April 30, 2005

This is gonna get ugly

Kath the Cake Eater is posting what she claims to be the "ultimate" Star Wars trivia contest.

Geeks of the world, unite! The only thing you have to lose is the basement apartment in your parent's house!

(And yes, I got most of them right.)

Posted by Steve at 02:56 PM | Comments (2)

From one pack animal to another

X-Donkey Blog wonders what the hey with a poll showing Virginia Senator George Allen as the insider for the ohh-eight nomination.

My sense: given who they were polling, this was payback for Allen for doing a great job running the RSCC last fall. Big George (affectionately known as "Chuckie" in central Virginia) got himself a heapin' pile of chips at the big table for that: however, he's not going to win, so don't worry about it.

SEKRIT MESSAGE TO X-DONKEY: Keep up the Diane Lane pic posting, my friend. I fell hard for her when I was 13 in A Little Romance, the first movie I ever saw on HBO. Mon dieu.... Anyhoo, since that appears to be a regular feature, you made it to our blogroll.

Posted by Steve at 02:47 PM | Comments (4)

Dissenting from this one

Dude: what do you think's going to happen on the first night of sweeps?

Posted by Steve at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

A moment of clarity

Now I know where the phrase "not for all the tea in Chiner" comes from.

Posted by Steve at 11:49 AM | Comments (1)

Payback's a bitch

I'll leave it to our resident all-things-Anglophile Robbo to drum up the appropriate quotes from Churchill, but for now head on over to our favorite Commie for a devil of a good time and a chance to stick it to the Guardian.

What more can a fella ask for?

Anyhoo, it's time to show our thanks and support for Tony Blair in his steadfast defense of freedom and right against the barbarian hordes (and by that I mean the British far-left).

Posted by Steve at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2005

My reign as King of the Mole People continues

Today has just been dreadful: it's cold and rainy, the Exit Strategy articulated by my cold is though my chest, and we have a faculty meeting this afternoon. Blah.

I did however bring the laptop with me so that I could actually make use of the otherwise completely useless timesuck that is the faculty meeting zone: whether that will result in some faculty meeting blogging remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Irish Elk sings the praises of Cab Calloway, Lawren Mills is giving me knew reasons to doubt the existence of divine justice, all the while Sheila O'Malley gives me further proof of the existence of supreme payback (although I have a hunch that the latter guy is in fact Dr. Rusty Shackleford.)

One more: the crack Young Staff at the HMQ versus Wonkette.

You know who wins.

UPDATE: Wireless was scratchy at best at the meeting, and I was asleep for half of it, so no dice this time. Maybe next year...

Posted by Steve at 02:35 PM | Comments (2)

Light Posting Alert

Today is one of my "How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All" days. Board meeting at school this morning, followed by haircut and emissions inspection for the car. In between, I also have to hit the cleaners, the hardware store and the wine store. Then it's home to try and get the peonies staked before it starts raining. Then, an afternoon starting in on painting the basement.

So much for the bon-bons and fuzzy pink slippers.

Yip! at you later.

UPDATE: Remarkably, got everything done this morning. The usual alarums and excursions re school, my hair-cutter as ditzy as ever and a garage guy who was a dead ringer for Tom Petty. "Dude, let's do 'er," he said.

As for the peonies, I left it rather late to stake them this year and was only going to use some bamboo sticks and string. But in the end I broke down and bought those circular wire meshes that stand up on tripods. Threading the stalks, buds and leaves through them was a pain, but probably worth it. So I don't want to hear any whining about how, oooh, my blooms are too heavy and are snapping my stems, waaahhh!! this year.

Now I'm off to paint.

Huge Llama bonus points for catching the Firesign Theatre reference, LDH! You're almost as clever as Nick Danger, Third Eye.

Posted by Robert at 08:30 AM | Comments (7)

April 28, 2005


Nastassja Kinski, the prototype Bad Girl.. Best attributes: bus-stoppin' body, big lips. For men of my era, the pic wearing only the snake said it all. Emotional freight: lots-this woman had a "relationship" with that child molester Roman Polanski while she was still a minor. Most bizarre flick: Cat People. Dropped off the radar scopes in the mid-eighties, surfaced for Terminal Velocity in 1994. Probably in a federal witness protection program.

Posted by LMC at 09:51 PM | Comments (12)

Gratuitous Bet-Hedging, Rumor-Mongering, Link-Whoring

There is a rumor floating about this afternoon that Bin Laden may be dead and that Dubya might say something about it tonight.

Officially, I don't believe it.

But just in case, I thought I'd pass it along........

UPDATE: Made ya look!

Posted by Robert at 04:11 PM | Comments (3)

I Have Got TO Get Me One Of These!

The Germans, in their German way, have developed the perfect weapon for dealing with furry little bastard infestations: the Panzerweasel.

Yips! to Taranto.

Posted by Robert at 03:55 PM | Comments (3)


I find it intensely amusing to see the Puppy Blender his own Imperial Self getting slapped around by Ace and others not overly happy with his snarky playing of the war card to dismiss domestic debate.

Heh, as I'm more or less obligated to say, indeed.

UPDATE: No word yet from the Bearded-Spock Universe Glenn regarding whether there's a war on there. Or would he say, "There's a peace on, you know!"

Posted by Robert at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

Oh well

Somehow, I don't think my students are getting the same thing from Hardball.

Posted by Steve at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

The next five states in the Union?

Austin Bay has an interesting column up on whether Canada is the next failed state.

Crazy? Not really. As the AdScam scandal metastisizes (thanks in large part to Captain Ed), Paul Martin's Liberal Party is doomed. Think of what happened to the Republicans in the November 1974 elections, and imagine it as the signal to George Wallace to lead the South out of the Union (again). The analogy here is apt as to what the Liberal crack-up is going to do for the Parti Quebecois, the crazy nutters who want to overturn the injustice of the French & Indian War by becoming their own separate nation, seceding from Canada.

What happens to the pieces? This is where Bay does some interesting speculation:

Here's a thumbnail sketch of that analysis: Say Quebec does become a separate European-style nation-state -- a "people" with cultural, linguistic, religious and historical identity (never mind the objections of Mohawk and Cree Indians living in Quebec). Quebec has the people and resources to make a go of it, though the economic price for its egotism will be stiff. British Columbia also has "nation-state" assets: Access to the sea, strong industrial base, raw materials and an educated population.

Oil-producing Alberta might join the United States and instantly find common political ground with Alaska, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. Canada's struggling Atlantic provinces might find statehood economically attractive and extend the New England coastline. A rump Canada consisting of "Greater Ontario" -- with remaining provinces as appendages -- might keep the maple-leaf flag aloft. As for poor, isolated Newfoundland: Would Great Britain like to reacquire a North American colony?

British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, and Manitoba as American states? What would be the legal precedent for such a thing?

There actually is: it was the Eleventh Article of Confederation, approved back in 1781, and calls for the automatic admission of Canada into the United States.

ARTICLE XI Canada acceding to this confederation, and joining in the measures of the united states, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this union: but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine states.

Stranger things have been known to happen.

UPDATE: More secession talk, this time in northern New England.

Posted by Steve at 02:51 PM | Comments (5)

Mozart Watch

The local station is playing a performance of Eine Kliene Nachtmusik by the English Concert under Andrew Manze, who took over not long ago from Trevor Pinnock. This is the first time I've heard the EC under Manze.

As you may remember [Ed. - Who the hell are you kidding?], I was chatting with the director of the Fredericksburg Music Festival at Easter about this change in commanders. She said she had seen Manze and the EC in concert and had been greatly impressed.

I must say that, from what I can hear, I see her point. There is a crispness and energy to this performance I have not heard much from the English Concert in the past. I've got them doing all of Mozart's symphonies under Pinnock, and while I like the performances, there is a certain softness to them.

This seems promising.

UPDATE: Super-Sekret Message to Dad - Ya got me.

Posted by Robert at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

He-Man Makem Fire

Back on Sunday I blogged an aside about how long-time reader (and all-around great guy) Barry S. had let me borrow his lawnmower, noting that it takes a true level of male friendship to do such a thing.

What I didn't mention afterwards that, while finishing up, the cord came loose, got under the lawnmower, and sheared off. A quick check of Sears' website showed that instead of just replace the cord, you have to replace the whole top part of the lawnmower.


So began my five day odyessey of hell with Sears Customer Service.

Sears Customer Service has to be the worst that I've ever dealt with.

The problem was, they shipped the right part, but they sent it with no instructions. Now perhaps this is because few end users do there own repairs anymore, and they figure it's going to a shop where the men working there aren't pasty former Dungeons and Dragons playing, uber-blogging, poli sci professors with a fondness for South American pack animals named "Steve", but rather guys named "Phil" or "Rod" who understand the ontological signifance, hermeneutically speaking, of the "Chevy versus Ford" thing, and would look right at home in ads for beer or trucks or beer trucks that would use the background music of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

Frankly, I have no clue (but if you're a regular reader, you know that already).

Anyhoo, the customer service techs bounced me around for about an hour between departments---it's that phone based sense of what it must like to be the ball on a Foozball table. What they kept saying was that they had no information on what to actually do (just info on how to take my money). What made it all worthwhile was the last guy I spoke to cracked---in a very nice tone of voice tried to explain that "We don't know what to do--we're just 'Regular Johns.'"

At that point, I lost it---not in anger, but in tears of joy, paroxysms of glee, explaining to the confused (and hard working, no doubt) customer service tech that in America what he's going for is "Regular Joes", while a "Regular John" is someone who consistently visits prostitutes.

Somehow that didn't register in Bangalore.

The Good News? He-man installed the replacement piece correctly, which required doing my best Apollo 13 "fix the problem, not the blame" mentality. Barry, I'll bring it by this afternoon, along with some really good beer.

Somehow, somewhere, "Pa" Ingalls would be proud.

Posted by Steve at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

Life Imitates The Movies


It occurred to me recently that my three year old is Harpo Marx come back to life.

The girl gets into absolutely everything. And she does so for the pure hell of it. You can always tell when she's about to do something devilish because she gets exactly that lunatic look of Harpo's on her face, the identical arched eyebrows, wide eyes and cunning grin. And when caught out, her general response is to laugh or, increasingly, to mock my stern expression.

Honestly, after dealing with her for even a little while, I always feel like my tie has been cut in half, my hat has been stolen and I'm holding her leg for the tenth time in a row.

In fact, the only difference between her and Harpo (aside from the fact that she's a girl) is that she never - stops- talking.

Heh. Having said all that, I have to admit I wouldn't want it any other way.

UPDATE: Speaking of Dad Blogging, Brian B. and the Smallholder both have posts up on how the whole Dad Thing changes your priorities. And Lileks is ranting about the latest Doll Travesty, How To Introduce Your Daughter To The Ho Life Category - Bottles with Bling.

Posted by Robert at 11:30 AM | Comments (3)

Drumroll, Please.......

The first bloomer in my perennial garden this year is.....

Yellow Columbine:

(Image courtesy of Weston Gardens.)

I started about a dozen columbine plants from seed last year. None of them bloomed last summer, but they all survived the winter and have been growing like mad this spring. I chose a variety of different colors, but mixed them at random so that I don't know which plant is which. As each opens up, it will be a new surprise.

Columbine is a wonderful plant. In addition to producing lots of nifty, long-spurred flowers, it is extremely hearty and able to withstand heat and drought very well. Also, the furry little bastards seem to leave it alone.

A low-maintenance beauty. Isn't that every guy's dream?

Posted by Robert at 10:24 AM | Comments (9)

More Waugh Blogging

Over at The New Criterion, Stefan Beck has horrible new tales to tell of a literally Godless production of Brideshead Revisited in the works.

This has provoked a burst of justified indignation from Enoch Soames, Esq., who, in turn, is now expecting Stephenesque Stephen to say something snide about Waugh just to jerk his chain. This should be highly entertaining.

But getting back to BR, even if it's true that, as Mom once remarked, Mr. Woo does sometimes have that little air as if he'd been the first at the Tomb when writing on religious matters, completely stripping that central theme out in order to focus on Charles and Julia snogging would be an abomination confirming his deepest mistrust of Hollywood.

Unfortunately, I can already hear the critics telling Waugh fans not to be such dorks. "In crafting a screenplay, it's important to put any work in a context that contemporary society can understand. Without this, it lacks any real relevance. Furthermore, the director is always within his right as an Artist to bring his vision of the work to his audience, whatever the quibblings of so-called purists. Besides, check out that shower scene!"

Posted by Robert at 09:05 AM | Comments (2)

Gratuitous Pollen Blogging

I don't know if it's a sign of my advancing age or if this is just a bad spring, but my sinuses continue to play absolute hell with me. Geh.

Posted by Robert at 08:21 AM | Comments (4)


Today's honorable mention is Denise Crosby who played Lt. Tasha Yar who died not once but twice in The Next Generation . She had a brief appearance last night in Eyes and it was not pretty. She should have stayed with the Romulan Empire.

UPDATE: I do not know how I overlooked this one but Denise Crosby posed for Playboy in 1988, one of the three major signs of you-know-what. After last night's episode of Eyes, I understand why the skin mags do not do "whatever ever happened to" articles on the ladies who bared it all 17 years before.

Posted by LMC at 07:32 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005


What ever happened to Gillian Anderson? She has not done anything of note since The X-Files nor has she engaged in any of the three major activities that regular readers of this award-winning series know to be the sure signs of a starlet desperate to revive a fading career. If you had to choose, would you spend your time on a deserted island with Gillian Anderson or Mulder's ex-partner Mimi Rogers?

Posted by LMC at 09:58 PM | Comments (5)


It is about time they pulled the trigger on this one. Dick Cheney was quoted over the weekend he would break a tie, if necessary, which sounds like Rove has counted noses. Joe Biden and Harry Reid are suddenly talking about negotiation which sounds like weakness. Frist will not negotiate (nor should he) and the Republicans need to settle the issue once and for all. The chief justice will almost certainly retire this summer and then all hell will break loose unless it is clear 51 is the magic number, not 60. BTW, I may be just dense, but each house of Congress sets its own rules. If the Dems do not like the rules, elect 51 libs as senators and change them.

YIPS from Steve: I'm going to respectfully dissent on this one. I think they started this fight too early---and by "they" I mean Bill Frist, who saw this as a way to launch his presidential campaign. Dubya needs to ride in and remind them who is still president.

Strategically, I think the error is in not "keeping their powder dry"---this was a fight that needed to be about the Supreme Court seat(s), and fighting it out like this over appelate court seats is a squandering of political capital.

The last problem in terms of timing is that right now candidate recruitment is going on for the 06 House and Senate races. My gut sense is that the Republicans have made themselves look weak, and therefore vulnerable, and potentially bringing in better candidates to run for the Democrats than had this fight been delayed to the summer. I could be very wrong, but I don't think so.

Lastly, I think it's foolish for the long-term as well: one can well imagine how the Democrats will use this debate when they eventually do win back the Senate (and I'm not being defeatist, but merely noting this as a political scientist who studies American political development). Yes, 51 votes rules, but the filibuster is there for a reason: if the Democrats want to filibuster, make them filibuster. CNN will run split screen tapes of Jimmy Stewart, sure, but FOX can run split screen along with artist's renditions of Senator Byrd in a Klansman's hood or something appropriate like that. The problem is that no one knows what exactly a real, bona-fide filibuster would look like today, how it would play out, or what the political fallout would be. Both sides are too chicken to find out.

The nuclear option is this: if they want to filibuster, make them filibuster for real. Bring in the cots and the Thermoses.

But make it be over the big prize: the chief justiceship.

YIPS FROM LMC: agree with Steve-O that if one is going to have a fillibuster, it ought to be the real kind--complete with long-winded speeches on recipes for chicken gumbo and recitations from the D.C. area phonebook. What we have now are fictional fillibusters where simply uttering the word makes it so and then everyone departs for the cocktail parties on Embassy Row.

I do not think there will be a political price to be paid by the Republicans if the vote is held and they lose. If nothing else, it will demonstrate the Republicans are willing to fight for their nominees, something which Bush 41 demonstrated early in his willingness to fight for John Tower as Secretary of Defense. He lost, but made it clear he was not going to be rolled. Bush 43 needs to demonstrate that he is willing to go to bat for his nominess and that a price will be paid by those who oppose him--using the veto might help as well on pet projects of Kennedy, Reid, Clinton, et al., not to mention the RINOs Chaffee the Lesser, Snowe, and Collins.

YIPS from Steve: The problem with the whole labelling folks "RINO" is that if you do that to the Senate---Chaffee, Snowe, Collins, Hagel, throw in Specter for giggles---is that before you know it, poofff, there goes your majority.

The whole "-INO" phenomena was played to perfection by the Democrats: let's purge all the DINOs who don't meet the criteria of our most rabid and fervent core supporters! Away with you, Zell Miller! Breaux be gone! etc. etc.

Now they can't figure out where their majority went.

Purity is for minority parties.

And if you demand it, you'll be "MINO" (majority in name only) and PINO (powerful in name only) and then you'll be the real RINO: Relevant in Name Only.

EVEN MORE YIPS FROM LMC: political capital has a shelf-life--if you do not use it boldly, it disappears. Bush racked up capital in the last election and it is time to use it. If he succeeds, he will have even more. If he fails, he will have shown the Dems he is willing to fight for nominees whose names were put forward a long time ago (fourteen in the case of U.S. District Judge Terrance Boyle, first nominated by Bush 41).

Posted by LMC at 09:45 PM | Comments (5)

I think I saw this edition of Scarborough....

The Ron Reagan Jr. quote is priceless.

Not quite the "Loveline with Mumia-Abu Jamal" but pretty darn close.

Posted by Steve at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

Just when the Republican judiciary plan in Congress looked like it was blowing up in the manicured face of Bill Frist...

along comes salvation.

Posted by Steve at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

Where in the world is Matt Lauer?

Somehow, I have a feeling the Andrew Sullivan Freak-Out Index is going to shift over to "Gleefully gobsmacked" over this.

Posted by Steve at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

New Frontiers in Junior Year Abroad

People who know me in real life will understand why I have nothing to say about this.

Well, except some jokes about "transfer credits"....

Posted by Steve at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

Who knew the magic words were "M.C. Hammer Buttafuoco pants"?

I would have guessed the right phrase would have been "Angela Lansbury stretch pants."

Jerry O'Connell: thieving bastard.

Posted by Steve at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

Llama Comment Policy Alert

Not about our place, actually. For some reason TypeKey hates my guts and every time I try to sign up so as to spread the Yips! to other sites, it simply stares at me and says, "No comments for you!"

Just so you know, if you happen to use this system.

That is all.

Posted by Robert at 05:35 PM | Comments (4)

Classical Music Meme

This is very good. Lynn S. picked up on that same Mozart Effect-bashing article I noted yesterday when I was not trolling for attention from Terry Teachout and a game that Greg Hlatky has made out of it. He reasons that if there is a "Mozart Effect", there must also be "effects" specific to other composers and gives some fine examples:

Liszt effect: Child speaks rapidly and extravagantly, but never really says anything important.

Raff effect: Child becomes a bore.

Bruckner effect: Child speaks very slowly and repeats himself frequently. Gains reputation for profundity.

Wagner effect: Child becomes a megalomaniac. May eventually marry his sister.

Mahler effect: Child continually screams - at great length and volume - that he’s dying.

Schoenberg effect: Child never repeats a word until he’s used all the other words in his vocabulary. Sometimes talks backwards. Eventually, people stop listening to him. Child blames them for their inability to understand him.

Babbitt effect: Child gibbers nonsense all the time. Eventually, people stop listening to him. Child doesn’t care because all his playmates think he’s cool.

She then adds some of her own:

Glass Effect: Child repeats himself incessantly.

Cage Effect: Child will be completely silent for four and half minutes and then insist that he has just said something highly important.

Hovhaness Effect: Child grows to be very spiritual, attracted to Eastern religions. Also has pyromaniac tendencies.

Allow me to get in on this game as well (in a very humble capacity):

Gluck Effect: Child will be brilliant but inconsistent. Probably will be a fortune-hunting party reptile.

Rossini Effect: Child will be lazy as hell but a lot of fun.

Bach Effect: Child will overawe you with the the depth of his self-expression and do a bang-up job balancing your checkbook. Stand by for a lot of grandchildren.

Lully Effect: Please keep child away from sharp objects.

Posted by Robert at 05:11 PM | Comments (5)

News Flash: Steve Jobs is still an idiot

The ever fabulous Chai-Rista has the goods on the former boy-genius current High Priest of the iPod cult's latest idiocy.

Think a forty year old Doogie Howser, pushing a pharma rep out of his moving Jag because she wouldn't put out after an expense account lunch.

Posted by Steve at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

Mission Accomplished!


Posted by Steve at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

I'm Outraged!

I'm outraged by this!

(Of course, that means I owe this guy a quarter....)

Posted by Steve at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

More Items from the Fearmongers Catalog

I assume this is for real: I Hate My Name - Or How Not To Name Your Baby, by one Digby Milo Jones.

Remember that line from The Empire Strikes Back when Luke tells Yoda he's not afraid to go forward with his Jedi training and Yoda bugs his eyes, smiles wickedly and says, "No. You will be"? Same deal here:

What's in a name?

Chosen the right baby name yet?
You think you have?
Are you sure?
What if it’s not right?
What do you mean?
Have you considered what will happen if it’s not right?
What could go wrong?
Will it have a negative effect on your baby?

Ai! Fetal Crouch Alert! Buy this book or someone will beat the crap out of your child!

But all is not lost! For only $8.95, you can encase that child's moniker in kevlar (snotty comments most certainly mine):

Inside the book you will learn and receive:

- How the secret of great parenting is choosing the right name for your baby - and how to do it properly (And here I was thinking it was a matter of constant attention, love and discipline. Silly me.)
- Not to trust family, friends, neighbors or strangers (Instead, I guess, trusting this book)
- How to choose the right name! (My advice? Use the old army approach - Keep It Simple, Stupid)
- How to prevent your child being bullied at school! (Ouch! You can't hit me - my name is Harrison!)
-How to visualize your child at every stage of their life with the name you choose today! (I think this means that while "Twinkles" is fine for a baby, it's not going to look very good on her med school application)
-Powerful examples of how not to name your baby! (I'm guessing "Charles Manson" is probably in there somewhere.)
-How to avoid painful mistakes! (I wonder if this guy's parents know he wrote this book.)
-How to get it right the first time! (Wait, isn't that why we had more than one kid?)
- How to give them a name they can live with! (Better have a couple standing by in reserve just in case you find them out on the ledge one morning.)
- How to use the ‘quick baby naming guide’ (Thereby presumably being able to bypass all the bother of having to put any serious thought into your name choices.)

But it gets even stranger. Despite purporting to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of baby names, the book is claimed to include 14,735 of them. I'd be awfully hard-pressed to come up with anywhere near that many names, much less a list devoid of bad ideas. In fact, I'm not so sure how exclusive this list is - Down at the bottom of the page, you get some examples, conveniently split out into various ethnicities. From the "English Boys' list, we get names like "Addaneye". Yeah - no issues there. And there's a whole list of Latin Boy's names, any one of which I would think would just about guarantee a rough time of it for the kid.

From the rest of the copy, it appears that this opus is at least in part an exercise in auto-therapy to help the author get over his angst about his own name. In fact, I don't have any reason to doubt the guy's sincerity. But it strikes me that this book is a kind of psychological hot potato - the guy pours all his own crazies into it and passes them on to, well, the sort of people who buy into this kind of new-parent fearmongering, thereby making them even nuttier.

Posted by Robert at 02:51 PM | Comments (6)

New Variations on old phrases

Here's my contribution:

"Somedays you are the mallet, some days you are the Mole."

Today I am his regal majesty, Ivan XVIII, King of the Mole People.

Posted by Steve at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

Sci-Fi Babe Polling

JohnL's got the latest installment up over at TexasBestGrok. This week, it's a straight two-way battle between Lieutenants of Star Trek TOS, specifically "Kirk's Woman" Marlena Moreau from the Bearded-Spock Universe and Khan-Groupie Marla McGivers. As always, vote early and often. And be sure to stop by John's Gallery of Winners for previous results.

I know it's a bit of a stretch, but I'm going to propose a write-in candidate this week, since technically, she could be considered part of the TOS crew:


Lt. Saavik got taken out by T'Pol in the Vulcan Edition, so I'd like to give her another shot. But that's just me.

Posted by Robert at 01:49 PM | Comments (3)

This Is Cool

It's a geographical time-waster. Click state outlines and drag them to their proper location in the U.S. The program calculates how far off you are and keeps a running average.

I started off having to eyeball a couple of midwestern states, but eventually wound up with a score of 94%, an average error of 12 miles and a total time of 302 seconds.

How about you?

Yips! to Jonah.

UPDATE: Here's a version where the states don't stay on the map and you have to eyeball each one.

And here is the European version.

Posted by Robert at 12:37 PM | Comments (11)

THHGTTG Villainy

The Colossus (who's supposed to be on vacation) has this to say in commenting on my last post about the invention of new villainous Hitchhiker's characters:

If they needed Douglas Adams villains, why not simply use the Krikkit-ers? Or even the Vogons?

While Adams does present certain difficulties from the point of view of a screenwriter (his books have no plots per se, they are really just a series of amusing incidents), certainly they could build up either a Vogon-who-is-trying-to-take-over-the-universe plot or a Krikkit-robots-have-John-Malkovich-as-an-evil-king plot and do less violence to the spirit of the books than this.

I can do you one better - Gag Halfrunt, Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz's "private brain care specialist". And Malkovich could play him very well:

It has been said that Vogons are not above a little bribery and corruption in the same way that the sea is not above the clouds, and this was certainly true in his case. When he heard the words "integrity" or "moral rectitude", he reached for his dictionary, and when he heard the chink of ready money in large quantities he reached for the rule book and threw it away. In seeking so implacably the destruction of the Earth and all that therein lay he was moving somewhat above and beyond the call of his professional duty. There was even some doubt as to whether the said bypass was actually going to be built, but the matter had been glossed over.

He grunted a repellent grunt of satisfaction.

"Computer," he croaked, "get me my brain care specialist on the line."

Within a few seconds the face of Gag Halfrunt appeared on the screen, smiling the smile of a man who knew he was ten light years away from the Vogon face he was looking at. Mixed up somewhere in the smile was a glint of irony too. Though the Vogon persistently referred to him as "my private brain care specialist" there was not a lot of brain to take care of, and it was in fact Halfrunt who was employing the Vogon. He was paying him an awful lot of money to do some very dirty work. As one of the Galaxy's most prominent and successful psychiatrists, he and a consortium of his colleagues were quite prepared to spend an awful lot of money when it seemed that the entire future of psychiatry might be at stake.

"Well," he said, "hello my Captain of Vogons Prostetnic, and how are we feeling

The Vogon captain told him that in the last few hours he had wiped out nearly
half his crew in a disciplinary exercise.

Halfrunt's smile did not flicker for an instant.

"Well," he said, "I think this is perfectly normal behaviour for a Vogon, you
know? The natural and healthy channelling of the aggressive instincts into
acts of senseless violence."

"That," rumbled the Vogon, "is what you always say."

"Well again," said Halfrunt, "I think that this is perfectly normal behaviour
for a psychiatrist. Good. We are clearly both very well adjusted in our mental
attitudes today. Now tell me, what news of the mission?"

From The Restaraunt at the End of the Universe.

Can't you just see Malkovich doing that line, perhaps with a slight German accent? I mean, c'mon! It strikes me that with just a little bit of padding, Halfrunt's character could be worked up to a more prominent position and could be tied into all the various events -the cop scene on Magrathea, the Frogstar World B attacks, the business with Disaster Area's stuntship, and so on. Why not go this direction - which would be consistent with the story - instead of veering off on a completely new tangent?

Don't knock parchment, man.

YIPS from Steve: I think I can join our regular reader and say, in response to the sheer inhumanity and epic wrongness of all this, only

The Horror......the horror....

Said, of course, with an Elmer Fudd accent.

This sort of mindless, juvenile, adolsecent, old-guy whining about destruction of what was a timeless classic of science fiction of our youth is frankly boring, and distracts from what should be the real focus of our blog: the coming menance of Episode III and the sudden diva-weirdness of George Lucas.

Posted by Robert at 11:54 AM | Comments (6)

Time to Panic

The introduction to The Restaraunt at the End of the Universe, the second book of the Hitchhiker's trilogy, begins thus:

The story so far:

In the beginning the Universe was created.

This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad

Many races believe that it was created by some sort of God, though the Jatravartid people of Viltvodle VI believe that the entire Universe was in fact
sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure. The Jatravartids, who live in perpetual fear of the time they call The Coming of The Great White Handkerchief, are small blue creatures with more than fifty arms each, who are therefore unique in being the only race in history to have invented the aerosol deodorant before the wheel.

However, the Great Green Arkleseizure Theory is not widely accepted outside
Viltvodle VI and so, the Universe being the puzzling place it is, other explanations are constantly being sought.

That's it for the Jatravartids and Viltvodle VI in the books - a funny little throw-away gag. They never make another appearance. But for reasons completely incomprehensible to me, the THHGTTG movie makes this planet the center, as it were, of its Universe and chooses for the driving force of its story a bizarre character living there (played by John Malkovich) who simply doesn't exist in the books.

In fact, as I read the movie synopsis, I couldn't even figure out what the hell was going on at first. I knew it had been a long while since I read the books, but I was horrified at the idea that my memory had got that bad. It was only after a bit that I realized that the fault (at least this particular fault) was with the movie's story line, not my brain.

I've ranted before about Vogon screenplay adaptations on many occasions. It seems almost ironic that the worst example of this sort of thing may very well be THHGTTG itself.

Posted by Robert at 11:00 AM | Comments (2)

More Not Panicking

One of Douglas Adams' major strengths was his mastery of dialogue. You would think that this would constitute pure gold for screenwriters adapting his books to film. But according to this extremely cranky review of THHGTTG, the writers sailed right past the treasure chest without even realizing it, no doubt because they were too preoccupied with mangling the plot. Here's a choice selection that apparently got severely mulched in the movie:

"The Earth . . . " whispered Arthur.

"Well, the Earth Mark Two in fact," said Slartibartfast cheerfully. "We're
making a copy from our original blueprints."

There was a pause.

"Are you trying to tell me," said Arthur, slowly and with control, "that
you originally . . . made the Earth?"

"Oh yes," said Slartibartfast. "Did you ever go to a place . . . I think it
was called Norway?"

"No," said Arthur, "no, I didn't."

"Pity," said Slartibartfast, "that was one of mine. Won an award you know. Lovely crinkly edges. I was most upset to hear about its destruction."

"You were upset!"

"Yes. Five minutes later and it wouldn't have mattered so much. It was
a quite shocking cock-up."

"Huh?" said Arthur.

"The mice were furious."

"The mice were furious?"

"Oh yes," said the old man mildly.

"Yes well so I expect were the dogs and cats and duckbilled platypuses,
but . . . "

"Ah, but they hadn't paid for it you see, had they?"

"Look," said Arthur, "would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?"

For a while the aircar flew on in awkward silence. Then the old man tried
patiently to explain.

"Earthman, the planet you lived on was commissioned, paid for, and run by mice. It was destroyed five minutes before the completion of the purpose for which it was built, and we've got to build another one."

Only one word registered with Arthur.

"Mice?" he said.

"Indeed Earthman."

"Look, sorry - are we talking about the little white furry things with the cheese fixation and women standing on tables screaming in early sixties sitcoms?"

Slartibartfast coughed politely.

"Earthman," he said, "it is sometimes hard to follow your mode of speech. Remember I have been asleep inside this planet of Magrathea for five million years and know little of these early sixties sitcoms of which you speak. These creatures you call mice, you see, they are not quite as they appear. They are merely the protrusion into our dimension of vast hyperintelligent pandimensional
beings. The whole business with the cheese and the squeaking is just a front."

The old man paused, and with a sympathetic frown continued. "They've been experimenting on you I'm afraid."

Arthur thought about this for a second, and then his face cleared.

"Ah no," he said, "I see the source of the misunderstanding now. No, look you see, what happened was that we used to do experiments on them. They were often used in behavioural research, Pavlov and all that sort of stuff. So what happened was that the mice would be set all sorts of tests, learning to ring bells, run around mazes and things so that the whole nature of the learning process could be examined. From our observations of their behaviour we were able to learn all sorts of things about our own . . . "

Arthur's voice tailed off.

"Such subtlety . . . " said Slartibartfast, "one has to admire it."

"What?" said Arthur.

"How better to disguise their real natures, and how better to guide your thinking. Suddenly running down a maze the wrong way, eating the wrong bit of cheese, unexpectedly dropping dead of myxomatosis, - if it's finely calculated the cumulative effect is enormous."

He paused for effect.

"You see, Earthman, they really are particularly clever hyperintelligent
pan-dimensional beings. Your planet and people have formed the matrix of an organic computer running a ten million-year research programme . . . Let me tell you the whole story. It'll take a little time."

"Time," said Arthur weakly, "is not currently one of my problems."

Posted by Robert at 10:09 AM | Comments (3)


As long as I'm in a literary frame of mind this morning, I may mention that I have plunged once again into Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honor trilogy for reading on the Metro. I am currently back in the heart of Men At Arms, the first of the three books.

I must say that the character of Apthorpe gets funnier every time I renew his acquaintance. Indeed, I break out in helpless laughter revisiting his epic struggle with Ben Ritchie-Hook over the Thunder Box. And his Bechuana Tummy, mysterious aunts in Tunbridge-Wells, porpoise boots and bizarre Halbardier career become more and more sublime with each rereading. Of course, the trilogy is not a comedy, but in Apthorpe, I believe Waugh created a true masterpiece of a comic character.

Posted by Robert at 09:20 AM | Comments (3)

Don't Panic!

It turns out that I am not the only Douglas Adams geek in my office. Yesterday I got into a conversation with several of my colleagues about the impending release of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. It turns out that they, too, were great fans of the books. And I was pleased to find that none of them was very optimistic about the film, not because I want the film to be bad, but because this demonstrated that I was not alone in my pessimism.

Anyhoo, one of my mates actually outnerded me by emailing me .pdf files of all five books in the trilogy plus Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. So I have been happily scanning about for favorite quotes. Here's one:

After a fairly shaky start to the day, Arthur's mind was beginning to reassemble itself from the shellshocked fragments the previous day had left him with. He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. The way it functioned was very interesting. When the Drink button was pressed it made an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject's taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject's metabolism and then sent tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centres of the subject's brain to see what was likely to go down well. However, no one knew quite why it did this because it invariably delivered a cupful of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. The Nutri-Matic was designed and manufactured by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation whose complaints department now covers all the major land masses of the first three planets in the Sirius Tau Star system.

More quotes as the mood takes me.

Posted by Robert at 08:38 AM | Comments (4)

Narnia Blogging


The eldest Llama-ette and I are slogging our way through Prince Caspian. This is my least favorite book in the Narnia cycle. For one thing, I always feel Lewis takes too long re-establishing the children in Narnia and then starting them on the march for Aslan's How. For another, the long detour in the plot while Trumpkin fills in the backstory on Caspian and Miraz was rather confusing for the gel and took a lot of explanation. Also, of all the Chronicles, this one comes the closest in my mind to feeling a slight bit forced, at least in the first half. The story doesn't really seem to flow in the old Lewis way until Lucy's first encounter with Aslan on the cliffs.

Of course, these are all very minor criticisms. Furthermore, I am sustaining myself with the reminder that next up is one of my favorites, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Among other things, it contains one of the finest opening lines in all of English Literature: "There once was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he almost deserved it."

UPDATE: Speaking of favorite Llama-ette bedtime reading, Sheila notes that today is the birthday of Ludwig Bemelmans, creator of Madeline.

Posted by Robert at 08:05 AM | Comments (6)

April 26, 2005

US Snatches Z-Man's laptop?

This is weird, and raises all sorts of possibilities for pshop fun.

Posted by Steve at 05:28 PM | Comments (4)


We got yer zombie roundup right here.

Posted by Steve at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

Garden Blogging

Margi Lowri reports in from the Pacific Northwest.

Posted by Steve at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)




This is bad - According to at least one industry type, Fox is on the way to cutting Arrested Development from its fall lineup! This is virtually the only show on network tee vee worth watching these days.

Well, there may be one straw left to grasp. If, like me, you would like the show renewed, you can now sign this on-line Loyalty Oath.

Please - I've never asked you people for anything before. I'm blegging now! Go over and sign! Sign early and often! Tell your friends! Pass this meme on! Don't let A.D. vanish into the night!

Do it for the Bluths!

UPDATE: Oh, and pace The Maximum Leader, if Arrested Development does get the axe, I doubt if I'll bother watching The Simpsons anymore, since waiting for A.D. is pretty much all that's got me through this last season of it. Rupert - you've been warned.

Posted by Robert at 05:13 PM | Comments (4)

Whah Do Yew Tink Ah Have Dis Out-Rag-ious Acc-ent, You Silly Kingah!

France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

No, my problem is that I never actually learned it, something for which Mom chides me still. In fact, the Llama-ettes have a larger vocabulary than I do.

Yips! to Rachel at Tinkerty-Tonk, a localish blog new to me. (And note to Chai-Rista, she's a librarian, too!)

Posted by Robert at 04:01 PM | Comments (2)

Today, My Name Is Jonah O'Goldberg

The crowd from The Corner is issuing an invite to anyone in the Dee Cee area to join them over at The Dubliner this Friday evening from 6 to 8 for drinks n' stuff. Could be fun.

Posted by Robert at 02:53 PM | Comments (1)

Luftballon Watch

Tee Bee reports that Nena, that icon of mid-80's Euro-pop, is still going strong.

Heh. Do you ever suppose that occasionally, very late at night when nobody is around, folks like, for example, Men at Work ("It's a Mistake") and Sting ("Russians"), look back at some of their Reagan-era work and say to themselves, "Jesus, I was a moron"?

Nah, me neither.

UPDATE: I had meant to link this earlier - Tee Bee also has you covered for All Things Falco. "Rock Me, Amadeus" was something of an anthem amongst us oarsmen when I was in school.

Posted by Robert at 12:34 PM | Comments (5)

On the Minutemen

I was reading up on the lobbying efforts of the Minutemen to force Washington to tighten immigration control on the Mexican border. This is supposed to be one of those fissure issues that cuts across the GOP base, although I haven't yet heard anyone suggest that, in and of itself, it would be enough to put Hillary in the White House in '08.

I have to say that I am extremely ambivalent on this issue.

On the one hand, I understand all the arguments related to border security in the face of the terrorist threat. I also understand the arguments about sovereignty, the preservation of legal immigration and not penalizing those people who go through the proper channels. And I suppose that I understand the argument that tighter border security will serve to foster badly-needed political and economic reform in Mexico.

On the other hand, I also understand that the average guy trying to get across the border is just trying to find a way to make enough money for his own and his family's survival. And he braves extremely harsh climate, hordes of poisonous wildlife, murderous banditos and a host of other dangers just so he can get into the U.S. and make less than minimum wage harvesting fruit, working as a laborer or taking on some other scut-work that nobody else wants to do. He's neither a statistic nor a political pawn. Rather, maybe he's both, but he's a human being also. And if I were in his place, I'd probably be trying to swim the Rio Grande, too.

What should the U.S. actually be doing? I dunno. As I say, I haven't figured out where I come down on the issue. But I'm somewhat dubious that a bunch of vigilantes added to the mix is going to do anybody any good.

UPDATE: Eric at Classical Values has a post up about the semantics of the debate. I see in the comments that I've already fallen into this trap inadvertently.

Posted by Robert at 12:11 PM | Comments (6)

Are you ready for some football

Quoting INDC Bill, "Come to Butthead...."

Posted by Steve at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

The Mozart Effect

Here's an interesting little article from the Stanford Report about the so-called Mozart Effect. It's not so much about the theory itself - which was never substantiated after it burst into the popular conscience in the early 90's and has since been pretty much discredited. Rather, it examines some possible reasons why the ME continues to grow in popularity, tying the possible explanation back to a general American anxiety about education.

The article speaks of a study of the spread of ME interest comparing press coverage of the ME with levels of educational problems on a state by state basis to see if there is any corrolation. It strikes me that another way to study the phenomenon is to track the sales of Baby Einstein products, particularly the Baby Mozart tape and assorted accessories. Julie Clark, who started the business in her garage, has made out like a bandit on this stuff - and I would guess that her products are as popular in Manhattan as they are in the Georgia backwoods, if not more so.

I confess that we have a pretty goodish assortment of Baby Einstein tapes and CD's ourselves, although it has nothing to do with trying to increase the chances of a Llama-ette getting into Harvard Med School. Instead, we see them simply as a pleasant way to start giving the gels some exposure to the music. And indeed, they are beginning to be able to pick out the differences between, for example, Vivaldi and Bach. And every now and again, I get a request to hear the Real Thing.

I did run across one problem with Baby Mozart a while back. The tape contains performances of about half a dozen Mozart piano sonatas, edited for kiddy consumption. I happen to play all of these pieces myself, and at one point there was a considerable amount of indignation - particularly from my eldest - when my performance of the original did not comport with what she was used to from the video. But I'm happy to say that we worked it all out. And the alla Turca from the A-major sonata (K. 311, I think) remains a dance favorite at the Butcher's House.

Yips! to Terry Teachout.

Posted by Robert at 09:47 AM | Comments (2)

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building

April 26, 2005: Syria pulls out of Lebanon.

Mark it on your calendars: the liberation of Afghanistan, the liberation of Iraq, and now the liberation of Lebanon.

I give Boy Assad until August to be setting up that opthamology practice on the Riviera.

Or be lying dead in the gutter in Damascus.

HEADSMACK! The ever hilarious Arab News editorializes on the pullout: Withdrawl from Lebanon a Major Blow

By meeting UN demands to pull out all its troops from Lebanon, Syria hopes to patch up its troubled relations with the West but the inglorious end to a costly three-decade-long deployment risks delivering a serious blow to the regime’s authority, analysts say.

“A humbling exit that could have been so different,” was how one dissident academic, political scientist Michel Kilo, described the withdrawal due to be completed today.

He recalled how Syria had repeatedly declined to withdraw its troops when it had the opportunity to do so of its own free will.

By failing to withdraw after Israel’s 2000 pullout from the south under fire from the Syrian-backed Hezbollah militia, the regime had missed the chance of a hero’s send-off.

Now the government needed to accept the “sea change” in the politics of its smaller neighbor and undertake not just a troop withdrawal but a “complete disengagement” from Lebanon, said Kilo.

A “new vision” of relations was needed for the two countries, which have never exchanged embassies amid a reluctance in Damascus to entirely abandon the claim of some nationalists to a Greater Syria.

The1950 s policy of “economic blockade” and the “military containment” of the past three decades had both been found wanting, he said.

To secure the hoped-for improvement in its international standing, the regime needed to make its relations with the European Union and the United States its “top priority” and “make all efforts necessary”.

European leaders have said they will only go ahead with a planned association agreement with Syria on the model of others signed with Mediterranean littoral states, if the government allows free and fair elections to be held in Lebanon by the end of May.

Syria does finally appear to be relaxing its long grip on Lebanese affairs.

Not only have the long-feared Syrian intelligence services closed their Beirut offices, but the Lebanese security apparatus they set up in their own image also appears to be crumbling.

Its central figure for the past seven years, Jamil Sayyed, stepped down yesterday citing “important changes in the policies” which had originally brought him to power.

It was a heavy price to pay for a regime that only last year was the final arbiter of Lebanese political life.

Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Salim Hoss, a longtime Syrian ally, said Damascus had only itself to blame for meddling so intensely in its neighbor’s affairs in recent years.

Writing in the Beirut daily As-Safir on Friday, he cited Syria’s “imposition” last year of a three-year extension to the term of office of its protege President Emile Lahoud and its “deplorable” reponse to last September’s UN Security Council resolution requiring the withdrawal of all foreign troops.

Regardless of the truth of opposition claims that it had a hand in February’s assassination on the Beirut seafront of five-time Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, there had been a “terrible confusion” about Syria’s response to the massive bombing, Hoss said.

Syria should have reciprocated when Israel pulled out of Lebanon five years ago and then it would never have been tempted to interfere so “unacceptably” in Lebanese affairs, he said.

Here's my next prediction: immediately preceeding my two previous predictions, Bashar Asad will be unmasked as the agent of Zionist perfidy that he is! I mean, how else to explain an Arab nationalist leader of the Arab street being brought low by hot Lebanese protest babes? He must be a Jooooooooooooooooo!

I mean, there's no other explanation, right?

Look for it on DU within the next 24hrs.

UPDATE: Well, THAT was quick: Syria moves towards multi-party election.

Maybe Bashar's opthamology practice can be on the first floor, and Daniel Ortega's private dectective office could be on the second. And you can get that crazy jackass defrocked priest who was "presidente" of Haiti for about 5 minutes during the Clinton adminstration running a travel agency on the third floor.

Posted by Steve at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

E Pazzo, Amici Miei!

Your Inner European is Italian!

Passionate and colorful.

You show the world what culture really is.

Who's Your Inner European?

"Passionate" and "colorful" are not two adjectives normally associated with Yours Truly, "cranky" and "cold" being nearer the mark according to most people.

Nonetheless, I've always been very fond of the Mediterranian way, particularly in the matter of food and drink. Red wine, garlic and olive oil - what more could anyone possibly want?

And as it happens, we had an old friend over for dinner last evening, with self cooking a big shrimp and prosciutto pasta dish. I can't recall whether Julia Child ever said so, but I've always held that it's imperative to have a drink while you're cooking. For one thing, it loosens you up, helping to free you from a slavish obsession with recipe amounts and letting you get artistic with your creations. (Another clove of garlic? Sure, why the hell not.) And of course, if you're knocking back the sherry - particularly if it takes a long time to put your dinner together - then by the time you get to the table you may no longer give a damn what it tastes like.

Fortunately, I absolutely nailed it last evening. Everyone asked for more and even the seven year old, who is about as picky as Mikey, found it delicious. Mirabile dictu.

Yips! to Cheese-eating Surrender Monkey Jenna.

Posted by Robert at 05:11 PM | Comments (9)

In a perfect world

we'd get this guy versus young, thin Shatner.

Discuss amongst yourselves: Biggest wheezing, gaping chestwound of a movie, Godfather 3, or Star Wars 2?

Think of it: Darth versus the Don........now THAT would breathe life into the whole AvP genre!

Posted by Steve at 03:51 PM | Comments (2)

Gratuitous Llama Travel Blegging

I'm going to be heading down to Columbia, SC in a couple weeks for a workshop. As always, any tips on places to eat n' stuff would be most appreciated.

Oh, and I'm driving, not flying, for a change. Anybody have any thoughts on whether it's faster to cut over to Charlotte from Richmond on I-85 and then drop down to Columbia on I-77, or to just take I-95 down to Florence and then over on I-24? I certainly know which drive is more interesting.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 03:34 PM | Comments (8)

Chuck Norris kicks Darwin's ass

The answer to Amerika's favorite commie is yes, and it's name is Walker, Texas Ranger.

Posted by Steve at 02:38 PM | Comments (2)

Today's Required Reading

The superb Victor Davis Hanson reviews Jarad Diamond's Collapse, a book about which my godfather was raving the last time I saw him.

Diamond's thesis about geographical determinism and Hanson's harsh criticism of it remind me of the joke P.J. O'Rourke tells in (I think) Holidays in Hell: A Mexican and a Texan are drinking at a bar in El Paso. The Texan says, "I just can't understand why you people are so hostile towards us." The Mexican replies, "You took half our lands, Senor. Not only that, you took the half with all the paved roads."

I've got a copy of Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, but have never got around to reading it. I really ought to, if for no other reason than to give myself an excuse to go back and read Hanson's Conflicts and Culture again. The contrast in arguments about the foundation, growth and decline of civilizations is really quite fascinating.

Yips! to Beautifully Atrocious Jeff.

Posted by Robert at 01:52 PM | Comments (3)

I'm Looking for a Mr. "Zer", First name "Lou".

Apparently, an idle mind is the Llama's playground.

Note to all of you funsters out there. Someday, I'm going to get p-shop. And I'm taking names.

YIPS from Steve: Orgle Magazine........!!!!!!!!!! Gordo, I'm impressed.

Not as impressed as if you launch Orgle.com, the one stop shop for adult llama products and pics of course.

Posted by Robert at 12:16 PM | Comments (4)

More Blogsphere Pie-Fighting

Today, Gates. Tomorrow, Ardolino?

Looks like Proteinated Jeff, INDCent Bill and Right Wing News' John Hawkins are setting up for a brawl over Catalano-Gate.

(Well, c'mon - somebody had to say it!)

YIPS from Steve: Two gags come right to mind:

1. Five bucks on the skinny white guy......oh, right, never mind.


B. WHOA! Bill's wizard rolled a 28, succesfully employing his Cloak of Studitude, deflecting John's Paladin's ninja stars and in the process catching Anna Maria's troll's eye...Charisma +6!!!

FURTHER YIPS from Steve: Well, the TRUTH finally emerges.

As we said, "Lighten up, Francis."

Posted by Robert at 11:52 AM | Comments (2)

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Gil Reavil has an article up at National Review Online today about children's exposure to media smut that has me scratching my head.

Apparently, this guy's seven year old daughter is allowed to watch pretty much whatever she wants on television. And even when the author sees her watching something he thinks objectionable, he doesn't do anything about it.

Also, she seems to have carte-blanche to download whatever tunes she wants into her new iBook, the author only noticing what she's doing when she starts spouting some filthy rap lyrics.

Then there is this bit of strangeness:

But what happened next we could not have stopped or avoided through any action of our own. We drove into Manhattan along the West Side Highway, through a commercial district of warehouses and garages. The carriage horses that operate in Central Park are stabled here, and across the highway the military museum installed in the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Intrepid looms massively on the docks. Also located in this neighborhood, so that it acts like something of a portal to all of New York City, is Larry Flynt's Hustler Club, a sprawling burlesque house situated in a former automobile showroom. Flynt adorns the side of the building with a billboard-sized sign showing a woman, her mouth pursed, blowing on her hand.

Um, "a portal to all of New York City"? I don't drive in NYC, so I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'm guessing there's more than one way to get about Manhattan if you need to. Surely, if a particular location is that objectionable, you can, you know, go around it.

And there's this piece of deft parental diplomacy:

She had asked about the [Hustler] club before. "What's that?" How to explain a strip joint to your pre-teenage daughter? Keep it simple, my wife always advised, when communicating grown-up concepts to children. "Some men like to watch women dance," I had told her, back when she first asked about it.

Nice going, Big Guy. Did you never read the bit in the Instruction Manual that says just because a kid asks a question about grown-up concepts doesn't mean you have to give an answer? "Never mind - You'll understand when you're older," strikes me as a perfectly appropriate reply for a five or six year old, especially if delivered in a relaxed, dismissive tone that suggests there are other more interesting things to think about. Alternatively, there is no dishonor in lying when the subject gets too sticky: a simple "I don't really know," works wonders as a deflector sometimes.

The author then lets fly:

But we also have left unfulfilled our function as guardians of their cultural environment. The boundaries of their world have been repeatedly breached, many times by people interested in making money and dismissive of all other considerations. All too often, our children are exposed to the loud, frenzied, garish spectacle of adult sexuality. They get their faces rubbed in it. So within the course of one hour of one very ordinary day, I had been treated to a vision of twin seven-year-old fanny slappers, a sex professional taking up neighborhood residence, and groupies begging for oral sex. I didn't like it. It made me mad. What had happened to my family that day was that we had been "culture-whipped," a term that measures the gulf between the expectations of the viewer (or listener) and the content of the media. When you whip your head around, asking "What was that?" not believing your eyes and ears, you've been culture-whipped.

Look, you can complain about being mugged. Mugging is, in and of itself, a bad thing. But your complaint carries a lot less weight if you were mugged while walking down a dark street in a bad neighborhood in the middle of the night with a bunch of cash clinking in your pockets. Here we have an author who is mad about the kind of media exposure his daughter is getting, but who apparently has done next to nothing to limit that exposure because "[he] didn't want to come off as constantly preaching. In present-day America, we learn to swallow many of our responses to modern culture, so as not to appear prudish, vanilla, or outré." Sorry, pal, but it's your job to preach. It's your job to filter out objectionable modern culture, not to swallow your responses. And if your overarching concern is not to look "prudish, vanilla or outré" in front of your kids, well, then you've got some issues of priorities to deal with.

Also, don't be so goddam helpless:

In today's media climate, whether we want it or not, we are inundated, saturated, beaten over the head with sex. Television, our national public commons, has an ever-mounting percentage of explicit sexual content on cable, shading down to the mere leering double entrendre and snickering innuendo of broadcast sitcoms. It's difficult to find a program that doesn't reference sex. It's egregious, it's out of control, it's too much. Media, advertising art, and entertainment constantly shove images at me that I am just not interested in seeing.

Piece of free advice: Try turning the tee vee off.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin provides more info on our beleagured parent. If you click over to his new book at Amazon, the review copy makes him seem more a bit proactive than does that part of the book excerpted his NRO article.

Let me emphasize again that I am neither a libertarian nor a First Amendment absolutist, but am pretty socially conservative myself. However, while I understand the conservative frustration over the state of the Culture, I have considerable more sympathy for parents who think Something Must Be Done when they recognize that this Something is primarily their responsibility. No, you can't stop everything filtering in, but you can sure stop a lot of it. And you don't need a government-mandated V-chip or Internet-filter to do it. Use your own eyes, ears and hands.

Sound naive? Perhaps, but my seven year old's teacher remarked not long ago about how innocent she was compared to a lot of her classmates. I put this down to the hard work we've done to shield her and her sisters from the dark side. As a result of this work, we, in fact, are not "inundated, saturated, beaten over the head with sex" at the Butcher's House, but are pretty much able to let the Llama-ettes be children.

Posted by Robert at 10:58 AM | Comments (7)

Lighten Up, Francis

Jonah links to a "serious dad" who takes him (Jonah) to task over his excellent Cookie Monster column from the other day. Go on over and have a look. Make sure to read the comments, too.

Jesum Crow, as they like to say in my parents' neck of the woods.

I got thinking about an old Sesame Street Christmas special that we have on tape. One of the running gags is that Cookie Monster is trying to let Santa know that he would like a cookie for Christmas. But every time he tries to communicate this, he gets so excited at the thought of cookies that he eats whatever it is he's got in front of him. It starts with paper and pencil. Then he eats a typewriter. Then he eats a telephone.

As a flippant and irresponsible father myself, I realize now how remiss I've been all these years in laughing at this routine with the Llama-ettes when I instead should have been providing them thoughtful advice and instruction about the dangers of consuming such items.

My bad.

YIPS from Steve: You know what would be hilarious? Treating the Children's Television Network like the tobacco companies, and forcing Cookie Monster to do really lame public service announcements about the dangers of cookies, about how they make your life crumby....

Also, come one: what type of parent would let a child eat a phone? I mean, sure, a little cellular number, particularly if the child baked it first in the microwave. But one of those old big black steel clunky ATT pre-breakup phones, with like cords and everything?

Damn that Jim Henson!

Posted by Robert at 08:51 AM | Comments (3)

Well, If This Isn't A Sign of the End Times, It Ought To Be

Exploding toads. 'Nuff said.

Posted by Robert at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)


I don't know if I've picked up a cold or if it's just a pollen thing but my sinuses are completely jammed and I can barely hear anything.

Therefore, I'd appreciate it if everyone could type just a little louder today.


Posted by Robert at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

Remind me when the time comes

I want Sheila to write my obituary.

Posted by Steve at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2005


What ever happened to Kelly McGillis? She had two good moves in the mid-eighties (Top Gun and Witness) and has since appeared in a string of B-movies and straight-to-cable/DVD productions. She played a lesbian in Monkey's Mask but has not otherwise indulged in any of the other activities which mark a starlet trying to boost a sinking career. Personally, I would take her any day over her Top Gun co-star, Meg Ryan. Kelly was last seen in a decent movie giving Harrison (pre-Calista) Ford longing looks as he drove away in Witness. Rumored to have solen her boyfriend's plane and was forced to eject from her F-14 in a flat spin over the Pacific. Missing and presumed lost at sea, but we live in the sure and certain hope that one day the sea shall give up her dead. . . .

Posted by LMC at 09:02 PM | Comments (7)


Mrs. LMC had the telly turned to one of the estrogen channels which was channeling When Harry Met Sally. I have never cared much for Billy Crystal because his character is almost always sensitive, vulnerable, and snivelling. To steal a characterization of Al Gore, he is so sensitive he is practically lactating. Do women find that attractive? Can anyone answer that? Anyone? Kathy? Bueller?

Posted by LMC at 08:29 PM | Comments (7)

At the risk of turning into Larry King's USA Today column

Some completely random Sunday afternoon thoughts:

For some reason, I'm a lot more at ease with the new Pope than I was earlier in the week. I think he's going to pull it off.

I'm going to side with Sheila on the Wayward Child story below, and put a large bet on the fact that there's a whole heck of a lot of backstory that we are missing. I think the video clip is a very valuable and insightful little Rorshach test for a whole range of social issues.

I'm off to borrow long-time commentator Barry S.'s lawn mower. It's a true measure of friendship to be able to ask--and to agree--to loan your lawnmower. Mine is down with a failed spring in the pull cord turner that causes the little metal wings to fly out and engage the motor starter. It was really cool to take apart. We're waiting for Sears to deliver the part, so in the meantime I've got to get the lawn cut. I used to be at ease with this: I had an unspoken bond with my two immediate neighbors Mike and Mitch to not make the other guy look bad in the otherwise cutthroat lawn Olympiads that reign in our little slice of the ru-barbs (the rural suburbs). Unfortunately, in the past year both Mike and Mitch and families have moved on, having been replaced by Gus and Ed, two otherwise very nice guys who I like a lot but have a little more strict notion of what a lawn should look like, and how the other guy's lawn influences your property value. Uggg. Nothing that's said, of course, but it's all in the look. Anthropologists could have a field day studying the cult of Scotts. So, off to cut, and then to put down the weed killer.

Posted by Steve at 01:23 PM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2005

In the immortal words of Joey Lawrence


Posted by Steve at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)





Nada. (Although, it would have been quite a feat to drive to the mainland. Bash Ted, sure, but get the freakin' facts straight!)


Okay, I lied: I definitely was a bit surprised by the last one. I thought they'd have the Chimp switch to menthols...

Finally: the mystery of the bear with the suitcase solved!

Posted by Steve at 01:05 PM | Comments (2)

Gratuitous MSM Garden Posting (TM)

Geoffrey Norman had a humorous article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about high-end status gardening.

The first part of it was about people who have become obsessed with designer labels for their gardening tools, gloves and clothing. As a "primitive" myself, to borrow Norman's term, I simply put on my old jeans with the holes in the knees and my twenty year old L.L. Bean wellies, grab my Tru-Value hoe, smile and murmer something to myself about a fool and his money as I head out the door. As a matter of fact, I am thankful to say that I do not actually know anybody like this - the people who I do know who garden themselves are fellow primitives. Around here, the status-obsessed generally think gardening to be beneath them and get the help to do it instead.

The last part of the article deals with the status of the things you actually put in the ground. Here, as Norman says, there is something of a point to it, I think. Getting hold of a plant with a particular pedigree is rather a neat thing. And there is nothing new about seeking out unusual varietals.

But while it's all well and good to put in a plant that can trace its roots (ha!) back to Monticello, for instance, my favorite plants are those with a more personal history. For instance, I have several flowers in my garden that came from my godparents' perennial beds. This summer, I'm going to help myself to some of my dad's roses and peonies up in Maine. And my own irises have offspring spread around our neighborhood. When friends and family trade specimens with each other, to me that is the most satisfying pedigree planting.

Norman also specifically mentions heirloom tomatoes. Tomato-blogging is Steve-O's turf around here, but I can't help mentioning (speaking of pedigree planting) that my sister sent me an heirloom tomato starter set for my birthday. In fact, I just transplanted the little darlin's into larger pots this morning. There are six varieties: Brandywine, Evergreen, Tigerelle, White Cherry, Garden Peach and Martino's Roma.

Truth be told, I can't stand tomatoes. But I do enjoy cooking with them. So come this summer, I'm looking forward to preparing some of those tomato-based dishes about which Steve-O waxes so elequently.

YIPS from Steve: You want your high-end snob garden supplies? What are you, an idiot? Ah, but you want your high-end plants and seeds? This here is the place for you: The Center for Historic Plants at Monticello.

The magnificent one who braved marrying an undomesticated LLama worked there for awhile in the summers after the first two little ones were born, basically for fun. The upshot was we got a lot of plants on discount, particularly their end of season clearout---the fruit trees (2 different apples and a peach) came that way. This year I'm trying to fall under Robbo's influence and focus more on flowers, or I should say in addition to the vegetables.

Posted by Robert at 10:44 AM | Comments (3)


I like the uniforms on the female crew members in the alternate universe in last nght's episode of Star Trek Enterprise . Yes, I know, the storyline was a shameless rip-off of an episode of the original series but you could have bounced a quarter off the abs of T'Pol and Hoshi.

Posted by LMC at 08:05 AM | Comments (2)

April 22, 2005

Wayward Child

Kevin at Wizbang posts video footage of a five year old girl having a meltdown at a Florida elementary school and eventually being hand-cuffed and arrested by the cops. I agree with Kevin and most of his commenters that, based on what you can see, there was no reason whatsoever for the police to get involved.

But here's the part that incenses me. After rightly criticizing the police response, the kid's lawyer, no doubt with visions of even more dollar signs dancing in his head, has this to say about the teachers involved:

"I'm concerned that the educators shadowed and hovered around the young girl," he said. "It certainly gives credence to the argument that they may have been provoking her to act out more. To me, it didn't look like a de-escalation. It looked like an escalation, an attempt to get her to act out more. I just don't understand why they didn't distance themselves back further and allow things to cool off."

This is pure shysterism. It's also patent nonsense. Go back and look at the footage - those teachers were softballing the kid, doing nothing more than trying to talk to her in that sorrowful/concerned voice about "appropriate behavior" even after she started tearing things apart and punching them.

Look, I understand that schools operate in daily dread of getting slapped with a lawsuit if the teacher even looks at someone's little darlin' the wrong way, so no doubt these two were just doing what they'd been trained to. But I can tell you from experience with my own extremely tempermental daughter that backing off in the face of this kind of behavior is not the means by which you make it stop. It is, in fact, the equivalent of pinning a "kick me" sign on your own backside. That girl knew perfectly well she could do what she wanted because nobody was going to seriously try to stop her - indeed, it was only when the cops whipped out the cuffs that she suddenly stopped thinking about herself and started worrying about anybody else at all.

There appears to be all sorts of backstory here, so it's hard to say exactly what is going on. One of the cops says something about having talked to the girl and her mother before about how he was going to cuff her the next time, so there is evidently a history of problems.

But the underlying point is that what a kid like that needs mostly is not kid-glove treatment followed by over-the-top gestures once things get out of hand. Rather, she needs clear, firm rules and discipline in the first place. She has to understand that there is a line in the sand, the crossing of which is unacceptable. And she has to know that if she does cross that line, she will - metaphorically speaking - get her legs broken. This doesn't necessarily mean spanking, but it does mean that whatever technique is used, the kid has to be afraid of the consequences of her actions. (In the office clip, the girl takes repeated swings at her teacher, whose only response is to say, "You have no right to hit me." Sorry, but a five year old in a rage doesn't give a rat's ass about rights.)

Of course, this shouldn't be a job for the police. Instead, it's first and foremost a job for the parents. We simply don't have enough information to figure out this kid's particular home situation. But we can certainly see that whatever her own parents are or are not doing, it isn't working very well.

But it strikes me that the teachers also need to be able to modify their approach, to be able to put some teeth into their authority so that it doesn't take the arrival of the cops to jerk little Miss Hissyfit out of her self-absorption.

Of course, in this case the police will certainly get sued and the school probably will as well. And the girl and her family probably will make out pretty well. What kind of a lesson do you think that is going to send?

Posted by Robert at 05:47 PM | Comments (14)

The Name Game

Jordana at Curmudgeonry links to a couple of Slate articles about the economics of baby names. Interesting, but slightly dizzy-making.

When we picked names for the Llama-ettes, we went with copper-bottomed classics, mostly because we liked them, but also because we hoped to avoid the shifting sands of trendiness these articles illustrate.

Posted by Robert at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

More Gratuitous Old Film Posting

Image courtesy of Creative Screenwriting.

I popped in my copy of The Ladykillers last evening. If you've never seen this movie before, you definitely should, if for no other reason than to watch Alec Guinness leering in a manner of which he ought to be ashamed. He's also supported by a first rate cast - (going from left to right in the photo, that's Danny Green as One-Round, Peter Sellers as Harry, Cecil Parker as Maj. Courtney and Herbert Lom (apparently channelling Yul Brynner) as Louis). The plot is about an attempted robbery that runs into problems owing to the decision of Guinness' Professor Marcus to choose for his base of operations the home of a goofy old lady, played by Katie Johnson.

The plot is amusing in a light, Ealing Studio way. But as I say, the real fun is in watching Guinness mug for the camera. He's always been one of my very favorite actors, not because he had a particularly dominant stage presence or good looks, but because he was so damned subtle and clever and had such an extraordinary range. His magnetism was based on your desire to see what he was going to do next. Whether silly or serious, you knew it was going to be exquisite.

If I'm remembering the story correctly (and I hope I am), one time on a set this genius of Guinness' so infuriated Ralph Richardson - one of Mom's long-time favs - that he (Ralph) hauled off and slugged Guinness out of sheer exasperation.

Posted by Robert at 10:57 AM | Comments (7)

Classical Follies?

I don't know what to make of this.

Earlier this week I relayed at article about new advances made in deciphering the Oxyrhynchus papyri and their potential for unlocking a vast new horde of previously lost classical texts.

Now the Warrior Monk over at Spitbull has uncovered a writer in the field who argues that the original story is blowing things way out of proportion.

As I say, I don't know.

UPDATE: Dean's got the original U.K. Independent article, as well as a follow on by Slate (not that this would be a ringing endorsement of credibility).

Posted by Robert at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

Tax Grumbling

I mentioned last week that I was still waiting around for Uncle Sam to send my tax refund. Well, I got a letter from him yesterday pointing out that I had forgotten to attach a schedule to my return and would I please send it in. D'Oh! So it looks like Uncle gets to extend his interest-free loan from me for another six to eight weeks.

Is it at least being used for a worthy cause? Feh. Via Ann Althouse, Gerry Daly issues a challenge to the Blogsphere for someone, anyone, to say something good about the new Dept. of Agriculture MyPyramid nutrition guide.

Posted by Robert at 09:58 AM | Comments (3)

Start Pouring The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters

Because at least according to the Beeb, that's the only way the new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie is going to seem as funny as it ought to be.

What a shame. I still remember the first time I read the books - it was in high school during free reading periods. I laughed so hard that I cried. The other kids thought I was insane. I leave it to you to decide whether they were correct.

Oh, well.

Yips! to Tainted Bill.

UPDATE: Speaking of the Beeb and sci-fi, Chan the Bookish Gardener has a great post up about the history of the Dr. Who theme music, complete with wav. files. Lots of information there that I didn't know - I only started watching in the middle of the Tom Baker years and dropped out after Peter Davidson stepped down. Good stuff.

UPDATE DEUX: Following on Emily's comment, I tracked down the spoiler-filled review by MJ Simpson. Here's one of the nicer quotes:

I feared that I might find a funny sci-fi movie which bore a passing resemblance to Hitchhiker's Guide, but what I found instead was a desperately unfunny sci-fi movie which bore a passing resemblance to Hitchhiker's Guide. All that time, all that effort, all that attention to detail - wasted. In fact, I believe that is where the key fault lies. The film-makers put so much effort into the details that they lost sight of the bigger picture. They were so obsessed with filling the screen with things like jewelled scuttling crabs, replicas of Douglas Adams’ nose and other things that, really, no-one gives a damn about, that important things like a coherent plot or well-rounded characters went out of the window, along with any line of the original that might be considered funny.

Simpson's subjective crankiness aside, the mangling of things he describes sounds horrible. Simply horrible. I've got a baaaaaad feeling about this.

Posted by Robert at 09:03 AM | Comments (12)

Being Cookie Monster

Jonah's piece today is the best take yet that I've seen on Sesame Street's decision to revamp Cookie Monster's character. Why, do you ask? Because it's both extremely funny and spot on. Go read.

Posted by Robert at 08:41 AM | Comments (1)

Primavera Prime


Here in Northern Virginia, we've hit one of my very favorite times of year. The dogwood and redbud are at the height of their bloom and it seems as if every time you look up, the trees are that much greener.

This peak is usually accompanied by a period of soggy weather, and this weekend is no exception. But to me, that just adds to the beauty of it. Sitting by the open window, mixed in with the patter of soft rain and the occassional burble of thunder, I sometimes imagine that I can almost hear everything growing.

Of course, I'm trapped in the office drafting interrogatories today, but I hope to get a chance to enjoy things later on. We're supposed to go to a campfire at River Bend Park (on the Potomac, just upstream from Great Falls) this evening, but I'll bet that gets rained out. Ditto the eldest LLama-ette's soccer game tomorrow. And most of the yardwork I had planned to do this weekend involves spraying things, so that is probably out. So maybe I'll get to spend a little while dozing at the window as Nature goes into overdrive. And perhaps I'll even put on the ol' wellies and just potter around - there's always something to do, weeds to be pulled, peonies to be staked, etc. - and even if not, just walking around and looking at things is satisfying in and of itself.

On the other hand, there's a distinct possibility the Missus will take advantage of the weather to make me start painting the basement as I'd promised. D'Oh!

Posted by Robert at 08:34 AM | Comments (2)

April 21, 2005

The best retort to a smug, smarmy Canadian

When exactly did Canada become more corrupt than Rhode Island or New Jersey?

Posted by Steve at 10:43 PM | Comments (0)

Could of done without that


Posted by Steve at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

I'm picturing toe nail polish, a fuzzy pink robe, and a little shaved dog

This comes as no surprise.

Posted by Steve at 10:29 PM | Comments (2)

Star Wars 3: Jawa Love Edition

Rusty has his GWOT roundup, with the patented Jawa Report flavor...

Posted by Steve at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

Good news for Tapei

France is siding with China on Taiwanese annexation.

Good news? Well sure, when was the last time France was on the right side in a war?

I'm thinking 1781....

Posted by Steve at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

....And he argued Bush v. Palm Beach and Bush v. Gore

The Commissar points out an inane attack on Ted Olson for being not Republican "enough."

Posted by Steve at 10:19 PM | Comments (2)

A La Recherche Du PBS Perdu

Danger UXB.jpg

Dan the Silver Fox, in an otherwise very good post about the good old days of the silver screen, also mentions a Masterpiece Theatre series that I loved in my youth and have since almost completely forgotten: Danger UXB.

I'd love to see it again. Apart from Anthony Andrews' Brian Ash and the rigidly strict Sergeant James, I don't remember much about any of the characters. Oddly enough, I still remember the theme music, especially the bouncy, Vaughan-Williams-English-Folk-Song-Suite version of it at the end. I'd love to go back and see if I enjoy the story as much as I did back then. (I was 14 when it aired.)

Indeed, there is a whole raft of series - almost all of which ran on Masterpiece Theatre - that I'd like to revisit. Just off the top of my head, these include:

Ian Charmichael's Lord Peter Wimsey series.

Haley Mills in Elsbeth Huxley's Flame Trees of Thika.

The early 80's production of Love In A Cold Climate (where's my entrenching tool!).

Alec Guinness' outstanding portrayal of George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

The Dutchess of Duke Street.

There are plenty more, I'm sure. I never did see Upstairs, Downstairs - it was a bit before my time - and I have a vague recollection that MT also ran rather a lot of dramatizations of Dickens and Hardy novels as well.

Here's one for blegging: Does anybody recall the name of the series about the family that gets caught up in the English Civil War? Their house is, I believe, taken over by the Roundheads.

Posted by Robert at 06:20 PM | Comments (19)

Okay, I Give UP....

Who is the sweat-drenched pop diva in the leather pants and not much more on the Sitemeter summary page?

I ask merely out of curiosity.....

Posted by Robert at 05:44 PM | Comments (3)

It's the Bill N' Jeff Show

The "Bad Boys of Right Talk Radio" are on right now. Tune in!

Update: Who did the Ed McMahon impersonation?

Update Next: John Cole of Balloon Juice is ranting about the internecine warfare on the Right surrounding the Terri Shiavo case. (Glad I stayed out of that pie-fight.) The general thread seems to be that when people get worked up over a particular issue, they can get nasty. But that would apply to a certain percentage of people of any stripe - left and right, religious and secular. I can understand why John is frustrated about this, but I don't really see why he's surprised.

Update III: Why is there such a huge difference in audio level between the guys doing the show and the commercial plugs between sections? I keep having to fiddle with the the volume control on my computer.

Update IV: Up next is ASV Michele. This should be interesting.....

Update V: Mmmmmmm'kay.......


UPDATE VII: Okay, Boys, inquiring minds want to know - Was that a put on or the real deal? Dayum!

UPDATE VIII: Jeff's comment posse seems to think it was staged. If so, somebody send Michele an Oscar, cos she sure sounded angry to me. Bill remains coy.

Posted by Robert at 03:10 PM | Comments (6)


Allright, so I'm trying to fill out the Blogads form, and I'm stuck on the "Explain the unique focus of your blog" line.

How the heck does one describe what we do? (Other than Steve and Rob channeling the voices in their heads, while huffing glue and writing desultory commentary on Barbara Boxer's naughty bits)

Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.

Yips! from Robbo: I'm thinking we should do something along the lines of the Stonecutter Song. Y'know:

Steve-O: Who p-shops Sully's ass so bad?
Robbo: Who makes INDCent Bill so mad?
All: We do! We do!

Steve-O: Who worships Pliskin on his knees?
Robbo: Who burns Peter Jackson in effigy?
All: We do! We do!

Posted by Steve at 11:53 AM | Comments (8)

Whip me, beat me, make me write baaaad checks

Heck, even make me watch non-stop reruns of Blossom.

But DO NOT toy with me.

Somehow I had a feeling that it would be Benny 16 who could lure Allahpundit out of retirement...

UPDATE: Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities, the funniest blogger out there.

Posted by Steve at 11:31 AM | Comments (2)

Houston, We Have A Victory


Today is the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, fought April 21, 1836, in which Sam Houston and his Texans routed Mexican General Santa Anna in a surprise attack and established Texas as an independent republic (although Texas Independence Day actually is celebrated March 2, the anniversary of the day the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted).

As it happens, the oldest Llama-ette announced to me yesterday that she was doing a research project on Texas because she knew I'd grown up there. After filling me in on why the state capital is called Austin and the Battle of the Alamo, she said, rapidly changing the subject, "I even saw a photograph of an armadillo!"

"Do you know what?" I replied, "I used to chase them when I was a kid and try to grab them by the tail."

Her eyes went as round as marbles with admiration.

Heh. I'm trying as much as possible to enjoy this time when she still thinks of me as something of a hero. She'll be a cynical, world-weary teenager soon enough.

Posted by Robert at 10:49 AM | Comments (6)

In the Beginning

The Commissar has an interesting post up on Benedict XVI, the Church and evolution.

Unless I'm very badly misreading the document he cites, the Church appears to hold more or less the same view I always have regarding the study of the origins and development of life: We look to science - in this case, the theory of evolution - to explain how life in general and Mankind in particular came to be what they are. We look to faith to attempt to explain why this is so (not that we can ever understand the answer, of course).

This dichotome of how and why also applies in just about any other field of natural studies I can think of, from medicine to quantum physics. And in this regard, I have never had any trouble whatsoever reconciling vigorous scientific inquiry with faith.

UPDATE: TAKING THE BAIT - The Colossus links to Peggy Noonan's column on the new Pope this morning. Actually, I was going to let that one alone because, frankly, I was a bit disappointed with it - I thought Peggy could have said so much more about the idea of the "inner adult" than she actually did. I only hope she's planning to come back to this idea in the future.

Posted by Robert at 09:50 AM | Comments (4)

This Is What Happens When I Don't Get Enough Sleep

Yawn. Most nights, the three year old sleeps as soundly as the proverbial log. But every now and again, she'll appear in our room in the middle of the night, demanding to sleep with us. After her third appearance last night, we finally relented.

Unfortunately, it is at times like these that the girl seems to have six elbows instead of the regulation two. Also, her wheezing and snoring makes her sound like Darth Vader might after he forgot to clean out his air filter for a couple of days.

Speaking of Vader, after watching Return of the Jedi for no particular reason last night, I've got a few questions for all those Star Wars aficianados geeks out there:

Sure, the Emperor cops it and Death Star II goes kablooie. But what about the rest of the Imperial fleet? Do they surrender like the Wicked Witch of the West's castle guards? Or do they run away?

And how about the other Imperial fleets? And all the legions and garrisons scattered all over the galaxy? And the bureaucracy? There must be dozens of regional governors left, even after Tarkin got whacked. Not to mention all their staff, civil servants, toadies, etc., all of whom are out of a job if the Empire collapses.

Also, if the Imperial government suddenly is left without a head, creating an enormous power vacuum, wouldn't, say, the Satrap of the Whatever Sector start making a play for control just as soon as word of the Emperor's demise got out? On the other hand, wouldn't others start clamoring for immediate reinstitution of the Senate? And wouldn't that set off the whole round of bickering that led to its collapse to begin with?

We'll never know, because all we get at the conclusion of ROTJ is thirty seconds of people dancing in the street on various planets. It was bad enough when confined to the Forest Moon, scene of the local battle, but this is ridiculous. As I recall, Lucas' original plan had been to make nine movies altogether, the last three being devoted to the story of the restoration of the Republic. By making the celebration pan-galactic in the touched up version of ROTJ, it seems to me he is conceding that this plan is never going to come to fruition and that we should take the restoration as read. Especially after devoting three entire movies to the collapse of the original Republic and the rise of the Empire, this seems terribly lopsided. The least he could have done is scroll some epilogue language across the screen, you know, "Many dark days were left before the peace of the Old Republic was fully restored, but thanks to the redemption of the Skywalkers, that restoration was never again in doubt....."

Just sayin'.

UPDATE: Ooooookay. No geeks here. Nosiree! Let me just ask you guys a follow-up question: Is there any kind of sanctioning process for all these various novels, stories, characters, etc.? Do the authors and designers get the Official Lucas Stamp of Approval? Or is it just a free-for-all? Or is there a recognized orthodoxy with a whole lot o' apochrypha on the side?

And what happens when two different people try to take the timeline in two different directions? Do they slice Chewie in half? Or arrange an alternate visitation schedule?

Posted by Robert at 08:45 AM | Comments (13)

April 20, 2005

Further reasons to hate the hegemony of Microsoft

Wuzzadem owes me a new screen and keyboard, as the current one just got bathed in ginger ale.

Man, I HATE that paperclip....

(Hat tip to Sobke)

SEKRIT LLAMA MESSAGE TO SOBKEPUNDIT: Dude, THIS is heresy---careful, or K-Lo will blackberry Benny and have you up on the pyre with Sully...

I mean, it's true and all, but heresy nonetheless.

Posted by Steve at 08:41 PM | Comments (1)


Today's awardees are Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor. What have they done since Xena Warrior Princess? It seems both reproduced and pretty much have been making cameos appearances and small stuff which sounds like they have enjoyed their lives outside the spotlight. They have not, as far as I can tell, indulged in any of the actions that traditionally identify a starlet desperately trying to revive a sinking career (nude photo shoots, movies on the estrogen channnels, lesbian experimentation). As between the two of them, who was your favorite from the old Xena series? Personally, I preferred Renee's character Gabrielle; Xena had too much emotional freight.

Posted by LMC at 08:02 PM | Comments (4)

Gratuitous Axis Sully Bashing

WuzzaDem brings us the Andrew Sullivan Emotionalert Level Chart. Handy-dandy for his coverage of the election of BVXI, but oh-so versatile for handling other issues as well.


Yips! to Eric the Viking, who got it from John Hawkins.

Posted by Robert at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

Cheering for B16 From The Peanut Gallery

An E-mailer to K-Lo over at the Corner puts it rather neatly:


I think conservative/orthodox/confessing Protestants are all bubbly today about Benedict XVI because our Catholics brothers are showing the mainline Protestant denominations what it means to be faithful. It is now the so-called "moderates" of these churches who have long been victorious in forcing the relaxation of doctrine and church teachings under the banner of modernization who look "behind the times." They now seem like an old pair of marbled bell-bottoms rather than the cutting edge of the future of Christianity they thought they were. For some denominations, it may be too late, but there are pockets of orthodoxy that are thriving even in these dying denominations. They are celebrating with conservative Catholics this week.

As a Confessional Lutheran in one of those pockets of orthodoxy, I must confess to being enchanted by this new GERMAN Pope. What would Martin Luther say?


As a Conservative Episcopalian (no, that is not quite yet an oxymoron), let me just add: Amen. The greatest problem I see with my own Church isn't necessarily related to specific issues like whether or not Bishop Robinson should have been elected. Rather, it's the Church's steady sinking into a mire of soupy Deism, moral relativism and intellectual hyper-sophistication that basically sends the message that people should worship whatever Designer God they're comfortable with and that there's no such thing as Right and Wrong so long as everybody's nice to each other. (In other words, God is Us. Or to put it more accurately, We are God.)

Most of the former Palies that I know who have got fed up with this sort of thing have gravitated toward the Evangelical camp. If Pope Benny cleans out the muck and fires up the Faithful the way everybody seems to think he plans, I wonder how many of them might be more tempted to go to Rome instead. (This is assuming, of course, that the Episcopal Church itself doesn't shatter into pieces, which it very well might do in the next five years or so. And who knows what effect a vibrant Rome might have on the Episcopal schismatics? Instead of simply running away from the marbled bell-bottoms, they might be encouraged to charge them with sledgehammers. Call it the Sherry Revolution.)

YIPS from Steve: The Irish Elk has a ton of great links on past Benedicts, as well as some interesting questions about the near future.

Posted by Robert at 05:28 PM | Comments (5)

Movies I'd prefer not to see

Lawren K. Mills brings disturbing word of the forthcoming Wolf Blitzer biopic, starring Michael Douglas.

Just. Say. No.

Posted by Steve at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

Pimp Blogging

As long time readers know, we get a good bit of Google traffic from cyberstalkers searching for pictures of Juliet Huddy (nude or otherwise). Well, our friend the Colossus has discovered his own, er, Google Ho and decided to run with her.

Welcome to the Dark Side, my friend.

Posted by Robert at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

How To End A Rotten Day

Pop in your DVD of the Michael Ellis episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, of course. Despite the fact that John Cleese had already left the show by then, I think this is one of the very best of the Circus canon, from the silliness at the beginning outside of Harrods (to the accompaniment of "Knightsbridge" from Eric Coates' London Suite) all the way to the sudden conclusion at the "End of Show Department".

One of my family's favorite bits from this particular episode is the Victorian Poetry Reading sketch. We like it so much that a poem is never a poem, it's a pram. And Mr. John Keats is always Mr. Dennis Koot. (One of these days, I'm going to let some of this peculiar vocabulary slip in public.) Care to read through it? Then jump below the fold. And enjoy.

Chris dives into the nearest department. A sign over the door reads 'Victorian poetry reading hall'.

Cut to a poetry reading. Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and Tennyson are present. Chris stands quietly in the comer hoping not to be noticed.

Old Lady: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, it's so nice to see such a large turnout this afternoon. And I'd like to start off by welcoming our guest speakers for this afternoon, Mr Wadsworth...

Wordsworth: Wordsworth!

Old Lady: Sorry, Wordsworth... Mr John Koots, and Percy Bysshe.

Shelley: Shelley!

Old Lady: Just a little one, medium dry, (a dwarf assistant pours her a sherry) and Alfred Lorde.

Tennyson: Tennyson.

Old Lady: Tennis ball.

Tennyson: Son, son.

Old Lady: Sorry - Alfred Lord, who is evidently Lord Tennisball's son. And to start off I'm going to ask Mr Wadsworth to recite his latest offering, a little pram entitled 'I wandered lonely as a crab' and it's all about ants.

Murmur of exalted anticipation. Wordsworth rises rather gloomily.

Wordsworth: I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high over vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden worker ants.

Ripples of applause.

Old Lady: Thank you, thank you, Mr Bradlaugh. Now, Mr Bysshe.

Shelley: Shelley!

Old Lady: Oh... (the dwarf refills her glass)... is going to read one of his latest psalms, entitled 'Ode to a crab'.

Shelley: (rising: and taking his place quietly) Well, it's not about crabs actually, it's called 'Ozymandias'. It's not an ode.

I met a traveller in an antique land
Who said 'Six vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert
And on the pedestal these words appear
My name is Ozymandias, King of Ants
(oohs from his audience)
Look on my feelers, termites, and despair
I am the biggest ant you'll ever see
The ants of old weren't half as bold and big
And fierce as me'.

Enormous applause.

Old Lady: Thank you Mr Amontillado. I'd like to ask one or two of you at the back not to soil the carpet, there is a restroom upstairs if you find the poems too exciting (she falls over) Good afternoon, next, Mr Dennis Keat will recite his latest problem 'Ode to a glass of sherry'. (she falls off the podium)

Keats: My heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains
My senses, as though an anteater I'd seen
(panic spreads and the audience half rise)
A nasty long-nosed brute
(screams from the audience)
With furry legs and sticky darting tongue
I seem to feel its cruel jaws
Crunch! Crunch! There go my legs!
Snap! Snap! my thorax too!
(various screaming women faint)
My head's in a twain, there goes my brain
Swallow! Swallow! Swallow! Slurp! (he loses control)

Old Lady: Mr Keats! Mr Keats! Please leave immediately.

Keats: It's true! Don't you see? It's true! It happens!

Old Lady: (she bustles him out) Ladies and gentlemen, I do apologize for that last... well I hesitate to call it a pram ... but I had no idea ... and talking of filth... I have asked you once about the carpet ... Now, I do appreciate that last poem was very frightening... but please! Now before we move on to tea and pramwiches, I would like to ask Arthur Lord Tenniscourt to give us his latest little plum entitled 'The Charge of the Ant Brigade'.

Tennyson: Half an inch, half an inch...

Enter Queen Victoria with a fanfare, followed by Albert's coffin.

All: The Queen! the Queen! (they all bow and scrape)

Queen Victoria: My loyal subjects, we are here today on a matter of national import. My late husband and we are increasingly disturbed by recent developments in literary style (developing a German accent) that have taken place here in Germany ... er England. There seems to be an increasing tendency for ze ent... the ent... the ant... to become the dominant ... was is der deutsches Entwicklungsbund...

Attendant: Theme.

Queen Victoria: Theme ... of modern poetry here in Germany. We are not ... amusiert? (an attendant whispers) Entertained. From now on, ants ist verboten! Instead it's skylarks, daffodils, nightingales, light brigades and ... was ist das schreckliche Gepong? ... es schmecke wie ein Scheisshaus!... und so weiter. Well, we must away now or we shall be late for the races. God bless you alles.

Chris leaves. We cut to him outside a door with a sign saying 'Electric Kettles'.

Posted by Robert at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)

Holy crap!

Jim Jeffords is not running for reelection.

Unlike Minnesota, the Republicans probably don't have a chance of picking up this seat: like Sarbanes' soon to be vacated seat in Maryland, this one should stay with the Democrats.

This leaves the list of vulnerable Senators going into 06 as:

DEMS: Stabenow, Bingham, Cantwell, Dayton (retiring--open seat race), and Nelson (of Florida, not the Nelson of Nebraska; although the two of them should double-date sometime with the Kerr(e)ys.)

Of these five, the target rich environments are Washington state and Minnesota.

REPS: Chafee

Yeah, I know, he's about as much a Republican as Jeffords. Chafee I've used as an example to my Congress class as the failure to seize the advantage of position: his big chance to become something more than a marginal seat-warmer filling in for dear old dad would've been to jump ship after Jeffords. The value of this to the Democrats would have been inestimable---now, Chafee switching parties wouldn't crack the top of the newscast reports on WJAR in Providence.

The Republicans have fourteen pretty safe Senate seats (as much as any Senate seat is safe post Thune/Daschele), while the Democrats have 13.

At the minimum, then, a one seat Republican pickup in the Senate in fall 06 is a pretty safe bet.

UPDATE: Is Santorum vulnerable? Axis Sully seems to think so. Given his track record as of late, I would say things should be going well for the junior senator from Pennsylvania.

Posted by Steve at 01:16 PM | Comments (1)

Benny 16 update (with more Ratzinger/Rove theories!)

Amerika's favorite Commie has some good insight with the whole Ratzinger/Hitler Youth story. I braved a few minutes of Keith Olbermann last night, and of course this was the first story---Hitler's Pope, yadda, yadda....

Of course, it's ironic hearing someone named Olbermann lecture on the sins of the German people.

I had a long talk with my Mom last night about the Conclave---she was hoping for one of the third world cardinals, if only for the Church to address the issues of women in the Church (my Mom is no militant by any stretch of the imagination, but is quite perturbed on this point).

I don't know yet what to think. To me, what's interesting to see is the beginning of the cannonization of John Paul II---and how people are beginning to refer to him as John Paul the Great. I really don't mind this.

But for me the larger question is what is the legacy of the Church in both America and the world. Obviously, the role of the Church is not to be popular, but to stand for doctrinal Truth. To me what was the funniest about the hyperventilated commentary was how quickly commentators were aghast that the new pope believes in.......Catholic doctrine. Not to mention how quickly folks like Axis Sully were predicting the new Inquistion, as if the Diocese of Boston is going to start burning heretics at the stake in downtown Provincetown.

If I were Dan Brown, though, I'd be keeping a low profile and be on the lookout for legions of flying monkeys descending from the sky.

For me it's difficult, as a child of Vatican II. I don't remember the old ways at all---I was born in 1966. Our parish was constantly in trouble with the Diocese because we did some things the old ways, but in other ways we were in line with the flow. I get a little ticked sometimes (in a way that is peculiar to me, as our long-time reader Mrs. Robbo's Mom knows) because my age cohort got screwed growing up by the establishment: we got new math, language arts instead of grammar, social studies instead of history, and don't EVEN get me started on teaching us the damn metric system. But, the Church experimented on us too, with rather fuzzy-wuzzy instruction. Sad to say, I do in fact know most of the words to "Kumbaya." We are the children of Paul VI---we came of age before John Paul Magnus reenergized the youth, but after Vatican II's introduction of the vulgate and guitars.

So where does this all lead for me? As I said, I don't know. I like having a Pope I disagree with, if only to force me to think that much harder about things and not be complacent.

But I worry that this Pope will launch a new crusade, one that it will lose.

And that would be a bad thing, indeed.

D'Oh! How did I miss this joke yesterday? Chai-Rista is going to have to whack my repeatedly upside the skull with a Starsky and Hutch lunchbox.

UPDATE: The Irish Elk looks back fondly on then Cardinal Ratzinger's leading of the theological smackdown of Liberation Theology.


Axis Sully:

THE POLITICAL ANALOGY: I was trying to explain last night to a non-Catholic just how dumb-struck many reformist Catholics are by the elevation of Ratzinger. And then I found a way to explain. This is the religious equivalent of having had four terms of George W. Bush only to find that his successor as president is Karl Rove. Get it now?

Yeah, we sure do.

And man, that next fund drive's going to be a bitch, no?

MORE AXIS SULLY: I know, I know I shouldn't, but I'm a naughty boy...

THE POLITICAL ANALOGY: I was trying to explain last night to a non-Catholic just how dumb-struck many reformist Catholics are by the elevation of Ratzinger. And then I found a way to explain. This is the religious equivalent of having had four terms of George W. Bush only to find that his successor as president is Karl Rove. Get it now?

Yeah, the same company that made the voting machines in Ohio and Florida sold the Vatican its hay for the smoke.

More gems:

What many of us are asking for is simply the ability for lay Catholics and indeed priests and theologians to be able to debate respectfully such pressing issues as mandatory celibacy for the priesthood, a less rigid biological understanding of the rights and dignity of women, and a real dialogue with gay Catholics about how we can practically live lives that reflect our human dignity and our profound human need for intimacy and sexual expression. We'd also like to see greater autonomy for national churches, a respect for political secularism, and a more open hierarchy that cannot get away with a criminal conspiracy to hide the widespread sexual abuse of children and teens. None of this is that radical in the context of change in the last fifty years. None of it is subject to infallibility. And what we object to is the arrogant notion that lay people - let alone theologians or priests - do not even have the right to raise these questions within a formal church context.

In other words, Anglicanism.

THIS IS WHY I LOVE BLOGWORLD: Macktastic Rusty Wicked nails it.

It's days like these that I do indeed miss Allahpundit...

Posted by Steve at 01:00 PM | Comments (5)

I could have done without that during lunch

INDCent Bill raises a disturbing vision on the way to a good point about life in wonkworld of Dee Cee. The same phenomena applies in academics: we're doing a search right now for a temporary one year position, and the reek of desperation emenating from some of the files is truly and utterly sad, if not downright pathetic. The migrant workforce of itinerant PhDs is a thing to behold, truly.

The disturbing thing? Bill as "New Jack Hustler."

(Insert sound of Steve-O doing the full ergo chair shiver here)

Posted by Steve at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

CSI - The Butcher's House

Blink - Blink

Many thanks for all the kind words and thoughts about our burglary yesterday.

We're all just fine, thanks. The Missus is still a bit rattled, as this has never happened to her before. The five and three year olds, both of whom are sturdy little things, seem unphased.

My primary concern was with the seven year old. She has a passion for order that might be described as Cromwellian, coupled with a hair-trigger temper. When things get out of whack, she gets upset. And her default reaction to being upset is rage. So, as you can imagine, explaining to her what happened when she got home from school was a delicate business, akin to defusing a bomb. However, I'm happy to say, it was a successful one, too. The touchiest point was when she asked what kind of people could do such a thing. Deciding to go with my gut and cut the red wire, I replied calmly and phlegmatically that there were an awful lot of bad people in the world and that these things sometimes just happen but that the police were going to help us do something about it. She took that well enough, asking what they would do and what would happen to the thief if and when caught. I knew that I had cut the correct wire when she asked if she could help the policemen look for clues. I knew that the bomb had been successfully defused when she asked if she could tell everybody at school what had happened.

As for myself, well, I had my house broken into when I lived in London off Wandsworth Common back in the late 80's. That time, apart from taking several days to convince myself that the guy wasn't still in the house, I also felt that icky sense of violation that several people have mentioned here. This time, I have to confess that what I mostly feel - apart from relief that things weren't any worse than they were - is a combination of annoyance and disgust.

First, I'm rather annoyed with myself - the guy got in through the back door, which I foolishly forgot to check the previous night and therefore left unlocked. I was also annoyed at having to clean up the mess he left and at having to keep the Llama-ettes out of it for three hours before the police finally showed up.

But mostly, I'm disgusted, not because it was such an outrage (which it was) but because it all turned out to be so pathetic. The whole think smacks of rank amateurism. For one thing, we're still puzzling over the burglar's choice of loot. He completely ignored what jewelry the Missus had sitting out, as well as a goodish number of pocket-size but valuable knick-knacks. Instead, he zeroed in solely on the electronics. Even this I could understand, I suppose, but for his selection of equipment. For one thing, he took the satellite receiver box, going to the trouble of removing the little activation card and unscrewing the box from all its cables, but completely ignoring the DVD player sitting right next to it. Even the nice woman from DirecTV couldn't understand why he'd waste his time on something so worthless (and serial-marked and now red-flagged in DirecTV's database, I might add). The only other thing he actually took was a decrepid old laptop that a friend gave us and that I've never once used. It was sitting next to my stereo system, which he also ignored.

Apparently, the thief was in the middle of taking apart the components of our home computer when something spooked him - quite possibly the Missus coming home at lunch time. The printer and the speakers were strewn about and the hard-drive was up-ended where he'd been busy pulling out cords. Given the tangle in which I keep all those things, he had to have worked like a sum'bitch just to have got as far as he did. But even if he'd gotten the thing away completely, it would hardly have been worth it. We bought that computer in 1998. It's only got a Pentium 2 chip. Gateway made a big deal of its buy-back-in-exchange-for-upgrade program at the time, but if we were to try and send the thing back now, we'd probably wind up owing Gateway money to take it off our hands.

We have a Bose radio in the library, which the thief also tried to take. Indeed, this was the scene of the worst mayhem. The radio sits up on a shelf in the bookcase and the guy had to pull out several shelves worth of books to get at the outlet to unplug it. In the process, he also wound up smashing a fair-sized snowglobe someone had given us. But here again, his effort came to naught - the radio was left sitting on the sofa along with a handful of my cigars that he had discovered, all ready for the getaway. But in his rush to leave, the guy forgot them.

So there you have it. No injuries. Minimal upset. Everybody safe and sound. Thank Heaven. Sum total missing: a worthless laptop and an unusable satellite receiver. BFD.

The police think a kid did it. So do I, but I doubt very seriously that it was one of the local kids - we live on the less-fashionable side of a pretty snooty neighborhood. Most of the kids there have allowances bigger than my paycheck, so money wouldn't be an issue. And all of them would stare down their noses in disgust at our second-rate electronics. Instead, I believe this was the work of a kid who came through the neighborhood "selling" magazine subscriptions the evening before. Neither the Missus nor I saw him, but our neighbor did. In fact, she said there were a pair of them, one of whom was decently dressed and polite, but the other of whom was a first-class hood. Indeed, on getting a look at him, she almost called the cops herself. If I had to bet, I'd say he scoped the neighborhood that evening and came back the next morning to see if he could get lucky. (I should note that there is virtually no crime in our neck of the woods. There is virtually no solicitation by inner-city youth types, either. I consider it more than coincidental that we should get both within the same 24 hour period. The police agree.)

The other possibility is that it was a construction worker (there's a lot of building going on near us) or a maintenance type (lawn service, VA Power, Cox, Verizon, whoever), somebody wandering around in apparent semi-authority. But neither the police nor I really think so owing to the poor choice of targets the guy made and the dumb-ass way he went about trying to take them.

Whoever it was - punk, neighborhood kid, construction/maintenance guy, did get lucky, up to a point. But it was fool's luck, too. The door through which the guy came in and out opens onto our back porch. It sits up one floor from the ground and is exposed to the view of our very nosey neighbor and a pair of very barky dogs. (In fact, the neighbor heard the dogs barking, but for once did not come out to tell them to be quiet.) The only way up and down is a spiral staircase. (Indeed, on his way out, the thief got the plug of the satellite receiver hung up on one of the rungs, causing the cord to detatch. We found it later on.) We live on a busy street, but our yard backs on to forest which is now coming out in thick, tangled bramble - to get to the next cross-street up, he'd have had to skirt along this, exposed to view from half a dozen houses. How he managed it without getting spotted is a source of wonder, but this is what he must have done, unless he parked in our driveway. (You can't park on our street.) But this would be even more insane, given how exposed to traffic it is.

Anyhoo, I doubt very seriously that this guy will be back. He caught a very lucky break, did a botched job of taking advantage of it and fled in apparent panic. And the neighborhood is now on Red Alert. I'm sure our next door neighbor is staked out today with binoculars and telephoto lens at the ready.

As for what we do to prevent future occurrences, well, we can start by simply making sure to lock the damn doors. The Missus also wants to put in an alarm system, but I'm not sure it's worth the expense and bother. We'll have to look into that and do some serious cost/benefit analysis - those things are damned pricey. Plus, given all the power outages we have, the thing would be going off constantly, terrorizing one and all. However, the dog that several people mentioned is already scheduled for next summer. (Betcher I don't get any more argument against this from the Missus.)


Posted by Robert at 10:05 AM | Comments (8)

April 19, 2005

More on Pope Benedict XVI

The caterwauling from the libs is unbelievable. Mort Kondrake on the roundtable portion of Brit Hume's show on Fox all but popped a blood vessel. He sputtered that then Cardinal Ratzinger had once said that other non-Catholic Christian churches were not the equal of the RMC. It took Charles Krauthammer, who I think is Jewish, to point out the obvious that every church thinks of itself has having the divine truth. The current soundbite in liberal pack pundit analysis is Benedict is a "transitional Pope" whatever that means. Let there be no mistake about it, the newest successor to St. Peter is every bit as conservative as his predecessor and will appoint ("create" in Vatican lingo) cardinals who will be like-minded who in, turn, will choose his successors. Benedict could easily reign for a dozen years. Pope John Paul the Great was very much a pastoral figure and was reluctant to fire people (Cardinal Bernard Law comes to mind); his successor knows quite a bit about Church administration and knows where the rot is. My hope is that he cleans house when it comes to the Lavender Mafia that holds sway in so many seminaries and dioceses. He made the prayer list tonight when I put my children to bed.

Posted by LMC at 08:24 PM | Comments (10)

Oh, Great....

The Missus just called: Somebody broke into our house this morning. So far, she says the satellite receiver is gone and the computer has been taken apart. She's calling the cops now and will call me back shortly.

More liveblocking - Books pulled off the shelf in the library. Radio pulled away from wall but not taken.

Cops on the way.

UPDATE: I'm heading home. The Missus and the youngest Llama-ette are out of the house, waiting for the cops on the driveway, so they should be safe. Just from what I've heard so far, this seems like a very amateur job. My suspicions are already on the Asparagus-Stealing Neighbor's son. Perhaps the ASN reads this blog?

YIPS from Steve: Hence the need for crime-fighting monkeys in NoVa...

Posted by Robert at 02:22 PM | Comments (17)

Federal Block Grant for Policing: One Million Dollars. Having a monkey on your SWAT Team? Priceless.

This has just got to be a joke---but alas, it's probably true:

"Everybody laughs about it until they really start thinking about it," said Mesa Officer Sean Truelove, who builds and operates tactical robots for the suburban Phoenix SWAT team. "It would change the way we do business."

Truelove is spearheading the department's request to purchase and train a capuchin monkey, considered the second smartest primate to the chimpanzee. The department is seeking about $100,000 in federal grant money to put the idea to use in Mesa SWAT operations.

My initial instinct--I'm willing to bet the grant was part and parcel of the vaunted Clinton administration effort to put new cops on the street. But, it looks like the grant is to DARPA.

I've only got one thought about this: can you imagine what possibilities this raises for reviving the career of Tony Danza? Can't you just see the movie possibility: because of an affirmative action program, the SWAT team monkey gets promoted to be the LT. It would be "Barney Miller" meets "BJ and the Bear." The monkey--dressed in a suit with shortsleeve shirts, ala Sipowicz---would yell, scream, throw bananas etc at Detective SGT Danza, and his sidekick who could be played by Joey Lawrence. Judd Nelson could be the criminal mastermind heading up the crime family dominating the city, and could be aided by the other members of the family: Naomi Judd, Judd Hirsch, Ashley Judd, and sycophantic cousin Judge Reinhold.

The possibilities raised by crime-fighting monkeys, they are a endless.

Posted by Steve at 01:39 PM | Comments (3)



Cardinal Ratzinger?

Hey, he owes me money, come on!

***Name that movie quote modified for today's bizarr-o news.

Yips! from Robbo: Ooh! Ooh! I know!

Posted by Steve at 01:21 PM | Comments (6)

Benedict XVI

The Corner is all over the announcement a few minutes ago of the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the Papacy. Among other things, they link to the Ratzinger Fan Club website (which appears to be temporarily swamped) and K-Lo is putting up choice quotes as well.

I leave it to our resident RC to expand on these things, but it looks to me like this is a good day for Orthodoxy.

UPDATE: If Cokie Roberts is already calling him an "extremely controversial" Pope, you know it's a time for celebration.

UPDATE DEUX: The Maximum Leader offers his initial thoughts.

UPDATE TROIS: Jimmie at the Sundries Shack has more thoughts and some links, particularly on the MSM and the future of American Catholicism. I especially like The Anchoress' take.

YIPS from Steve: The weird way my memory works: there is a wicked portrait picture of Ratizinger that ran on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Magazine from 1985ish (I remember because the original LLamabutcher and I "modified" it [ah, back in the days before pshop when such things had to be done with a photocopy machine...] for a project we were doing for a theology class.)

If someone can dig that out, they've got gold in their hands.

FURTHER YIPS from Steve: Geraghty is en fuego on this. Best new use of the Albert Pujols joke by far. Apparently it only took CNN three minutes to critcize his views on gay marriage.

File under "yeah, that's a BIG surprise": Axis Sully is already predicting the New Inquisition.

WHY TORMENT MYSELF? The things I do for you people! Here's what those articulate, patriotic believers in the First Amendment and toleration at the Democratic Underground have to say about Benny 16. (scroll all the way down for the Bush/Rove conspiracy theorists). My favorite though is the one bitching about another neo-con in power: are they saying that Benny is under the sway of the world-wide Jewish conspiracy, which produced such atrocities as the Bushitler Smirky McChimp wars for ooooooooooooooooooillll, not to mention the designated hitter rule and astroturf?

Posted by Robert at 01:09 PM | Comments (5)

A social scientific approach to the study of orgling

New blog of the week for me is Hamstermotor, with some very funny stuff.

What will put him in the Hall of Fame is this essay on Orgling.

A snippet: More a melody to societies dysfunctions than a parody of the self, Llama orgling irons out misconceptions from our consciousness.

Dude: you need to use "ontology" and "juxtapose" more, but man, you can lay it on with a trowel!

Posted by Steve at 10:52 AM | Comments (3)

The Shot Heard 'Round The World

Today is the 230th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

Battle of Lexington, courtesy of the UK National Army Museum

Battle of Concord North Bridge, courtesy of WPI

By the end of the day, the British, who had marched out 700 strong from Boston the night before to seize Colonist weapons caches and arrest troublemakers, would be driven back into town with a loss of 73 dead and 174 wounded. Rebel losses were 49 killed and 39 wounded.

Posted by Robert at 10:50 AM | Comments (1)

Aircraft Cheesecake

Tainted Bill has a beautiful pic up of one of my favorite WWII airplanes - the Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber.

When I was a kid, I had (among others) a complete range of WWII U.S. carrier-based aircraft models. I was particularly proud of my Dauntless, because I managed to give it both salt-stains and flak damage effects.

Ah, yes......I attribute what I am today directly to those many hours spent hunched over modelling glue and paint thinner.

YIPS from Steve: Indeed, a little known fact was that our name was originally going to be "The LLama Huffers" but it sounded too dirty...

Posted by Robert at 10:35 AM | Comments (8)


Where's Lorenna Bobbitt when you really need her?

Posted by Robert at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

Ten years ago today

I remember I was just finishing teaching my 130 Western Political Theory class. It was the end of my first year of teaching, and we had been discussing John Rawls' A Theory of Justice. One of my kids, who was from Oklahoma City, was extremely distracted: I asked her after class what was wrong and she told me there had been some sort of explosion in Oklahoma City, that the radio said it was some sort of gas main and a whole bunch of people were dead. We walked around campus for awhile trying to find a tee-vee wired for CNN.

Sadie has some more thoughts.

Yips! from Robbo. I suppose it was because of the occasion that the guards patrolling around the FBI building this morning were carrying machine guns.

Posted by Steve at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)


The Raptor debate heats up.

Posted by Steve at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2005

Only three years and eight months till she's working register three on the night shift at piggly-wiggly

The grande masquerade continues....

Posted by Steve at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

Two can play that game

But of course.

Posted by Steve at 10:16 PM | Comments (1)

That's Going To Leave A Mark!

Our pal Kathy the Cake-Eater administers a serious bitch-slap.


Posted by Robert at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)


I've been following the saga of Wisconsin's efforts to legalize the hunting of feral cats. The other day, I suggested that at least they couldn't shoot back.

Apparantly, I was wrong. Phin has got exclusive pics of feral feline militarization. He also offers some useful tips about range and target selection to help you deal with this new threat.

Posted by Robert at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

Who Knew The Sims Tri-Delt House Had Security Cameras?

The Pious Agnostic posts a telling photo.

Heh. Oddly enough, as Steve-O will attest, this is exactly the pose I used to strike when approaching women in college. Which is probably why I didn't meet my wife until I was well advanced in law school.

YIPS from Steve:

yo yo llama.gif

I think his name should be Yo Yo LLaMa.

Posted by Robert at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

Listen my children and you shall hear...

Red reinterprets a classic.

Posted by Steve at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

Now Settle Down, Everybody

It appears Ann Coulter is not very pleased with the photo Time magazine chose to run of her on the cover of its latest issue. Fair enough - the picture is not especially flattering.

But now some folks are using this kerfluffle as proof of the MSM's leftist bias in general and Time's in particular. Michelle Malkin has a round-up and Ace has some views too.

Well, maybe. But.......

I carry no brief for Time. But in all fairness, I would point out to those who think the magazine only does this sort of thing to prominant Conservatives to jump in the Way-Back Machine with me for a moment to review this Golden Oldy, which inflamed a lot of folks on the Left back in '96 or so......

Hillary Rodhan Clinton in Night Of The Living Dead

I remember the screeching when this one hit the newstands, including the charge that the "M" was placed so to look like the devil's horns on HRC. Furthermore, although it's hard to see in this copy, the lines and wrinkles on her face were very much more prominant in the original. The woman really did look like a vampire. Needless to say, I was laughing.

Look, it strikes me as probably more accurate to say that Time does this sort of thing to anybody who puts its editorial nose out of joint one way or another. While it's probably true that this is mostly the case with conservative figures like Ann and El Rushbo, I think it's also fair to say that it isn't exclusively so.

Just sayin'.

UPDATE: John Hawkins at Right Wing News points out the silver lining to all of this. And Stanley at the Barking Moonbats seems to have the same idea.

UPDATE DEUX: Welcome Malkin readers! I take Michelle's point about the other Hillary pics. There are times when Time feels like it has to kiss her backside and times when it feels like it can spit at her. Such is the world of politics. My point was simply that this is not exclusively a liberal/conservative split. Oh, and I meant to highlight INDCent Bill's suggestion that we would be better off holding our fire for more worthy targets.


YIPS from Steve: Yeah, us. Sorry Robbo--my bad.

There are just some pshops that not even I will post....

Posted by Robert at 03:25 PM | Comments (11)

This Is Seriously Cool

Scientists apparently have figured out a way to use infra-red technology to read a mass of heretofore lost Greek and Roman writings known as the Oxyrhynchus papyri. This breakthrough has the potential to swell the body of known Classical works by some 20%, with Heaven knows what implications to our understanding of Classical lit and culture.

I've got to wonder who is really describing this as "the classical equivalent of discovering the Holy Grail," though. Rosetta Stone, yes. Holy Grail, no.

Yips! to Dennis over at Classical Values.

YIPS from Steve: Everyone's favorite commie has more.

Posted by Robert at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

What, That's It?

Robert the Llama Butcher

is a Giant Mecha-Moth that was Constructed in a Laboratory, Stomps Around a Lot, has Prehensile Eyes and Acid for Blood, and is Radioactive.

Strength: 4 Agility: 6 Intelligence: 5

To see if your Giant Battle Monster can
defeat Robert the Llama Butcher, enter your name and choose an attack:

fights Robert the Llama Butcher using

A Mecha-Moth? No wonder I'm getting my monster butt kicked. This description makes me seem a little like Al Gore with wings.....

YIPS from Steve:

We already knew what the outcome would be, yet the conflict was essential nonetheless:

steve o wins.gif


is a Giant Dragon that eats Trees, breathes Poisonous Gas, and has Crablike Pincers.

Strength: 8 Agility: 9 Intelligence: 9

To see if your Giant Battle Monster can
defeat Steve-O, enter your name and choose an attack:

fights Steve-O using

As they say, "Heh." "Indeed." And, "BRWACK! POLLY WANTS A CRACKER!"

Posted by Robert at 01:31 PM | Comments (5)

Orgle Alert!

God help the kid who waits until late Sunday Night to start his research paper on Camelidae.

Courtesy of Tom at Hamster Motor, Steve-O and I have now made it into the pages of Wikipedia:

Llamas in popular culture

Llamas are often treated as comical characters. For example, a relatively recent movie made by Walt Disney Pictures, known as The Emperor's New Groove, was made popular by the llama emperor involved in it voiced by David Spade. A llama named Tina was also featured in the popular movie Napoleon Dynamite. The Naked Dancing Llama (http://www.frolic.org), an online advice giving "sage", frolics about and gives humorous advice to netsurfers. Finally, Monty Python's Flying Circus has numerous references to the llama as an object of humor.

Perhaps because of this comical perception, the term "llama" has become popular amongst internet denizens; especially gamers. Generally used as a derogatory title, a llama is usually a newbie or else person that doesn't play the game in question very well. Most prevalent among games that are played simultaneously by many people online, such as team games, a llama will invariably detract from the gaming experience of others due to his own ignorance or intentional disruption.

In addition, the Llama also seems to be a creature of much fascination to the developers of games such as Sim City and the music program Winamp, the apothegm of the latter being: "Winamp - it really whips the llama's ass". This, and particularly the usage within gamer culture, are likely due to the similarity between the word 'llama' and the word 'lamer'. The origin of this could be also Jeff Minter's fascination for the animal, leading to the release of Atari ST titles such as Attack of the Mutant Camels, Llamatron and Llamazap for the software house Llamasoft (http://www.medwaypvb.com/llamadloads.htm).

Also, The Llama Song (http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/llama.php), a popular web-song, is about a person (who according to the song was once a treehouse) who sings about llamas.

There also exists a weblog called Llamabutchers (http://llamabutchers.mu.nu/).

Carl Wheezer, a character on Nickelodeon's The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron has a seemingly unhealthy obsession with llamas.

(Emphasis mine.)

Heh, heh, heh. Let the disinformation campaign begin!

Posted by Robert at 12:55 PM | Comments (4)

Running on Fumes

Sorry about the slow start this morning. I went to a party last evening where the only thing to drink was white wine. I don't like white wine. Furthermore, even a small amount of it gives me a particular kind of headache. And apparently, it zaps my creativity because nothing seems to be clicking. I simply don't have a lot of time to devote to blogging, so if a post doesn't trip right off my fingers, I don't have the luxury of being able to nurse it into being.

It's a pity, too, because I had a varied and interesting weekend. Among the things I was hoping to write about are:

-The reason why, when I die, I don't want anybody to read their own reminiscences, memories or reflections about me at the funeral;

- The social politics of packing a children's birthday party with guests who barely even know the celebrant in question;

- The return of the Scary Puppet Couple; and

- The confirmation I received last evening that not only is St. Elmo's Fire the awful movie I remember from 20 years ago, it is an embarrassingly, appallingly awful movie.

Well, I'm going to toddle down to the exercise room at lunch and put in some time on the treadmill. Perhaps that will be sufficient to rattle the ol' brain.

Posted by Robert at 11:05 AM | Comments (9)

Well, shoot!

Looks like we've been dropped from Terry Teachout's blogroll.

It was that crack about Schubert's orchestral work being flawed, wasn't it?

UPDATE: Or maybe it's because I've dropped the ball on winding up my Disney ranting. As commenter Dave S points out, if that's what you need this morning, Mr. Outer Life has got you covered.

UPDATE DEUX: Yeah, looks like we got covered with used coffee grounds, banana skins and broken egg shells and tossed into the dumpster. Oh, well.

Posted by Robert at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)

April 17, 2005

We were purple sharks once, and young

Wacky weekend around Rancho Non Sequitor.

Early Saturday, I piled the three mobiles into the van to go to the boy's soccer game. The Purple Sharks were defiant in their match against the Royal Blue Sharks, and the little man scored three goals. Of course, six year old "Hot Shots" Soccer bears about as much resemblance to real soccer as, well, there's a ball, usually one (although sometimes more) on the field, and there are two goals. The final score was more in the Arena Football League range (76-53), but a good time was had by all.

Until, that is, one of the Purple Sharks cold-cocked one of the Royal Blue Sharks.

Cold. Cocked.

Now, the salient detail to remember here is that they are the six-and-unders. This wasn't Sharks versus the Jets sort of rivalry that had been stewing for years of class conflict reflecting ascriptive hierarchies of power, gender, and oppression. This is "hey, so you kicked it in your own goal, here's a juicebag to take the edge of." I saw the whole thing---it happened right in front of me. The cold-cocked-ee starts bawling, of course, and the coaches (who are supposed to be the refs) turned and walked over, assuming the usual--someone getting their foot stepped on, etc. Being the rat that I am, I told the guy--hey, the red-headed kid punched him.

Of course, you know what followed:

A. The parent of the puncher completely denied everything, and accused the other kid of starting it;

2. A third parent had caught the whole thing on videotape.

Needless to say, hilarity ensued.

After that series of unfortunate events, we split, stopping on the way home for the kids to get a donut, while listening to Car Talk. Saturday morning is my favorite time of the week.

The rest of the weekend was quietly uneventful, and tomorrow is going to be extremely busy, so I'll leave you with only two links.

First: What? No LLamas?

Second: He really hates us, doesn't he? Sigh.

And the caption of the weekend should be:

"Z-man sez I just saved a bunch of money switching to GEICO--shouldn't you?"

One last one: Advance Australia Fair, indeed!

AND I do believe that's more than one in five. No biggie, as it's barrelling along through some of the most densely populated parts of the US.

Wasn't the Acela one of the big achievements that Al Gore was responsible for?

Posted by Steve at 11:02 PM | Comments (3)

April 15, 2005

Gratuitous Day Off Posting (TM) - Part Deux

Well, a good day's work:

- the azaleas, rhododendron and hydrangias are all fed

- the peonies and blueberries are phosphated (one of the peonies, called "Angelus" with a creamy white petal and yellow center, already has buds)

- the clematis are limed

-the grass is mown and trimmed

-the bird feeders are all full.

I'd bet good money that if the Asparagus-stealing Neighbor wasn't planning to mow his yard this evening already, he'll do so now. Bwahahahaha.

And speaking of that, the first asparagus shoots are just showing above ground. Stand by with the hollandaise!

Posted by Robert at 04:21 PM | Comments (3)

Just came in the mailbox

As pre-law advisors, I get junk mailings all the time from law schools. This one came in just now:


Regent Law School was founded by Pat Robertson.

Here's the money quote from the press release:

“Regent is a university known for excellence in providing an academically rigorous graduate education based on a biblical foundation,” said Ashcroft, who will teach his first Regent course this summer in Strasbourg, France, where the university sponsors a summer program on international human rights issues.

The good side? Somewhere in metropolitan Lynchburg, Jerry Falwell is in a slow, simmering rage, ranting as to when Liberty University Law School can hire....James Watt?

ANYHOO, your assignment is to pshop the picture of Johnny, with a linkety-link fest to follow.

Here's one to get you started:

ashcroft indc.gif

Posted by Steve at 01:32 PM | Comments (4)

I'm sorry Robbo, it's cruel but true

Dr. Rusty Shackleford (and since he has a PhD from a fine PAC-10 school he's gotta be trusted!) posts on the improbably true story of the successful mating of a whale and a dolphin, complete with pictures, by researchers in Hawaii.

Researchers on the east coast in Coral Gables have been succesful in their attempts to mate a dolphin and a turkey: results are below the fold.


Posted by Steve at 01:04 PM | Comments (3)

Gratuitous Day Off Posting (TM)

Good morning! Light posting today.

I've finally managed to arrange a day off from work when I'm not scheduled to be doing things for my other masters: The Missus, the school board, the church, etc. So after I've had some coffee and scanned the paper (and just about the only story in the WaPo this morning is the Nats' home opener win last nigh - I'm starting to get excited), I intend to shuffle out into the yard and do some serious spring work. I've got two main tasks:

First, I've got to go 'round and feed the azaleas and whatnot. (Mmmm....Hollytone.....mmmmmm) I had to whack them back pretty severely last year, as they were getting too stringy and losing too many interior branches. Unfortunately, it looks like I probably won't get much bloom this spring. It's a pity, because the previous owner of this place really knew what he was doing when he put them in and their color in May is usually enough to tint the ceilings inside the house. Ah, well.

I also have to mow the back yard for the first time this season. This is going to drive my neighbor nuts. He doesn't garden at all but he's one of those extremely competitive lawn guys. In the summer, he cuts his grass twice a week. Often, he has his teenaged son mow the yard and then comes out himself a few hours later to mow it again. And virtually every time I mow my yard, he appears within fifteen minutes to start in on his as well. The idea that I beat him to the punch this weekend is going to give him conniptions. Ha ha ha. Ah, suburban warfare - it gets ugly sometimes.

This guy is known in our house, by the way, as "The Asparagus-stealing Neighbor" or "ASN" for short. He has a habit of coming over and helping himself to whatever crop is going (raspberries, blueberries, etc.) whenever he thinks we're away. I don't mind this, really, since there's usually plenty to spare. What I do mind is that he doesn't ask. The moniker ASN came about a couple of years ago when the Missus and I were out of town but my parents were staying here with the kids. We have a small asparagus bed in one corner of the garden and the crop was ripe for culling. The 'Rents had been drooling over the prospect of having some with din-dins all day. But when Dad went out to get it, he found he had been beaten to it. It was only then that he understood why the ASN had been loitering around the fence earlier in the afternoon.

Well, the ASN spoiled the 'Rents plans that day, but in a way it was worth it. For years and years when we were kids, Dad always emphasized the importance of initiative and hustle with the warning that if we kids didn't embrace these principles, the other guy would "eat your lunch". Being able to point out to Dad on this occassion that the other guy had "eaten your dinner" was well worth a couple of asparagus stalks. Heh.

Anyhoo - I'll be back later on. Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 09:12 AM | Comments (2)

April 14, 2005

To Serve And Protect, Round II

Comments are still rolling in over yesterday's item about the woman who wanted the 9-1-1 dispatcher to send the cops around to deal with her obnoxious daughter.

Well, in the "top this" category, via Jimmie at the Sundries Shack, here's a post over at Patterico's with a transcript of the attempt by a different woman to get a 9-1-1 dispatcher to send backup over a drive-through burger order dispute. The dispatcher didn't smart off this time (more's the pity) but instead gently and professionally explained to the woman that she was a loon and should just go home.

Fast food anarchy. The horror. And the Law appears powerless to stop it. Yep, I guess it was a big mistake retiring this guy after all:

Big Mac.jpg
"Ma'am - please step away from the Secret Sauce!"

Posted by Robert at 04:40 PM | Comments (6)

More Anniversary Wishes

Happy First Blog Anniversary to brainy Brit Tim Worstall.

Not that I have anywhere near Tim's level of knowledge of economics and stats n' stuff, but it's interesting to see that our minds sometimes run on parallel tracks. Tim's observation today about a NYTimes article on hydration jibe very nicely with the passage in P.J. O'Rourke's All The Trouble In The World that I was rereading last evening in which Peej remarks that having your head held down in a bucket of clear water for half an hour was as effectively toxic as the worst N parts per million doomsday carcinogen trumpeted by the scaremonger machine.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 02:20 PM | Comments (1)

More Sci-Fi Babe Polling

Yes, once again JohnL lines 'em up at TexasBestGrok. This week's competition features what I like to think of as SciFi Babe Polling in its purist form: More Ladies of Star Trek.

The match features Nona from "A Private Little War", Sirah from "The Omega Glory" and Miramanee from "The Paradise Syndrome". I know who I'm voting for - watching reruns in the afternoon when I was a boy, it was Nona's curing of Kirk's wounds after the attack by that albino unicorn gorilla thing and her subsequent vamping of him that made me begin to think maybe girls really weren't all that icky after all.

As usual, vote early and often. And be sure to check out John's Gallery of Winners.

On a completely different note, be sure to check out this post to see that when I write about people looking miserable in Mickey's Dark Kingdom, I'm not just making things up. I wasn't in any of the pictures, but I could have taken all of them.

Posted by Robert at 01:41 PM | Comments (2)

Calling All Bardlings!

The Crack Young Staff of the Hatemonger's Quarterly are launching their Second Annual “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition.

Leaving aside the issue of whether "horrible college student poetry" is redundant, the CYS are soliciting "the most gut-wrenching imitation of disastrous college doggerel" you can think of.

The deadline for submissions is May 1st. So fire up that old bong and get scribbling. This should be guuuud.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

Gratuitous Beanball Posting

Dubya is set to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at tonight's Nationals home-opener at RFK Stadium. Alas, I won't be home in time to catch the beginning of the game. But judging by past form, I'll bet he does just fine:

(Game 3, 2001 World Series, Yankee Stadium.
Image via TBO.com)

One thing I'm sure of - he certainly won't dink one into the dirt and then blame the catcher for it:

(July 25, 2004 Sawx/Yankees Game, Fenway Park.
Image courtesy of Polipundit.)

[Insert sound of relieved sniggering here.]

Okay, okay, I know it's old. But it's still fun.

Posted by Robert at 11:30 AM | Comments (1)

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - How To Start A Panic

(Image courtesy of, well, Madeline)

Y'know, I've been reading the Madeline stories to the Llama-ettes for time out of mind. But for some reason, it was only the other night that they suddenly realized what having an operation to remove an inflamed appendix actually entails. They were horrified by the idea.

So there I was, reading about eleven little girls who enviously wished they could have appendectomies like Madeline to an audience of three little girls who were practically frantic that nobody should come anywhere near them with a scalpel. Alas, Miss Clavel's closing admonition that one should be thankful for one's good health got completely trampled in the rout. Pity, because that is one of my favorite lines.

Talk about one step forward and two steps back. It took me a lot longer to calm them down and assure them that nobody was going to touch them than it did to read the story to begin with.

YIPS from Steve: How do they handle Madeline and the Bad Hat, what with Pepito's chicken guilotine, the bull fighting, and the attack by the dogs? For some odd reason, that story is the littlest mobile one's favorite---she likes repeating "Daddy bad hat....brother bad hat...LaLa bad hat..."

In that vein, the one I can never figure is the Noah story---why that is always pushed as a big kid's story is beyond me. It's the animals, of course, but eventually you get the realization that The Big Guy gets really ticked off and kills (almost) everybody. Frightening stuff for the five year olds, no?

Still, Madeline is a staple during The Big Monkey Story Hour, as the eldest has dubbed my nightly role.

YIPS BACK from Robbo: Ah, that's me godchild. "Daddy bad hat" indeed. Heh. My favorite take on the Noah story? "Noah...How long can you tread water?"

Posted by Robert at 11:22 AM | Comments (5)

Nothing warms my heart more...

than the vision of falling statues of former dictators.

I always thought it would be cool if at West Point, out behind the large museum, they had a garden of statues of dictators brought down by the United States.

Posted by Steve at 10:50 AM | Comments (2)

I'm not looking forward to this

It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out in the larger media next week.

Posted by Steve at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)

1000 and 2 Years of Rock And Roll

Happy Second Anniversary to Mixolydian Don, proprietor of the World's Noisiest Website!

Don is one of my daily reads. If you're interested in music, the odd gardening post and occassional outbreaks of pure silliness, he should be one of yours, too.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)

Cosmic linkage

Somehow, I've got a feeling that these two posts are related. I know the former would certainly drive me to the latter.

SEKRIT LLAMA MESSAGE TO CHAI-RISTA: What can I say, I'm a maroon....

Posted by Steve at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)


Don't forget that INDCent Bill and Proteinated Jeff are doing their "peppy" radio thang this afternoon. This week, Ace and Babalu Blog's Val Pietro will be aboard.

No word about whether O-Dub will make an appearance or whether, in their ongoing series on LOTR architecture, Bill n' Jeff'll do a spot about Troll-holes.

Just have to tune in and see, I guess.

Posted by Robert at 10:22 AM | Comments (3)


Via Jonathan the Galley Slave, it's LarkNews. As Jonathan says, it's basically The Onion for Evangelicals. Here's just a tidbit:

Woman upset by theater mix-up

LANCASTER, Pa. — Maria Holsapple thought she was attending performances at the local community theater, but after twelve weeks, she was angered to learn she had been attending Oak Grove Center, a 3,000-member church.

"I would never willingly go into an evangelical church," says Holsapple, a practicing Catholic.

She came after Oak Grove mailed her "tickets" to upcoming "drama presentations." She enjoyed the "mini-concert, the play and the motivational speech they threw in at the end," she says.

"It worked well as performance art," she says. "I was convinced it was a groundbreaking new theater company."

But when neighbors remarked that they had seen her at church, Holsapple called Oak Grove and discovered it was a house of worship.

"The pastor quoted Jesus, but he quoted Socrates, too, and Britney Spears," she says. "How was I to know?"

Go on over and check out the rest. Frankly, it's hysterical.

Posted by Robert at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

Gratuitous Tax Grumbling

No, not because tomorrow is the deadline for filing.

Rayther, it's because I filed nearly two months ago. The great Commonwealth of Virginia, as is its wont, whipped a check right back at me, practically by return mail.

Meanwhile, tho, Uncle still hasn't coughed up. This also is typical. And it's hard. I mean, c'mon: I'm running out of bundles of hundreds to throw on the fire a la Scrooge McDuck, as well as fivers to fling to the peasants after I run over their children in my coach. How am I supposed to keep up my evil conservative lifestyle if Uncle can't get his act together?

It's always right about now that I start thinking I really ought to be charging interest....

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Posted by Robert at 09:57 AM | Comments (2)

You shoulda seen the other guy

Wow! The pics are in from last month's guys-trip-to-LexVegas to celebrate Robbo turning XL.

This is from Sunday morning, and is the only one that can be published on a family blog:

chicos bail bonds jenna jameson naked.jpg

Special YIPS to our old pal Barry--dude, give me a call, let's go out and do something really silly and stupid. And bonus points for identifying the movie reference.

Posted by Steve at 09:43 AM | Comments (6)

I'm not sure how this advances the dialectic

Our favorite Commie has a very cool link up to a new project that would use a widespread DNA collection as a means to create a sense of human migration patterns over the last few millenia.

Very. Cool.

Why I'm for it: it's pissing off the Chomsky-ites AND the uber-creationists all at once! As Bob and Doug were wont to say, "It's a jelly."

It's also neat in that Jefferson had a cool idea in the Notes on the State of Virginia about doing a similar type of thing but using language---trace back commonalities to find common ancestors and to estimate time of deviation.

Conspiracy theory angle for a cool Dan Brown style thriller---Interpol/FBI gets a warrant to search all the collected DNA samples to track down serial killers. I mean, how would the foundation be able to keep this away from the gummint?

Posted by Steve at 09:31 AM | Comments (1)

Inflatable sheep?

For the love of all that is holy, there are some things even the LLamas will not write about to chum up the google trafffic. So, all props to Phin, pal of the Demystifying Divas, for chumming up a post with references to June Cleaver AND Jenna Jameson, not to mention inflatable sheep. No references to Juliet Huddy naked, or to Condi dominatrix pics, so he's got a ways to go....

Posted by Steve at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2005

To Serve and Protect

James Joyner relays a news report about a woman in Texas who called 9-1-1 to deal with her unruly daughter and was asked by the operator, "Do you want us to come over there and shoot her?"

The woman didn't think this was s'damn funny.

I do.

Furthermore, there is a certain time of day - know around our house as the "Arsenic Hour" - when my immediate response to such a question would be, "Lock and load!"

Posted by Robert at 05:29 PM | Comments (15)

Random Tee-Vee Observation

I flopped down last evening in front of TMC and tried to watch the old Errol Flynn movie Charge of the Light Brigade. For whatever reason, I just couldn't get into it. (As I get older, I get less and less tolerant of Flynn. Dunno why.)

So instead, I flipped over to The History Channel which is once again running Band of Brothers. This is one of those series that of course I'm going to watch when I stumble across it because, well, I'm a guy and it's a WWII series. A very well done one, at that.

Nonetheless, every time I see BoB, the same thought floats through my head: Damian Lewis, who plays Capt. Winters, looks like a constipated cat:

You be the judge.

Just wanted to get that out there.

Posted by Robert at 04:37 PM | Comments (9)

Mozart Blogging - Hey, I Didn't Start It

Via Gordon the Cranky Neocon, we're directed to a post by the Loyal Achates comparing passages from classical operas (and other selections) and modern punk rock and gangsta rap and asking what the difference is:

Punk rockers encourage suicide, but even they don’t glorify it like Berlioz or Handel, and Leadbelly could certainly teach all these ‘gangstas’ a thing or two about getting away with murder.

So; sex, violence, rape, drugs, race, murder, sadomasochism... what is it, then, that makes modern music the scourge of parents and decent living? Is it because they use bad words? Have bad taste in clothes and jewelry? Actually say the things that used to be hidden behind catchy melodies?

Well, I expect someone could go on at great length about this issue. Unfortunately, I don't really have the time. But to expand a little bit, I did just want to say this: What really perked up my ears was his quotation of two excerpts from Don Giovanni. Achates calls them "classical smut", and there certainly is a low appeal, but I would argue that these passages, at least, illustrate and examine the existence of various vices within the human condition but are not simply there for the prurient interest, much less glorification of such vices. Although Achates spots the naughty bits, he doesn't see them in their proper context:

The first is from the beginning of Act I, just after Giovanni has run the Commendatore through.

Don Giovanni: Leporello, where are you?
Leporello: I’m here, worse luck. And you?
Don Giovanni: I’m here.
Leporello: Who’s dead; you, or the old man?
Don Giovanni: What a stupid question! The old man.
Leporello: Bravo! Two impressive feats; to rape the daughter and kill the father.
Don Giovanni: Don’t look at me, he was asking for it.
Leporello: And Donna Anna, was she asking for it too?

I'd point out two things here. First, the major plot of the opera is, in fact, the revenge that comes down on Giovanni for killing the Commendatore. I hardly think being dragged screaming off to hell by a group of demons for murder constitutes its glorification. As to Donna Anna, well, the answer turns out to be "yes" - it becomes pretty clear during the course of the opera that she was seduced, not raped. This is part of a longer study of the Don as smooth stalker and the reasons why various women fall for him, not a shout out for rape. (Indeed, later in the Act, when Giovanni does attempt to rape Zerlina, he nearly gets his nuts cut off then and there by a mob.)

Then there's Zerlina's famous "Batti, batti" aria:

Beat me, dear Masetto,
beat your poor Zerlina.
I'll stand here as meek as a lamb
and bear the blows you lay on me.
You can tear my hair out,
put out my eyes,
yet your dear hands
gladly I'll kiss.

Sopranos don't sing this aria at recitals because it glorifies abuse, they sing it because of the beauty of the music. And again, there is that psychological subtlety thing working which deflects the notion that this is just hoity-toity smut: Anyone who has paid any attention to the plot up to this point knows perfectly well that Masetto wouldn't dream of laying a finger on Zerlina and that she is simply using her wiles to press his buttons and bring him back under her spell.

So you have both the exquisite music of Mozart - don't be so quick to dismiss the intrinsic value of a "catchy tune" as art for its own sake - coupled with a recognition and exploration of the darker side of the human condition on a complex, subtle and grown up level. You don't tend to see these traits in the kind of modern music we're talking about here. That's why I, at any rate, listen to the one and not the other.

Oh, and the bad taste in clothes and jewelry doesn't help.

Posted by Robert at 04:00 PM | Comments (11)

Deep doo-doo

It looks like the College Board has stepped in it reeeeeeeeeeal good.

All I can say is: hah!

Posted by Steve at 03:46 PM | Comments (2)

A very cool book

Sheila reviews a classic.

Posted by Steve at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)


Publius pundit, your one stop shop for democratic revolutionary news:


Thomas Lifson at American Thinker has an important item out about growing unrest in China. Huge riots are occurring, not just in the remote, impoverished west, but now in the wealthier coastal cities. At issue is corruption and impunity. And with the rise of mass communications and Internet connectivity, Chinese expectations about governance are rising. A billion people are getting sick of all the corruption and oppression they see around them.

The root of the problem is this: the government will not renounce unworkable communism as its philosophy. It says communism is its system but capitalism is its policy. That contradiction leaves the worst bureaucratic and political features of communism in place (you can’t get rid of anyone via ballot box, for one thing), while the growing private sector watches the horror from an increasingly capitalist framework. This is big news.

It certainly is.

Posted by Steve at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)


I just did an extended jag on NBC's sweeps week megabomb-to-be Revalations, but it just went into the moo-knew memory hole. Which ticks me off, as I had a really funny red heifer burger joke that I can't remember the set up for.


I'll just have to leave you with this then:

Posted by Steve at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

Now that's downright cynical

From Chai-rista: apparently Kurt Cobain's hometown is trying to capitalize on the touristic value of his fame.

But man, that's just downright cold:


Posted by Steve at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

I know colleges are trying to encourage internships, but this is a little much...

All I can say to this is WTF?

Posted by Steve at 02:32 PM | Comments (2)

Opening Day at Fenway

The Irish Elk has it all covered.

But of course!

My only quibble with this (the delegation of Boston sports greats from other sports) is:
boston greats.gif

What, no Doug Flutie?

Here's the money shot, two things I'd never thought I'd see: Andrew Sullivan admitting he was wrong, and this


See what I mean about the Jesus Bobblehead?

damon small.gif football jeebus.gif

Posted by Steve at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

We're Not Worthy!

We Llamas like to pride ourselves on covering the waterfront of culture: high, low, throat, etc. But I don't think we've ever managed to jam Dr. Johnson, 21st Century neo-primitivism and lesbian vampire flicks into the same post before.


Posted by Robert at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

Is it just me?

Robbo milked some mileage out of the Jesus action figure thing yesterday, but looking at the blowup of the picture over at Protein Wisdom caused me to fall out of my chair:

jesus moses looking buff.gif

Now look a little closer:

jesus kung fu.gif

That's right: Jesus has the Kung-fu grip!

What's next: Satan as the new commander over at C.O.B.R.A.?

Posted by Steve at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

Meme with the week

Apparently, we're "drunk with power."

Tip of the big furry commie regalia encrusted hat to the Commissar.

Posted by Steve at 12:48 PM | Comments (2)

Now We Know Why Luke's Home Planet Is Called "Tattooine"

Dr. Rusty introduces us to George Lucas' secret weapon for getting a hammer-lock on the 18-30 male demographic in the latest Star Wars opus.

Subtle, it ain't.

Posted by Robert at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

Gaddafi--the opera!

Fortunately, Beautiful Atrocities Jeff is on this like stink on a mule.

For my money, BA is consistently the funniest blog out there.

Posted by Steve at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

Remember the past

I'm going to go out on a limb and disagree with Ace on this: I think the Republicans should dump Tom DeLay faster than Oliver Willis through the drive through window at Hardees on all-you-can-eat curly fry day.

And here's the reason why: jim wright.jpeg
remember me?

Posted by Steve at 12:39 PM | Comments (3)

Holy crap!

Axis Sully? Admitting he was wrong on Iraq (not in supporting it, but by going all hysterical housewife on the kitchen chair after seeing a mouse)? No way!


My guess? The fund-raising bonanza has been spent down fixing the exploding toilet and buying leather accessories for the beagle. Look for a newly chastened "I was always with ya" Sully doing a full force spring pledge drive in about two weeks.

Support a real blogger instead.

Posted by Steve at 12:26 PM | Comments (3)

Go Ahnd Boil Yer Bottoms, You Sons of A Silly Person!

The Colossus has the latest odds on the Papal succession, with a strong surge by the French candidate.

How 'bout a little modified (and from memory) Python humor?

King Arthur: We have been charged by God with the quest for the Keys of St. Peter. Go and tell your master that if he gives us food and shelter for the night, he may join us on this sacred quest.

Guard: Well, ah'll ask 'im, but ah done think 'e'll be verrah interested - 'e's already got zem, you see?

King Arthur: What?

Sir Galahad: He says they've already got them!

King Arthur (to Guard): Are you sure?

Guard: Oh, yais, they're verrah nice. (Aside to his mates) Ah tol' them we already got zem!

Guard's Mates: Snigger, snigger.

King Arthur: Well then, ah, can we come up and have a look?

Guard: Of course nottah! You are English types-ah!

King Arthur: Well, what are you then?

Guard: Ahm French! Why do you tink ah have dis out-rage-ious ac-cent, you silly King-gah?

Now that I've started you off, feel free to carry on the taunting yourselves.

YIPS from Steve: You know what would be really cool? A Monty Python French Knight random insult generator. That would be awesome.

Posted by Robert at 11:19 AM | Comments (4)

Wednesday Time Waster

Courtesy of our craptaculous colleague in the Red Ensign Brigade The Mad Sister.

WAIT! Don't order now! Just the perfect cure for a dingy Wednesday morning.... But to be perfectly honest, I'm much more of a Third Amendment Absolutist myself...

Posted by Steve at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

Heeeere, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty......BLAM!

A Wisconsin citizen's advisory group has passed a referrendum in support of allowing licensed hunters to shoot feral cats, which have become a scourge to the local songbird population. The proposal still has to wend its way up through the bureaucracy and pass the state legislature before people legally can start popping Sylvester.

Needless to say, this has got cat-lovers in a tizzy. I would just point out that the only thing stopping the cats from killing them is a lack of opposable thumbs, which ruins their grip and spoils their aim. Otherwise, you'd need a kevlar helmet and a flak jacket just to go check the mail.

As for these cats' domestic brethren, I've got just one word for what would happen if the feral population ever militarized: Anschluss.

Posted by Robert at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

Birthday Yips!

Go out to our friend JohnL over at TexasBestGrok. John was, I believe, the very first blogger to pay any attention to us Llamas back in the day. I suppose this is a sign of his immaturity - he is only 37 today, after all.

Anyhoo, Happy Birthday!

Yip! Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 09:26 AM | Comments (1)

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

Perhaps it's fortuitous, given that I was just posting about country music, but the local classical station is now running Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C major (the "Great"). It makes my father cringe every time I say this, but despite its many flaws (and it certainly has them), I love this piece.

Not only this, the station is playing my recording of it - a performance on the London label by Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic. This is one of the best performances of any piece of music I think I've ever heard recorded. But then I've always been an ardent admirer of Solti's control and clarity.

Posted by Robert at 09:16 AM | Comments (1)

Random Commuter Thoughts

As some of you already know, I tend to listen to country music in the car. I really don't like any other kind of popular music and it's far too noisy to listen to jazz or classical. (Plus, I disapprove of using classical music as background noise. But that's another issue.)

Anyhoo, there's a new group around called Sugarland. The lead vocalist has a voice a lot like Terri Clark's, big and strong, except that she has the oddest case of "vowel drift" I've heard in a long time. Once she starts on a given vowel, you never quite know where she's going to end up, especially if the word is drawn out.

So, for example, "world" becomes something like, "weeeuuuuuaarld".

Thought you might like to know.

(Oh, for any of you who happen to catch the Ben & Brian Show on WMZQ (or elsewhere), I just have to say that it isn't the same since they booted Jamie Kennedy off. Too bad.)

Posted by Robert at 09:08 AM | Comments (2)

April 12, 2005

Someone's really going to need to take one for the team

To follow up on the post of this morning, to wit: Gordo, I realize it's a nasty mission, but dammit man, this is for the republic! For which it stands!

Now go out there and make us proud!

Posted by Steve at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

Here's the setup for a really bad joke...

So Johnny Cochran, the Pope, and Andrea Dworkin all arrive in front of St. Peter at the same time, see, and.....

Yips! from Robbo. Fixed it. Sorry 'bout that. (It's after 5 - you know.)

Posted by Steve at 05:01 PM | Comments (5)

What Is Thy Bidding, My Master?

I see that we Llamas are right up at the top in google search results for "Darth Mickey". Heh.

I take that as a prompting in the Force that I owe you the conclusory chapter in my Fear and Loathing in Disney World series.

It is my destiny......

Posted by Robert at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

Law School Daze

Ann Althouse posts this afternoon about law students taking advantage of their school's Wi-Fi system to IM each other in class and asks if maybe this might not be something to encourage rather than suppress. She says, in part:

We got going on the subject of how maybe we should outright encourage the students to IM, including sending tips and cues to a student who is engaged in Socratic dialogue with the lawprof. What's wrong with students pooling their expertise on the fly? The student doing the speaking is not rendered passive. He or she will still have to read the messages quickly and integrate them with existing knowledge. It could be lively and energizing.

"Lively and energizing" is about right. Allow me to share a precautionary anecdote that several people swear happened to someone in the class ahead of me back when I was doing the law school thing. (Our Llama Military Correspondent, who also heard this story, will back me up on it, even if I get one or two details wrong.)

First year criminal law was taught at my school by a former Marine Corp JAG officer, an ass-kicking Southern Boy who routinely showed up for class with a large coffee mug shaped like a shotgun shell. He was a holy terror to all of his students. Indeed, on damp days I can still feel the old wounds where he got me one Ash Wednesday after I foolishly stayed out too late at a Mardi Gras party the night before.

Anyhoo, this professor's modus operandi was to select a victim at the beginning of class and slam them until he got tired of it. So the first five minutes or so, as he did his introductory spiel, was an agonizing time for everybody, as no one knew whose forehead was hosting that little red laser targeting dot. Once he called a name, of course, everyone else unclenched, but the poor victim sometimes was so shaken as to be rendered witless.

So the story goes that one time this Prof was leading the class through a discussion of the Model Penal Code definition of rape. All of a sudden, he turned on some poor girl and said, "Miss So-and-So, what elements do you need to have in order to satisfy the MPC requirements for rape?"

The girl froze up.

As she sat there, the guy next to her leaned over and whispered, "Penetration."

"Penetration!" she blurted out in a panic.

"Penetration, huh?" said the Prof, "How much penetration?"

The girl froze again.

The guy sitting next to her leaned over and whispered, "Ten inches."

"Ten inches!" she blurted out.

The class held its collective breath.

"Ten inches, huh," said the Prof, "Miss So-and-So, I would suggest that not only are you wrong, you're spoiled."

The class went to pieces. If I remember correctly, they were laughing so hard he eventually had to dismiss them.

Posted by Robert at 04:30 PM | Comments (3)

"Happy Birthday, MISTEr Present..Prezden..Prets..Uh, Chief Guy Thingy. You're Hot!"

Jonathan V. Last over at Galley Slaves reports that Paris Hilton may be considering remaking some old Marilyn Monroe movies.

I reckon this is either going to cause you to put something through your computer screen in horror and rage or rupture your spleen laughing. I leave it to you to decide which course to take.

UPDATE: The Irish Elk refers to one of my favorite awful movie lines, which got me wondering: If Paris did do a remake of The Prince and the Showgirl, who would get saddled with playing the Prince? My vote, based on recent history, would be Kenneth Branagh. He who rises by supplanting Larry should fall by supplanting Larry.

You think Olivier had it bad........

Posted by Robert at 02:36 PM | Comments (7)

Unchurch Militant

In case you haven't seen the latest religious craze sweeping the country, allow me to present the Unitarian Jihad. Motto - "Believe whatever you like, so long as you blow something up for it."

My U-J name? "Brother Garrote of Loving Kindness." What's yours?

And in this hyper-linked, real-time world we inhabit, how long can a church go without a splinter group? It's the First Reformed Unitarian Jihad. My name there? "Brother Whip of Enlightened Love." I think I like that one better.

I've seen a number of new disciples over the past day or two. However, my immediate source of testimony was The Disgruntled One.

YIPS from Steve: INFIDEL! HEATHEN! Everyone knows the Southwestern Rhode Island Synod is the one true Unitarian Jihad faith.

Deuce volt! So sayeth

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sibling Broadsword of Mild Reason.

Get yours.

Posted by Robert at 01:17 PM | Comments (6)

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division, Part II

Reynolds is at it again, singing the praises of push-mowers.

The technology here must have changed vastly from when I was a kid. We had a push mower for the turf in my parents' rose garden. The thing was a cast-iron bitch to use - it was hard to push and would jam at nothing. Plus, in order to do a thorough job, you had to go over every bit of grass two or three times at least. That patch of grass could not have been any more than about 20 x 20 feet. How Glenn takes on a whole half acre with his mystifies me.

Posted by Robert at 11:59 AM | Comments (1)

My Very First and Very Last Michael Jackson Post

For what it's worth, I think Michael Jackson is a freak and a creep, a kind of celebrity Frankenstein's monster. And while I have not followed his trial at all, I don't have much trouble believing him at least capable of what he has been accused of doing.

Having said that, however, I have a question: Just what the hell kind of parent would allow their child within five hundred yards of this guy, much less alone in a room together?

That is all.

Posted by Robert at 11:18 AM | Comments (2)

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division

Dicentra spectabilis - Image courtesy of Greek Flowers.

Lest you think I'm completely one sided in my socio-political outlook, may I just take a moment of your time to sing the praises of Bleeding Heart?

I have a row of these along my front walk - a sheltered, southeastern exposure with light shade. You know Spring has officially arrived when they break the surface. And once they do, it's amazing how fast they come up. Mine have grown two feet in the past week and are already putting out flowers.

Unfortunately, they don't last forever - the hot summers in Northern Virginia cause them to get a bit cranky, so that a second bloom is pretty rare. But while they're in full swing, they're terrific.

Posted by Robert at 11:06 AM | Comments (4)

"You Pitch The Tent - I'll Slaughter The Lamb."


CNN reports that a teddy bear manufacturer is coming out with a line of foot-tall talking Biblical dolls.

Perhaps I just haven't had enough coffee yet and I'm sure I'm going straight to hell for it, but I can't help channelling G.I. Joe. Forget the Biblical verses, I think the dolls should use modified Joe-speak. What are the odds that Jesus will come equipped with Kung-Fu Grip? And the rod of Moses really ought to have a launchable head.

The article says that the company plans to roll out five Biblical figures per year in the future. Personally, I can't wait for the Salome doll. The cat-fight possibilities between her and the Llama-ettes' cohort of Barbies are endless.

YIPS from Steve: I'd put a fiver on the Magdelene--she'd kick Barbie's ass up and down the street, and twice on the sabbath.

Seriously, though, I think this doesn't hold a candle to the "Football Jesus" Bobble-Head:

football jeebus.gif

Violate what, three of the Ten Commandments with one easy order of $14.95, plus shipping.

UPDATE: Welcome Jawaphiles!

UPDATE DEUX: Goldstein's got full-length pics. Who knew there was a salon on Sinai?

Posted by Robert at 10:22 AM | Comments (3)

WTF? or, "Woman, don't you know someone done shot that there game fowl on your head?"

Rob, you're the expert on such things---is there some bizarre, ancient ritual dating back to the Jutes where the heir apparent, when remarrying a strumpet, has to display her publicly with a dead pheasant on her head?

I blame the Venerable Bede, somehow.


Yips! from Robbo: Actually, this represents something of a reform: I understand that Wallis Simpson wore the head of a puppy on a heavy gold necklace.

Posted by Steve at 09:40 AM | Comments (7)

Mickey Rourke, Auteur

The old Mickster is worried--nay, downright pissed---about the low quality of acting these days in Hollywood.

Yes, I had the same reaction: Mickey Rourke is alive?

Apparently he is, yet apparently he has no memory of perhaps the absolute worst truly bad movie of all time: 1991's unforgetable Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.


Plot? Something about at the level of a live action extended video for the Village People, featuring the has-been heaven of Don Johnson, one of the hairier Baldwin Brothers (does it really matter which one? I think it was "Chip" Baldwin, or maybe "Tito" Baldwin), Tia Carrere, the late, great, pro-wrestler Big John Studd, Giancarlo Esposito, and the pre-noveau virginal Vanessa Williams.

The only nice thing you can say about Rourke's participation in Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man was that it was really a movie before its time: it in many ways would be the perfect comeback vehicle for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Since it looks like CHiPS 04 aint going to happen...

chips w baldwin.jpg

Posted by Steve at 09:27 AM | Comments (2)

Doing to LOTR What Ought To Be Done To LOTR*

Our pal Lintenfiniel Jen has dug up a couple of LOTR parodies. I particulary enjoy "'Mordor' with a D."

Heh, indeed.

* Title taken from the old New Yorker review of the Marx Brothers' Night at the Opera -"Doing to Il Trovatore what ought to be done to Il Trovatore."

Posted by Robert at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)

Someone is going to have to take one for the team here....

It's come to this: we need to get INDC Bill some, umm, errr, action.

And fast.

Posted by Steve at 08:59 AM | Comments (2)

April 11, 2005


"Hello, Mr......Anderson"

Man with suitcases detained at U.S. Capitol.

No word yet on what was in the suitcases (if anything). But judging by the way this guy acted, I'd say he needs to spend some more time in the simulations before he injects himself back into the Matrix.

Posted by Robert at 04:46 PM | Comments (2)

Professor LLamabutcher says...

prof llamabutcher.gif southpark consv.jpeg

Posted by Steve at 04:42 PM | Comments (5)

Nitwits. Absolutely freaking Nitwits.

Apparently, a part of the Republican coalition is not ready for majority status---in fact, they're not ready for minority party status, and prefer complete marginalization and delegitimacy instead:

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is a fairly accomplished jurist, but he might want to get himself a good lawyer -- and perhaps a few more bodyguards.

Conservative leaders meeting in Washington yesterday for a discussion of "Remedies to Judicial Tyranny" decided that Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan appointee, should be impeached, or worse.

Phyllis Schlafly, doyenne of American conservatism, said Kennedy's opinion forbidding capital punishment for juveniles "is a good ground of impeachment." To cheers and applause from those gathered at a downtown Marriott for a conference on "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith," Schlafly said that Kennedy had not met the "good behavior" requirement for office and that "Congress ought to talk about impeachment."

Next, Michael P. Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said Kennedy "should be the poster boy for impeachment" for citing international norms in his opinions. "If our congressmen and senators do not have the courage to impeach and remove from office Justice Kennedy, they ought to be impeached as well."

Not to be outdone, lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."

Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem,' " Vieira said.

The full Stalin quote, for those who don't recognize it, is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." Presumably, Vieira had in mind something less extreme than Stalin did and was not actually advocating violence. But then, these are scary times for the judiciary. An anti-judge furor may help confirm President Bush's judicial nominees, but it also has the potential to turn ugly.

A judge in Atlanta and the husband and mother of a judge in Chicago were murdered in recent weeks. After federal courts spurned a request from Congress to revisit the Terri Schiavo case, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said that "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) mused about how a perception that judges are making political decisions could lead people to "engage in violence."

"The people who have been speaking out on this, like Tom DeLay and Senator Cornyn, need to be backed up," Schlafly said to applause yesterday. One worker at the event wore a sticker declaring "Hooray for DeLay."

The conference was organized during the height of the Schiavo controversy by a new group, the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration. This was no collection of fringe characters. The two-day program listed two House members; aides to two senators; representatives from the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America; conservative activists Alan Keyes and Morton C. Blackwell; the lawyer for Terri Schiavo's parents; Alabama's "Ten Commandments" judge, Roy Moore; and DeLay, who canceled to attend the pope's funeral.

The Schlafly session's moderator, Richard Lessner of the American Conservative Union, opened the discussion by decrying a "radical secularist relativist judiciary." It turned more harsh from there.

Schlafly called for passage of a quartet of bills in Congress that would remove courts' power to review religious displays, the Pledge of Allegiance, same-sex marriage and the Boy Scouts. Her speech brought a subtle change in the argument against the courts from emphasizing "activist" judges -- it was, after all, inaction by federal judges that doomed Schiavo -- to "supremacist" judges. "The Constitution is not what the Supreme Court says it is," Schlafly asserted.

Former representative William Dannemeyer (R-Calif.) followed Schlafly, saying the country's "principal problem" is not Iraq or the federal budget but whether "we as a people acknowledge that God exists."

Farris then told the crowd he is "sick and tired of having to lobby people I helped get elected." A better-educated citizenry, he said, would know that "Medicare is a bad idea" and that "Social Security is a horrible idea when run by the government." Farris said he would block judicial power by abolishing the concept of binding judicial precedents, by allowing Congress to vacate court decisions, and by impeaching judges such as Kennedy, who seems to have replaced Justice David H. Souter as the target of conservative ire. "If about 40 of them get impeached, suddenly a lot of these guys would be retiring," he said.

Vieira, a constitutional lawyer who wrote "How to Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary," escalated the charges, saying a Politburo of "five people on the Supreme Court" has a "revolutionary agenda" rooted in foreign law and situational ethics. Vieira, his eyeglasses strapped to his head with black elastic, decried the "primordial illogic" of the courts.

Invoking Stalin, Vieira delivered the "no man, no problem" line twice for emphasis. "This is not a structural problem we have; this is a problem of personnel," he said. "We are in this mess because we have the wrong people as judges."

I've got just one word for this: complete and total jackasses.

Okay, that's four, but you get my drift.

Methinks Republican jackalopes have tried and failed at this before: someone needs to buy them a copy of Rehnquist's book on the attempted impeachment of Justice Samuel Chase by the Jeffersonians for some insights into the political stupidity of all this.

Posted by Steve at 04:31 PM | Comments (3)

Have A Cranky Anniversary!

Gordon the Cranky Neocon celebrated his one year blogoversary this past weekend and, as a nice present, got linked by Goldberg in The Corner. Well done, indeed.

In honor of the day, Gordon talks a little bit about why he started blogging and the history and growth of his baby. (Although I see he failed to mention that little Canadian blog-crush he had last July. Must have been a summer thing. [Insert sound of sniggering here.])

Seriously, though, if you haven't done so already, go on over and add your congratulations. And if he isn't one of your regular reads already, he should be.

Yip! Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 04:16 PM | Comments (1)

For. the. love. of. all. that. is. holy.


A very special llama yip to Sheila for bringing this grave threat to the future of the Republic to our attention.

Posted by Steve at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

Reason No. 5,477 Why I Love The Internet - IMPORTANT UPDATE

It's bunny suicides!

Mwahahaha....Die, Thumper! Die!

Yips! to Lemuel at Deleted By Tomorrow.

UPDATE: Big Llama Yips! to Ed at Monkey Watch for relaying the lowdown from ASV Michele about the original post I linked (and which I have since delinked). Turns out that the person who put it up simply scanned a bunch of cartoons from a couple of books by a guy named Andy Riley without, you know, bothering to credit him or anything. (The links above now go to those books at Amazon.)

Geez. Okay, rank plagiarism is something I don't love about the Internet. But the efforts of people like Ed and Michele to fight it are something I do love. (BTW, I'm leaving this post up as modified instead of yanking it altogether in order to encourage everyone to check these books out. As Michele notes, it would be a nice thing to help the original victim of this business by maybe buying one of his books. The cartoons are very funny.)

Posted by Robert at 02:48 PM | Comments (5)

Google Haiku Meme

We get a fair bit of traffic here owing to some pretty regular google searches. In honor of some of these, I thought I'd try out a new meme by composing some most-popular-search-term-inspired poetry:

Juliet +Huddy +Nude +Pics

FOX News weekend fox.
Without clothes - tasty or not?
We will never tell.

Bananaphone +ring +tone +downloads

Phone begins to ring.
(Who could be calling Llamas?)
Music to our ears.

Alexandra +Steele +Weather +Channel

'Evening Edition'
Usurped by perky bimbo.
Lopez has more class.

This is fun. Bloggers - feel free to give it a try yourselves. Oh, and for all of you who got here googling these terms, well, welcome!

Posted by Robert at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)


Today's honorable mention: Lucy Liu. Breakthrough career move: Ling on Ally McBeal. Best attributes: tight figure, Stanford education (with honors, no less). Best line in a movie: "Hubba, Hubba" to Mel in one of Mel's recent flicks. Have not seen much of Lucy since Charlie's Angels and Kill Bill. I get the impression she can take it or leave it when it comes to her career. Sure-fire way to put some boost in the movie career: co-star with Grace Park (does not matter what).

Posted by LMC at 02:00 PM | Comments (1)

It's A Wiggly Marketing Success!

The Fab(ulously Wealthy) Four

According to this AP article, the Wiggles have become Australia's richest entertainers, beating out even the likes of Russell Crowe and Nichole Kidman. Their estimated gross income for 2004 was $34.5 million, up from $10.7 million the previous year.

I can readily believe it. If kids play any role in your life, the odds are pretty good that you've run up against these guys at some point. At the Butcher's House, we're pretty deep into Wiggle-mania, with any number of CD's, videos, books and assorted toys. And Lord knows how many pratfalls I've taken doing the Captain Feathersword, "Well, blow me down!" bit.

As a matter of fact, I don't mind this at all. I've always enjoyed the Wiggles. Their songs are pleasant and their skits and routines are silly without being gooshy or preachy. Given the good, simple entertainment they provide, I don't mind ponying up to feed their empire.

Yips! to Lawren.

Posted by Robert at 11:16 AM | Comments (6)

Quick, Say Something!

Light posting this morning.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night to what I at first thought must be the sound of rain on the roof. Given the glorious weather we had in the Dee Cee area over the weekend, this seemed absurd.

After a minute or two I realized that what I was hearing was the sound of something scrabbling around in the attic. In my half-zorked condition, I started worrying that it was a rat chewing through the beams and that the roof was going to collapse on me in my bed.

I don't think I ever made it back into deep sleep after that.


Posted by Robert at 10:34 AM | Comments (11)

April 10, 2005

Holy Cow

Here's the Tradesports line on Tiger winning the Masters, as of 7:16 PM EDT:

tiger woods.gif

Here's the DiMarco line over the course of today:


The agony and ecstasy, indeed.

Posted by Steve at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2005

Images we could do without

Thanks, Rusty.

Posted by Steve at 01:10 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005

What he said

I'm agreeing with Rusty on this, as it's been my experience too; however, my one quibble is that the experience I had with Susan Estrich was exactly the opposite---she was a real class act, hilarious, witty, and gracious. So go figure.

Posted by Steve at 11:38 PM | Comments (2)

Attention All Aubrey/Maturin Fans!

Ace is hosting a Patrick O'Brian Haiku Exhibition!

Here's my entry:

Surprise in danger,
Lucky Jack beats to quarters,
Stephen just fiddles.

Pretty good, huh? Huh, wha-? Oh, wait....Didn't I read that name correctly? O'Brien? Who the hell is that?

Shoot. Never mind.

Posted by Robert at 06:02 PM | Comments (3)

Fishy...Fishy....Fishy....Fish, Oh!

Members of PETA rehearse for their "Fish Empathy Project" Tour

Lemuel at Deleted By Tomorrow brings us a tale of fallout from PETA's efforts to convince school kids that Fish are People, too. His post restores some of my hope for the younger generation.

Just in case you think he is making this up, here is the PETA Fishing Hurts homepage. You see, it turns out that fish are really warm and caring and smart and everything, with each school providing its members universal health care, midnight basketball leagues and high-quality daycare facilities. Oh, and they all live in harmony with each other. So how can we even think of scooping them in and deep-fat frying them?

I commend you in particular to The Hidden Lives of Fish, a piece of anthropomorphic bubble-blowing on a scale (Ba-DUMP-da!) I've seldom seen.

Oh, and while you're over there, be sure to Consider the Lobster, where "renowned author" David Foster Wallace poses this question for the Ages:

“Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?”

The answer, of course, is yes, just so long as you're sure you've got plenty of lemon and melted butter standing by.

Posted by Robert at 05:41 PM | Comments (3)

Waugh Blegging


Perhaps I richly deserve to be called an ignoramous, but this actually is completely new to me - Helena, by Evelyn Waugh. It appears to be a fictional history of the mother of the Emperor Constantine which tracks the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. Given his religious zeal, I imagine the Old Boy must have had a field day with this one.

Anybody out there have any thoughts about this book?

Posted by Robert at 04:16 PM | Comments (7)

This One's For Mom


Go, Phil!

Posted by Robert at 02:59 PM | Comments (3)

Animal Ha-Ha's

Mixolydian Don links to an interesting little article in LiveScience about studies that indicate some animal species (chimps, dogs and, apparently, rats) laugh. I want to know which poor undergrad research assistant got tagged with the job of tickling the rats.

Of course, anyone who's ever owned a dog already knows that they both laugh and smile. Cats, on the other hand, do not. Instead, they sneer. That pretty much says it all.

Posted by Robert at 02:17 PM | Comments (6)


That's a new one.

This has all the makings of a farce for the ages....

Posted by Steve at 01:36 PM | Comments (2)

Ummm, PResident Gore?

Yeah. A Mr. Reality is on line two, calling from StupendouslyObvious Associates, Inc.

Posted by Steve at 01:31 PM | Comments (1)

More Cylons In OUr Midst

"Proceed...with next phase of Earth infiltration...."

A while back, I posted on the horrible danger my semi-cousin Cam was letting himself in for by allowing himself to be seduced by his Bimini GPS navigational system.

Now, no less a luminary than Reynolds himself is being taken in by a different manifestation of this intergalactic menace: robot lawnmowers.

People, I tell you truly. These things may look like a good idea. But at the appointed time, they're all gonna receive instructions from Cylon High Command to go for your Achilles tendons, incapacitating you so the second wave can mop up more easily. When that happens, don't say I didn't warn you.

UPDATE: And let me just point out again that this is just part of their plan. Watching this show exposes you to highly-subtle rays that alter the genetic structure of your corneae. When the Cylons eventually flip the switch, your eyes are going to swell up and explode, leaving you blind and helpless.

It's all true.

UPDATE DEUX: Eric at Classical Values weighs in with a lawnmowing counterproposal. I dunno how efficient one of these things would be in keeping the grass neat, but I'd take on one of those robots with it any day.

Posted by Robert at 01:29 PM | Comments (2)

Denzel and the Bard

From Terry Teachout's review of a new production of Julius Caesar starring Denzel Washington:

According to the posters, Denzel Washington is the star of “Julius Caesar,” which opened Sunday at the Belasco Theatre. The fine young ladies in the balcony signified agreement by squealing when he made his entrance in a sharp-looking business suit, this being a modern-dress version of Shakespeare’s classic tale of dirty work in ancient Rome. Don’t let appearances fool you, though: The real star of this mostly horrible show is Colm Feore, who is high-strung and lustrously precise as Cassius. Next to him, Mr. Washington comes off like a well-meaning amateur, standing stiff as a weathervane and gabbling his way through Brutus’ lines. Sometimes he snaps into focus, but for the most part he stalks haplessly through Daniel Sullivan’s hopelessly confused updating, which is set in some unknown country—perhaps the one where modern-dress Shakespeare productions go to die….

Heh. This doesn't surprise me at all - I thought the same thing of Washington's performance as Don Pedro in Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing. (Indeed, I thought all of the Americans in the cast, up to and including Michael Keaton, were completely outclassed by their Brit counterparts.)

I'm not suggesting for an instant that Denzel Washington isn't a good actor. He is. But it would appear he's no Shakesperian.

Posted by Robert at 12:50 PM | Comments (5)

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)


The other day, the five year old read Frog and Toad Together to me. Right the way through. I've always liked the Frog and Toad series - the artwork is very good, bordering on the inspired in some places, and the stories entertaining without being too gooshy or saccharin. (Toad, for example, is a bit of a dummy and Frog gently patronizes him.)

Anyhoo, as the gel was reading, I noticed something which I've also often remarked in her elder sister: It wasn't enough for her just to get the words out. She also wanted to emote, to get in the sense of the words. This got me wondering - where did this urge come from? I've always made a point of trying to inject as much dramatic sense into my readings to the Llama-ettes as possible, so maybe they pick it up from me. On the other hand, it may just be innate. I really don't know. (UPDATE: When I say "I", I mean "we". The Missus was a theatre major in college, after all.)

I like to do other things when I read to them. For example, I often adopt individual voices for characters. This can be tough on occassion. (Try reading The Monster at the End of This Book with full Grover histrionics three or four times in rapid succession. Sore throat, indeed.) Sometimes I'll ad lib in order to punch up a line or (where I think it's tedious) to shorten it. The seven year old, whose desire for order approaches the Cromwellian, hates this. She always follows along as I read and if I wander away from the script, almost invariably calls me on it.

UPDATE: Speaking of such things, I have confess that I've been having some fun with the noisy toy my sister sent the seven year old for her birthday. More recent dramatic renderings include:

Exterminate the Dok-tor! Exterminate! Exterminate!!

Nnnnnnn.......What you got, beyotch?

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto......

But I'm still gonna get Sis back.....

Posted by Robert at 10:50 AM | Comments (6)

What the Dickens Is Going On Here?

Ann Althouse relays a NYTimes blurb about plans to construct a Charles Dickens Theme Park in Chatham, Kent, where Dickens lived as a boy.

The imagination boggles.

Will the snack bars serve Oliver's gruel and Miss Haversham's wedding cake?

Posted by Robert at 10:10 AM | Comments (3)

Heh. Indeed. Bitches.

Dr. Rusty, after getting into the freon in the sandcrawler's cooling system again, uncovers Glenn Reynolds' Tech Central Station swan song.

Somebody blend that man a puppy!

Posted by Robert at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005

What the....?

I went over to Tradesports.com to see how their betting markets on the next pope are doing, when I came across THIS new contract:

Whether the US will bomb either Syria, Libya, Iran, Cuba, Sudan, or North Korea by June 5.

Sure, the contract is betting pretty low at this point, but is something up that this would crop up now?

Posted by Steve at 08:33 PM | Comments (7)

Well sure

Why not?

Carl would look good in the Green Jacket---I mean, he'd have to cut off the sleeves and all, but all in all a good look.

Posted by Steve at 08:27 PM | Comments (3)

In the immortal words of the poet laureate Joey Lawrence...


This would so cool, if it's real.

Posted by Steve at 08:24 PM | Comments (5)

Live-Blogging Bill N' Jeff On The Air

I'm going to give it a try. Maybe. Stand by.

UPDATE: I must say, the concession stand in the lobby really sucks. No Mr. Pibb? Oh, and that usher taking the tickets is a rude little sum'bitch. By the way, I didn't know you guys were into Bob James.

MORE: Fascinating, Captain. Sensors indicate concentrations of extreme upbeat "sauciness" dead ahead. Bill, don't you ever, ever call me a dork ever again.

MORE STILL: I'm just guessing, but I'll bet Charles Johnson is a good twenty years older than either Bill or Jeff.

CJ: "The biggest threat to the planet? That might be Oliver Willis." He also cites P.J. O'Rourke as one of the reasons he (Johnson) has moved to the right. Good man.

Okay, now I want to know what the "terrible secret" of Little Green Footballs is.

Section 1 Conclusion: Nice interview with Johnson. (Like I know anything about it.)

MORE: I thought Willis was up next. They're going straight to the Hobbit Hole guy?

UPDATE: Looks like Willis chickened out after all. Let the mockery begin anew! Where is that box of Rice-O-Roni?

ROUND TWO: Who is this Rob Harrison? It's not a hobbit hole if people live in it, it's a walk-in basement.

Okay, Bill and Jeff are starting to sound an awful lot like Letterman interviewing a guy who collects tinfoil.......

MORE: Ah, yes, the ol' "the LOTR movies were good because they'll get people to read the books" gambit. Ssssssss! We hates it! Nasty, tricksy, wicked, false!

WRAP UP: Oh, cool, they say Ace is going to be on next week.

Overall, I'm impressed. I could never do that sort of live broadcast. But please, don't do that "upbeat" thing anymore.

UPDATE: Bill says Oliver's no-show was a result of a communications snafu, not cowardice. Sorry, Colossus, we're going to have to put a stop-order on that Rice-O-Roni shipment.

Posted by Robert at 02:58 PM | Comments (5)

Same Fish-In-Barrel, Different Shotguns

From 1937's Summer Moonshine by P.G. Wodehouse:

With the feeling that he might just as well have been on a desert island, Tubby tried again to interest himself in the book which lay open upon his knee. But once more he found it too deep for him. It was entitled 'Murder at Bilbury Manor' and was a whodunit of the more abstruse type, in which everything turns on whether a certain character, by catching the three-forty-three train at Hilbury and changing into the four-sixteen at Milbury, could have reached Silbury by five-twenty-seven, which would have given him just time to disguise himself and be sticking knives into people at Bilbury by six-thirty-eight.

The detective and his friend had been discussing this question for about forty pages with tremendous animation, but Tubby found himself unable to share their eager enthusiasm.

And now for something completely different.

Posted by Robert at 02:35 PM | Comments (2)

Mommy! Make the mean man stop!

I'm starting to hear voices...

Posted by Steve at 02:14 PM | Comments (2)


Fighting at the Hornet's Nest, April 6, 1862.

Today is the anniversary of the second and final day of fighting at the Battle of Shiloh, one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War. Go here for a brief account of the battle.

The superb Victor David Hanson devotes a fascinating chapter of his book Ripples of Battle to the events of these two days, including the historical ramification of the freakish death of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston (he bled to death from a chance bullet to the leg) and the terrible effect it had on Southern morale, and the trial by fire of Union Maj. General William T. Sherman, who made a heroic (and successful) effort to stop a full-scale Union panic caused by surprise at the initial Confederate attack - which he should have seen coming, and whose experiences on the battlefield led to something of a military awakening, informing his view that Total War required attacking the South's infrastructure and not just her armies. Hanson also devotes some time to a discussion of Union Maj. General Lew Wallace who, owing to confusing orders, took the wrong road to the Union line, thereby incurring the wrath of General Grant. While Wallace was really blameless in the matter, his military career was effectively over. Taking his energies elsewhere, he went on to write Ben Hur.

Posted by Robert at 01:59 PM | Comments (8)

'Justice" Gomery's going to have his shorts in a twist about this

Putting the "F" back in the First Amendment: Captain Ed with the latest details in defiance of Canada's "publication ban" on the Rhode Island-esque Jean Brault/ADSCAM corruption scandal that will bring down the avatar of the limp noodle Paul Martin's government.

Posted by Steve at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

Is He Really Going To Do It?

In what may be the gravest tactical blunder since the Marianas Turkey Shoot, Oliver Willis is scheduled to be a guest on the INDCent Bill N' Proteinated Jeff Radio Show today. 3 PM EST. Be there.

Posted by Robert at 01:13 PM | Comments (2)

Stop the Presses! Prince Charles Is An Anglican!

This is news? CNN is reporting that at their blessing by the Archbish of Canterbury, Charles and Camilla are going to, gasp, confess their "sins and wickedness" in the "strongest act of penitence from the Book of Common Prayer from 1662".

Any self-respecting Rite I Episcopalian knows and loves this language, as it is identical to what we read from the 1928 BCP:

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The 1979 revision to the BCP, used in the Rite II service, considerably de-emphasizes the theme of penitence:

Oh great Comforter and provider of that Happy Place in which we may contemplate how You are just like Us; We have from time to time had some miscommunication about some of the Life Options we choose to take, from which we sense that there may be some conflict here; and we hate to think that this is causing anybody any tension. So we suggest, with appropriate deference of course, that everyone step back for just a second and take some deep, cleansing breaths. Yes, that's much better, don't you think, Oh Spirit? And you know, Karmic Person, we really don't feel comfortable with any lingering sense of guilt over this awkward situation, so we would really just like to put the whole thing behind us; We'd really appreciate it if you can do the mature thing and just not say anything more about it, okay? Everybody wins? Wonderful. How about a psychic hug?
Posted by Robert at 12:46 PM | Comments (13)

This Is Your Legal System. This is your legal system on drugs.

I just received a copy of an intervenor's complaint in a case I'm working on. In the prayers for relief, where they meant to ask for an injunction they instead asked for an injection.


Posted by Robert at 11:09 AM | Comments (2)

More Google Fun

Someone got to us on the search "Omar Sheriff as Dr. Zhivago."

Maybe it's the big acili kofte dinner I had last night fouling my synapses, but I had a sudden flash of John Wayne as the good Doctor saying to the Bolshies who had commandeered his house in the name of the People, "I am 'the People' too, Pilgrim!"

BTW, Dr. Zhivago holds a special place in the darker recesses of my mind because of "Lara's Theme". There are few things that have me scrabbling for the scissors with which to rupture my own eardrums faster than having to hear this music over and over and over again.

Posted by Robert at 10:55 AM | Comments (3)

Gratuitous Outdoor Posting (TM) - Garden Division

Our pal Chan the Bookish Gardener has a nice column up over at Saucy about starting seeds indoors. (Her basement greenhouse -no illicit crop jokes, please- sounds an awful lot like mine. Except I need to get a timer - when I turn off the lights and try to make my way out of my workshop in the gloom, I almost invariably whack my shins on something.)

I actually wound up not starting anything indoors this year. Instead, I am taking a year to see what the perennial garden can do on its own. There certainly were fists-full of seeds spreading about last fall, so hopefully we'll get some good returns this spring.

Indeed, I'm encountering a problem I hadn't anticipated - lots of seedlings are starting to spring up, but I haven't the faintest idea which ones are the lovely, desirable progeny of my flowers and which ones are the rat-bastard weedlings seeking to overrun the beds in their foul hordes. The only thing I can do is hold off yanking them until I can be certain which are friendlies and which are hostiles.

As for the returning class, the iris, columbine, shasta daisies and hollyhock are already going great guns in terms of new growth. The peonies, Russian sage, salvia, Buddleia, black eye susans, clematis and blackberry lily are all just starting to come on too. Still no sign of the return of the purple and white coneflower, butterfly weed and joe pye weed. I have to restrain myself from worrying about them - they're weeds, fer cryin' out loud! You can't kill them even if you try!

UPDATE: I may have asked this before, but does anybody out there have any experience growing artichoke plants? I'm toying with the idea of giving it a try, but if they're sulky and problematic, I don't want to bother.

UPDATE DEUX: Here's what the folks at Monticello have to say about growing arties in Virginia, which is where I saw my first plant. (It's an unearthly prehistoric-looking thing, like a cross between a thistle and a Venus flytrap.) A little further digging indicates that some varieties are being developed for use here. But it seems like a lot of fuss and bother and commenter Dave, reporting from my neck of the woods, is pessimistic about the results. Eh.

Posted by Robert at 10:08 AM | Comments (6)

"Enough to take down your sorry totalitarian punk ass."

Peggy Noonan (mmmm.....Peggy) reflects today on the momentous occasion in 1979 when John Paul II stood tall in Poland and answered "Uncle Joe" Stalin's sneering rhetorical question about how many divisions the Pope had.

Posted by Robert at 09:32 AM | Comments (4)

April 06, 2005

Today My Name Is Angus Mac Llama

Llama Tartan.jpg
(Robbo the Llama Butcher's Clan Tartan (Ancient). Really.)

Yes, it's the Gathering of the Blogs 2005! (In honor of this day, I'm going to leave this post at the top of the page. Scroll down for fresh Yips.) Today we celebrate all things Scots. Joining me for this Highland fling are the following fine McBlogs:

Absinthe & Cookies The Country Pundit Tributaries Not Exactly Rocket Science Lintenfiniel Musings The Pirate's Blog Ninjababe's Ramble Margi Lowry Baby Troll Blog Miasmatic Review TacJammer A Celt Misplaced Keys Mixolydian Mode Bobo Blogger The Bull Speaks Frizzen Sparks Jenna Thomas-McKie Physics Geek Daily Vegetable Aaron's cc Boudicca's Voice MB's Blogasm Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love The Swanky Conservative MB's Blogalicious Doggie's Blog The Gun Line Grim's Hall

I don't know how to do that update code thingy, so I'm relying on all of you out there to frequently check these blogs for new Scots-flavored postings. Huge Llama Yips! go out to Ith at Absinthe & Cookies for putting this whole thing together.

Scots wha hae! Hoots! Toots!

Posted by Robert at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

Great moments in the history of jurisprudence

I think Ronald Dworkin debated the merits of this with HLA Hart; will those theocrats who are attempting to throttle Amerika with their narrow-minded protestant evangalism be able to succeed in overthrowing the Constitution?

Posted by Steve at 06:33 PM | Comments (2)

William O. Douglas would be rolling over in his grave

To quote Hugo Black, what exactly about "Congress shall make no law..." do they not understand?

If this is upheld, the Alien Terrorist Robots will have won for sure!

Posted by Steve at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

a nice afternoon diversion

Here's a little something while waiting for the carpool mates to get out of an endless meeting:

professor llamabutcher.gif

Thanks to the ever-fabulous Chai-Rista for the tip.

Posted by Steve at 06:03 PM | Comments (1)

Movie Mc Madness

Off topic, a bit, but I can't resist. (Never let it be said that the Scots can't appreciate humor.)

Via Michele, we get MSNBC's Bracket Bonanza, in which 64 favorite comedy movies are seeded against each other in four divisions - Classic, Saturday Night Live Alum, Broad (i.e., slapstick, jokey) and Smart (i.e., anti-slapstick, dark).

Some of these seedings are harsh - I mean, Ferris Bueller vs. Raising Arizona? Ouch!

Anyhoo, my final four are: Raising Arizona (Broad), Blues Brothers (SNL), Bull Durham (Smart) and Holy Grail (Classic). Who will win? I dunno.

Go to it, my friends.

Posted by Robert at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

Why am i not surprised?

They probably had it in the hiking/outdoor adventures section too.

Posted by Steve at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

Gratuitous Scots Musickal Posting (TM)

(Image courtesy of the North Berwick Highland Games.)

As I've always heard tell, the Irish invented the bagpipes in about the 11th Century and gave them to the Scots. The Scots still haven't caught on to the joke.

(Sorry, couldn't resist. As a matter of fact, I rayther enjoy the pipes in an outdoor, competing with a shrieking wind off the moor way.)

For a real sampling of Scots music, go on over to Mixolydian Don's Caledonian Soundtrack series and just start scrolling.

(Speaking of Scots and other Celtic music, I used to have a serious thing about the voice of Fiona Ritchie when I listened to her show regularly in law school. Just sayin. )

Posted by Robert at 03:23 PM | Comments (2)


Um, like, no?

(Delivered in my bitchiest valley-girl accent)

Thanks to Jeff for the pointer. My (serious) take on this? Appoint him to be US Ambassador to France.

Think about it.

Posted by Steve at 03:22 PM | Comments (3)

There goes the neighborhood

Oh my.

Posted by Steve at 03:18 PM | Comments (1)

Iraqi Idol

Boy, I'd love to see that Simon person, Randy Jackson, and whats-her-name be the judges on THIS show.

Posted by Steve at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

White Smoke Watch

The Chai-rista knows who the next Pope will be. (Warning: The No-Sacramental Wine rule is in effect for this link.)

Posted by Robert at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

Heeland Coo

Heeland Coo.jpg
(Image courtesy of the Highland Cattle Society.)

While my own family doesn't do too much regarding its Scots roots, apart from turning out in clan tartan ties and skirts at various holiday dinners, my God-parents and their family are a completely different case. All of them have very Scots Christian names. They fly the St. Andrews Cross. They turn out in full kit, including kilt, dirk and all the rest of it, for various formal occasions. They've been participating in Highland Games and Fairs for donkeys' years. The son plays the pipes and his sisters used to do sword dances. For as long as I can remember, they've used Burns' Selkirk Grace at meals. And, perhaps the capstone on their Caledoniphilia, they own about eight or ten head of Highland Cattle.

Positively prehistoric looking thing, isn't it? In fact, their temperment isn't really all that different from any other cow. But there is something about that shaggy, ageless look that always makes me especially cautious around them. You can't see their eyes, so you're never totally sure what they're thinking. And I sure wouldn't want to make a mistake and get on the receiving end of one of those prongs.

Posted by Robert at 01:49 PM | Comments (5)


Ith posts an excerpt from an article discussing the rising American veneration of all things Scottish in contrast with the, er, more realistic assessment of the culture by actual Scotsmen, and warning the Scots not to be too quick to dismss the sincere intentions of the 'Muricans to honor them.

Although the rise of this particular phenomenon is fairly recent, this kind of American rosy-glasses culture worship is nothing new - just ask any honest American Anglophile (of which I am one, by the way). We revel in Rule, Britannia, the stiff upper lip, the Queen, fox hunts and stirrup cups, the playing fields of Eton, a pint and a plowman's, all things "cricket" and the rest of it, fully aware that modern Britain bears little resemblance to this image (I lived in London for a while) and also that our concept of it is often at odds with a history a good deal grittier and more complicated than we usually choose to remember. We don't care, however, because what we're interested in is the ideal of the Civilisation - that we believe the Brits attempted to achieve. That is what we're really honoring. (P.G. Wodehouse knew all about this phenomenon, by the way, and painted what Evelyn Waugh called his "idyllic [English] world" specifically with his American audience in mind.)

I think the same thing is true of the American obsession with Scotland. We cull what we think to be the best and the brightest of Scots values, culture and history and then we give them what might be called the American Super-Size treatment. The result, as the article notes, is Americans turning out events, pageants and traditions that are more Scottish than the Scots themselves.

(Just as an aside, the article talks a goodish bit about the movie Braveheart being a spark of the most recent wave of enthusiasm. Steve-O and I were talking about the movie one time. Almost the first words out of my mouth were, "Y'know, Edward Longshanks really got a raw deal in that film...." Steve-O doubled over with laughter.)

Posted by Robert at 01:28 PM | Comments (3)

Ach! I Dinna Need Ta' Die When I'm Livin' A Hell Here on Earth!


Lynn Mc S. passes along a landscaping tale appropriate to the season. S'trewth!

Posted by Robert at 12:46 PM | Comments (3)

A Wee Nip

I have to say it again. This is the stuff to give the lads:


The Highland malts - Glenfiddich and the like, are just fine in their way and I wouldn't say no if offered a glass, but there is something about that peaty, smokey Isle of Islay flavor which just sets the Froyg head and shoulders above everything else I've ever tasted.

Recently, I had a bit of an education about some other Island malts. I had never associated the Island of Scapa in the Orkneys with anything in my mind other than the fact that it was there that the Jerries bagged the Royal Oak. But it turns out there are two distillaries there, Scapa and Highland Park. My God-brother (if you will) gave me a bottle of Scapa 10 year old for my birthday. We tried it together. Frankly, well, eh. Not much there. However, after Easter Dinner, my God-father had me try the Highland Park 18 year old. Much better, with a taste that, although still fairly subtle, hits you right on the front of your tongue.

All in all, tho, I think I'm staying on Islay.

UPDATE: Heartfelt Highland Yips! to "Chip" over at the Hatemonger's Quarterly, who knows a thing or two about stocking a bar as evident from this past weekend's First Anniversary Celebratory Bash. (A reminder to Kathy and my other fellow guests: What happens at THQ stays at THQ! Yip! Yip!)

Posted by Robert at 11:59 AM | Comments (7)

Random Cranky Commuter Thoughts

On my daily hike from Metro Center to the office, I walk up E Street past the backside of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building. Across the street from it is a Hard Rock Cafe that is insanely popular with the tourons. Busloads of them show up even for breakfast. Unfortunately, the sidewalk on the north side of E street is closed because of building renovation. So all the tourons these days are deposited on the south side, making for the perfect pedestrian bottleneck. For the past week or two, most mornings there have been literally hundreds of them loitering around, often so thoroughly blocking the sidewalk that people have to walk out into the street (with traffic at their backs) to get around them.

I have a few words to say to these human roadblocks:

YIPS from Steve: Great! Really freakin' great! Now we are going to get all sorts of weird traffic from folks googling up "up the backside of J. Edgar Hoover perfect"

Run away!
Go away!
Go home!
Get lost!
Get off!
Get out!
Get outta here!
Clear out!
Clear off!
Clear the deck!
Bug out!
Bug off!
Bugger off!
Sod off!
Eff off!
Piss off!
Zark off!
Beat it!
Move it!
Move out!
Move on!
Move your ass!
Shake it!
Shake a leg!
Leg it!
Hoof it!
Hit the road!
Hit the highway!
Hit the bricks!
Make like a banana and split!
Make like a tree and leaf!
Make like a rock and roll!
Make like a preacher and get the hell out of here!
Make way!
Make a move!
Make a space!
Make a lane!
Raus shnell!
Be gone!
Be off!
Go back!
Back off!
Step back!
Stand back!
Stand to the raaght!

And have a nice day.

Posted by Robert at 09:41 AM | Comments (8)

April 05, 2005

Musickal Oddities

Jessica Duchen has a photo up of one of the more bizarre, not to say alarming, musical instruments I've ever seen, the Vuillaume Octobasse. (In the pic, she's standing in front of it - the damn thing is 13 feet tall. Here is an Octobasse Home Page that has another photo giving you an idea of the size of the thing.)

Jessica recollects that the instrument was built by Jean Phillipe Vuillaume to the specifications of Hector Berlioz. Wikipedia agrees.

Personally, it seems to me that the thing more probably was put together by the Borg. I wouldn't touch it, for fear of being assimilated into their string section.

I can see it now. "Double stopping is futile...."

Posted by Robert at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

I've got a horse right here, the name is Guenevere, and a guy who says when the weather's clear...

No can do.

I'm sorry, if Vin Diesel plays Sky Masterson I'm going to have to go all Neo to put a stop to it, else the Machine Terrorists will have won.

Still.....who would you cast to make the all-time, biggest stink bomb skeeze-fest dorkatronpalooza movie version of Guys and Dolls?

Sure, if you start with Vin Diesel as Sky Masterson, you'd have to get Penelope Cruz to be the Salvation Army chick--but you'd promote the Sarah Brown character from Sargeant to Major, and make her part of the Salvation Army's top secret Special Forces. She's a commando assasin, see, and she goes along with Sky on the midnight trip to Cuba only so she can assasinate Hugo Chavez, in town for a coke binge with Kaddafi's chick-only commando bodyguards. After a dangerous HALO jump into Cuba, they strip down for a ruff and buff tear through the Commie tropical paradise. Slow-motion explosions ensue, as does sexual innuendo involving Captain Morgan and little bamboo umbrellas.

Then, you'd get your ex-missus Cruise to play Miss Adelaide, leader of the Hot Box dancers by night, but by day a struggling women's studies professor at Columbia. Nathan Detroit? Joe Pesci, of course, or if he's stuck in a contract to play alongside Jim Nabors and Florence Henderson in Streetcar at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Jupiter, Florida, you'd go for Bruno Kirby. When he sings "Sue me, sue me, shoot bullets through me" she does, with a honking big Sig-Sauer (slow motion of the ejected shell, to the tune of Samuel Barber's Adagio for strings), fleeing in their macked-up aqua-marine Prius, with her bisexual lover, the daughter of the Secretary General of the UN, from the monomanical clutches of evil Detective Brannigan (a detoxed Tom Sizemore) in a cross-country car chase in search of secret Illuminati treasure that could blow the lid off milennia of Vatican coverups as to the true nature of Christ (alien, but of course), hidden beneath the midway on the grounds of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

Big Jule of course would be played by Verne Troyer. Nicely-nicely, Bennie, and Harry the Horse? Cedric the Entertainer, Chris Rock and David Spade.

Or, as the late, great Andrew Dice Clay would've said, "Hey, I've got your horse right HERE! Way-ohhhhhh!"

Posted by Steve at 01:51 PM | Comments (7)

How Seriously Cool Is This?


I've seen this kind of thing before, but never this user-friendly. It's a new Google/Keyhole Satellite Image Map that lets you zoom all over the place. (The link goes to a satellite image of the White House.)

Anyhoo, I played around with it for a few minutes and look what I found: See that house at the upper left with the white fence around the back yard? That's mine. The little white rectangle at the back is my flower garden.

As I say, way cool.

Yips! to Andrew Cory posting over at Dean's World.

UPDATE: Yeah, I know. When the black helicopters start circling around the Butcher's House, you can say "I told you so".

Posted by Robert at 01:48 PM | Comments (4)

S'Divine, S'Divas

It's Tuesday, which means the Demystifying Divas, Cake-Eating Kathy, Feisty Christina, Breathless Chrissy and Fortnightly Sadie are once more weighing in on one of those issues, the muddying of which keeps Carolyn Hax and her ilk in clover. This week, the question is what constitutes cheating in a relationship. As is always the case, the Divas provide four interesting and independent essays. Go read.

While we're at it, I'd like to ask the DMD's a follow up question: What is your take on Jonah Goldberg's question, call it the Riker Conundrum, of whether sex with a holodeck image is self-gratification or adultery?

Posted by Robert at 01:26 PM | Comments (1)

If the Tar Heels winning the National Championship aint enough for you

here's another reason to hate Duke.

I think we gave out those three way clicky pens (Hey look! Pink, green and pink! annoying clappy-clap noises and shreeks) with the phone number of the dean's office on it....

Posted by Steve at 01:23 PM | Comments (1)

Ah, Spring!


Tomorrow's high here in Dee Cee is predicted to be in the mid 70's.

It is time, my friends. Oh, yes. It is time.

Posted by Robert at 10:28 AM | Comments (5)

Plum Blogging

How 'bout a little P.G. Wodehouse to start out the morning? I'm currently cantering through Summer Moonshine for the umpteenth time. This novel is something of a curiosity because it contains, so far as I know, the only genuinely evil character Plum ever created, the Princess Von und zu Dwornitzchek, an American fortune and title hunter.

Her nastiness is detailed early on in a scene in which the hero of the novel, Joe Vanringham, who is also the Princess' stepson, explains to the heroine Jane Abbott why he left home years earlier with only ten dollars in his pocket to take his chances in the world:

"And now about my reasons for parting company with the Princess Dwornitzchek. I left because I have a constitutional dislike for watching murder done - especially slow, cold-blooded murder."

"What do you mean?"

"My father. He was alive then - just. She didn't actually succeed in killing him till about a year later."

Jane stared at him. He appeared to be serious.

"Killing him?"

"Oh, I don't mean little-known Asiatic poisons. A resourceful woman with a sensitive subject to work on can make out quite well without the help of strychnine in the soup. Her method was just to make life hell for him."

Jane said nothing. He went on. There was a brooding look in his eyes, and his voice had taken on an edge.

"If you want to know her better, go and see that play of mine. I've put her in it, hide, heels and hair, with every pet phrase and mannerism she's got and all her gigolos and everything, and it's a scream. Thank goodness she is - or was when I knew her - a regular theatregoer, and she's sure to see it when she comes back. It'll take the skin off her."

Jane was feeling cold and unhappy.

"You're very bitter," she said.

"I am a little bitter. I was fond of my father. Yes, she's going to get a shock when she sees that play. I'm counting on it to have much the same effect as the one in Hamlet. There was a good dramatist too, by the way - Shakespeare. But I'm afraid that's all it will do - give her a jolt. It won't cure her. She's past curing. The time I'm speaking of was years ago, but she's still at it."

"At it?"

"Making a fool of herself with boys half her age. She was doing it when father was alive, and she's doing it now. I suppose if we looked up the recent Von und zu Dwornitzchek, we should find he was a lad in the twenties with lavender spats and a permanent wave. She's undefeatable. She'll be just the same when she's eighty. Or maybe she'll decide to settle down before that and I shall find myself with a step-step-father half a dozen years younger than myself who looks like a Shubert chorus boy."

This is strong stuff for Plum. There are plenty of comic villains in Wodehouse's work, imperious aunts, shady crooks and so forth, but none of them - not even Bertie Wooster's nemesis Roderick Spode (who is a lampoon on the 30's British Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley), is painted in such stark terms or with such a black soul as the Princess. Even in the heart of his complex plots of love, money and intrigue, Wodehouse avoided unpleasantness. Here, he tackles it head on and the result is, well, unusual enough that I'm posting about it. And while the novel contains all the usual Wodehouse devices, a complex plot, some great slapstick scenes and two of Wodehouse's classic supporting characters - Prudence Whittaker and Sam Bulpitt, there is also about it a depth of emotion not often seen in his work. And as I say, the Princess is the focal point of the darkest feelings.

I confess that I rather lost interest in Robert McCrum's biography of Wodehouse before it got to this point in his career (1937), but I am curious to go back and check to see what might have been up with him to prompt such an unusually biting outburst.

Posted by Robert at 10:10 AM | Comments (1)

Dishing out the Yips

Need we say more?

Posted by Steve at 02:36 AM | Comments (1)

Well, that explains it.

Heh. Indeed. I should have known....

Posted by Steve at 02:34 AM | Comments (1)

Why am i blogging at 2 am?

Today was a wacky day---I taught in the morning, and then drove 3 1/2 hours up to Dee-Cee as a colleague was giving a lecture for the Supreme Court Historical Society, up at the Court. Mega-cool. Went out for dinner afterwards with a bunch of colleagues, drove around Capitol Hill for 45 minutes dropping a colleague from Maryland off at her car, and then drove the 2 1/2 hours home. It was the coolest driving experience in DC--I came down Constitution Avenue past the Capitol, and the street was empty. As I crested the hill, the traffic lights, which were red, slowly cascaded green, like dominos falling. It was cool. I drove from Capitol Hill to Virginia without hitting a red light.

I was wired up driving from drinking Bark's Root Beer and chewing Juicy Fruit---when I have to drive alone late at night I favor a large chaw of the Juicy Fruit, like five or six sticks at once. That, plus the rolled down window, and the NCAA finals cranking out of an AM station in Raliegh Durham, fading in and out as I rolled through the hills and dales of the Piedmont. Many deer, although none in the road, plus one big old bear eating at the side of the road. Big. Old. Bear. The last 45 minutes of the drive was spent listening to AC/DC "Back in Black," side two. Although, if it's on a CD, is it really side two? Somehow, "tracks 6-12" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "side two," but then I'm just a feckless romantic luddite that way, I guess.


Anyhoo, I'm beginning to get sleepy, so that's it for me tonight. I'm going to sleep (relatively) in tomorrow morning, and I've got a full day of chores and work, but perhaps some blogging midday.

Of the many benefits of having a co-blogger (and there are truly many of them), one of the best is that we seem to have developed a nice flow---when one of us is exceptionally busy or on vacation, or doesn't have much to say, the other is usually tucking into a nice blogging jag. The net result is that the whole enterprise not only remains to be fun, but has gotten more fun as time passes. It's a nice outlet, to be perfectly honest, and I think I can speak for Rob here that we are just tickled pink that we have developed a steady readership. For some reason that I can't trace to any one source, our traffic has steadily increased over the last month, to where a large core of our readers seem to come from bookmarks they've placed on their browsers, rather than from other blogs. We appreciate all your comments, and the regular banter and correspondence we've struck up with quite a number of you. So thanks for making the LLamabutchers such a fun thing to come home to. We've been working on some ideas for new features for the summer (I'd like to launch a Carnival of the Gardeners, keyed for both flowers and veggies), and I'm fixing to learn me some Flash Macromedia too. So we'll see.

In the meantime, we'll just keep following our motto: "Lighten up, Francis." Heaven fortend if we ever turn into the Mister Hands of the blogosphere.

See you tomorrow!

Posted by Steve at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

There is no justice in the world!

Rusty is still banned from Google News, and Jeff Gannon still lives.

Posted by Steve at 02:09 AM | Comments (1)

There's a special double-pointy asshat for these folks.

Asshat is the only word for these people.

Posted by Steve at 02:06 AM | Comments (4)

The Legacy of the 42nd President of the United States

Given W. Jefferson Blythe's obsession with his legacy, this is somewhat appropriate.

BTW, with the denoument of Pantsgate, and Berger's guilty plea, what was the final tally of convictions for Clinton officials?

And how long is it before Sandy Berger, hard up for cash, starts doing Office Depot commercials?

Posted by Steve at 02:02 AM | Comments (0)

The Red Ensign Middle Finger Salute

Hey Judge Gomery---here's what I think of your publication ban, eh.

It's a jelly.

UPDATE: Reading through this stuff just makes me laugh: when the hell did Canada turn into a satire of Rhode Island?

On Thursday, Jean Brault began his testimony, subject to the publication ban, and revealed a massive pattern of corruption going to the highest levels of the Liberal party and government. Brault testified to hundreds of thousands of dollars of bogus transactions designed to benefit the Liberal Party of Canada over a period from 1994 to 2002.

Most of the illegal campaign contributions involved Brault either hiring “employees” -- who were in fact working full time on Liberal Party activities -- or paying invoices for Liberal Party campaign expenses (which were never declared as such) or making untraceable cash donations to Liberal officials. In exchange for helping the federal Liberals in Quebec, Brault received millions of dollars in federal advertising contracts.

Brault said he met with Jean Carle, a key aide to then Prime Minister Jean Chretien to propose a more direct way of ensuring that Groupaction got a large share of federal advertising dollars in Quebec. Carle referred Brault to federal bureaucrat Charles (“Chuck”) Guité and told him that “there was room for everybody.” Guité later put together the sponsorship program, in which five Liberal connected firms -- including Groupaction -- were guaranteed a monopoly on government “sponsorship” advertising (e.g. federal
advertising at sporting or cultural events) and related work. The sponsorship program eventually became a huge slush fund into which over $250 million was poured, over $100 million of which was paid in fees and commissions to these five advertising firms, with little or any evidence of work done or value for money.

In exchange for these large contracts for little or no work, Brault kicked back generously to the Liberal Party, putting Liberal organizers on his payroll while they continued to perform party work (including, at one point, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s brother, Gaby Chrétien), paying invoices to other companies for work actually done for the Liberal Party, and giving large donations -- in cash -- to the Liberal Party through Renaud or Liberal Party organizer (and close associate of Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano) Joe Morselli.

Protection Racket?

Towards the later part of the sponsorship program, the friends and associates of Public Works Minister and former ambassador to Denmark Alfonso Gagliano, some of whom have been linked to organized crime, played a larger role in the schemes.

At one point, Gagliano associate Tony Mignacca told Brault that if he didn’t rehire Renaud (who had left Groupaction to start a new company), he would lose his newly acquired contract with Via Rail -- Canada’s state-run passenger rail service. Brault broke down in tears after he recounted this testimony. At a meeting in 2001 with Joe Morselli, Brault said that he arranged to have the meeting in an overheated room in a restaurant -- so that Brault could ask Morselli to take off his coat and ensure that he wasn’t carrying a body pack.

What is Canada's equivalent of Leavenworth? Because it would make me laugh to no end to see Paul Martin heading off to the grey bar hotel.

Couldn't happen to a nicer asshat.

Posted by Steve at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

You know, Rosa Luxemborg in a chador is actually kind of kinky hot...

Belmont Club postulates the impending turn of the revolutionary left to hardcore Islam.

Posted by Steve at 01:05 AM | Comments (0)


As I said, WTF?

Posted by Steve at 12:56 AM | Comments (3)

April 04, 2005

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

The local classical station is giving us a taste at the moment of a brand new recording of Beethoven's 5th Symphony by Tafelmusik and Bruno Weil.

In fact, they're playing the second movement. One of the annoying things about this station is that it often plays single movements of pieces. We hates that. Nonetheless, I'm glad I heard this. I've always loved this particular piece of music (and indeed, the entire symphony which, although it's been beaten to death as a warhorse, is quite deserving of the praise it's received). If done right, the second movement is a real combination of dignified grandeur and the occasional touch of the exotic. But it can't be too fast and it can't be too slow. It seems to me that Weil gets the pace about right. And one of the hallmarks of Tafelmusik is a clarity that allows you to dig deep into the music without getting lost in a lot of clutter.

I've been very satisfied with Tafelmusik's treatment of Haydn and, as I say, it seems as if they're doing well with Beethoven, too. Indeed, I may have to look into buying this CD. My current performance is by John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestra of the Age of Romance and Revolution and JEG goes through the movement like a bat out of hell, totally junking it IMHO.

Posted by Robert at 05:22 PM | Comments (1)

Scots Wha Hae!


Don't forget that Wednesday is the Gathering of the Blogs 2005. There's still time for you Caledonian Folk to join in - just nip on over to Ith's Absinthe & Cookies for the details.

Personally, I'm looking forward to it. Highland Squares and single malt whiskey and bagpipes! Not to mention a look at the ol' Llama Tartan. (I really have one, you know.) Hoots! Toots!

Posted by Robert at 03:52 PM | Comments (3)

(Not) Seeing Red

My friends, we aren't really serious about education in this country. Not if we're "having issues" over freakin' grading pen colors being too "stressful".

(Pardon me while I pound my head on the desk for a few minutes.)


Posted by Robert at 03:36 PM | Comments (9)

Mr. McGregor Was Right!

The Combatants. Image courtesy of Encore Editions.

And so it begins anew.....

Last evening I saw two rabbits in the back yard. Very large rabbits. Rabbits that had "we're going to make lots of little baby rabbits in the woods right behind your flower beds" stamped all over them.

I have no way of knowing for certain, but I'd lay odds that one of them was the little bastard that as a young'un last year, figured out it could squeeze through the wire on the garden fence and spent the better part of July and August chomping on my black-eye susans.

Well, this year is going to be different! (Sorry, Kathy - no need for anyone to hide in the bushes with a camera!) First, in the next couple of weeks I'm finally going to put chicken wire all along the lower half of the fence. But if the little fiends do manage to breach my defenses, I swear I'm going to go out and buy a pellet gun. And if I manage to plug one of them with it, I'm going to stick his adorable little head on a stake and nail his lovable little pelt to the gatepost as a warning to the rest of them.

See if I don't.

UPDATE: Now that's what I'm talking about.

Posted by Robert at 02:07 PM | Comments (11)

Gratuitous Llama Tee Vee Recommendation

(Image courtesy of The Guardian.)

Aside from movies and the occassional half hour drooling over Weather Babes, I hardly watch any tee vee at all. But the one show to which I have become positively addicted is Arrested Development. If you don't watch it, start already.

Trust me on this. I may have mentioned before that I started watching it because it happens to come on right after The Simpsons. Lately, I've been tuning in to the last couple minutes of The Simpsons just so I won't miss any of A.D. It's that good. (And The Simpsons has gotten that bad. But that's a rant for a different day.)

Posted by Robert at 12:58 PM | Comments (1)

All About Eva


Turner Classic Movies ran off North by Northwest this weekend, one of my favorite Hitchcock movies (along with Rear Window and Strangers on a Train). I won't go into all of the reasons I enjoy this film here, except to give special Llama Yips! to Bernard Hermann's score, one of my favorite pieces of cinematic music. (Unfortunately, I have been unable to get it out of my head since Saturday night.)

TCM also ran a "Making of N by NW" program of which I caught a few minutes. It was hosted by, of all people, Eva Marie Saint herself. I say "by of all people" because the woman is over 80 years old and I was vaguely surprised that she's even still alive. Nonetheless, she looked quite, quite fine. Not only that, apparently she's Clark Kent's Mom.

Posted by Robert at 12:13 PM | Comments (2)

Papal Succession

The Colossus has profiles up of the current favorites, complete with a link to the latest betting lines. I agree with him that checking the market is probably a more accurate way of predicting the future than is relying on the Punditistas.

Speaking of such things, at my Junior Illuminati induction workshop this weekend, I was let in on the Vestryman's Prayer: "Please, God, do not force us to start a search for a new rector on my watch."

Posted by Robert at 10:51 AM | Comments (2)

Random Commuter Thoughts

Sometimes Life sets you up to deliver the perfect spike.

I skinned my knuckles moving furniture around while cleaning yesterday. This morning, somebody on the Metro remarked about them.

What else could I say? "The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club."

Heh. Indeed.

Posted by Robert at 10:43 AM | Comments (4)

Fear And Loathing In Disney World, Part IV - You Kid I Not

(Part I is nyah, Part II is nyah and Part III is over nyah.)

"Well, the kids had fun."

That is the standard justification for a trip to Disney World, given by practically every parent I've talked to both before and after my own visit to the Murine Gulag. Like all such polite pleasantries, it covers an awful lot of territory, from my own sheepish attempts to rationalize having allowed myself to get dragooned into the business, to the Hillary Clinton-like "For the Children" huckstering of people too ashamed to admit that they actually enjoy the place themselves.

As it happens, the Llama-ettes did have fun. And considering all the provocations facing them - the long drive down and back, the beastly weather our first day, the long lines and crowds and the Oz-like lightning, smoke and thunder that is endemic to places that hope to distract you from the humbug behind the curtain - they behaved pretty well, too. In this, at least, I was fortunate. And they were lucky. On top of everything else that I had to swallow, if I had been forced to deal with outbursts of ingratitude, brattiness or hooliganism on their part, I would not have hesitated to feed them to the alligators.

As I mentioned in my last installment, the weather on our first day in the Magic Kingdom was horrid, starting off cold and misty and winding up cold and rainy. Nonetheless, we were determined to experience the Magic even if it killed us, so after our "royal" breakfast with Cinderella and her friends, we set out to "do" the park.

Our first stop was the Dumbo flying merry-go-round. This ride is shaped like a giant mutant fifty-legged spider flipped over on its back. As you go round and round on the thing, you can raise or lower your car via a little joystick. The maximum elevation can't be more than 30 feet but, especially in an open cockpit, that's plenty high for me, thank you very much. I figured that even if I did have to go that high, I could gradually work my way up and the five year old, with whom I was paired, wouldn't notice the difference. In this, I failed to reckon with my co-pilot. As soon as we began to move, she seized the stick and hauled back on it like a seasoned fighter pilot, causing us to SWOOOP up to our operational ceiling and stick there. Geh. I tried several diplomatic approaches to getting her to ease off a bit, all to no avail. "Say, sweetie, it's fun going low, too!.......Sweetie, are you sure you're okay up here?......No, Daddy's fine -my knuckles are just white from the cold..." Fortunately, the ride did not last very long and I was able to preserve my Dad Dignity relatively intact.

Let me just say a few words about this ride length business. [Hit "rant on" key.] None of the rides we went on lasted very long - two or three minutes tops. This, to me, is one of the nastier aspects of Disney, even worse than the revolting aesthetics and false cheeriness of the place. The only thing that matters to Disney is numbers, specifically the maximum number of people it can push through its gates and the maximum amount of money it can fleece from them. It is patently obvious after the very first ride that the Dark Lord Mickey has calculated within a microsecond the absolute minimum amount of time people can be limited to on a given ride before they openly revolt. This isn't "making magical memories" or even basic concern for customer satisfaction. It's industrial sheep-herding, plain and simple. And Disney can get away with it because, equally horribly, people don't revolt. After driving or flying hundreds, even thousands of miles; enduring all the inconveniences of getting themselves to the park; waiting to get in, pushing through the crowds and then waiting in line again for, on a busy day, an hour or more for each ride; after all that and paying through the nose for it, I say, they take their two minutes of actual fun and, succumbing to Uncle Walt's Cultural Reeducation training, convince themselves that it was worth it! This says something pretty awful to me about how such people must believe they deserve to be treated. And I saw all of this when the crowds were relatively small. What it must be like when the season is in full swing is too painful to think about. [Hit "rant off" key.]

Where was I? Ah, yes. Our next stop was the indoor Winnie-the-Pooh ride, one of several 'storybook' kiddy rides in which you travel through a succession of scenes from favorite children's stories - in this case, Pooh and the Blustery Day. Eh. The animatronic figures were lame and clunky and you couldn't even hear three quarters of what was said or sung. The only interesting part was the Woozles and Heffalumps section, which was all done up in crazy-assed colors and black light (which makes bleached teeth, synthetic fabric and certain kinds of hair coloring glow, by the way). I've never done an acid trip but I'm guessing this was pretty similar to the sort of thing that Nancy Reagan used to warn us about all the time.

At one point we stopped in to watch a 3-D movie, a ten minute story in which Donald Duck steals Mickey's "Sorcerer's Apprentice" hat and thereby accidentally causes much mayhem. I must say in all honesty that the visual effects were really quite remarkable. One scene featured some dancing jewels (don't ask) that seemed to float right above the audience's heads. I could see all sorts of little hands reaching up to grab them out of the corners of my eyes.

I finished up the morning with my seven year old on a slot-car speedway where you drove mock-up Formula 1 racers with golf-cart engines. I figured that the tracks meant the cars steered themselves and therefore that it was fine to let the gel loose behind the wheel. However, such was not the case: the guiders limited steering but did not prevent it. Instead, as the Llama-ette quickly discovered, they allowed about a foot of lateral play on each side and if you cranked the wheel, you could slam against their edges with gratifying results. "Okay, Sweetie, (BASH!) let's try and keep it straight here (BASH!)...Right, now watch (BASH!) that (BASH!) turn...(BASH! BASH!)" The gel laughed like a maniac throughout and finished by rear-ending the car in front of us - right in front of the sign that said "Do NOT Bump Cars".

After lunch, we ambled over to Frontier Land. It was while standing in line waiting to ride the Thunder Mountain roller coaster that I suddenly realized I had no wish whatsoever to get on it, but that to back out would mean a) that I was a complete coward and b) that I would leave the Missus and her mother to deal single-handedly with all three Llama-ettes on the first "adult" ride we had tried all day. Well, as was the case with W.S. Gilbert's Frederick the Pirate, my sense of duty won out. I found myself sitting in the very first car with the five and seven year olds on either side of me. The three year old was in the car behind, wedged between the Missus and the Mother-in-Law.

I wasn't sure how the gels were going to react to the height, speed and corkscrew turns, so I held their hands as we started off. As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. They shrieked with delight the whole time. In fact, the only jarring note was when the oldest said, "Daaa-ad! Could you stop squeezing my hand? That hurts!"

I drew the line, however, at the log ride next door featuring a serious drop down a very steep waterfall. As we decided the three year old was too small for it as well, I took her around to the bridge in front to watch the rest of the crew come down. By this time it was raining pretty steadily and I was getting soaked. I was also tired, cold and hungry but resigned to having to tough things out for a while longer. In a way this was a blessing, because when at about this point Fate tried to aim a bean-ball at my head, my circumstances caused her shot to go wide.

The pitch Fate chose to use was the three year old, who has developed the bad habit lately of not realizing she has to go potty until she actually starts. As we waited, I had been entertaining her by giving her a ride on my shoulders. I had just heaved her off and was carrying her on my side when she struck, soaking her undies and nailing my sweater good and proper. Well friends, I put it to you: I was wet already. She was wet already. And there was nothing I could have done about it anyway. Where normally I would have gone into a Niles Crane-like dance of frustration, here I simply ignored it, putting her on the ground and saying in my best Marty Feldman voice, "Act casual, say nothing."

(The other two, by the way, enjoyed the log ride even more than the roller coaster.)

The next day we were back for Round Two. This time we started out in Adventure Land. Our first ride was similar to the Flying Dumbo of the day before, except with an Aladdin theme - the cars were shaped like magic carpets. For what it's worth, I happened to recognize the music that was being pumped out of the "Sultan's Palace". It was Moorish, not Arabian. But never mind. Muslims - what's the difference?

We also tried the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride. This was easily the biggest rip-off of the entire stay. The thing is housed inside a mock Spanish colonial fort. Once you get through the seemingly endless passages and rope lines, you get on a barge that does nothing but slowly float through a maze of rooms filled with extremely noisy animatronic pirates, all of which sing blackboard-scraping sea-shanties. That's it. Nothing else. We kept expecting something, anything to happen. But all we got were the beery pirates. I should have mentioned earlier that with many of the rides, the only way to exit is through the ride's gift shop. Here, I thought this arrangement particularly offensive - that Disney would expect people to shell out for arm-loads of assorted buccaneer junk on the strength of such a lame ride speaks volumes of what the Mouse thinks of its guests' intelligence.

The day being a pleasant one, we only managed to get through these two rides before the park started seriously jamming up with people. The rest of the morning and after lunch I don't recall doing much more than wandering about trying to calculate which 45 minute line might be worth the wait. Eventually, the Missus and the elder gels tried one more roller coaster - Goofy's Barnstormer, located in Toonville. While the gels thought it was fun, even the five year old said it was too short. (There's hope for my children yet.)

Finally, we decided to give up and break camp, as we still had a two hour drive back to the In-Laws' house. The march from Cinderella's Castle down Main Street U.S.A. to the front gate in the cold and rain on the previous day had been much like a walk in East Berlin, all dank and film noir-ish, with relatively few huddled people scurrying about. In the warm sunshine, it was much more like being caught in a 5000-man rugby scrum. How we got to the gate without the aid of machetes, I still haven't figured out, but eventually we did it. Unfortunately, owing to our distraction, we didn't notice that Fate was aiming another pitch at us and that this time she had got the range.

From the Magic Kingdom, we had a ten minute bus ride back to the Animal Kingdom to pick up our car and luggage. I was sitting with the older gels in one part of the bus and the Missus had the three year old in another part. Suddenly, I noticed the three year old doing what we call "the Potty Dance", which is her way of indicating that the deluge was on its way and nothing was going to hold it back. Having absolutely no other alternative, the Missus whipped off the gel's undies, fished out a plastic bag and positioned it to catch at least some of the flow. As you might imagine, it was a thoroughly messy and extremely embarrassing episode. Fortunately, there was a sympathetic couple with two kids sitting opposite the Missus who were able to dig up some handi-wipes from their bag. In the middle of the thing, the Missus suddenly shot a look in my direction and said through clenched teeth, "You could help, you know, Dear!" The other couple looked over at me. I shrugged and said, "I've never seen that woman before in my life." The looks on their faces almost made the entire trip worth it.

Thus, an ignoble end to our trip to Disney World. But one with a silver lining - Owing to this hideous episode, we can never show our faces in the place again.

Next Time: Fear And Loathing In Disney World, Part V - Final Thoughts.

Posted by Robert at 10:20 AM | Comments (9)

April 03, 2005

Will this be an annoying fad or an interesting derivation for popular entertainment?

One of the characters on the tee-vee show "Crossing Jordan" has a blog: not the actor, mind you, but the character of Nigel.

Memory serves that Homicide tried a stunt like this with a "second shift" that only existed online, but it never went anywhere. (After googling it up, I came up with this: although my memory of Cool Hand Luke had shifted, my sense of the Charm City detectives was accurate.) (Memory also serves that Det. Bayliss had a website which was involved in a plot line, but it wasn't a blog).

Done correctly, this sort of thing could certainly add juice to a cult show: think of what a blog for different characters could have done for Twin Peaks in its first season, not to mention the X-Files before it jumped the shark (noting, of course, that it was an alien albino left-finned shark that ate Joe Kennedy Jr., mind you).

The key, of course, will be understanding the mediums and how they could possibly interact: if any entertainment moguls are interested I have some thoughts on how this could be done quite well.

After all, LLamas want Porsches too...

Posted by Steve at 11:39 PM | Comments (2)

Wait till next year.....no more

This is just wrong.

Also, I'm wondering if Allahpundit will now return, as he went on hiatus after the Yankees choked the donkey last October......

UPDATE: D'OH! Hey, what were the odds the Sawx would beat the Yanks five in a row? Not bloody likely.

Posted by Steve at 11:20 PM | Comments (2)

Gratuitous Llama Absenteeism

Sorry about the lack of posting today. Blame it on Spring. As has become an annual tradition with us, we suddenly noticed a) that the sunlight shining through the windows had changed and b) that in this new light, the house was a freakin' pigsty. Thus, my day has been spent neck deep in Fantastik, Clorox, Windex and Handi-Wipes.

The good news is that over the weekend I've been able to cobble together my next Fear and Loathing in Disneyworld installment. It should be good to go in the morning. Stay tuned.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 05:39 PM | Comments (1)

Colicky LLamas?

You make the call.

Posted by Steve at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2005


France prepared to say "Non" to EU constitution.

That would be too freaking funny for words.

Posted by Steve at 06:26 PM | Comments (2)

"What we have here is a failure to communicate"

One of my all-time favorite movies is "Cool Hand Luke."

Paul Neuman is at his best in this classic prison movie, playing the eponymous Luke who just cannot conform to the norms of society---let alone the strictures of life on the chain gang.

What makes the movie, however, is the malevolent image of the guard boss, fat Southern sheriff looking dude in khakis and mirrored sunglasses, who would always utter "What we have here is a failure to communicate" before beating the living crap out of Luke.

Anyhoo, apparently Argentina is talking about retaking the Falkland Islands.

And I can just imagine the Baroness Thatcher reaching into her handbag, pulling on the mirrored shades, and uttering "What we have here....."

D'Oh! One of our commentators takes issue with my memory of the movie, but hey, no one's perfect.

Posted by Steve at 06:23 PM | Comments (5)

"Now go run with scissors in traffic"

Note to self: Never, EVER piss off Margi.

And would it kill you to call your mother every once in awhile?

That is all.

UPDATE: How did I miss this? It's the MargiInterview(TM) of our very own Kathy the Cake Eater.

Posted by Steve at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

100% Crap

Bravo, SondraK!

And, to be perfectly honest, we agree with Jeff on this one.

Posted by Steve at 04:08 PM | Comments (4)

Saturday morning is weirdo troller time at the LLamas

Case in point, a visitor came to us after googling up this:

weather channel babes.jpg

I don't know what it is about Saturday morning, but that's when we get our weirdo traffic. A huge surge of people looking for naked, nude, laviscious pictures of one Juliet Huddy; we once had someone google us up on a Saturday morning looking for "Donkey Kong Porn." For. The. Love. Of. All. That. Is. Holy. NOOOOO! Fortunately, the avatar's who were hectoring us with traffic over the summer looking for "Margaret Thatcher Naughty Bits" and "Condi Dominatrix Pics" have left us alone. Fortunately, no one has ever come to us looking for "Jane Fonda Three-way with prostitutes" and "Hillary Clinton lesbo action." Which is a big relief, as this is a family blog, after all! Yes sir, we've made our mistakes in the past: back a couple of months ago, we posted one picture of Linda Lovelace (a black and white of her, fully clothed, holding an American flag in front of the Lincoln Memorial) during the whole "Deepthroat revealed" kerfuffle, and next thing you know, a quarter of our daily traffic comes from people punching up google images looking for ol' Linda.


And we've got one message for the deviants over at Itsapundit.com: Indeed. Heh. Read it all.

Okay, so that's three messages, but you get my point.

Anyhoo, if I were you guys, I'd worry about a mutant swarm of Nisan GX driving nanobots being sent out like the army of flying monkeys from stately Instapundit Manor....

Posted by Steve at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005

To quote the Bard Joey Lawrence


I guess this is what Darwin would refer to as a cataclysmic change in environment leading to rapid extinction...

Posted by Steve at 06:06 PM | Comments (1)

I could've done without that imagery, thank you very much

Well, Rusty is being Rusty.

Full Metal Jawa as they say (or should say).

The significance of this news coming out of Iraq today is the calendar: it was one year ago when Muqtada al-Sadr launched his "revolt" of the Mahdi Army. The Commissar calls it the turning point.

Posted by Steve at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)

Papal Sucession

Hugh Hewitt has links to plenty of sources.

As to the question of the Pope and the end of the Cold War, Carl Bernstein (yes, Carl Bernstein) has a biography of the Pope that came out a number of years back that makes this case in spades. Hugh cites the short list as follows:

With Reagan and Solzhenitsyn, John Paul II represents the three forces of opposition to communism that shattered the evil empire, the Soviet Union --the American-led West, the Eastern European resistance, and the Russian dissident movement.

I would agree only to the extent that you include Margaret Thatcher (whose rise to power preceded Reagan's), Vaclev Havel, and the indispensable Lech Walessa to the list.

UPDATE on Thatcher: This is just sacreligious.

Posted by Steve at 05:41 PM | Comments (2)

Holy Crap!

Seems like the long-awaited blogger/amateur porn nexis has been breached. Here I always thought it would be Wonkette, not the dweeby dudes at Powerline...

powerline ad.gif

Posted by Steve at 02:48 PM | Comments (2)

Buchanan Attacked with Salad Dressing

One would have to assume it was French.

Posted by Steve at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)

Garden Blogging

Jordana has what's blooming in Nashville.

I think this is something we need to get Robbo on.

ADDED EXTRA BONUS! Texas Best Grok has the carnival of the recipes. And don't forget to vote for "Chicken Mo Fo"!

Posted by Steve at 11:28 AM | Comments (1)

Sandy Berger? GUILTY!!!

Kevin has the details.

From the LLama Archives, he was our commentary on the story back on July 23rd:

sandy album cover.jpg

UPDATE: Rusty revists a classic representation of the Clinton foreign policy team.

Posted by Steve at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

Red's Reviews

Sheila has some fabulous things to say about Kathleen Turner in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Plus---and I don't know how Robbo missed this, uber English major geek that he is---yesterday apparently was the 150th anniversary of the passing of Charlotte Bronte. So there you have it.

It might explain why INDC Bill was so broken up and emotional yesterday on the radio...

Posted by Steve at 10:07 AM | Comments (2)
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