're actually getting quite a bit of sleep. So go figure--the fourth is the charm I guess.
Just a suggestion is all, Robbo.
Some classic LLamabutcher
Which is a polite way of saying "recycled."
Anyhoo, Robbo is down with the flu, so for those of you who want a little taste of bloggy goodness as only Robbo can dispense, check out this affirmation of his "Republican Party Reptile" status from one year ago, today.
Get well soon, yip! Yip! Yip!
In the fine Tradition of LawrenKMills...
Wittysexykitten is bitching and moaning about law review.
Go over and give her a big "waaaaaah" and tell her the LLamas sent you.
WAIT! DON'T ORDER NOW! WSKitty is suggesting a "Boudoirs of the Blogosphere" contest, and kicks it off with her own.
If you ask me, we've got the makings of a great cable primetime lineup:
9 PM Pimp my blog your host Dr. Rusty Shackleford gives all his macs and ho's advice and pointers on pimpifying tricktickleristically their templates.
10 PM Lear Eye for the Queer Guy Watch as renowned blow-hard and anti-Amerikan know it all Norman Lear makes Andrew Sullivan's life a living hell as his new court-appointed butler. Hillarity ensues when Norm gives the dreaded "People for the Amerikan Way" treatment to the beagle after the potty explodes.
11 PM Blogistan Fight Club Join your hosts Steve the LLamabutcher and INDCent Bill as they take it out into the back-alley and beat the crap out of each other and whatever other unfortunate bloggers that happen to meander by. Live feed from the security camera across the street at the Piggly-Wiggly.
MIDNIGHT Blog Machine Fever Kick back in latenight with the stylin' dance hams of tunemaster and captain of the steel-wheels Gordon the Cranky Neo-con. Never has easy-listening been so easy-linking...
1 AM Oliver's Not-so-Pee-Wee Playhouse Live bed time cam show featuring beloved blogosphere denizen Oliver Willis. In a new twist on the standard and overdone "send in your money and our models will strip naked on their cam show" viewers send in money to force Ollie to be kept well garbed.
3 AM Mystery Science Test Pattern Theater Three hours of non-stop witty conversation and banter making fun of the crazy antics of the test pattern with your host Jeff Goldstein.
Hey, I'd think we'd draw better ratings than MSNBC...
Paint it Red update
Minnesota freshman Senator (and an insult to dim-watt bulbs everywhere) has announced he's not running for reelection.
I blame Powerline and Lileks
Wow, that was quick!
The book on the Ward Churchill scandal has already been written!
A vile campaign of hate
The Crack Young Staff opens up a can of whupass on Billy Packer.
Could be worse: could be Dick Vitale, the most annoying person in Amerika.
The new season begins
Sheila has some thoughts on the beginning of Lent.
Professor Woolcock responds to the allegations
Rusty revists the issue.
Now This is tee-vee at its finest
ABC is apparently floating a show to star Kristin Davis as a soccer mom who solves crimes in her spare time. It's kind of like a hottie version of "Murder, She Wrote."
Soccer Mom PI's: why the heck didn't I think of that first?
Personally, I'm waiting for the next series from the Dick Wolf factory:
Law & Order:
Desparate CSI Mafia Housewives in Heat
UPDATE: (Insert Law & Order Schwockinnnnngggg noise here)
Mike Logan is back.
And there was much rejoicing in the land.
Bestill my heart
It looks like the National Mourning Watch for Jennifer Aniston is over.
All I can say is that I'm glad it wasn't Ben Affleck, even though I'm sure his Mom is looking to unload those 3000 "Ben n' Jen 4-Evah" cocktail napkins.
Call me crazy, but....
I don't think THIS is going to hurt ratings, except of course if the Brunette in question turns out to be Barbara Walters.
UPDATE: Too good to be true. And prescient for me on the Babwa bit.
John of Texas Best Grok has his new poll up, and the correct answer is "C--Liv Tyler."
Putting the "Harm" in "Charm City"
Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley is obviously a graduate of the Ward Churchill School of Government.
What an idiot. He'll just make laughing at the ineptitude of the O's that much easier.
I blame Jen
for getting me to watch The Amazin' Race.
What I'd like to see though is an all-bloggers version: all I know would be that the LLamas would whup arse on all takers!
That's what we need: Blogger Olympics, or at the very minimum the Great Blogging Scavenger Hunt, with like teams and wicked prizes.
UPDATE:Our old nemesis INDCent Bill wants to take my noble idea and turn it into a season of Bloggy Bumfighting on ESPN 8.
On the scenario that he describes, though, add the ever increasing shadow of a large ACME safe being dropped on his head.
Why dogs and toddlers don't mix
Could be worse, I guess: could've been a hamster.
I once killed a man in vegas just to see him die...
Steven Taylor has a funny story about how a professor's reputation with the students evolves in some rather interesting ways.
I have experience with this in two funny ways: first, my wife and I graduated from college at the same time, and we met in graduate school. But her first year of college she attended the college that I currently teach at, which also happens to be a women's college. So, of course, the students all :know" the "fact" of how I married one of my students....
The other one is that I had a student have a severe asthma attack in class two springs ago. The classroom was right on the ground floor of one of the main classroom buildings during the busiest teaching slot. So sure enough, when the paramedic squad was taking her out of my classroom on a stretcher, most of the student body happened to be filing by. She was fine, which is great, but now all the students "know" about the time I yelled at/beat a student so badly that they had to take her to the hospital....
Iraq election returns
I Still Got Nothing
Rolling into week three of this chest/throat/ears/head thing, I seem to have hit the spike everyone warned me about - when you wake up and the room is spinning while you're still lying down, it's a bad sign. So next to no posting from me today - it hurts my head too much to stare at the screen. Oh, I did want to give huge Llama Yips to those of you who have sent in comments of cheer and advice. I really appreciate your kind thoughts.
I will leave y'all with one little anecdote: I had a dream last night that I was in an elevator with Barry White and some girl. White was chatting the girl up and kept saying, over and over, something like "Love is soooo beautiful," in that slow, sonorous voice of his. As I gradually woke up, I realized that what I had taken for White's voice in my dream was actually the three year old (who also isn't feeling well), who had climbed into bed with us and was snoring in my ear.
Yip! at you later.
Because It's "Trailer Pahk Tawhk" Wednesday
February 08, 2005
Le Mot Juste
Beautifully Atrocious Jeff nails it. Heh.
Now I have no choice but to go home and watch my DVD.
"Deep Throat" Revealed!
(Image courtesy of the Slush Factory)
Following up on Steve-O's jump onto the Everybody's Doing It Speculation Bandwagon, I thought I ought to just finish this thing off once and for all.
C'mon, it makes sense, doesn't it? And after Sunday night's post-Super Bowl episode, I'd say not only Grandpa, but the entire cast are going Code Blue.....
YIPS from Steve: At long last, we'll beat Woodstein to the punch and print a picture of who "Deep Throat" is.....
The one and only Linda Lovelace
Here's my problem with the whole thing: I have lost confidence not just in the professional ethics of journalism today, I've lost confidence in the journalistic profession totally. There is absolutely no check on their power other than their willingness to police themselves, and the market consquences to their organ if impropriety is revealed.
If it is revealed.
Think about it for a second, if you were the Nixon administration lawyer who was the source to Bob Woodward: you are in your early seventies now, at your youngest. Whatever the partisan intensities of the time were have cooled. Nobody's going to issue a fatwa calling for your head if your identity is revealed. Nobody's going to kick you or your kids (or your grandkids) out of any clubs. It's not that nobody is going to care: everyone is going to care, but in a way that is in effect complimentary. Nobody defends Nixon anymore--there aren't any Nixon loyalists out there to speak of. (I mean, other than Son of Nixon of course!)
Think of the amount of money you could get selling your story, writing the book--think of what that type of dough could do for your family, what type of legacy that would leave for the grandkids, think of the automatic "senior-stateman" status that would confer, think of the live CNN coverage of your funeral.....
You get my drift.
So why hasn't Deep Throat come forward?
There are two answers:
One is that it would be deeply embarrassing to that person: say for example Pat Buchanan.
But to me what is becoming the more increasingly likely answer, given what we now know about the behavior of the "professional" media in pursuit of a story against a Republican president is that "Deep Throat" never existed as a single person.
The identity of Deep Throat hasn't been revealed because he never existed: it's not that the stories based on this "source" weren't true, it's just that there was never a single source. The promotion of the idea that there was a single source was a brilliantly simple means of advancing the story.
But the whole "we'll reveal after he's dead" idea is just becoming too suspicious for me as a means to hang it in whole on someone who was either partially or not at all involved.
I'd like to be proven wrong here, and I'm not making an accusation but rather floating an alternative theory.
Prove us wrong by revealing who Deep Throat is when they can dispute it if necessary.
Nature Abhores a Vacuum
I haven't seen word one about Mardi Gras today at my usual haunts. Was it cancelled? Did I miss the memo?
YIPS from Steve: Ummmm, yeah.Well, no matter, because Zach Wendling of In the Agora points out that, thanks to the Poles, it is also Paczki Day. If your principled Frog-bashing has put you off all things French, here is a wonderful alternative.
By the way, I don't know if it's just me, but I'm not the slightest bit ready for Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday or Lent. It's all waaaaay too early this year and has completely fouled my internal seasonal clock.
YIPS from Steve: Here's the problem: the Stupor Bowl was way too damn late. The Super Bowl is the event that's supposed to end January, as it is in effect the culminating event in our national sports calendar. We are supposed to have a nice, quiet 3 weeks where it is cold and nothing is happening---sure, you've got some hockey and NBA boxscores in the paper, but that's kind of like news from some long-running border war in Africa: you are aware of its existence, but it's not influencing the price of your Rice Crispies. Amidst this interlude of quiet you get yer Groundhog Day, which now thanks to Harold Ramis and Bill Murray has come to ascend to its proper place in our calendar as the "What? Hey, fuck yeah! Winter's half over" holiday. Then, after another week or two of relative quiet, the New Year's Day of our secular sports calendar begins: the Daytona 500 kicks off, and pitchers and catchers show up for spring training. Once you see fast-driving smiling rednecks in mullets popping up and seeing their shadows on the tee-vee you know you can go stick a fork in King Winter. He's done.
This year, it's all screwed up. Super Bowl after Groundhog Day? What is up with that? You see, this is where we could use a non-corrupt, humanitarian United Nations, to prevent tragedies like this.
The real sign, however, that Mardi Gras came so early this year is that the sudden visiting of the Angel of Death upon distant grandmothers and great-uncles that descends like the last Plague of Egypt on my students the Friday before Mardi Gras didn't happen: this is the first year in ages where I haven't had a whole bunch of students who've suddenly gone down with family emergencies that require their absence from campus during Mardi Gras week.
Me? I blame the liberals.
Ya know, back in the day I was very fond of a comic strip by Jeff Shesol called Thatch which gently prodded the P.C. atmosphere of Brown University. (Since Brown is an ivy-wrapped clone of my own school, the Glorious Workers' Soviet of Middletown, I found his humor to be especially funny.)
Anyhoo, one of the strips had to do with the dorm's co-ed bathroom. In it, the token troglodyte finds himself thrown out of the bathroom by the hot lefty chick. Sitting in the hall, he ruminates, "Nothing so demystifies the opposite sex as listening to it tinkle".
I don't want them to be demystified......
That's No Moon...It's A Space Station
Darth Vader sans Mask
Just a word of warning to all you mindless Imperial stooges out there: This is not going to help you. You can't win. If you strike us down, we shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
Llama Public Service Announcement
Will Enoch Soames, Esq., please pick up the white courtesy phone? Mr. Soames to the white courtesy phone, please. Your audience is increasingly anxious as to your whereabouts.
Orgle-licious Book Recommendations
I just wanted to send a helping of Big Llama Yips! to Dan for putting me on to this book:
Originally published in 1884, I suppose this is the kind of book that Everybody Used To Read but, given that it is rather scanty when it comes to the plight of vegan lesbian poets on the Appalachian Frontier, doesn't get much of a viewing these days. On the other hand, I can't possibly imagine how anyone could hope to understand the root causes of the American Revolution without first understanding the political situation before, during and immediately after the French and Indian War, and this book does a superb job of laying that situation out. It also portrays, in chilling detail, the pure savagery of life on the Colonial frontier. One can only imagine how awful their previous lives must have been in order to make people willingly take up such an existence, many for a violently forshortened period. One can also imagine just how tough the survivors were, which led me to remember one of Dave Letterman's Top Ten Reasons the Colonies won the Revolutionary War: Their diet, tea and crumpets. Our diet, raw squirrel meat and whiskey. There's more truth to that joke than you might imagine.
On a side note, I was doing a little additional research on Fort Lawrence, an emplacement built by the British in 1750 in what is now Cumberland County, Nova Scotia in order to parry the French efforts to undermine British control of Acadia (given to the Brits under the Treaty of Utrecht but continually fought by the Acadians
at the prompting due to the outright threats and blackmail of Abbe La Toutre and other French agents until the Brits got so fed up with it that they shipped all the Acadians out). I came across a site for a Fort Lawrence/Beaubassin Heritage Association which apparently had started a project to build a reconstruction of the Fort. For some reason, they seem to have had a falling out with the Cumberland County Council and had their entire project shut down. The tone of what commentary there is on the site suggests that the closing was based on bad blood between the Association and the Council. Your Nova Scotian tax money at work, apparently.
UPDATE: More Llama Yips! to commentor John for pointing out to me Fort Frederick State Park, located about an hour from my house, site of an important Colonial defensive position. (According to the website, many Colonists fled there for shelter during Chief Pontiac's uprising in 1763. Can't say that I blame them.)
Now that the littlest Llama-ette has turned three, I can start thinking seriously about some day trips to the various Colonial, Revolutionary and Civil War sites scattered all over my neck of the woods. (They've been to the Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg a number of times, both of which they thought were pretty neat.) By the time I get through with them, the gels are either going to love history or hate it. Hopefully, at least they'll know something about it one way or another.
Now that's the most bizarre one I've ever heard
Speculation on the true identity of Deep Throat is running hot at the moment, and Ace has the most unlikely possible suspect of them all: Chief Justice William Rehnquist. I think this is more unlikely than even the most out there speculation about Nixon White House junior aide Diane Sawyer (although it does help potentially explain the, ummm, interesting name).
My money is still on Al Haig.
Then again, this whole "we'll tell after he dies" bit cleverly absolves the accused from defending himself if in fact Woodward is just making it up.....
Welcome to the show, Mr. Reid
Sheesh, if his skin is this thin there's no way he's going to last until summer as minority leader.
February 07, 2005
Winter is hard on the Upper Plains
Esther Wilberforce-Packard jacks a rant on Dr. Phil.
He is, indeed, one tough talking parasite.
Silly me, my bad
When I read this about Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Zimbabwe and the UN Human Rights Commission, I thought it said they were all serving on the "Working Group on Situational Ethics."
Mand that dyslexia!
Yeah, I know, kick my arse, I deserve it.
But the last obstacle preventing the Democrats from driving over the cliff I mean electing Howard Dean chairman of the Party has just been breached: Tim Roemer is dropping out of the race. It's a shame, because a competitive and sharp leadership of the Democratic Party is both good for the country and especially good for Republicans, as it would force them to retain their edge and keep to the center going into oh-six and oh-eight. Roemer was the person for this, if only because he saw the underlying math of the Democrat's defeat in November in terms of the long-term underlying realignment. As he pointed out, Kerry lost in 97 of the 100 fastest growing counties.
From a markets perspective, the battle to lead the DNC has had no discernable effect on the 2008 political futures market, which currently has the two parties trading right around $50. (ie even money).
UPDATE: Tim Worstall puts it in a pithy perspective.
UPDATE DEUX: I think this page is going to have to be updated. What do you think? Personally, I'm voting for "American spotted."
UPDATE TROIS: Okay, this is perhaps a tad over the top. Blame it on the cold medicine.
Since Babelfish doesn't translate from bullshit into English....
Miller Time does it for us, letting us know how Mary Landrieu really feels about Alberto Gonzales.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Brian B is one damn proud papa. And rightly so, too.
Of course, he's got some pitfalls to look forward to. A little while ago, (obviously) without thinking about it, I said to my boss, "I'll be down to your office in just a sec - I have to go potty first."
Where the Hoof Meets the Highway
It looks like I'm going to be headed out to Lincoln, Nebraska next week on bidness. (How do I choose these exotic locales?) As always, any pointers on good cheap places to eat/things worth seeing are greatly appreciated.
I Still Got Nothing
Sorry, folks. I'm in the midst of my second week of this lungs n' throat n' head thing (which, according to most folks I've talked to, probably still has about another ten days to run). The coughing and hacking are subsiding, but I still feel worn out and achy. And the headache I developed yelling at the kids all afternoon yesterday hasn't gone away yet. None of this is conducive to posting, at least to anything that you would want to read and that I wouldn't wind up regretting later on.
I Got Nothing
Nothing to say this morning. Sorry about that - maybe later.
In the meantime, I will make one observation about yesterday's Super Bowl: The FCC does not fine broadcasters for lameness but if it did, Fox would have taken a bath on that half-time show. I'm talking statutory maximum. Half of me expected McCartney to break into "Band on the Run" and the other half expected Stevie Wonder to drop in for a rousing refrain of "Ebony & Ivory".
I'm hardly a pop-culture pushing-the-envelope kinda guy, but it seems to me the antidote to Nipplegate isn't to trot out a medley of 40-odd year old kareoke standards. Surely there's some happy middle ground?
YIPS from Steve: Absolutely. This is what happens when you let Velveeta, Helman's, and Dairy Queen in as your corporate sponsors.
I was half expecting him to break into "When I'm 64." Or, the perverse ending to the ultimate 1960s Reality Show "The Last Beatle Standing."
But what was the deal with Bubba and 41 hanging out together? Is it just me, or is Bubba telegraphing what he thinks as the direction of American politics into the near future, and sees the best way to secure his legacy is positioning himself for history as the moderate Republican interlude between Reagan and Dubya? Kind of the Nelson Rockefeller with BBQ presidency?
February 06, 2005
I hadn't really thought about it this way
Wretchard makes an interesting observation about the changing dynamic of political debate today:
In truth, the ground for civilized debate has been shrinking progressively from September 11. The sharp animosity that has sprung up between the Left and Conservatives may be a kind of emergent behavior arising from the wide-ranging changes that have taken place since that fateful day. One could hardly expect that the end of the Cold War, the decline of Europe, the ascendancy of India and China, the collapse of the UN and the advent of terrorism would leave political relations between Left and Right unchanged. But it was the declining vigor of Marxist thought coupled with new conservative ideas that poured the most fuel on the flames. Discourse between Left and Right could only remain civil for so long as Conservatives remained meek or had no counter-pulpit. The weakening of the traditional media and the stresses caused by war have created a kind of 'play' in the system which now allow unchained weights to crash about. In that sense, there is nothing surprising about Juan Cole calling Jonah Goldberg names. One gets the feeling he has been calling people names all his professional life; and I think Mr. Goldberg can handle it. What has changed is that, with the decline of the MSM, there is nothing which prevents incivility from becoming a two-way street. And I'm not sure either the Left or the total system can contain the stress.
The panic in the eyes of the clergy when the parishoners start talking back to the pulpit is palpable.
What do Howard Dean and M.C Hammer have in common?
Googlers we love
Someone came here after googling "Llama herding jobs."
What's funny though is that this led me to discover this website devoted to Guard LLamas, which includes this valuable advice:
Not all llamas are suited to guard work. Some will not protect the herd from danger or threats. A few llamas will not bond with the livestock, jump over fence lines, or overall ignore the stock. Occasionally llamas become too protective and will attack people trying to handle the livestock they protect. It is not recommended to use an intact male llama as a guard because there have been cases of these llamas mounting ewes, which can result in the death of the sheep. Gelded males or females are the best choices as guard llamas. Llamas over the age of 18 months seem to be more protective of stock than younger llamas. Llamas seem to be most efficient if they are the only llama guarding, but two llamas guarding together have also been successful. It is preferable that the llama has been exposed to the type of animal that it is to protect prior to introduction, but unlike dogs, llamas need only a brief time to bond with the animals that it should protect and do not generally fear livestock.
The page also leads to this page, The Luminary LLama, which is cool as it talks about LLama Trek, a favorite subject around these parts. This page includes this truism:
It is said llamas are like potato chips, ya can't have just one! It is so true! We were totally infected by the llama bug after we purchased our first females.
Truer words were never spoken. You know what they say:
Once you've had LLama, you'll never, ummmmm....... go back to the Alhambra?
TOP sekrit LLama message to JulieB
The correct answer is "Charlie don't surf!"
I was agnostic, but this put it over the top for me
Sorry, Annika, but because of this I'm going to have to go with the Pats.
UPDATE: Yeah, but then I see THIS and it's pushing me back onto the fence...
Irish Elk has the full coverage, including his usual roundup of olde tyme theme songs and a full variety of recipes.
Which leads me to reveal the top sekrit LLamabutcher Chili recipe:
Smoked Turkey Sausage
1 large onion (sweet or red, depending on your taste)
3 large bell peppers (I like to use green, red, and yellow for the color, but tastes vary)
2 1/2 cups of crushed tomatos
1 cup of frozen corn giblets
Beans: 1 large can each of Dark Red Kidney, light kidney, great northern, and navy, drained
1 beer (for adding, more for consuming while cooking)(I usually use Coors, because its effing close to water anyway)
chili powder, cajun salt, thyme, basil
Chop and saute the onions in the bottom of the kettle with a fine layer of olive oil, add the peppers, stirring often.
When the onions are good and soft, add the chopped sausage. I usually use two 10 inchers, but you could add more if you wanted to be Mister Vegas. Add about half the beer, let it saute until the beer is almost evaporated. Add the chili powder, stirring it reaaaaaal good.
Add the crushed tomatos (in Winter I usually use one of the large cans plus mashing up a large tomato from the market to give some chunky texture) as well as the corn, let simmer for a bit.
Add the beans (making sure they are well drained), stir very thoroughly, and let it simmer for a couple of hours.
We like to serve it with rice in the bottom of the bowl and a bit of grated cheddar on top, but tastes vary.
We had a Super Bowl Sunday tradition in college of the Anti Super Bowl party. The first year we did it we played the entire I, Claudius series, starting around 10 am, finishing around midnight or so. The caveat was that you had to do a shot of Bass every time someone got killed. Let's just say by the time Livia gets around to saying to Tiberius "The Lord God Augustus is dead. And don't eat the figs" we were on the floor. The following year we took it the next level and showed the entire four-part trilogy of the Wagnerian ring cycle that is The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and finishing with High Plains Drifter. With, of course, the same provision of a shot of beer for each time Clint shoots someone.
To this day, I have an odd association in my brain of Joe Montana and Lee Van Cleef.
I guess the other contra Stupor Bowl movies would have to be a showing of the whole oevre (or is it a genre?) of the cinematic works of one Orenthal James Simpson, which begins of course with the classic Towering Inferno. Forget Kevin Bacon: The Towering Inferno is the central nexus of Hollywood history, good and eveeeeeel. I mean, where else do you get Paul Neuman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, Dabney Coleman, Mike Lookinland (aka Bobby Brady) and OJ Simpson in one sweet spot?
After that opening course, I would seguay into Killer Force, the dramatic romp featuring Peter Fonda, Christopher Lee, and our hero OJ as ruthless hitmen being hunted for sport by a diabolical Telly Savalas.
That would take us through the pre-game hoopla to the main event: Capricorn One, one of the greatest truly bad films of all time, featuring Law & Order's Sam Waterson, Mr. Barbra Streisand, and OJ as astronauts "sent" to Mars....or were they really? Needless to say, with Telly Savalas, Hal Holbrook and Elliot Gould (before he became bloated and unfunny), you've got yourself a winner of a movie.
I would finish the evening with the made for tee-vee classic "Cocaine and Blue-Eyes" which has the following plot: "O.J. Simpson plays Michael Brennen, a San Francisco private eye who gets dragged into a drug-smuggling operation while searching for the girlfriend of a deal client, leading Brennen to a politically prominent family, before viciously severing his wife's head and that of a random waiter.
The caveat would be that you have to do a shot everytime OJ looks for a cue card....
UPDATE DEUX: My prediction for the score?
Some questions to ponder over bagels and Book World
I shudder even typing those words....
Meanwhile, down in the basement lab where the disemodied Brain floats free in a large translucent vat of pure energy, the following question emerges: what is the greater threat to the future of the Amerikan Republik: homeschoolers, or SUVs?
"Oooo! Ooooooo! OOOOOO! Mistah Kotter! MISTAH KOTTER!"
(Goofy nasal laugh) What if we just renamed them LARGE Utility Vehicles, that way our roads can be filled with LUV?
Speaking of clearing up philosophical questions of the ages, our old pal Rae solves the conundrum that plagued even Descartes: what exactly is the difference between a scallion and a shallot?
February 05, 2005
While Austingate has triggered an avalanche of postings relating to the whole need for a proper way to give citations to stuff that you flagrantly rip off other sites, what it hasn't done is address the real and growing need for developing our own language of blog epithets---how to properly swear at a fellow blogger in a way to specifically and intentionally impugn the quality, originality, and relavance of their blogging.
INDC Bill has a nice way that he's used many times to me via email: "Dude, that is so Blogger(TM)", with "Blogger" used as a euphamism for something lame, trite, boring, stupid, and yet at the same time non-functional and hopelessly bourgoisie. I hate how often Bill calls me "tres bourgeois" but that's a different rant.
Sadie floats a new one: "Damn you, and your little blog as well!"
I like that because it rolls a couple of strands together: you've got the standard exclamation about you and your four-legged form of transportation, melded together with a little Wicked Witch of the West-esque taunting (how differently that movie would have turned out had they not hired Edward Said as script consultant. Sigh)
This curse combines the best of both worlds: the taunt that the blog has officially jumped the shark into the realm of hopeless and irretrievable lameness by citing the memory of "Cousin Oliver" Brady (the John Denver mini-me who entered the last season of the Brady Bunch like a tapeworm and heretefore is a sign of societal collapse worthy of further study by Jared Diamond); combined with insinuating that you have become a talentless hack and stooge a la Oliver Willis.
YIPS! from Robbo. I just have one small, pedantic point that's always bothered me. Surely it ought to be "Like Kryptonite to Stupidity".
Geez, I thought we had it bad!
Is the Wonkette Machine o' Eveeel N' Villiany at it again in a way we don't know about?
I've noticed a real upsurge in trafffic as of late for people using google image searches---is that just us, or is this more wipespread? Or is it a product of using bizarre names for our jpegs?
SPECIAL BONUS CHEEEZ CAKE: Get out the smelling salts, boys, Kath is posting FitzWilliam Darcy pics again.
That's right, Colin Firth, the man who put the "Moi?" in "moisterize."
UPDATE: My only thought to THIS is what the......? It must have been that durn review of Madeline Albright's book last spring....
Nah ne nah ne nah nah....today is your birthday
So far, 39 doesn't stink that bad. The problem is that 38 was pretty darn good, so it's going to be hard to top. We'll see.
February 04, 2005
Speaking of Virginia Secession.....
I popped in my tape of the second half of Gettysburg tonight. I don't believe I've blogged about this movie before, so here are some random observations:
- In many respects, the movie isn't a drama so much as historical tableux. A good many of the scenes are "staged" to the point of woodeness in order to get a general theme across instead of depicting genuine events.
- Casting Jeff Daniels as Joshua Chamberlain was a stroke of genius. I think he gets Chamberlain absolutely bang on. Oddly, the war was the high point of Chamberlain's life. Although he later became governor of Maine and president of Bowdoin, his post-war life was rather listless and unsatisfactory.
- Absurdly enough, I think Longstreet probably was Tom Berenger's finest role.
YIPS from Steve: Heresy! Everyone knows that Berenger's finest role was in one of the great cheezy soft-core prison break movies "Chasers" where he played the heroic Chief Petty Officer Rock Reilly. You got to love a movie where the plot can be summarized thusly: "On his last day before retirement, this tough Navy cop has to escort this crazy nympho AWOL sailor to the brig. And Crispin Glover acts really weird." I mean, it's one of Dennis Hopper's finest directorial efforts of early 1994.
Yeah, I can hear you, and you're saying, "Steve, you're nuts: clearly the Sniper Trilogy (Sniper, Sniper 2, and the cleverly titled "Navy SEAL snipers and the Prisoner of Azkaban shoot the Jedis, dude"
is the epitome of the Berrenger oevre." And I'm hearing you, I really am. Except I've got one word for you: Erika Eleniak.
Okay, that's three words, but you get my drift.
If only we could bring about the long-hoped for cinematic pairing of Tom Berenger and Kurt Russell, I could shuffle off this mortal coil a contented man indeed.
Okay, back to Robbo's erudite musings.
- Martin Sheen did pretty well as Lee, although I think the writers tried too hard to paint Lee as a Jebus-freak fatalist too distanced from reality. Part of this was the strongly pro-Longstreet stance of the movie, which in turn was a result of Michael Shaara's pro-Longstreet stance in The Killer Angels, on which it was based.
- I hate to think that people who see this film come away thinking they know everything about the battle of Gettysburg. They don't. The book on which it's based never purported to be a comprehensive history of the battle, but instead focused on the individual viewpoints of several men involved in it. The fights for Culp's Hill and Cemetary Hill, for example, barely get a mention, as does the bulk of the action along Cemetary Ridge on the second day.
- I dislike the fact that the plucky sergeant Buster Kilrain gets to utter the expression "Killer Angel" as a description of Mankind. At least according to Shaara, Chamberlain's father used that expression and Chamberlain, as a young student, crafted a rhetorical exercise around it.
- C. Thomas Howell needed a better dialogue coach. Nobody I've ever met from Maine talked like that. Also, the scene where he interviews the reb prisoners was stolen - lock, stock and barrel - from a painting by Winslow Homer. Typically, the producers did not understand the painting, because among the prisoners they had the dumb yokel do all the talking instead of his social superior, the haughty cavalier.
- The fight for Little Round Top did not take place in a forest. The hill had been clear-cut the winter before the battle. Contemporary photos show that it was all boulders.
- Pickett's Charge was not anywhere near as close as suggested by the movie. For a good nuts and bolts overview, I recommend Earl J. Hess's Pickett's Charge - The Last Attack at Gettysburg. Also, people from North Carolina are still incensed that Virginia managed to claim all the glory for this attack, despite the fact that two out of the three divisions involved, Pettigrew's and Trimble's, were largely from Carolina.
- I think both the movie and the book unjustly build up Longstreet's position at the expense of Lee. Manuevering in front of the Federal position (moving the army around to the right) would have been both useless and dangerous. Lee understood that on the third day he had no good options and that his only chance to win, however slim, was by cashing in on the psychological advantage of his army's prior victories and charging straight ahead. Basically, he was throwing a Hail Mary.
- For all that, I have always enjoyed this movie. It gets a lot of details right, at least within the limited scope of its vision. If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend it. But for Heaven's sake, stay clear of its horrid prequel Gods and Generals.
YIPS from Steve: If you are going to bag on Gettysburg, you left out the two most important pot-shots: what the eff was the deal with the whiskers in that movie? I kept expecting a Reb sentry to whack Longstreet across the puss with the butt of his rifle, yellling "Pete! Yah got ee mutant killah squirrel attached to ye face!"
Killer angels, fah: the movie was really "The Killer Squirrel Sideburns." Of all the bad hairdo's C. Thomas Howell's was the worst: I mean, it looked liked they crazy-glued two mating badgers to his cheeks. Which, now that you think about it, would explain some of his acting scene choices, not to mention dialect (I mean, can you deliver a Maine accent with mating rodents glued to your face? I didn't think so.
The other problem with the movie is, well, everyone was too damn fat. I mean, not grossly overweight in a Michael "Oops, I just ate Sudan" Moore sort of way, it's just that if you've ever seen the uniforms in the Museum of the Confederacy (or in the Smithsonian, now that they are moving away from the "Social History R Us" approach in the Museum of American History and actually showing exhibits that range on stuff like the Civil War and the Revolution, instead of compelling exhibits of "the social struggle of immigrant left-handed bi-sexual Cod packers on Tuesday, March 25, 1883 as the story of Amerika" sort of crap), Lee & Co. were a heck of a lot thinner. It's not just the whole "people were smaller then" bit (I remember when I was a security guard at Mystic Seaport in college and I'd be on the Morgan, the whaling ship there, and classes would come through the middle deck and teachers (if they weren't talking about what life was like aboard slave ships) would point out the low ceilings as a sign of how much people were shorter then, and I would always laugh because the ceilings were low as that was the deck where they worked basically on their hands and knees separating the blubber from the whale skin, but I digress...), but it was that at least by our standards both armies, particularly the Army of Northern Virginia, were dramatically undernourished. One of the things that Gettysburg had going for it was a shoe factory, which was part of the reason drawing the inital Confederate interest in the town (other than the fact that, like Bastogne, it was a pivotal crossroad.) Martin Sheen's Lee, however, looks like he just came away from a week at Camp Ben & Jerry.
I disagree with Rob though on the whole playing of Lee as a mystical Jeebus freek: I do really think there is something to explaining the tactical mistakes he made in the Gettysburg campaign as a result of the hubris gained from the smashing victory at Chancellorsville the month before. Lee was not mystic about such things to the degree, say, Lincoln was, but part and parcel of the times was a greater willingness to see the Hand of the Divine in everyday events, and at Chancellorsville, the Hand of the Lawhd was certainly holding the bat which was hitting fungoes upside the head of the Union general staff. Overconfidence was understandable.
As to Kathy's comment about what is it about us easterners and the Civil War, I'd answer with the pivotal role played by the First Minnesota Regiment during the Second Day.
The last problem with the movie? No damn Lincoln! The whole thing gained meaning because of the Gettysburg Address: all they needed to do was to get Sam Waterson to read the durn thing right at the end, while showing the images of the battlefield, and you got yourself a winner. I mean, a movie about Gettysburg without the Address would be like doing a remake of The Ten Commandments without, well, Mount Sinai and Moses bringing down the law. I mean, sure, you get all the cool stuff what with the Anne Baxter swooning "Moses....MOSES," and Yul Brenner as the decidely Metrosexual Ramses camping it up, and of course Charlton in his finest role when he's not playing beside a monkey, but without Sinai, its "Just those Wacky Jews A Fleein' Pharoh." It's what comes after that gives the whole thing meaning.
Hopefully this summer we'll be able to do a LLama team visit to Gettysburg, if the Butcher's Wife and the Dear One can be properly appeased, mollified, and humored. There's some good bloggy potential from that....
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
(I can see you making faces, Bill.)
A nice thing about having the house to myself while I clean up is that I can turn all the radios on and listen to music as I pass from room to room.
A little while ago, the Voice of Brussels was playing that perennial warhorse, Rhespigi's "The Birds". I fail to see why this piece is so damned popular. Sure, the orchestrations of the music of Rameau and the others is pleasant enough, but Rhespigi's own ritornello makes me twitch - it's too long, it's bloody boring and conductors always milk the ritard at the end for every last drop of soupiness. To me, the trade off isn't really worth it.
I mean, what gives?
The Missus is gone for most of the rest of the day.
On the one hand, I need to plunge the potty in the Llama-ettes' bathroom, scrub all the sinks, clean up myriad books and toys scattered all about, dust, wipe down the kitchen table and swifter the floor, vacuum, put away some laundry, start the bedsheets through the wash and do the taxes.
On the other hand, I may need to prove yet again for the edification of Steve-O and those like him that in Age of Kings, my British longbowmen can beat the living crap out of any group of panty-waste Frankish knights, namby-pamby Viking berserkers or sissy-boy Saracens.
Hmmmm.....What would Brian Boitano do?
UPDATE: Housework wins. Insert your own Felix Ungar/Frasier Crane joke here, but I can't abide an unkempt house. It gives me the crazies. In case you're wondering, children's gel toothpaste is like no other substance on earth. When dry, it is so hard one needs high explosives to shift it. When moist, it is of a stickiness that makes syrup seem like WD-40. (No, Robert, this ain't The Bleat. Call it The Yip if you like.)
UPDATE DEUX: Because The Colossus made me laugh (we seem to have scarily similar brain patterns) and because I know Mom never saw the South Park movie and is even now scratching her head at the reference and also because it's Friday afternoon and what the hell, I reprint here the lyrics from "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" a song that shoulda won an Oscar:
What would Brian Boitano do
If he was here right now,
He'd make a plan
And he'd follow through,
That's what Brian Boitano'd do.
When Brian Boitano was in the olympics,
Skating for the gold,
He did two salcows and a triple lutz,
While wearing a blind fold.
When Brian Boitano was in the alps,
Fighting grizzly bears,
He used his magical fire breath,
And saved the maidens fair.
So what would Brian Boitano do
If he were here today,
I'm sure he'd kick an ass or two,
That's what Brian Boitano'd do.
I want this V-chip out of me,
It has stunted my vo-ca-bu-lar-y.
And I just want my mom
To stop fighting everyone
For Wendy I'll be an activist too,
Cause that's what Brian Boitano'd do.
And what would Brian Boitano do,
He'd call all the kids in town,
And tell them to unite for true
That's what Brian Boitano'd do.
When Brian Boitano travelled through time
To the year 3010,
He fought the evil robot kings
and saved the human race again
And when Brian Boitano built the pyramids,
He beat up Kublai Kahn.
Cause Brian Boitano doesn't take shit from an-y-body
So let's all get together,
And unite to stop our moms
And we'll save Terrance and Phillip too,
Cause that's what Brian Boitano'd do.
And we'll save Terrance and Phillip too,
Cause that's what Brian Boitano'd dooooo,
That's what Brian Boitano'd do.
But there's no credit where no credit is due (it cost me ten dollars)*
I like the Colossussususus' model code for photo crediting, which he developed on the heals of this week's flap over that 13 year old kid pinching a Blogs for Bush pic. I've gotten a wee bit careless about this sort of thing myself and in the future will adhere to the same set of guidelines as does he.
* I.D. the lyric and we may send you a full day's supply of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat.
More Plum Blogging
I'm currently working my way throught Robert McCrum's biography of P.G. Wodehouse. All in all, and despite the rave reviews, I'm finding the book a bit of a disappointment. It strikes me that it could stand a bit of reorganization - McCrum bounces back and forth between biographical details and literary analysis a leetle too flittingly for my taste. Also, he has a bad habit of jumbling his chronology so that one often finds oneself reading about the same milestone twice, which is rather confusing.
Nonetheless, the book is very informative. One thing that impresses itself on the reader is that for a recluse, Wodehouse knew an awful lot of people. I believe this misperception of isolation is based on the fact that Wodehouse is really only known for his books these days and not for the enormous amount of work he did in the theatre.
Anyhoo, just take a gander at some of the folks Plum rubbed shoulders with in his youth: W.C. Fields, Ira and George Gershwin, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., John Barrymore, Ed Wynn, Ring Lardner, George S. Kaufman, Dorothy Parker, Florenz Ziegfeld (of Ziegfeld Girl fame), Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, Arthur Conan Doyle, W.S. Gilbert, Robert Benchley and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Of Fitzgerald, Wodehouse once wrote his stepdaughter Leonora:
I believe those stories.....about his drinking are exaggerated. He seems quite normal and is a very nice chap indeed.....the only thing is, he goes into New York with a scrubby chin, looking perfectly foul.....I suppose he gets a shave when he arrives there, but it doesn't show him at his best in Great Neck...I would like to see more of him.
For some reason, I have never put Wodehouse and Fitzgerald together in my mind before, but there you are.
Oh, one other thing that the book makes clear: The notion that Wodehouse didn't draw on real life and real people for his plots and characters appears to be rubbish. He did it all the time. And in this, I owe some new Battlestar Galactica fans an apology for my crankiness about the way the character of Starbuck has been changed. I find there is precident- the formidable headmistress in the story "Jeeves and the Kid Clementina" is based on a certain Miss Starbuck, who was the head of one of Leonora's boarding schools. Plum was so intimidated by her that when he went to visit Leonora, he would sneak up the drive so as not to be discovered by Miss S.
Well that's interesting.....
I didn't realize that "denial of crimes against humanity" and "apologies for war crimes" are crimes in France.
I guess that puts our old buddy M. Chirac in hot water over his support of Arafat, Mugabe, Saddam.....
Twenty years from now, of course, everyone will have been supporters of the principle of promoting democracy in Iraq: the opposition to the war was of course that we weren't acting fast enough to bring it about, and that the EU and the UN had to drag the recalictrant US kicking and screaming to fullfill its obligations under international law.
Case in point this article in today's International Herald Tribune "Europeans seek role in training Iraqi police":
"Whether the training is outside or inside Iraq, I think there is a new mood among the Europeans," said Daniel Keohane, military analyst at the Center for European Reform in London. "There is a realization that if Iraq is to be stable, secure and have its own forces, it is going to require huge amounts of help - and that it is going to take a very, very long time."
Team America Update
The Times of London has a cool article on the unravelling of the North Korean regime. I think we should figure out a way to accelerate the process by converting Team America to an appropriate technological format (printing on bark, perhaps?) and drop millions of them on the nutjob's kingdom. It's hard to have people in absolute fear of you if they are wetting their pants laughing at you.
(HT to Jonah at the Corner)
Life imitates art
I wonder whether his epitaph will be "Son, fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life."
Random Seasonal Musings
(Hey, it's my day off.)
We're having a full-tilt melt here in Dee Cee this morning. As I look out the window, the trees are dropping chunks of snow faster than Granny drops quarters in the Atlantic City slots. The sun is out, the sky is pale blue and there is a hint of spring in the air. Truly a beautiful day.
As much as I enjoy cold weather, I'm not nearly as tolerant of it as I used to be. When I was younger, I never got tired of winter. These days, I do. I'm not just happy with spring when it actually arrives, but instead start pining for it, well, right about now. This weekend should give just that bit of hope to let me tough it out for another month or two.
(Then, of course, there's hot weather, with which my relationship has always been of the one night stand variety. I begin to look forward to it in the spring, but after the first really hot day it's all over and I start looking forward to fall.)
My big plan for this weekend is to get out in the garden and remove all the ad hoc defenses I threw up last year to slow down Sauron's Wraith Rabbits. The bottom of the fence is covered with overlaying swaths of nylon mesh - which the little bastards learned they could push right through - and there are a number of holes under it hastily plugged with an assortment of bricks and logs. I'm going to yank all of that and replace it with a solid chicken wire (oh, I beg your pardon, poultry fencing) barrier that, with any luck, ought to keep 'em out this year and look considerably neater.
February 03, 2005
Virginia Religious Wars Update
Following up on my post about Virginia legislation that would allow rebel Episcopal parishes to secede from the Diocese and take their property with them, it appears that the war is over for the time being. Today, the bill was amended to include this language:
C. Such determination [Ed. - to break away] shall be reported by the congregation to the circuit court of the county,
or circuitor corporation court of thecity, wherein the property held in trust for such congregation or the greater part thereof is; and if the determination be approved by the court, it shall be so entered in its chancery order book, and shall be conclusive as to the title to and control of anysuch property held in trust for such congregation, and be respected and enforced accordingly in all of the courts of this Commonwealth, unless the deed or deeds to such property explicitly vests title in [ , or an express trust agreement grants the beneficial interest to, ] the church, diocese, or society, or a bishop or other representative thereof, rather than the congregation.
I don't even have to look - I'll bet a considerable amount of money this vestment language is exactly the way Episcopal Church trusts are set up.
Thus, I expect the bill will pass and will be essentially meaningless. And the Elders of the Church can, with impunity, go back to telling the knuckle-dragging conservatives to get over themselves .
Okay, I have to confess that in some respects I really like living near Dee-Cee. And I really like being around and knowing some people who have access to what might be called the Halls of Power.
Owing to such a gunnegshun (as Scott Fitzgerald might say) the oldest Llama-ette and her class got to go to the White House today. (This must make her third trip.) Today was particularly special, because while there, the class got to meet Miss Beazley. I think that's just nice.
Apparently the Secret Service were in an affable mood, because the gel's saint of a teacher also reports that she was joking around with the agents quite a bit and they were joking right back. If I find out what they all were joking about, I'll let you know.
Wow. Read Wind Rider's post about Marine 1st Sergeant Brad Kasal over at Silent Running and tell me this guy isn't the butt-kickingest hero you've heard about in a long time. Damn these guys make me proud.
Yips! to Romeocat, who also has updates.
God Damn Puxatawny Phil!
Snowing like a sumbitch outside right now. Big, wet flakes. And me with no umbrella. Lungs, say hi to pneumonia.
UPDATE: Looks like the bulk of it has blown out. We might pick up one or two more brief showers, but nothing too bad. The good news is that we're supposed to be up into the 50's by Saturday. May be a good day to start doing a little mid-winter prep-work out in the garden.
State of the Union thoughts
Watching Pelosi and Harry Reid last night I kept thinking to myself: this is all the party of FDR and Truman have left?
Ann Althouse has the transcript of a hilarious (for us) exchange last night between Chris Matthews and a guest on Hardball:
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, that‘s why you‘re losing. Why you‘re losing. now is, you can‘t even point to your leaders.
At least George Bush is the leader of the Republican Party.
GOODMAN: It‘s not about my leaders. It‘s about...
MATTHEWS: Name a leader. Name a leader that you trust.
GOODMAN: It is not about my position. It is about not my thoughts about people.
GOODMAN: It is about positions. And I think that‘s what counts.
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s the problem. If the Democratic Party is tongue-tied about who their leaders are, that‘s the beginning of the problem.
And if they elect Howard Dean as chair of the party.......yeeessh.
Yips! from Robbo - That ain't the half of it. Dean Barnett has a piece about the rising influence of the Blogsphere's own uber-moonbat Kos. With this kind of double gravity-sink forming over on the far left fringe, nobody, not even Hillary, is going to be able to pull themself far enough into the center to win an election.
Andrew Sullivan: trombone salesman?
Wizbang wants answers....
When you've got Rusty on your brain
I've got to get around to making that "My other SUV is a Sandcrawler" bumpersticker.....
Who knew 73 was so dirty....?
Sadie weighs in with a bit of career advice for young Ms. Reid.
UPDATE: Annika has some interesting poetry up that defies categorization....
YIPS! from Robbo: In the Piling On Department, the Defective Yeti has a round up of choice reviews of Tara's new movie, Alone in the Dark. Heh, indeed. (Courtesy of our pal the Chai-rista at Truly Bad Films.)
Why I love the blogosphere
Kathy the Cake-eater in a french-maid costume, debating the relative merits of cigarette versus pipe ash....
The Cranky Neocon is recommending VDH's Carnage and Culture.
I couldn't agree more. Two springs ago I taught the Senior Seminar, and we used C&C together with Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, & Steel to look at the issue of conflict and societal evolution. The two books completely disagree with each other arguing as they do from radically different perspectives: Hansen from the belief that certain social patterns developed by the Greeks and adopted by later European and then American societies explains the lethality of these societies when waging war on others, with Diamond seeking to explain the question of differential evolution of societies based on a variety of natural phenomena rather than culture. I'm partial to G,G, & S for the prominent place LLamas play in the story. In the immortal words of Dave Barry, I'm not making this up: a large factor in explaining the relative development of Aztec and Incan societies and empires versus Spain was the absence of domesticated animals, save for the humble LLama.
Anyhoo, it was a fun class: we also read Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations (kids hated it, never defines "civilization" usefully), Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (his predictions about the future from the mid 1980s are hilarious---it's a wonder that our Imperial overlords in Japan, Inc, astride the world as he predicted, allow this book to remain in print....), and we finished with Bowen's BlackHawk Down and Kaplan's Warrior Politics. It was pretty wild given the backdrop of Spring 2003.
Lately, however, I've been poring through The Letters and Writings of Benjamin Hawkins, who was the American agent to the Creek Nation during the Washington and Jefferson administrations. Hawkins was about the closest thing to a fair and scrupulously honest agent you were going to get, and of course he was well hated by the Georgians for it. The Cherokee Nation gets all the attention from this timeperiod, but the Creeks to me are more appealing precisely because they are more mysterious, and because of the way they were feared.
Speaking of wacky frontier life amongst the savages, the Irish Elk has a tribute to Winter Carnival at Dartmouth. Apparently, I attended Winter Carnival my freshman year in college, but to this day have no memories of the time, save for the cringing vision of the look of vomit in snow....
YIPS! from Robbo: I never made it to Carnival myself, although I almost met a very violent death at the hands of my then-girlfriend driving back to Connecticut late one fall evening after rowing in the Darmouth 8's. Howsomever, the Missus' grandfather was a Dartmouth DKE. We have a pillow his wife needle-pointed for him that features the old Indian mascot with a keg of rum on his shoulder. Message to PC Police - neener! neener!
Change Is Bad, M'Kay?
Roger Kimball has an excellent post up at Armavirmuque today about John Stuart Mill and the triumph of innovation in social and moral life at the expense of convention.
Needless to say, I'm not much of a Millsian. But that doesn't mean I think innovation is per se bad. Rather, it strikes me that a healthy society really needs two sources of energy - those pushing ideas that are claimed to be "new and improved" and those who subject such ideas to rigorous question and scrutiny based on that society's standards, traditions and values. Between them, these forces ought to act in a way to separate the Columbuses of the world from the Marxes.
In other words, I may be a curmugeon, but in the end I'm only looking out for you.
The Bastards have struck again!
Tony Blair remains steadfast, and word is is that the French are going to send the elite Playmobile Strike Force to liberate their leaden comrades.....
Democracy. Big Mac. Sexy....?
It was bad enough when the Chicago Sun-Times dared ask the question trembling on the lips of a thousand lefties: what if Booooosh the Chimperor pawn of the Sith Lords at Halliburton was, despite all evidence to the contrary presented by giant paper mache puppets at A.N.S.W.E.R. rallies, like, right?
Then we are slapped in the face with this gem from our old pals at the Arab News:
Thursday,3 , February, 2005 (23, Dhul Hijjah,1425 ) A Magnificent Day for Iraq Dr. Mohammed T. Al-Rasheed, email@example.com
Bravo Iraq! For history, Jan.30 ,2005 , is one magnificent day for Iraq and the Arab nation. Regardless of who won and who lost, the day should be a permanent fixture on the Arab calendar forever. I don’t want to talk politics; I simply want to celebrate history.
In spite of everything, the Iraqis voted. They did so with a passion and a seriousness that gives the lie to the cliché that Arabs are not ready for democracy. One myth down, a thousand to go.
Everyone says that this is the first free elections in Iraq for fifty years. That is another lie. There has never been one single free election in the long history of the Arabs ever. This is the first one.
It took the Americans to conduct it and force it down the throats of dictators, terrorists, exploding deranged humans, and odds as big as the distance between the USA and the Middle East.
British guns and soldiers were in the area for so long yet did not care to look at the people.
They waltzed with people Gerty and Lawrence (their colonial spies) baptized and were happy to see the nations slip into slavery.
Likewise, the French could not bring themselves to see that the Arabs were good enough to cast a vote. And even when it happened in Algeria, the French orchestrated a putsch to annul it.
On Sunday America vindicated itself to all doubters, including me. They delivered on the promise of an election, so I am sure they will deliver on the promise of withdrawal.
Occupation boots are heavy and brutal no matter what their insignia or colors. Yet homegrown dictatorship is even harsher and more deranged.
In the name of nationalism and “freedom” from imperialism, Iraqi boots crushed Iraqi skulls for so long. When “going home,” such dictators either jetted to Geneva or went to Tikrit.
At least an American soldier has no such home in either place. He or she would simply want to go back to his fried chicken and home baked cookies. In that there is hope and a withdrawal schedule.
If the endgame is propaganda, I don’t expect trashing America will end in our media. If, on the other hand, we write about what we feel is right and wrong, many should think again — at least on this issue.
A priori, taking the pen against America is not a good thing; similarly, taking the pen in praise of America is not treasonous. We have brains and we should use them.
Perhaps in the coming weeks we will take issue with America again. But for today, I am celebrating by having a McDonald’s. I hate fast food, but for this day I will make an exception.
I don't think Tocqueville had Mayor McCheese in mind when celebrating Democracy in America, but hey, better democratic Ronald than the aristocratic sharia of Burger Sheik. For me, personally, it's enough to consider--if just for today---that the Straussians at the heart of the neo-con movement aren't complete loons.
And then there was this:
There is much to be criticized about American actions in Iraq, but when it comes to bringing democracy to that brutalized land, it is Arabs and not Americans who need to clean their act.
One day does not a trend make. Yet, I think the evidence is starting to mount that the full magnitude of eight million Iraqis voting in a free and open election is going to reverberate with awesome consequences in Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier, I was wondering what, if anything, to do about the upcoming Super Bowl. Well, I gave it some more thought and in light of Steve's excellent post on the subject the other day, decided not to just sit this one out but to actively take sides.
You see, I was one of those kids Steve talked about who developed his football allegiance based on who looked hot and cool at the time he really started to become conscious of the game, not because of any particular regional loyalty. For me, that was the Dolphins of the early 70's. (We lived in Texas at the time. My brother was always a Cowboys fan.)
I still remember the heady days of Griese, Csonka, Kiick, Mercury Morris and Paul Warfield. I remember big Larry Little and my sudden understanding of the way he worked with Csonka on those sweeps around the right end. I remember Jake Scott and Tim Foley on defense and little Garo Yepremian. I am pretty sure I had a complete set of team trading cards back in the day and I also had my No. 12 and No. 39 jerseys.
And so it went. I followed the team through its ups and downs - the aging of Griese, the rise of the Killer B defense in the early 80's, the great hope of Dan Marino and the belief among fans after we got spanked by San Francisco and Joe Montana in the '85 Super Bowl that it was okay because we'd assuredly be back the next year, the retirement of Coach Shula and the question of who would take over, the brief tease that Jimmy Johnson might bring about big things....And on and on, right through this year's utter disaster.
Well, all of that is by way of saying that I am a loyal Dolphins fan. Always have been, always will be. Which means I automatically hate the Patriots. Which means that when they're going for the big one, it is incumbent on me to root for the other team.
The fact that the Iggles are going to get their collective clocks cleaned isn't even important. This is a matter of principle. Go Iggles!
UPDATE: For all you other Dolphans out there troubled by talk of a Pats' Dynasty, I give you these words. (I think the man was a demagogue and a rabble-rouser, but that doesn't mean I can't pinch his stuff.)
Llama Book Bleg
Anyone out there read this book? The Devil's Website is dangling it in front of my eyes and I'm wondering whether to give in to the temptation......
This Brain Is Currently Not In Service. Please Make Sure You Have Dialed The Correct Number. If You Would Like TO Make Another Call, Please Hang Up And Dial Again.
I seem to be suffering a bit of a relapse from this on-going bronchial/throat/ears/head thing this morning. (I had to go to a meeting last night and people kept cheerfully telling me how corpse-like I looked.)
Anyhoo, the ol' brain is generating nothing but static at the moment. I'll wait until the interference clears up before I try to do any posting.
February 02, 2005
Religious Turf Wars In The Old Dominion?
There is a bill currently working its way through the Virginia Assembly, Senate Bill 1305, that purports to amend the law regarding the determination of property rights upon the division of a church, diocese or society.
All local parish property of the Episcopal Church in Virginia ultimately is held in trust by the Diocese itself. This bill, if passed, would allow local parishes - should they secede from the Diocese - to take their property with them. The WaPo has a small piece about this today.
The Episcopal Church only recently realized what was going on and in rapidly mobilizing to fight it. My own assistant deacon was poo-pooing the bill at a meeting Monday evening. Of course, this is an example of the continued fallout over the ordination of Bishop Robinson at General Convention in 2003. A fair number of parishes in Virginia are still seething over that action and the decision of Bishop Lee to support it.
I haven't digested all the legal ramifications yet, but part of me is tickled that the Church is being made to jump. I felt the whole Robinson business was handled very poorly and those who continue to be opposed are now getting the full "get over it" treatment. A threat to hit the Diocese where it hurts, even if it doesn't pass, may just garner a more respectful hearing for the dissenting faction.
UPDATE: (Thursday) The scuttlebutt I heard at Church last evening is now that the, er, anti-anti-disestablishmentarians have powered up, the bill is pretty much doomed.
More Sci-Fi Babe Polling
JohnL's got a new Sci-Fi Babe Poll up over at TexasBestGrok. This week, it's another Star Trek affair, the Pike's Women "Cage" Match. This competition pits the ladies of the original Star Trek pilot "The Cage" against one another. (I never saw the pilot itself, only the bits taken out of it for The Menagerie.)
What She Said
I was getting ready to write a post some time soon about what I thought of Valentine's Day. But Michele has got it covered so thoroughly that the only thing I can add is feh.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
The local Voice of Brussels affiliate is airing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony at the moment, a performance by Lorin Maazel and the Vienna Philharmonic (CBS/Sony 36711).
As cliched as the first movement of this piece has become, I've always felt that it justly deserves its fame. But one thing in this particular performance caught my attention - Maazel doesn't take the repeats. In my humble opinion, one absolutely has to. Otherwise, the movement is over too quickly and the whole piece comes unbalanced.
Just remember that next time you find yourself conducting a performance.
UPDATE: Maazel's treatment of the second movement is too mushy.
UPDATE DEUX: Third movement not so bad - crisper. But there's still a certain listlessness to it.
UPDATE TROIS: Fourth movement is okay, but still has those periods of listlessness, like the orchestra's just going through the motions. I suppose this is a trap for any performer. How do you summon up the energy to make something sound bright and fresh when you've done it 500 times already?
Oh, it's a live performance. That explains much - I couldn't see the record label putting out a studio performance like that.
UPDATE, UH, LE FOUR: Talk about bright and fresh, I popped in one of my favorite CDs - a set of six Telemann Trio Sonatas for Recorder, Oboe and Basso Continuo performed by Camerata Koln. It's a Deutsche Harmonia Mundi Edito Classica recording (77017-2-RG). I did a quick search over at Tower Records and couldn't seem to find it. However, and here is one of the reasons I love the Internet so much, I stumbled across this list of recommended (primarily) Baroque chamber music recordings by one L.D. Lampson. I have no idea who this is, but his/her list is quite comprehensive. Also, I recognize many of the performers he/she cites. If you're thinking about exploring a Baroque CD library, this looks like a pretty good list to work with.
UPDATE CINQUE: Welcome INDCent Bill fans! Care for some brie?
Gratuitous Children's Cartoon Posting
The Irish Elk unloads on PBS's Arthur, a show I've always (update: gently) loathed in a general, unfocused way. I didn't realize until I'd read his post that the whole Vermont Lesbian flap was tied to this show, but I can't say that I'm the slightest bit surprised. It has a long track-record of gooey PC-ness.
Fortunately, the gels don't seem to be particularly interested in the show. The current PBS favorite 'round our house is Cyberchase. I like it a) because it is geared towards math skills, something with which anyone related to me can always use some extra help, and b) because it stars Christopher Lloyd, one of my favorite actors, as arch-villain Hacker.
"My Name's Bubba. I'm From The U.N. and I'm Here TO Help!"
I haven't had anything to say about the idea of Bill Clinton heading the U.N.'s tsunami relief effort. Thanks to the Cracker Barrel Philosopher, looks like I don't need to say anything.
Call Me Crazy
I was reading this "what the hell were they thinking post" of Froggy's about the recent abduction of G.I. Joe by the terrorists when something again occured to me:
So far, the whole thing has been attributed to either desparate insurgents, dumb-ass insurgent sympathizers or else smart-ass kid hoaxers. But what if this was a job pulled off by our own Psy-Ops people? Think about it - what if we set up a hoax that was guaranteed to be seen right through and to make the insurgents look utterly ridiculous at the same time the Iraqis were basking in the glow of their first election? As I understand it, "taunting," while a flag-throwing penalty in the NFL, is a perfectly legitimate weapon of war that we've used before in Iraq with great success.
I like to think that's what's going on here. To me, such an operation would be a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
Get Me The Nuns - STAT!
My real-world pal Marjorie the Unclimber stumbles across a horrid, horrid idea for a girls' birthday party (well, I suppose it would be worse for boys, but you know what I mean).
This tarting up of little girls is a phenomenon that utterly mystifies me. A year or two ago, my eldest participated in a dance recital. She was in a traditional ballet class and, along with her mates, looked suitably adorable - and innocent - in leotard and tutu. But the school also offered classes in what it called "modern dance". These groups gave their performances at the same recital. All of the girls - in ages ranging from 4 or 5 up to around 15 or so - were dressed like, for lack of a better word, prostitutes. The dance numbers consisted of various wild (and very suggestive) gyrations to the accompaniment of what I can only describe as "techno-rap". And on top of that, their parents, far from dropping their jaws in horror, were cheering them on with shouts of "shake it!" and "you go, girl!"
I mean, fer cryin' out loud, what's WRONG with these people?
Dr. Tongue's 3-D House of Cold-Cuts
"Would you like some more......turkey?"
Somebody already mentioned this within the last few weeks, but as I saw another Subway commercial last evening whilst watching The Hunt for Red October on WGN, I couldn't help thinking yet again.....That ol' Jarad looks like he's putting a few pounds back on. Anybody else notice this?
The male members of the Crack Young Staff over at the Hatemonger's Quarterly have all been bitten by the same love-bug and her name is Ms. Yahoo. As it happens, I was ruminating on this exact phenomenon yesterday and wondering if it was post-worthy. Too late now. ("Ya snooze, ya lose!" as my Revered Father is fond of saying.)
As a matter of fact, I think "Chip" has been slipping a little something into the water cooler outside the editorial board room over at THQ Headquarters because the CYS have been on an absolute tear lately. Go on over and browse to your delight.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad
Today is the Butcher's Parents' anniversary. If my math is right, they've been married 48 years.
For the most part, the family doesn't make much of a deal of these kinds of things and I don't think the 'rents themselves do anything to mark the occasion other than go out to a nice dinner.
But it's worth noting for one important reason - they've taught by doing. Their ongoing commitment through all the years of ups and downs was the primary source of my own attitude toward marriage. Thus my approach towards my relationship with the Butcher's Wife, which is now in its fifteenth year (11 of them married), has always been that neither one of us is leaving until they're carted off in a box. (She, by the way, is of the same mindset for the same reason. Her parents have been married 40-odd years as well.) And this is an enormous source of strength when it comes to sorting things out between us, as must inevitably happen from time to time. It strikes me that this is a lesson lost on a lot of people these days.
So I suppose the main thing to say in order to mark the day is - thanks!
Yip! Yip! Yip!
The Times, They Are A'Changin'
I started watching Arrested Development because it happened to be on after The Simpsons. These days, I watch The Simpsons only because it happens to be on before Arrested Development.
Thought you might like to know.
The Face Of The Llamas?
So says Sadie in her new blogrolling designations. And who the hell are we to argue with her?
YIPS from Steve: The Dear One, for starters. Actually, here was the original idea---what sold it for the other kids was the pony in the White House elevator gag.
And Walker? The was the Dear One's call, a name she had always liked. And yes, she was not amused on election day when her guy when down in smoke. Heck, she would vote for Jerry Brown if she had the chance.
Still, the boy's sekrit nickname around the Basement Domain Fortress of Solitude is "Q-Dubya."
YIPS! from Robbo - I know a) that I'm going to hell and b) that Mrs. Llama is going to start me on my way, but I can't resist:
The Rest of the Story?
Sorry, Robbo, I really held out for "Snake Shula Tiberius LLamabutcher"
Instead, it's Quentin Walker (LLamabutcher).
Pining For The Mekong
Hitch makes it abundantly clear that the Vietnam/Iraq analogy is not "just resting":
I suppose it's obvious that I was not a supporter of the Vietnam War. Indeed, the principles of the antiwar movement of that epoch still mean a good deal to me. That's why I retch every time I hear these principles recycled, by narrow minds or in a shallow manner, in order to pass off third-rate excuses for Baathism or jihadism. But one must also be capable of being offended objectively. The Vietnam/Iraq babble is, from any point of view, a busted flush. It's no good. It's a stiff. It's passed on. It has ceased to be. It's joined the choir invisible. It's turned up its toes. It's gone. It's an ex-analogy.
Go read the whole thing. Jonah also has a pretty good article this morning on the Left's continuing attempt to jiggle the birdcage.
Not to shift allusions too violently, but I can't help thinking of that line from Top Gun, "I feel the need for speed!" and wondering if the editors sitting around the NY Times' offices and other bastions of the Left periodically break out with, "I feel the de-siah for quag-miah!"
Li'l Llama Watch
Steve-O: But Honeyyyy......"Calvin Tiberius Pliskin Llama" has such a nice ring to it....
Mrs. Steve-O: Stephen!
February 01, 2005
It's In The Hole!
Top Ten Other Terrorist Announcements
10. "If the UN does not immediately withdraw support for the US occupation of Iraq, the Jihad Brotherhood will cut off one of Papa Smurf's three fingers"
9. "We have captured Rainbow Brite, and we will hang her as an infidel at dawn"
8. "Al-Zarqawi is pleased to announce his new lieutenants, following last week's captures-- COBRA Commander and Megatron of the Decepticons (also, we may get that completely-useless robot who can turn into a fuckin' camera)"
7. "If the American infidels do not depart Iraq immediately, the streets will run black with the ink of a thousand Etch-a-Sketches"
6. "I swear to Allah, if you do not release our brave warriors held in captivity, by next week Garfield the cat will have a whole new reason to hate Mondays"
5. "You have no chance of defeating us in Iraq, in Afghanistan, or in high-stakes games of Hungry Hungry Hippos"
4. "We have Jarts and we're not afraid to use them"
3. "By Allah the Great, if our demands are not met immediately, we will begin pestering your female soldiers with our great stockpiles of Mr. Microphones; they will not be able to sleep, for our constant utterances of Hey good-looking, be back to pick you up later!"
2. "Deliver Donald Rumsfeld to us as a war criminal for trial or we will take our collection of Muppets and pose them in the most insidiously-sexual of manners; verily, your children will weep bitter tears when they witness Elmo being sodomized by the deviant Gonzo and his pansexual chickens"
... and the Number One Other New Terrorist Announcement...
1. "A thousand explosive Chia Pets will thunder in the streets of Bagh... oh, fuck it, we're a bunch of buffoonish wankers everybody knows it"
Hit the link for Ace's round-up of this story, which started out as drama but has rapidly descended into absolute farce. And be sure to scroll to the bottom to find out who the mastermind behind this plot really is.......
UPDATE: Backcountry Conservative also has a round-up. Watching a bogus story like this trying to survive in the blogsphere is like watching a wounded capybara trying to swim across a piranha-infested Amazonian stream. Heh, indeed.
Gratuitous Llama NPR Listening Tip
NPR's "Fresh Air" is far more entertaining when you've got the volume turned down low enough so that you can hear the sound of Terri Gross's voice without making out exactly what she's saying.
I pass this on for what it's worth.
Happy Birthday, Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson
Today is the birthday of Python Alum Terry Jones. My mother has always had deep suspicions about him, given his propensity for taking his clothes off in sketches more often than any of the other Pythons. (I'd also add that of all the troupe, he's probably the one most people would least like to see nekked.)
Although he is the typical loony left ass when it comes to politics, I've always liked his work. One of my favorite little-known movies is his 1989 Eric the Viking about a Norseman (Tim Robbins) who suffers a crisis of conscience during a pillaging raid and has to go to Valhalla to ask the Gods What It All Means. (John Cleese is also in the movie.)
And speaking of Pythonesque things, check out this.
Sauron's Little Brother Watch
Our pal Lintenfiniel Jen has the latest on Danny Boy Snyder's efforts to bind Redskins fans in the darkness.
I'm not such a fan myself, but I sympathize with them. I'm afraid the only way they'll shake themselves of their Lil' Dark Lord is if Joe Gibbs throws a Superbowl ring into the depths of FedEx Field (aka Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, aka "The Cooker" or "The Big Jack"). Until then, I'm afraid rueage will continue....
All I can say is: Stop it! Stop it right now!
Look, I like her as much as anyone else. But, people, she's a policy wonk, not a politician (and no, running for Provost of Stanford doesn't count). She is extremely good at what she does, but this just isn't enough, IMHO, to qualify her as a legitimate POTUS candidate. Whether you like it nor not, such a candidate has to have major political skills and experience if he or she expects to win.
I know that most of the buzz around her now isn't all that serious, but it strikes me that every little bit of it serves as a dangerous distraction. In case anybody hasn't noticed it yet, Dubya's shoes are going to be awfully hard to fill, even if things go well the next four years. Whoever goes up against Hillary/Obama '08 is going to have a tough, tough fight. The Repubs need to be doing some serious star-searching right now, not indulging in unrealistic daydreams.
Li'l Llama Watch
Still no official news on the name of Steve the Llama Butcher v.4.0.
I am deriving no end of enjoyment imagining the scene around the Casa de Llamas.
Steve-O: But Honeeeeey! What's wrong with "Alexander Tecumseh Fusco Llama"?
Mrs. Steve-O: Stephen!
I've also been mulling the dynamics of the introductin of Child Number 4 into a household. I know that new parents like Brian B. will find this hard to believe, but in many ways an only child is relatively easy to deal with. You always outnumber him and can either double-team, when appropriate, or else spell each other.*
The introduction of a second child means that you have to adjust. It's now man-to-man coverage. It's approximately a couple of months into this new arrangement that you suddenly realize how easy one was to deal with.
When the third child comes along, it gets even more lively. You have to force yourselves to switch from man-to-man to zone defense, all the while keeping an eye open to make sure one of them doesn't find the seam and go deep.
With four? Well, I can only imagine. Now they double-team you. I think Steve and the Missus will have to adopt a kind of hybrid man/zone coverage, playing deep, focusing on the most potent threats and letting the little llamas have those short yardage underneath plays.
Should be quite a game.
* I can hear the Butcher's Wife shrieking with disbelieving laughter even from here at all my talk about joint child-rearing responsibilities. Kudos where they are due: she does about 90% of the day-to-day heavy lifting in our family and always has. She is, in fact, the Zack Thomas of our domestic defense and I haven't the faintest idea how I'd survive in the world without her.
My six year old and her class are off to the Kennedy Center today to see a production of Hansel and Gretel. As we were talking about it this morning, she disclosed her opinion that the wicked step-mother and the witch were, in fact, the same person. When I pointed out to her that the step-mother wanted to abandon the children because of lack of food, whereas the witch -with her house made of candy - seemed to have plenty of it, she responded by opining that the whole lack-of-food thing was simply a set-up in order to get the kids out in the open where they could be caught and eaten. Her main evidence for this reading is the fact that both the step-mother and the witch are dead by the end of the story. I must say that at least from a psychological point of view, this makes rather a lot of sense.
As the Llama-ette mulled over the childrens' fate, she suddenly cocked an eye at me and said, "You'd never do something like that to us, would you?" Resisting the urge to say, "Well, not if you're good, anyway," I quickly assured her that we had no such plans.
UPDATE: This is what happens when I rely on the word of a six-year-old. In fact, they went to the local auditorium, not the Kennedy Center. (She must have been confused because she went there a few weeks ago to see a puppet show.) Also, it turns out what they saw was the Virginia Opera's touring company doing Englebert Humperdink's opera version of the story. There is no wicked step-mother in this version. I'll have to ask the Llama-ette what this does to her theory this evening.
You think I'm cranky about the newly
re-envisioned bastardized version of Battlestar Galactica? Just ask Starbuck what he thinks! Sounds more like the legendary Commander Cain than anything else, but in between bouts of frothing, Benedict makes some pretty good points. I like this guy.
Big Llama Yips! to Kathy the Cake Eater.